Link goes to Miro Course Board «Digital Culture»
For my ethnographic micro-research which I carried out as part of the IDEL module at the University of Edinburgh, I chose the #femedtech network because it deals with three thematic fields that also occupy me a lot: Feminism, education and technology.
Besides the Twitter account @femedtech, I found the “Open Space” with the URL https://femedtech.net/ and the website, where one can find more information about the network itself, current and past projects, the way of working, the rules of conduct in the network, but also stories, publications and calls.
It is interesting that the history of the network is documented, also the fact that #femedtech wants to realign itself again now. So it seems at the moment that the curation principle on Twitter is to be rethought. at the time of my investigation, Frances Bell was curator of the Twitter account. Towards the end, she announced that the curation model is to be revised.
I was able to investigate the network’s Twitter account with SocioViz.net for a week free of charge. My mini-investigation lasted from 15 to 21 February 2021. The data my investigation returned was:
- Overview of tweets and re-tweets and top hastags
- the actual tweets of this exact period of time as a list
- most active users
- most influential users
- top emojis
- users network
- hastag network
Overview of tweets and re-tweets and top hashtags
We can see from the diagram that a tweet was sent at least once a day during this period, namely 16 times. A total of seven re-tweets of three tweets are registered.
From the list to the right of the timeline, we can see the hashtags that have been mentioned the most. These also give an indication of what the curator in charge focused on during this period. By far the most important was the mention of the network itself with the hashtag #femedtech, which is mentioned 28 times and must therefore appear in all tweets and retweets. The hashtag #datapraxis comes in a distant second. No conclusions can be drawn here as to how many tweets it was mentioned in and whether it only appeared in the tweets of the network itself or also in the re-tweets.
Most active and most influential users
The list of most active users shows the users with the most tweets. The curator in charge, Frances Bell, has sent the most tweets. Since the other users are not curators or at least not recognizable as such, it can be assumed that all tweets are counted that contain the hashtag #femedtech or the Twitter handle @femedtech, i.e. that address their tweets directly to the network.
The list of the most influential users is headed by those who either sent the most RTs (RT = re-tweet) or who were mentioned the most.
It is interesting that the most active users are not necessarily the most influential, but that rather less active female users are high in the list of most influential users.
For example, Frances Bell, the curator and thus by far the most active user, is not included in the list of the most influential users, while @jatenas, a rather less active user on @femedtech, figures high on the list of the most influential users. Another very active person on both lists is @honeybhighton. It would now be interesting to further examine the accounts of the most influential users and to see which other networks they are in.
In general, one would have to observe the @femedtech account over a longer period of time to get reliable results on who influences the network in terms of content and activities and how @femedtech is received in the thematically neighbouring networks.
Another representation of the influence is the following:
The arrows on the display suggest directed activities, so it must be assumed that the active users mention the associated persons.
What is important for researching communities or networks are the interests or the content around which their activities revolve. In #femedtech, the following illustration shows different clusters of content that are dominant here.
The clusters are shown in different colours. Starting from “working”, two large clusters unfold: the red cluster refers to work and actors in the professional field such as “editors” or “authors” and related terms.
The purple cluster can be read as an extension or a specification of the red cluster, insofar as the professional environment is described in more detail or expanded from the perspective of the authors. Activities such as “teaching”, “identity” or “experiences” occur here. In other words, individual points of view in a professional educational environment are addressed. In further clusters, more specific aspects are mentioned that are important for the members of the #femedtech community, namely ethics, politics, gender, datasets, to name but a few, and the adjective “critical”, which also appears, reinforces the positioning as a critical network with a feminist perspective. Seen in this light, it becomes clear what Maren Deepwell meant when she referred to the members of the network as ‘activists’, a ‘hashtag community’ (Deepwell, Getting Air Podcast, Aug 23, 2019 from Mn 20:20) using the word ‘hashtag’ like ‘demonstration banner’.
Type and category of the femedtech network
With Kozinets (2018), the femedtech network can be divided into the following types and categories of communities:
For this mini-sub I have read many tweets, entries in Open Space, listened to potdasts, watched keynotes and panels, watched or listened to statements. Femedtech has a strong presence in the UK and North American edtech scene and, through its strong ties with its members, is also very active at events such as ALTc and the OER conferences. The projects that femedtech presents are also partly very ‘material’ or in the case of the quilt also first materially present, then digitally mapped. From this point of view, femedtech can be described as a network that operates in both material and virtual space and uses both spaces very actively to strengthen relationships. This is evidenced, for example, by Lou’s statement about her curation of the Twitter account while other influential members of the network were at the OER conference. She felt unable to provide adequate curation because she was not there and could perceive the same as the other members. This would be an exciting starting point for further exploration of networks and the interplay of physical and virtual social presence among members. For this reason, I place the network under ‘Insiders’. Networkers and Makers with strong ties both find themselves in the network. Influencers or ‘Insiders’ among the members enjoy high ‘centrality’.
Using Kozinet’s categorization, I would place the network under Building and Bonding. Interpersonally, strong bonds seem to be there, the network actually builds a strong pool of activists who show up at events and make connections to advance their causes.
Kozinets, R. V. (2010) Chapter 2: Understanding Culture Online in Netnography: doing ethnographic research online (pp. 21-40) London: Sage.
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