Faculty Candidate Presentation: Emad Khazraee | School of Information | Kent State University

Faculty Candidate Presentation: Emad Khazraee

  • SLIS Classroom 332
  • Presentation Abstract — Cartography of Online Public Spaces: Political Landscape of Persian Twitter in 2013

New information and communication technologies (ICTs) have transformed our societies dramatically. In the past few years, we witnessed how new ICTs were central to any debate of socio-political movements around the world from Tehran to Tahir and from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Central. Social media and social networking sites were cited as the new catalysts of social change in these contexts. However, still controversies exist about the role new ICTs played in these movements. Studying these online spaces becomes a challenge considering the pressure of repressive cultural environments. In such environments, accessing users freely is not possible in most cases. Moreover, the scale and complexity of data requires employing multiple methods to achieve a more nuanced understanding of online publics. The presentation reports on a project for the Cartography of Iran’s online publics. The goal of the project is to use computational methods to analyze Big Social Data along with traditional information and communication research methods to collect empirical evidence that helps us to achieve a high resolution image of the public online environments in Iran. It employs research on Twitter use among Iranian users during Iran’s 2013 presidential election. Findings of this study illustrate how the political landscape of Persian Twitter differs from the Persian blogosphere (Kelly & Etling, 2008) and is more in favor of the pro-reformist camp. The study, also, reveals the structural differences in information diffusion networks between Persian and English Twitter discourse about Iran, as well as the dissimilarities in the role of various political communities and their influence on larger communication networks. Finally, findings demonstrate the potential of computational methods for understanding the information and communication behavior of social media users, in repressive environments.

Reference: Kelly, J., & Etling, B. (2008). Mapping Iranʼs Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere. Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Internet & Democracy Project, Harvard Law School.

Emad Khazraee holds a Ph.D. in information studies from Drexel University, Philadelphia, a M.Sc. in architecture from the University of Tehran, Iran, and a Diploma in mathematics and physics from the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents, Kerman, Iran. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He previously served as director of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department, Encyclopedia of Iranian Architectural History, Tehran, Iran. For more information, visit http://khazraee.com/.