From the Crowd to the Cloud: Social Media in the Obama Administration
Elizabeth Losh, University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, May 5, 12:30 pm Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor RSVP required for those attending in person (email@example.com) This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET.
This talk builds on recently published research about the struggles of government agencies as Internet content-creators. Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes chronicles the failures of the Bush administration to use social media effectively and to observe the conventions of new digital genres when engaging in the rhetorics of e-government. Although the Obama administration is often praised in comparison for its mastery of such many-to-many computational media, its use of proprietary third-party commercial social network sites and applications dependent on cloud computing technologies raises questions about the permanence, transparency, neutrality, and continued accessibility of the public record in the digital age. “From the Crowd to the Cloud” looks at the government’s use of sites like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and considers the policy issues involved in reaching out to the public in this way.
Elizabeth Losh is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication , and Mistakes, which analyzes four trends in official rhetoric: public diplomacy, social marketing, risk communication, and institutional branding. She writes about institutions as digital content-creators, the discourses of the “virtual state,” the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices. She has published articles about videogames for the military and emergency first-responders, government websites and YouTube channels, state-funded distance learning efforts, national digital libraries, political blogging, and congressional hearings on the Internet. Her current book project, Early Adopters: The Instructional Technology Movement and the Myth of the Digital Generation, looks at a range of digital projects in higher education and the conflicts between regulation and content-creation that universities must negotiate.