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Weeks 9 and 10: Oral Presentations and Finishing Net Smart

I think our intense focus on peer review during Week 8 is going to pay off when you submit the final drafts of your Unit #2 projects; I hope you feel the same way. Next week, we will enjoy your mini “Ignite” presentations, then you’ll have a well-deserved break while I attend a professional conference.

Since I’ll be traveling for most of next week, I’m taking this opportunity to share our plans for the coming two weeks. You’ll be completing some of this work while I’m gone, but if you have any questions, I will be available by email. Here’s a quick overview of the next two weeks:

  • On Monday (10/22), your finished Google Site for Unit #2 is due before you come to class. In addition, your PowerPoint file for Unit #2 should be submitted no later than Sunday night. Please review the evaluation criteria and the assignment details for Unit #2 before you submit your project. In order to fit all of the presentations into a single class period, we will try to start a few minutes early, so if you can get to class by 10:50 or so, that would be great. (If not, just sneak in the back door to the lab.) Here is the presentation order we will follow on Monday: Dylan, Alex, Katie, Augusta, Marcus, Ashley, Brooks, Kyle, Sarah, Liana, George, Ethan, Joshua, Erin, Jonathan, Molly, Astleigh, Eric, Chelsea, Eli.
  • On Wednesday (10/24), I will be gone, so we will not meet as a class. However, the reading assignments for the following two days of class are substantial, so I would encourage you to get a jump on the readings for Week 10.
  • On Monday (10/29), we will discuss Chapter 4 in Net Smart (pp. 147–89) and “What Is Collaboration Anyway?” in The Social Media Reader (pp. 53–67). Before you go to sleep on Sunday (10/28), please leave a comment on this post pointing to something from the reading assignments that you want to discuss in class. After our discussion, I will introduce Unit #3.
  • On Wednesday (10/31), we will finish Net Smart, so please read pages 191–253 before you come to class. If time allows, we will spend part of class completing a hands-on workshop for Unit #3. Update: Remember to bring your ranked list of four topics for Unit #3.

And that will take us through the end of October. If you have any questions about these plans, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Posted in Weekly Updates
21 comments on “Weeks 9 and 10: Oral Presentations and Finishing Net Smart
  1. Eli says:

    “Extraordinary collaborators have no qualms about pinging–or reaching out via electronic means–to others to ask for their participation. . . . Of course, it helps to have a good sensibility about who to ping when. . . . That’s why extraordinary collaborators develop a kind of internal collaboration radar, or sixth sense, about who would make the best collaborators on a particular task or mission.” –Net Smart, page 157

    Is there a particular amount of time collaborators should consider devoting to seeing if they can trust others? Should they try it for a week, a month, or even a year before they decide if a particular person is trustworthy or not?

    • Johva says:

      I believe that the amount of time varies based on the innate willingness of a community to cohere with the ideals of another community, since not everyone within a particular “clique,” such as a group of wildlife enthusiasts, will agree with the ideals of, say, a community of mining engineers (Rheingold 206). Collaboration between two conflicting communities isn’t completely absurd, of course, but achieving a state of complete and mutual understanding would likely take longer than if two, complementary communities were to try and collaborate, such as a group of local businessmen and a group of local lawyers. It also depends on the extent to and frequency of which “network bridges” within one community extends either directly to the desired community or to networks similar to that desired community (Rheingold 205). Essentially, the greater the “commonality” and trustworthiness is (155)–established by “bridge people” via either a few strong “ties” (edges) or a plethora of weaker ones, the faster those groups proceed through the steps of networking, coordinating, cooperating, and, finally, collaborating, at which point both communities can come to wholly rely on–”trust” in–the other (203-204).

      –Quoting Net Smart.

  2. Ethan says:

    “When we moved away from self-sufficiency and began working together, combining our knowledge, the consequence was far-reaching: We created things we could not and do not understand, from cordless mice to urban metropolises.”
    -Net Smart pg. 147

  3. Augusta says:

    “Knowing a bit about evolutionary psychology, the sociology of collective action, and theories of game mechanics can prepare your mind-set, but only participation and direct experience can truly hone online collaboration literacies” (Net Smart, 159).

  4. Molly says:

    “To create a synergy betweeen personal knowledge management and collective knowledge management. You have to connect people and find information sources, then filter, select, and categorize information for your own purposes. You have to decide which information to accumulate personally, to store or memorize. When you do this, you can share your personal knowledge with knowledge communities through social bookmarking or blogging or Twitter. When you tweet a URL, you usually include a brief commentary. The comments you share should help people categorize the knowledge you are signaling.” – Net Smart bottom pg 160

    This quote put into visualization of how intricate the web can be and yet at the same time all of this happens so quick and new connections are made every second from one end of the world to the next. We can’t possibly calculate the impact we have on any one person at any one time with our interactions on the internet.

    Also how would it feel to be known as the man who created the internet? Tim Berners-Lee is one person I think would be fantastic to have a conversation with.

  5. Victoria Zigadlo says:

    Toward the beginning of Chapter 4, Rheingold mentions the idea of the “tragedy of the commons,” but then procedes to talk about websites (like Twitter) that are very much corporations and businesses, but just happen to FUNCTION like a common, community resource. My question is, can we really consider these sites a ‘commons’ when they are managed by for-profit companies? In theory, bad marketing and management of sites like Twitter could cause them to crash. Similarly, how much input do community members truly have on the Twitter ‘rules of use’ and other such things that Rheingold mentioned as essential for ‘institutes of collaborative action?’ (page 151-152).

  6. Marcus says:

    “Without tone of voice, facial expression, and body language, text-only online discussions srip a surprising amount of emotional context from the cues we use to surmise what other people really intend. It’s easy to mistake mild sarcasm online as a personal attack, leading to what old-timerscalled flame wars, and that abound to this day in social media forums of all kinds.” Net Smart pg. 164

    First of all, it really isn’t that surprising. But I agree. I wonder, though, how you could minimize these ambiguities to contribute helpful content. Or how you could use these ambiguities to your advantage. I fear that because something like sarcasm and probably many other modes of language are difficult to pick up in text, we are a bit limited to a more scientific dialogue. That is, a mode that is much more direct. Its hard to be passive, ambivalent, vague, and effective all at once and sometimes that is crucial.

    • I have to agree with Marcus here. I don’t find it surprising at all that we as a society tend to get upset or misinterpret text. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I have run into multiple occasions where there have been miscommunications where I have to explain myself when the communication only involved text. And I think this is the biggest downfall of the Internet and online communication. Yet, this is why I believe that nothing will ever replace face-to-face communication.

    • Jonathan Roberts says:

      As writers and thinkers, though, it’s important to be able to show the tone and voice you mean through writing. It’s hard to completely insure that nobody will misinterpret this, but that’s something we should all strive for online. Through tone, font, design, etc. we develop a tone for the things we post online. If we’re a member of a social community, too, we start to develop a report for our own credibility. Through that reputation and our own writing, we can do a better job of telling people what we mean to say and try to reduce the times that people misinterpret what we say.

  7. Sarah says:

    “If there’s one literacy I’m qualified to talk about from hard-earned personal experience, it’s what the old-timers would have called netiquette—the norms of behavior that were once propagated among the Internet pioneers in order to make life less stressful and more productive for everybody. The first norm was: PAY ATTENTION BEFORE YOU JOIN IN. Sample the stream of comments daily for a few days to get a sense of a blog community, chat room, and discussion board” (Net Smart, 163).

    I don’t think there is a netiquette way of having communication via the Internet anymore. While Marcus said it’s hard to read specific tones of language; the Internet today really has no limitations on what is posted, or even more specific how it’s posted (depending on the providers professionalism & reputation). By getting to know your site before you start clicking through and streaming it, users should know what type of language and tone is being portrayed. You can’t exactly compare literacy (lets just say via Twitter) and what the New York Times may post compared to what you might read from NBC News Tech. While both sites portray similar literacy’s, as an active user, I am able to navigate and compare their differences actively. Whereas a new user wouldn’t be able to detect.

  8. Ashley Seager says:

    “As collaborative action can have more than one intent, it can also have more than one repercussion” (58, The Social Media Reader).

    The collaboration part of the chapter was a little gray section, maybe that can be a topic for class?

  9. Kyle says:

    On page 54, Mandiberg discusses Stephen Colbert’s amendment to the Wikipedia entry on elephants as an example of what Wikipedia called vandalism. What exactly defines vandalism, and if collaborative effort is so restricted, what is the benefit of collaborative editing? Where is the line drawn between contribution and vandalism? What are the implications of a seemingly open site that can at the same time lock an article from editing, and if fact-checkers see the need to so vehemently correct articles, why don’t they just write them themselves?

  10. Brooks says:

    “Extrapolating from the thirty-six other primates, Dunbar predicted that the mean group size of a socially stable group of humans is 147.8 – a figure that is borne out by census data of village and tribal societies and also happens to be approximately the size of basic military units.” (Rheingold-Netsmart, pp 150)

    The number 147.8 begs the question of whether or not being on all the time is a good thing or not. Does being connected all the time mean that we all have reached the maximum potential of our social sphere? Have we exceeded 147.8 and gone overboard for the optimal amount of people we should know? 147.8 is an interesting number as it seems about right for the amount of people any one person can maintain a relationship with, but even I don’t know where to begin in measuring that…I have trouble keeping up with 10 people at a time.

    My biggest thought is that if 147.8 is truly an optimum number of people to be grouped together, then being “on” all the time must result in a person reaching maximum community potential no matter what, and that by being so connected, being “on” is a major benefit to mankind whether people are ultimately distracted or not.

  11. Astleigh says:

    Picking up where Victoria left on, on page 153 the question is presented about what each of the following means: coordination, cooperation, and collaboration. These three elements seems to make up the author’s concept of “collective action.” So as users of the web and all its seemingly endless resources and possibilities, what do those three terms mean to us and we use/interact with the World Wide Web?

  12. Alex says:

    “Small talk and idle chatter build trust and lubricate collaboration.” NetSmart, p. 155

    This is true not only in “real life,” but also in the virtual world. It may seem superfluous, but it is necessary in building relationships.

    • Katie Winand says:

      It really is crazy how sometimes just a Facebook chat can turn into a group, or a group’s wall feed can help get something accomplished that otherwise would have never gotten done. Some of the pages that I use on Facebook to list and purchase things for my farm rely incredibly heavily on collaboration and communication, without those two things nothing would actually get done.

  13. George says:

    Social Media Reader, pg. 59

    “The nonhuman quality of networks is precisely what makes them so difficult to grasp…The basic connection in Facebook is referred to as ‘friendship’ since there is no way for software to elegantly map the true dynamic nuances of social life. While ‘friendship’ feels more comfortable, its overuse is costing us richness of our social life.”

    I never really thought about it, but think about how many social media sites can relate to the basic connection of a friend on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram: followers. FourSquare: friends. Linkedin: connections. What does friend truly mean though? I guarantee you, all of those who you are friends with on Facebook you wouldn’t call your friends in the real world. But there really isn’t another way to describe a connection more simply. There isn’t any form of human qualities available for those using social media networks, therefore the friend connection is the most plausible to go by. I do agree that friendship is a comfortable term, but I don’t necessarily think that it costs us richness of our social life. It all depends on the person. Your social life can be very rich, depending on your reasons for using social media and how you’re able to discard only using it for social purposes.

  14. Eric Avissar says:

    “To me, the difference between an online social network and a community has to do with the quality, continuity, and degree o f commitment in the relations between members. This comes down to whether participants care about each other and are willing to act on their feelings. If I didn’t show up online for a while, would anyone knock on my physical door to see if I’m ok (Net Smart, p. 163).

    This was a very interesting excerpt which helped me understand what online communities I am a part of, and which are actually just networks. I believe that a community to a degree must go beyond just the online relationships, but also extend to a personal level, in person as well. Of course, this is not possible in global online forums, but having relationships that extend beyond the web generally make for a stronger form of a community.

  15. Liana says:

    Bouncing off of Marcus and Sarah…same general section, p. 164:

    “Without tone of voice, facial expression, and body language, text-only discussions strip a surprising amount of emotional context from the cues we use to surmise what other people really intend … assume goodwill. If it seems to you that someone else is directing a negative communication your way, … assume that the lack of social cues is causing you to misinterpret…”

    I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. The description of communities here (also, his point just before this one about quietly asking people how the community works and that people who rebuff n00bs aren’t worth joining) seems very idyllic and very late 90s message board style.

    The internet has lots of awesome things and nice people, but it also has a lot, lot of just plain trolls. Instead of just mentioning “flame wars” as a silly antiquity, if Rhinegold wants us to be literate online, shouldn’t he teach us not to feed the trolls? There are corners of the internet that are honestly just giant balls of trollish and negative speech. While I strongly believe their speech–even if it’s anonymous–is and should be protected under the First Amendment (even if I don’t like it), I don’t just blindly go around assuming everyone on the internet has goodwill. To be honest, I generally assume in the opposite direction–that they’re probably trolls, spammers or flamers, until I find evidence to the contrary.

  16. Katie Winand says:

    I find it incredibly interesting that “The Social Media Reader,” explains that “Collaboration requires goals. There are multiple types of intentionality that highlight the importance of intent in collaboration.” (p. 58) It then goes on to say that “As collaborative action can have more than one intent, it can also have more than one repercussion. These multiple layers are often a source of conflict and confusion.” (p. 58) The example used to illustrate collaboration is in a historical context, focusing on collaborators during wartime situations, something that I feel is completely different than the sense of collaboration on the web. The examples used for online collaboration range from Wikipedia, which could be one of the largest and most prominent examples, to ThruYou, which is one of the most innovative ways to collaborate, in my own opinion. However, these web-based examples are hardly able to have complicated consequences as the wartime examples provided, and therefore I am confused as to why such examples are relevant in this context.

  17. Dylan Amick says:

    “Add value to information you find-help others transform it into knowledge by adding context-and share not only what you find but also what you think of it. The participatory skill of curation and some of the collaborative skills of virtual community are fundamental to collective intelligence.”
    NetSmart pg 161

    It like we talked about in class earlier this semester-it is important to be an active online user, and to not only consume but produce things that better the community we visit. We must work together not only factually, but also culturally to make online communities truly thrive. Community has always been a value welcomed in art and science, under the known truth that people will always come up with better ideas than persons.

Where am I?
This is the class website for English 3984: Writing and Digital Media, taught by Quinn Warnick at Virginia Tech in fall 2012.
Worthwhile Reading
The links below are the most recent additions to my collection of bookmarks that are relevant to this course. You can find a complete list of ENGL 3984 bookmarks on Pinboard.

  • Buffy vs Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate
    A long, carefully documented saga about fair use. Great case study.
  • The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy
    Nice guide from Lifehacker: "First, we'll walk through the basic privacy settings that determine what you share, then look at a few lesser-known settings you'll want to tweak, and finish with a few third-party tools that will help keep your Facebook information private."
  • The enduring mystery of Roberto Clemente's bat
    Great writing by Kevin Guilfoile, but also a beautiful example of multimedia storytelling.
  • tapestry: a new way to write
    John Borthwick explains what tapestry is and collects some examples of great tap essays: "When we started developing tapestry it struck us that there weren’t many native reading experiences on the iPhone or iPad. Our goal is to build such a tool. A space to slow things down and let you create or experience, short, tappable stories in a simple, clean, distraction free reading environment."
  • All You Need Is (Facebook) Love: ‘Compliments’ Accounts Go Viral at Colleges and Universities
    Time magazine reports on an encouraging trend: college students setting up Facebook pages to collect compliments for/from their fellow students.
  • Demand a Plan
    Online effort to improve gun control, started in response to the Newtown school shooting.
  • Causes.com
    "Causes is a free online platform that provides easy-to-use tools for driving change. We help passionate people share ideas, find supporters, raise money, and make an impact."
  • What Ancient Greek Rhetoric Might Teach Us About New Civics
    Ethan Zuckerman: "If we want to prepare people to be effective citizens, we need to think about teaching this new civics as well as older forms of civic participation. Citizens need to do more than watch or read about the issues and then vote. They need to know how to report, to advocate, to coordinate, to propose and test solutions."
  • SPOT Survey - Fall 2012
    Students: If you haven't completed the SPOT evaluation for this course, please do so during class on Wednesday. I take this feedback very seriously, and I use it to revise my classes each semester, so please be specific about the aspects of the course (and my teaching) that you found successful and unsuccessful.
  • Popcorn Maker
    New web-based app from Mozilla: "Popcorn Maker makes it easy to enhance, remix and share web video. Use your web browser to combine video and audio with content from the rest of the web — from text, links and maps to pictures and live feeds."
  • The People's Bailout
    David Rees explains how the Rolling Jubilee works: "OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)"
  • Understanding Digital Civics
    Ethan Zuckerman: "I’m beginning to think that certain types of civic participation are simply organic to the internet. Once we have the ability to create and share our own information, we create and spread media to promote the causes we care about and raise money to support the causes we value."
  • Google Docs Stories Builder
    Fun little tool to create text-based stories in which various characters interact within a Google Doc. (Sound confusing? Yeah, you kind of have to see it in action.)
  • Twitter Is A Truth Machine
    John Herrman: "Twitter is a fact-processing machine on a grand scale, propagating then destroying rumors at a neck-snapping pace. To dwell on the obnoxiousness of the noise is to miss the result: That we end up with more facts, sooner, with less ambiguity."
  • The Fallacy of Digital Natives
    Amen to this: "Sure, there may be a larger percentage of Millennials that tap into technology first compared to their elders, but oversimplifying the division of generations to suggest one prefers an all-technology learning style whilst the others use it when necessary is preposterous. Learning and technology has nothing to do with generational divides."
  • Click and Drag
    An amazing, endless xkcd comic.
  • Nice piece in Transom explaining Cowbird
    Annie Correal: "Our goal is to build a public library of human experience, so the knowledge and wisdom we accumulate as individuals may live on as part of the commons."
  • Being Online Has Become So Common That Some People No Longer Identify It As Being Online
    Techdirt, quoting a study by Forrester Research: "Our analysis revealed that 'being online' is becoming a fluid concept. Consumers no longer consider some of the online activities they perform to be activities related to 'using the Internet.' In fact, given the various types of connected devices that US consumers own, many people are connected and logged on (automatically) at all times. The Internet has become such a normal part of their lives that consumers don’t register that they are using the Internet when they’re on Facebook, for example. It’s only when they are actively doing a specific task, like search, that they consider this to be time that they’re spending online."
  • Reddit's balance of power: community values are tested as a troll is unmasked
    Links to all of The Verge's coverage of the Violentacrez debacle.