Blog post 9: Remix culture

This week’s “reading” is the video documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto (1 hour 28 minutes) AND a 10-minute TED Talk video. The links are on the Course Schedule page. Watch both videos and make notes before you begin doing the activity.

This week you are going to make a video. I encourage you to use the grammar and principles of remixing as much as you like.

Please be very careful NOT to use TOO MUCH of someone else’s work. I say this not only because of copyright concerns but also because my motivation is to see you think for yourself. If you are going to “quote” (copy) a big portion of someone else’s work, you are wasting everybody’s time (we could just go to the original — why do we need you to quote for us?). I want to see YOUR ideas and YOUR creativity. Do not use 5 photos from one source — use ONE. Do not use more than 30 seconds from one video — better to use 5 or 10 seconds. Continue reading

Blog post 8: Digital outlaws

This week’s articles are difficult. I will not apologize for that. You signed up for graduate school, after all! You are supposed to struggle with new ideas that are challenging to understand. Through that struggle, you learn. These articles present such ideas.

Ideas in these two articles sit at the core of changes occurring in democratic societies — which are, of course, bound up with the market economy, which is bound up with digital technologies.

Read both articles thoroughly. I expect you to look up and research ideas you are not familiar with — for example, historical materialism and technological determinism. You can’t really understand Söderberg’s article if you don’t know what those terms mean. So research them! Continue reading

Blog post 7: Foreign policy and the Internet

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

After reading the two articles (and making notes, as always), your task is to find an opinion column or editorial (Op-Ed) or analysis at a news website that you can use as a case for your discussion of the two articles. For example, a case might concern the U.S. reaction to censorship of free speech on the Internet in another country. (That is just one example. Your case does NOT need to include censorship.)

Both of the assigned articles discuss U.S. foreign policy and the Internet. Each article is really about a distinct aspect of U.S. policy regarding use of the Internet and other nations. You need to read both articles carefully before you will understand this distinction. Make sure you can state clearly — in one or two sentences — what each assigned article is really about, in a way that makes obvious the difference between them. Continue reading

More things about algorithms

Here’s the brand-new series of articles about algorithms, published by investigative powerhouse ProPublica (very relevant to this week’s topic!):


Here’s the Khan Academy course about algorithms (in class, I showed the first video from this course, which gives examples of various kinds of algorithms):


Also shown: Google Trends and Explore Google Trends; and FAQs about trends on Twitter.

We mentioned “brute force” algorithms (e.g. for winning at checkers) vs. machine-learning algorithms, which were necessary for this amazing achievement: How the Computer Beat the Go Master (March 2016).

Blog post 6: Viral online media

Three articles are assigned this week. One is very short and NOT academic! It comes fromBuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti — so read it. Find all of the articles in the Course Schedule and the two journal articles on Ares.

Step 1. Read all three assigned articles (and make notes, as always).

Step 2. Find a case in which a media item “went viral” online. It can be any kind of media (video or any other). It can be commercial, advertising, news, p.r., or personal. Some things (often videos) go viral by accident. Other cases might be part of a deliberate campaign. However — NOT ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE. We all know that one. Also, NOT KONY 2012. That is also very well known. Continue reading

Blog post 5: Algorithms and their consequences

Two articles are assigned this week. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

Content of the post: There are three parts. Complete all three in your post.

Part 1: How would you explain algorithms to a young child, around 8 years old, so that she could understand them? Do not quote or copy any definitions from anywhere. Use your own words and write out this explanation. Continue reading

Blog post 4: Privacy in a digital world

Two articles and one video are assigned this week. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

After reading the two articles and watching the complete video (and making notes, as always), your task is to apply what you read to the privacy policy of a website or web service that you have used more than once. This might be any kind of social media site — it might also be a shopping site or another kind of online service.

This assignment will probably be more meaningful if you select a site or service that you really like or depend on. In other words, investigate a privacy policy that really, truly applies to YOU, yourself! Continue reading

TED Talk by Wael Ghonim

This is the video I mentioned in class, in which Wael Ghonim discusses how the Internet must change to support social change in the world. Wael was mentioned in the Week 3 readings as the well-known creator of the Facebook page “We Are All Khaled Said,” which helped to unite Egyptians in a mass protest during the Arab Spring in 2011. Thanks to Osama for this link!

An added note: In an article I like very much, scholar Merlyna Lim expands on the “We Are All Khaled Said” example:

Previous movements in Egypt “had already created a basis for a mass political action. Indeed the story of Khaled Said can also be read as a culmination of the longstanding online campaign against torture waged on blogs such as Wael Abbas’s Egyptian Awareness, Nael Atef’s Torture in Egypt, and Bloggers Against Torture. However, the critical new important element introduced by the “We are all Khaled Said” movement was a strong symbolic representation, an iconic figure to fight against the authorities” (Lim, 2012, p. 241; boldface added).

Think carefully before you claim that one blog or one hashtag started a movement! There is often a long history of activism before the spark that lit the fire.

Blog post 3: A Twitter experience

This assignment is very different. You will need to start working on it as soon as you can!

You should start at least five days before you write the post, which is due Monday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m.

Read the two assigned articles for the week before you start writing your blog post. Each article is quite different from the other.


All steps are required for this assignment. Do all five steps below. Step 5 tells you what to include in your post.

STEP 1: Create a new account at Twitter, or use one you already have. You MUST use your own Twitter account for this!

Read or scan the Terms of Service (feel free to comment on any parts that impress you favorably or unfavorably, but that’s NOT required).

STEP 2: IMPORTANT! Choose at least 10 NEW people to FOLLOW. Make sure each of them is tweeting regularly (check their timeline before you follow them!). These 10 new people must NOT be friends of yours. You can choose any type of person, but NOT people you know in real life. NOTE: Follow individual people, NOT BRANDS or COMPANIES. Continue reading

My Storify for my presentation

As part of your topic presentation grade, you will create a Storify so that others in the class can easily access your resources. Here is mine:

NOTE: If you viewed my Storify on Monday morning, it’s possible you saw an earlier draft version that was incomplete. It has been fixed.

Pay close attention to two things:

  1. The value added by my carefully selected resources. It took many hours to find these. They were not the first thing in Google. For every resource included in my presentation, I probably read or viewed 10 others and rejected them.
  2. The outline format in my Storify. It’s not my whole presentation. It’s not my Powerpoint. But there is enough to jog your memory so that you can find a resource that you saw during my presentation. It includes my five points. It’s designed to be useful. Your Storify should too.

In order to create your Storify, you should first watch this how-to video.