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A Speculative Exploration of Digital Upstandership:Proposing a new form of social mobilization through the digital manifestations of individual upstandership

Ge, Geanna (Yutong) (2023) A Speculative Exploration of Digital Upstandership:Proposing a new form of social mobilization through the digital manifestations of individual upstandership. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Ge, Geanna (Yutong)

The extensive integration of technology into everyday social media has brought many socio-political complications as well as improvements in the social welfare of historically marginalized minorities. On the one hand, easy access to Twitter has encouraged citizens to expose authority’s malpractices such as police brutality to hold them accountable openly, conveniently, and directly. On the other hand, default social media algorithms continue to abuse paid advertisements to overflow user content for profit. Regarding the latter, the technicality of technology, necessarily of its complexity, is subjected to the digital manipulation and exploitation of ordinary users. For instance, tech companies abuse user trust in their platforms’ default settings to implant machine learning algorithms that harvest user data as well as reinforce user addiction. From algorithm control to interface design, social media giants have mastered the art of user conditioning and attention manipulation to best serve their self-interest which, like any other corporate, prioritizes profit making over the social welfare of the common. Such conflict of interests inevitably limits the social agency of ordinary individuals on centralized social media platforms. Underlying concerns about contemporary social media practice fuel skepticism about social media’s adequacy of facilitating serious socio-political debates.
Acknowledging the above concerns in its digital context, this thesis presents a series of speculative designs combined with this written argument to critique the issues from passive bystandership as it advocates for active forms of digital upstandership. Upstandership, described by Marshall, is “the practice of standing up to social injustice, cradled in trust of society and oneself” (2022). Building on this definition, this thesis explores the potential of social empowerment for online communities through digitalized upstandership. Since cyberculture derives from the real-world discourse, an improvement of the social space online in itself is an improvement of that of the offline world as well.

Date: 1 April 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital Upstandership; Dencetralized Social Networks; Digital Exploitation; Machine Learning Algorithms; User Conditioning; Selective and Incidental Exposures; Attention Manipulation; Contemporary Social Media;Speculative Design;Digital Bystandership;Social Empowerment; Marginalized Welfare; User Experience and Interfaces Semiotics; Interactive Sculpture; Graphic Design
Divisions: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Date Deposited: 01 May 2023 21:08
Last Modified: 01 May 2023 21:08
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4011

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