This article attempts to intervene the current trend in social media research that, to a certain degree, reflects the centrality of technology. Beyond the broad trend of technocentrism, I identify and outline four other major oversights or challenges in researching the social media/society relationship, namely online data centrism, moment centrism, novelty centrism, and success centrism. Stemmed from these four types of centrism, I offer an alternative imagination, namely a set of alternative pathways in social media research that value histories and historical context, interdisciplinarity, longue durée, and complexity. By revealing these oversights, this article aims to contribute to our collective attempt to interrogate the relationship between social media and society (and technology/society) critically. This alternative imagination might help animate, reveal, and make transparent various societal dynamics that otherwise would be invisible and, thus, might contribute to a better, deeper, and more comprehensive understanding of the technology/society relationship.
An article written based on my research and the interview with me.
“Social media algorithms feed emotions–the more a post is hated or loved the higher its score and its propensity to go viral. While that love-hate dichotomy may be great for business, it’s not so great for society. Read about it in Another Take: http://ow.ly/nzFy50IxA6v“
Just published! If you’re interested in learning about the relationship between the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, conspiracy theories, social media affordances, and algorithms, then this article is for you.
I’m presenting “The Evolution of Merlyna’s a Critical Monkey’s Intellectual Freedom” (bottom) .
It was part of my last public lecture which basically attempted to provide an alternative imagination of possible career/life pathways. It’s my take vis-a-vis a (valid) critic of the state of intellectual freedom in academia by a brilliant Jorge Cham/PhD comic in 2011 (top). I think Cham’s is on point, but luckily his comic doesn’t apply to me.
~ eh, ini beneran lho dari slide kuliah umumku ~
I believe in (trying my best in) being curious, having fun, and staying critical. Also “naughty” — and becoming naughtier as I get older . And never stop to be really bothered by injustice–hey, a critical monkey can be really angry, too . No, never follow the “money” or the “safest” pathway. No, it’s not easy or smooth; sometimes you fail and/or people/institutions failed you, but speaking for myself and myself alone, I never and will never regret this choice. FYI, I am one of the lucky ones who survived academia and became a tenured professor several years ago by fully exercising my own freedom, doing research that I believed in. I hope to swing up-side-down while holding a banana when I am an emerita professor (if I ever become one someday) and grin satisfactorily when I RIP .
~ aku katanya kelakuan mirip monyet, tapi ngga suka pisang sih ~
I made an initial drawing, then my talented artist-friend Rivi Rian decorated it with beautiful viney leaves.
p.s. some grad students who took my class probably had seen this critical monkey appeared in their assignments .
Using empirical vignettes of repression against minority groups in the Global South, in this essay I introduce the term ‘dis/connection’ into the existing discourse on disconnection to illustrate how the interplay between connection and disconnection serves as a tactic and a technique of both repression and resistance.
The essay was written in its entirety during my visiting senior research fellowship in London at LSE in the Fall 2019. I thank LSE Southeast Asia for their support.
In my journey, from a little girl with red ribbons in Dayeuhkolot to who I am today, I am indebted to the generations of women before me who paved the way for all the opportunities women enjoy today. I am inspired by the remarkably brave and resilient women in my life who exist, resist, and persist, despite the patriarchy. I am proud of the next generation of women who challenge the status quo and fight for equal rights every single day.
Here’s to all extraordinary women I have had a privilege to know in my life, in Dayeuhkolot, Indonesia, Canada, and all over the world!
Carleton University’s Faculty of Public Affairs runs a story of my research, as follows:
Mobilizing Emotion, Not Knowledge
As Canada prepares for a federal election, Canada Research Chair Professor Merlyna Lim is analyzing how social media users—human and otherwise—are mobilizing emotions rather than facts.
In the months leading up to the Canadian election, Facebook accounts with names like “Trudeau Has Got To Go”, “Overthrow Trudeau”, and Justin Trudeau is an Idiot” focus on ridiculing the Prime Minister.
On the opposite end of the political spectrum are accounts attacking Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, with names such as “Andrew Scheer Is An Idiot”, “Scheer Nonsense”, and “Schmeer 2019”.
Political cartoons and jokes are an age-old tradition. But Communication and Media Studies Professor Merlyna says that in the age of social media, hateful speech and misinformation spreads incredibly quickly—intensifying the polarization within politics.