Andreas Annotated Bibliography

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Annotated Bibliography

[Steve's notes: great to see an annotated bibliography. Given the nature of your project I would like to see some scientific research on the claims these writers make. What work has been done and how much of this is theory or anecdote? We all have instincts about what is happening to our attention spans &c, but what empirical information exists on this?]
[Andreas: see updated Bibliography #6-8]

1) Beschleunigung und Entfremdung: Entwurf einer kritischen Theorie spätmoderner Zeitlichkeit / Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity by Hartmut Rosa

#Themes: Sociology, Political Science, Contemporary Sociology

Hartmut Rosa argues that that social acceleration by the mechanisms that shape society: technical expansion, pace of life, and social change. He starts by explaining time is per- and conceived. He compares it to the term of velocity in Physics and states that Social velocity is a change in a society’s position (or state) over time. Therefore social acceleration is change in state over time over time. It’s this acceleration and its meaning that Rosa seeks to define. He is making an overview of individual accelerations in technical expansion (from 0 to Internet in 50 years), the pace of life (most poignantly how most people have acclimated to rampant multi-tasking) and in social change (i.e., a culture’s change from conservation to progressive and back again over the course of a few years).

However he argues that the growth of human societies has boundaries in the form of natural geophysical, anthropological, and biological limitations in both the species and the universe. Therefore the acceleration can not take place to infinity.

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • it reflects on everybody’s lives: what is being invented, done and perceived

2) Essential McLuhan by Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone

#Themes: Communication theory, Mass-Media, Media Ecology, Culture Criticism

The book includes essays, letters, interviews, aphorisms and excerpts from McLuhan’s books, and the editors have selected and organized the material for maximum clarity.

The perspective that McLuhan presents in line with vision and objectivity gives insight to the interactivity that is involved in the process of decoding meaning from word. The process of deciphering visual codes and analyzing them has a productive, imaginative element to it. Writing, therefore, is regarded as a technology that provides that medium in which symbols are put together to produce words, and words provide meaning. This act of producing meaning, either through writing or reading, is an interactive process through which senses are extended to create environments by ways of association. Environments, after all, are made up of human associations. Sounds echo, McLuhan observes, and thoughts develop; senses extend and become part of the environment. It is the togetherness, the extension of human senses, that determines what would become of environments.

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • Throws the light on nowadays reception of information

3) Wasting Time on the Internet by Kenneth Goldsmith

#Themes: Social Media, Reception of Information, Journalism

Using clear, readable prose, conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s manifesto shows how our time on the internet is not really wasted but is quite productive and creative as he puts the experience in its proper theoretical and philosophical context. When people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos or clicking link after link after link, Goldsmith sees that “wasted” time differently. Unlike old media, the internet demands active engagement—and it’s actually making us more social, more creative, even more productive.

Kenneth Goldsmith is setting up an interesting hypothesis: he is claiming, that people do not read less in overall, but the omnipresence of digital media is causing the opposite. He is stating that daily news, Facebook statuses or the fast Twitter notification on the smartphones are making everyone read more, like no print medium would have been able to. That is why the amount of reading would have even increased; only the way of reading has changed. (Goldsmith, 2016, p. 4)

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • Throws light on nowadays reception of information

4) Software organism BA Research Project by Susanne Janssen

#Themes: UI/UX, Reception of Information

Susanne Janssen was researching the experience of software, as well as user-interfaces. She tried to dissect this complicated subject into a video, with the aim to create accessibility and raising a discourse.

She is claming that the User has a desire for immediacy. Apple responded to this immediacy with flattening its Interface (since the introduction of the Aqua-themed GUI in 2000) in an attempt to gain neutrality. A false neutrality as she calls it. ‘The user-interface makes us feel like we are in control of our device, by clicking, dragging and saving, while at the same time it is the design of the interface and software behind it that decides for us what we can do.’ (Janssen, 2019)

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • picks up on Quintilians idea, that a selection of information is simultaneously a manipulation of information

5) Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

#Themes: Psychology, Decision-making, Judgement

The central argument of Kahneman is that there are two types of thinking: System 1 that is fast, intuitive and emotional and System 2 that is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman is describing a series of experiments, that show the differences between the two thought processes and is showing how both systems often end up in different results.

The System 2 is often quickly ‘lazy’, ‘busy’ and ‘exhausted’. The author is describing the phenomenon of ‘Priming’ of different viewpoints through specific stimulus words. He is describing how the cognitive easiness is supporting specific unreal thought-processes. He is also showing how the brain is coming to premature conclusions simply because of incomplete or false informations (the halo-effect: ‘What you see is all there is’ – WYSIATI). He exposes the extraordinary capabilities, and also the faults and biases, of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. He reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. On the topic of judgmental education Daniel Kahneman also researches how difficult it is for the brain to think statistically on the basis of quantity. He argues on heuristics that individuals usually replace questions that are hard to answer with questions that are easier to answer.



Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • shows how easy it is for humans to swerve away from rationality
  • helps on regaining focus: how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble
  • bringing in both his own research and that of numerous psychologists, economists, and other experts


6) Shell Youth Study 2019 by Mathias Albert, Klaus Hurrelmann, Gudrun Quenzel and Kantar Public

#Themes: Psychology, Decision-making, Culture Criticism, Mass-Media

The 18th Shell Youth Study 2019 is based on a representative sample of 2,572 young Germans aged between 12 and 25 who were interviewed personally by trained Kantar interviewers regarding their living conditions and their attitudes and focus. The survey was conducted between early January to late March of 2019 on the basis of a standardized questionnaire. Two-hour, in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 young people in this age group as part of this qualitative study.

8% of young people consider themselves to be very interested and a further 33% consider themselves to be interested in politics. Thus, although the interest is slightly lower compared to 2015 (41% compared to 43%), it is significantly higher seen from a long-term perspective compared to 2002, 2006 and 2010.

But how do they gather their knowledge? In the meantime, the majority of young people obtain information about political topics online. News websites or news portals are at the top of the list (20%); many also refer to social media content, i.e. to relevant information sources in social networks, messenger apps (14%) or on YouTube (9%). Although television is cited as a source of information by 23% of young people, 15% use radio and 15% also use traditional print media. However, the Internet and social media have now outstripped traditional media as the place to intentionally search for political information. However, traditional media sources still enjoy the highest trust levels. The vast majority consider information broadcast by ARD or ZDF television news to be trustworthy. The same applies to the large national daily newspapers. On the other hand, nearly half of all young people describes YouTube as less or not trustworthy. In the case of Facebook, the figure is even more than two thirds of young people who do not trust information offered on this platform. Similarly, Twitter is only trusted by a minority.

Very interesting is the fact that reading books, and especially magazines in their leisure time, is less important to young people today than it was just under 20 years ago. The Internet is by no means merely an entertainment medium for young people. For them, communication comes first: 96% check into social media at least one per day (messenger services or social networks). Although 76% go online at least once a day for entertainment purposes (be it music, video streaming, gaming or reading posts from people they follow), 71% also search for information at least once a day (general, school, education or work, or about politics and society).

The findings set out in the qualitative part of the Shell Youth Study show the extent to which digital content permeates the everyday lives of young people. For many young people, this starts when the alarm on the smartphone placed right next to their bed awakes them and continues when they then grab their phone and use it to access additional content. And it often ends at the same place, i.e. in bed in the evening, when the latest social news is exchanged once more before drifting off to sleep. In this context, the smartphone is a universal everyday device onto which a multitude of applications can be loaded. Discussions with young people show that there are large differences are already apparent within the 12 to 25 year-old age groups: Initial experiences with the extensive use of digital content are being made earlier and earlier. The older adolescents experienced the advent of the smartphone themselves at an early age, whereas younger cohorts have practically never known a world without them. Today’s generation grew into the digital world intuitively and collectively - it was ‘all around them’.

Whats App has become the communications network of choice in recent years: It is indispensable if you want to stay up to date in social circles. All young people surveyed use it - even respondents concerned about data protection, and no one knows anyone who does not use it or a similar service. Whats App is used to make dates and responses are expected quickly in the case of meet-ups. As a rule, young people have between 30 and 50 contacts, and they chat regularly with between five and 20 people. For relationships, and especially in the case of long-distance relationships, Whats App aids in relationship maintenance. Most young people communicate with their parents via a family chat. The number of messages increases dramatically by virtue of one or more group chats. The second most important platform is YouTube. Videos are watched or shared, or music is listened to and series are watched along with documentaries and news. All young people google - on average four to five times a day - to answer spontaneous questions.



Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • shows how youth is gathering knowledge
  • talks about media reception
  • but does not yet connect the (dis-)interest in politics with media usage

7) Is Facebook Making Us Dumber? Exploring Social Media Use as a Predictor of Political Knowledge by Michael A. Cacciatore, Sara K. Yeo, Dietram A. Scheufele, Michael A. Xenos, Dominique Brossard and Elizabeth A. Corley

#Themes: Psychology, Decision-making, Culture Criticism, Political Knowledge, Mass-Media

A study, released 2018 by a research team led by Michael Cacciatore of the University of Georgia, finds the more people rely on their Facebook feed for news, the less politically knowledgeable they are. ‘A greater reliance on social media and Facebook specifically for news might serve to depress knowledge levels. This is particularly important given the growth of news sharing and consumption through social media.’ (...) ‘The analysis revealed that, while Facebook use itself failed to predict political knowledge scores, HOW Facebook users engaged with the platform was a significant predictor of knowledge,’ the researchers report. ‘Increased use of Facebook for both news consumption and news sharing purposes was associated with lower political knowledge levels.’ The reasons for this aren't clear, but the researchers offer some plausible explanations. The first and most obvious is ‘selective exposure’—the notion that "users who rely heavily on Facebook for news purposes are specifically selecting agreeable information from like-minded individuals.’ In other words, their goal is to feel good, not learn new things—hence their lower level of knowledge. Two other possibilities: People who spend a lot of time on Facebook are spending less time with traditional news sources, and thus missing out on important information; and social media encourages people to engage in emotion-laden ‘hot button’ issues, rather than nuts-and-bolts information about how the government actually operates. While these findings are troubling, Cacciatore and his colleagues offer some reasons for hope. They note that people who had Facebook accounts for longer periods of time also tended to have higher levels of political knowledge. While they could simply be older, it's possible that, ‘as people become more familiar with Facebook, they become better equipped to sift through the vast quantities of data available on the platform, making knowledge acquisition easier.’

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • can knowledge be linked to exposure of digital-/social media?
  • talks about media reception

8) How Americans Navigate the Modern Information Environment by Norman Bradburn, Jennifer Benz, Brian Kirchoff, Emily Alvarez, David Sterrett and Trevor Tompson

#Themes: Psychology, Decision-making, Culture Criticism, Political Knowledge, Mass-Media

A study conducted January 2016 by the University of Chicago’s NORC shed some light on how Americans navigate the Modern Information Environment: Eighty-one percent of Americans believe it is easier to find useful information today than it was five years ago. At the same time, 16 percent report they are often overwhelmed by how much information comes to them, and another 62 percent say the amount of information they get can sometimes be too much. Information habits and attitudes do vary based on a person’s age and education, but there are relatively few differences by race, ethnicity, or gender. And when it comes to party identification, partisans differ more from independents than they do from each other.

Notes on how this text could be relevant to my research:

  • shows information habits
  • talks about overwheling infobesity

References

ALBERT, M., HURRELMANN, K., QUENZEL, G., KANTAR Public, Shell Deutschland Holding GmbH (2019) Jugend 2019 eine Generation meldet sich zu Wort.. 1. Auflage. Weinheim: Julius Beltz GmbH & Co. KG.

BRADBURN, N., BENZ, J., KIRCHOFF, B., ALVAREZ, E., STERRETT, D., TOMPSON, T. (2016) How Americans Navigate the Modern Information Environment | NORC.org [WWW Document]. norc. URL http://www.norc.org/Research/Projects/Pages/how-americans-navigate-the-modern-information-environment.aspx (Accessed: 03 November 2019).

CACCIATORE, M.A., YEO, S.K., SCHEUFELE, D.A., XENOS, M.A., BROSSARD, D., CORLEY, E.A., 2018. Is Facebook Making Us Dumber? Exploring Social Media Use as a Predictor of Political Knowledge. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 95, 404–424. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699018770447 (Accessed: 03 November 2019).

EAMES, C. and R. (1953) A Communications Primer [online]. Available at: https://archive.org/details/communications_primer (Accessed: 23 May 2019)

FLUSSER, V. (2000) Towards a philosophy of photography. 1st ed. London: Reaktion Books

GOLDSMITH, K. (2016) Wasting Time on the Internet. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers

JANSSEN, S. (2019) Software organism BA Research Project [online]. Available at: http://www.susannejanssen.eu/software-organism-ba-research (Accessed: 07 October 2019)

KAHNEMANN, D. (2013) Thinking, Fast and Slow. 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ROSA, Hartmut. (2016) Beschleunigung und Entfremdung: Entwurf einer kritischen Theorie spätmoderner Zeitlichkeit. 5. Auflage. – Berlin : Suhrkamp