Keynote lectures

Richard Rogers - Social Media from vanity metrics to critical analytics

Date: 26.08.

In the age of social media the dominant mode of engagement is distraction. Whilst appearing oxymoronic, distracted modes of engagement have invited the coining of such terms as ‘flickering man’, ‘continuous partial attention’ and ‘ambient awareness.’ One’s engagement in social media (however distracted) is also routinely measured. Klout scores and similar are often called ‘vanity metrics’ because they measure success or ’success theater’ in social media. The notion of vanity metrics implies at least three projects: a critique of metrics concerning both the object of measurement as well as their capacity to measure unobtrusively or only to encourage performance. The second is a corrective interface project, for users are continually distracted by number badges calling to be clicked; there is a movement afoot (initiated by John Seely Brown) for so-called ‘encalming technology’. The talk, however, focuses on the third project, i.e., how one may rework the metrics. In all, I make four moves. In an application of digital methods, which seeks to repurpose online devices and their methods for social research, I propose to repurpose Klout scores and other (media monitoring) engagement measures for social research. Building upon ‘alt metrics’ for science, an alternative metrics project, I propose another one, albeit for social issue spaces rather than for science. In order to do so, I call for a change in the networks under study by social researchers, that is, a shift from the social network (with its vanity metrics) to the issue network. The change of networks (so to speak) enables concentrating on the opportunities for an alternative metrics for the social (together with social issue engagement), which I call critical analytics. Critical analytics would seek to measure the ‘otherwise engaged,’ or other modes of engagement (than vanity) such as dominant voice, concern, commitment, positioning and alignment, thereby furnishing digital methods with a conceptual and applied research agenda concerning online metrics.

Richard Rogers is Professor of New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He is Director of the Digital Methods Initiative, dedicated to the study of the ‘natively digital’ and online epistemologies. He is also the Academic Director of the Netherlands National Research School for Media Studies (RMeS). Among other works, Rogers is author of Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press, 2004), awarded the best book of the year by the American Society of Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), and Digital Methods (MIT Press, 2013) awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the International Communication Association (ICA). Rogers is a three-time Ford Fellow and has received research grants from the Soros Foundation, Open Society Institute, Mondriaan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Gates Foundation. His most recent book, Doing Digital Methods (Sage, 2019), is a teaching resource.

Minna Ruckenstein - The social life of a radar

Date: 27.08.


This talk is inspired by the social life of methods approach, joining a movement among social scientists engaging with ‘big data’ to contribute to methodological innovation and conceptual development in research and knowledge translation. In particular, it explores human-drug associations using a computational tool, Medicine Radar (, meanwhile raising questions about the ways a digital device pushes us to rethink how antidepressants are known in the everyday. The unsolicited nature of digital data not only allows the exploration of sensitive aspects of drug use shared online, but it offers them collective weight. With its computational powers, the radar promotes a mode of observation that begins by locating first-person accounts by tracing the drug and then allows the accounts to grow into a multi-first-person landscape – an n of many ones. In terms of the multi-first-person landscape, comments that mention a particular drug are of key importance, because they contain intimate knowledge of the life effects of specific drugs, adding to the analysis of recurring responses to antidepressant agencies and pill-power. Medicine Radar calls for seeing beyond the individual, giving form to the felt life effects of antidepressants and ultimately raising more general questions about medicinal agencies.


Minna Ruckenstein works as an associate professor at the Consumer Society Research Centre and the Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities, University of Helsinki. Her ongoing research focuses on digitalization/datafication by highlighting emotional, social, political and economic aspects of current and emerging data practices.

Indrek Ibrus - Modeled by metadata: study of film history networks

Date: 28.08.

The presentation discusses the ways to use metadata in audiovisual databases for studying the networks of filmmakers and films across multiple decades. In my presentation I will focus specifically on the metadata in the Estonian Film Database and the opportunities and challenges the metadata is presenting to interpret the complexities of film histories as well as the general cultural history. 


Indrek Ibrus is a professor of media innovation in Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School at the Tallinn University. He is the head of TLU Centre of Excellence in Media Innovation and Digital Culture (MEDIT). Additionally he is leading the Horizon 2020 "ERA Chair project Cultural Data Analytics" which aims at building a new analytical approach, that integrates cultural semiotics, data analytics, digital culture studies and creative industries’ studies to work with digitised cultural heritage as well as with born-digital data scraped from contemporary platforms.

CANCELED Cornelius Puschmann - Biased or diverse? Measuring algorithmic personalization in search results and news recommendations

Date: 29.08.


Cornelius Puschmann is a senior researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research in Hamburg where he coordinates the international research network Algorithmed Public Spheres, as well as the author of a popular German-language introduction to content analysis with R ( He has a background in communication and information science and is interested in the study of online hate speech, the role of algorithms for the selection of media content, and methodological aspects of computational social science.

Aleksei Kelli - Ask or not to ask: legal bases for using research data containing personal data and intellectual property

Date: 29.08

The presentation focuses on personal data and intellectual property (IP) issues having an impact on the use of research data. IP and personal data protection aspects need to be integrated to have a comprehensive data management plan and support freedom of research. It is crucial to take into account the entire data lifecycle from the collection of raw data to the commercialisation of potential knowledge-based products. Since research usually involves a broad interaction within the research community and society at large, the covered topics are conceptualised within open data and open science framework. Due to previous experience, the problems relating to language data and language technologies are used as examples.



Aleksei Kelli is Professor of Intellectual Property Law (University of Tartu, Estonia). He is Chair of Legal Committee of CLARIN ERIC (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure). Dr Kelli is responsible for the management of intellectual property rights (IPRs) of digital language resources at the University of Tartu and the Institute of the Estonian Language. Aleksei holds a doctorate (PhD in Law) from the University of Tartu (2009).

Aleksei acted as the Head of an Expert Group on the Codification of the Intellectual Property Law (2012-2014, the Ministry of Justice of Estonia). He was the principal investigator in the Programme for Addressing Socio-economic Challenges of Sectoral R&D (financed by the Estonian Research Foundation) in the field of industrial property (2017-2018) and open science (2016-2017). He has taken part in several EU and Estonian R&D projects as a leading IP, innovation, and data protection expert.