Legacy Blog

L’Icwsm rifiuta il mio paper sui social media… peccato!

A dicembre ho fatto tradurre in inglese il breve saggio pubblicato da Nova Review con il titolo Intelligenza collettiva e l’ho inviato come paper all’International conference on weblogs and social media che si terrà a Seattle dal 31 marzo al 2 aprile 2008. Ieri è arrivato l’esito della valutazione, in base alla quale lo scritto è stato rifiutato. Le motivazioni mi sembrano interessanti e meritano qualche approfondimento.

Reviewer 1
Comments to the author. The paper tries to bring academic rigorism to the debate about social media by questioning the underlying concepts and trying to build a definition that it based on both the technical and social dimensions. There might be other solutions to the question, of course, but the paper is well constructed and contributes to the discourse. Moreover, it brings in an European, esp. Italian – perspective, which might be fruitful for the international debate.
Summary. A paper woth reading that sticks to the conference topic and brings in an European perspective.
La mia reazione. Grazie, concordo con tutto 😉

Reviewer 2
Comments to the author. The paper provides a formal definition of Social media. However, a good definition would be one that is simple and clear (for example, the one provided on the Wikipedia entry for social media). It seems like the vocabulary and context used by the author might be quite different from what most social media researchers and companies would understand. Following are a few concerns with the main elements of the theory described:
* Digitization is an essential requirement and not the reason for growth of Social Media. In the photograph example provided, while many sites like yahoo photos, imagestation and others existed previously, but what is it that made flickr a pioneer example of photo sharing in social media? I think it is not just digitization of photographs but the ability to tag (and find), share (publicly and with the social network) and comment that made it popular.
* I think “Net Neutrality” has a particular meaning with respect to the ongoing debate about restrictions on broadband network service as provided by ISPs. While an interesting example, it is’nt clear how the SMS example relates to this theory.
* The analogy provided with examples of ant colonies and details of PageRank are not clearly explained in terms of how these relate to Social Media.
The paper can be improved by providing a clearer and simpler definition. It would also be more readable if a native English speaker can help edit this article.
Summary. The paper provides a new definition of “Social Media”. I find it a weak definition that does not use the same vocabulary or context that would be understood by most social media researchers or companies.
La mia reazione. A me la definizione di Wikipedia non piace perché mi sembra semplicistica: essa constata che gli utenti fanno un uso sociale dei media, ma non contiene alcun elemento che permetta di inquadrare l’argomento in modo sistemico. Ecco perché non uso espressioni ricche di fascino come intelligenza collettiva o saggezza delle folle e preferisco sostituirle con termini che individuano un quadro concettuale preciso come quello della teoria della complessità. Credo che i dubbi puntuali sollevati dal revisore siano in gran parte dovuti al fatto che la traduzione era di modesta fattura e in alcuni punti non era corretta.

Reviewer 3
Comments to the author. This paper aims to propose a social media theory. I found it interesting and informative, but in its current state it reads more like an in-depth journal article (which I believe it was originally). This paper should be trimmed down to focus more on the main thesis points, which are somewhat obscured by the narrative — perhaps the sections could even be broken down into smaller subsections to highlight key points. The paper also needs to be reformatted to fit the ICWSM guidelines, e.g. numbering the headers, correcting the parenthetical reference format, etc.
Summary. The author proposes a definition of social media based on existing literature and user behaviors, such as tagging. The paper is informative to the ICWSM community, but I believe it should be refashioned so that the elements of the theory are more clearly defined and stated.
La mia reazione. Concordo. In effetti, il formato del saggio non è quello tipico del paper accademico (d’altro canto io non sono un accademico). Allo stesso tempo, nella traduzione in inglese ho eliminato tutte le citazioni per un motivo molto semplice: la maggior parte erano tratte da traduzioni italiane di testi inglesi di cui non avevo l’originale. Sicuramente lo scritto è troppo sintetico, ma per la pubblicazione su Nova Review c’era un limite di 30.000 battute.

Reviewer 4
Comments to the author.This paper deals with a relevant topic – the search for a definition of social media. However, the way it does this is not so helpful: Existing work is referenced in a rather cursory way, and I don’t really see any new contributions. It is also a bit difficult to see just what your goals are.
The paper contains many unsubstantiated statements and unclear references. Examples on p.1: “In the last ten years …” — why ten years? What event marks the beginning of this special period? Can you provide a reference for this claim? “these people” — which people? “the postulate” — which postulate?
Some words are, I think, wrongly translated, e.g. on p.1 “…initially invested”, “we have assisted in an unstoppable substitution …” – both expressions make no sense.
Some statements need more discussion. For example, it is not clear to me at all why net neutrality should be a necessary precondition for social media – you could have a highly non-neutral network that favours, for example, one particular social group’s favoured mode of interaction (e.g., VoIP).
The references section as well as the citations in the text are in a very poor state. Please use a standard way of formatting and citing references.
Please clarify your goals and contributions in a revision for another venue.
Summary. See above.
La mia reazione. Anche qui le difficoltà nascono essenzialmente dalla traduzione (e pensare che la versione inviata alla conferenza è stata prodotta dalla Berlitz di Roma!), dal non rispetto dei formalismi tipici dei paper universitari e dalla necessità di essere sintetici.

Da un lato devo confessare di essere un po’ deluso, perché se avessero accettato il paper, allora sarei stato “costretto” ad andare a Seattle per la conferenza. Dall’altro, non posso che confermare l’utilità che qualcuno abbia perso un po’ di tempo a leggere quello che ho scritto, fornendomi il suo parere: infatti, ho trovato alcuni importanti suggerimenti per rendere più chiaro il discorso.

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