"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web-based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.
Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet-enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.
Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non-disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.
Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio-technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.
As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self-surveillance, self-discipline and self-advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self-determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.
Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."
(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)
"Aleks Krotoski asks not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we're creating? Each week she takes us on a journey to where people are living their digital lives to explore how technology touches everything we do both on and offline.
Taking broad themes of modern living as a starting point she charts the experiences of homo digitas; both the remarkable and the mundane, to understand how we are changing just as quickly as the advances in our technology.
What does the deluge of images from digital photography mean for our memory when every second is being recorded, edited and posted online for posterity? Are the identities we create in social media no more than exercises in personal branding, to be managed and protected like any other product? And as traditional churches struggle to leverage technology to spread their faith do the behaviours we all display online have more in common with religion than rationality?
The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?"
(BBC Radio 4)
Fig.1 "Mack on a summer morning", 30 March 2011 [http://www.mydogearedpages.com/2011/03/photographic-memories.html].
"It's very fundamental to Aboriginal belief that language and land are connected, and it is appropriate to speak the language of the land on which you're residing. So it was quite natural that Murrinh-Patha would have become the primary language of the indigenous people living on the mission."
Fig.2 "Coding cultural riches: Investigating indigenous languages in Australia: Linguist Dr Rachel Nordlinger discusses how Australian Aboriginal languages are researched and how particular indigenous tongues grow at the expense of others as communities migrate. Presented by Jennifer Cook.", Up Close, University of Melbourne.
"Peggy Orenstein ('Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture') and Kaveri Subrahmanyam ('Digital Youth: The Role of Media in Development') had a conversation about girl culture and digital media for Googlers in Santa Monica on February 9, 2011. They were joined by Adriana Manago, who works with Kaveri at the Children's Digital Media Center (UCLA/CSULA)."
(About @Google Talks, 9 February 2011)
Fig.1 Kaveri Subrahmanyam talks to Peggy Orenstein about "Cinderella Ate My Daughter", About @Google Talks [18:24]
"With Carnegie Mellon's cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person's online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it's a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities.
The repercussions of these studies go far beyond putting a name with a face; researchers Alessandro Acquisti, Ralph Gross, and Fred Stutzman anticipate that such technology represents a leap forward in the convergence of offline and online data and an advancement of the 'augmented reality' of complementary lives. With the use of publicly available Web 2.0 data, the researchers can potentially go from a snapshot to a Social Security number in a matter of minutes."
(Jared Keller, 29 September 2011, The Atlantic Magazine)