Monday, February 09, 2009

twitter assignment

twitter assignment for digital media production

1. last thursday (feb 5), you received the first part of this assignment: in the next 24 hours, open a free twitter account, build a profile with your real name, and find and follow all members of digital media production class.

2. through class readings and discussion, you have learned about tweets, replies, and retweets. you have read about tinyurl, twhirl, and tweetdeck. experiment with these apps, as well as other twitter apps not discussed in class, and find a platform or platforms that suits your needs.

3. through class readings, you have learned about how frozen peas started a movement, about twitter being used in times of war, and about twittering libraries. begin thinking about how you can use twitter for an organization or movement to which you belong and/or believe in. think outside of yourself.

4. through twitter search, find people who tweet about some of the topics discussed in digital media production. follow who you want but certainly follow people who use digital media smartly and creatively. be mindful of who and how many you follow.

5. in class on tuesday we'll talk about the difference between thin and thick tweets. compose at least one thick tweet and be ready to demo it on thursday.

6. on tuesday we'll also talk about already existing information optimally uploaded, or aeiou. compose at least one aeoiu tweet and be ready to demo it on thursday.

7. demo your work (3-5 minutes) in class on thursday. your demo must include: a) addressing one element of your profile, b) the way and ways you access twitter, c) a person or persons you added via your twitter search, d) your thick tweet, and e) your aeiou tweet. wow us.

8. after thursday's demos, comment on your classmates' content.

9. continue using twitter throughout the spring semester.

hints: consider your audience. experiment heavily. follow instructions.

rule: if you have no work to demo, do not come to class.

19 comments:

Donald Snyder said...

David,

This assignment looks awesome. I did a variation of the Internet use assignment (where you posted pics of the blackboard on flickr) in my senior seminar which went really well. The class looks great and I would love seeing the syllabus.

Hope all is well with you.

d.

david silver said...

hey d!

thanks for the comment. i'll look forward to seeing how my students react to the assignment and, more importantly, what they create. oh, and the syllabus is online: check it out.

ooh, any chance you took pictures of your students' responses to their tech use? if so, i'd love to see them.

Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria said...

I wonder about the requirement that the students use their real names. Perhaps you could assign people some (obviously) fake name, and then provide the class with a list so they can check each other's posts.

I think it's one thing for a student to decide she or he wants to put up a profile with their real name, and another thing for the professor to require it. The more real info on the profile, the easier it might be to stalk that person. The tweets themselves are going to give away some info that could be used to link the student to USF.

kq said...

I concur with Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria.

I made a huge mistake in the 1990s when I required students to create web pages using their own names. A handful of the students ended up being prominent figures. When they went along to nationally televised events, occasionally they would be taunted and mocked because of things that they posted on their class web pages. I no longer require students to use their own names on the visible web and web 2.0. Sure, they can decide to do so --- personal broadcasting is practically de rigeur for younger/youngish people in the u.s. --- but what are the ethics of a professor requiring it?

david silver said...

thank you, Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria and kq, for your thoughtful and thought-inducing comments!

first, a little context. i have been asking college students to make public media now for nearly fifteen years (!) - first as web sites, then as blogs, then as facebook, now as blogs-twitter-flickr-you name it. i've learned a lot about this process over the years and i keep learning more each semester. in the past, i gave students the option to create anonymous public media. but for this class, digital media production, i require that they make public media under their own name.

second, on the first day of classes, i was very explicit: you will be making public media in this class and you will be making it under your real name. i was clear about this requirement and encouraged students to come see me if they had any problem with this. none of them did. equally important, none of them seemed to be shocked or even nervous. they could have been playing cool but i don't think so.

here's my thinking - college students in the US are already creating loads of public media. as kq notes in her comment, "personal broadcasting is practically de rigeur for younger/youngish people in the u.s." for me, and this is something i arrived at after a long time of trial and error, you can teach "digital literacy" in two ways: to teach students to be measured and careful of the dangerous ways of public media or to teach students to be creative and responsible as they put their work (and lives) out there on the public web. i choose the latter.

to me, teaching students to use social media within private settings is like teaching public art within the confines of their private dorms - it misses the point. i want students to make media that they are responsible for and proud of - and i want them to share it not only with me and their classmates but with the public. for me, that's the key and beauty of social media.

i really appreciate the comments and i hope the thread will continue!

Sara said...

I have to admit that I, too, was a little shocked to see the requirement that the students twitter under their real names. I run fairly naked on the Internet, but I respect that some people feel differently.

Anonymity on the Internet is an important right to protect, especially for individuals who are posting about projects that, were the wrong people to find out, could harm them in their personal or professional lives. I think this group includes artists, activists, free thinkers, and even students at small universities making media.

I will agree that everything you post on the Internet should be something you are proud of. But that doesn't mean that it is something you want your friends, your parents, and your future boss to see. Different audiences call for differences in tone of voice, language used, and content posted. *Should* this be the way things are? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact remains that I do not want my potential employer reading the random thoughts I have throughout the day (Twitter), watching a video of me cooking a chicken (YouTube), or reading about my struggles with diabetes (a post on my blog).

You have been lucky in your blogging. You blog under your real name, you blog hard-hitting stuff (hello! tenure!), and the institution you work for has never unfairly reprimanded you for it. I guess my main point is that it would be wrong to assume that your scenario is the status quo. Plenty of individuals have been fired for what they wrote on a blog.

My idea for a compromise was to remind students that they could set their Twitter profiles to private, but I think *that* more than anything defeats the purpose of creating public media. I would rather see ideas shared freely on anonymous blogs than locked under privacy settings because individuals are using their real name and need to protect themselves. Let the ideas flow freely, even if the authors' identities can't be so free.

Rochelle said...

re: real names on twitter..isn't this like getting rid of the "blind" part of "blind peer review"? Would you also be in favour of having all submissions to journals be public, with names attached,along with commentary from reviewers and the REJECTED label?

I'm all for using social software with classes, but I think teaching students how to manage their identities online is a huge part of the process. They don't know what they're getting into when an instructor tells them to do something like this. Instructors should know better than to leave students into potentially damaging situations.

I wouldn't ever force the use of real names in a public environment. Everyone needs to make that decision for themselves.

Samuel said...

As a student in this class, I realize the potential pros and cons of making media under my own name. There is the possibility of creating something that could affect me in the future (ex: jobs, school, etc.). But I think that making digital media intelligently is the whole point of this class.

David is not encouraging us to create something that we would regret or something that could hurt our reputation (not yet). It's about making something creative and thought provoking. I go into each assignment thinking, how can I get people to notice or pay attention to the media that I am creating. If anything, I want my friends, family, future boss to see what I create. I want them to know that this something I made and that this is something that I have the ability to create.

Also, I would say a majority of my life is documented on facebook any ways (everybody I know has facebook). My life has been exposed to the public for almost four years now. So creating something with my own name does not bother me because I realize that everything I do online is exposed to the public.

Elisa said...

I'm also a student in this class and I think it's great that we get create something with newer technologies like facebook, twitter,, Flickr, etc. We all consented to using our real names and had the choice to leave if we were not comfortable with the idea of exposing ourselves to the public.
Yes we are putting our personal information out into the Internet exposing it to the public but we obviously are comfortable or at least becoming comfortable with idea of doing this. We are taking the risk that everything that we are putting out there can come back and haunt us later on but I don't think that what we have produced through this class and will continue producing will hurt us professionally
or personally, if anything it will help our careers and allow
us to become even more comfortable with exposing ourselves and our work to the public.

-Elisa

Jay Fienberg said...

I don't know how you define "in your own name" on Twitter, but I think there's an important difference between being "you" in public and using your full name.

There's also the unanswered question as to what it means for Twitter, as a "now" oriented medium, to become part of Google "always (including the past)" search index.

Also, it's maybe advantageous in Twitter to have a shorter username--it gives other people more characters to reply to you and re-tweet your tweets.

So, in common use on Twitter, it's not unnatural or private to:

-use a handle or some initials as your username, instead of your full name

-on your profile, list only part of your name (e.g., I could be Jay F on my profile instead of Jay Fienberg)

One of the interesting things about social network-based spaces is that you can be publicly "you" almost totally based on your connections--i.e., almost regardless of the names used on your account.

All that said, in the context of a digital media class, I would think it's important for students to *experience* what it means to be fully public "in your own name" on the web. And, Twitter is a perfectly good way to do this.

It's just that using Twitter for this purpose might cause one to use Twitter in ways that are different than they would otherwise.

Kerr said...

When I was 16 I remember getting my older brother's '95 Toyota Tacoma. Now my dad didn't just hand me the keys and tell me to have fun. He taught me about the responsibility that comes with owning a car. That's why I don't drink and drive, go 90 mph down a residential street (the thing got speed wobbles at 75 anyway lol), or pack 20 ppl inside.

Just like driving your first car, the web can be intimidating but knowing how to use it responsibly can make all the difference and I think that is a key element for this class. The way the internet seems to be evolving, social media for the masses seems inevitable.

I am glad I get to use my real name for these projects. In the past I have used aliases but it didn't seem real. Sure when I am killing zombies on xbox live I am known as Lucid Nytemare, but that's just for fun. When I am creating media that I am proud of I want it to show the name my friends have been calling me since I was hanging upside down on the playground cause that's who I am and that's who I will be for the rest of my life. If I can't take the responsibility of what I do, what I create, and who I interact with on the web then maybe I should just start doing everything with alias' and turn in my papers or greet new people as Lucid Nytemare .....Zombie Terminator

Chris said...

David,

Thanks for opening your course. I have really enjoyed the discussion in this post -- including the students' responses -- and anticipate following along throughout the semester. This technology seems like a natural fit for this course.

Can I ask a more basic question? What's a "thick tweet"?

Chris

david silver said...

Chris - thanks for your comment. i've really enjoyed sharing our experiences in and out of the classroom on this blog and am excited by the kinds of ideas and feedback such sharing generates.

i've received a number of requests to define what i mean by thin and thick tweets so i blogged about it. thanks again for the comment.

Rebeca said...

I just became a twitter user before 1 month. I am unknown about so much twitter application. Can any one help me about retweet.

easy going room mate said...

I am using twitter ince from 3 year constantly, Just done so many twitted and my fan doing re tweets to my commercial url..But i think this assignment would be helpful for me and others users as well. :)

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