Saturday, 13 August 2011

Tweeting the Oslo Massacre: Collateral Damage

by Miriyam Aouragh, Shahid Buttar, Elijah Meeks, Laila Shereen Sakr
August 9 2011

As the world continues to reel from the shockwaves sent by the recent violence in Norway, we need also to grapple with the reactions that immediately followed and what they mean. An online analysis of Twitter posts carried out by R-Shief, a lab that provides real-time analysis of opinion about late-breaking issues, gives credence to what observers have been condemning as an appalling day for Western media—and which laid bare a proliferating Islamophobia.

Just as real events on the ground last week in Oslo created a global impact, so did the words, media, and proliferation of racist sentiment over the Internet. It is critical to recognize the impact of this global conversation. One piece of the puzzle relies on understanding the semantic structure of communication that occurs on the web. Similar to how researchers sift through court records, print manuscripts, and other accepted (and conventional) narratives, our method of inquiry relies on documentation and analysis of the database narratives on Twitter and other new media platforms.

We recognize this is a distinct and unorthodox approach to research and publication; however, we hope to encourage our readers to begin to imagine relationships to technology other than one of so-called “mastery” (a dominant, hetero-normative experience of relating).
[see article in link]