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Memes

A ‘meme’ is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. But what is it about memes leads to the level of virality? Why are we so attracted to making and sharing (and sharing and sharing and sharing) memes? Suggested Readings What Defines a Meme? World Made Meme (interview) A Unified Theory of Meme Death We […]


Blogging

Blogging is dead! Long live blogging! Description In the early 2000s, the end of the “.com” era saw the rise of “Web 2.0” as a loosely defined trend in online content generation where everyday users — not traditional media producers — created the content that defined digital culture. Blogs more than any other modality came […]


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Activism and Agency

#1reasonWhy #YesAllWomen #NotAllMen #GamerGate #NotYourAsianSidekick #Ferguson #IfTheyGunnedMeDown #BlackLivesMatter #ConcernedStudent1950 These words with #’s in front of them aren’t just collating social media content around specific interests. Instead, these conversations and their participants come to think of these more like an event or social movement. In cases like “#1reasonwhy”, the hashtag becomes a platform for voices […]


Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the increasing number of devices that can connect to the Internet and communicate with each other. While the Internet began as a series of computers connecting to other computers, it expanded to connect smartphones and has continued to connect increasing numbers of devices beyond dedicated computing machinery. The […]


Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a digital medium that presents information about users’ surroundings on devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartglasses. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines AR as both “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a […]


Personal Data Tracking

Our phones track our location and habits. Our watches measure our heart rates and how many steps we take. Do we know what happens to that data? How do we measure issues of privacy versus issues of public health and safety? What are the things maybe we would want to track but don’t? And how […]


YouTubing

YouTube.com was founded in 2005 and quickly became a leading force in the surge of so-called “Web 2.0” culture that hit a peak with Time Magazine naming “You” the 2006 person of the year. YouTube has gone on to provide endless memes, cultural references, and launched the careers of an army of “YouTubers”. But how […]


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Digital Privacy

Privacy is increasingly important in a digital environment, not just because of the risk of what we consciously put online, but because of the digital traces of ourselves we leave without even knowing it. Goals Understand digital privacy and how to be proactive in protecting yours. Suggested Readings We are all Data Amazon’s Alexa started […]


Online Hate and Harassment: The Trouble with Trolling

“Don’t Feed the Trolls.” But why? And who gets trolled and why? Goals: Understand the politics around gender and race regarding being attacked online Protect and defend your digital identity Suggested Readings: Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment Jaclyn Friedman, Anita Sarkeesian and Renee Bracey Sherman Why I’m Masquerading As A […]


Working for the Web

We use our phones and our devices for social media purposes, but do we ever think about the work that goes into producing our hardware, coding our software, or supporting the networks that make this all possible? From the mines where the metals are retrieved, to the factories that put the phones together, to all […]


Black Boxes and Invisible Fences:Understanding Algorithmic Influence

How we experience the web generally, and social media more specifically, is largely mediated through algorithms. Algorithms are computer programs that make thousands of decisions for us every day, but we don’t often critically examine what is happening under the hood of the web to understand what we see and why. In this module, learn more […]


Wikipedia

Wikipedia is one of the largest and most heavily-trafficked websites in the world, and its structure and collaborative model make the world’s knowledge available to anyone. It’s been blamed for killing off encyclopedias, for enabling plagiarists, and for making Internet users intellectually lazy. It has also been called “The greatest work of literature in history.” […]


Selfies

Selfies “Selfie” was Oxford’s word of the year for 2013, and it hasn’t seemed to slow down in terms of its popularity and ubiquitousness. So, what is it about taking and sharing pictures of ourselves that is so attractive to us? Goals: Develop a critical understanding of selfie culture Practice negotiating and curating digital identity […]