15:30 - 16:00
Eratosthenes for the 21st Century: Inventing Cyber-Social Geography

Short thesis

Social media networks have meaningful and somewhat stable macro-structural topologies, which constitute a kind of terrain subject to mapping and dimensional analysis. Therefore one might view “sociocultural terrain” as organized in two intersecting planes: geographic and cyber-social. Throughout most of history, the geographical plane was where people associated, organized, traded, and struggled. In the 21st Century, the cyber-social plane is rapidly becoming equally if not more important as the dynamic locus of human relationships.


What the Audience will learn: In today’s world, the major forces in politics, culture, and commerce struggle for control over cyber-social terrain. From emerging youth subcultures to state-sponsored propaganda, the battle for social influence begins in social media and online conversation: the Networked Public Sphere. Dr. Kelly will show how advanced machine learning and large-scale network analysis can be used to understand how these forces seek and achieve their power, looking at a number of cases across various platforms — from hate speech, extremism, and Fake News, to activism, cosplay, and 12th Century Persian poetry. The focus will be on how 21st Century analytic technologies are required to reveal the true power of 21st Century media.