Derek Lackaff currently works at the School of Communications, Elon University. Derek does research in Communication and Media, Information Technology and Politics and Human-computer Interaction. Their current project is 'Policy Crowdsourcing and Social Innovation'.
Research Items (28)
Minority and indigenous languages have a complex relationship with contemporary communication media. Social media, in particular, provide new venues for language use and revitalization, but also subject minority languages to inhibiting technological and social pressures. The present study contributes to a better understanding of social media and language use dynamics via an analysis of a survey of Irish language users (n=617) and their sociotechnical contexts. We develop a typology of social, linguistic, and technical factors that provide a theoretical and analytical foundation for future work. A complex interplay of social and technical factors impact minority language use in social media, and we suggest potential interaction design strategies for language activists and technologists to promote more effective engagement.
Better Reykjavik is a unique municipal ePetition website that is developed and maintained by a grassroots nonprofit organization, has significant deliberative mechanisms, and has been normalized as an ongoing channel for citizen-government interaction across multiple elected administrations. The primary contribution of this study is an analysis of the novel “interface” that was established between the grassroots-developed technical system and the existing political and administrative institutions of policymaking. The paper begins with a brief overview of the challenges that citizens and governments face in the implementation of ePetition processes. Landemore’s (2012) “democratic reason” and Coleman’s (2008) “autonomous citizenship” constructs provide useful insights into why and how the Better Reykjavik has made a continuing impact on city governance. Next, an analysis of the socio-technical process of the initiative’s software development and political integration is presented, showing how this project moved from the fringes of the grassroots towards the center of public and governmental awareness. Finally Reykjavik’s “new normal” political culture is examined, which illustrates how a bottom-up, fast-moving technical initiative can productively support the slower-moving processes of democratic governance.
Digital technologies have had significant impacts on the production and reception of most popular art forms, and black comics present no exception. Opportunities for interaction among creators and fans have greatly expanded in recent years, and web forums, social network sites, and blogs have become important hubs for the development of black comic culture. Creators and convention organizers now have greater ability to market and promote their creative products, and to debate with fans the artistic and political issues that affect black comics culture. This chapter addresses the relationship between black comic art culture and online social media through interviews with creators and case analyses of several online sites and communities.
Social-networking sites like Facebook enable people to share a range of personal information with expansive groups of "friends." With the growing popularity of media sharing online, many questions remain regarding antecedent conditions for this behavior. Contingencies of self-worth afford a more nuanced approach to variable traits that affect self-esteem, and may help explain online behavior. A total of 311 participants completed an online survey measuring such contingencies and typical behaviors on Facebook. First, exploratory factor analyses revealed an underlying structure to the seven dimensions of self-worth. Public-based contingencies explained online photo sharing (β = 0.158, p < 0.01), while private-based contingencies demonstrated a negative relationship with time online (β = -0.186, p < 0.001). Finally, the appearance contingency for self-worth had the strongest relationship with the intensity of online photo sharing (β = 0.242), although no relationship was evident for time spent managing profiles.
This chapter presents a short case study of Better Reykjavik (Betri Reykjavík, https://betrireykjavik.is), a grassroots socio-technical initiative designed to promote citizen participation and collaborative problem solving in city governance. Better Reykjavik is a website that allows citizens to submit policy proposals to the municipal government. These ideas are publically accessible, and may be debated by other participants and revised. The public is also encouraged to make a simple vote on each proposal—support or oppose. Over time, a body of proposals emerges, each idea refined by debate, with the aggregate list ordered by the number of votes it has received. Better Reykjavik is an “e-petition” or “open innovation” website that enables citizens to submit, debate, and prioritize policy proposals and ideas.
Абстракт: Исландия е сред нациите, използващи най-много интернет. Страната има успешна политика за е-управление на национално и местно ниво и силен ангажимент към осигуряване на добри услуги за гражданите през интернет. Развиването на нови модели за отворени институции и инфраструктурни решения се превръща във важна цел на публичните политики. Тенденцията е за преход от предоставяне на услуги към гражданско участие и ангажираност. Ключови думи: е-правителство, сигурност, е-демокрация, дигитално участие Статията е предоставена от Проекта "Насърчаване на е-демокрацията в България с най-добър опит от Исландия", изпълняван от Българско сдружение за насърчаване на гражданската инициатива, Бургаски свободен университет и Международен институт за модерни медии-Рейкявик с финансовата подкрепа на Програмата за НПО на ФМ на Европейското икономическо пространство.
- Sep 2014
- Internet, Politics, Policy 2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy
Revised version of this paper available here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286907529_Escaping_the_Middleman_Paradox_Better_Reykjavik_and_Open_Policy_Innovation Following an economic crisis which swept away much of their wealth, international regard, and trust in established political institutions, Icelanders were in a unique position to experiment with radical new approaches to governance and citizenship. One such project that has helped restructure the relationship between government and the governed is called Better Reykjavik (Betri Reykjavik). On the surface, Better Reykjavik appears to be a straightforward ePetition site, similar to those now operated by governments around the world. We suggest that Better Reykjavik is unique among similar projects for three primary reasons: first, it is developed and maintained by a grassroots nonprofit organization, and not a government, second, it has significant deliberative mechanisms, unlike many other ePetition initiatives, and third, it rapidly achieved significant buy-in from citizens, policy-makers, and public administrators and has been normalized as an ongoing channel for citizen-government interaction across multiple elected administrations. The primary contribution of the present study is an analysis of the interface between the grassroots-developed technical system and the existing political and administrative institutions of policymaking. We draw primarily upon interviews with City of Reykjavik administrators and politicians completed since 2010, but also utilize archival data including newspaper reports, committee meeting minutes, and other public information. We begin with a brief overview of eParticipation as a contextual framework for understanding the initiative, with a focus on some of the challenges governments face in their implementation processes. We then suggest that Landemore’s (2012) “democratic reason” and Coleman’s (2008) “autonomous citizenship” constructs provide useful insights into why and how the Better Reykjavik has made a continuing impact on city governance. Next, we present an analysis of the socio-technical process of the initiative’s software development and political integration, showing how this project moved from the fringes of the grassroots towards the center of public and governmental awareness. We conclude our discussion by examining Reykjavik’s “new normal” political culture, which illustrates how a bottom-up, fast-moving technical initiative can productively support the slower-moving processes of democratic governance.
Founded in 1986 by comic shop owner Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics is a creative powerhouse and major contributor to pop culture iconology. Dark Horse is home to original, creator-owned properties including Sin City, Hellboy, and Umbrella Academy, licenses including Star Wars, Terminator, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and manga imports such as Oh My Goddess! and Neon Genesis Evangelion. As one of the most successful "independent" comics publishers, Dark Horse has made a lasting impact on the industry, and now produces movie, television, and other product lines.
Following the collapse of its financial institutions and a subsequent economic and political crisis (kreppa) in 2009, Iceland was in a unique position to conduct broad social experiments related to democratic decision-making and institutional transparency. This paper presents a case study of Iceland’s emerging sociotechnical ecosystem that has produced several interrelated political technology initiatives, including two mass-scale, multimodal national assemblies, the online civic innovation platforms Better Reykjavik and Better Iceland, and the online “crowdsourced” constitutional revision project.
Social networking sites enable users to connect with large, heterogeneous groups of people. While extant research suggests individuals benefit psychologically from the perception that they are well connected, little is known about the nature of tangible resources embedded in these online networks. In this study 49 participants sent 588 requests for instrumental help to their Facebook friends to determine the accessibility of networked resources and online social capital. Almost 80% of these modest requests went unanswered, and perceived bridging and bonding capital did not explain enacted support. However, people who occupied socially prestigious positions were the most likely to benefit from their friend's help. These results suggest that expansive mediated networks may yield limited instrumental benefits.
This research explores the structure and status of theories used in Communication as an alternative for Communication discipline identity research and characteristics evaluation. This research assumes that communication theories are not only ongoing practices of intellectual communities, but also discourse about how theory can address a range of channels, transcend specific technologies and bridge levels of analysis. It examines widely-cited theoretical contentions among academic articles and the connections among these theories. Network analysis suggests that framing theory is the most influential of the identified theories (ranking first in frequency and degree, closeness, betweenness and eigenvector centrality) and serves to link other communication theories and theory groups. While mass communication and technology theories exhibited the highest centrality, interpersonal, persuasion and organization communication theories were grouped together, integrating sub-theories of each group. Framing theory was the most popular and influential communication theory bridging not only mass communication theories, but also interpersonal, technology, information system, health, gender, inter-cultural and organizational communication theories.
One of the central challenges of ego-centric or personal social network research is the quantity and quality of data that is re-quired from research participants. In general, collecting data about increasingly larger ego-centric networks places an increasing burden on respondents. However, the recent development and increasing ubiquity of web applications that rely on social graphs present inter-esting new opportunities and challenges for data collection efforts. This chapter addresses this emerging context for social research, and reports the results of an experimental evaluation of an online com-puter-assisted self interview (CASI) survey tool called PASN (Pro-pitious Aggregation of Social Networks). Personal networks ac-quired via the PASN tool were found to be larger and more diverse than those produced using standard survey methods, yet required significantly lower time investments from participants. The implica-tions of new methods such as PASN for social network research are discussed, along with considerations and recommendations for fu-ture research.
This study explored information and communication technology (ICT) uses for protest politics, focusing on the case of a 2008 protest in Korea. Based on a survey of citizen activists (N = 322), it examined informational and coordinative uses of eight different ICTs for protest participation. The results indicated that heavy, moderate, and non protesters were differentiated, particularly regarding the use of Web sites of social movement organizations (SMOs), mobile phone, and email. Across all types of protesters, portal site was the most prominently utilized tool, while online micro-media showed little contribution. The findings call for the reconsideration of the waning role of SMOs in contemporary protest politics, and the differentiation of the public-oriented ICT from the private use of ICT regarding its contribution to expand civil society.
Following the collapse of its financial institutions and a subsequent economic and political crisis (kreppa), Iceland was in a unique position to conduct broad social experiments related to democratic decision-making and institutional transparency. In contrast to many previous e-participation projects, Iceland's post-kreppa initiatives have been organized by grassroots participants outside the official channels of government. This paper introduces the Shadow Government initiative, a grassroots socio-technical project designed to promote citizen participation and collaborative problem-solving, which provides a clear case of system design to empower citizens to engage directly with complex political issues. The Shadow Government initiatives refer to three distinct but related online projects (the Shadow Parliament, the Shadow City, and Better Reykjavik) developed to allow to citizens to identify, debate, and clarify policy proposals and decisions. The technical design of these collaborative political communication platforms aims to promote reasoned and reasonable discussion among diverse and independent stakeholders, with an end result of clearly articulated positions and actionable proposals. The Shadow Government initiatives are unique among similar projects in that they (1) were developed independently of any top-down, official agenda and (2) have achieved significant buy-in from both policy-makers and citizens. We present a brief discussion of open innovation within the contemporary Icelandic political context, suggesting that this context is key to understanding the efficacy of the Shadow Government projects. We then discuss the brief history of the socio-technical process of software development and political integration, showing how these projects have moved from the fringes of the grassroots to the center of official policy-making. Finally, we conclude by presenting analysis of key, specific factors that may impact the success of similar projects in other political or social contexts.
This study investigated the instrumental value of resources embedded in online social networks. Forty-nine primary participants solicited a total of 588 secondary participants who were asked to complete a modest task. Approximately 16 percent of all secondary participants responded (N=98) to the request. 8.5 percent of weak ties responded and strong ties were about three times more likely to respond. Perceived reciprocity, contact frequency and a composite measure of tie strength were all positively related to enacted support.
This study investigates contemporary college students' social behavior on- and offline. Although being socially active typically enhances access to resources embedded in social networks and improves student performance, the relative contributions of a range of social activities to students' social and academic lives remain unclear. Additionally, the broad adoption of communication technologies such as cell phones and Internet-based applications including social networking sites (SNSs) is changing the way people manage their social lives. In light of these changes, the current study explores the relationship between a variety of social activities, perceived support and performance outcomes. Results suggest that a range of activities significantly correlated with student outcomes. Mediated relationships via SNSs had a positive influence on perceived social support, whereas time spend communicating face-to-face demonstrated a positive relationship with satisfaction.
Social cognitive theory suggests a likely relationship between the rising popularity of both reality television and social networking sites. This research utilized a survey (N=456) of young adults to determine the extent to which reality television consumption explains user behavior in the context of social network sites. Results show a consistent relationship between reality television consumption on the length of time spent logged on to these sites, the size of user’s networks, the proportion of friends not actually met face to face, and photo sharing frequency while controlling for age, gender and education. Other categories of television viewing like news, fiction, and educational programming were not related to user’s online behavior.
Social cognitive theory suggests a likely relationship between behavior modeled on increasingly popular reality television (RTV) and user behavior modeled on social networking sites (SNSs). This study surveyed young adults (N = 456) to determine the extent to which RTV consumption explained a range of user behavior in the context of social network sites. Results show a consistent relationship between RTV consumption and the length of time spent on these sites, the size of users' networks, the proportion of friends not actually met face to face, and photo sharing frequency while controlling for age and gender.
Research shows that people from different cultural backgrounds and gender roles behave and communicate in systematically different ways. The current research utilized a survey (N=452) of young adults to examine the occurrence of culturally- and gender-influenced differences in online behavior, offline networks, and satisfaction. Results show that participants who identify with more individualistic cultural backgrounds have larger networks of friends on social network sites (SNSs), have a greater proportion of these friends not actually met face-to-face, and share more photos online opposed to participants who identify with less individualistic cultural backgrounds. Social support network size was a significant predictor of satisfaction with life, while SNS network size was not. Findings suggest that participants who identify with more individualistic cultural backgrounds tend to self-promote and are better connected and more satisfied with their social lives. It seems offline networks are more important than mediated networks in terms of psychological well-being.
One of the central challenges of ego-centric or personal social network research is minimizing the quantity of data that is requested from research participants while ensuring high data accuracy and validity. In general, collecting data about increasingly larger ego-centric networks places an increasing burden on respondents. The web-based Propitious Aggregation of Social Networks (PASN, http://pro.pitio.us) survey instrument reduces this burden by leveraging network data already available in the context of social network websites, and by providing an intuitive click-and-drag interface for survey responses. An experiment was conducted (N = 85), and the PASN method was found to produce networks which were significantly larger and more diverse than those produced using standard survey methods, yet required significantly lower time investments from participants.
- Jan 2010
People from distinct cultural backgrounds communicate and manage their interpersonal relations in systematically different ways. The current chapter utilizes a survey of young adults to examine the social patterns of culturally influenced differences in online behavior. Results show that individuals that identify with individualistic cultural backgrounds have larger networks of friends on social network sites (SNSs), have a larger proportion of these friends that they have not actually met face-to-face, and share more photos online, opposed to individuals that identify with less individualistic cultural backgrounds. The size of an individuals' offline social support network size was a significant predictor of satisfaction with life, while SNS network size was not. Findings suggest that individuals who identify with more individualistic cultural backgrounds tend to be better connected, self-promote, and are more satisfied with their social lives.
This research explores traditional mass media as an antecedent to nondirected self-disclosure online. New Internet-based tools allow users to communicate with global audiences, and to make intimate personal information available to this audience. At the same time, a culture that rewards the public performance of private thoughts and emotions is increasingly evident in “reality” television (RTV) programming. This study used survey data to examine RTV consumption, authoritarianism, and users' offline social context as potential antecedents for nondirected self-disclosure via blogs, online photo sharing, and online video sharing. RTV consumption correlated with blogging and video sharing, but not photo sharing. Social support network size was a significant correlate of photo sharing, indicating that photo sharing may be a more relational activity.
This paper discusses how students understand and interpret credibility in their search for online information, especially in relation to websites such as Wikipedia, which present new approaches to authority and information management. Based on focus group and survey data, we found that source authority is not a major determinant in students' informational evaluations, in contrast to some previous research. Due to the difficulty of reliably determining source characteristics and to compensate for this perceived lack of authority, students corroborate information with additional sources and employ other heuristic strategies. Wikipedia poses an interesting epistemological challenge as it represents a relatively novel form of authority and information creation – open editing by semi-anonymous visitors to the site. We find that student credibility assessments are highly pragmatic, and present an expanded model of assessment that accounts for the contemporary communication on the web, with implications for communication researchers and educators.
- Jan 2008
Many have questioned the reliability and accuracy of Wikipedia. Here a different issue, but one closely related: how broad is the coverage of Wikipedia? Differences in the interests and attention of Wikipedia's editors mean that some areas, in the traditional sciences, for example, are better covered than others. Two approaches to measuring this coverage are presented. The first maps the distribution of topics on Wikipedia to the distribution of books published. The second compares the distribution of topics in three established, field-specific academic encyclopedias to the articles found in Wikipedia. Unlike the top-down construction of traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia's topical coverage is driven by the interests of its users, and as a result, the reliability and completeness of Wikipedia is likely to be different depending on the subject-area of the article.
Social cognitive theory suggests a likely relationship between the rising popularity of both reality television and social networking sites. This research utilized a survey (N=456) of young adults to determine the extent to which reality television consumption explains user behavior in the context of social network sites. Results show a consistent relationship between reality television consumption on the length of time spent logged on to these sites, the size of user's networks, the proportion of friends not actually met face to face, and photo sharing frequency while controlling for age, gender and education. Other categories of television viewing like news, fiction, and educational programming were not related to user's online behavior.