Social Media

Wikimedia and the Future of Public Media

Monday, May 17, 2010 Comment animated castle with boy walking towards it

As of this week, I am officially part of Wikimedia’s advisory board. I’m super excited to be part of the Wikimedia team and community, and am feeling rosy about the promise of all I will learn and hopefully even contribute. Like hordes of other net users, I rely on Wikipedia almost daily as my outboard brain, a taken-for-granted benefit of living in a networked age. I’ve made some edits and contributions to Wikipedia along the way, but mostly I’ve treated it as a public resource there for the taking. When I visited Wikimedia a few months


A Digital Native Reflects on the Concept

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Comment teens sitting on stairs texting during school

There is an assumption that digital natives are naturally predisposed to understanding how to use computers and technology, just because we grew up with the Internet, texting, and emailing. I’m 21 years old, I am a so-called digital native, but my experience has been that the concept of digital literacy is far more meaningful than the concept of digital native – and it has little to do with age or any broad generational differences. Yes, most of my college-age friends know how to operate a computer and navigate online. But they come to me if they


Harassment by Q&A: Initial Thoughts on Formspring.me

Monday, April 26, 2010 Comment young black male struggling sitting on the ground in front of locker

Questions-and-answers have played a central role in digital bonding since the early days of Usenet.  Teenagers have consistently co-opted quizzes and surveys and personality tests to talk about themselves with those around them.  They’ve hosted guest books and posted bulletins to create spaces for questions and answers.  But when teens started adopting Formspring.me this winter, a darker side of this practice emerged.  While teens have always asked each other crass and mean-spirited questions, this has become so pervasive on Formspring so as to define what participation there means.  More startlingly, teens are answering self-humiliating questions and


The DML Field: Listening to Critical Voices

Monday, April 12, 2010 Comment Painting of 20 learn

Often the emphasis in Digital Media and Learning is on K-12 education, and so social computing practices in higher education frequently receive less attention from researchers.  A recently released five-year Mellon Foundation study on “Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication,” analyzed data from 160 interviewees in seven academic fields (and included data from an additional five disciplines from the research planning phase).  The work spanned 45, mostly elite, research institutions, and ultimately concluded that not much has changed in faculty attitudes about where, and in what media, they publish scholarly articles and books, despite the


“Scaling John Seely Brown” and the “End of Endism”

Monday, April 05, 2010 Comment teacher staring at chalk board equations

I recently had occasion to talk on the phone with someone whose posts on education and social media I follow with interest on Twitter.  ToughLoveforX (his Twitter name) is a retired printer whose scan of the educational horizon in the digital age is as eagle-eyed as that of anyone I know.  I follow him on Twitter because I know that, if I click through to one of the url’s he posts, I’m bound to find something good.  When I asked him what he would do, if he could make one monumental change that would have an


Facebook’s Games: Emerging Sociality

Monday, March 22, 2010 Comment painting of butterflies

Raquel Recuero is a professor of linguistics and communication in Brazil, and a researcher in social media and Internet culture in South America. The content of this post is based on her recent research about Facebook’s role-playing games. Social networking games are typically regarded as “casual” in the sense that they don’t require players to become so addicted to them, or to invest a lot of time in order to be enjoyed. Game mechanisms are simpler, allowing users, in many cases, just to point-and-click and the rules aren’t complex. Thus, one would doubt that RPGs (role


ChatRoulette: Devil Incarnate or Accessible Public?

Monday, March 15, 2010 Comment roulette game

It’s easy to see new Internet phenomena and panic, especially when the technology in question opens up a portal to all of the weird parts of the Internet.  This is precisely what is happening around ChatRoulette, a new peer-to-peer webcam-based video chat site. Although the site was built by a 17-year-old Russian high school student to connect with other teens, nearly every adult who has visited the site runs screaming that this is a terrible space for young people.  In some senses, they’re right.  But the more that they panic and talk about how bad this


Information & Convergence: Twitter’s Practices in Brazil

Thursday, February 18, 2010 Comment Talk twitter banner in spanish

Recent data from Hubspot showed that Twitter’s growth in Brazil is slowing down, but it is definitely in the mainstream population. Its role and its profile have grown, and more and more TV shows, magazines, and other media are using the tool in significant ways. The recent edition of “Big Brother Brasil” (a reality show where ordinary people are confined to a house under 24-hour camera surveillance – link in Portuguese) is one of the most popular programs in Brazil. It is using Twitter so that the participants can communicate with the outside world. One of


Public by Default, Private when Necessary

Monday, January 25, 2010 Comment person shadow behind window

With Facebook systematically dismantling its revered privacy infrastructure, I think it’s important to drill down on the issue of privacy as it relates to teens. There’s an assumption that teens don’t care about privacy but this is completely inaccurate. Teens care deeply about privacy, but their conceptualization of what this means may not make sense in a setting where privacy settings are a binary.  What teens care about is the ability to control information as it flows and to have the information necessary to adjust to a situation when information flows too far or in unexpected


Social Networks and Civic Mobilization in Latin America

Monday, January 11, 2010 Comment christalk tweet #projectoenchentes

Translation of the Tweet: “People with more than one thousand followers: RT (Retweet) is a good way to contribute with #projetoenchentes (flood relief in Brazil).” Access to the Internet as well as social networking sites has been growing steadily and rapidly in Latin American countries, despite economic impediments. It is increasingly common to hear discussion of the growth of social network sites such as Facebook in Argentina. In one month, between October and November of 2009, the number of Facebook users in Argentina grew 10 percent, by 3.9 million users, to a total of 39.3 million,