viernes, 18 de octubre de 2013

ANDREA MICONI

En este nuevo curso que acaba de comenzar, nos proponemos seguir abriendo el Máster y el Doctorado en Comunicación Social a profesores de otras latitudes, cuya presencia nos parece de interés para quienes participan de este posgrado. 
Nos visita en los días 23 y 25 del corriente el profesor italiano Andrea Miconi, que imparte docencia en la Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM y cuyo perfil profesional pueden conocer a través de esta página: 

Con este profesor están programadas dos actividades a las que les invitamos: una conferencia que impartirá el miércoles, 23, a las 16:00hs, en el aula 402 y un coloquio sobre el mismo tema de la conferencia el próximo viernes, día 25, a las 13:00hs. en el aula 01A

Resumen de la conferencia del día 23:

Concentration and Power on the Web - Full Abstract

Let’s go straight to the point: are Web 2.0 services – blogs, social media, communities, and all the environments we usually refer to as participative and free – really democratic? Whether it is due to structural or accidental factors, it seems evident that new hegemonies are taking place inside the horizontal pattern of the Internet, at the point that nobody can still imagine that this pattern will eventually lead to a horizontal reconfiguration in society at large. On the contrary, we could question if the Web as such is a participatory, egalitarian and democratic structure, by analysing some new founding coming from both historical evidence and empirical research.
In the last few years, in fact, the discovery of the power-law nature of the Web has opened up a new field of research, revealing that in the real networks, such as the World Wide Web, a majority of sites with a very few links coexists with a few highly linked nodes, or “hubs”. In other words, the power-law structure is the mathematical demonstration of the inequality, intended to be the main rule in the Web development.
This new field of research is now focused on the concentration mechanisms by which the most valuable resources of the Web cluster around a small number of nodes: most of the traffic, an increasing number of documents, and, above all, the number of incoming links (and, consequently, the hierarchical ranking as determined by Google’s algorithm). The most delicate aspect of the matter is, however, not so much the power-law distribution of links, which has already been widely investigated, as the impact of this structural inequality – the so-called “predicable imbalance” of the Pareto Principle – on the Web surfing behaviour, which, a little less predictably, appears to be subjected to increasing levels of concentration. Being the Internet affected by a huge concentration of resources, eventually, the way the people use the Web is revealing to be unequal and non democratic in its turn.
Let’s consider the case of Twitter, the well-known “microblogging” platform, first released in 2006, and now very popular. A recent study conducted on 260 million tweets showed that 0.05% of the user population attracts over 50% of all attention, following a statistical distribution that, with alarming symmetry, reflects the general consolidation of Web traffic around a few major hubs. In the case of Twitter, however, this result is not so surprising: Twitter is in fact a micro-broadcasting platform where, as other studies show, “the top influentials are retweeted or mentioned disproportionately more times than the majority of users”, following a power-law distribution of information. It is instead more interesting to examine what happens in other Web domains, which are supposed to be characterized by more democratic and horizontal modes of participation. For this purpose, I am here going to consider about forty studies related to three Web environments, in ascending order of size: open source communities, where people cooperate in order to create. and distribute free software applications; Wikipedia; and finally the blog system.   

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