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Although the book is last year's news, it continues to hold a top position in my internal research landscape. The work leading up to it took up about seven years of my life, after all, so it's not the kind of thing you move past in a few months. And there are some parts of the book that I plan to revisit or extend in future work.



Work in progress

Meanwhile, I have a lot going on: this is a very busy year for me, research-wise. A few highlights:

- an ongoing study of how Twitter is being used by public relations practitioners. This study is using both social network analysis and content analysis, particularly with semantic networks, and is proving to be much larger (and more interesting) than I initially envisioned. I presented some preliminary results at NCA in Chicago last November, and part of the findings are slated for inclusion in a Taylor & Francis volume edited by Zizi Papacharissi;

- in April, I'll be on a panel at the BEA Conference in Las Vegas, talking about ethics and social media in a broadcasting environment;

- I will be attending ICA in Chicago this May, to present a paper that discusses issue identity as an emergent characteristic derived from both social ties and semantic content of public discussion. I will also be participating in a cross-divisional panel on Communication and Authenticity, to talk about a study of the State Department's blog, DipNote;

- I am working with Dr. Ed Palazzolo in the Hugh Downs School of Communication here at ASU to develop that last study into a journal article. This was a research project conducted under the umbrella of the Consortium for Strategic Communication (CSC);

- I have a project under way seeking to operationalize definitions of organizational identity and reputation, using semantic network analysis and concepts from complexity theory (see sidebar). The first stage of this project was recently presented at the Sunbelt Conference in San Diego, and is currently being written up into an article;

- finally (well, not finally--the list never really ends), I'm working on a theoretical paper that draws on a combination of narrative theory, complexity, and social capital to develop ideas to help understand how different forms of influence emerge and take shape. 

Several other projects are in various stages of development. So many ideas, so little time...

My full CV is available for download here (PDF file).

Other recent publications

Gilpin, D. (2008). “Narrating the organizational self: Reframing the role of the news release.” Public Relations Review 34(1), 9-18.

Gilpin, D. (2008). “Mass agrarianism: Wal-Mart and organic foods,” in Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture. Lawrence Rubin, editor. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Although not a formal peer-reviewed publication, if you're interested in a glimpse at my thoughts on social media--Twitter in particular--and public diplomacy, you can see my COMOPS Journal post about Israel's less-than-successful Twitter press conference.

Below is a presentation I gave last fall on my research interests and current projects. It's not very descriptive without the accompanying narrative, but may be of some interest.


Fractals and social complexity

Fractals, such as the one in the image above, are visualizations of iterative mathematical equations that map evolving systems. In complex, self-organizing systems, these patterns clearly reflect an underlying order. These patterns are visible in many natural phenomena, from cloud formations to tree branches to insect colonies.

Many scholars today are working to develop a social complexity theory, one that is based on--or at least inspired by--the emergent properties found in complex physical systems, but which takes human agency and other peculiarities of social systems into account.

One of my goals is to seek to contribute to this project through my research, from a communication perspective.