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This category contains 14 posts

Bearing Witness

With the mobility of digital technologies comes a new set of possibilities. With those possibilities come new behaviors and habits. Increasingly, we hear stories of digital interaction that transform our traditional spaces and both excite and repel us. Take the familiar story of the concert, for example. A sea of smartphones held up to record … Continue reading

MOOCs and New Meanings of “School”

In 1977, Marshall McLuhan wrote a book with his son Eric and a teacher by the name of Kathryn Hutchon called “City as Classroom: Understanding language and media.” The book begins with the statement, “Let us begin by wondering just what you are doing sitting there at your desk.” The opening chapter deals with several important questions … Continue reading

N. Katherine Hayles on Being ‘Posthuman’

N. Katherine Hayles is among the more interesting researchers of cyberculture and the ways in which we are transformed as human beings in our new relationship with computer technologies. Hayles important 1999 book How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics begins with this passage: You are alone in the room, except for two … Continue reading

Informing Ourselves to Death?

What exactly is information, and what is it to “be informed?” Let’s take this in two steps. First, watch this hour-long documentary from the BBC about information and the evolution of “information technology.” I think this is very nicely done. Now, here’s the basics in text. Information, to put it simply, is the mechanism by … Continue reading

Remix Culture and Composition

An important first step in the birth of popular music was the composition and sale of printed sheet music. Once people could get their hands on tunes that were easy to play and sing, gatherings of people could enjoy good company in song together. As more people began to sing the same tunes, popular music … Continue reading

Smart Mobs, Virtual Communities, and Citizen Journalists

In light of our last discussion about collaboration and the ethic of sharing, it’s important to turn our focus to some specific aspects of digital media and cyberculture that relate directly to the experience of connectedness. In addition to the new economy represented in mutually beneficial sharing, problems can be attacked collectively and resources can … Continue reading

Collaboration and the Ethic of Sharing

Howard Rheingold has been around the connected web (the Internet) since its early days. We’re going to talk about him during the week. The TED talk shown above is one small corner of his work on our new connected reality. Connectedness is the foundation of communicative processes. The medium is the environment that both facilitates … Continue reading

Romance, Sex, and Fantasy

Online dating has become a viable and often successful way for people to connect and find meaningful relationships with one another. The world of catfishing often intersects with this corner of cyberspace in a way that gives caution to every success story one hears. Scams are scams, however, whether they’re online or in physical space. … Continue reading

Sockpuppets and Catfish

By this time, we’ve covered issues of public and private space. We’ve covered issues of anonymity and identity, and we’ve covered the boundaries of civility and bullying online. By now you should be feeling comfortable with the ideas we’ve incorporated about media, digital media, culture, cybernetics, and cyberculture, as found in the definitions post of … Continue reading

Civility and Bullying

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes on its webguide to bullying a definition and set of recommendations for the practice of combatting cyberbullying. As one might imagine, the definition of cyberbullying relies on a traditional definition of bullying, described as: Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a … Continue reading