Digital Speaker

[SPEAKER] Can you see me? for #PremDac16

This morning I have a breakout session at the Premier Digital Conference on “Can you see me? Who or what do people see through what you create online? How open and vulnerable should we be when creating in the digital space?”.

Who or what do people see through what you create online? How open and vulnerable should we be when creating in the digital space? A huge topic which encourages you to think about who you are online, what you contribute to the conversation and our culture in general through your digital interactions – shares, likes and created content. How does openness and vulnerability work, and how do we balance it with wisdom as to what to share? How does the digital open up space for new conversations, good and bad, and new opportunities to contribute to the world?

Slides here:

#PremDac16: Can you see me? with @drbexl from Bex Lewis

In the afternoon, I’m on a panel about responding to hate online – for which I crowdsourced a few ideas from Facebook.

Digital Reviewer

#EmptyShelf 2016 #41: Memes in Digital Culture by Limor Shifman (MIT Press, 2014)

memes-digital-culture-shifmanAs I continue to move my PhD towards publication at a very glacial pace, my reading is focusing around the notion that Keep Calm and Carry On would not have become such a phenomenon without the ‘digital revolution’ – so I’m looking at memes, sharing, what makes things viral, etc. First up, Limor Shifman, Memes in Digital Culture.

This is a really small and readable book, but packs a really strong punch in the material that it deals with, including a finish in recommendations for research directions that could be taken to move such research forwards.

For someone who has been deeply embedded in digital culture since 1997 (particularly deeply since 2009), many of the examples that are given – including Gangnam Style, The ‘Pepper-Spraying Cop’, planking, Grumpy Cat, Occupy Wall Street, are incredibly familiar, but with a lot of theoretical and contextual background indicating how these may have ‘caught’ the public attention.

The importance of intertextuality is highlighted, with most memes blending pop culture, politics and mass participation in interesting ways – thus requiring familiarity with a large number of things to be effective/catch mass attention. As with Second World War propaganda – 1930s theorists had already indicated that they would only be successful if they ‘canalise a pre-existing stream’, Shifman indicates “only memes suited to their sociocultural environment spread successfully’.

As with much conversation related to technology, users have often been constructed as helpless in the face of technological (viruses) – something which Henry Jenkins et al have challenged. Rosaria Conte suggests that people should not be ‘treated as vectors of cultural transmissions, but as actors in the process’, intentionally making decisions subject to social norms, perceptions and preferences.

In a digital era in which it is easy to copy ‘as is’, it is questioned why people bother to adapt and change designs. A key quote: “In an era marked by ‘networked individualism,’ people use memes to simultaneously express both their uniqueness and their connectivity,” as they actively ‘construct themselves’ online. There’s a huge amount of useful information in this short text, but I’ll leave you with another quote re the difference between a meme and a viral: “Whereas the viral comprises a single cultural unit (such as video, photo, or joke) that propagates in many copies, an Internet meme is always a collection of texts.”


[BOOK REVIEW] Sharing our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media, by David R. Brake

An25679_book-review-sharing-our-lives-online-by-david-r-brakeother book to add to the wishlist, particularly related to my interests on identity (online):

In Sharing our Lives Online, journalism scholar David Brake explores many of the potential harms from self-disclosure on social media. Through a combination of his empirical research on personal bloggers and a theoretical framing of the micro and macro influences on our everyday use of social media platforms, he provides a compelling account of the risks of online communication conducted in an absence of interactional cues, alongside examining the ways in which technologies are constructed to lead us to disclose more than we may think.

Read full review.

Digital Event Life(style) Speaker

[SPEAKER] Restoring Confidence in the Truths We Believe

Today, in my capacity as Director of BIGBible, I’m speaking at the Christian Resources Exhibition on ‘Restoring confidence in the truths we believe’ – taking a ‘just be’ – including in the digital spaces – angle. I’m on at 1.45pm:

Restoring Confidence in the Gospel: Restoring confidence in the truths we believe from Bex Lewis

#BIGRead14: Kindness

Image Source: The Worship Cloud
Image Source: The Worship Cloud


Beautiful words today (and read by a friend who has kindly offered me her sofa on several occasions…:

Although I am grateful,
I rarely appreciate the kindness of others
as deeply or as warmly as I should.

I love living in a digital age much of the time, so many opportunities to share with people … (and I’ve just shared much of the train journey down to Taunton with a delightful set of people .. only thing is we were in the quiet coach, so maybe we weren’t being so kind to others)!

Time to Share - Ornate Clock

Maggi Dawn

Looking at the story of Nicodemus, and considering whether it may have a meaning that all faith must be publicly declared, or whether Jesus is open to meeting us in the ways that we can manage. A warning to be aware of the language that we use ‘Christianese’, and to think of those we’re talking to if trying to explain any of these things that they may ask us about.)