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

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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 Do not quote or copy any definitions from anywhere.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

Facebook removes protest events

From a news story published Sept. 11, 2017:

“Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the U.S., including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho, The Daily Beast has learned.

“A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the social-media giant ‘shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week.’ The company declined to elaborate, except to confirm that the events were promoted with paid ads. (This is the first time the social-media giant has publicly acknowledged the existence of such events.)”

This is closely related to our class topic about protest groups and hate groups organizing online and using social media to plan events and attract followers.

Now we see Facebook — possibly for the first time in this context — using its power to delete organizers’ materials.

Note also the use of Facebook ads to promote the protest events — those ads profit Facebook directly.

Blog post 3: A Twitter experience

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

You should start five days before you write the post, which is due Monday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m. You may start the required work before you read the articles. START with Step 1 below.

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

THERE ARE FIVE (5) STEPS TO FOLLOW.

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 (example)

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:

https://storify.com/macloo/internet-and-democracy-2016

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. THEY ARE NUMBERED. It’s designed to be useful. Your Storify should too.

To create your Storify easily, you should first watch this how-to video.

Blog post 2: Online activists and hate groups

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

Follow the instructions below. This week’s post is not the same as last week’s post.

After reading the two articles (and making notes, as always), you will think about these two questions: (1) What are the various goals for which activists, protest movements, and/or hate groups use online and/or social media? (2) How can other actors (such as governments, law enforcement, or the companies that control web tools and platforms) interfere with the online/mobile efforts of activists, protest movements, and/or hate groups? There are examples in the articles.

Content of the post: Using at least two specific points taken from the Youmans article and at least two specific points taken from the Holt article, discuss goals that an activist group or protest movement can possibly achieve by using online or social media, AND how each of those goals might be thwarted by outside forces.  Continue reading

Blog post 1: This is your assignment

Before you can begin writing your first blog post, you need to do two other things:

  1. Set up a new blog for this course. Read the instructions. There is a Friday deadline here.
  2. Read all of the assigned readings for the week. Two articles are assigned this week (Week 2). Find Week 2 on the Course Schedule, and you’ll see the names of the authors of the two articles there. Then go to the Ares Course Reserves and download the two PDF files. Read how to access the course readings.

Requirements (such as length) for all of your weekly blog posts are found in Required Work. Be sure to read the section under the heading “Weekly blog posts.”

Your deadline for publishing Blog post 1 is Monday, Aug. 28, at 9 a.m.

You must follow the instructions below, and then simply publish the post to your own WordPress.com blog. Continue reading