Thursday, August 30, 2007

new reviews in cyberculture studies (september 2007)

following a summer sabbatical, RCCS book reviews are back! the books of the month for september 2007 are:

An Alternative Internet
Author: Chris Atton
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press, 2005
Reviewed by: Paul Booth
Author Response: Chris Atton

Ars Electronica: Facing the Future: A Survey of Two Decades
Editor: Timothy Druckery
Publisher: MIT Press, 1999
Reviewed by: Carolyn Kane

Information Please: Culture and Politics in the Age of Digital Machines
Author: Mark Poster
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2006
Reviewed by: Diana Bossio
Author Response: Mark Poster


coming soon: full-length book reviews of Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture; Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder; From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism; Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture; Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online; Residual Media; Social Consequences of Internet Use: Access, Involvement, and Interaction; The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television; The Body and the Screen: Theories of Internet Spectatorship; Uses of Blogs; and many, many more.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

building a free library

this afternoon i set up a free library outside of my office on campus.

i began with a book case - a nice, wooden, somewhat solid two-shelver - that's been with me for years, moving from apartment to apartment without ever feeling at home. i placed it directly outside of my office.

i filled it with books - books i'll never read, books i've read that i'll never read again, books that i've received for RCCS that have never found reviewers, books that sarah no longer wanted. for good measure, i also added some academic journals that i'll surely never read and a few years worth of the nation.

students love music so i added about thirty CDs from my personal stash - CDs i used to love but no longer listen to, CDs that suck, CDs that friends burned for me sometime in the past. i also included some classics - wilco's summerteeth, the long winter's when i pretend to fall, and the flaming lips' soft bulletin - that sarah had copies of, thereby making them redundant.

finally, i posted the library rules.

i've done experiments like this before - see "purge" and this facebook photo album, both from spring 2006 - and my once-belongings disappeared quickly and often completely. but i've never encouraged people to leave stuff behind. this time, i hope students, staff, and faculty will not only snag a few books and a CD but also leave stuff behind. after all, libraries, like love, are best when you give and get.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

big grants for big ideas

there's a recent surge in new media / social media grant opportunities and they are coming from many different directions. here's four.

ACLS digital innovation fellowships: third annual competition sponsored by the american council of learned societies. ACLS digital innovation fellowships "support digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. it is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating further such works." the fellowships award time off from teaching and up to $55,000 for stipends and $25,00 for project costs. eligibility: US citizenship or permanent resident status; PhD or equivalent in all fields of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. deadline: october 3, 2007.

digital humanities start-up grants: a big time set of grants co-sponsored by the national endowment for the humanities (NEH) and the institute of museum and library services (IMLS). the goal of the digital humanities start-up grants is "to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. by awarding relatively low-dollar grants during the planning stages, the goal is to identify projects that are particularly innovative and have the potential to make a positive impact on the humanities." level I grants range from $5,000 to $25,000; level II grants range from $25,000 to $50,000. eligibility: 1) US-based nonprofit organizations and institutions; 2) state and local governmental agencies and native american tribal organizations; and 3) US citizens and foreign nationals who have been living in the US for at least three years. deadline: october 16, 2007.

knight news challenge: a competition run by the john s. and james l. knight foundation. the goal of the knight news challenge is "to spur innovation in the delivery of information and news using digital media." does your idea use digital media? is it new and original? does it involve giving people access to news/information? is your idea timely? does your idea create a community and does it affect people in a specific geographic area? is it open source? if you said "yes!" to each question, you should apply. they are giving away $5 million this year and plan to drop $25 million over five years period. eligibility: anyone. deadline: october 15, 2007.

macarthur foundation's innovation awards and knowledge-networking awards: a public competition sponsored by the foundation's digital media and learning initiative and administered by the humanities, arts, science and technology advanced collaboratory (HASTAC). innovation awards "support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning." knowledge-networking awards "support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning." innovation awards are $100,000 and $250,000; knowledge-networking awards range between $30,000 and $75,000. eligibility: the primary applicant must be at least 21 and be a US citizen or resident with a work permit for the duration of the grant term. also eligible: nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and corporations. deadline: october 15, 2007.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


gone gallery


gone gallery

school begins

the first day of classes are always full of possibility, but this semester feels even fuller than usual. maybe it's because i am teaching two sections of intro to media studies, a course that takes as its topic the vast, vast world of media, from newspapers to newsreaders, from film to facebook. or maybe it's because such a large portion (50%? 60%?) of my students are freshmen, a genre of human beings that embody the very concept of possibility. or maybe it's because i feel so comfortable in this department, on this campus, within this city. whatever the reason, despite summer coming to an end, i'm excited about fall beginning to begin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

the summer is ending

today, two days before summer ends and school begins, was special programs fair at USF and all kinds of students, mostly freshmen and transfers, walked from table to table to talk to professors and staff about various programs, minors, and majors.

michael robertson and i worked the table, and we welcomed a lot of students interested in the journalism minor and the media studies major. we were next to the table for ROTC. we gave out tootsie rolls and gum; they gave out water bottles, pens, and rulers.

it's an exciting time of the year - everything smells of possibility.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

a. turns eight

on friday, my nephew a. turned eight, so on saturday, we celebrated in santa cruz. the day was spent at the boardwalk, where we road the giant dipper and drank cherry icees. in the evening, we feasted on pizza and nancy's two-layered strawberry cake.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

faculty and staff orientation at anne arundel community college

i'm in maryland where tomorrow i'll be part of anne arundel community college's faculty and staff orientation. i'm giving a talk and leading a discussion around "college campus 2.0: integrating offline learning and online creating." instead of using paper handouts, i'll be using this blog post.

part one: our students

part two: two articles and one short blurb from "the arts" section of yesterday's new york times.
  1. "still vital, 'on the road' turns 50" - from penny vlagopoulos, columbia university: "I still think it's a rite-of-passage novel. The whole idea of the freedom of the open road is still very much alive for young people." from bill savage, northwestern university: "Undergraduates can really relate to it because they live in such a mediated world with the Internet, the cellphone and the iPod."

  2. "they've just got to get a message to you" - jeff leeds: "On Gwen Stefani's recent tour, as many as 20 percent of the audience at some shows agreed to pay 99 cents for text messages and the chance to win better seats, according to the mobile marketing company Impact Mobile. At festivals like Lollapalooza, thousands of fans sign up to receive continuous updates from concert organizers about promotions and special events."

  3. "another radio station for new york and web" - "WFUV says it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the New York State Music Fund to support the development of a second full-time radio station for listeners in their 20s and 30s, which will emphasize independently and locally produced music. [The station] will be available via the Internet at and mobile streaming audio and, in the New York area, as a high-definition radio channel at 90.7 FM."
part three: learning offline, creating online: five examples
  1. telling stories with photographs

  2. when one class meets another

  3. exploring the archive

  4. learning to listen

  5. conversations as collections

update: a bad photo (taken by me) of some great educators.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

an afternoon in oakland

today, i crossed the bridge to spend an afternoon with michael robertson. we talked about the future, the present, and the past. we had a lot of beer, a lot of pizza, and a lot of fun.


gone gallery

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

nene's mind's been blown

save a box or two, we're all moved in. nene loves the outside deck. after thirteen years of indoor living, her mind's been blown with the very concept of outside. all of the plants, including all of the veggies, survived the move. next season, we'll have a farm!

Friday, August 03, 2007

new pew report: online video goes mainstream

researchers at the pew internet & american life project have been busy pumping out reports all summer. first, there was cyberbullying and online teens by amanda lenhart, next there was home broadband adoption by john horrigan and aaron smith, and then, last week, online video by senior research specialist mary madden.

(disclosure: i serve on the project's advisory board and was, in 2001, one of mary's professors at georgetown university.)

online video is fascinating for many reasons including its data that seems to confirm what many of us have felt intuitively: that among US internet users, online video is now mainstream. indeed, 57% of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video. more than three out of four (76%) young adults aged between 18-29 report watching video online. and nearly three-fourths (74%) of broadband users watch or download video online.

moreover, as the report makes clear, many users use online video socially. they watch videos with others, they send and receive links to online videos, they rate videos, they comment on videos, and they upload their own videos.

one of the key strengths of pew internet and american life project's reports - a strength that scholars, journalists, and new media pundits should emulate - is the way they place their object of study (the internet, digital media) within larger cultural, social, and economic contexts. for example, with respect to gender, 63% of men watch and download online video while only 51% of women do so. age is a huge factor: while 76% of internet users aged 18-29 watch video, only 46% of users aged 50-64 do so. education is another factor: 64% of college graduates watch video while 46% of high school graduates or less do so. and, echoing some of the findings in last year's latinos online, written by pew's susannah fox and gretchen livingston, access to broadband is a huge factor: 74% of those who enjoy high-speed connects at both work and home watch video while 31% of those with dial-up do so.

this fall, in a matter of weeks, i'll be teaching both sections of media studies 100, our intro course to the major. i continue to organize the course chronologically - print, radio, film, tv, computer, digital media - a tactic that is becoming increasingly outdated in our current age of convergence. i will certainly assign online video as a reading but am unsure where to put it in my syllabus: under the unit on tv? under video? under music? under digital media? reading through this latest report from pew and speculating where it will go in my syllabus makes me realize once again how fast the medium we use, study, teach, love, and hate is moving, morphing, and growing. thanks mary and thanks pew for helping us keep track.