Social Media and Violent Behavior

Monday, October 20, 2014

Desmond Patton | Rowell Huesmann

University of Michigan

Twitter is one of the most heavily researched topics in computing research. Facilitated by the openness of the Twitter platform, many of these studies take a “big data” approach that analyzes large scale patterns of participation on Twitter. The drawback of this approach is that it collapses people into nodes in a network. I present a case study in which I describe expressions of aggression online from Gakirah Barnes, a female African American gang member from Chicago who was recently murdered and went by the Twitter handle Tyquanassassin. Currently we know very little about the online identities of urban youth and what we do know is often poorly understood within the research community today. Social Scientists have conducted in-depth ethnographic research about the lived experiences of urban youth for decades. This research explores how chronic exposure to violence and trauma may influence aggressive communications online.

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