Loading...

COMM002: Media and Society

Unit 10: Social Media   If something has been tweeted, is it still news? Apparently the British Broadcasting Corporation believes the answer is no. In February 2012, the corporation issued new rules to all of its correspondents, reporters, and producers not to break news stories on Twitter before the BBC newsroom knows about it.[viii] Journalists are just one group struggling to harness the power of social media. Facebook has a special place for businesses competing to be “liked” and “friended” by users. Government, too, is involved in Facebook, giving rise to fears that information on the site will be used for domestic surveillance. And social media has changed the nature of political campaigns. Facebook wasn’t 10 years old until 2013, yet it has more than 800 million users; if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest on Earth. This unit will explore how the Internet has developed from a Defense Department research project into a worldwide engine of commerce and social change.


[viii]John Plunkett, “Don’t break stories on Twitter, BBC journalists told,” The Guardian website, posted Feb. 8, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/08/twitter-bbc-journalists

Unit 10 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

☐    Subunit 10.1: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 10.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 10.3: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 10.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Unit 10 Assignments: 1 hour

☐    Unit 10 Assessment: 30 minutes

Unit10 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - summarize how the Internet works and the history of how it was developed; - describe the rapid cultural change brought about by social media; - explain the difference between social media as mass communication and as interpersonal communication; and - explain how social media can serve as an agent of social change.

10.1 The Repurposing and Re-Repurposing of the Internet   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11: The Internet and Social Media, Introduction: Cleaning Up Your Online Act” and “Section 1: The Evolution of the Internet” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11: The Internet and Social Media, Introduction: Cleaning Up Your Online Act” and “Section 1: The Evolution of the Internet” (PDF)
 
Instructions: These sections of Understanding Media and Culture on pages 478-494 provide a thorough history of the Internet and what it has become today. Those unfamiliar with this history will be surprised to learn that the Internet started as a defense measure, a network with high survivability in the event of nuclear war. Think of that the next time you’re on Facebook.
 
Reading these sections and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

10.1.1 How Right He Was   - Reading: The New York Times Magazine: William Gibson’s “The Net Is a Waste of Time” Link: The New York Times Magazine: William Gibson’s “The Net Is a Waste of Time” (HTML)
 
Instructions: You’ll enjoy reading William Gibson’s prophetic article about the pleasures of wasting time surfing the web (the title is ironic). Gibson, the science fiction novelist, coined the term “cyberspace.”
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.1.2 A Communications Network for the Cold War   - Reading: Forbes ASAP: George Gilder’s “Inventing the Internet Again” Link: Forbes ASAP: George Gilder’s “Inventing the Internet Again” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Paul Baran helped develop packet switching, a key component in building the Internet as we know it today. Read George Gilder’s account and learn about what Baran did after the Internet came about.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.1.2 Tim Berners-Lee on the Why of the Internet   10.1.2.1 Berners-Lee’s Original Proposal   - Reading: CERN: Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal” Link: CERN: Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the Internet protocols that make web browsers work, set out with the original aim of creating an open system of information access. In his original proposal for a worldwide hypertext system, Berners-Lee wrote, “We should work toward a universal linked information system, in which generality and portability are more important than fancy graphics techniques and complex extra facilities. The aim would be to allow a place to be found for any information or reference which one felt was important, and a way of finding it afterwards.”[1] Skim the proposal for yourself.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.1.2.2 Tim Berners-Lee on the Web Today   - Web Media: TEDTalks: “Tim Berners-Lee on the Next Web” Link: TEDTalks: “Tim Berners-Lee on the Next Web” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Watch the video, in which Berners-Lee promotes the value of making raw data available through the web.
 
Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to TED, and the original version can be found here.

10.2 With Social Media, Who Do You Trust?   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 2: Social Media and Web 2.0” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 2: Social Media and Web 2.0” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Chapter 11, Section 2 (pages 494-511) breaks down social media and “Web 2.0,” the idea of the web as a place for sharing and collaboration that spawned social media and websites such as YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, and, of course, Facebook. Read this section of Chapter 11, and then apply it to the upcoming subunits.
 
Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

10.2.1 Who’s Watching You?   10.2.1.1 Social Media and Privacy: Myths and Facts   - Reading: Stanford Technology Law Review: Lothar Determann’s “Social Media Privacy: A Dozen Myths and Facts” Link: Stanford Technology Law Review: Lothar Determann’s “Social Media Privacy: A Dozen Myths and Facts”(HTML)
 
Instructions: The informal corporate motto of Google is, “Don’t be evil.” So should we fear giving up our information to the online behemoth? What is the real story about social media and privacy? Click “Download Full Article” to read Lothar Determann’s detailed rundown of your rights and some of the fallacies surrounding social media privacy.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.1.2 Privacy Checklist   - Reading: PCWorld: Nick Mediati’s “Google Privacy Checklist: What to Do Before Google’s Privacy Policy Changes on March 1” Link: PCWorld: Nick Mediati’s “Google Privacy Checklist: What to Do Before Google’s Privacy Policy Changes on March 1” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Nick Mediati runs down what you should do if you want to protect your privacy from Google.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.1.3 Our Data, Ourselves   - Reading: Wired: Olivia Solon’s “You are Facebook’s Product, Not Customer” Link: Wired: Olivia Solon’s “You are Facebook’s Product, Not Customer” (HTML)
 
Instructions: You might remember Douglas Rushkoff from The Persuaders, the video from our unit (Unit 3) on advertising. Rushkoff believes we have to change our thinking about the relationship we have with social media sites such as Facebook. This reading describes what he thinks the true relationship might look like.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.2 Always Connected   10.2.2.1 You Can Take It (the Internet) with You   - Web Media: YouTube: Intel Corporation’s “In-Vehicle Infotainment Demonstration” Link: YouTube: Intel Corporation’s “In-Vehicle Infotainment Demonstration” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: If you’ve ever been in an elevator with six people who are all staring at their smart phones, then you know that for many of us, being constantly connected is the ultimate goal. And plenty of companies out there are working hard to make it come true. For example, despite recent awareness in the media about distracted driving, Intel wants to put even more media in your car.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.2.2 Google Glass Makes Your Real World a Virtual World, Too   - Reading: TechRadar: James Rivington’s “Are Google’s Glasses More Than Just a Gimmick?” Link: TechRadar: James Rivington’s “Are Google’s Glasses More Than Just a Gimmick?” (HTML)
 
Instruction: Google Glass goes one further than Intel: wearing special “glasses” -really a heads-up computer display -you can rule your world digitally. Read this article, and then keep it in mind for the subunits to follow.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.2.3 More on Project Glass   - Web Media: YouTube: Google’s “Project Glass: One Day...” Link: YouTube: Google’s “Project Glass: One Day...”(YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this idyllic video about how great Project Glass will be. The idea is that we will wear glasses that keep us constantly connected to Google and to each other. Is this something you want in your daily life? Do we want Google monitoring our every move?
 
Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.2.4 Project Glass Gone Awry, Part 1   - Web Media: YouTube: Jonathan McIntosh’s “ADmented Reality − Google Glasses Remixed with Google Ads” Link: YouTube: Jonathan McIntosh’s “ADmented Reality -Google Glasses Remixed with Google Ads”(YouTube)
 
Instructions: Of course, what’s in it for Google? Remember that for Google, we are not customers; we’re the product: an audience of consumers delivered up for marketers.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Jonathan McIntosh, and the original version can be found here.

10.2.2.5 Project Glass Gone Awry, Part 2: This Is Your Future   - Web Media: Vimeo: Sight Systems: Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo’s “Sight” Link: Vimeo: Sight Systems: Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo’s “Sight” (Vimeo)
 
Instructions: You’ll enjoy the short sci-fi film on the ultimate system, “Sight,” in which you live in a world of apps. It gives new meaning to William Gibson’s term “cyberspace.”
 
Watching this video should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.3 YouTube and Your 15 Minutes of Fame   10.2.3.1 The “Numa Numa” Guy   - Web Media: YouTube: Gary Brolsma’s “Numa Numa” Link: YouTube: Gary Brolsma’s “Numa Numa” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: The term “viral video” had hardly been thought of when Gary Brolsma, a New Jersey teenager, posted his lip-synching video on YouTube. It became an international sensation. His experience, related in the next subunit, shows the power of the Internet to disrupt lives, maybe for the better.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.3.2 Introduction to the Meme   - Web Media: Know Your Meme: “Numa Numa” Link: Know Your Meme: “Numa Numa” (HTML)
 
Instructions: “Numa Numa” became a prime example of a meme, some visual element in our culture that is passed on from person to person, often as imitation or with some adaptation. The website Know Your Meme provides a good discussion of Brolsma’s case. Be sure to watch some of the video memes of “Numa Numa.”
 
Reading this webpage and viewing the associated videos should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.2.4 Instagram, Pinterest: Bring Us the Visual Tweet   - Reading: UC Berkeley NewsCenter: Carol Ness’s “For Photojournalist at the Pinnacle, Instagram Is a Game Changer” Link: UC Berkeley NewsCenter: Carol Ness’s “For Photojournalist at the Pinnacle, Instagram is a Game Changer” (HTML)
 
Instructions: The social media websites designed for posting pictures, Instagram and Pinterest, also are being used by photojournalists. This reading illustrates how social media begins as one thing and often morphs into something else. One photojournalist, Richard Koci Hernandez, is using his cell phone and the website Instagram to practice the art of street photography. What sets him apart is his training and his philosophy that perfect isn’t better. Be sure to click the video link about halfway down the page labeled “Tips on smartphone photography.”
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.3 Social Media, Your World, and the Wide World   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 3: The Effects of the Internet and Globalization on Popular Culture and Interpersonal Communication” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 3: The Effects of the Internet and Globalization on Popular Culture and Interpersonal Communication” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Chapter 11, Section 3 on pages 511-526 presents a wide-ranging discussion of the effects of the Internet on our daily lives and those of people around the world. In the two subunits to follow, we will look at two different but related issues: the connectedness of people around the world and how it affects world events, and the Internet as a place to form personal relationships.
 
Reading this selection should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

10.3.1 Social Media and the Arab Spring   10.3.1.1 For Neda   - Web Media: Open Culture: Dan Colman’s “For Neda: The New HBO Documentary Now Online” Link: Open Culture: HBO’s “For Neda: The New HBO Documentary Now Online”(YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch at least the first half of this riveting documentary about Neda Agha Soltan. A sniper shot and killed her on June 20, 2009. The cell-phone video of her death immediately went viral, and she came to be known as just Neda to millions of people around the world. The first part of the video makes a case for that cell-phone video being a seminal moment in the Arab Spring.
 
Reading this section and viewing the associated video should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.3.1.2 CNN Picks Up Social Media   - Web Media: CNN: “Her Name Was Neda” Link: CNN’s “Her Name Was Neda” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Today’s journalists often must rely on amateur video or photos posted on social media to get the story from places impossible to visit. This CNN report reflects this trend. As you watch, consider this – how does a news organization such as CNN know the video is authentic?
 
Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.3.1.3 Would the Story Be a Story Without Social Media?   - Reading: The New York Times: Nazila Fathi’s “In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests” Link: The New York Times: Nazila Fathi’s “In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading from The New York Times and the report by CNN are examples of how Neda’s story, told first on the Internet, became a major story for world media. The question is, would that have been the case without cell phones and the Internet?
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.3.1.4 Panel Discussion on the Role of Social Media and Arab Spring   - Web Media: iTunes: Arab American National Museum; Michigan Radio: “The Revolution is Online: Social Media + Arab World Uprisings” Link: iTunes: Arab American National Museum; Michigan Radio: “The Revolution is Online: Social Media + Arab World Uprisings” (iTunes)
 
Instructions: Watch this video of a panel of experts, including Mona Altahawy, Jigar Mehta, Atef Said, and Tim Kiska, as they try to gauge the impact of social media on the Middle East. Think back to the subunit proposing that printed tracts were the social media of the Reformation. Do you see a similarity?
 
Watching this video should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.3.2 Love Is Where You Find It   - Reading: The New Yorker: Nick Paumgarten’s “True Romance Dept.: Looking for Someone” Link: The New Yorker: Nick Paumgarten’s “True Romance Dept.: Looking for Someone” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Nick Paumgarten takes us on an entertaining journey through the world of online dating, where people tell websites their most personal details in hopes of finding true love. By now you should be seeing just how versatile and adaptable the Internet has become for everything from journalism to social relationships.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.4 Where Is It All Taking Us?   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 4: Issues and Trends” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 11, Section 4: Issues and Trends” (PDF)
 
Instructions: The Internet and social media have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other and as a society. Journalism has been turned upside down. Another issue, one upon which the innovative, creative Internet rests, is net neutrality. Read Chapter 11, Section 4 on pages 526-539, and then delve deeper into these two issues in the subunits below.
 
Reading this selection should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

10.4.1 Blogs, Twitter, and Citizen Journalism   10.4.1.1 The Need for Journalism’s Values   - Reading: Nieman Reports: Geneva Overholser’s “What Is Journalism’s Place in Social Media?” Link: Nieman Reports: Geneva Overholser’s “What Is Journalism’s Place in Social Media?”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Here’s the conundrum for mainstream media organizations: how do you stay relevant in a world where news travels faster than you do? Geneva Overholser describes how she found out that Michael Jackson had died: from a blog on her smart phone. She goes on to analyze the place of journalism in the Internet world.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.4.1.2 Searching for Relevance   - Reading: Nieman Reports: Michael Skoler’s “Why the News Media Became Irrelevant - And How Social Media Can Help” Link: Nieman Reports: Michael Skoler’s “Why the News Media Became Irrelevant - And How Social Media Can Help” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Michael Skoler picks up the discussion, taking the angle that journalists need to change their culture and embrace citizen journalism and social media.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.4.1.3 The Ink-Stained Wretches   - Reading: Christian Science Monitor: Robert G. Picard’s “Why Journalists Deserve Low Pay” Link: Christian Science Monitor: Robert G. Picard’s “Why Journalists Deserve Low Pay”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Robert G. Picard delivers the cold, hard reality that journalism, under its traditional model of controlling information, has low value in today’s society. It will stay that way, Picard says, until journalists come up with a new model that creates value to consumers.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.4.2 The Battle for Net Neutrality   10.4.2.1 Net Neutrality Explained   - Reading: The New York Times: Eduardo Porter’s “Keeping the Internet Neutral” Link: The New York Times: Eduardo Porter’s “Keeping the Internet Neutral” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Who controls the pipe carrying the Internet into your home? Should that company be allowed to control what can pass through and what can’t? Eduardo Porter explains net neutrality and tells why it is important if the Internet is to continue to be a place of innovation.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.

10.4.2.2 Tim Berners-Lee Weighs In   - Web Media: BBC: “Tim Berners-Lee Warns over Threats to Online Freedom” Link: BBC: “Tim Berners-Lee Warns over Threats to Online Freedom” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Tim Berners-Lee makes the case that the Arab Spring would not have happened without a free and open Internet. Recall that the panelists in subunit 10.3.1.4 voiced much the same idea. Think of how the ability to control access to the Internet might be abused. Ask what roles the Internet plays in your life – commerce, education, entertainment – and how corporate control of the network might affect your experience.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the website above.