About filter bubbles, silent nuns and spam. The first day of presentations.

I had the honor of chairing the first participant presentations today. Since this is a interdisciplinary summer school, there is a wide variety in backgrounds, which exposes everybody to perspectives and topics they would probably not have approached on their own.

The first presentation was given by Ana Jobin, PhD student at the University of Lausanne. She’s looking at the filter bubble, that search engines like Google create, not from the perspective of the user, as it is usually done, but from the perspective of advertisers. Her presentation sparked a lively debate about algorithms and perspectives on filter bubbles.

Michele Infante presented his research on nuns in the last cloistered convent in Naples. He looked at how they are using the internet and what impact it has on life within the convent. As a social scientist he is no stranger to field work, but there are certain challenges when it comes to researching the life of nuns who have sworn a vow of silence.

The last presentation of the day was given by Elinor Carmi, a PhD student at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She talked about spam on modern online platforms, something that is not usually in the focus of research. There was an intense discussion following the presentation. Shannon and Weaver still have that effect on people who talk about communication and communication methods.

The interdisciplinary approach led to lots of interesting and intense discussions, with feedback from different perspectives and angles. It definitely payed off, even just as a participant, but I’m very much looking forward to the discussion on my presentation on Wednesday.

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