Lifestream, Comment on Reminders by Philip

Thank you Renee, very interesting and compelling comments. As I was reading I thought of another example of the space-presence concept. Since we have been Tweeting about Blade Runner, I have been reminded of the Star Trek series. As the Enterprise moves through space, it simply occupies a given point at a given moment of time. It takes up space, nothing more really. It is only when the ship or its occupants interact with that space, or with other objects or entities within that space, that actual presence is felt.

I find this a difficult idea sometimes, especially when my brain tries to interject all kinds of possible exceptions and scenarios. But, I still like to think I’ve got a decent concept going that is workable.

In any case, I like your statement that you must become an “active community member”. To me, and perhaps to oversimplify, this means I must make my presence in space known in some active, overt manner (quantitative), in order for my presence to have any qualitative meaning.

from Comments for Philip’s EDC blog

Lifestream, Comment on Reminders by Renee Furner

Interesting reflection, Philip. Made me think of White & Le Cornu’s V&R typology (2011). It might be an interesting activity to map your own online engagement prior to #mscedc and post- certainly I think my own map will change significantly as I’m generally much more of a lurker (elegant or not;).

While I can see how your blog is ‘your space’, and how people might cross from their ‘own’ spaces into each other’s spaces (maybe like you’d pop over to a friend’s for a cup of tea?) I wonder about beyond that. i.e. Twitter does not ‘belong’ to any of us, yet our posts under #mscedc create ‘our’ space. Communal space, if you like – where people with less immediate connections to the tag can drop in/drop out/be invited/elegantly lurk. Perhaps this (communal) space is inferred when you talk about using platforms to ‘establish myself in the online community’.

This element of ‘presence’ is key to me. #mscedc forces me to become an active community member, due to the publicness of the platforms utilised. White has suggested that early engagement such as mine (and others within the course who have been less publicly active previously) marks a transition point, from knowledge consumer to community participant: ‘It’s the point at which they are exploring their ‘voice’ within the discourse’ (White, 2015).

This has got me thinking about what creates ‘quality discourse’ – and the impact of being required to demonstrate regular engagement (for the course grade) on that discourse (a point @Eli_App_D@c4miller & @Digeded touched on early in Twitter). I don’t suppose it helps that IFTTT posts each Tweet separately from all but the preceeding tweets in Twitter conversations – rather than capturing conversations wholistically. Makes us all seem a bit shouty! 😉

from Comments for Philip’s EDC blog

Lifestream, Comment on Week 1 by Renee Furner

[In reply to]

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on week 1, Dirk – and so innovatively. I missed the live transmission, but caught it about an hour later.

I agree that the creation of groups allows for (and can encourage) the construction of ‘otherness’/’sameness’. This part of your talk/post made me think of that famous lesson with the brown-eyed and blue-eyed children (Jane Elliott, experiment starts at 3:19). However, I’m not sure that reducing anonymity or enforcing real-name policies are ways to eliminate the vitriol. Research by Rost, Stahel and Frey (2016) suggests that people are actually more hostile during online ‘firestorms’ when using real-names (empirical evidence is based on behaviours in a German social media platform, 2010-13).

The authors further suggest that the reason we often equate anonymity with increased aggression online is because most attempts to theorise about such behaviour use traditional bullying research theory. Under this theory, as you noted, online aggression is driven by lower-order moral ideals and principles, which people would be ashamed to express if their identity was known. However, Rost, Stahel & Frey suggest viewing such behaviour through a different lens – social norm theory. Through this lens, those posting aggressively online might be viewed as enforcing of social norms – ‘aggressive word-of-mouth propagation in social media is the response to (perceived) violating behaviours of public actors…In this view online firestorms enforce social norms by expressing public disapproval with the aim of securing public goods, for example, honesty of politicians, companies or academics’ (Rost, Stahel & Frey, 2016, ‘Introduction’, para. 8). If this is held true, many people who post aggressively online believe themselves to be acting from a position of higher-order morals, and perceive the public actor they are aggressing as acting from lower-order morals, and they have no need to hide their identity (ibid., ‘hypothesis 3′). Even when real names are given, acting aggressively online as a way of norm-enforcing is low cost for the actors: their geographical distance reduces risk of physical harm, lack of non-verbal cues from recipients reduces aggressors’ empathy, and technology allows them to reach a large audience with little time or effort (ibid., ‘online firestorms within a social norm theory’).

No doubt some people who act aggressively are just bullies, acting as you say, because their anonymity allows them to disregard morals through reduced fear of getting caught. I’m not sure it is the full picture, though.

Thanks for prompting me to think more deeply about this.


Rost, K., Stahel, L., & Frey, B.S. (2016). Digital social norm enforcement: Online firestorms in social media. PLOS ONE, 11(6): e0155923.

from Comments for Dirk’s EDC blog

In this post (and Dirk’s initial post) the focus is on the negative reality of cyberculture, in terms of how it is experienced today – complete with trolling and aggression. Of course, it is just one side of the coin – there is also willingness to engage politely, helpfully and generously amongst strangers.