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Another exciting year at the OII

A swim with friends in the river at Port Meadow

Last year at almost any time there was something more interesting to do in Oxford than updating this blog. Such as friends to meet, papers to read, famous speakers to hear at the Oxford Union, or a sunny swim in the river at Port Meadow.

With most of the city still in summer-recess, I now found the time. And as you may (or may not) have noticed, this blog is new, and has a more personal slant than the now depreciated LogiLogi blog from which previous posts were migrated. The design (& the tag-line) is probably going to change a bit still, but the basics are in place (using the Middleman static blog engine).

As for new developments: First of all my research topic changed slightly from looking at the impact of leadership and other factors on the early success of online political (discussion) communities, to the more focussed question of the extent to which the Internet may have catalysed the Arab Spring, Occupy Wallstreet and other recent protests.

More specifically I plan to model several social mechanisms that are offered by (social) media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (for example indicating ’I’m going’, for a protest-event), and then look at which of these could have been responsible for increased activism and turnout. The draft of my (so named here) Transfer-proposal, in which I set out my plans in detail, is still being reviewed by my supervisors. I will post it here once it is finished.

Speaking of supervisors, dr. Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon my supervisor (also for my MSc), moved to the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania three months ago. I will dearly miss her, as she was really great to work with. My new supervisors are political scientist Victoria Nash and sociologist (& social movements expert) Michael Biggs.

Besides this, it was a busy year in other ways as well; I presented at two conferences on how time affects on-line communities, I was teaching assistant at Statistics I, and Advanced Quantitative Analysis, and student representative on the Graduate Studies Committee. I also was (& am) IT & New Media Officer (and on Library Committee) at the Oxford Union (reviving the frontpage by adding social media streams of events on Facebook, Youtube recordings, and Tweets by the president), and I did a fair amount of debating and debating judging, both at the Union and at OxIDS. Finally I co-organized MyCamp this summer.

I am already looking forward to meeting everyone again (you know who you are :-). For with every returnee the dreaming city again awakens from its summer slumber.

In the coming year I hope to continue making good progress with my research. Also, I will be IT Student Assistant in St Cross, my college, and I will be co-convenor for the Nuffield Social Network Analysis Seminar.