Love Amsterdam like XO

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I have just returned from an awe-inspiring two-week trip to Amsterdam where I was enrolled in the University of Amsterdam’s Digital Methods Summer school.

The focus for this year was : Geolocation: Remote Event Analysis (Mapping Conflicts, Disasters, Elections and other Events with Online and Social Media Data)

The course involved a combination of new skills acquisition (umm, Gephi graphs!), deep data dives, and inspirational talks, all culminating in weekly research projects we worked on in groups. The first project we did was on the political discourse surrounding the world cup looking at how activists were ‘hijacking’ the official hashtags and platforms. This reminded me some of Clay Shirky’s Political Uses of Social Media classes at NYU. Man if only I had known about google scrapers then.


The second project we did was The City as Interface, where we worked with geosocial media platforms (such as Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Meet-up, and Geocaching) to determine what kind of Amsterdam they present. Using digital research methods (like an awesome Pinterest crawler built by one of my teammates) we were able to identify the parochial and the public spaces of the city.

Not sure how far I’ll get with my skint knowledge of CatoDB in building complex geodata visualisations on my own – but I now know more than I did before. So, all in all, it was an awesome experience.

Here’s to the eternal student life!

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