Family is out of town this weekend, so I’m catching up with work, including going over the proofs for this long-in-the-making chapter.
Another set of proofs, another set of complaints about a copyeditor making changes to my writing in ways that distort my meaning. If I get grumpy about a human doing my writing for me, why would I ever want generative AI to do it?
I need to present on this in about a month at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, so it’s time to hussle! I spent some time coding Gab posts according to a codebook I put together last week.
Another paper, another fight with copyeditors about not capitalizing danah boyd’s name.
Journal copyeditors are great when they fix things, but when they break my sentences and don’t ask questions about “[information removed for blinding]”, I wonder what the point is.
Journal copyeditor changed a bunch of first-person language in our abstract to third-person “the authors,” and I am peeved.
Every copyright transfer I sign destroys another part of my soul.
College conversation about investment in GPT-type tech to support research is continuing. I think it’s… fitting that the survey being circulated is clearly using Qualtrics’s auto-suggested Likert responses—and that the responses aren’t quite right for the questions being asked.
I firmly believe that research is a process of argument—and that statistics are, therefore, a rhetorical device.
I’ve been struggling with putting together a particular document for over a week. It’s like I’ve entirely forgotten how to do academic writing—something I usually feel pretty confident about.
My college is floating the idea of investing in GPT-type technology to help researchers code text data. This reminds me of my longtime belief that the distinction between “qual” and “quant” is often less important than the distinction between different research paradigms.
It’s four hours into my workday, so I guess it’s time to start doing that writing I blocked the whole day off for. 🙃
Good article on a worrying trend. It’s things like this that make me skeptical of arguments that generative AI could have real benefit when used properly. It’s not that I disagree—it’s that in the aggregate, I’m not sure the proper uses will outweigh the problems. link to ‘Use of AI Is Seeping Into Academic Journals—and It’s Proving Difficult to Detect | WIRED’
This is dumb. Copyright is important, but this example shows how much we’ve made it overreach. link to ‘Academic Book About Emojis Can’t Include The Emojis It Talks About Because Of Copyright | Techdirt’
Late last year, I announced the publication of a study I participated in with Dr. Evan Brody and UK PhD student Mehroz Sajjad where we examined LGBTQ+-friendly spaces on the Gab social media platform. Although that was the main focus of our research project, we also found as we were completing it that there were a number of LGBTQ+-friendly spaces that had been overrun by queerphobic activity and discourses. I’m happy to announce that our second paper, focusing on those specific spaces, has just been published in the Journal of Homosexuality.
This past weekend, Peggy Fletcher Stack at the Salt Lake Tribune published an article about the #DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter, which takes cues from far-right and anti-feminist online communities. In her article, Peggy was kind enough to reference (and quote from) my new publication with Amy Chapman in the Journal of the Mormon Social Science Association, which presents the (partial) results of a qualitative analysis of over 1,400 DezNat tweets from 2019.
Trying to get back into writeblogging—and, well, just writing, since it was a very family-focused summer. We recently got reviewer feedback on this manuscript, and so I met with co-authors today to discuss our approach to revisions.
One of my most recent articles—a piece on technology, naming, and legitimacy in the Latter-day Saint tradition—was published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Publishing in Dialogue has been a wonderful opportunity. It’s a niche journal, so it may never reach the breadth of audience that I usually aim for in publishing. However, that niche focus has also come with a number of benefits. I want to write more about this soon, but the purpose of this post is just to draw attention to one of these benefits: the in-house podcast(s) produced by the Dialogue team.
I am very happy to announce that a paper I wrote with Amy Chapman is finally published and available open access in the Journal of the Mormon Social Science Association (I have also archived a PDF of the article on my website, available at this link). Amy and I began this project in the spring/summer of 2019, so it’s a relief to finally see our first paper in print.
In short, the paper is a descriptive look at tweets using the #DezNat hashtag; DezNat, short for either Deseret Nation or Deseret Nationalism (depending on who you ask) is a movement of arch-conservative Mormons on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.
I have been looking for this kind of book for a long time, and some of my recent publications would have been stronger if this had come out in time for me to reference it beforehand. It’s not perfect: Some wording is awkward and the conceptual framework (while interesting) could be stronger. However, it’s invaluable for the history it offers and I expect to cite it regularly in the future.
This article has been available online for nearly two years, but since I don’t have any previous posts about it, I’m happy to announce that a study of mine with Dan Krutka has just been assigned to an issue at the Journal of Research on Technology in Education. A number of years ago, Twitter released some large datasets of tweets associated with accounts created as part of various governments’ information operation efforts.
As I wrote earlier, I recently appeared on the Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land podcast to discuss a recent publication in which I discuss the history of official Latter-day Saint domain names. Near the end of the interview, David Noyce (managing editor of the Tribune and one of the podcast hosts) asked me the “so what” question—sure, this history is interesting, but what’s the takeaway? Here’s (part of) how I answered:
A friend of mine who works outside academia wrote yesterday to say that she thought my most recent article made for good road trip reading, and I honestly don’t know if anyone’s ever paid a higher compliment to my research.
I recently wrote about a new article of mine in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought where I trace the history of the official domain names of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This past week, I was lucky enough for the fine folks at the Salt Lake Tribune to take interest in the article. Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote a summary of my findings in this (unfortunately paywalled) article, which appeared on Sunday.
Starting to get notices about my Twitter API access being suspended. So long, Twitter research: You were an important part of my career, and I’ll miss you.
Fascinating read—and one that reminds me that academic journal software doesn’t always render emoji either, which is a problem for social media research. link to ‘The poop emoji: a legal history - The Verge’
I have not been good about logging writing progress recently, but I want to try to get back into it. Met with Dan today to work together on Discussion. Lots of wrinkles to iron out, but we’re very close to submitting this!
At the beginning of my senior year of high school, Tyler and I were neck and neck in class rankings—if memory serves, he was slightly ahead. This never got in the way of our friendship. We had spent too much time playing the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Roleplaying Game together, and a few years earlier, we’d even spent one memorable night with our mutual friend Chris hiking repeatedly back and forth between Tyler’s house and mine so that we could find the right hardware for hooking up someone’s GameCube to my family’s venerable TV so that we could play TimeSplitters 2.
I’ve been interested for the past couple of years in how Andrew Torba uses religious rhetoric in his posts on the official Gab blog. This project is very much in the early stages, but I want to submit a proposal to a conference next week, so I’ve been going through data to try to get a fee for what’s happening—and what to use as my “sample.”
It’s been over a year since Levi Sands, Amy Chapman, and I started talking about doing a topic model analysis of the LDS Freedom Forum, an online space for far-right Mormonism. I’ve usually been the one slowing us down, but today, I finally checked off a task that’s been on my lost for a month and a half. I’m really excited about the project, I just need to stop dragging my feet.
One of my academic pet peeves is when people use the word rigor as a validating synonym for something else, like “quantitative” or “giving out lots of Cs.” Rigor is important, but narrow definitions aren’t useful.
I’m helping organize the Global Mormon Studies 2023 online conference, so I’ve been trying to figure out what (if anything) I would submit for myself. I’ve been wanting to do something about the online (and, thereby, intentionally international) Toronto Community of Christ congregation, but I’ve had trouble figuring out what exactly that would be. Today, an idea clicked. I was going through their YouTube and Facebook videos for some early data collection when I realized just how different the two platform experiences are.
Pleased to see that page proofs I’m reviewing have preserved the emojis in quoted tweets. It’s frustrating for this social media researcher how many journal publication platforms do not support them.
After bouncing off of it a year or so ago, I recently decided to restart Cory Doctorow’s novel Walkaway (which led NPR reporter Jason Sheehan to describe Doctorow as “Super-weird in the best possible way”). The audiobook is excellent, and since I started a couple of days ago, it’s displaced my podcast listening and given me another chance to wrestle with Doctorow’s ideas here.
There is way too much going on (and I’m not far enough into the book) for me to engage with the underlying message of the novel (or even to be sure of what it is yet), but one passage stood out to me so much this morning that I have to write it down now.
Wrapped up categorizing apps/software into distinct categories. Perhaps unsurprisingly, students identified more LMSs (or SISs) and content/assessment software than behavior management or communication apps (the two main things ClassDojo does).
Met with Dan today for writing work. I finished a section on how the admins’ openness to far-right ideas allowed racist and conspiratorial thinking to enter what was purportedly a teachers’ social media group.
I recently started a new project with colleague Meghan Dowell where we’re hoping to learn about students’ and instructors’ understanding of how Canvas works (taking some inspiration from a 2017 article by Nick Proferes). I spent time going through Canvas documentation and meeting with Meghan about our survey instrument.
I met with Dan and spent time writing up our findings on how the admins of this teachers’ group were swimming in far-right discourses in their overall activity on the platform. No real surprise that they allowed those influences into a teachers’ group.
My co-authors recently got back to me with comments on my “coding” of respondents’ open-ended answers. Based on that, I made some tweaks and then started grouping “codes” into categories. It turns out there are fuzzy boundaries between many types of edtech, which probably exacerbates the underlying phenomenon we’re getting at.
This morning, we got copyedits back on our first DezNat piece, so I’ve been going through them. I appreciate having a copyeditor who’s better at mechanics and style than I am, but since I consider myself a pretty good writer, it’s also pretty humbling.
Amy Chapman and I currently have an in-press paper on the far-right inspired DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter, and we’ve also been at work on a second paper covering all our analysis we couldn’t fit in the first paper. In particular, we’re interested in how the DezNat movement conceptualizes (and claims) religious authority. I spent time this morning getting back into the flow of this paper and reading up on Weber, whose tripartite model of authority ought to be helpful here.
Got my data sorting done today! And this despite a considerable setback: I realized that there was a less clunky, more efficient way to categorize the open-response entries, so I started from scratch once I realized that. Fascinating to see how many different technologies students mention when prompted to pick tech similar to ClassDojo.
Survey respondent mistyped “Infinite Campus” as “Infinite Camus,” and now I’m looking for a French existentialism punchline.
About two years ago, in the wake of the Capitol riot, I started collecting data from far-right social media platforms, focusing on groups that fit with my existing research background. I’ve been working with Dan Krutka on analyzing a teachers’ group—we’re so dang close to having a full manuscript. Today we spent some time getting back in the flow of the paper so that we can get this out for review sometime this semester.
Spent some more time this morning going through survey data and matching software mentioned in survey data with actual software categories.
Looking for help from people working in or familiar with ed and ed tech: Do you know anything about an LMS, student information system, or other software called “Reef”? It’s showing up in survey data, but I can’t find anything on it.
A few years ago, Sarah Barriage, Daniela DiGiacomo, and I surveyed some undergraduate students on their previous experience with ClassDojo. One thing that startled us about the data is how often students treated other edtech apps and platforms (e.g., Canvas, Kahoot, Zoom) as equivalent to Dojo, when we saw Dojo as a different kind of edtech. I’ve been meaning to write that up for years, and I’m finally getting off my butt and doing it.
Nothing says unwarranted optimism quite like the big pile of books I brought home from campus in case I had time to work on “that manuscript” over the break. Lugging them back to campus tomorrow morning.
I got my job largely because I can work with Twitter data, and my tenure application is built on the premise that I do good Twitter research. I probably shouldn’t take as much pleasure as I do from watching the platform fall apart right now, but I was ready to move on anyway.
I’m pleased to share that a study I contributed to—Gayservatives on Gab: LGBTQ+ Communities and Far Right Social Media—is now available (open-access!) through the Social Media + Society journal. Dr. Evan Brody is the lead author on the study, and we were lucky enough to have support from PhD student Mehroz Sajjad. Here’s the abstract for the study:
In the United States, LGBTQ+ individuals are often imagined as inherently politically progressive, but this assumption overlooks the experiences of self-identified LGBTQ+ conservatives.
In a training last week, we discussed the trend of journals’ checking manuscripts with plagiarism software. People shared examples where editors couldn’t accept perfectly good reasons for authors to reuse material unless a certain software score was also reached.
I’m pleased to share the publication of a new chapter of an edited volume. The chapter in question is “I"m a French teacher, not a data scientist”: Culture and languages across my professions, and it’s part of a volume called Cultures and languages across the curriculum in higher education. According to the CLAC Consortium, Culture and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) is a:
a curricular framework that provides opportunities to develop and apply language and intercultural competence within all academic disciplines through the use of multilingual resources and the inclusion of multiple cultural perspectives.
Yesterday’s conference presentation went well, but despite a nagging suspicion that I’d prepared too many slides, I didn’t take the time to trim and wound up skipping a chunk of the talk. Alas.
Doing a research presentation at a conference today. The slides are essentially a fancy HTML doc (thanks to remarkjs), and I’m proud that I figured out how to get Font Awesome SVGs to display in-line with text.
In my second-to-last year of grad school, I was asked to give a research talk as part of my program’s prospective student day. My talk was representing the “educational technology” part of the program, and the incomparable Kristy Robinson gave a talk reresenting the “educational psychology” part (to this day, when I’m struggling with a bout of imposter syndrome, I still remind myself that my grad program let me present alongside someone of Kristy’s caliber, so I must have something going for me).
The best figure I’ve ever included in a scholarly publication was a screenshot of a joke I made in a tweet and was especially proud of. The screenshot happened to demonstrate a Twitter feature I was trying to explain, which seemed justification enough.
Good reporting on a scary but important subject. I’ve been collecting Gab blog posts to eventually study some of this Christian nationalism.
link to ‘Gab Founder Andrew Torba Wants to Build a Christian Nationalist Internet’
I just got paid by a journal after they accepted one of my papers, and as happy as I am about this, it is so far out of my normal academic experience that I feel disoriented.
Yesterday, I complained about Apple putting artificial limitations on what its hardware and software can do in terms of music syncing in order to make more money out of its consumers (and, probably, keep music companies happy). As I was writing that, I was thinking about similarities with the business model of a lot of mobile apps—let people download the app for free, but keep bonus features (or even the best features) behind a paywall.
I hadn’t realized so many academics were working with data brokers. It’s kind of scary! The EFF has some good points here about so-called “data for good”—and rightly brings up that ethics review boards should be thinking about this sort of thing.
link to ‘Bad Data “For Good”: How Data Brokers Try to Hide in Academic Research | Electronic Frontier Foundation’
Got happy news this morning that a paper that may be one of the most important research projects I’ve worked on has been accepted into an open access journal! Making it hard to focus on my semester prep.
Appreciate Joshs’s reflections here—espeically as it relates to disciplinary and language differences within education.
link to ‘Some Thoughts on the Open Scholarship in Education (OSE) Working Meeting | Joshua M. Rosenberg, Ph.D.’
Spent part of this morning reviewing proofs for a chapter-length autoethnography that is not going to add much to my CV but may be the most personally important thing I’ve ever written. Really excited to see this so close to print.
Two of my major projects for the summer have been updating my website and submitting my tenure dossier for consideration. One specific thing I’ve been meaning to do at the intersection of these two projects has been to include a modified research statement on my website as well as a list of my publications along with links to PDFs for all of my research, ensuring that it remains accessible to everyone.
Kiddo starts at a new school this year, so we got the chance to all go as a family today and get introduced to everything. Kiddo got to meet teachers and other kids while we filed into a meeting to fill out a ton of paperwork and learn about how this school does things. For years, I’ve been wondering when my research in educational technology (and, increasingly, critical research on social technologies more broadly) were going to become relevant as a parent with a kid in school, and it looks like it’s going to be this year.
I’m not a big fan of journal metrics, so I hate myself a little for including them in the research statement for my tenure dossier.
One of the highlights of the summer has been getting an article accepted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. This article takes as a starting point Cragun and Nielsen’s argument (also published in Dialogue) that:
what is really at play in the debate over the use of “Mormon” is legitimacy.
Cragun and Nielsen are writing in 2009, at a time when Big Love is on the air and the April 2008 FLDS Temple raid is (or was recently) on the news.
Over the past several months, the University of Kentucky has been pushing us to set up profiles on a new research analytics platform. The platform looks… fine, but I’ve been irritated with some of how the platform works and curious why UK is so keen on having us fill out our profiles. It’s felt from the beginning like this is something more for UK’s benefit than for our individual benefits as faculty.
I’ve also been thinking recently about small but important influences on my career, so it was a real treat to read Punya’s thoughts here.
[link to ‘A (Wheatstone) bridge to the past – Punya Mishra’s Web’](https://punyamishra.com/2022/07/07/a-wheatstone-bridge-to-the-past/?utm_source=rss
Just sent proofs for an article I’m pleased with to a bucket list journal, so it’s been a pretty good day.
Logging into Zotero for the first time since (early) grad school reminds me why I don’t like reference managers.
I’m happy to report that a paper of mine (in collaboration with David E. Williams at the University of Saskatchewan) has just been published in The Internet and Higher Education. We topic modeled 77,514 tweets from 59 academically-themed but anonymous or pseudonymous Twitter accounts. This resulted in five broad topics, and we followed up with a qualitative analysis of the 100 most-representative tweets from each of those topics to generate some narrower codes.
Kiddo catches a glimpse of the ref list for the research statement I’m preparing for tenure: “Why does it say Greenhalgh so many times?”
Reviewer 1 has missed the key argument and main throughline of my paper, and even though the editor says I can ignore them, it’s still making me SO MAD.
Thanks to a recommendation from BoingBoing, I just finished reading a Business Insider article describing a recent video in which Marjorie Taylor Greene:
predicted that identifying as heterosexual will be a thing of the past within a period of less than 200 years thanks to LGBTQ-inclusive sex educators, who she called “trans terrorists.”
More specifically, Greene was quoted as saying that heterosexual extinction would come about “probably in about four or five generations.
Like in many PhD programs, my comprehensive exams included an element that was intended to help me prepare for my dissertation proposal, dissertation, and dissertation defense. Building off of my research interests and experiences up to that point, my advisor wrote me a lengthy question asking me to define and describe simulation games—the intent, of course, being that at least some of this could be worked into a literature review for a dissertation.
I got word that a recent publication of mine was now published in an issue of Learning, Media, and Technology. It has actually been available online first for the past ten months, but since I haven’t been good about blogging about recent publications, I figured this was as good a chance as any to write a post about it. This piece is called “Lifting the Veil on TeachersPayTeachers.com: An Investigation of Educational Marketplace Offerings and Downloads” and is a collaboration with Catharyn Shelton, Matt Koehler, and Jeff Carpenter.
Just used the phrase ‘hashtag ontology’ in a draft manuscript, and I think that will keep me happy the rest of the day.
Do other internet researchers find themselves citing journalists to explain things like memes? Or am I just not reading the right scholarly sources?
I think it’s funny (but delightful) that my secondary area of research has gotten more media attention than what I was specifically trained to do.
Just reread “Superman Smashes the Klan” after a day that involved checking up on Gab for research purposes, and I believe more than ever that this is one of the best and most important comics of our time. 📚
One of those afternoons where I’m auditing someone’s analysis code, but it’s an analysis of 4M rows of data, so I’m also doing spurts of grading while I wait for code to execute.
Looks like it’s “I’m going to need some banana bread and chocolate chips to make it through the rest of this response to reviewers letter” o’clock.
I am not sure what I was expecting when I started looking for Mormon* content on Gab, but “we should get the missionaries on this platform” wasn’t it.
I have been a fan of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for a while, but I’m just now discovering how useful it can be for internet research 😍😍😍
Sometimes I don’t realize how excited I am about a study until I write the conference proposal for it… which then just makes me more nervous about getting accepted.
Responding to reviewer who has a specific picture in their head of what “good” edtech research “should” look like. Thus, they’re confused by things in my paper that I’m sure aren’t problems—but don’t fit that picture.
Unexpected topics in research meetings: The difficulty of choosing English translations for French swearing in your data.
Trying to do revisions on an article that isn’t my best work and that I don’t really love is haaaaaaard. I’m committed enough to the core idea to see things through, but I’m also tempted to tell the reviewers that they win and I’m out.
My first rule as a low-budget Twitter researcher is to collect interesting data first, ask (research) questions later. I have a lot of data I’ve never used, but I’d rather deal with that than a missed opportunity.
Just had a paper rejected from a special issue, but the journal has been such a pain to work with over the last 8(!) months that I’m frankly just glad it’s over.
I got a reminder today that I do the kind of research where something as hilariously unintuitive as telling a program to treat long numbers as “words made up of 0-9” is actually a critical step to making sure you get the right results.
Returning proofs for an accepted article is always fun!
I’m trying to succinctly describe a Latter-day Saint “solemn assembly” in an academic manuscript, and it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.
Have not made as much writing progress today as I’d like, but today’s progress has validated both my use of a structured folder system as a “reference manager” AND my decision to memorize the keyboard shortcut for French guillemets.
This week, I will be putting my nose to the grindstone to meet the deadline for submitting an article to a special issue whose editors have repeatedly blown past their own deadlines. 🙄
I love that I do the kind of research where I have to define terms like “hashtag” and “meme,” but I hate trying to figure out how much of a 1,000-word conference proposal to dedicate to those definitions.
Sure I scheduled a research Skype meeting for Saturday morning, but I attended in my pajamas, so that still counts as work/life balance, right? 😂😭
I’m convinced that the hardest part of any research collaboration is figuring out what software everyone uses.
It’s amazing how much French I’m learning translating students’ tweets to English for a research project. Language is so rich, and limiting it to 280 characters arguably makes it more so.
Sure, I’m eating cold leftovers (break room microwaves aren’t working), but today’s not a total wash: I got “Religion and Cyberspace” from the library and booked VIA Rail tickets from Quebec City to Montréal for an upcoming vacation.
If you’re going to get an article you’re proud of rejected on a Friday, it is comforting for the rejection to be essentially “it’s a good paper but doesn’t fit our special issue focus as much as you think it does.”
Reviewer 3 doesn’t understand why my study is important. I’m trying to find ways to articulate that better, but all I really want to do is JUST BOLD EVERYTHING I’VE ALREADY WRITTEN TO THAT EFFECT.
I never know whether to be happy or frustrated when I’m able to respond to a reviewer’s objection by resurrecting a paragraph from the manuscript that I’d previously cut to slim things down.
Oh look, it’s my favorite day of the week: “Welp-those-manuscript-revisions-are-due-today Wednesday”
It’s only taken me five months, but I’ve finally updated my Alfred “search the library for such-and-such an article” shortcut to point to my current institution’s library.
Today’s manuscript revision fun is detangling the results of a coding error that left out 3 hours and 56 minutes worth of tweets from my analysis. Just enough to make some very small differences in reported results.
Currently responding to reviewers of a journal article based on my dissertation. Feels especially difficult to make changes to a manuscript I’ve already had reviewed so many times.