Thursday, January 31, 2008

new reviews in cyberculture studies (february 2008)

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies (RCCS) publishes a set of book reviews and author responses. books of the month for february 2008 include:

Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics
Author: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Publisher: MIT Press, 2006
Review 1: Jentery Sayers
Author Response: Wendy Chun

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
Author: Fred Turner
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 2006
Review 1: Lonny J Avi Brooks
Review 2: William Bryant
Review 3: Merav Katz-Kimchi
Review 4: Linda Levitt
Review 5: Alan Razee
Author Response: Fred Turner

La Comunicazione del Terzo Settore nel Mezzogiorno
Author: Stefano Martelli
Publisher: Franco Angeli, 2006
Review 1: Gaetano Gucciardo (Italiano)
Review 2: Gaetano Gucciardo (English)

Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions
Author: Ned Rossiter
Publisher: NAi Publishers, 2006
Review 1: Daren C. Brabham
Author Response: Ned Rossiter

Reformatting Politics: Information Technology and Global Civil Society
Editors: Jodi Dean, Jon W. Anderson, Geert Lovink
Publisher: Routledge, 2006
Review 1: Athina Karatzogianni

The Internet Imaginaire
Author: Patrice Flichy
Publisher: MIT Press, 2007
Review 1: M. Beatrice Bittarello
Author Response: Patrice Flichy

The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting
Author: Darren Wershler-Henry
Publisher: Cornell University Press, 2007
Review 1: Adam Tourek
Author Response: Darren Wershler-Henry

The Politics of Cyberconflict
Author: Athina Karatzogianni
Publisher: Routledge, 2006
Review 1: Andrew Robinson
Author Response: Athina Karatzogianni

Uses of Blogs
Editors: Axel Bruns, Joanne Jacobs
Publisher: Peter Lang, 2006
Review 1: Tricia Farwell
Review 2: Tama Leaver
Review 3: Damien Pfister
Review 4: Daniel C. Smith
Author Response: Axel Bruns & Joanne Jacobs

enjoy. there's more where that came from.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


gone gallery

a meeting in washington dc

once a year, i pack my stuff and fly to washington dc for an advisory board meeting of the pew internet and american life project. for half a day, i get to sit in a room with super smart board members and even smarter staff members and brainstorm ways to improve an already excellent project. it's exhilarating.

project director lee rainie got things started by telling us what's in the pipeline. john horrigan has some reports coming out shortly, including one on online consumer practices around three different commodities: real estate, cell phones, and music. amanda lenhart is leading two fascinating projects, one on writing in a digital age and one on the relationships (or lack thereof) between gaming and civic engagement. apparently, the folks at pew never stop - just last december they release three reports, including "teens and social media" (lead author amanda lenhart) and "digital footprints" (lead author mary madden), two excellent studies that my students and i will be reading in digital literacy.

we then transitioned into areas for improvement. the project had just gone through an external review, with results that i would characterize as extremely positive, and instead of spending a lot of time talking about what they do well, we focused on areas that need improvement. for example, in a world increasingly populated by cell phones, especially among young people, pew's traditional land-line phone surveys will need some updating. further, considering bloggers' common (and wonderful) practice of linking to specific ideas rather than entire reports, we discussed alternatives to releasing the reports as only PDFs.

and we spent a significant amount of time talking about a word that more and more strikes me as arcane: dissemination. how, we all asked, do we improve dissemination of the findings? how can the reports find their way into the hands and minds of even more academics, even more journalists, even more bloggers, even more policy makers, even more people?

my Big Suggestion was to blog. dissemination is good, i argued (politely!), but conversation is better. an increase in conversation is an increase in dissemination - only more engaged. imagine, i asked, going to pew's web site not only for killer content but also for killer conversation.

it's remarkable that a project that began in 2000 is going stronger than ever. if i were them, i'd be inclined to kick up my feet and rest on my laurels. lucky for us, they are not me - instead of curbing their efforts, the pew internet and american life project continues to expand their reach: more reports, more topics, more collaborators.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

digital literacy - spring 2008

(update feb 5: added readings for guest speaker ivan chew)
(update feb 12: added readings for guest speaker bryan alexander)
(update jul 16: see nearly 500 pics on flickr)

as i mentioned yesterday, i'm teaching two courses this spring. my second class meets tuesday and thursday evenings and is called digital literacy.

each semester, USF offers one "davies forum," an honors-level seminar devoted to a timely and important topic of a selected professor's choosing. my proposal titled "digital literacy" was selected for spring 08. in addition to attracting some of USF's smartest and most creative students, davies forum are cool because they come with a healthy budget. as a result, ten guest speakers will visit USF and share their ideas, projects, questions, and curiosities about literacy in a digital age. plus, we'll have at least three field trips. i am supremely excited to teach this course and give lots of thanks to all who contributed to its design.

here's the syllabus (and here it is as a word document).

Davies Forum: Digital Literacy
Professor David Silver
Class Times: Tues, Thurs, 6:15pm - 8:00pm | Cowell 114
Office Hours: Tues, Thurs, 2-3; and by appointment | UC 539

Course Description:
Facebook and Fox News, tivo and TV, youtube and yahoo, books and blogs, ipods, iphones, itunes, ieverything – we are pretty much swimming in information. How do we navigate through it all? How do we find the good stuff? And which kinds of information should we use for which kinds of research and creative projects?

At the same time, information, it seems, is changing before our eyes. Today, in our Web 2.0 world, information is often something we both consume and produce. What does it mean, and what possibilities are opened up, when we can add to and annotate, comment on and contribute?

In Digital Literacy we will explain what literacy means – and can mean – in a digital age, our age. We will read, write, and reflect. We will design, create, and construct. We will participate, contribute, and collaborate.

Learning Goals:
Upon course completion, Davies Scholars will learn:
1. How to navigate, evaluate, cite, and contribute to existing knowledge;
2. How to construct and manage a creative, collaborative, and responsible digital identity; and
3. How to collaborate (preferably effectively and creatively) with others.

Required Texts:
* Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities (Random House, 1961)
* Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (NYU Press, 2006)
* Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Harper, 1994)
* A one-year Flickr pro account subscription, $24.95
* You are required to make, purchase, or barter for a bound, paper-based journal.

(A Note about Reading: The schedule below offers a rough outline of what we will read and discuss throughout the semester. Please, however, be aware that you will be reading much more. Much of your reading (and viewing and listening) for this course will be a product of your own library and online research, tailored toward topics that interest you.)

(A Second Note about Reading: Nearly every Thursday evening we will host guest speakers. In the cases when guest speakers have blogs, you are required to spend a significant time with their blog prior to their campus visit. This does not mean visiting the blog for 2-3 minutes. This means spending a few hours reading the blog, becoming acquainted with some of the blogger’s key themes, following various discussions via readers’ comments, tracing threads through tags, ets.)

Tuesday, January 22: Introductions: Where, Who, What Are We?
Due: Ourselves

Thursday, January 24:
Read: Common Craft, “RSS in Plain English”; Keri Smith, “100 Ideas”; Sherry Turkle, “Can You Hear Me Now?Forbes (May 5, 2007); Wikipedia, “Literacy

Tuesday, January 29:
Due: Your new journal
Read: National Endowment of the Arts, “To Read or Not To Read” (Executive Summary); Matthew Kirschenbaum, "How Reading is Being Reimagined," The Chronicle Review (December 7, 2007); if:book, "reading between the lines?" (blog post + comments)

Thursday, January 31:
Amanda Lenhart, Mary Madden, Alexandra Rankin Macgill, Aaron Smith, “Teens and Social Media: The use of social media gains a greater foothold in teen life as they embrace the conversational nature of interactive online media"; Henry Jenkins, "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century"; Mike Wesch, "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us"

Tuesday, February 5:
Field trip: Haight (Meet at Red Vic to watch Go Organic.)

Thursday, February 7:
Guest speaker: Mary Madden
Read: Mary Madden, Susannah Fox, Aaron Smith, and Jessica Vitak, "Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency"; Jeff Howe, "The Hit Factory," Wired (November 2005); Larry Hardesty, "The Tipping Jar: Does Radiohead's Internet release of its latest album tell us anything about the future of the music business?" Technology Review (Jan/Feb 2008)

Tuesday, February 12:
Read: Mark Briggs, “How to Blog,” Journalism 2.0, pp. 52-61; Global Voices, “Introduction to Citizen Media” (also in Spanish and in Bengali); Karen Schneider (a USF graduate!), “How to be ‘famous’ (wink wink, nudge nudge),” Free Range Librarian

Thursday, February 14:
Guest speaker: Ivan Chew
Read: "My Old Katong Final Pt.- Other Lost Landmarks," Times of My Life; Lam Chun See, "What Prompted Me To Start This Blog," Good Morning Yesterday; Ivan Chew, "My father, Basketball, and the late President Chiang Kai-shek"; Taking Up The Challenge, "Talk On Blogging For Seniors

Tuesday, February 19:
Field trip: San Francisco Public Library (Main branch)
Public talk: Sarah Houghton-Jan on the “Future of Libraries” (talk organized by SFPL's Magazines and Newspapers Center)

Thursday, February 21:
Guest speaker: Brewster Kahle
Read: Andrew Richard Albanese, "Scan This Book: An Interview with Open Content Alliance's Brewster Kahle,” Library Journal (August 2007); Kevin Kelly, "Scan this Book!" New York Times Magazine (May 14, 2006); Siva Vaidhyanathan, portions of The Googlization of Everything

Tuesday, February 26
Read: Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (NYU Press, 2006).

Thursday, February 28:
Guest speaker: Bryan Alexander
Read: Christy Dena, "Online Augmentation to Emerging Participatory Culture Practices: Player-Created Tiers in Alternate Reality Games," Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (Feb 2008); Steve Himmer, "The Labyrinth Unbound: Weblogs as Literature," in Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs, eds. Laura J. Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman (June 2004); Clay Shirky, "Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags" (spring 2005); and Sean Stacey (aka SpaceBass), "Undefining ARG," posted article to Unfiction (November 10th, 2006)

Tuesday, March 4:
Film Screening: Stop Firestone Campaign (This is part of USF’s Global Women’s Rights Forum and takes place 6-8 pm in Maraschi Room.)

Thursday, March 6:
Read one of the following: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “CommentPress: New (Social) Structures for New (Networked) Texts”; “Operation Iraqi Quagmire”; McKenzie Wark’s GAMER THEORY

Tuesday, March 11
Read: danah boyd, "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life." In David Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (MIT Press, 2007); Lampe, Cliff, Ellison, Nicole, and Steinfeld, Charles. (2006). A face(book) in the crowd: social searching vs. social browsing. Banff, Alberta, Canada: Proceedings of CSCW 2006; Joan DiMicco, David R Millen. (2007) Identity management: Multiple presentations of Self in Facebook. Note, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Organizational Computing and Goupware Technologies (GROUP 2007), Nov 2007.

Thursday, March 13:
Guest speaker: Fred Stutzman
Read: Fred Stutzman, "Social Network Transitions" and "Situational Relevance in Social Networking Websites," Unit Structures; Louise Story, "The Evolution of Facebook’s Beacon," Bits blog

Tuesday, March 18: Spring Break!
Thursday, March 20: Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 25
Read: Jane Jacobs, "The Uses of Sidewalks: Assimilating Children"; "The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety"; and "The Uses of Sidewalks: Contact" from Death and Life of Great American Cities (Random House, 1961); Eric Klinenberg, "Race, Place, and Vulnerability: Urban Neighborhoods and the Ecology of Support" from Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002), pp. 79- 128; Peirce Lewis, “Axioms of the Landscape: Some Guides to the American Scene,” Journal of Architectural Education (September 1976), pp. 6-9.

Thursday, March 27:
Guest Speaker: Kelly Quinn

WEEK 10:
Tuesday, April 1:
Read: Portions of PostGlobal; Portions of Global Voices

Thursday, April 3:
Guest Speaker: Kevin Epps

WEEK 11:
Tuesday, April 8
Read: Lorraine Johnson, "Wildness," in Tending the Earth: A Gardening Manifesto (Penguin, 2002); Michael Pollan, "The Idea of a Garden," in Second Nature: A Gardener's Education (Grove Press, 2003)
Read/Look: You Grow Girl

Thursday, April 10:
Guest speaker: Gayla Trail

WEEK 12:
Tuesday, April 15
Read: Michael Pollan, “Desire: Sweetness / Plant: Apple,” from The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (Random House, 2002), pp. 1-58; Douglas Rushkoff, "Net Loss" (intended for publication in the cancelled Arthur Vol. 1, No. 26 [March 2007]); Terry Tempest Williams, “Commencement,” from The Open Space of Democracy (Orion Society, 2004), pp. 2-24.

Thursday, April: 17:
Field trip: Stonelake Farm
Guest speaker: Francis Lake
Please note: We will be at Stonelake Farm from Thurs, April 17 to Sunday, April 20.

WEEK 13:
Tuesday, April 22
Read: Amanda Kwan, “Look sharp: Your style could show up on a blog," Seattle Times (July 9, 2007); Fashion Television, "The Sartorialist"
Read lots of: Pike/Pine
Get a feel for: HEL-LOOKS; Face Hunter; and The Sartorialist

Thursday, April 24:
Guest speaker: Jasmine Park

WEEK 14:
Tuesday, April 29
Read: Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Harper, 1994)

Thursday, May 1:
Guest speaker: Phillip Thurtle
Read: Alan Moore, selections from Promethea (America's Best Comics/Wildstorm, 1999-2005); Lev Manovich, "Image Future," Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2006), pp 25-44.

WEEK 15:
Tuesday, May 6: To be determined
Thursday, May 8: To be determined

Projects: 50%
Participation: 50%

Guest Speakers (in order of appearance):
Mary Madden (February 7) is Senior Research Specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project where she researches music and the internet, intellectual property issues online, teens and communication technology, and college students and the internet.

Ivan Chew (February 14) heads the Adult & Young People's Services (Public Libraries) of the National Library Board, Singapore. When he's off work, Ivan draws, paints, blogs, runs a mailing list for librarians, and works on original songs for a collaborative online music album.

Brewster Kahle (February 21) serves as founder and digital librarian at the non-profit Internet Archive and helps direct the Open Content Alliance. Brewster’s stated goal is “Universal Access to all Knowledge.”

Bryan Alexander (February 28) is Director of Research at NITLE, where he researches and writes on the critical uses of computers and teaching in terms of the interdisciplinary liberal arts and the contemporary development of cyberculture.

Fred Stutzman
(March 13) is a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and Co-Founder and Developer of claimID.

Kelly Quinn (March 27) is an assistant professor of American Studies at Miami University. Kelly examines the dynamic relationship between people and places, and is keenly interested in the confluence of the arts, humanities, design, and social justice.

Kevin Epps (April 3) is the filmmaker behind Straight Outta Hunters Point (2001) and Rap Dreams (2006). He is currently working on The Black Rock which chronicles the experiences of African-American prisoners at Alcatraz.

Gardener, photographer, graphic designer, and crafty gal Gayla Trail (April 10) is the creator of the thriving online community You Grow Girl and the author of the popular gardening book, You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening.

Francis Lake (April 17) is a manager and caretaker of Stonelake Farm, a small family farm in eastern Humboldt County, where he also runs the farm’s internship and artist residency programs.

Phillip Thurtle (May 1) is an assistant professor of the Comparative History of Ideas program and the History Department at the University of Washington and co-editor, with Robert Mitchell, of Data Made Flesh: Embodying Information and Semiotic Flesh: Information and the Human Body.

Jasmine Park (April 24) is the author of the prominent Seattle fashion blog Pike/Pine and publishes a weekly photo in the Seattle Times.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


gone gallery

digital journalism - spring 2008

this semester, i am teaching two classes, both held on tuesday and thursdays. the first class meets in the morning and is called digital journalism. here's the syllabus (and here it is as a word document).

Digital Journalism

Professor David Silver (dmsilver [at]
Class Times: Tues, Thurs, 10:30am - 12:15pm | Education 319
Office Hours: Tues, Thurs, 2-3; and by appointment | UC 539

Course Description:
Journalism and the ways news and stories are made, distributed, received, and altered are changing rapidly and profoundly. Digital Journalism encourages students to trace, track, understand, and learn how to participate in these changes, especially those changes related to the web and other forms of digital media.

Learning Goals:
Students enrolled in Digital Journalism will:
1. Learn about the current and dramatic transformation that is happening in traditional journalism as well as other media-related industries;
2. Learn about web-based tools and technologies for gathering and assessing news and stories (like blogs, crowdsourcing,, digg, RSS, and wikis);
3. Learn about web-based tools and technologies for creating and distributing news and stories (like audio slideshows, blogs, flickr, online maps, podcasts, and digital video); and, most importantly,
4. Learn how to learn new tools quickly and independently.

Course Texts:
o Mark Briggs, Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive: A digital literacy guide for the information age. (Free!
o Dan Gillmor, portions of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. (Free!
o Mark Glaser and Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, portions of MediaShift blog (Free!
o A one-year Flickr pro account subscription, $24.95
o You are required to make, purchase, or barter for a bound, paper-based journal.

Projects 50%
Final Project 10%
Participation 20%
Collaboration 20%

Regular class attendance is expected and required. If you miss class for any reason, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. This means first contacting fellow students and then, if they can't answer your questions, contacting me. Excessive absences will factor significantly into the class participation portion of your grade.

No late work accepted without a written doctor's letter.

If at any time during the first thirteen weeks of the semester you are concerned about your grade, make an appointment to see me.

You are encouraged to be as creative and collaborate as you can be.

Week 1:
Tuesday, January 22: Introductions: Who are we? What is this?
Due in class: Ourselves

Thursday, January 24:
Week 2:
Tuesday, January 29: Technology Tuesdays: RSS
Due in class:
Your new journal

Thursday, January 31:
Due in class:
RSS homework

Week 3:
Tuesday, February 5 (California’s Primaries!): Technology Tuesdays: Flickr
Flickr pro account

Thursday, February 7:
Due in class:
Project 1: Flickr campus project

Week 4:
Tuesday, February 12: Technology Tuesdays: Blogs
Thursday, February 14:
Due in class:
  • Project 2: Blog up-and-running project
Week 5:
Tuesday, February 19: Technology Tuesdays: digg and
Thursday, February 21:
Due in class:
Project 3: project

Week 6:
Tuesday, February 26: Technology Tuesdays: google maps
Thursday, February 28:
Due in class:
Project 4: google map project

Week 7:
Tuesday, March 4: Technology Tuesdays: audio slideshows
Audio slideshow

Thursday, March 6:
Due in class:
Project 5: audio slideshow

Week 8:
Tuesday, March 11:
Thursday, March 13:
Due in class:
Project 6: Global Women’s Rights Forum project

Tuesday, March 18: Spring Break!
Thursday, March 20: Spring Break!

Week 9:
Tuesday, March 25: Technology Tuesdays: podcasts
Thursday, March 27:
Due in class:
Project 7: podcast project

Week 10:
Tuesday, April 1: Technology Tuesdays: wikipedia
Thursday, April 3:
Due in class:
Project 8: Wikipedia project

Week 11:
Tuesday, April 8: Technology Tuesdays: digital video
  • Briggs, “Shooting Video for News and Feature Stories,” Journalism 2.0, pp. 89-99.
  • Briggs, “Basic Video Editing,” Journalism 2.0, pp. 100-114.
Thursday, April 10:
Week 12:
Tuesday, April 15:
Due in class:
Project 9: digital video project

Thursday, April: 17: No class

Week 13:
Tuesday, April 22: Technology Tuesdays: Politics 2.0
Thursday, April 24:
Due in class:
Project 10: Politics 2.0 project

Week 14:
Tuesday, April 29:
Thursday, May 1:
Week 15:
Tuesday, May 6:
Thursday, May 8:
Due in class:
Final Project

Saturday, January 12, 2008

bartering knowledge

sarah's in hawaii and i'm still on break so yesterday nene and i decided to drive down to santa cruz to hang out with mom. while there, i taught her how to use RSS and showed her a few tips about flickr. in return, mom taught me how to make her famous and extremely delicious homemade meat pie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

three reviews of critical cyberculture studies

academic reviews of critical cyberculture studies, a book i co-edited with adrienne massanari, are beginning to appear. and so far they are positive!

in new media & society, the leading academic journal for new media/internet studies, stephanie boluk writes, "Whether one uses the term cyberculture, internet, digital or new media studies, David Silver and Adrienne Massanari's anthology Critical Cyberculture Studies provides a framework for discussion of these fields and an eclectic series of exemplars showing what sort of work is being done in this nebulously classified territory of research." (New Media & Society, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 1037-1039; whole review here.)

in journal of communication, a leading academic journals for communication and media studies, laura robinson notes, "This collection's wide-ranging contributions valorize critical cyberculture studies' openness and flexibility, whether construed as field, discipline, or interdiscipline. It welcomes into its fold an unusually broad and heterogeneous array of empirical objects, theoretical orientations, and analytical strategies. In its sheer scope, this 25-chapter compilation is unparalleled. Chapters range from institutional analysis of Internet architecture to feminist analysis of emergent transhumanist narratives, to sociological analysis of the role of the culture of independence in the dot-com era. It also addresses badly needed global studies of cyberculture in diverse regions of Asia, as well as Scandinavia. In sum, the volume tackles its themes from numerous angles." (Journal of Communication, Vol. 57, Issue 4, pp. 808-810; whole review here.)

and in the international journal of baudrillard studies, a "transdisciplinary publication dedicated to engaging the thought and writing of jean baudrillard," pramod k. nayar writes "Critical Cyberculture Studies opens up the field (despite Silver's cautionary note that it is only an "invitation to consider a few new directions"). Ranging across race theory to political economy, rhetorical and discourse analysis to cultural policy studies, the volume embodies a range of topics, approaches and agendas. We thus have an exploration of a commercial company ( and state-run internet services (e-governance), the popular internet and militarization - all contributing to a comprehensive introduction to the new media. Where works like David Marshall's (New Media Studies), focused on one approach (cultural studies), the Silver-Massanari volume takes care to see that no one approach is valorized. In fact, one of the nice things about this volume is that it showcases many approaches (especially in section II) ... Critical Cyberculture Studies expands this work, moving from communication to community, postcolonial subjectivity, racial identities and technology to political economy and the nation-state. The volume is an extremely useful critical guide to future researchers in cyberculture and new media studies." (International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2; whole review here.)

thank you reviewers for considering and wrestling with the ideas and perspectives found within critical cyberculture studies.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the cement garden

our front yard is mostly cement.

two big beautiful trees, a parking sign, assorted trash, endless cigarette butts, sometimes dog shit, and lots and lots of cement.

yesterday we dragged a planter and set it like so.

today i transfered two mini wine barrels from the deck and added plants and flowers and herbs. while planting the azaleas, an older man walked up to me, grabbed my shoulder, flashed a big smile, and yelled "replace the plants! happy new year!"