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Week 2, January 29 th Social Media & Virtual Communities Before the Internet.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 2, January 29 th Social Media & Virtual Communities Before the Internet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 2, January 29 th Social Media & Virtual Communities Before the Internet

2 Logistics  If you are enrolled, you should have access to bspace:  If you have trouble with bspace, you can get course info at: Stuart Geiger, lecturer for Module 1 (content) Linus Huang, instructor of record (administration)

3 Logistics This class is split into three equal modules, each taught independently by a different instructor.

4 Logistics There will be an in-class midterm exam at the end of each module, covering material from only that module, each worth 20% of your grade. There will be an online participation assignment for each module, each worth 5% of your grade. There will be a final paper (not research) worth 25% of your grade, details TBD.

5 Logistics Stuart Geiger: Theories and Institutional Context Jan 29th, Feb 5th, Feb 12th, Feb 19th (exam) Jen Schradie: Digital Democracy and Politics Feb 26th, Mar 5th, Mar 12th, Mar 19th (exam) TBD: Identity and Everyday Life Apr 2nd, Apr 9th, Apr 16th, Apr 23rd (exam)

6 Module 1 participation You must make at least one post to the bcourses discussion forum about a virtual community or social media that you would like the lecturer, Stuart Geiger, to discuss in class. You must either ask one question about the community/media proposed, or try to answer or expand on a question another student has asked. Posts should be from 50 to 100 words and must be in by 11:59 PM on Feb 5th. You can your assignment to Stuart if you do not have access to bcourses yet.

7 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper  McLuhan / Monroe  Anderson / Economist

8 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper What is media? What is social media? Paper as a social media Affordances of media technology The Myth of Paperlessness  McLuhan / Monroe  Anderson / Economist

9 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper  McLuhan / Monroe media as extensions of man the medium is the message – content vs. form the content of a new medium is an older medium historical ages are separated by technology hot vs. cool media  Anderson / Economist

10 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper  McLuhan / Monroe  Anderson / Economist All communites are imagined The impact of print How print made nations Relevance for us today

11 Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish Jurgenson’s concept of digital dualism: “the habit of viewing the online and offline as largely distinct. … time spent online means less spent offline. We are either jacked into the Matrix or not; we are either looking at our devices or not.” fetish/

12 Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish Jurgenson’s critique of digital dualism: “It is wrong to say “IRL” to mean offline: Facebook is real life. We aren’t friends until we are Facebook friends. We have come to understand more and more of our lives through the logic of digital connection. Social media is more than something we log into; it is something we carry within us. We can’t log off.”

13 Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish According to Jurgenson, if we want to really be critical of social media and new technology, we shouldn’t be obsessing over whether people are checking Facebook at the dinner table. Digital dualists are blind to how these sites are changing the way we understand each other.

14 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper What is media? What is social media? Paper as a social media Affordances of media technology The Myth of Paperlessness  McLuhan / Monroe  Anderson / Economist

15 Definitions You are getting an introduction to Virtual Communities and Social Media from someone who does not believe in “virtual communities” or “social media” – at least those terms!

16 Definitions You are getting an introduction to Virtual Communities and Social Media from someone who does not believe in “virtual communities” or “social media” – at least those terms! The first thing we will do is to think critically and sociologically about the kind of work that those terms do for us when we casually use them.

17 What makes social media “social”? Source: The DrumThe Drum

18 What makes social media “social”? One popular definition of social media: “Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.” (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010: 61)Kaplan and Haenlein 2010 Cited by >2000 academic articles, and the first quotation in the Wikipedia article on social media.

19 What makes social media “social”? But what kind of media isn’t social, by definition?

20 What makes social media “social”? But what kind of media isn’t social, by definition?

21 What is media? What isn’t a medium?

22 Rule #1: “media” is plural, “medium” is singular

23 What is media? What isn’t a medium? an agency or means of doing something: using the latest technology as a medium for job creation their primitive valuables acted as a medium of exchange

24 What is media? What isn’t a medium? a means by which something is communicated or expressed: here the Welsh language is the medium of instruction

25 What is media? What isn’t a medium? the intervening substance through which sensory impressions are conveyed or physical forces are transmitted: radio communication needs no physical medium between the two stations

26 What is media? What isn’t a medium? the substance in which an organism lives or is cultured: these cells are grown in a nutrient-rich medium

27 What is media? What isn’t a medium? a particular form of storage material for computer files, such as magnetic tape or discs: In most cases, magnetic disk storage will be the medium of choice for several key reasons.

28 What is media? What isn’t a medium? the material or form used by an artist, composer, or writer: oil paint is the most popular medium for glazing

29 What is media? What isn’t a medium? a person claiming to be in contact with the spirits of the dead and to communicate between the dead and the living: in the cities there is a network of spirit mediums who claim to contact the dead.

30 What is media? What isn’t a medium? the middle quality or state between two extremes; a reasonable balance: the song soon discovers a happy medium between thrash and catchy pop

31 What is media? What isn’t a medium? A tired, boring question with no real answer: “Is this really media?” We should instead be asking: “How, when, and why is this media?” “What makes something into media?” “What is this mediating between?”

32 What is media? What isn’t a medium? How could neck tie be a medium? How could a pair of shoes be a medium?

33 Paper as a social media Gladwell reviewing Sellen and Harper’s “The Myth of the Paperless Office,” written in 2002.

34 Paper as a social media Gladwell reviewing Sellen and Harper’s “The Myth of the Paperless Office,” written in In many cases, the properties of paper make it more social than its digital replacements.

35 Paper as a social media Gladwell reviewing Sellen and Harper’s “The Myth of the Paperless Office,” written in In many cases, the properties of paper make it more social than its digital replacements. Excellent case about the dangers of using “social media” when we mean “Internet/digital media”

36 Affordances Gladwell writes that affordances are “qualities that permit specific kinds of uses.” My expanded definition: Affordances are material properties of a media technology that support specific kinds of practices and activities.

37 Affordances Affordances are material properties of a medium that support specific kinds of practices and activities. What do I mean by material properties? Code, software, and platforms are also material What do I mean by practices and activities? Not just actions, but interactions and social routines

38 Affordances of paper vs …. Carrying (weight and portability issues) Communicating current activity to others (visibility) Transferring information to someone Storing data, amount of information contained within (capacity) Inscribing (writing or typing) Annotating Revising, Rearranging, Combining text Viewing moving images Use while away from power plug Use in the Dark Use in Bright Daylight

39 The Myth of Paperlessness There is a powerful idea that paper is old and outdated, therefore symbolic of old and outdated ways of thought. Today’s narrative assumes something inherently progressive in new technology, specifically the Internet.

40 The link between paperlessness and progress is not even a new narrative!

41 “How happy we will be not to have to read any more; to be able finally to close our eyes” -- Uzanne and Robida, 1895

42 The link between paperlessness and progress is not even a new narrative! “How happy we will be not to have to read any more; to be able finally to close our eyes” -- Uzanne and Robida, 1895 Villemard’s Villemard’s 1910 drawings of the year (both quoted in Ludovico 2013:18) Ludovico 2013:18

43 TEN MINUTE BREAK

44 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper  McLuhan / Monroe media as extensions of man the medium is the message – content vs. form the content of a new medium is an older medium historical ages are separated by technology hot vs. cool media  Anderson / Economist

45 Media as extensions of man “we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man - the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society” (3)

46 “the ‘content’ of any medium is always another medium” Media are layered and never purely new: “The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph. ” (8)

47 “the ‘content’ of any medium is always another medium”

48 The Medium is the Message “What we are considering here, however, are the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patterns as they amplify or accelerate existing processes. For the "message" of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.” (8)

49 The Medium is the Message “The railway … accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or a northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium..” (8)

50 The Medium is the Message For McLuhan, what is being transmitted is far less important than how it is being transmitted.

51 New media brings a new age “After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.” (3)

52 New media brings a new age Are we still living in McLuhan’s “global village”? Were we ever? How are contemporary Internet-based media different from the electronic media he analyzes?

53

54 Google trends: “I want it that way”

55 TEN MINUTE BREAK

56 Today’s class  Last week: digital dualism and the IRL fetish  Gladwell / Sellen & Harper  McLuhan / Monroe  Anderson / Economist All communites are imagined The impact of print How print made nations Relevance for us today

57 Imagined Communities Nationalism has four aspects. It is: imagined limited sovereign a community

58 Imagined Communities Nationalism has four aspects. It is: imagined limited sovereign a community We will be thinking about how each of these aspects also apply to social media and virtual communities.

59 Communities are imagined Nationalism “is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (49)

60 Communities are imagined “all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/ genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.” (49)

61 The impact of print Anderson writes on Europe’s shift from being:  Catholic (the Pope is as powerful as a King)  Feudal (Kings, Lords, Knights, Serfs, Peasants)  Separated by ethnic and racial groups

62 The impact of print Anderson writes on Europe’s shift from being:  Catholic (the Pope is as powerful as a King)  Feudal (Kings, Lords, Knights, Serfs, Peasants)  Separated by ethnic and racial groups To gradually having:  A diversity of religions & secular organizations  Constitutions, democracies, parliaments  Nations, not exclusively defined by race

63 The impact of print Gutenberg’s printing press invented in 1440 By 1500, 20 million books had been printed By 1600, 200 million books had been printed

64 The impact of print Gutenberg’s printing press invented in 1440 By 1500, 20 million books had been printed By 1600, 200 million books had been printed Anderson tells this story as the death of Latin

65 The impact of print Luther’s “works represented no less than one third of all German-language books sold between 1518 and Between 1522 and 1546, a total of 430 editions (whole or partial) of his Biblical translations appeared. […] In effect, Luther became the first best- selling author so known.” (54)

66 How print made nations “These print-languages laid the bases for national consciousnesses in three distinct ways. First and foremost, they created unified fields of exchange and communication below Latin and above the spoken vernaculars. Speakers of the huge variety of Frenches, Englishes, or Spanishes, who might find it difficult or even impossible to understand one another in conversation, became capable of comprehending one another via print and paper.” (56)

67 How print made nations “the printed book kept a permanent form, capable of virtually infinite reproduction, temporally and spatially. It was no longer subject to the individualizing and 'unconsciously modernizing' habits of monastic scribes. Thus, while twelfth- century French differed markedly from that written by Villon in the fifteenth, the rate of change slowed decisively in the sixteenth. […] the words of our seventeenth-century forebears are accessible to us in a way that to Villon his twelfth- century ancestors were not.” (57)

68 How print made nations “print-capitalism created languages-of-power […] High German, the King's English, and, later, Central Thai, were correspondingly elevated to a new politico-cultural eminence. […] The Thai government actively discourages attempts by foreign missionaries to provide its hill-tribe minorities with their own transcription-systems and to develop publications in their own languages: the same government is largely indifferent to what these minorities speak” (57)

69 Relevance for us today “a new form of media gives opponents of an authoritarian regime a way to express their views, register their solidarity and co-ordinate their actions. The protesters' message spreads virally through social networks, making it impossible to suppress and highlighting the extent of public support for revolution. The combination of improved publishing technology and social networks is a catalyst for social change where previous efforts had failed.” (The Economist, How Luther Went Viral)

70 McLuhan vs. Anderson McLuhan gives us a grand, overarching narrative about how technology impacts society and utterly transforms us. Anderson gives us a more nuanced case of how media can play an important role in social and historical change. Why is this important for us especially?

71 McLuhan vs. Anderson "the almost complete annihilation of time and space between the distant antipodal points of the American continent... produced by the construction of the Pacific Railroad“ -- John Wesley Clampitt, Echoes from the Rocky Mountains, 1888

72 McLuhan vs. Anderson "Children in the public schools will be taught practically everything by moving pictures. Certainly they will never be obliged to read history again."! -- D.W. Griffith, 1915

73 Westward the course of empire takes its way “American Progress,” John Gast, 1872


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