Detecting Social Media Bullshit: A Sociologist’s View

[S]ocial media bullshitters have no knowledge of social theory or methodology. Trust a person who provides no easy answer, who carefully selects their research method, and who understands complex concepts.

Sam Ladner – Detecting Social Media Bullshit: A Sociologist’s View

Ian Bogost – There are no Blown Calls in Football

[I]n World Cup football blown calls do not exist as a concept in the game. Short of financial collusion or threat, the refs‘ perspective on the game is a part of the game, no different than the quality of a cross or the accuracy of a shot on goal. This is quite a different attitude than other sports take regarding officiating. The idea that a sport could so willingly and systemically embrace perspective is beautiful to me. Not only because it highlights the changing specificity of moment-to-moment configurations of player, ball, and officials, but also because it underscores the role of unfairness and randomness in human experience.

Ian Bogost – There are no Blown Calls in Football.

Enhancing the intranet with game theory » Column Two, James Robertson

Enhancing the intranet with game theory

How gaming mechanics might help fulfil a vision for the future of intranets.

What Kind of Card is Race? by Tim Wise

Nothing, absolutely nothing, has to do with race nowadays, in the eyes of white America writ large. But the obvious question is this: if we have never seen racism as a real problem, contemporary to the time in which the charges are being made, and if in all generations past we were obviously wrong to the point of mass delusion in thinking this way, what should lead us to conclude that now, at long last, we’ve become any more astute at discerning social reality than we were before? Why should we trust our own perceptions or instincts on the matter, when we have run up such an amazingly bad track record as observers of the world in which we live? In every era, black folks said they were the victims of racism and they were right. In every era, whites have said the problem was exaggerated, and we have been wrong.

What Kind of Card is Race? by Tim Wise.

Can You Say That in English? Explaining UX Research to Clients

Can You Say That in English? Explaining UX Research to Clients

Descriptions of standard user research methods in plain english.

Towards a sociology of living death

Zombieism is not so much a state of being as a set of practices and cultural scripts. It is not that one is a zombie but that one does being a zombie such that zombieism is created and enacted through interaction. Even if one is “objectively” a mindless animated corpse, one cannot really be said to be fulfilling one’s cultural role as a zombie unless one shuffles across the landscape in search of brains.

Gabriel Rossman – Towards a sociology of living death

Lucha Libre – Trade secrets and revelations

Lucha libre is thus constructed around the public secret of the fixed ending. Yet the secret of the fixed ending is only one of a number of back secrets, of stories told and stories hidden, of secrets revealed to conceal still others. The secrecy of the fix stands for a series of dissimulations, for the mystery that animates the genre.

Heather Levi – The World of Lucha Libre – Trade secrets and revelations

Meetings and Organizational Structure

While all meetings have an officially scripted agenda, their tacit agenda is power. Meetings establish who is in charge. When someone calls a meeting, he or she is asserting authority over those who are called on to attend. Meetings are exclusive and closed. In most corporations, who gets invited to a meeting—and who does not—sends a signal about who’s „in the loop“. Meetings are a form of social grooming inside organizations. Meetings impose vertical authority. They establish status hierarchies. […] When power is diffused and distributed more democratically, meetings are no longer necessary. But corporations are not democracies.

Matthew Fraser – Enterprise 2.0: Wiki While You Work

LAX Airport Parking Lot Communities

Every social situation in which individuals are voluntarily taking part – sometimes they might also be coerced to do so by vocalized or non-vocalized social regulations, sanctions or force – leads to the formation of a social structure. Even in short everyday interactions, sharing an elevator for example, these mechanisms are visible.

Of course, one could argue that the trained eye of a sociologist might only see what it wants to see. In these cases, the examples have to be extraordinary, like pilots and other airport personnel building mobile colonies on airport parking lots. They even have a mayor, problems with prostitution and unsolicited residents.

Now if that isn’t convincing, i don’t know what else is.

Sunday links: Science, Lost, Star Trek, What makes us happy?

Sunday Links:

  • The most realistic and the most ridiculous uses of science in film and TV [Link]
  • Lost and Literature: A Transmedia Story [Link]
  • An article about one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history with some fascinating insights: What makes us happy? [Link]
  • Henry Jenkins: Five ways to start a conversation about the new Star Trek film [Link]