Sunday, December 27, 2009

digital media production (spring 10)

in spring, i'm teaching three classes. one of them is digital media production. classes begin january 26, 2010.

digital media production
Tues & Thurs 8:30 - 10:15 am
Education 304

Professor: David Silver
Office: Kalmanovitz 141
Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 10:30 - 11:30 am & by appointment

Digital Media Production is a production course designed around creating, sharing, and collaborating with digital media. Using tools and platforms like facebook, twitter, flickr, yelp, blogs, google maps, and kiva, students will explore ideas of digital storytelling, transmedia, co-authorship, and large-scale collaboration. Readings and discussions about digital media history and culture will accompany and inform our production and participation.

Learning Goals:
1. To learn how to use digital media creatively and effectively;
2. To learn how to use digital media collectively and collaboratively;
3. To learn how to learn new tools quickly and independently; and
4. To learn about and participate within the intersections among digital media and social justice.

Required Texts/Costs:
o All readings are either a) free and online or b) will be made available for free in the library and outside my office.
o Although students will be able to complete their assignments with a free flickr account, you are encouraged, especially if interested in photography, to purchase a flickr pro account for $25.
o All students are required to make one $25 micro-loan, via, which will be returned in full.


Tuesday, January 26
o Introduce ourselves, distribute syllabus, and discuss course expectations.
Thursday, January 28
o Clive Thompson, Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, New York Times Magazine, September 5, 2008.
o Rachel Dry, What Would Warhol Blog? Washington Post, August 16, 2009.
o Clay Shirky, How social media can make history, Ted Talks, June 2009.

Tuesday, February 2
o Lee and Sachi LeFever, Social Networking in Plain English, Common Craft, June 27, 2007.
o danah boyd and Nicole B. Ellison, Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1).
o Kate Miller-Heidke, Are You F*cking Kidding Me? (Facebook Song), YouTube
Thursday, February 4
o Justin Smith, Exclusive: Discussing the Future of Facebook with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Inside Facebook, June 3, 2009.
o Stephanie Clifford, Ads Follow Web Users, and Get More Personal, New York Times, July 30, 2009.
o Lori Aratani, When Mom or Dad Asks To Be a Facebook "Friend," Washington Post, March 9, 2008.
o Kevin Bankston, Facebook's New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Electronic Frontier Foundation, December 9, 2009.

Tuesday, February 9
o Demo Day: Facebook
Thursday, February 11
o Henry Jenkins, Why Heather Can Write, Technology Review, February 6, 2004.
o Samantha M. Shapiro, Revolution, Facebook-Style: Can social networking turn disaffected young Egyptians into a force for democratic change? New York Times Magazine, January 22, 2009.
o Ira Glass, On good taste ... This American Life (Video: 5:20).

Tuesday, February 16
o Lee and Sachi LeFever, Twitter in Plain English, Common Craft, March 5, 2008.
o Ben Parr, HOW TO: Retweet on Twitter, Mashable, April 16, 2009.
o Mashable, How #FollowFriday Works
o Marko, Twitter Etiquette: 7 Common Sense Rules for Twitter, Twitter Tips blog, December 20, 2009.
o Virginia Heffernan, Hashing Things Out: How Hashtags are Remaking Conversations on Twitter, New York Times Magazine, August 7, 2009
Thursday, February 18
o Steven Johnson, How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live, Time, June 5, 2009.
o Michael Wesch, An anthropological introduction to YouTube, presented at the Library of Congress, June 23, 2008 (Video: 55.33).

Tuesday, February 23
o Demo Day: Twitter
Thursday, February 25
o Noam Cohen, Refining the Twitter Explosion, New York Times, November 8, 2009.
o Stan Schroeder, How Twitter Conquered the World in 2009, Mashable, December 25, 2009.
o Adrian Higgins, We can't see the forest for the T-Mobiles, Washington Post, December 15, 2009.

Tuesday, March 2
o Lee and Sachi LeFever, Online Photo Sharing in Plain English, Common Craft, January 9, 2008.
o Virginia Heffernan, Sepia No More, New York Times Magazine, April 27, 2008.
o Michael Kimmelman, At Louvre, Many Stop to Snap but Few Stay to Focus, New York Times, August 2, 2009.
o Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, Part II, Time Magazine.
Thursday, March 4
o Noam Cohen, Use My Photo? Not Without Permission, New York Times, October 1, 2007.
o Noam Cohen, Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives, New York Times, January 18, 2009.
o Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, Flickr Changes Lives, Launches Photog Careers, MediaShift blog, August 2, 2007.
o Chris Colin, Nasty as they wanna be? Policing, SF Gate, September 29, 2008.

Tuesday, March 9
o Demo Day: Flickr
Thursday, March 11
o Gina Trapani, Geek to Live: Flickr Advanced User Guide, Lifehacker blog, February 15, 2006.
o Adam Ostrow, Flickr2Twitter: Flickr Enters the Twitter Stream, Mashable blog, June 30, 2009.
o Ben Parr, 5 Impressive Mashups of Twitter and Flickr, May 11, 2009.
o Try out iMapFlickr.

Tuesday, March 16: SPRING BREAK!
Thursday, March 18: SPRING BREAK!

Tuesday, March 23
o Kathleen Richards, Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0, East Bay Express, February 18, 2009.
o Deborah Gage, S.F. Yelp user faces lawsuit over review, San Francisco Chronicle, January 8, 2009.
Thursday, March 25
o Stephen Baker, Will Work for Praise: The Web's Free-Labor Economy, Business Week, December 28, 2008.
o Eric Karjaluoto, Is Tim Ferriss acting like an asshole? ideasonideas, August 11, 2009.

Tuesday, March 30
o Demo Day: Yelp
Thursday, April 1
o Stacy Schiff, Know it All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? The New Yorker, July 31, 2006.
o Rob Walker, Handmade 2.0, New York Times Magazine, December 16, 2007.

Tuesday, April 6
o Scott Rosenberg, Putting Everything Out There [Justin Hall] from Say Everything.
Thursday, April 8
o Tom Coates, (Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything..., September 3, 2003.
o Doree Shafrir, Would You Take a Tumblr With This Man? New York Observer, January 15, 2008.

Tuesday, April 13
o Christian Kreutz, Maptivism: Maps for activism, transparency and engagement, Crisscrossed blog, September 14, 2009.
o Christian Kreutz, 6 innovative grassroot mashups for transparency, Crisscrossed blog, May 5, 2008.
Thursday, April 15
o Mark S. Luckie, 7 Unique and innovative maps, 10,000 Words blog, October 21, 2009.
o David Sasaki, Maps for Social Change and Community Involvement, Idea Lab blog, April 24, 2009.
o Rex Sorgatz, A Data Point on Every Block: An Interview with Adrian Holovaty, Fimoculous, February 14, 2008.
o Try out Green Maps.

Tuesday, April 20
o Demo Day: Google Maps
Thursday, April 22:
o Collaboration Workshop

Tuesday, April 27
o Henry Jenkins, "Searching for the Oragami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling," in Convergence Culture, pp. 95-134.
Thursday, April 29
o The Extended Reality of Cross-Media Storytelling, Power to the Pixel, February 4, 2009.
o Why So Serious? Marketing Overview
o Welcome to a World Without Oil
o Stefanie Olsen, Provocative politics in virtual games, CNET News, March 28, 2007.

Tuesday, May 4
o Alice Rawsthorn, Winning Ways of Making a Better World, New York Times, August 30, 2009.
o Frontline/World, Uganda - A Little Goes a Long Way, PBS, October 31, 2006.
o Martin Plaut, Internet loans swing towards US, BBC News, June 10, 2009.
o Erick Schonfeld, Four Years After Founding, Kiva Hits $100 Million In Microloans, TechCrunch, November 1, 2009.
Thursday, May 6
o Demo Day: kiva

Tuesday, May 11
o Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?The Atlantic, July/August 2008.
o David Carr, The Fall and Rise of Media, New York Times, November 29, 2009.
Thursday, May 13
o To be determined.

This class has no final exam.

20% - Reading quizzes and in-class assignments
20% - Class and online participation
20% - Demo Days
20% - Projects
20% - Final Project

If you are concerned about your grade, you can request a meeting with me anytime during the semester.

1. Read all assigned readings and view all assigned videos prior to class.
2. In class, listen to and learn from everyone.
3. No late work accepted.
4. If you have no new work on Demo Day, do not come to class.
5. Publish work under your own name.
6. Starting January 28, no drinking out of non-reusable containers in class. Be creative with your thirst-quenching solutions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

graduation day

at this year's graduation ceremony, USF's school of business and professional studies gave craig newmark, founder of craigslist, an honorary degree. i had the pleasure of introducing him.

my remarks looked something like this:

Back in 2007, there was a guy named Sean who owned a home in San Francisco. A nice home, near Chinatown, with one problem: the attic. The attic was full of rats. Based on a tip he received from a hardware store, Sean filled the attic with peanut butter-flavored cubes of poison. The idea was that the rats would eat the cubes, become extremely thirsty, and scuttle out of the house. The rats did indeed eat the cubes, but instead of getting thirsty and leaving for a drink, they died. Now Sean’s attic was full of dead, stinky rats. So Sean did what millions of other people do - he posted to Craigslist. In exchange for ridding his attic of dead rats, he offered 5000 CDs from his personal music collection.

I find this story fascinating for three reasons. First, it is amazing that a significant transaction - dead rats for 5000 CDs - can take place without a single dollar bill exchanged. No cash register was needed. No paypal. No shopping mall.

Second, this simple exchange requires a complex trust between two people. It requires civility. It requires human beings treating human beings like human beings.

The third reason I love this story has nothing to do with Sean, or the rats, or the 5000 CDs. It’s about what happens when many, many people use Craigslist. Craigslist was started as a hobby by Craig Newmark in early 1995. Today, more than 35 million viewers in 55 countries use Craigslist. Now, when people use Craigslist, they seldom pay for classified ads, and when people don’t pay for classified ads, it is difficult for newspapers, at least in the United States, to exist. In this way, and in many other ways, Craigslist is what we in media studies call a disruptive technology. Craigslist is a game changer. It disrupts the existing order.

In this way, Craig Newmark and Craigslist are quite similar to USF. After all, the motto of USF is not "Educating minds and hearts to make a lot of money." Nor is the motto of USF "Educating minds and hearts to maintain the status quo." The motto of USF is "Educating minds and hearts to change the world." Change the world. Be disruptive.

Today, we honor Craig Newmark, the entrepreneur who founded Craigslist. The University of San Francisco is proud to honor Craig for his success at directing technology to promote "a common good that transcends the interests of particular individuals or groups." The University does, therefore, confer upon Craig Newmark the degree of Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereunto. Given this eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand and nine, and of the University, the hundredth and fifty-fourth, in San Francisco, California.

to the graduating class of 2009 - congratulations and may you be disruptive.

Friday, December 11, 2009

the herb garden

the herb garden in the front yard is beginning to take shape.

(click on the image for a larger view)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

retiring RCCS

in fall 1994, i began grad school in american studies at the university of maryland, researching and teaching about a new and obscure technology called the internet.

it was a perfect time and place to study new media. at maryland, i was able to work with and learn from john caughey, debra deruyver, katie king, bob kolker, myron lounsbury, ed martini, jo paoletti, kelly quinn, jason rhody, ben shneiderman, mary corbin sies, martha nell smith, donald snyder, and ellen yu borkowski. it was awesome.

what wasn't awesome was the larger academic community, or lack thereof. in those days, one would be lucky to find a single panel on "cyberspace" or the "world wide web" at an academic conference or to find a single article in an academic journal. these were the old days - before conferences like digital arts and culture (or DAC, first held in 1998) or the association of internet researchers (or AoIR, first held in 2000), before internet clusters like the berkman center for internet and society (established in 1998) or the oxford internet institute (established in 2001). back then, academic interest in the internet was building, but an academic community was hard to find.

in fall 1996, i enrolled in an independent study with myron lounsbury. the goal of the independent study was to build a web site which in turn would help foster a community, an online community, that would connect scholars and students interested in studying the internet. i began by collecting relevant course syllabi and conference calls - the two key ingredients for any emerging field of study - and posted them on the web site. i called the site the resource center for cyberculture studies, or RCCS, and launched it on december 8, 1996.

a few months later, i received a review copy of wayne rash, jr.'s politics on the nets: wiring the political process. i found the book interesting, wrote a review of it, and in july 1997 published the review on RCCS. the idea behind RCCS reviews was simple: review books about contemporary media and culture from any and all disciplinary persuasions. i decided RCCS would review books because, first, books often contain interesting, well-developed ideas and arguments, something a new field of study needs and thrives on, and, second, books, unlike web sites which began to multiple and remix at an alarming rate by 1997, are finite in number. the book reviews quickly became the heart of RCCS.

a month later, fellow maryland grad student will winton's review of gary g. gach's every writer's essential guide to online resources and opportunities generated a new feature: the author response. shortly after publishing winton's review, i received an email from gach who was excited to see his book reviewed but eager to explain his side of the story. i invited the author to write a response, he did, and the author response was born. when it worked well, the book review + author response fostered a rich and ripe dialogue - a conversation between reviewer and reviewed.

in 1998, a new feature appeared: multiple reviews of a single book. having received a new batch of books in need of reviewers, i distributed a call for reviewers to various lists. when multiple scholars asked to review richard lanham's the electronic word: democracy, technology and the arts, i asked the publisher for an extra review copy. they said yes, i assigned the book to two reviewers, and the multiple reviews feature was born. later, RCCS would routinely feature two, three, four, and even five reviews of a single book. coupled with an author response, these multiple reviews offer multiple perspectives into a complex topic.

from the start, the book reviews and author responses were free and publicly accessible. they were also written by a range of scholars - from graduate students in their first years to full professors in their last years - representing all kinds of fields and disciplines within the arts, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology. refusing a single disciplinary orientation, RCCS included them all.

on december 1, 2009, i published the last (and excellent!) set of RCCS book reviews and author responses. although there will be no more new reviews and responses, the existing ones will remain online as a free and publicly accessible archive.

it's been a nice run. for help along the way: a big and long-lasting thanks to my maryland peeps who helped launch RCCS; a big, big thanks to john klockner and alex fedosov who helped host and configure RCCS; and a massive thanks to nectarine group who helped redesign RCCS.

but most of all, thanks to the hundreds of reviewers who contributed their time, labor, and good ideas to RCCS and to the readers who took the time to read a review or two.

new (and last) set of reviews in cyberculture studies (december 09)

each month, RCCS Reviews pumps out free, full-length reviews of books about contemporary media and culture. this month, RCCS Reviews features 10 reviews of 8 books with 4 author responses. books of the month for december 2009 are:

Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary
Author: N. Katherine Hayles
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008
Review 1: Pramod K. Nayar
Review 2: Luis Amate Perez
Author Response: N. Katherine Hayles

Global Capital, Local Culture: Transnational Media Corporations in China
Author: Anthony Y.H. Fung
Publisher: Peter Lang, 2008
Review 1: Hanna Cho
Author Response: Anthony Y.H. Fung

Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
Author: Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
Publisher: MIT Press, 2008
Review 1: Viola Lasmana
Review 2: Jentery Sayers
Author Response: Matthew Kirschenbaum

Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet
Author: Christine L. Borgman
Publisher: MIT Press, 2007
Review 1: Denise N. Rall

Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond
Editor: Eduardo Kac
Publisher: MIT Press, 2006
Review 1: Yazan Haddad

Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools
Editor: Byron Hawek, David M. Rieder, Ollie Oviedo
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2008
Review 1: Brenda Berkelaar

Technology in a Multicultural and Global Society
Editor: May Thorseth, Charles Ess
Publisher: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2005
Review 1: Delia D. Dumitrica
Author Response: Charles Ess and May Thorseth

Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software
Author: Christopher M. Kelty
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2008
Review 1: Tim Jordan