Social Media Research Workshop, October 11, 2014

Since March this year, seven short term research fellows have been involved with The Sarai Programme and carried out various studies on digital and social media. On Saturday, October 11, we are organising a research sharing workshop for the fellows to present and discuss their works with a selected group of discussants.

Hinglish Workshop, 18-19 August 2014 – Recordings

The Hinglish workshop was organised by The Sarai Programme, CSDS, and SOAS, University of London. The workshop sought to explore and understand the new porousness of Hindi and English in everyday and cultural practices and the relationship between language use and social and cultural imaginaries, along lines of inclusion, stratification, and exclusion. Here are recordings of the presentations from the workshop. All files are hosted at Internet Archive.

Santosh Pandit Hate Groups and Memes: Online Ethnography of Social Media

In the interaction with members of hate groups, what became evident was that memes served multiple purposes, depending more on the viewer’s prior knowledge of the person/event spoofed.At the same time, no one identified the term “meme” or “meming” (a relatively new term for many of my respondents) in our conversations. On the other hand, they described the act of meming as an extension of their everyday Facebook activity where it featured as what they called padam (picture) with “dialogues”… The intensity of circulation of these memes was such that even the fan’s groups widely shared memes brought out by the hate groups…

On Public Secrets, Forensics, and the Sting Fearing Virus

Corruption as many have pointed out, is a classic template for the ‘public secret’: that which insists on being commonly coded but cannot be enframed within official public narratives. The video sting short-circuits this logic – by hyper-playing the secretive act/gesture in loop ad nauseum across media platforms. The mundane act of corruption, otherwise part of one’s everyday, gets immediately recharged into an active moment of desecration. Institutions that aren’t routinely sacred suddenly get charged and re-sacralized when faced with the crisis of defacement. It is this ‘drama of revelation” that activates outrage (and subsequently the media event)…

Toward a history of consumption and circulation of media content – part one

…I want to highlight (right at the beginning) the importance of services and repair shops and the figure of ‘technician’ in such shops as a connecting thread to weave together different experiential accounts into a coherent story. From the days of radio and sound systems, technicians played a key role in facilitating media consumption. From public transmission of information to setting up of required apparatus to reach out to a large gathering during political speeches, staging of plays and other cultural events, technician and his support team were instrumental in producing any media experience in those days…

Lives of Information Workshop – Recordings

The Sarai Programme organised the Lives of Information workshop to gather an inter‐disciplinary group of researchers to discuss information practices, cultures, infrastructures, and histories with a specific focus on post-colonial contexts. The workshop examined topics of colonial and post-colonial strategies of archiving identification, storage and informatic governance; bureaucratic cultures and politics of document and media forms; information infrastructures and networked politics; user-created content cultures and anxieties of mediated lives; and more. Here are the audio recordings of the presentations at the workshop…

The Function of the Interface

There are however, two interesting differences between the Interface and other mediums like cinema and comic. Interface is neither produced, nor consumed linearly. It may use techniques from storytelling but it behaves very similar to Architecture. It has a structure and structure is more often hierarchical. A user navigates this structure based on their motivation towards visiting the site… This brings me to the Second point, which is the power equation between the media and its consumer.

Revolution YouTube

Azaan Javaid, now a journalist, was a student in 2008. With a handicam at home, Azaan began recording videos of protests along with his cousin, who had recently come from the US. It was his cousin’s idea that these videos be uploaded on YouTube. The duo started one of the earliest YouTube channels from Kashmir regarding the protests. And, as these videos spread, the confidence of the protesters grew. At the same time, a few ‘communities’ had sprung up in the Google-owned Orkut. Facebook was still not very popular…

Rural Social Media – A Meta-Digital Divide

Of all the progenies of contemporary technological development, Digital Divide fascinates me the most. Its iatrogeny — problem inducing ways of problem solving — and capacity to reinvent is matched only by a few other problems of our age. Many scholars have tried to reconceptualise digital divide as a socio-technical problem, by pointing out the continuum of gradations between the information haves and have-nots, still there are several nuances left to be grasped…

‘Lahore is a lot like Delhi': Digital Discourse on Histories and Places across the Border

I am interested in seeking answers for the following questions: Why does it matter for these younger generations to document and, in so doing, relate to memories of Partition? What is the impact of this desire to understand Partition on modern Indian/Pakistani/’South Asian’ identity? What is the impact of the digital space and new media technologies on our relationship with history? How do we imagine the ‘lost’ spaces and times of our ancestors?