Saturday, February 16, 2008

Online Buyers Seek Out User Reviews

Taking advice from strangers.

Getting objective opinions has never been easier for consumers. If they don't personally know someone who has used a product or service, they can go online for the thoughts and experiences of millions.

Most online buyers do just that.

PowerReviews and the e-tailing group found that nearly nine out of 10 US online buyers surveyed in February 2008 read customer reviews at least "some of the time" before making a purchase.

"This survey highlights the reception that reviews are receiving throughout the merchant world and how retailers are leveraging online review technology," said Jay Shaffer, vice president of marketing at PowerReviews.

Respondents checked a fairly large number of reviews before making their purchasing decisions. Nearly seven out of 10 online buyers surveyed said they checked at least four reviews before spending their money.

The PowerReviews findings agree with other studies on user reviews. Reviews were the most-desired Web functions for US Internet users questioned in the third quarter of 2007 for Forrester Research's "North American Technographics Customer Experience, Marketing and Consumer Technology Online Survey, Q3 2007" report.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed said they wanted user ratings and reviews. About six out of 10 were more focused on prices, and wanted special offers or coupons and product or price comparison tools.

An October 2007 Avenue A | Razorfish study of US online shoppers found that more than one-half of those surveyed read user reviews as part of their product research.

"Consumer-generated media such as those found on ratings and review sites are becoming more influential in the purchase-decision process," said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer.

for the full report with graphs and stats click here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Electronic Commerce Research: Virtual Worlds Special Issue Call

Electronic Commerce Research: Virtual Worlds Special Issue Call


DEADLINE: 31st May 2008

Millions of users from around the globe participate in massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG), such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, 3D worlds that are often considered the next generation Web. With their user base growing at an exponential rate we are already experiencing the development of a phenomenon that may be as significant as the Web itself. The rapid development of MMORPGs and metaverses is likely to bring about significant business as well as social, legal, policy, methodological and technological opportunities and challenges.

This special issue aims to explore these and contribute to this rapidly expanding field by focusing on issues relevant to electronic business and management. Academics and practitioners are invited to submit conceptually and empirically based original papers addressing areas such as those listed below:

- Business opportunities and challenges

- Marketing implications

- Identity management issues

- Virtual economies and economic policies

- Virtual entrepreneurship and metaverse ebusiness models

- Developing MMORPGs and related strategies and ebusiness models

- Real money trading

- Consumer and business ethics in metaverses

- Case studies (e.g. Second Life, World of Warcraft etc)

- Human-computer interaction issues in metaverses

- Psychological aspects of participating in metaverses

- Legal issues (e.g. copyright and ownership of virtual property)

The above areas are just indicative and this special issue would welcome papers discussing other relevant topics. For the manuscripts guidelines please visit the journal’s web site. All papers, accompanied by a short biographical note for each author (approximately 200-250 words per author), should be submitted as an email attachment to the Guest Editors (Email: All papers will be double blind refereed.

Important dates:

Last date for submitting the manuscript: 31st May 2008
End of the first review cycle: 1st of July 2008
Tentative date for completing the revised papers: 15th August 2008
Tentative date for completing the second review cycle: 15th September 2008
Submission of the final manuscripts for print: 15th October 2008

Authors of accepted papers will be asked to sign a copyright release form, provide a short biography and picture, and send the complete packet of materials to:

The New European Internet Hot Spots

Europe is a diverse region comprising 48 countries, 27 of which are in the European Union. The region contains some of the world's Internet usage leaders, such as the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where penetration is around 80% of the population.

In contrast, countries such as Greece, Russia, Poland and Italy lag well behind the European average. But most of these nations are enjoying a surge of Internet growth. Within five years, only Russia will have less than half of its population online.

In terms of sheer size, Germany is the largest Internet market in Europe, followed by Russia and the UK, according to eMarketer’s recent estimates.

But “Internet users” means different things to different research firms.

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities, measures Internet users ages 16 to 74. comScore measures Internet users ages 15 and older, while eMarketer measures Internet penetration based on the total population using the Internet at least once per month.

Much of the discrepancy in the following comparative estimate chart is due to these different definitions.

Russia’s Internet population grew 23% between 2006 and 2007, the highest growth rate among the measured countries, according to comScore World Metrix. Spain, Ireland and France also recorded double-digit growth -- well above the regional average.

The correlation between Internet usage and age is strong throughout the world, and Europe is no exception.

Data from Eurostat shows that 80% to 90% of 16-to-24-year-olds are weekly Internet users in most countries in Europe. Some of the notable exceptions to this high penetration rate are in the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, and Italy, which are all below the regional average.

But it is in the 55-to-74-year-old group where weekly Internet usage drops off markedly. Eurostat figures indicate that, overall, just 19% of European women in this age bracket were weekly Internet users during the first quarter of 2007, compared to 31% of European men.

Since this data was gathered, more senior Europeans have seen the benefits of Internet use and moving online. But the correlation between Internet usage and gender remains starkest in the 55 and older group. Estonia, and to a lesser extent Latvia, are the only two countries in Europe where there is a higher percentage of women regularly using the Internet than men.

[for the full articlw with graphs and stats click here]

500 Million Internet Users in Asia-Pacific

According to recent estimates there were 6.6 billion people in the world in 2007. Of that number, 1.15 billion, or 17.5%, were regular Internet users. By 2012, eMarketer projects that over 1.7 billion people worldwide (24.5%) will access the Internet at least once per month.

This year will see China overtake the United States as the most populous Internet nation in the world and the Asia-Pacific region will top 500 million Internet users.

By 2012, nearly 50% of the world’s Internet population will live in the Asia-Pacific region. The share of the world’s Internet users in Europe and North America will fall, though absolute numbers will continue to rise in both regions, as the share of users in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region both grow.

The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries lead the world in terms of Internet penetration, and reached something of a saturation point around 80% of the population in 2007.

Countries such as China, Russia, India, Brazil and Mexico are relatively immature Internet markets and will be the primary drivers for worldwide Internet user growth over the next five years.

[for the full article with graphs and stats click here.]

Nielsen Online: Women Favor Long-Form Video

Nielsen Online: Women Favor Long-Form Video

Businesses hoping to get the attention of 18- to 34-year-old women should consider buying ads on Web sites that offer so-called "long form" video installments related to popular network TV shows, according to Nielsen Online.

The company said its VideoCensus syndicated online video measurement service, unveiled last spring, is finding women tend to watch more online versions of TV network programs than do their male counterparts. Men of the same age range gravitate more toward sites like YouTube that feature consumer-generated content, according to the VideoCensus data.

"For advertisers, there's certainly an opportunity here, particularly on network broadcast sites," said Michael Pond, a media analyst at Nielsen Online. "It's another way to reach this desirable young female audience in maybe a more clutter-free environment." Conversely, the VideoCensus information seems to show that advertisers hoping to catch the eyes of young men should pour more money into ads on consumer-generated side, said Pond.

Pond did not suggest the networks and advertisers give up on trying to target males with long-form online content. Indeed, there are plenty of TV shows enjoyed -- and watched regularly -- by young men. "It's an opportunity for the networks to define long-form programming that's appealing to that male audience," said the analyst. "There's a real opportunity there to maybe move that young male audience from the snack-sized video to more of the long-form content. They're going to have to find the right programming mix that appeals to that audience in order to get them there."

Pond suggested the networks try to place more long-form content on predominantly short-form Web sites, such as Veoh, that are popular with guys. A glance at Veoh shows this is already taking place. The homepage urges viewers to "watch free, full-length episodes of your favorite shows" and the featured list includes seemingly male-oriented programs such as "The A Team," "Shark," "Prison Break," and "Family Guy."

Nielson Online released the gender-related findings as a way of announcing that VideoCensus is now out of beta, said public relations manager Suzy Bausch. Nielsen contends VideoCensus is the only syndicated online video measurement service that combines panel and server research. This provides stream counts that are more accurate than other methods, and combining panel and server data also allows VideoCensus to provide more comprehensive demographic reporting, Nielsen said.

"It's not done on a custom basis," said Bausch. "Clients subscribe to it and data is updated on a regular basis... Clients tag their video streams and we get demographic data from our panel. It's our panel and our technology."

Nielsen Online said video streams at network Web sites were nearly twice as likely to be viewed by young women than by young men of the same age. For the top four consumer generated Web sites, streams were 2.5 times more likely to be viewed by men than by women, according to the report.

Additionally, Nielsen Online reported that streaming activity at the top network sites peaked during weekdays between noon and 2 p.m. while the peak viewing time for consumer generated sites was weekends between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Pond deciphered the data to mean women were using their lunch breaks to catch up on their favorite TV shows.

Nielsen said VideoCensus determined the top video site in December was YouTube, with 2.6 billion streams during the month. Yahoo came in second, with almost 372 million streams, followed by Fox Interactive Media with about 364 million streams. Nielsen Online reported that 116.7 million unique viewers, or 73 percent of Web users, watched about 6.2 billion video streams in December, and the average viewer spent nearly two hours and 10 minutes watching online video during the month.


Oxford e-Research Conference 2008

Oxford e-Research Conference 2008

Date: 11-13 September 2008
Location: University of Oxford: The Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, and Oxford e-Research Centre, 7 Keble Road

Deadlines: Abstracts or drafts of proposed papers, and workshop and / or panel outlines should be submitted to by 15 March 2008.

Authors will be informed of the Programme Committee's decision by 15 April 2008, full Papers should be received by 15 August 2008.

Background to the conference
This multi-disciplinary, international conference on e-Research will be held at the University of Oxford from 11-13 September 2008. It is being organized by a consortium of research projects in association with the journal Information Communication and Society (iCS).

The Oxford e-Research Conference 08 seeks to stimulate and inform multi-disciplinary research on the development, use and implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs), like the Internet, in shaping research across the disciplines. It will bring together research from key e-Research projects from around the world examining the role of the Internet, Web and the Grid in research. The conference seeks to facilitate scholarly communication and publication on this topic, and help foster a broader public understanding of the significance of this area to the sciences and humanities as well as to the public at large.

Anyone with a serious interest in conducting research on the development or use of ICTs across the disciplines should attend, as well as those with questions about how new research tools might impact the range, significance and quality of research. The conference is intended to complement and extend the activities of key research projects and programmes in this area, representatives of which are among the organizing committee.

Individuals may submit abstracts, or drafts of full papers; workshop or panel proposals; and demonstration projects, which can be showcased at the conference. Top papers presented at the conference will have an opportunity to be prioritized for review by the journal Information Communication and Society.

Topics will include, but not be limited to:

- Major e-Research initiatives, such as e-infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure programmes in Europe and North America

- E-Social Science, including social, legal and institutional dynamics of e-Research

- Case studies of e-Research projects, programmes, and policies

- Policy analyses of key issues, ranging from IPR to privacy

- Ethical and legal analyses of innovations in e-Research, focusing on risks as well as approaches to resolving ethical dilemmas

- Research on e-collaboration, including new platforms for scientific collaboration, such as those using social networking sites

- Survey research and in-depth interviews focused on the attitudes and practices of researchers

- Usability of e-Research tools, and related issues of human-computer interaction

- Showcasing new methods, practices, and tools afforded by new ICTs

- Research on the social shaping and impact of e-Research

- Take-up, diffusion and sustainability of e-Research infrastructures

- Technical advances of relevance to any stage of research, from agenda-setting and budgeting to data collection, analysis, dissemination and evaluation of research

- Social and technical perspectives on innovations in metadata, the development of ontologies, and the semantic Web

- Overviews and comparisons of particular schools of research, including Web Science, e-Social Science, e-Research, and e-Infrastructure communities

Conference Programme Committee
Chair: Professor William Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute
Panel Chair: Dr Marina Jirotka, Oxford e-Research Centre

Committee Members
Professor Christine Borgman, Information Studies, UCLA
Professor Alan K. Bowman, Ancient History, Faculty of Classics, Oxford
Professor Roger Burrows, Social Informatics Research Unit, University of York
Professor Thomas Finholt, School of Information, University of Michigan
Professor Wendy Hall, Computer Science, University of Southampton
Professor Paul Jeffreys, Director of Information Technology, Oxford University
Brian Loader, Editor of iCS and Social Informatics Research Unit, York
Professor Rob Procter, National Centre for e-Social Science, Manchester
Dr Ralph Schroeder, James Martin Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Electronics and Computer Science, Southampton
Professor Anne Trefethen, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford
Professor Yorick Wilks, Oxford Internet Institute and Sheffield University
Professor Steve Woolgar, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Submitting your paper or proposal
Those who wish to propose a paper should submit a paper abstract of 500-1000 words by 15 March 2008.

Proposals for a workshop or panel session should define the focus and proposed title, provide an outline of topics likely to be covered, and describe the proposed format, audience, and any special requirements. All proposals should include the name of the authors or contributors, their affiliations, where applicable, and indicate who will present the paper or chair the proposed panel.

Submissions will be reviewed by two or more members of the Conference Programme Committee, which will communicate its decision by 15 April 2008. Final versions of accepted conference papers will be compiled and posted on this website.

Send all proposals and abstracts to:

Submission Deadlines
Abstracts (or drafts) of Proposed Papers: 15 March 2008.
Workshop and/or panel outlines: 15 March 2008.

Authors will be informed of the programme committee's decision by 15 April 2008.

Full Papers should be received by 15 August 2008

Registration and Fees
The conference will be supported by the Oxford e-Social Science Project and the e-Horizons project, but a registration fee will be assessed to cover the costs of meals and entertainment not covered by these research funds. Therefore, the following fees will apply for those registering to attend the conference:

Students £15*
Speakers (authors of accepted papers) £25
Panelists £50
Other attendees £75

*Students may volunteer to assist in the conference in lieu of a fee.

For Registration and Further Information:

Collaborating Projects and Programmes
This conference is being organized by the journal Information Communication and Society (iCS), in collaboration with a consortium of research projects that include the e-Horizons Project of the James Martin School for the 21st Century (University of Oxford), the EPSRC's Embedding e-Science Applications: Designing and Managing for Usability project, the EPSRC's Networks for Web Science Project, the ESRC's e-Society Programme, the ESRC's National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS), the James Martin 21st Century School (University of Oxford), the Oxford e-Social Science Project (OeSS) (an NCeSS Node), the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC) (University of Oxford), the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and the Social Informatics Research Unit.

Rocky Mountain Communication Review-Call for short papers from graduate students

Call for short papers for a forum in the graduate student journal Rocky Mountain Communication Review.

Forum: "New Media, New Relations"

Rocky Mountain Communication Review

Guest forum editor: Daren C. Brabham, University of Utah (

Rocky Mountain Communication Review (RMCR) seeks short papers (approximately 1500 words) that address the ways in which new media technologies are changing how we work, solve problems, make friends, tell stories, and make progress in our world. The focus of this forum is on the role new media play in re-structuring, re-making, and re-imagining our world. In other words, how exactly have new media changed our world? What are the implications for these changes? What are the most pressing questions and agendas for research regarding these changes?

For the purposes of this forum, new media include both digital mass communication technologies (e.g., the Web) as well as personal digital media (e.g., cell phones, digital music players). Submissions can be empirical, rhetorical, or theoretical.

Possible topics may include:

* how new media are changing the nature of specific industries and professions (e.g., journalism, stock photography);

* how social networking sites are changing the ways we make friends, fall in love, and make professional connections;

* how personal digital media script our daily rituals and needs;

* how new media enable democratic participation;

* how new media change/challenge aspects of our identities (e.g., along lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, nationality);

* how new media technologies enhance, fragment, or otherwise change the way we tell stories and entertain;

* how new media technologies change the ways we teach and learn; and

* how new media technologies affect social movements and activism.

RMCR is a peer-reviewed, online communication journal by and for graduate students, published by the University of Utah. Authors MUST be currently enrolled in a graduate program to be eligible for publication in the journal. All submissions undergo blind, peer-review by at least two graduate students. RMCR is an up-and-coming journal in its fourth volume, and the journal was recently added to the EBSCO database. For more information about the journal:

Please send inquiries, proposals, and papers to Daren Brabham at by June 1, 2008.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pew Internet Releases Online Shopping Report

Pew Internet Releases Online Shopping Report

Most online Americans view online shopping as a way to save time and a convenient way to buy products. At the same time, most internet users express discomfort over a key step in online shopping - sending personal or credit card information over the internet. According to the Pew
Internet Project's September 2007 survey:

78% of online Americans agree that shopping online is convenient.
68% of online Americans say they think online shopping saves them time.

Dampening people's ardor for using the internet to shop is worry over the security of the internet as a place to purchase products. The September 2007 survey also shows that:

Three-quarters (75%) of internet users agree with the statement that they do not like sending personal or credit card information over the internet.

"These inconsistent notions about the online shopping environment show that, even as e-commerce matures, people's confidence in the security of online shopping remains as an issue," said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project and author of the report. "If people's worries about security of personal information were eased, the pool of online shoppers would be greater."

The report, entitled "Online Shopping: Internet users like the convenience but worry about the security of their financial information", finds that two-thirds (66%) of online Americans have at one time bought a product online. If online Americans did not have such high levels of concern about sending personal or credit card information over the internet, the report estimates that the share of internet users buying products online could be as much as 3 percentage points higher, or 69%.

For the full report, please visit:

Doctoral Colloquium - Internet Research 9.0

Doctoral Colloquium
Association of Internet Researchers (A.o.I.R) Annual Conference 2008
Internet Research 9.0
Copenhagen, Denmark
Call for Participation

The Internet Research 9.0 Doctoral Colloquium offers Ph.D. students working in internet research or a related field a special forum on Wednesday,October 15, 2008 where they will have a chance to briefly present their dissertations-in-progress and discuss them at length with peers and established senior researchers. Interested students should prepare a two page summary of their research. This should provide a context for the research, describe the methods being used,
the progress to date, and expectations and hopes from the colloquium.

Faculty mentors include:
Axel Bruns, Australia
Sue Fragoso, Brazil
Alex Halavais, USA
Caroline Haythornthwaite, USA

We hope to announce additional mentors shortly.

Please submit the two page application by Friday, May 23, 2008 to:
Klaus Bruhn Jensen :

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by June 15, 2008. Successful applicants will be asked to
prepare an eight page paper on their research and the issues they wish to discuss by August 15, 2008.

For further details, please visit the doctoral colloquium webpage at
or contact the organizer of the Doctoral Colloquium, Klaus Bruhn Jensen :

The Internet Research 9.0 Doctoral Colloquium is sponsored by the Danish National Research School for Media, Communication and Journalism.

Congress in the Classroom 2008 - Call For Participation

Call For Participation: Congress in the Classroom 2008

Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program now in its 16th year. Developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional Center, the workshop is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching about Congress. The Center will join with the new Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service in conducting the workshop.

Congress in the Classroom is designed for high school or middle school teachers who teach U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social studies. Forty teachers will be selected in 2008 to take part in the program. Selection will be determined by The Center. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance status by April 30, 2008.

In addition to sessions dealing with Congress, the 2008 program will pay special attention to the upcoming congressional and presidential elections. The workshop consists of two types of sessions: those that focus on recent research and scholarship about Congress or elections (and don't always have an immediate application in the classroom) and those geared to specific ways to teach students about Congress or elections.

The workshop will be held Monday, July 21 - Thursday, July 24, at the Hotel Pere Marquette -- -- Peoria, Illinois.

The program is certified by the Illinois State Board of Education for up to 22 Continuing Education Units. The program also is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

Participants are responsible for (1) a non-refundable $135 registration fee (required to confirm acceptance after notice of selection) and (2) transportation to and from Peoria, Illinois. Many school districts will pay all or a portion of these costs.

The Center pays for three nights lodging at the headquarters hotel (providing a single room for each participant), workshop materials, local transportation, all but three meals, and presenter honoraria and expenses. The Center spends between $25,000 and $30,000 to host the program each year.

Tentative session titles are listed below. (NOTE: Additional sessions will be listed as presenters are confirmed. More information about the content of each session will be posted as it becomes available.)

Opening Remarks: A View from Capitol Hill
The Honorable Ray LaHood, (R-IL, 18th District, U.S. House of Representatives) CONFIRMED

First elected in 1994, Congressman LaHood has earned a reputation as an "institutionalist," someone respected by Republicans and Democrats. A member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2001, he announced his retirement from the House effective in January 2009. As a result, the district is in the midst of a contested primary for the first time in years.

Congressional Insight: An Interactive Simulation of a Member's First Term in the House of Representatives
Tara Smith, National Association of Manufacturers CONFIRMED

With Congressional Insight, you experience the high-pressured, uncompromising environment in which legislators must operate. With increasingly tight deadlines imposed by the simulation, you are part of a team that must decide which bills to support, which committee posts to seek, how much time to devote to fundraising, and what tradeoffs to make amidst constituent, party, special-interest, and media pressures. The quality of your choices will be tested in a reelection campaign.

Sound Bite: Introduction to The Dirksen Center's Web Suite
Cindy Koeppel, The Dirksen Center CONFIRMED

Sound Bites are 30-minute sessions devoted to a single topic. In this one, Koeppel, the designer of The Center's Web suite, will introduce the six sites within the suite and illustrate how teachers can use them in their classrooms. Almost 1.5 million "unique visitors" generated about 70 million "hits" on the suite in 2007.

Running for Congress: A Consultant's Perspective

The presenter will be selected from one of the three campaigns in the contested Republican primary to replace Congressman Ray LaHood and will talk about how candidates for congressional elections are recruited and how they develop a strategy for election.

Why Do People Vote the Way They Do?

The presenter will analyze voter behavior in general and identify the key voting blocs likely to influence the outcome of the presidential election in 2008.

Reception at Bradley University
Workshop teachers

We will travel to the campus of Bradley University for a reception and tour. Brad McMillan, Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service will brief us on IPL's programs.

Running for Congress: A Candidate's Perspective

One of the three Republican candidates in the 18th congressional district will discuss his experiences on the campaign trail. NOTE: the Democrats have yet to select a candidate.

Where We Stand in the Presidential Race and What to Look For
Staff member, Campaigns & Elections CONFIRMED

Campaigns & Elections is a nonpartisan publication with more than 84,000 readers involved in the political process. A representative from the magazine will discuss the state of the presidential race in July 2008 and preview the developments we should be alert to.

Sound Bite: Yes, It is Possible to Find Humor in Congress
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Relying on gems located in the archives of Members of Congress, Mackaman provides examples of what constituents expect of their representatives. For example, consider this request of former Congressman John Dent: "I am a future inventor. Tell me of some of the inventions of the future so I can start on them now." !

Teaching with Primary Sources
Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University CONFIRMED

The Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program works with an educational consortium of schools, universities, libraries, and foundations to help teachers use the Library’s vast collection of digitized primary sources to enrich their classroom instruction. Schools that have participated in the program know that it encourages educators to embed primary sources into curriculum through all disciplines and grade levels to build a foundation of knowledge, enhance understanding, increase comprehension, and develop multimedia/information literacy skills.

From the Campaign Trail: Observations from a Reporter
Tanya Koonce, political reporter, WCBU Radio CONFIRMED

How do reporters decide what to cover in a congressional election? What factors affect their relationships with the candidates? How do they know when they've been "spun"? What qualities or skills are required of political reporters? Koonce, who currently covers the 18th congressional district race to replace retiring Congressman Ray LaHood, will address these questions and more.

Predicting the Outcome of the Presidential Election
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Historians, political scientists, economists, and hobbyists all have devised various models, some sensible, some strange, to predict the outcome of presidential elections. Mackaman will introduce you to several of them before focusing on the one that has proven the most prescient.

How to Get Your Point Across to Congress Members
Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates, Washington DC CONFIRMED

How do you break through the "noise" to communicate with a member of Congress? Vance has the answers. She advises clients on how to reach Congress people effectively by understanding how congressional offices function and process information. She will introduce her online advocacy course - something you can use even after the workshop ends.

Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site - -- to see what participants say about the program.


If you are interested in registering for the Congress in the Classroom® 2008 workshop, you can complete an online registration form found at:

Call for Informational Submission about Degree Programs and Research Centers related to internet research

Call for Informational Submission about Degree Programs and Research Centers related to internet research

Call for Submissions deadline March 1, 2008.

Information on Internet Research Degrees and Research Programs.

In the International Handbook of Internet Research (Springer, 2008), we intend to include two appendices. This call includes information for each submission. Internet research is broadly conceived in this call, so if you have material that you think will fit, please submit it.

Appendix 1 will be a listing of Research Degree Programs, that is programs that offer either an Master's or Doctoral level degree relating to internet research. We intend to include as many programs as we can collect within editorial discretion and space limitations.

To have your degree program/s included in this listing, please send the following information:

Name of Program:
Departmental home/s of Program:
University/Institutional home of Program:
Address of Program:
Short description of Program (250 words):
Listing of contributing faculty working in internet research:
and other pertinent information to be included at editor's discretion.

Appendix 2 will be a listing of Major Research Centers/Institutes in the field of Internet Research. Inclusion in the list will be at the editors' discretion, but we will strive to be reasonably inclusive given space limitations.

To have a Center included in this listing please send the following information:

Name of Center/Institute:
Institutional home of center/institute:
Address of center/institute:
Short Description of Program (250 words):
Listing of fewer than 10 research topics/keywords:
Listing of leading members of the center/institute:
Listing of founders of the center/institute:
Listing of recent research projects/publications (up to 5 bibliographic citations with up to 50 word descriptions which may be edited because of space limitations):
Listing of affiliated research centers as appropriate:

Please submit this information to: with the subject 'degree' for degree programs and the subject line 'center' for research centers. The deadline for submission is March 1, if you need more time, please contact us at the address above.

PhD Scholarship: The Role of the Media in Contemporary Settler Nations

PhD Scholarship, Media Studies at Victoria University, New Zealand: The Role of the Media in Contemporary Settler Nations

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand invites applications from domestic and international PhD candidates for the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Research Scholarships. The research topics covered by the scholarships represent established or emerging topic areas with strategic importance to Victoria University. Applicants are expected to have the equivalent of a New Zealand first class honours degree and skills and research experience appropriate for the topic. Each year up to ten scholarships can be awarded, each valued at $20,000 per annum for three years plus tuition fees. Students from New Zealand and overseas are encouraged to apply.

See below for more information on the research topic available in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies. In addition to the VC scholarship, the School can offer the potential candidate a vibrant research environment, mentoring and professional development as well as research and teaching opportunities.

The Role of the Media in Contemporary Settler Nations
School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies

Postcolonial studies recognises the central role of cultural production (literature, art, film) in negotiating and regulating the relationship between coloniser and colonised. Media Studies takes seriously the productive nature of the media (television, the Internet, new media and music, etc.) in constituting raced, ethnic and cultural differences. Accordingly, each field has shared concerns about the ongoing negotiation of colonial and neocolonial relationships.

Applications are invited from those interested in bringing these two fields together to examine the role and function that the media plays in contemporary settler nations. This project invites research proposals that will explore the study of race, ethnicity, indigeneity and postcolonial screen culture from a variety of perspectives, including historical or theoretical approaches. While much work needs to be done within the New Zealand context, this topic also invites comparisons between Aotearoa/New Zealand, and other settler nations (including, but not limited to, Australia and Canada).

The deadline for applications is 15 May, 2008. Application forms are available from Further information is available from the contacts below.

Research contact details:
Dr Jo Smith
School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
New Zealand
Telephone: +64 4 463 6801

Application contact details:
Philippa Hay
Scholarships Manager
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
New Zealand
Telephone: +64 4 463 7493

Facebook - Can you ever leave?

How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free

Are you a member of You may have a lifetime contract.

Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.

While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Indeed, many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network.

“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

It took Mr. Das about two months and several e-mail exchanges with Facebook’s customer service representatives to erase most of his information from the site, which finally occurred after he sent an e-mail threatening legal action. But even after that, a reporter was able to find Mr. Das’s empty profile on Facebook and successfully sent him an e-mail message through the network.

In response to difficulties faced by ex-Facebook members, a cottage industry of unofficial help pages devoted to escaping Facebook has sprung up online — both outside and inside the network.

“I thought it was kind of strange that they save your information without telling you in a really clear way,” said Magnus Wallin, a 26-year-old patent examiner in Stockholm who founded a Facebook group, “How to permanently delete your facebook account.” The group has almost 4,300 members and is steadily growing.

The technological hurdles set by Facebook have a business rationale: they allow ex-Facebookers who choose to return the ability to resurrect their accounts effortlessly. According to an e-mail message from Amy Sezak, a spokeswoman for Facebook, “Deactivated accounts mean that a user can reactivate at any time and their information will be available again just as they left it.”

But it also means that disenchanted users cannot disappear from the site without leaving footprints. Facebook’s terms of use state that “you may remove your user content from the site at any time,” but also that “you acknowledge that the company may retain archived copies of your user content.”

Its privacy policy says that after someone deactivates an account, “removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time.”

Facebook’s Web site does not inform departing users that they must delete information from their account in order to close it fully — meaning that they may unwittingly leave anything from e-mail addresses to credit card numbers sitting on Facebook servers.

Only people who contact Facebook’s customer service department are informed that they must painstakingly delete, line by line, all of the profile information, “wall” messages and group memberships they may have created within Facebook.

“Users can also have their account completely removed by deleting all of the data associated with their account and then deactivating it,” Ms. Sezak said in her message. “Users can then write to Facebook to request their account be deleted and their e-mail will be completely erased from the database.”

But even users who try to delete every piece of information they have ever written, sent or received via the network have found their efforts to permanently leave stymied. Other social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, as well as online dating sites like, may require departing users to confirm their wishes several times — but in the end they offer a delete option.

“Most sites, even online dating sites, will give you an option to wipe your slate clean,” Mr. Das said.

Mr. Das, who joined Facebook on a whim after receiving invitations from friends, tried to leave after realizing that most of his co-workers were also on the site. “I work in a small office,” he said. “The last thing I want is people going on there and checking out my private life.”

“I did not want to be on it after junior associates at work whom I have to manage saw my stuff,” he added.

Facebook’s quiet archiving of information from deactivated accounts has increased concerns about the network’s potential abuse of private data, especially in the wake of its fumbled Beacon advertising feature.

That application, which tracks and publishes the items bought by Facebook members on outside Web sites, was introduced in November without a transparent, one-step opt-out feature. After a public backlash, including more than 50,000 Facebook users’ signatures on a protest petition, Facebook executives apologized and allowed such an opt-out option on the program.

Tensions remain between making a profit and alienating Facebook’s users, who the company says total about 64 million worldwide (MySpace has an estimated 110 million monthly active users).

The network is still trying to find a way to monetize its popularity, mostly by allowing marketers access to its wealth of demographic and behavioral information. The retention of old accounts on Facebook’s servers seems like another effort to hold onto — and provide its ad partners with — as much demographic information as possible.

“The thing they offer advertisers is that they can connect to groups of people. I can see why they wouldn’t want to throw away anyone’s information, but there’s a conflict with privacy,” said Alan Burlison, 46, a British software engineer who succeeded in deleting his account only after he complained in the British press, to the country’s Information Commissioner’s Office and to the TRUSTe organization, an online privacy network that has certified Facebook.

Mr. Burlison’s complaint spurred the Information Commissioner’s Office, a privacy watchdog organization, to investigate Facebook’s data-protection practices, the BBC reported last month. In response, Facebook issued a statement saying that its policy was in “full compliance with U.K. data protection law.”

A spokeswoman for TRUSTe, which is based in San Francisco, said its account deletion process was “inconvenient,” but that Facebook was “being responsive to us and they currently meet our requirements.”

“I kept getting the same answer and really felt that I was being given the runaround,” Mr. Burlison said of Facebook’s customer service representatives. “It was quite obvious that no amount of prodding from me on a personal level was going to make a difference.”

Only after he sent a link to the video of his interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News to the customer service representatives — and Facebook executives — was his account finally deleted.

Steven Mansour, 28, a Canadian online community developer, spent two weeks in July trying to fully delete his account from Facebook. He later wrote a blog entry — including e-mail messages, diagrams and many exclamations of frustration — in a post entitled “2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account” (

Mr. Mansour, who said he is “really skeptical of social networking sites,” decided to leave after a few months on Facebook. “I was getting tired of always getting alerts and e-mails,” he said. “I found it very invasive.”

“It’s part of a much bigger picture of social networking sites on the Internet harvesting private data, whether for marketing or for more sinister purposes,” he said. His post, which wound up on the link-aggregator, has been viewed more than 87,000 times, Mr. Mansour said, adding that the traffic was so high it crashed his server.

And his post became the touchstone for Mr. Wallin, who was inspired to create his group, “How to permanently delete your Facebook account,” after joining, leaving and then rejoining Facebook, only to find that all of his information from his first account was still available.

“I wanted the information to be available inside Facebook for all the users who wanted to leave, and quite a few people have found it just by using internal search,” said Mr. Wallin. Facebook has never contacted Mr. Wallin about the group.

Mr. Wallin said he has heard through members that some people have successfully used his steps to leave Facebook. But he is not yet ready to leave himself.

“I don’t want to leave yet; I actually find it really convenient,” he said. “But someday when I want to leave, I want it to be simple.”

Published: February 11, 2008 in The New York Times

Kids safer in social networks than chat rooms

Kids safer in social networks than chat rooms

SOCIAL networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook are safer places for children to chat than other types of sites, according to a new survey.

The survey, which involved 1588 children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, found 28 per cent had been harassed via a social networking site, compared to 33 per cent for the internet as a whole.

The survey, which was conducted by Internet Solutions for Kids in California and the University of New Hampshire, appears in the prestigious journal Paediatrics.

According to the survey, online harassment of children was most prevalent via instant messaging (55 per cent).

"Chat rooms are a real risk for kids," Alannah and Madeline Foundation chief executive officer Dr Slocombe said.

"At least with social networking sites, children have got ways of confirming the kids that they talk to, to their own invited group."

The survey also found that one in seven children reported an unwanted sexual solicitation online in the past year, compared to only four per cent reporting a similar incident via a social networking site.

Dr Slocombe believes children and their parents need to be proactive in how they manage themselves online.

"I wouldn't put up personal information (such as an) address, phone number or any other personal details," she said.

"Parents also need to be responsible for their kids' safety online, just like a parent is responsible for other safety matters such as drug abuse and safe sex."

One of the most surprising findings of the survey was that among the children who reported unwanted sexual solicitation, most were aware that it came from an adult.

"In the majority of cases referred to law enforcement (95 per cent), adult offenders are honest about being an adult, and in 79 per cent of the cases, they are honest about their intentions to have sex with the youth," the report said.

The survey's authors suggest that targeting social networking sites may not be the most worthwhile method of combating cyberbullying and sexual solicitation.

They said programs should focus "instead on mental health interventions for vulnerable youth and internet safety education that apply to all types of online communication," the report suggested.

"You can put all the filters in, you can have closed networking sites, but basically you need to make kids feel less vulnerable and they need to have self-protective behaviours," Dr Slocombe said.


The Horrifying Dangers Of Online "Cartoon-Like Personas"

The Horrifying Dangers Of Online "Cartoon-Like Personas"

"Spies' Battleground Turns Virtual," proclaims a headline in Wednesday's Washington Post. The headline alone would raise concerns -- after decades of electronic surveillance, what exactly is it about US spies' work that has suddenly turned virtual? But this turns out to be only the first of
the many falsehoods, baseless assertions and lame misperceptions that comprise the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity's new fearmongering paper on the dangers of unmonitored civilian communication in popular new environments like Second Life.

Online virtual worlds have of course existed for close to two decades -- the first, LambdaMOO, started in 1990. But to view these as a security threat is ludicrous; they allow no more private communication than a standard website or chat-room. We're sorry to shatter IARPA's illusions, but the recent arrival of 3-D graphics and a mass audience hasn't enhanced their ability to harbor terrorists in any meaningful way.

Instead of providing useful insight into the nature of security in a networked world, the IARPA paper only serves to emphasize the US federal intelligence complex's pervasive belief that it's both possible and desirable to implement pantopticon-style "total information awareness".
In these agencies' view, any unmonitored communication is a potential crime. It's the same deluded perspective that's behind the NSA's recent illegal surveillance of our phone conversations.

It's always been hard to take this idea seriously -- but its proponents are not doing themselves any favors by waxing hysterical about the dangers of 3-D graphics and "cartoon-like personas."

For the Washington Post article "Spies' Battleground Turns Virtual" (log-in may be required):


CNET's "Real ID vs. the States" Series Covers Looming

CNET's "Real ID vs. the States" Series Covers Looming Showdown

This week, CNET launched its four-part series covering Real ID -- the dangerous federal plan to create a national ID card that presents a massive threat to citizens' privacy, among other critical flaws.

The REAL ID Act was signed into law in 2005 and forces states to standardize driver's licenses in a way that turns them into a national ID. In January 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced a set of standards to fulfill the vague mandate passed by Congress but was met with opposition from a broad stable of parties. Beyond the long roster of privacy organizations and consumer advocates, the House Committee on Homeland Security, Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee), and a number of other key members of Congress spoke out against the regulations.

So far, the CNET series has been comprehensive in its coverage of the issue, describing the complicated timeline; showing which states have assented to, wavered on, and bravely opposed the costly federal mandate; and depicting the chaos facing travelers and citizens across the country.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Research Fellowships at the Oxford Internet Institute

The OII is seeking two Research Fellows to join its multidisciplinary team undertaking research into the societal implications of the Internet and related information and communications technologies.

Research Fellow
RESEARCH STAFF GRADE 7 (£26,666 to £32,796 p.a.)
We are seeking two Research Fellows to join our multidisciplinary team undertaking research into the societal implications of the Internet and related information and communications technologies. These Fellowships offer post doctoral researchers of outstanding promise an opportunity to pursue advanced study within this field.

Our preference is for candidates with a strong methodological background in one of the following disciplines: computer science, economics, law, political science or sociology; and with an interest in an area of research which will complement one of the Institute’s current research areas. These concern the role of the Internet and ICTs in: everyday life and work; government and democracy; research and learning; shaping the Internet; and issues of theory and policy that cut across these settings. Applications from those with a track record of multi-disciplinary research on the societal implications of the Internet and/or related policy issues who have doctorates in other relevant disciplines will also be welcomed.

Based in the heart of Oxford, the posts are available from October 2008 for two years in the first instance with the possibility of renewal thereafter.

How to apply
Research Fellow Job Application Pack (pdf, 95kb)

Further information, including details of how to apply, may be obtained from Laura Taylor, Academic and Student Affairs Officer, Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3JS (tel: +44 (0)1865 287222; email:

Closing date: Applications must reach the Institute by 12:00 noon on Thursday 6th March 2008. It is expected that interview will be held on Wednesday 19th March.

Web 2.0: Is Video Choking the Web?

Web 2.0: Is Video Choking the Web?

The growing popularity of online video has driven a traffic increase that's putting strains on service providers. To deal with it, they have had to make subtle and secret changes to the way they convey Internet traffic.

A video report from the Associated Press

This video might not play in all RSS feed readers

International Journal of Internet Research Ethics - Call for Papers

Special Issue: Research Ethics, Policies, Law: International Perspectives

Call for Papers

Deadline for Submission: April 15, 2008

This issue welcomes papers dealing with any aspect of international policy and internet research ethics. Specifically, we are interested in papers from researchers and scholars exploring data protection laws; policies and regulations; and ethical models of research protections. We seek practical, applied discussions – i.e., as informed by and focusing on one or more case studies or real-world examples – as well as theoretical papers. Suitable topics include: reviews of existing research protections laws and policies in specific countries or broader units of analysis such as Scandinavia, the European Union, Africa, South Asia, developing countries, and so forth;
reviews of existing laws and policies vis-à-vis emerging technologies; cross-cultural analyses of research ethics and online research; specific analyses of related issues such as privacy, attribution, copyright, ownership, consent models; or discussions of online research in action, such as ethnographies, participant observations, research with/on minors, and iscourse/content analyses.

*Deadline for Submission: April 15, 2008*

Papers may be in the length of 1500-5000 words. Please use the style sheet and submission guidelines outlined below. Authors are encouraged to contact the editors to discuss possible submissions in advance of the deadline.

Full submission information is available at

Online Advertising Grows by 27 Percent in 2007, IDC Says

If you picked a career in Internet advertising you made a wise decision. Online advertising grew 27 percent last year, making it a sector unlikely to be unaffected even if the U.S. economy capsizes this year, according to an IDC analyst.

In discussing the company's latest quarterly report about Internet advertising, IDC analyst Karsten Weide said businesses affected by the slowing U.S. economy will slash other advertising budgets before paring their online campaigns. "We think there will be some effect on ad spending overall, but we think online ad spending will almost be unaffected even if there's a depression," he said.

For the first time ever, IDC's research found Google actually lost a bit of market share. "Their domestic sales growth has slowed down," the analyst said. Google's net U.S. market share was down 0.5 percentage points to 23.7 last quarter compared to the prior quarter. "It was 50 percent in Q3 and only 40 percent in Q4," said Weide. "They're still outperforming everybody but FIM [in terms of growth rate]," he said, referring to Fox Interactive Media. "But the growth is just not fast enough anymore to sustain the current market share."

Internet ad spending totaled $7.3 billion for the fourth-quarter of 2007, about 28 percent more than the same period in 2006, according to IDC. For the 2007 calendar year, it reached $25.5 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 27 percent.

Weide, program director for IDC's Digital Marketplace: Media and Entertainment service, said IDC's numbers represent only "spending on ad space" and do not include "all the other stuff like creative, testing, media planning and measurement."

Additionally, IDC estimates how much revenue was garnered by the large online media companies in the U.S. It says Google remained the big dog, snagging 23.7 percent of the market. Yahoo came in a distant second with 11.4 percent, followed by Microsoft's 5.6 percent, AOL's 5.2 percent, Fox Interactive Media at 3 percent and InterActive Corp. (IAC) with 1.5 percent.

"This is the net U.S. Internet advertising revenue share," said Weide. "It does not count money these companies bill but subsequently pay out to partners. For instance, if you count everything Google bills to advertisers you come out with a gross market share of 33.4 percent. But they have to pay out a whole lot of that money to companies that are part of their ad network. It's not money they keep and can spend on other stuff. Because we are looking at the financial might of these companies, we don't count that in the current market share." in the current market share."

The analyst said he found Yahoo's situation to be interesting. "Yahoo seems to have hit rock bottom, but in the past quarter they actually won some market share domestically," said Weide. "Their domestic growth rate picked up quite a bit. It was 2 percent in Q1 last year and last quarter it was 22 percent. Yahoo gets a whole lot of bad press these days, but if you look at domestic growth they look pretty good. It's pointing upward."

If Yahoo ends up being swallowed by Microsoft, the combined company would have a net U.S. advertising market share of about 17 percent, said Weide.

For those who fear a coming recession and a repeat of the carnage that came seven years ago, when the so-called dot-com boom went bust, Weide has good news. "Everybody is looking back to the last recession which coincided with the crash of Web 1.0," he said. "Back then, of course, online advertising decreased in real terms. Spending went down in absolute terms," he said. IDC doesn't expect that scenario to happen this time. Why? "Back then a lot of advertisers still saw online advertising as experimental and that's not the case anymore. It's a well accepted means of advertising now and in fact many advertisers say Internet advertising is more effective than other forms."

One other tid-bit that should warm the hearts of those in the business: "Incidentally, our research shows the IAB [Interactive Advertising Bureau] numbers under-count the market," said Weide. "They didn't predict anything for 2007 yet, but if you apply their methodologies they come up with $6.9 billion for 2006 while we came out at $20.1 billion."


It's a Mad World: The Work of Terry Gilliam - Call for Papers

It's a Mad World: The Work of Terry Gilliam


We seek essays of 4,000 to 8,000 words for an anthology that explores the work of writer-sctor-director-comedian Terry Gilliam. For decades Gilliam has been a leading film auteur, both a comic and a social critic, and a historical, critical survey of his work is needed.

While he has never wholly departed from his Monty Python roots, he has forged his own distinct vision. Gilliam cinematically creates worlds that are once familiar if unwelcome. He triumphs the mundane and the absurd. His anachronistic and off-kilter vision consistently throws off our ability to find a stable or common foundation on which to ground our approach to his films.

This collection of transnational, globalized Gilliam studies envisions understanding the intersection of our world and Gilliam's in new cultural, historical, spatial, and epistemological frameworks: How does cultural production of a globalized world, where everything is at once local and international, fantasize a nostalgic return to a monomythic state of order and symmetry even as it dehistoricizes the globally industrialized military apparatus and competing ideologies of individuality versus groupthink?
How do Gilliam's (semi-) popular narratives construct "England" and "America" in the context of a globalized, dehumanizing, suffocating, and endless movement of goods and services across international boundaries?
How do his films reconfigure spatial proximities of the United States, Great Britain
and the rest of the world?
How do popular culture and globalized business in their myriad forms mediate support for and/or dissent from the current global situation?

We welcome submissions that focus on surrealism, politics, aesthetics, absurdism, fantasy, or "Gilliamesque" influences on animation, etc. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Monty Python and Film (e.g., The Life of Brian, The Holy Grail, etc.)

• Monty Python and Television (e.g., Flying Circus, Do Not Adjust Your Set.)

• Gilliam the Actor (e.g., The Life of Brian, Jabberwocky, Flying Circus)

• Gilliam the Director (e.g., Time Bandits, Baron von Munchausen, The Fisher King)

• Gilliam and the documentary (e.g. Lost in La Mancha)

• Gilliam's illustration/animation, from Mad Magazine to his television shows and filmography

• Commercial advertisements

• Auteur style

250-350 word abstracts, CV, by April 30, 2008 to:

Jeff Birkenstein, Ph.D.
Saint Martin's University
5300 Pacific Avenue SE
Lacey, WA 98503 / USA


Karen Randell, Ph.D.
Southampton Solent University
East Park Terrace
Southampton, Hampshire
S014 OYN / United Kingdom


Anna Froula, Ph.D.
English/Bate Building 2022
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858 / USA

Philosophy and Film Conference, University of West of England

Philosophy and Film / Film and Philosophy: An interdisciplinary conference
Conference announcement and first call for papers


UWE in association with the Arnolfini Arts Centre, Bristol
4-6 July 2008, the Arnolfini, Bristol

Keynote Speakers:
Vivian Sobchack (UCLA)
Stephen Mulhall (Oxford)
Robert Sinnerbrink (Maquarrie)
Catherine Constable (Warwick)
Karin Littau (Essex)
Julian Baggini (editor, The Philosopher's Magazine)

In the last years there has been a growing interest in the relationship between philosophy and film within both analytic and European philosophical traditions. At the same time, film studies as a discipline has always raised philosophical questions and has been enriched by a variety of philosophical traditions. The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars from both disciplines to examine this shared history, as well as display the current range and state of philosophical film analysis.

In what ways is film philosophically informative? What methodologies have been developed for philosophical analysis of film? What do various philosophical traditions bring to the study of film? What does the practice of film studies bring to the practice of philosophy? What vibrant areas have developed in these fields? The conference theme is deliberately broad and proposals are invited on any conjunction between film and philosophy. We welcome submissions that range from general and methodological observations about the field to readings and interpretations of specific films, genres, film movements or filmmakers. We encourage submissions from graduate students and will reserve some sessions for graduate papers.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

• Film as philosophy

• The ontology of cinema

• Film and phenomenology

• Particular philosophical approaches to film (Cavell, Deleuze,Frampton etc.)

• The Epistemology of film

• Film affect

• The philosophical worldview of particular directors

• Subjectivity and cinema

• Film 'theory' as philosophy

• Aesthetics and film

• Political philosophy and film

• Historical developments in film-philosophy

• Genre and philosophy

• Philosophy and film movements (German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, Italian Neorealism etc.)

• Cinema as thought experiment

• Morality and movies

• Feminist philosophy and film practice

• Film making as philosophical practice

• Methodologies for philosophical film analysis

Contributions are invited for:
Panel topics (2-4 speakers)
Individual papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion)
Graduate papers

We will endeavour to include as many papers as possible within the time limits and are happy to discuss initial suggestions for panel discussions. NB: please send us your abstract before the deadline if you require an early response. We strongly recommend this option for overseas
participants who may need to book flights.

Please send proposals (500 word abstract) by Friday 8 April, 2008 to:
Dr Havi Carel
Dr Greg Tuck

We prefer email submissions but you can also post your abstract to:
Dr Havi Carel/ Dr Greg Tuck
University of the West of England (UWE)
St Matthias Campus
Oldbury Court Rd
Bristol BS16 2JP

CITASA Awards - Call for Nominations


Deadline: March 15, 2008

The Communication and Information Technologies Section presents five awards each year at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association:

1. CITASA William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award recognizes a sustained
body of research that has provided an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the area of sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology.

2. CITASA Award for Public Sociology recognizes a specific achievement in teaching, the development or the use of a communication or information technology, or the dissemination of knowledge that advances public understanding or engagement with the sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology.

3. CITASA Book Award recognizes an outstanding book related to the sociology communications or the sociology of information technology.

4. CITASA Paper Award recognizes an outstanding published paper or book chapter related to the sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology.

5. CITASA Student Paper/Application Award recognizes a published or unpublished paper/book chapter, or the design or use of a communication or information technology that provides an exceptional contribution to the sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology. The award is open to students in other disciplines than sociology. Students do not need to be members of ASA or CITASA.

More information, including past recipients can be found at

Nominations and materials should be submitted to the CITASA Awards Chairs by the indicated deadlines. Self nominations are welcome.

CITASA William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award
Barry Wellman, University of Toronto (

CITASA Public Sociology Award
Marc Smith, Microsoft Research (

CITASA Outstanding Book Award
Gustavo Mesch, University of Haifa (

CITASA Paper Award
Shanyang Zhao, Temple University (

CITASA Student Paper Award
Fred Turner, Stanford University (

Books, chapters, articles, papers and computing applications may have multiple authors. In the case of student-faculty collaborations, the student must be the lead or senior author.

Submission Formats
Submissions involving new or existing software should include detailed descriptions of the project. Chapters, articles, papers and computing application project descriptions should be sent as email attachments. Book authors should send three copies of their book. Authors of software applications should also provide online access to their software or send three copies on CD. Submissions must be in English and written within the two calendar years prior to the award presentation. There are no limitations on length.

The American Sociological Association Section on Communication and Information Technologies (CITASA) supports, enhances and promotes research, teaching and other professional activities related to:

The social aspects of computing, the Internet, new media, computer networks, and other communication and information technologies; and The design and use of technology in teaching and research.

The CITASA membership includes senior scholars who have written seminal works in the field, as well as students who will define the field tomorrow. Our research and teaching spans a broad range of topics including online communities and social networking sites, knowledge management, the digital divide, labor markets and IT workers, telephony and the convergence of communication and information technologies. We connect with those outside the section through an equally broad collection of theoretical frameworks including community, conflict, democracy, diffusion, globalization, identity and inequalities.

Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography (collection)

Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography

Call for Papers

We invite contributions for a proposed collection of essays on visual autobiography, focusing on health, bodies, and embodied subjectivities. The collection will consider how cultural practices of self-narration and self-portraiture image and imagine unruly bodies and, in so doing, respond to Patricia Zimmerman’s call for “radical media democracies that animate contentious public spheres” (2000, p. xx).

How are health, dis/ability, and the body theorized, materialized, and politicized in visual autobiographies, including forms such as photography, video art, graphic memoir, film, body art and performance, and digital media? We are particularly interested in the potential of visual autobiographies to:

-explore how bodies negotiate disciplinary regimes and technologies

-produce counterdiscursive manoeuvres and new representational spaces

-investigate how power/knowledge relations constitute embodiments

-provoke critical and ethical reflection

We welcome contributions from academic- and arts-based researchers and practitioners. We encourage a wide range of critical perspectives: cultural studies, critical theory, disability studies, feminist studies, critical race studies, diaspora studies, queer studies, Aboriginal studies, globalization studies, literary studies, art history, music, media studies, theatre and performance studies. Analytic approaches could involve: textual analysis; histories, presents, and futures;
practices and practitioners; and pedagogy.

Possible topics:




bodies negotiating borders and boundaries

traded and disappeared bodies

trauma and testimony

memory and memorializing


care of the self


fatness and body size


body alterations and transformations



Send a 300- to 500-word abstract, working title, and a brief bio, by email in a Word attachment, to Sarah Brophy ( and Janice Hladki ( on or before May 15, 2008. Inquiries are also welcome. Final papers should range in length from 4000-8000 words.

About the editors: Sarah Brophy is an Associate Professor in English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University. Janice Hladki is an Associate Professor in Theatre and Film Studies, McMaster University.

Monday, February 11, 2008

PhD Opportunity at the Open University, UK

Full-time PhD Studentship

Closing date for applications: 22nd February 2008

Centre for Research in Computing (, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Influence of 3-D Virtual Worlds on Expectations in 2-D E-Commerce Environments

This PhD studentship is jointly funded by the Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology and the Business School of the Open University (OU). You will join the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) group in the Department of Computing of the OU.

The research project aims to examine the effect of 3-D multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) such as Second life ( on consumers' expectations, behaviours, and satisfaction with 2-D e-commerce environments. Specifically the research will investigate questions such as: Whether and how the expectations and behaviours of consumers with experience of 3-D MUVEs differ from those of consumers without such experience? How avatar-based consumption behaviours in 3-D MUVEs can influence the choices and behaviours of consumers in 2-D e-commerce environments? How 3-D MUVEs can be integrated within the service design of 2-D e-commerce environments for a positive seamless consumer experience with 2-D e-commerce?

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research we would like to hear from candidates who have a Masters Degree in HCI, Psychology, Sociology, or a related discipline, and have an outstanding research potential and a keen interest in Usability, Consumer Behaviour and 3-D virtual worlds. Informal enquiries about the proposed research can be made by e-mail to Dr. Shailey Minocha (

The studentship provides a standard living allowance (of £12,600 per annum and tax-free) for up to three years subject to satisfactory progress. For detailed information and how to apply go to (; or contact the postgraduate admissions tutor, Dr. Leonor Barroca (; or email the Research School (

Closing date for applications: 22nd February 2008.

2nd Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG) - Call for Application

2nd Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG)
Call for Application

Meissen, July 25 - August, 31, 2007

The Internet, with more than 1.2 billion users worldwide, is the most important infrastructure of the information age. The Internet influences policies, economics and cultures on the global as well as on the local level. Internet related issues like security and stability, freedom of expression, privacy, eCommerce, new market opportunities, protection of intellectual property, fight against cybercrime, development, digital divide and others getting higher and higher priorities on the national and international political agenda. To reach the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDG) until 2015 the Internet is a crucial tool. For some experts Internet Governance will become as important as it is climate change today.

Do you want to understand, how and by whom the Internet is governed and what the issues are which have made Internet Governance as one of the new global conflicts of the diplomacy of the 21st century? Do you want to know what the political, economic, social and legal implications of Internet Governance are and what is behind ICANN, RIRs, ccTLDs, gTLDs, iDNs, IPv6, IGF, WGIG and WSIS ? Do want to get more detailed information on how technical Internet Standards, Protocols and Codes, how the Domain Name System and the IP Address Space or the Domain Name market is evolving? Than you should apply for the "2008 Summer School on Internet Governance" (SSIG).

The 2008 Summer School offers a unique multidisciplinary high level 50 hours academic programme both for graduate students and young academics as well as for junior professionals from private sector, government and civil society. The programme is a well balanced mixture of theoretical lectures with world leading academics as well as practical presentations from well known experts working directly in the technical community, the market or in policy. It offers also opportunities for interactive communication with faculty members and among the fellows themselves by the daily evening programme of students presentations.

Members of the 2008 Faculty include, inter alia

Prof. Olga Cavalli, University of Buenos Aires

Bertrand de la Chapelle, Envoy of the Information Society, French Foreign Ministry

Avria Doria, Lulea Technology University, Chair of ICANNs GNSO Council

Dr. William Drake, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva

Philipp Grabensee, Chairman of the Board of Afilias Ltd., Dublin

Ayesha Hassan, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris

Markus Kummer, Executive Secretary of the Internet Governance Forum, (TBC)

Prof. Milton Mueller, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, N.Y.

Michael Niebel, European Commission, Member of ICANNs GAC, Brussels

Prof. Jonathan Zittrain, Oxford Internet Institute (TBC)

The Faculty is chaired by Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter, University of Aarhus

The 2008 Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG) takes place in the St. Afra Monastery of the "Evangelische Akademie Meissen" in Germany, a historic place, where the father of the German enlightenment, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, went to school. Meissen is a 1000 years old small city, famous for its "Meissen China", its very dry white wine and its old fortress, gothic churches and historic wine cellars from July 25 - July 31, 2008. It is a 30 minutes train ride from Dresden Airport, which connected by six daily shuttles to Munich and Frankfurt.

The Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG) is organized by the University of Aarhus and the Medienstadt Leipzig e.V., a recognized "At Large Structure" (ALS) under ICANN Bylaws. It is sponsored by five TLD Registries, among them as Golden Sponsor DENIC (.de), as
Silver Sponsor UNINETT (.no) and SIDN (.nl) and as Bronze Sponsor EURID (.eu) and DotAsia (.asia). Additionally UNESCO, Diplo Foundation, GIGANET, ENOM, Afilias, Dotberlin and others have partnered with the Summer School.

The fee of 1.000.00 EUR (plus 19% VAT) includes, next to the full lecture programme

* six nights accommodation in single guest rooms of the academy,
* breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and snacks & wine at the daily night sessions,
* one evening reception in the Meissen Procellanmanufactory,
* a gala dinner in the historic wine-restaurant "Vinzenz Richter",
* sightseeing events,
* free WiFi access and
* all teaching material.

There is a special fee for students of 500.00 EUR (plus 19% VAT). There is also an opportunity to apply for support from the fellowship programme which is still under development. Students
will get a certificate at the end of the Summer School.

Detailed information, including the Draft Programme and the electronic "Application Form" as well as comments from 2007 Summer School Fellows can be found under

If you are interested in the Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG), please send Applications until May 31, 2008 by using the electronic form on the website or contacting directly Sandra Hoferichter (, the Secretary of the Summer School or Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter (, chair of the 2008 Faculty.

Members of the 2008 Programme Committee

Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter, University of Aarhus (Chair); Dr. William J. Drake, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Geneva; Prof. Milton Mueller, Syracuse
University; Avria Doria, Lulea Technology University; Bart Vastenburg, SIDN; Giovanni Seppia, EURID; Sabine Dolderer, DENIC; Philipp Grabensee, Afilias; Axel Plathe, UNESCO

New Book: Sound Moves - iPod Culture and Urban Experience

Following on from Sounding Out the City - Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life (Berg 2000) Michael Bull just published Sound Moves- iPod Culture and Urban Experience (Routledge 2008). iPod culture is used both metaphorically and empirically in the book - empirically its based on a qualitative assessment of over one thousand iPod users - discussing not only their iPod use but their use of their other mobile communication technologies.

Michael Bull argues that iPod culture represents the antithesis of the cosmopolitan citizen inscribed into western thought, that cosmopolitanism now resides in the content of users iPods themselves.

That users are increasingly turning away from the complexities and contingencies of urban everyday life. iPod use signifies the development of a new listening self that calibrates the personaluse of sound to the desire of the listener - iPod culture represents a culture in which individuals increasingly micromanage their experience - it is a hyper-post-fordist culture which stresses the individualising of consumer experience at the expense of sharing space with others.

Book Description

This innovative study opens up a new area in sociological and urban studies: the aural experience of the social, mediated through mobile technologies of communication.

Whilst we live in a world dominated by visual epistemologies of urban experience, Michael Bull argues that it is not surprising that the Apple iPod, a sound based technology, is the first consumer cultural icon of the twenty-first century. This book, in using the example of the Apple iPod, investigates the way in which we use sound to construct key areas of our daily lives. The author argues that the Apple iPod acts as an urban Sherpa for many of its users and in doing so joins the mobile army of technologies that many of us habitually use to accompany our daily lives.

Through our use of such mobile and largely sound based devices, the book demonstrates how and why the spaces of the city are being transformed right in front of our ears.

Sound Moves - iPod Culture and Urban Experience
Michael Bull
University of Sussex. UK

Class and Culture Now - Launch of Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies

The University of Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies launches on the afternoon of Wednesday 13 February.

All are welcome and the conference is free, however we would ask you to please confirm your attendance by email to in advance.

Date: Wednesday 13 February 2008, 2-7pm
Venue: Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Lecture Theatre and vestibule, Falmer Campus, University of Sussex


Carolyn Steedman (Warwick)
Anita Biressi (Roehampton)
Heather Nunn (Roehampton)
Lynsey Hanley (The Guardian)

Book Launch:
Conference participants are also warmly invited to the launch of Sally R. Munt's new book on class, sexuality, and shame: Queer Attachments: The Cultural Politics of Shame, (2007/8) at the close of the day. Come and join us for a drink, supported by Ashgate Publishers.

The Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies is a new site for consolidating the current and historical work that has been long-established at the University since its inception 40 years ago. Cultural Studies at Sussex has enjoyed an international reputation for decades, and we recently decided to formalise our research in a centre in order to work more effectively with each other in a supportive, collegiate environment.

For further information please visit:

For a campus map please see:

The Ethics of Media, Conference, Cambridge 4-5 April 2008

We are delighted to announce a forthcoming conference on 'The Ethics of
Media: Philosophical Foundations and Practical Imperatives'
to be held on 4-5 April 2008 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge.

The event is co-funded by CRASSH and Goldsmiths, University of London, with support from the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge.

It will be one of the first events ever to bring together in debate philosophers and media researchers who share an interest an ethics.

• Reith lecturer giver Baroness Onora O'Neill (Cambridge and the British Academy) will give the opening address
• John Durham Peters (University of Iowa, author of Speaking into the Air) will give the closing address.

Other speakers include:

* Georgina Born (University of Cambridge)
* Lilie Chouliaraki (LSE)
* David Edmonds (BBC)
* Sabina Lovibond (University of Oxford)
* Peter Lunt (Brunel University)
* Amit Pinchevski (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
* Barbie Zelizer (University of Pennsylvania)
* Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London)

There will be a small registration fee (£30 for faculty and £15 for students) which covers lunch and refreshments on both days.

Convenors:Dr Mirca Madianou, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge
Professor Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths, University of London

This conference seeks to address the current lack of academic and public debate about media ethics, that is, about the frameworks within which we can ask precise questions about the ethics of what media institutions do and reach some consensus about appropriate answers. Within media research, discussion of media ethics has with few exceptions been limited until recently to the development of detailed codes for journalists; while within philosophy relatively few moral philosophers have discussed the ethics of the media process. There is now an urgent need to develop interdisciplinary work in this area.

The imperative for developing a conceptual and theoretical framework on media ethics is driven on the one hand by observations of the ubiquitous presence of the media in social and political life with clear implications for democracy and the ways we live together; on the other hand, developments in the field of media and information technologies often raise new ethical problems and dilemmas that need to be addressed.

This is intended as a specialist conference which will bring together two groups of academics: first, media specialists (whether from sociology, anthropology or psychology) who are committed to developing an ethical perspective on media practice that draws explicitly on philosophical debates; and second, philosophers who are interested in applying general principles of ethics and moral philosophy to the areas of media, communications and representation.

Through a series of presentations and panels, the conference will explore the following questions among others: which philosophical tradition (or hybrid of traditions) provides the most useful starting-point for framing ethical questions about media and communications? Should questions of 'the good', and of individual virtue, have priority, or rather questions of duty and justice? Do mass-communicated media and new interactive technologies generate new types of ethical and philosophical problems? For instance, are accountability and trust still relevant concepts in assessing new developments such as citizen journalism? How does media ethics interrelate with questions of political theory's concerns with the sustaining of effective democratic politics and safe co-existence? How should the media represent otherness in our increasingly multicultural societies and how should we assess their role in creating relationships of trust or fear? The conference will encourage dialogue between a range of philosophical traditions, and is particularly concerned to encourage dialogue between the Anglo-American and the Continental philosophical traditions.

This conference has been funded by CRASSH and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Programme and registration
A provisional programme can be found here. Please use the booking form to register attendance. If you wish to pay by debit/credit card please use the form here. This conference has been organised with support from Goldsmiths, University of London, the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge and CRASSH.