In that spirit, I’ll keep this short and just say good luck: I hope that everyone’s classes are engaged and engaging. Don’t get captured.
Here are five links to start off the weekend:
- Julian Dibbell has a thoughtful look at the radical opacity” of 4chan and its founder, Christopher Poole. In addition to the idea that “people deserve a place to be wrong,” which has pedagogical implications, I liked the ending: Their uses may even be mutually necessary. [Jonah] Peretti puts it this way: if 4chan is the id of the Internet, then “Google is kind of like the ego, and Facebook is kind of like the superego.” If that’s so, then there’s only one way the trend toward radical transparency won’t end up killing the Internet’s soul: if we can leave the light of all that openness every now and then to spend some time in the shadows where the crazy lives.
- danah boyd coins the phrase “social steganography” to describe a different way of managing privacy and identity online: For this reason, they’ve had to develop new techniques to speak to their friends fully aware that their parents are overhearing. Social steganography is one of the most common techniques that teens employ. They do this because they care about privacy, they care about misinterpretation, they care about segmented communications strategies. And they know that technical tools for restricting access don’t trump parental demands to gain access. So they find new ways of getting around limitations.
- Michael Abbott describes how the videogame Portal got into the “Enduring Questions” class required of all students at Wabash College: This tension between backstage machination and onstage performance is precisely what Portal depicts so perfectly – and, no small detail, so interactively. Goffman would have found a perfect test subject in GLaDOS. Bingo! Assign students Goffman’s Presentation of Self and follow it up with a collective playthrough of Portal.
- On the occasion of his blog’s three-year anniversary and his upcoming application for promotion and tenure, Bill Wolff has written an epic accounting of his online activities, making along the way a crucial point about such applications: Tenure packets are rhetorical constructs. The faculty member’s goal is to make the case for why the university should grant them tenure (which in and of itself is a gesture of good faith that the faculty member will continue to perform at at or above the level they showed during the probationary period). To make the case for why one should be tenured and/or promoted, faculty must provide evidence that they have met or surpassed the criteria as described in university, college, and department guidelines. (Bonus related link: Sara Kjellberg’s study of blogging researchers for First Monday.)
- Aaron Galloway-Perrell walks us through a super-easy way to host a simple web site using the indispensable, ProfHacker-approvedbeloved Dropbox–and explains how to use your Dropbox folder to receive papers from students. If this doesn’t free you from the tyranny of Blackboard…
And, for this week’s video, a pump-up song for the new semester: Titus Andronicus’s “Richard II or Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Responsible Hate Anthem)”:
“To whatever extent you hate yourself, it isn’t enough”: *the* feel-good mantra for 2010. And, no matter what else one has to say about Titus Andronicus, it’s undeniable that there are far too few Charles Mackay shoutouts in contemporary rock.
(Bonus video: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix.)
Have a good weekend, whether the semester is officially upon you or not!
[Image by Flickr user volore / Creative Commons licensed]