INFORMATION WORLDS: BOUNDARIES AND INTERSECTIONS IN THREE ONLINE SETTINGS

Gary Burnett, Jisue Lee, Jonathan M. Hollister, Julia Skinner

Abstract


This paper reports on a collaborative endeavor that applies a single theoretical framework, the Theory of Information Worlds (Jaeger and Burnett, 2010), to three independent research projects investigating three online environments. In its broadest outlines, this endeavor aims to develop a qualitative codebook rooted in the theory that can be applied equally in all three projects, and to identify situations where coding must be more specific to individual projects.
The projects investigate discursive and information sharing practices in three settings:
1. The use of Twitter for political interaction and information sharing during election cycles in South Korea.
2. The use of visual “memes” on Facebook pages related to the Occupy and Tea Party movements in the United States, and the extensive discussions in response to those memes. And
3. The intersection of information behavior and digital literacies in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs).
In particular, this paper examines political discourse in these three settings in light of one of the core concepts of the Theory of Information Worlds and the ways in which politics function both as a point of intersection and a boundary between the online settings and the outside world.

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