Social Media Narrative:
The Rutgers Camden Digital Studies Center
Facebook, November 16 - 21, 2016
U ntil the lab's closing , Cathy Marshall was a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, Silicon Valley. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department at Texas A&M University. Before joining Microsoft, Cathy was a hypertext researcher at Xerox PARC at the dawn of the Internet era. She has given keynotes at WWW, ACM Hypertext, Usenix FAST, TPDL, and numerous other meetings and conferences.
Recent papers include: Marshall, C.C. and Shipman, F.M. "Exploring the Ownership and Persistent Value of Facebook Content," Proceedings of CSCW 2015, New York: ACM Press. Marshall, C.C. and Shipman, F.M. "An Argument for Archiving Facebook as a Heterogeneous Personal Store", Proceedings of Digital Libraries 2014, IEEE Press, September 2014. Marshall, C.C., 'Social media, personal data, and reusing our digital legacy", in Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, D. Hawkins, ed., Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, 2013.
Who Owns Social Media Content?
I'm not much of a Facebook user, so posting to a group like this makes me even more nervous in these nervous times.
Ironic, that, because one of my major projects has been to investigate possibilities for archiving social media (beyond the Library of Congress's effort to archive Twitter).
In particular, an odd biographical investigation of the life of Joan Vollmer, the common-law wife William S. Burroughs (the woman he accidently shot and killed in Mexico City in 1951) has driven me to speculate about the archival value of Facebook. I've needed to consult all kinds of ephemera to do this research, to reassemble her life from the scant traces someone who is not famous leaves behind.
Reactions to archiving Facebook are mixed. Should Facebook (and its kin) stay ephemeral and always mutable? Is it private and too personal? Is it just too much, too uncurated and uncuratable?
As a longtime hypertext writer and researcher, I've watched even published digital works disappear (sometimes because we're too busy creating more), let alone some of the more transient and particular forms we're talking about on this panel (Deena brought up the realm of marginalia and notes, two of my favorite forms of ephemera).
Transcript of Cathy Marshall's conversation