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This introduction thing seems to be the rage....

Hi!  My name is Joe Eckert, and I'm a 3rd-year doctoral candidate in the department of geography at the University of Washington.  I helped found SoMe Lab* at UW (somelab.net), which is a collection of folks working together on social media research.  We formed out of a shared interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and have collected a year and a half's worth of Twitter data regarding the various protest networks.  We've managed to finagle an NSF grant that funds us to build tools for the collection and analysis of social media data -- we're nearing the alpha release of SoMe Toolkit** for the collection of Twitter data via their streaming API.  I'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you!

My own research concerns the intersection of place and social media, and utilizes digital humanistic inquiry to explore that Occupy data.  I'm interested in the ways that social media can be used to shape space and place, and the knowledge production generated from the analysis of said data.  I use digital humanistic inquiry as both a set of methods and a resistance to the "standard" treatment of social media data by some academics and most marketers.  I'm fascinated by the gap between computational exploration and good ol' face-to-face interviewing.

I'm just starting to produce my dissertation proposal this quarter.  It looks like it's shaping up to be two different analyses of our Occupy Wall Street data, using Martin's "place framing" as a theoretical starting point for my research questions.  The first will involve network analyses of different hashtags and relational groups of folks as a way of bounding topic models, seeking the negotiation of different social movement frames through social media.  The second will likely involve an in-depth qualitative interview using individual's complete Twitter streams in the hopes that I can identify meaningful tensions between the common modes of analysis for social media data and individual practice.  The second bit is pending a meeting with my advisor though. :)

I've been a bit of a geek my entire life.  I'm handy with software, and I can bungle my way through Python scripts, but I'm no hardcore coder.  (I've loved the coding discussion that's been so lively)  I'm fascinated by the potential of digital pedagogies and want to better understand their strengths and weaknesses.  I also have a pair of wonderful corgis who serve as a welcome distraction from all of this.  They have Facebook pages.

I'm kind of a geek.  Glad to be here. :)


* Pronounced "some" as in "some pig."  We needed "some name" and the joke quickly spiraled out of hand.
** We're not terribly creative with the names.

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