Zooming into an Information Community

SP16: INFO-200 Sec 10 – Inf. Comm – Blog Post #7

It has been illuminating to take a deep dive into one particular information community. The information community of Instagram Users, while niche, is also quite large and global. It has made me consider the specific needs of a given community and their information seeking behaviors. Understanding how and where people look for information is at the core of an information professional’s world, no matter which career path they’re in.

Researching a specific community made me think about user experience in a new way. I can apply personas to the various types of Instagram users and think about what their needs might be. I try to keep abreast of current intellectual property, copyright, & privacy news. Applying these news topics to a case study is helpful in making the more abstract legal concepts more tangible.

data visualization
A radial plot visualization showing 23,581 photos uploaded to Instagram in Brooklyn area during Hurricane Sandy (29–30 November 2012). via Zooming Into an Instagram City

I’ve enjoyed some of the more recent research about Instagram, like Manavoich’s that uses computational analysis and visualizations to learn more about social and cultural patterns of Instagram users. I think this kind of research can be used to think more broadly about social media use and sharing online in general. It is also validating to see metadata, even in its most disposable form, being used to create context and guide scholarship about its content. Looking at demographics from the Pew Foundation and how they change over time gives me a deeper understanding of who the users are. Some of the more academic writing on network theory and information dissemination was also helpful in contextualizing my research.

I can take the ideas and concepts from my explorations in this class into my work in museums by thinking of how various people, audiences, information communities search for images. Working with metadata means constantly thinking about how to connect the information (images of artworks) to those who are looking for it (visitors, curators, conservators, etc.) By immersing oneself into the world of one particular information community, you gain additional perspectives different from your own.


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Category: INFO200

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