The Confirmation Seminar. Twitter/@_StephenH
At the end of your first year of PhD study at QUT, you're required to submit a 60-page document and present a 45-ish minute seminar detailing a synopsis of the work-in-progress, the proposed methodology and a trajectory to submission. This is called the Confirmation of Candidature — it's an early and important milestone on the road to graduation. I completed this today — so, what better time could there be to detail my research on this website.
What I'm looking at
I'm researching the governance of Social Media platforms, including the strategies that platform operators use in an attempt to govern and influence the space and the tactics that users deploy when they disagree with the the rules of that space. This involves analysis of contentious areas of social media platform policy and the ways in which platform-political discourse plays out on- and off-platform. I use a theoretical base that reflects on the theories of Foucault, de Certeau and a number of contemporary technology and communications theorists.
I’m using case study methodology, and both close reading and semi-structured interviews to analyse conflicts that I’ll discuss as significant events. In particular, I'm analysing the ‘Nymwars’ of Google+, Facebook's policies towards Breastfeeding photos, and the misogynistic harassment and abuse of a number of prominent British Women on Twitter in 2013.
Why I'm looking at it
Given the growth of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and their prominence in civil and civic discourses, it is critically important to add complexity to our understanding of these systems and the ways in which they operate.