Where the action is

“The number of acting units and the kinds of action are increasing for the first time, since modernity and enlightenment have successfully diminished it by banning moving objects and talking trees, inviting nymphs and punishing gods, speaking oracles and helpful angels out of the sphere of action into the world of fetish and fiction.” (Rammert 2008, 2)

riverine years

celebrate with Ula + Simon with snacks, drinks, castles, and nature

Hey! Another year, another birthday for both of us!

Join us on 4 May for a birthday picknick at picturesque Neuer Garten in Potsdam, along the former border between coms and caps. We start at 3pm and hopefully last until dusk, depending on the mood of our new family members.

We will provide some fresh beer from the neighbouring Meierei brewery, soft drinks and some minor snacks. If you like, you’re welcome to add to the picknick (e.g. salad, cake, bread).

to get there, you can either take
S-Bahn (S1, S7) to Wannsee, then take bus 316 to Glienicker Brücke (if you get out before the bridge, you only need a BVG AB ticket). Walk along Schwanenallee and through Neuer Garten.
REGIO (RE1) from to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, then take tram 93 to Glienicker Brücke (you need a BVG ABC ticket). Walk along Berliner Str., Schwanenallee and through Neuer Garten.

Very much looking forward!!
Ula Papajak and Simon Hirsbrunner

or navigate through Google Maps: httpss://goo.gl/maps/tVFfquTARHBpEHeV8

Guilt by association

“If agency in all its forms is democratically distributed to all sorts of dividuals, some of which may temporarily be assembled as humans and others as machines, animals, or other quasi agents, then do we need to permanently bracket all forms of intrahuman judgment, accountability, and ethical discourse? Will future courts only be judges of assemblages of hands-guns-bodies-bullets and blood or of syringes-heroin-junkies- dealers or of ricin-envelopes-mailboxes-couriers and the like? And, worse, who will be the judges, witnesses, juries, prosecutors, and de- fenders? Will our very ideas of crime and punishment disappear into a bewildering landscape of actants, assemblages, and machines? If the only sociology left is the sociology of association, then will the only guilt left be guilt by association?” (Appadurai, Arjun. 2015. Mediants, materiality, normativity)

sustainable development and the demon of LaPlace

The Achilles’ heel of the sustainable development concept is to externalize technology. Digitalization becomes a silver bullet dissolving all socio-economic-political challenges in the world – climate change, poverty, inequality and so on. In the long run, it may appear as a high price to destroy the horsemen of the apocalypse by summoning LaPlaces’ demon.

Image: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov sourced from Wikimedia Commons.



ethics and legal status in social media analysis

Via Twitter, I was asking the community about information on legal and ethical issues linked to social media analysis. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much reply as I hoped for. Does that mean that ethical and legal issues are not important for researchers? I don’t think so. Rather, it seems to be an unresolved field, entailing much embodied, tacit knowledge by the researchers themselves, some dispersed information, and lots of open questions.

Maybe it is useful to mention some of the questions I had hoped to get answers to. It’s mostly straight foreword how-to-questions, nothing conceptually or philosophically sophisticated.

– I have a Twitter dataset collected through TCAT with Tweets on ‘climate change’ since 2015. The relevant TCAT instance is hosted by the University of Siegen, my employer. Is it legally and ethically ok (hereafter ‘ok’) to put this data online in an open data repository such as figshare?
– What would be the appropriate licence for such an open dataset?
– Is it ok to mention specific Tweets and their users in a publication?
– Do I violate platform terms of service when scarping content in a research context?

It seemed to be collect the fragments of my search here in this post. Not sure if this is helpful for others, but anyway here you go:


“Rethinking ethics in social-network research”, by Antonio A. Casilli and Paola Tubaro (2017)

Wem “gehören” Forschungsdaten? Online article (2018) by jurist Linda Kuschel

– Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Statement on ethics in internet research
Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research: Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (Version 2.0)
Nice informational chart by the same source

– Moreno, M. A., Goniu, N., Moreno, P. S., & Diekema, D. (2013). Ethics of Social Media Research: Common Concerns and Practical Considerations. 

– Michael Zimmer (2010) “But the data is already public”: on the ethics of research in Facebook

“Ethical Dilemmas in Social Network Research,” a special issue of Social Networks from 2005


Amaranth Crunchy Schokolade

Bite ♣️♣️♣️♣️

Taste ♣️♣️♣️

Sweetnecity ♣️♣️♣️

Form ♣️♣️♣️

Chocolateness ♣️♣️♣️♣️

Overall recommendation ♣️♣️♣️


Categories (“codes”) developed through a iterative process inspired by grounded theory.

how to open a library II

// open methods note 2


A first version of my open library with digital media research literature (STS, media studies, anthropology, etc.) (see also open methods note 1).

Try tags such as ‘methods’, ‘data’, ‘conceptual’, ‘infrastructures



Entire collection


how to open a library

// open methods note 1

How can I share references to scientific literature with others? – online and hopefully using open source infrastructure?

What might be the best way to give others access to this literature, to create meaningful access points to a body of literature?


Building on my on research and body of literature, the plan is to collect a list of references useful for social scientists investigating data practices, infrastructures, economies and publics. These may be media scholars researching the use of social media platforms, sociologists dealing with digital knowledge infrastructures, or anthropologists unraveling data practices in Silicon Valley start-ups.


Given that I used Zotero to collect and sort my scientific literature, this will be the starting point of this little project. Zotero is an open-source application and project. The cloud service is funded by the US-based, non-profit project partners and maintained by AWS (Amazon Web Services) on their US-East servers (in Virginia?). More information on privacy issues and policies here.

Access points and pathways to knowledge
How can I navigate people to the specific resources valuable for them? I am currently tagging all my relevant Zotero entries with tags. As becomes clear to me in the process of doing, developing a useful tag structure involves the imagination of an audience for the reference collection. It also mirrors the cognitive classes in my brain, partly structured explicitly through my PhD work, partly retrieving older and deeper layers of my unconscious. Some preliminary classes: method (digital methods, historical research), school of thinking (practice theory, sociology, sts, anthropology), research phenomenon (facebook research, data-science, simulation).

Does it have to be a database query field?
I discovered a nice feature in Zotero 5 that lets you visualize your literature in an interactive timeline. Below, my latest inspirational influx (ordered by the dates works where added to the library). Epistemological value: trace your shifts and realignments in theory, method, and research object. For me, from visual and cultural studies to digital STS, with occasional peaks in post-representational cartography and media anthropology.

Going online
Zotero allows the publishing of libraries through a cloud server. Setting up the syncronization between my local library and the cloud is easy, but requires setting up an account at zotero.org. You then enter the login details in the preferences/sync section of your standalone Zotero application and you’re done. With a basic subscription to the cloud, users receive free storage up to 300 MB. Additional storage can be purchased via annual subcription plans. 

How open is online?
Finding the information (my website, post, library), create a login/account, have an internet connection, access via computer hardware, be digitally literate, understand English, being able to read. In general, to make an information ‘open’ means to overcome some access barriers while discarding others. To categorize is to position oneself. I will try to tackle the login and visibility issues and discard everything else (my positioning).

A first version of the open library and access point