• Anne Schmitz
  • Heiko Kirschner
  • Andreas Hepp


This chapter examines the transnational Twitter followee-network of the Quantified Self (QS) and Maker movements. Based on a media ethnography as a pre-study, the following questions are addressed: How is the organisational elite of both pioneer communities connected? What patterns and peculiarities can be identified in terms of account types and thematic orientation? What similarities and differences exist between countries and between each community? The chapter sets out to explain the ways in which the organisational elite of the QS movement is represented as a network of opinion leaders, made up mostly of QS conference and meetup organisers with strong connections to tech entrepreneurs. The Maker movement is represented as a network of heterogeneous organisations which range from organisational accounts to tech companies, community platforms, and journalistic outlets as well as specific maker events and projects. Globally, both networks are dominated by members of their organisational elites which are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, which then go on to unfold their transnational influence. On this empirical basis, we argue that critical data studies should pay much more attention to the role played by pioneer communities and their partly invisible engagement in the global spread of imaginaries that promise to transform society through technology and data practices.


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