Social Media

In Praise of Peer to Peer Connectivity: Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci

Monday, March 25, 2013 Comment woman giving presentation at ars electronica 2011

Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist who uses, as well as studies, social media, offers a refreshingly rigorous and empirically-scaffolded perspective amid the frenzy of armchair social science regarding the impact of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and other participatory media. Too often, public discourse about the influence of social media, both positive and negative, devolves into a Manichaean rhetoric of utopia-or-apocalypse. While strong points of view from all quarters are necessary when new technologies are debated in the public sphere, Tufekci captured my attention by her combination of empirical scholarship, ability to tackle nuanced explanations in straightforward prose,


Navigating Privacy and User Rights Issues in an “I Agree” Era

Friday, March 08, 2013 Comment man sitting at laptop looking on facebook page

Last fall, a New York man rented out his apartment bedroom through Airbnb, a popular website for short-term stays. Unbeknownst to him, he was breaking the law. When he returned to his apartment days later, he was facing more than $40,000 in fines. Airbnb is not legally obligated to post explicit warnings on its site notifying users of the possible legal ramifications of renting rooms for short lengths of time. Instead, this information is listed deep within the terms and conditions agreement. Stories like this are becoming all too common. Tamara Shepherd, a postdoctoral fellow at


Public School Classrooms: Incubators for Social Learning

Thursday, February 28, 2013 Comment public school classrooms in urban area graffiti covering walls

What does it mean to be a teacher in the 21st century? It’s a question educators like Antero Garcia have been looking to answer since the digital media and learning initiative launched in 2006. Prior to joining the English department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an assistant professor, Antero spent eight years teaching high school English and ESL in South Central Los Angeles. While teaching at the majority-minority school, Antero took note of his students’ social connection to digital media. By incorporating mobile media devices and social m edia platforms into his formal


Social Networks Support Grieving, Healing in Aftermath of Brazilian Nightclub Tragedy

Thursday, February 14, 2013 Comment Webpage for Santa Maria killing article about volunteers supporting victims reletives

On the early morning of Jan. 27, one of the most striking tragedies in Brazil’s history took place. A fire started and spread in a popular nightclub in Santa Maria, killing more than 230 people and wounding another 116. The fire began when members of a band ignited fireworks for special effect. A spark reached foam insulation in the ceiling, quickly filling the building with toxic smoke that killed the majority of the victims. Most of the victims were young students from local universities, between the ages of 17 and 20. Almost immediately, online social networks


The Network Society After Web 2.0: What Students Can Learn From Occupy Wall Street

Monday, December 24, 2012 Comment occupy wall street banner on city building

Web 2.0 is a common buzzword used to describe social media. The term gained traction in the mid-2000s to describe a change in the way people interacted with media online. Rather than simply being passive consumers, individuals could now interact with media, by making mashups with Google Maps or leaving comments on purchases at Amazon. They could blog about issues that were important to them and interact with a community of other like-minded individuals. In short, the promise of Web 2.0 is that individuals were no longer beholden to media corporations but had gained a kind


Facebook, Public Education and Equity: A 13-year-old Fights for a “Better School”

Monday, October 08, 2012 Comment diario de classe facebook group page

Last April, 9-year-old Martha Payne created a blog to discuss the quality of the food served in her school called “Never Seconds.” In the blog, she discussed the quality (and quantity) of food available in her school using terms such as “food-o-meter” and “healthness.” The blog become an international hit and attracted the attention of several celebrities, including Jamie Oliver. Martha’s blog also increased awareness about the quality and quantity of food served in the UK’s (and the world’s) public schools, leading to several changes, including in Martha’s school. Inspired by Martha Payne’s case, Isadora Faber,


Three Conversations for Parents: Navigating Networked Publics

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 Comment young girl taking picture on her cell phone

Parenting is hard. Many parents find parenting in an era of social media to be confusing, in part because they must advise their children to make sense of spaces that they don’t understand themselves. It’s easy to be afraid of what’s new, but by focusing on technology, parents often lose track of the underlying social issues that their children are trying to navigate. In many ways, the advice that children need to negotiate networked publics parallels advice that parents have always given when their children encounter public spaces. To address online safety concerns, parents need to


Social Media Discourse: Violence, Olympiads and Our Everyday Life

Thursday, August 23, 2012 Comment person with facebook screen reflecting in their sunglasses

All the world’s attention was recently focused on the Olympic Games in London. The competition was widely broadcasted by traditional and online media, with an astronomic audience, reaching many countries. Social media became a place for discussing, commenting and cheering for the athletes. However, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook also drew the world’s attention to the spread of violence and hate through discourse. Athletes were banned from the Olympiad because of racist and aggressive posts on social networking sites. A Greek triple jumper posted on Twitter: “With so many Africans in Greece, at


George Couros: Why School Administrators Should Embrace the Social Web

Thursday, June 28, 2012 Comment shot overview of 2 students sitting in class working on laptops

By encouraging administrators to become learner-leaders, to use social media to connect with each other, share best practices and experiment, Canadian school principal George Couros is leading by example, exhortation, and instigation the people who are supposed to be leading our schools into the future. He created and regularly contributes to the website that serves as an online gathering place especially for school principals, Connected Principals, and has blogged in detail about why and how school administrators should be using social media in practical ways in their schools — linking in this one compendium post to


Should We Fear Children Accessing Facebook?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 Comment
close up of iphone with facebook loading on screen

In recent months, there has been an intense media and policy vortex surrounding the questions of when and how children – especially those under 13 – should gain access to popular online sites like Facebook. The outcome of these cultural and political conversations will have a profound effect on key components of connected learning from values such as full participation and social connection to activities that are peer-supported, interest-powered, and openly networked. The focus on age as a metric for assessing the appropriateness of children’s online interactions primarily comes from several historical sources, including alcohol and