The Mobile Internet Policy Global Media Policy Section, so far…

On our other site where we are collectively contributing policy documents to the Global Media Policy website, specifically our Mobile Internet Policy section, we are starting to make some progress. There has been significant developments in the data we have collected, with each f the project’s research streams now in full swing. What this means is we have found an ever-increasing amount of policy actors relevant to mobile internet policy and have located these within a global context – inclusive of a broader set of internet governance actors. These will of course continue to develop in the coming months.

In the meantime, it is useful to visualise our work to date. Below is the sunburst representation of the policy actors involved in mobile media policy. We would encourage you to look through this static graphic here, but to also follow this through the Global Media Policy website to examine its broader position of global internet governance.


The Mobile Internet Policy section of the Global Media Policy cohort

The Mobile Internet Policy section of the Global Media Policy cohort

Week 1 of mapping the mobile health policy actors

My inner geek is tingling this morning. After a pretty big night on the data, I woke with a visualisation hangover. But the good news is we now know  mobile health data stuff.

I have established some significant methodological approaches this week given that Twitter shut down their Search API on Friday last week just after we had confirmed our approach. Essentially, I had to switch to their new Streaming API which then enabled me to construct an archive on #mHealth, #mobilehealth and #healthapps. In the seven days, we gleaned 7229 #mhealth tweets, 453 #mobilehealth tweets and 277 #healthapps tweets (total 7963 tweets). This is automatically scrapping the Twitter API now and we continue to collect the data (which is great because I just found out Gephi has a timeline function so we can track this conversation and then animate it).

So this is what the larger dataset looks like:


I then started drilling into the statistical make up of this conversation. It emerged there are 1463 communities conversing around these topics. The next graphic is really useful because we can see who the lead users are and the networks they influence (this is the cool bit)


What we can see here is the lead influencers are: @PhilippeLoizon, @Paul_Sonnier, @EricTopol and @Saif_Abed by quite a significant amount. If we drill a little further we can see the top twenty influencers of the 1463 communities are: @StefanieMastny, @RarusRarus, @JessWa21, @mobilehealth, @HealthcarePays, @NewsForToday1, @sound_wordz, @Ustabilize, @sandraproulx, @ideagreenhousnh, @pttalk, @Techlog, @bkalis, @Brian_Eastwood, @laurenstill, @danmunro, @RSpolter. #Kenratt, @Perficient_HC, @HealthStandards.

So the next step to follow is to find out who these people are within the health apps ecology as they are highly influential – well in the Twitter sphere at least.

The combined conversation around healthapps, mhealth, apps and FDA

Mapping the mobile health policy actors: Who is talking to whom on Twitter, and to what effect?

This is a methodological post on some social network analysis work we are developing for Moving Media. The premise for the SNA research is reasonably simple:

Task: Perform social network analysis around the Twitter conversations about the FDA’s proposed health apps guidelines, posted July 19th 2011:

Public brief:


Comments and Submissions:!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;dct=PS;D=FDA-2011-D-0530;refD=FDA-2011-D-0530-0001

Aim: To map the dispersed network of actors discussing the FDA policy consultation process in social media channels, visualising their relative influence and communicative relationships.

After some initial Twitter research, we found the #FDAApps hashtag to be the conversation we wanted to analyse. The only drawback is that this conversation seems to be unreachable – the Twitter API didn’t return anything although the conversation is there. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated. Following on from this I did a search across four conversations: #mhealth, #healthapps, #FDA, #apps. It is an experiment in both the methodology and the content.

Here’s the breakdown on the process (and it gets a bit nerdy from here):

1. I tracked four Twitter conversations (#mhealth, #healthapps, #apps & #FDA) and processed the data through the Twitter API, Open Refine and then into Gephi. I imported the .csv file into Open Refine to extract the @replies and the #hashtag conversations – a process of deleting much of the data and producing a .csv file Gephi likes. I then imported the data into Gephi, ran a Force Atlas and Frutcherman Reingold layout and ranked the labels by degree. I then played with the statistics slightly by running a Network Diameter across the network (Average Path length: 1.0508474576271187, Number of shortest paths: 236), which enabled my to colour the labels via their betweenness centrality on a scale of 0 – 6, Eccentricity 0-2 and closeness centrality 0 – 1.5. I then ran a modularity stat across it (Modularity: 0.790, Modularity with resolution: 0.790, Number of Communities: 18). 18 communities!


2. I did this for each set of data, that is #mhealth, #mobilehealth, #healthapps, #apps and #FDA. Each process provided a visualisation that demonstrates the key conversation hashtags and the most significant people in those conversations. Here’s the preliminary analysis:

#healthapps conversation

#healthapps conversation


#FDA conversation

#apps conversation

#apps conversation

#mhealth conversation

#mhealth conversation

3. I then combined the cleaned data of the four conversations together to create a ‘super set’ to understand the broader ecology of the policy discussion around mhealth and health apps.

The combined conversation around healthapps, mhealth, apps and FDA

The combined conversation around healthapps, mhealth, apps and FDA

Preliminary analysis: What we know (and this is my first critical analysis of this process – it could change as I become more aware of what is going on here):

  • The conversation between the FDA and healthapps is stronger than the other two topics due to its location in the network
  • @Vanessa_Cacere is the most prominent twitter user in #apps (she often retweets our tweets too!)
  • @referralIMD is prominent in #mhealth
  • @MaverickNY is prominent in #healthapps
  • The bluer the colour of the actor, the closer they are to the topic – ‘closeness centrality’
  • @Paul_Sonnier [] is extremely significant in the overall conversation – ‘betweenness centrality’
  • There are some other probably other significant terms here like #digitalhealth, #breakout, #telehealth, #telemedicine
  • It sucks some CPU processing power
  • The healthapps viz did not work so well, and I’m not sure why.

The limitations as of now:

  • This isn’t the #FDAApps conversation from July 2011 on, this is the mhealth conversation of the 28 May 2013
  • I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to construct an archive from events past – I need to look into this further
  • I think I can code a program that pings the Twitter API automatically every 20 seconds and then automatically adds it to the dataset. If I can build this, we can start tracking data from now on issues/conversations we think are important. I am manually doing this now, but it is really laborious.
  • There is conversations around #apps in general here too. A proper analysis will likely need to clean the raw data further to eliminate any inaccuracies of the representation

Any input on this process would be greatly appreciated and if you have any insights on the findings, please comment below.

This week in apps – a summary of the mobile phone application ecology

Original image by Sean Macentee published under Creative Commons

Each week, the mobile application ecosystem presents new and exciting possibilities to entertain, share information and communicate. From apps that wake you, waste time, develop your communication or promote your productivity, we are witnessing an ever-increasing marketplace of apps that are published across several platforms (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows etc). Alongside these possibilities of new media technologies are the emergent concerns of how to adequately manage and regulate the potential challenges of mobile applications. This is one area the Moving Media research project is exploring, presented through a weekly series of ‘this week in apps’ – a series that provides a quick snapshot of what has been happening in app development, publishing, privacy and policy. This week in apps will also include the most recent developments in mobile news diversity, mobile health apps (mHealth apps) and locative media.

As user habits shift across mobile media, for example one in four teenagers now access the internet via their mobile phones, a dynamic business environment emerges. Nokia has partnered with the Harvard Business School on an Indian based app incubator to “boost mobile app development on the Nokia Lumia and Windows platforms”. Facebook has bought Parse, to not as first thought develop a Facebook phone, but to boost the development of what will become the centre of Android phones, Facebook Home. Social gaming company King has overtaken Zynga to become the largest global social gaming organisation. In the business world, there are growing demands for enterprise apps as the bring your own device (BYOD) movement gains momentum.

There have been recent developments of apps in news diversity, mHealth and locative media. Four recent news apps continue to challenge the news aggregation market. Increased connectivity of households and their Internet of Things, presents an increase of apps to control IoT devices resulting in increased revenues for niche app developers. It is predicted that mobile health applications will increase by 70% annually, however there are concerns over the slow adoption rate of these technologies. And while some are touting that Apple has revolutionised mHealth, others are focussing on specific advancements in apps to improve disease management.

Chatty apps seem to be the flavour of the month, where for the first time chat apps messaging has overtaken SMS texting, with some potentially shady bug issues.

If you’ve ever wondered how to create your own Android app, here’s a fantastic 101. However, other developers are approaching app building from a holistic perspective by employing RAD Studio XE4 to produce apps for multiple platforms. Heroku (US cloud app platform) has emerged in the open data arena by providing tools and hardware resources for developers. Shifting from developing to publishing, have you ever wondered about the politics of publishing your app through an app store? Here’s a great article on how the politics of app publishing can be improved. And while Samsung has recently blocked access to its app store in Iran, Google have implemented new policy to disable developers bypassing Google’s Play Store when updating apps.

New app development and the code used to access them across various devices also gives rise to privacy concerns. As many users are still unaware of their personal details being shared by applications, the FTC have launched an enquiry that challenges the privacy policy of apps. Likewise, there is significant pressure for the FDA to start regulating mHealth apps.

Early days with Global Media Policy

The kind folk at Global Media Policy (GMP) have been busy helping us develop our section on their site and we are happy to announce we have our very own space, the Mobile Internet Policy section.

As the research develops in the Moving Media project, we will contribute ‘profiles’ to the GMP site, including People, Organisations and Actors, Policy Documents and Resources to align with the taxonomy of the existing site. The objective of contributing our research findings to the GMP site is the additional profiles will highlight how the governance of mobile media and communication intersects at a global level. For example, after entering three Organisational Actors into the Mobile Internet Policy section, Apple Inc., Nokia Corporation and the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA), we can visualise how these three stakeholders interact with each other AND how they relate to other media and communication governance sections. Currently we have five visualisations available to us: List, Sunburst, Dendrogram, Network and Arc.

There is a great deal of work to develop and a significant amount of data entry required, but we have the early developing stages of a rigorous research collaboration. To start things off, here is the first visualisation we have extracted form the GMP site:

Beginning of the research

Beginning of the research

Aims of Moving Media

Aims of Moving Media

Internet and mobile media technologies are at the heart of the transformation of traditional media. Internetworked, personalized, portable media, such as smartphones and e-readers, are central to new expectations held by consumers of media and communications. Such media are becoming pivotal to participation in society, education, work and commercial life — and in Australia this importance will consolidate with the development of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Thus mobile Internet will have a cardinal influence on media industries, political and societal arrangements, and Australian society.
To realize the potential of mobile Internet, and indeed digital media technologies generally, there is a need to ensure emerging networks and platforms provide all citizens equitable, inclusive means of representation, and participation in public life. Appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks are critical in securing this goal of participation. This is an international challenge with which researchers and policymakers alike are currently grappling, heightened due to the pace of technology change, the closely associated yet still little-understood dynamics of user innovation, and the fundamental changes to the role of nation-states in policy, law, and regulation.
Equally challenging, and to date the subject of little research or systematic deliberation, is the manner in which mobile Internet — in particular — appears to profoundly expand the domains, modes of policy, actors and processes of deliberation and engagement with publics. Reaching above and beyond traditional media (press, broadcasting) and relatively established newer media (telecommunications, Internet), mobile Internet is an important part of the expansion of the concept of media to encompass a much wider range of technologies and settings.
Against this background, Moving Media aims to:

  • identify and theorize new kinds of media centring on mobile Internet;
  • map traditional and non-traditional institutions, actors, and modes of deliberation and engagement shapingpolicy, regulation, and standards for mobile Internet;
  • evaluate whether consumers, users, and citizens are adequately engaged in media policy processes relevant tomobile Internet;
  • gauge the scope and significance of potential challenges to realizing mobile Internet as a cultural and mediaplatform for all citizens;
  • offer new options for media policy adequate to the challenges of mobile Internet presents.

Moving Media is a comprehensive study of mobile Internet, how the infrastructures are evolving, how people use these convergent technologies, and how traditional and new modes of media policy respond.