25.4.10

[phd studentships: multidisciplinary new media learning]

KTH – The Royal Institute of Technology – in Stockholm, Sweden
School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) seeks
3-6 PhD students in Human Computer Interaction and
1 PhD student in Media Technology

The department of HCI conducts research within Human Computer Interaction, which is the study of the interaction between humans and computerized technical systems. The subject is multi-disciplinary and embraces computer science methods and tools to design system functionality adapted to the user, human science theories and methods to understand, evaluate and improve computerized technical systems for human use. It also includes methodologies for design of interactive computer systems.

Anticipated specializations
1. Perceptualization
2. Processes of change
3. Mobile digital services
4. Visualization
5. Computer supported cooperation
6. E-learning


The Department of Media Technology and Graphic Arts is a multidisciplinary group focused on technology and methods for supporting human communication over distances in time and space. This includes a wide area of media, from printing and publishing to digital interactive media, from broadcast media to mobile social media. Our education and research also cover the implications and effects of using media technologies from human, social and design perspectives.

Anticipated specialization
7. E-learning

Application deadline: May 17, 2010


For more information, please visit:
http://www.kth.se/om/work-at-kth/vacancies/phd-students-in-human-computer-interaction-and-media-technology-1.58530?l=en_UK

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12.4.10

[why to buy an ipad]

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16.3.10

[twitter]

This week it looks like twitter may be overloaded. I've encountered many error pages (checking on followers, DMs, and lists).

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4.1.10

[2010 horizon report]



One of the "Critical Challenges" from the (preview of the) latest report :


Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key 21st century skill, but there is a widening training gap for faculty and teachers. Often not seen as a priority for faculty or teacher training, digital media literacy is nonetheless a critical skill not only for students but for those who work with them. Faculty and instructors are beginning to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that it is not clear exactly how to codify the skills or set standards for their measurement.


And, one of the "Key Trends":


Students are increasingly seen as collaborators, and there is more cross-campus collaboration. Using collaborative technologies, students are working with faculty and peers in other classes and on other campuses to create online resources that both demonstrate learning and contribute to public knowledge. Research projects are conducted by larger, more distributed teams than previously, and they are often becoming more public much earlier in the research process.





Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
  • Tablet PCs—small, portable computers that fall in size and function between smart phones and laptops—are used to record and analyze field research during Bluegrass Community & Technical College's off-campus chemistry labs. 
  • In addition to the free lectures offered on iTunes, many universities are making courses available for mobile delivery. 
  • Medical students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine use their smart phones to check H1N1 updates from the Center for Disease Control.



Read the entire preview here.


Read tweets about the draft here.

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13.12.09

[2010: 10 ways social media will change]


Read more at Read Write Web:




Social Media Will Become a Single, Cohesive Experience Embedded In Our Activities and Technologies


Social Media Innovation Will No Longer Be Limited By Technology


Mobile Will Take Center Stage


Expect an Intense Battle As People and Companies Look To Own Their Own Content


Enterprises Will Shape the Next Generation of What We've Called "Social Media"


ROI Will Be Measured -- and It Will Matter


Finally: Real, Cool and Very Bizarre Online-Offline Integration


Many "Old" Skills Will Be Needed Again


Women Will Rule Social Media


Social Media Will Move Into New Domains







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1.11.09

[google and your "social circle"]

Via George Siemens:


"Google just announced Social Search. The services helps you "to find publicly available content from your social circle". Google extracts information on your social circle from three sources: Google Reader subscriptions, Google Profiles, and Google chat (GMail). They use the term "surfacing" connections to describe not only adding your friends, but one additional degree: your friend's friends.
This move by Google is a direct assault on Facebook. Facebook has emphasized social connections over content. Google has, to date, primarily emphasized information sorting, filtering, and ranking. Facebook's model of emphasizing social rather than information connections is a problem for Google. What is unique in Social Search is the focus on aggregation rather than place-based interaction. In theory, Google emphasizes pulling together various pieces of online interactions through aggregation, whereas Facebook emphasizes housing interactions in their environment."


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28.10.09

[social media and pedagogy online seminar]



I'm signing up for this online seminar! Social media AND education?! Perfect.


And yes, those are my professional writing students; on computers, with our class blog on the main screen.


Social Media Seminar Series: Trends and Implications for Learning (Online & No Fee)

http://AACE.org/GlobalU/seminars/socialmedia/

Friday, October 30, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA


(World Clock Calculator: http://url.aace.org/ft/200910302100)

Faculty: George Siemens - Learning Technologies Centre, Univ. of Manitoba, Canada
David Cormier - Univ. of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Organised by: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)

(http://AACE.org )
Co-sponsored by: Education & Information Technology Library (http://EdITLib.org)
___________________________________________________________

The seminar series, led by George Siemens and David Cormier, is without fee and will include live interactive sessions, in addition to discussions with guest speakers and participants. All sessions are co-sponsored by and will be archived in the Education & Information Technology Library (EdITLib).

Social media and emerging technologies are gaining increased attention for use in education. The list of tools grows daily.

Examples: blogs, wikis, Ning, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, cloud computing, surface computing, mobile learning, and so on.

"Social Media: Trends and Implications for Learning" will explore the impact of new technologies, research, and related projects.


What does it all mean? Do long term trends and change cycles exist in the constant change? What patterns are emerging?

And, perhaps most importantly, should academics and education leaders respond?


"Social Media" will explore emerging technological and related research trends from a perspective of social and networked learning theory.

Finding coherence in the midst of rapid changes is increasingly difficult. This monthly session will create a forum for educators to gather, present, and discuss the future impact of today's trends.



Links for items discussed during the seminars can be found here on Delicious.

_______________________________________________

To receive event updates, signup at: http://AACE.org/GlobalU/seminars/socialmedia/
Seminar Recordings: http://EdITLib.org/GlobalU/
Seminar Community: http://www.AACEConnect.org/group/socialmedia
________________________________________________














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15.10.09

[colour matters...even in the twitterverse]

New Box UK Study Finds Twitter Users of Both Sex More Likely to ‘Follow’ White Women



Between June and October of 2009 London-based digital agency Box UK (http://www.boxuk.com) conducted two sequential social experiments to test how Twitter users reacted to being followed by strictly controlled test accounts. The results strongly suggest that given a choice of following black and white people of either sex, Twitter users are more likely to ‘follow’ white women, and least likely to follow black women.


This distribution also holds when the data is sub-divided into male followers and female followers for each account, showing that both sexes are most likely to follow White Female or Ambiguous accounts, and least likely to follow Black Females. We can also deduce that on average, female twitter users are 30% less likely to follow a request from a stranger, than a male twitter user.



“While it may be rather premature to conclusively argue that white women get more followers on Twitter than non-white women or men, we do know that a digital divide does exist and that certain groups of people tend to explore new applications with greater speed and enthusiasm. Without wading into a debate on technology users, more information on the aggregate of Twitter users is necessary to come to any real conclusions about their use of technology,” says Dr. Tina Basi a sociologist specializing in ethnography for design.


Basi, who previously worked with Intel’s Digital Health Research Group argues that, “perhaps what the data is pointing to, is that our relationship, as users, with new social media remains somewhat perplexing. We are still struggling with using Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, as ways of engaging and connecting with others, and instead, fall back on using them to simply keep tabs on others. The internet, as a medium, still holds the spectacle of say film or television, and seeing someone on your screen attaches a celebrity like status to them. The lack of reciprocity for some of the Twitter accounts created in this experiment, might better reflect our assumptions about celebrity and tendency toward voyeurism, as opposed to forming any real argument about Tweeters.”


Twitter is an increasingly important platform for conducting social experiments, with its ability to tap-into and measure human communication and behaviour on a massive scale. As the platform grows, we expect to see businesses and academics harnessing this capability to ‘invisibly’ survey the real behaviour and reactions of people, enabling a new wave of social research and customer intelligence.






Read more about the methodology and report here.






Image from Dan Zambonini's post on the report findings.

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24.9.09

[twitter: the film]

Oddly, I actually read about this first in the uni's newspaper but the first movie (mokumentary?) all about twitter is being developed in England. Apparently the idea was made public in February this year but it seems things are really taking off now.

Although I do appreciate twitter for the numerous informational and networking possibilities, I'm not quite sure how it will prove in terms of movie subject.

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16.9.09

[Transliteracy in my Classrooms]

Ok, so I'm halfway through the second week of lecturing.  Classes seem to be going well (students are coming to class and participating! yay!) and essays, stories and grammar theory are being studied.


As I flip through the syllabus and note my "blog comment" assignments and "blog post" reflections the word transliteracy flits back and forth in my mind.  Transliteracy of course isn't on the curriculum but neither are blogging or media literacy per se.  Though transliteracy is always under development, I'm feeling a strong pull to encourage students to see their movements from writing essays in class, group presentations, blogging, reading online narratives like Inanimate Alice, and designing posters (tweeting comes later on) as examples of being transliterate. I wonder if they can name their behaviour, their learning might have even more resonance? 


I remind my students that we're participating in the online environment and honing our new/social media (and transliterate) skills because when they enter the workforce, they'll need to be prepared.  Librarian by Day gives some good life examples on the necessity to be transliterate:



"Government agencies are no longer issuing print forms, you have to access them online.  Your health insurance plan was a website and you have an account, when you call they will tell you to go there to get information. Banks are sending alerts and account balance information via text messages. Facebook privacy settings are complex and change frequently. The price of computers is dropping allowing more people to own one. Free WiFi access points are increasing, allowing more people internet access."



If our students don't experience these kinds of movement, from offline to online, how will they learn to be literate (not just trial and error or basic proficiencies)? I feel more and more strongly that helping to develop these transliterate skills needs a place in a classroom (though some, of course, are better equipped than others).  


There are lots of ways to begin. Students can use blog posts as reading or reflective learning journals. They can add comments on to the teacher-managed class blog as a way of interacting in class discussion, sharing ideas and even doing pre or post-reading activities.  The Future of Ed. site suggests venturing into transliteracy by:



  • Viewing or posting a video around your lesson plan or around an educational component on TeacherTube
  • Trying e-learning for your own professional development
  • Learning how The Transliteracies Project is designing technology to improve the experience of reading for people of all backgrounds
  • Exploring how archaeology and media can be used in your next class at MetaMedia
  • Downloading courses from Stanford University on iTunes, MIT OpenCourseWare, or another open access sites for use in your classrorom


    Also from the Future of Ed. site, this video with director of Media X's (at Stanford) Chuck House on the 21st century workforce:





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    17.8.09

    [facebook and canadian privacy laws]


    Time is up for Facebook to find a way to live up to Canada's privacy law after this country's privacy watchdog gave the social-networking website one month to close its "serious privacy gaps."

    And if Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's privacy commissioner, isn't satisfied with Facebook's final response Monday, she has two weeks to take the California-based company to Federal Court in Ottawa to try and get a court order requiring it to change its business practices to comply with Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the country's private-sector privacy law.

    [...]

    The privacy probe began last year when the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa filed an 11-part complaint, alleging Facebook violated key provisions of Canada's private-sector privacy law.

    In addition to an "overarching" concern relating to the "confusing" or "incomplete" way in which Facebook provides information to users about its privacy practices, Stoddart concluded Facebook's policy to indefinitely keep the personal information of people who have deactivated their accounts is contrary to the act.

    [...]

    But the bigger dispute over Facebook sharing personal information to companies that operate third-party applications on its site is another matter, he said.

    In order to download popular games and quizzes, Facebook users must consent to share all their personal information, except their contact details. These companies, totalling nearly one million, operate in 180 countries.



    Read more here: http://www.canada.com/technology/Facebook%20must%20satisfy%20Canada%20privacy%20commissioner%20Monday/1899277/story.html



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    28.7.09

    [amplified individuals // amplified leicester]


    Sue Thomas is leading a project - Amplified Leicester - a city-wide experiment in social media, and there'll be an opportunity to participate on the 11th of September:

    We're looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious.

    Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment to
    - explore diversity and innovation
    - build a network across diverse communities
    - create, share and develop new ideas
    - use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an amplifier

    This is an opportunity to work with people you might otherwise never meet and learn how to:
    - benefit from Leicester's huge diversity of people and cultures
    - generate lots of new ideas quickly
    - think like a futurist and see the bigger picture
    - organise and collaborate better
    - be persuasive in different social situations
    - share and develop creative ideas
    - manage the stream of information which bombards us every day
    - choose the best people to collaborate with
    - make the most of different kinds of resources - social, economic, creative

    Participation is free of charge but places are limited. Deadline for applications Friday 11th September 2009.

    Find out more and download an application form from http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.amplifiedleicester.com

    For an informal chat, please contact Sue Thomas or Thilo Boeck:
    Sue Thomas t: 0116 207 8266 e: sue.thomas@dmu.ac.uk
    Thilo Boeck t: 0116 2577879 e: tgboeck@dmu.ac.uk

    Amplified Leicester is managed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University in partnership with the DMU Centre for Social Action and Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre. The project is commissioned and supported by NESTA, an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

    “A group that thinks in diverse ways will address a problem from many angles.” Charles Leadbeater, The Difference Dividend




    Note: Also of interest, a talk by Andrea Saveri on amplified individuals or this presentation which Andrea did for last year's NLab Social Networks conference.



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    20.7.09

    [new media digest]


    Want to do some thinking? Follow these links:








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    21.6.09

    [cfp: workshop on academia 2.0]


    Academia 2.0 and Beyond – How Social Software Changes Research and Education in Academia

    (at the
    European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2009)

    Workshop will take place on the 8th of September in Vienna, Austria

    Organizers:

    Abstract

    The Web 2.0 and Social Software is often attributed with a high potential for addressing today’s challenges in knowledge management and distributed collaboration. This development has already reached industry. Using the term Enterprise 2.0, different possibilities to use Social Software in enterprises are researched. But also in academia, cooperation to generate new knowledge, and to add it to the scientific discourse may radically change under open Web 2.0 conditions. In addition, teaching and learning scenarios might be moved towards technology enhanced lifelong learning communities. The aim of this workshop is to discuss the application of Social Software in academia (research as well as teaching and learning) – and how these new kinds of software might change the whole setting – make new ways of doing research or teaching and learning possible or at least easier to do.

    Motivation/Theme

    New buzzwords have become part of our daily lexicon: Web 2.0, Social Software and Social Web are often used as synonyms. These concepts focus on new or existing software systems, which are influenced by human communication and collaboration (Jahnke & Koch 2009). Thus, Web 2.0 is heavily reliant on social interaction, and so, social web-based applications generate and require a human-centered design approach. Furthermore, this kind of new media influences the people. A new generation of the “digital natives” are arriving (Prensky, 2001). The number of users of Web 2.0 applications in private settings (e.g., leisure) is very high. However, in organizations and enterprises Web 2.0 concepts or such combined applications are still at an early stage (Koch & Richter 2008). The same is true for universities. Franklin & van Harmelen (2007) show some examples of institutional practices. A potential of Web 2.0 for academia show also Rollet et al. (2007). To conclude, there are some Web 2.0 tools in universities, in particular wikis and blogs (e.g., Hookway, 2008) but the usage of these tools and other Web 2.0 scenarios for supporting teaching, learning or research is not yet fully developed. So, the question how the Web 2.0 can support community-based learning (e.g. Barr & Tagg, 1995) or research processes in academia is not yet satisfactorily answered.

    Research questions

    The main research question of the workshop is: Are there any innovative research and/or teaching designs or arrangements (e.g., Alexander, 2006; Downes, 2005) using social software and what can we learn from these scenarios? Some derived research questions which we will discuss in our workshop:

    • a) What Web 2.0 applications exist in universities, in research or in learning? Do Web 2.0 applications in academia make a difference to existing Internet applications like email, content management systems or newsgroups?
    • b) Do you have success stories or success criteria of Web 2.0 usage in academic fields? What changes are observable or essential when introducing Web 2.0 concepts in teaching (e.g. new design/balance of teaching and learning) or research settings?
    • c) How can we introduce Web 2.0 applications in the academic world, and support the change management process? How can we successfully distribute the concepts into a university?

    Aim

    Our aim is to collect proposals for academic practice with Web 2.0, to specify research questions dealing with Web 2.0 in academia (e.g., new forms of interactions, changing research practice, new learning scenarios, organizational change by using new media) or to discuss new research methods (e.g., e-ethnography) and their challenges in this topic. In our workshop, we want to share practical experience or research results about using Web 2.0 in teaching and research, for example, e-learning goes Web 2.0, scientific communities goes Web 2.0, research publications goes Web 2.0 or university goes Web 2.0. Therefore, we strongly invite researchers and practitioners who have ideas or experience of using Web 2.0 applications in academia.

    Participation Requirements

    Workshop participants are requested to submit a position paper covering practice with Web 2.0 in academia, research focus or research questions, proposals for academic practice with Web 2.0, proposals for new research methods with regard to Web 2.0 in academia or specific case studies (if applicable) and findings to date. Using practical examples the participants should demonstrate how the concepts and developments behind the Web 2.0 and Social Software movement are used in academia, what Web 2.0 characteristics could make a good basis for academia.

    Deadline for position papers: June 29, 2009 (new deadline)

    There is no size limit or formatting requirement for position papers.

    Please send position papers as PDF or document files to the two organizers:

    Position papers will be presented and discussed during the workshop.


    Read more here and here.



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    17.6.09

    [twitter & politics]

    Is Twitter now a part of U.S. foreign policy? The Washington Post reports that:

    The State Department asked social networking site Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance earlier this week in order to avoid disrupting communications among tech-savvy Iranian citizens as they took to the streets to protest Friday’s reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    That sounds like a wow. Only maybe not. A few grafs down the Post also reports that the White House downplayed the request this way:

    “This wasn’t a directive from Secretary of State, but rather was a low-level contact from someone who often talks to Twitter staff.”

    But a senior State Department official told the Post that the contacts were quite official.

    “One of the areas where people are able to get out the word is through Twitter,” said a senior State Department official in a conversation with reporters, on condition of anonymity. “They announced they were going to shut down their system for maintenance and we asked them not to.”

    On the other hand, is this all being blown out of proportion by the Twitter-loving press?

    “Twitter’s impact inside Iran is zero,” said Mehdi Yahyanejad, manager of a Farsi-language news site based in Los Angeles. “Here, there is lots of buzz, but once you look . . . you see most of it are Americans tweeting among themselves.”




    Re: Twitter's impact inside Iran is zero? Not sure about that. If people are doing something outside of Iran, wouldn't that have an impact within?

    See these stories too:

    • Iranian Youth Protests Could Outlast Ahmadinejad Rule
      "Since the election, reformist Web sites, as well as Twitter and Facebook, have been cut off in Iran, although Iranians are evading the controls via proxy"
    • Iran's Twitter Revolution "Ahmadinejad will twitter to his supporters he will save Iran from the rule of the twitter mobs and the Ayatollahs and mullahs will twitter"
    • Dissecting Twitter's Role In Tech, Society, Politics"The Iran situation, where Twitter continued to provide communication resources to Iran residents after the government had shut down other communication"
    • Iran's Protests: Why Twitter Is the Medium of the Movement "The U.S. State Department doesn't usually take an interest in the maintenance schedules of dotcom start-ups. But over the weekend, officials there reached out to Twitter and asked them to delay a network upgrade that was scheduled for Monday night. The reason? To protect the interests of Iranians using the service to protest the presidential election that took place on June 12. Twitter moved the upgrade to 2 p.m. P.T. Tuesday afternoon — or 1:30 a.m. Tehran time." (this link via @SteveCadwell)




    Article from Richard Koman at ZDNet.

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    11.6.09

    [social networking conference: wolverhampton uni]



    Wolverhampton Internet and Technology Society (WITS) together with the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group are hosting the 1st Social Networking in Cyberspace conference in April, 2010. We welcome contributions from scholars in the social and behavioural sciences and media and information disciplines, regardless of theoretical orientation.

    The conference, which is to be sponsored by the Research Centre in Applied Sciences (RCAS), will be a one-day event and will take place on Friday the 23rd of April, 2010. The Venue for the conference will be the Lighthouse Media Centre in Wolverhampton (Please click here for Map).

    Call for papers

    We invite potential presenters to submit an abstract (no longer than 300 words) for peer-review. The deadline for submission of the abstract is October 30th, 2009. A decision on this abstract will be made by November 20th, 2009 and authors will be notified via email soon after.

    Abstracts should be submitted to SNIC@wlv.ac.uk

    Subsequently, all presenters will be invited to prepare a paper for publication. The International Journal of Internet Science will be publishing a peer-reviewed selection of the best papers from the conference.

    Papers should be submitted to SNIC@wlv.ac.uk by the 28th of May 2010.

    Postgraduate poster competition

    We will be running a postgraduate poster competition on the day of the conference. Prizes will be awarded for the best posters on the day (further information to follow). We invite postgraduate students to submit an abstract by October 30th 2009 for consideration.

    Keynote Speakers

    The following have been confirmed as keynote speakers at the conference:

    Professor Mike Thelwall: University of Wolverhampton – “Detecting and analysing emotion in social networking sites”

    Doctor Monica Whitty: Nottingham Trent University.

    Fees

    £80 standard rate

    Discount rate for presenters (£60)

    Discount rate for students (£50)

    The fee includes morning and afternoon coffee and lunch.

    Registration

    Conference registration opens in January 2010

    Important dates

    Abstract submission deadline: 30th October 2009

    Notice of acceptance deadline: 20th November 2009

    Conference date: 23rd April 2010

    Full papers deadline: 28th May 2010

    contact us

    If you have any enquiries or would like to contact us regarding the suitability of your research for the conference, please email us on SNIC@wlv.ac.uk




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    1.6.09

    [employment: phd in digital literacy practises of immigrant youth]


    The digital literacy practices of immigrant youth for the formation of identity and learning networks (0.9 fte)


    This project is focused on the analysis of the everyday digital literacy practices of Moroccan immigrant youth.While the past several years have seen an increasing amount of research on the digital literacy practices of youth, within and well beyond theNetherlands, relatively little of this work to date has focused on immigrant youth and their productions and interpretations of social media (e.g. weblogs, Hyves, YouTube, texting, Twitter, gaming). This project will provide a unique contribution to the field by developing ethnographic studies of youth as they use social media and integrate it into their everyday lives in the Netherlands.


    We are particularly interested in how digital literacy practices are used to produce identities and learning networks. What are the shapes and scales of new media networks for Moroccan immigrant youth? How are these new networks changing, and how are they related to social networks with longer histories (e.g., extended family, community)? How do networks formed through practices with social media support the development of local, national, and transnational identities? How do such networks also structure new social spaces for learning?


    These questions are addressed in this project through ethnographic research that will be augmented with other research methods, including social network analysis and survey data.







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    27.5.09

    [swarm theory and social media]


    I'm in the final stages of editing a selection of articles to appear in an upcoming journal issue and one of the articles deals with swarm theory. Many readers here would recognise Howard Rhiengold's Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution or perhaps Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang who coined the term in 1989 (see the *trusty* resource wikipedia).

    More recently there's the famous National Geographic article on swarm theory: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/07/swarms/miller-text/1 which does an excellent job (exciting and informational) of explaining the science behind swarms. Enter left stage, the ants:

    "I used to think ants knew what they were doing. The ones marching across my kitchen counter looked so confident, I just figured they had a plan, knew where they were going and what needed to be done. How else could ants organize highways, build elaborate nests, stage epic raids, and do all the other things ants do?

    Turns out I was wrong. Ants aren't clever little engineers, architects, or warriors after all—at least not as individuals. When it comes to deciding what to do next, most ants don't have a clue. "If you watch an ant try to accomplish something, you'll be impressed by how inept it is," says Deborah M. Gordon, a biologist at Stanford University.

    How do we explain, then, the success of Earth's 12,000 or so known ant species? They must have learned something in 140 million years.

    "Ants aren't smart," Gordon says. "Ant colonies are." A colony can solve problems unthinkable for individual ants, such as finding the shortest path to the best food source, allocating workers to different tasks, or defending a territory from neighbors. As individuals, ants might be tiny dummies, but as colonies they respond quickly and effectively to their environment. They do it with something called swarm intelligence."


    And that, in a nutshell, is collective intelligence and why crowd sourcing can be beneficial (knowing the right questions to ask helps too) and why tools like twitter are great resources for getting tips (maybe even on finding the shortest path to food).


    As the National Geographic writer, Peter Miller, says of the ant colony the same can be said for social media: "no one's in charge."






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    19.5.09

    [critical digital literacy]

    I believe that access to technology (digital or otherwise) is not synonomous with literacy. Via Doug Belshaw I find a resonance in a passage from Allan Martin’s Digital Literacy and the “Digital Society” in Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. The notion of identity (biography) as a constructing and reconstructive practise plays alongside notions of digital literacy.

    "
    Society is being transformed by the passage from the “solid” to the “liquid” phases of modernity, in which all social forms melt faster than new ones can be cast. They are not given enough time to solidify and cannot serve as the frame of reference for human actions and long-term life-strategies because their allegedly short life expectation undermines efforts to develop a strategy that would require the consistent fulfillment of a “life-project.” (Bauman, 205, p.303)

    For those who do not belong to the global elite, life has become an individual struggle for meaning and livelihood in a world that has lost its predictability… Consumption has become the only reality, the main topic of TV and of conversation, and the focus of leisure activity. The modes of consumption become badges of order, so that to wear a football strip of a certain team (themselves now multinational concerns) or a logo of a multinational company become temporary guarantors of safety and normality.

    In this society, the construction of individual identity has become the fundamental social act. The taken-for-granted structures of modern (i.e., industrial) society - the nation state, institutionalized religion, social class - have become weaker and fuzzier as providers of meaning and, to that extent, of predictability. Even the family has become more atomized and short term. Under such conditions individual identity becomes the major life-project. You have to choose the pieces (from those available to you) rather than having them (largely) chosen for you. In this context, awareness of the self assumes new importance, reflexivity is a condition of life; a life that needs to be constantly active and constantly re-created. And care is needed, because each individual is responsible for their own biography. Risk and uncertainty have become endemic features of the personal biography, and individual risk-management action is thus an essential element of social action (Beck, 1992, 2001). The community can be no longer regarded as a given that confers aspects of identity, and the building of involvement in communities has become a conscious action-forming part of the construction of individual identity. Individualization has positive as well as negative aspects: the freedom to make one’s own biography has never been greater, a theme frequently repeated in the media. But the structures of society continue to distribute the choices available very unequally, and the price of failure is greater since social support is now offered only equivocally."





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    15.5.09

    [welcome to scoopville: social media basics]

    Social media: describe, rate, comment and connect: key ideas of social media. New opportunities to create and care

    Watch the video:





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    12.5.09

    [handy resource list: new media, cultural studies, web 2.0]


    Have a look at this wiki for a useful list of resources covering topics such as:


    There are also links to papers, videos, interviews, researchers, conferences, syllabi and more!


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    6.5.09

    [digital citizenship: the internet, society & participation]


    Today I attended a presentation given by Karen Mossberger (Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago) on Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society and Participation. Overall the presentation was interesting however I don't think the data told us anything really new...but it certainly backs up what we already surmise. Poor people and African-Americans and Latinas/Latinos has less access to computers and the internet and this filters through to less participation in public life (voting was one of the examples). The definition of citizenship put forth was that by T. H. Marshall, basically you need to participate to be a full member of a community. Citizenship is also a "developing institution" according to Marshall. So how to develop citizenship through digital means...well, Mossberger didn't really talk much about this. She concentrated on providing statistics which empirically show the digital divide. It was pretty apalling. In this day and age (here I am, using a computer, on the 'net, blogging) there are people who are too poor, or without sufficient education which in the States seems to mean you're not white...the statistics were incredible. Of course there are poor white people but apparently they are not on the 'net because they're not interested in it. From Mossberger's research, African-Americans connected internet/computer literacy with better jobs etc....and the statistics back this up. The issue of broadband access also came up. Sure people can use computers (for a bit) at a local library etc...but interestingly enough there are certain neighbourhoods where there is no DSL access (i.e. no affordable access) to the internet...only cable. That's another deterrent. I would have been interested to know what the statistics *really* meant in terms of "going online." Was it for checking bus times? What about banking online and using SNS? Mossberger at the end suggested it was more for *entertainment* purposes....but I guess what we're looking at here is not just issues of access (of course) but issues of literacy. *How* to properly navigate that content/information. Mossberger's latest project, results to be publishes as we speak, looks at Chicago neighbourhoods and notes the use of internet. I wonder what that will show. Two things aside from the presentation that I would like to share here.
    1. There were 18 people at the presentation today. 16 in the audience (then the speaker and the introducer). Out of the 18 people 7 were women. All were white.
    2. Mossberger made this comment at the end re: twitter: "I don't care what movie you saw lastnight. I don't have time for this." Actually, I think twitter (like mobile 'phones, especially if we're talking about financial cost) has it's uses. Just look at how the knowledge of swine flu is spreading/trending via twitter....
    Of interest to those working with participation policies, internet access, excluded groups or web 2.0 in general, check out Mez's great article at Futherfield: The Sound of Reality Lag: Versionals are the New Black. See also Mark Pesce's post on Digital Citizenship (scroll down for a comment by Mez).






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    25.4.09

    [libraries and mobile technologies]


    Very interesting report by Ellyssa Kroski on mobile technology and it's shaping/changing of libraries and information access. See page 27 for a detailed analysis of social networks as a mobile subgenre. From chapter 1:
    "Imagine walking by a movie poster for the upcoming Harry Potter film and scanning it with a click of your camera-phone in order to download associated ringtones, get showtimes, or even buy tickets. How about snapping a photo while browsing through a magazine to get a free sample of a new perfume? This may sound like science-fiction right now, but in Japan, this type of mobile search technology is widespread, and already similar services in the U.S. are developing which promise just this type of virtual engagement with the world around us. Think about the convenience of scanning the logo on someone’s Yankees cap to instantly receiving the latest score from the game. This is what's coming.
    Today, most of us are primarily using our cell phones to download ringtones and check our email, but there is an abundance of truly amazing services we can access through the mobile Web right now. Armed with a smartphone, PDA, or other Internet-ready mobile mechanism, users can retrieve local traffic information, bus, train, and airline schedules, and look up weather reports. But more impressively, they can also access mobile social networks which will alert them when their friends are nearby, text in a pizza order to Dominos, borrow e-books from their library, take a guided audio tour of a museum, and watch CNN. Through the mobile Web, people can download audiobooks, upload camera-phone photos to Flickr, receive turn-by-turn driving directions, and have in-store coupons delivered to them.
    The computer, media player, and cell phone are all converging into a single device as manufacturers aim to provide a complete experience for the consumer. This evolution of handheld devices combined with new high-speed wireless data networks make browsing the mobile Internet a more compelling experience. Much like the transition the Web experienced when broadband access became widely attainable, the mobile Web is turning a corner and becoming useful to the everyday user. While mass adoption is still in its infancy in this country, the landscape is developing quickly. Now is the time to get on-board and on-the-move with the mobile Web."
    About libraries:

    "Libraries are mastering the mobile Web to bring patrons a new set of services – services that their users are coming to expect from their communities and content providers. They are leveraging the technology that their patrons are currently using, such as cell phones and iPods, to deliver robust new services without making users leave their comfort zones. And these portable offerings are serving to integrate library services with patrons' daily lives.
    Mobile Library Websites and MOPACs (Mobile OPACs) A growing number of libraries are creating mobile versions of their websites for their patrons to access on-the-go. They are offering information about library services and collections, providing access to library catalog search, portable exhibit information, subject guides, e-journals, and library hours, all formatted for the small screen."
    Read more here: http://eprints.rclis.org/15024/1/mobile_web_ltr.pdf



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    20.4.09

    [social media analytics]

    Great post from Ben Parr on Mashable on how to track social media stats:



    Understand what you want to track


    As with most things in life, you can’t conquer what you don’t understand, or at least what you haven’t really though about.

    What is your goal? Do you want to track how people are sharing your website? Do you want to track a specific social media campaign? Or maybe you’re just interested in trends related to a specific meme or social media phenomenon? Each one requires different tools and different focus.

    You’re going to focus on traffic statistics if you’re tracking social media website engagement, while if you’re tracking a wider campaign, TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews response and positive comments might be a more appropriate metric.


    Optimize your existing analytics software



    Social Media Metrics Image

    Most of us use analytics software like Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics reviewsGoogle Analytics reviews, Woopra, or Omniture to track website data like traffic, visitors, pages per visitor, and traffic sources. Most of these analytics tools can track a wealth of data, but they are not designed to track social media data. Luckily, there are a few ways to beef up your analytics software for social media. Some quick tools and suggestions:

    Social Media Metrics Plugin: Social Media Metrics is a greasemonkey extension that adds a social media information layer to Google Analytics, providing information on Diggs, stumbles, delicious bookmarks, and more for each individual page. Be aware - it’s not perfect.

    Set up specific campaigns and events for social media: Most analytics software has custom campaigns to make it easy to track specific events. You can track a specific Twitter traffic campaign or DiggBar URL with campaigns.

    Reorganize dashboards and set up email reports: To get specific information on social media, have traffic stats from top social media websites (i.e. Digg, FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews, Twitter, etc.) emailed to you so you can see it all in one place. In addition, reorganize any dashboards you have to show this information for easy access.


    Add new analytics tools



    Xinureturns Image

    Even with web analytics tools, you don’t have all the tools necessary to get started tracking analytics related to social media. Why not add some more tools to your inventory that track detailed social metrics? Some suggestions:

    Bit.ly: When you use a URL shortener, it’s always a smart idea to use one that has analytics information, like Bit.ly. This will track information like number of clicks, traffic sources, and even at what time clicks occur.

    Xinureturns: Despite the funny Scientology-inspired name, xinureturns provides a great dashboard overview of your website’s standing in social media. Run a report and you will receive information on Technorati, Googe Pagerank, Diggs, and even backlinks to your website.

    PostRank: Formerly known as AideRSS, PostRank provides detailed information on Tweets, stumbles, diggs, and FriendFeedFriendFeed reviewsFriendFeed reviews all in one place. It’s best for blogs and websites with a lot of content.

    SocialToo: SocialToo is a comprehensive tool for creating social surveys and tracking social stats. It also will send you a daily email describing follows and unfollows on Twitter.


    Aggregate your analytics


    There are a lot of tools for gathering social media information, but no one place has everything you need. You don’t have time to look at all of the tools, so aggregate your analytics information.

    There is no single tool that will bring this information together, so you’ll have to do it yourself. Export data into excel, pdf, or email and record all of the information to one area, whichever works best for you. Building a spreadsheet may be best for playing with the numbers. Make it easily accessible.


    Analyze and engage


    The last step is always the most important one - the actual analysis. It takes years of dedication to the art of web analytics to really understand how each variable affects website traffic and user engagement, but by looking at this data in one place and comparing the information, you will hopefully be able to pick up on trends.

    This guide is only how to get started with social media analytics. Take the time to find great tools and to understand how each of the social media levers affects traffic and analytics data. But most of all, use the data to engage your audience. You can figure out what they’re looking for using social media analytics, so be sure to act upon the data once you’ve analyzed it.





    Read the post here: http://mashable.com/2009/04/19/social-media-analytics/







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    15.4.09

    [e-books for e-ducation]

    A British Columbia school is trading in books for e-books:

    "It’s about as big as a day-planner and much, much lighter than 300 textbooks.

    Flicking from virtual page to virtual page, teacher Devon Stokes-Bennett deftly navigates through her electronic book, highlighting passages of Marley and Me. She looks right at home in this brave new world of education.

    WestShore Centre for Learning and Training, part of the Sooke School District, is introducing 50 e-books to its students in an attempt to give learning a push into the digital age.

    “These kids were born in the digital era. They came out of the womb knowing how to use technology,” says Daphne Churchill, principal of WCLT. “(For students), going to a building and trying to access information out of books, to copy it down ... doesn’t make sense in their world anymore.”

    WCLT is the first school in the province to adopt e-books as a vehicle to deliver part of its curriculum, mainly novels for English class. The pilot project — called Teaching for the 21st Century — has also caught the attention of the University of Victoria’s digital humanities department.

    Before full rollout, a few WCLT students are “beta testing” the electronic book technology — the main roadblocks are SD 62 security features conflicting with online digital libraries. The educators admit they depend on students to flush out problems. Kids are driving how the technology is used in the classroom, not the other way around, Stokes-Bennett says.

    “They play around, take intuitive guesses. They just poke away at it,” she says. “We’ve got to listen to the kids to find out what works. This can’t be imposed from the top-down.”

    Stokes-Bennett and fellow teacher Dawn Anderson launched the e-book project after being awarded $75,000 from the Times-Colonist Raise-a-Reader fund. Part of the grant went toward 50 Sony Reader Digital Books.

    E-books are part of the inevitable evolution of education, the teachers say.

    Virtual books can’t be lost or damaged, allowing more money directed into student resources (although electronic readers are about $400 each). The most basic e-book can collapse dozens of heavy textbooks into a 200 gram computer. Buying the rights to digital copies is half the price as physical books, Stokes-Bennett says.

    On the learning end, e-books allow students to integrate study with online social networking, blogging and almost instantaneous access to information that has become the norm. Ultimately, it’s supposed to help students become better readers and more creative thinkers.

    UVic English professor Ray Siemens, the Canada Research Chair for Digital Humanities, said the WCLT project will allow his lab to better understand how electronic media influences learning.

    For instance, if a high school student reads a Charles Dickens novel, they would normally tap into associated online social networks, dictionaries, wikis and information, which enhances and encourages the learning process, he says. Take that resource away and the students are less likely to succeed.

    “Kids of this generation are very intuitive. They quickly realize the benefits of working this way,” Siemens says. “I’m interested in learning from those who are emerging readers, where all the computer skills reside. This is a generation who doesn’t know the world without computers, e-mail or networking.”

    It’s still early days, but Siemens says e-book technology, book publishers and the reading public have finally found an equilibrium. “E-ink” technology is easier on the eyes and more people are reading with electronic media. He expects the next generation of kids to almost exclusively use electronic reading devices.

    The e-books at WCLT are black and white and have rudimentary graphics, but the educators say they are the future of education. Stokes-Bennett described it as teaching kids skills for the future instead of obsolete methods of the past.

    Churchill expects to iron out the kinks and see what sets of problems emerge using e-books, but ultimately they would like to see the project expand across the district.

    “This will fundamentally change the way we do education,” she says."



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    3.4.09

    [social media and sustainability]



    Recently I was asked to give a presentation to a group on the theme of social media and sustainability. I began with an introduction to some web 2.0 applications (blogs, wikis, twitter) and the usefulness of rss. Then I gave some examples of organisations employing aspects of social media to generate interest/support in an environmental issue or to garner information. Early into my introduction I asked the group (there were about 35 or so) to answer some questions to give me (and them) and idea of how they are situated in relation to social media.
    The questions I asked included:

    • Do you send txt msgs?
    • Do you blog or comment on blogs?
    • Do you listen to podcasts?
    • Do you have a Facebook profile?
    • Do you participate on an e-mail list?
    • Have you watched a YouTube video?
    • Do you Tweet?
    • Do you have a Flickr account?
    • Do you aggregate RSS feeds?

    How do you think the group did? Would your prediction change if I told you this was research-oriented group? That mostly everyone there was over 35 (except perhaps for a few ph.d students who joined us and the speaker of course...)?

    Well no one had a blog though a few did listen to podcasts and the question about tweeting generated a few giggles. Two people in the room had photo-sharing accounts but no one knew what RSS was so definitely no one was using a feed aggregator. Having said this, I think I'd have received similar answers with a younger group. In fact, having posed this questions to my first year and third year media undergrads they too did not have blogs but they watched and uploaded videos and shared photos and updates with facebook. No one there knew about rss either. So, not too dissimilar...which leads me to...

    Someone at the talk implied that *we* (harumph) are digital immigrants and that our students and the groups we're trying to target (in this case, to instill change and be proactive about the environment) are digital natives, ergo they *know* this *stuff*... Firstly, I disagree that technology-use is a generational thing (think of silver surfers). Secondly, just because you or your child or your niece or whomever...has access to a nintendo ds or a psp or txts all the time does not mean that they are literate and know how to protect themselves online and recognise issues related to identity theft, bullying and even future employment (do you really want your future employer to see evidence of a drunken saturday night - I know my first and third years did NOT realise this).

    I think there's often talk about helping students become *literate* (or transliterate) in the online environment - how do they navigate all the different modes alongside identity and IP (especially for researchers) etc...but what about the teachers? Where is the acknowledgment that those doing the teaching also need time to learn, absorb and choose how and if they're going to implement web 2.0 applications? I'm wondering more about this because although the group I was talking with weren't there in terms of pedagogy the questions they asked were just as applicable:

    • why *should* we use [enter application here, twitter/facebook/blogs/podcasts/youtube/flickr]?
    • doesn't this just add more work?
    • what are the benefits?
    I think it's to be expected that there is anxiety with new things; adding to our work and generating frustration but I think the examples I showed of organisations leveraging social media to share ideas and generate buzz illustrated well the potentials. I quite like what ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three leading environmental groups that have worked with the B.C. government, First Nations and industry leaders to British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest. Together, they launched a social media campaign using facebook, twitter, blogs and youtube videos. They also made it easy for supporters to send pre-written protest e-mails and add their voices to the campaign. On the 31st of March 2009 the social media efforts paid off:

    "March 31, 2009, Vancouver, British ColumbiaThe promise made three years ago to protect one-third of British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest and develop the foundations for a conservation-based economy in the region has been fulfilled. Today’s announcement is greatly welcomed by ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three leading environmental groups that have worked with the B.C. government, First Nations and industry leaders to ensure the promise would be kept. Today’s announcement lays out the tremendous ecological and economic gains for the region and the long-term commitment to ensure the health of the rainforest and communities."


    Have a look at the youtube video:




    The questions after the session were enlightening. Most were excited to explore social media themselves but admitted that they didn't really know about "these sorts of things." They wanted to learn but weren't sure whether they had the institutional support. So key the to us being able to pass on knowledge is institutional/work support in terms of teaching the teachers (employees etc...) and giving them the time to learn how to use tools effectively (of course this goes for anything right? not just social media or computer technologies). I must say, the IOCT is brilliant in that respect - using twitter and facebook and blogging are recognised aspects of research and demonstrate interaction with/in the field. (disclosure: I am employed as a Research Fellow at the IOCT).











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