Digital Methods Winter School Program

The Meaning of Engagement - Digital Methods Winter School 2017

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Winter School on Critical Analytics entitled, the Meaning of Engagement. The format is that of a data sprint, with hands-on work on engagement metrics in digital journalism and NGO political campaigning, and a Mini-conference, where PhD candidates, motivated scholars and advanced graduate students present short papers on digital methods and new media related topics, and receive feedback from the Amsterdam DMI researchers and international participants. Participants need not give a paper at the Mini-conference to attend the Winter School. Bring your computer. 

Given the medium's power to distract and produce continuous partial attention, the term engagement appears oxymoronic when discussing online attention. However, “user engagement metrics” on the web, such as unique visitors, click-throughs, page views, duration and returns, have been joined by social media measures as likes, shares, comments, liked comments summed to indicate most engaged with content. In Google Analytics an entire vocabulary and set of measures exist to capture varieties of engagement types. More conceptually the idea that content enlivens and animates, continually, has led to distinctions between liveness and liveliness, where the latter would be considered more meaningful engagement. Whilst there is thus the question of when there is only an appearance of engagement and when one is truly engaging, we are also interested in disengagement, leaving the scene. Is the online making one more of a remote observer than an on-the-ground actor, as political engagement theorist have discussed over and again in terms of slacktivism and clicktivism. Are there techniques to grasp content and activity that lead to apathy? The accompanying data sprint will seek to work with engagement metrics (and create others) to capture the meaning of activity, inquiring into when one is fully, multiply or otherwise engaged, with data from online media organisations (and selected new-form journalism) as well as campaigning by NGOs.

Digital Methods Program

Classes are interactive and web-intensive. (Photo: Anne Helmond)

Course information:

  • Dates: 9 - 13 January 2017
  • Application deadline: 17 November 2016
  • Academic director: Richard Rogers
  • Academic level: all graduate levels - Master's, PhD candidates and professionals/scholars
  • Credits: non credit or 6 ECTS 
  • Field of study: New Media and Digital Culture
  • Location: Faculty of Humanities, Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, Amsterdam

Tuition fee

  • Non credit course & credit course: € 695

How to apply

For application details please visit the Digital Methods website below. 

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