Last week I was interviewed by Judy Aldous on the CBC programme alberta@noon Monday June 10, 2013. We took calls about social media. I was intrigued by the range of reactions from “I don’t need anything other than messaging” to “I use it all the time for my company.” One point I was trying to make is that we all have to now manage our social media presence. There are too many venues to be present in all of them and, as my colleague Julie Rak points out, we are now all celebrities in the sense that we have to worry about how we appear in media. That means we need to educate ourselves to some degree and experiment with developing a voice.
Archive for the ‘Blogs and Blogging Culture’ Category
The New Yorker last month had a great story by Larissa MacFarquhar on The Tragedy of Aaron Swartz. The net is full of opinions and outrage about the Swartz affair, MacFarquhar gives us a human dimension and a complex web of quotes from others. Another New Yorker story by Tim Wu, Fixing the Worst Law in Technology explains the law that prosecutors used against Swartz,
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the most outrageous criminal law you’ve never heard of. It bans “unauthorized access” of computers, but no one really knows what those words mean.
I must admit, my first thought on reading about this case, was that I would love to have all of JSTOR, though I’m not sure what I would do with it. I think there is a closet collector in every academic who wants a copy of everything they might need to consult late at night.
A week or so ago I began to follow Mark Sample’s tweets carefully as his tweeted what at first sounded like a nightmare at Dulles when he went to catch a flight. As he tweeted through the days it became more surreal. It seemed he was sequestered and being interrogated. He reported shots and deaths. It was hard to tell what was going on and then it was all over with a link to a YouTube video of him whispering into the phone. Then when you clicked on @samplereality you got “Internal Server Error” and if you tried to find his page you got a “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”
Someone had deleted his account.
Fortunately there was an off-site archive of his tweets that he had backed up here. And, as a useful hint, there was an entry on ProfHacker by Sample on how to Keep Your Official Twitter Archive Fresh which the editors introduced with,
this is a draft that Mark Sample uploaded to Profhacker last week. We have been unable to contact Mark for the final revisions, so we are posting it as-is. Our apologies for any errors.
It seemed more and more likely that the dramatic events in Dulles were a work of net fiction or an alternate reality game, something Mark is interested in and claimed to be working on for 2013 in his blog entry From Fish to Print: My 2012 in Review. I was also suspicious that none of his colleagues at George Mason seemed to be that worked up about his experience. And that’s the fun of this sort of alternate reality fiction. You don’t really know if you’re being taken or not and so you start poking around. Like many I was initially sympathetic (who hasn’t been inconvenienced by delays) and then worried. Eventually I decided the stream of posts were a work of fiction, but of course I’m still not sure. When alternate reality fiction is done well you never know whether This Is Not A Game.
I still don’t, but I’ll risk a guess and congratulate Mark … Bravo! If I’m wrong I apologize.
I am seeing more and more articles in the media about text analysis and the digital humanities. Ryan Cordell used the platform of the amazing story of his children getting millions of FaceBook likes to get a puppy to discuss the digital humanities and he studies how ideas could go viral before the internet. (See the CBC Q podcast of his interview.)
From Humanist I found a New York Times article by Steve Lohr on Literary History, Seen Through Big Data’s Lens. The story talks about Matt Jockers’ forthcoming work on Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History (University of Illinois Press). Matt is quoted saying,
Traditionally, literary history was done by studying a relative handful of texts, … What this technology does is let you see the big picture — the context in which a writer worked — on a scale we’ve never seen before.
In today’s Edmonton Journal I came across a story by Misty Harris on If Romeo and Juliet had cellphones: Study views the mobile revolution through a Shakespearean lens. This story reports on a paper by Barry Wellman that uses Romeo and Juliet as a way to think about how mobile media (text messaging especially) have changed how we interact. In Shakespeare’s time you interacted with others through groups (like your family in Verona). Now individuals can have distributed networks of individual friends that don’t have to go through any gatekeepers.
Faithful readers will have noticed that theoreti.ca has been inaccessible off and on since the summer and that it has not been updated for a while. The reason is that theoreti.ca was hacked and my ISP (rightly) insisted on shutting it down until I fixed it. Over the months I have tried a number of things that seemed to temporarily fix the problem, but ultimately failed. Finally I had to turn to a programmer, Hamman Samuel, who has rebuilt the blog from scratch and the associated philosophi.ca wiki. These were rebuilt on another server so there are various linking problems that we are slowly identifying and fixing. I will be reflecting on this experience in future posts. In the meantime I apologize to readers that it took so long to fix.
This week I was invited to give a number of talks at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Crystal Alberts organized the talks (along with others). At UND I spoke on:
- Incorporating the digital in the humanities. This talk was about incorporating the digital into humanities teaching.
- Supporting the Digital Humanities. This talk was for librarians and discussed mostly how libraries can support our work.
- Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities. This talk was delivered by videoconference and went out to a larger state audience discussing cyberinfrastructure in North Dakota.
Crystal has a nice long blog post on participation and inclusion the digital humanities. The post,On Becoming a Digital Humanist talks about Steve Ramsay’s MLA comments and what I wrote on inclusion.
We recently had Derek Pennycuff give a talk at our Humanities Computing Research Colloquium on
“Prioritizing performance optimization for higher education websites.” He pointed me to his blog where he deals with this issue and where he also has a nice summative point on
Higher Ed Institutional Blogging Server Usage Guidelines.