Visiting Scholar at Berkeley’s Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society


Two of Berkeley’s landmarks: The Campanile (in the back) and the Doe Memorial Library.

It has been a while since this blog has received an essential update. This happened mainly because I moved to the U.S. to begin my time as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. I have been here for exactly two months and will stay for almost another half a year. I also maintain blog that covers my spare time experiences and is updated more frequently – it is written in German, since it is intended for my family and friends at home.


Julian’s Databyte #3: New Research on Data Journalism. And More.

This is a new issue of Julian’s Databyte, an occasionally published compilation of links, news and reviews from the world of open data, data journalism, internet research and political entertainment.


#Aufschrei: A dynamic Co-Hashtag Analyis (Updated)

In the past weeks, I have been working together with Christian on a Twitter analyis that focuses on the agency of hashtags in political debates. Below are the slides of our talk we gave at DGPuK 2014, the annual conference of the German Communication Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Komunikationswissenschat). Update: Yay, our contribution won the “Best Paper Award” at the conference.


Rektor Pfeiffer bei einem Tee mit… Julian Ausserhofer

Bei meinem Arbeitgeber, der FH Joanneum, gibt es den so genannten Rector’s Blog, in dem Rektor Karl Pfeiffer aus seiner Arbeit berichtet. Immer wieder werden dort auch MitarbeiterInnen und ihre Tätigkeiten vorgestellt. Vor kurzem hatte ich die Ehre, auf einen Tee mit dem Rektor zu gehen. Und weil der Blog nicht öffentlich zugänglich ist, reposte ich hier das Interview.

Rektor Karl Peter Pfeiffer und Julian Ausserhofer

Rektor Pfeiffer und Julian Ausserhofer, Mitarbeiter am Studiengang „Journalismus und Public Relations (PR)“, trafen sich am Campus Graz auf einen Tee.


I Did Not Know How a Researcher Can Pack Words Like Sachertorte, #Aufschrei, Wanderlust and Paradigm Shift into Five Paragraphs. And Then I Read This Text.

I spent last summer in Berlin as a visiting research fellow at Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) (documented here and here). They now asked me to contribute to their annual report with a short account of my experiences. The challenge: It would have to include the following words: Sachertorte, fellowship, hiig, berlin, paradigmshift, currywurst, #Aufschrei, Wanderlust. This is what I submitted. 


The visiting research fellows Han-Teng Liao (Oxford Internet Institute), Ulrike Klinger (University of Zurich), me and Giovanni Navarria (University of Sydney) (f.l.t.r.) in front of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Photo: Elena Pfautsch.


Julian’s Databyte #2: Das österreichische Parteienspektrum, Ideas for Journalism Developers, a Horse. And more.

Recently, I started with a new series: Julian Databyte. This is the second edition of this occasionally published compilation of eight links from the world of data culture and beyond. Read more about the Databyte.

Here we go:

Where do you stand in Austria's domestic politics? This visualization helps you to find your place.

Where do you stand in Austria’s domestic politics? This visualization helps you to find your place.


Julian’s Databyte #1: Twitterpolitik, Datenjournalismus zur Bundestagswahl, Noah. And More.

I am starting with a new series here: Julian’s Databyte. An occasionally published compilation of eight bits (= 1 byte) of information: Links, news and reviews from open data, data journalism, digital media, politics, internet research. And: entertainment. Every Databyte will also feature pieces that are worth consuming when you look for distraction.

The Databyte is in English and German, depending on the source that it links to. I launch this series because Facebook and Twitter make it so difficult to retrieve content that you have shared a while ago. Databyte is also a tribute to the beginning of blogging, when people logged their tours on the web.

Here we go:

Screenshot from Twitterpolitik 2013.


Metaphors of Data

When scientists and practitioners try to explain matters about data, they very often refer to metaphors from the physical world. Most of the terms have been established long before the digital era, they come from commerce (“data storage”, “data retrieval”, “data mining” or “data harvesting”) and nature (“data explosion”, “data is the new oil”, “Datenberg” (in German)). Han-Teng likes to speak of “data massage”. He uses the term to describe the manual effort of getting raw data (!) into the right shape before it can be further processed.

The terminology of data is full of metaphors. And – as it lies in the nature of metaphors – they are never never precise, because the words are taken out of context, they stem from another sphere of meaning and should explain entities that are difficult to understand otherwise. For instance, the “new oil” comparison is inadequate because data is (usually) not a finite resource.


The Relevance of Algorithms and Calculated Publics

Recently, Tarleton Gillespie wrote an excellent article on “the relevance of algorithms” [PDF]. I presented a summary of his paper at the weekly journal club at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (as you probably know, I am currently a fellow at the institute). For the journal club we are not supposed to discuss our own’s work but to present one interesting publication by other researchers. Below are the slides that summarize the talk and also Tarleton’s paper.


BarCamp Alpbach: We’re live

Together with Robert and a few other engaged people I organize a BarCamp at the European Forum Alpbach. It will take place on the evening of August 14 and is free and open to everyone.

I am happy that the BarCamo Alpbach website is now online and the registration is open. Jürgen is responsible for the logo and the design. If you happen to be in the area in at the time or you haven’t made any summer plans, think about spending a few days in one of the most beautiful and active villages of the Alps.

BarCamp Alpbach