DTEM1401-Fall18 Readings & Material

Intro to Digital Technology & Emerging Media DTEM1401 (Fall 2018)


The syllabus is here.

It is useful for you to know how technology works. Unfortunately we will not be able to go through this in great detail in the course. Fortunately there are some excellent resources online. See for example: How does the Internet work?, How Internet Infrastructure Works, and McNamee et al, How the Internet Works: A guide for policy-makers. European Digital Rights. Also check out Julien Hopkins: How to Define Social Media – An Academic Summary. Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2018).

Social media use in 2018. Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Quiz: Our Surveillance Society or Black Mirror

This quiz asks if you can tell the difference between surveillance techniques which currently exist and techniques used in Black Mirror episodes. For each question select Surveillance Society or Black Mirror. This was inspired by @hypervisible’s thread on invasive surveillance.

Tim Wu, The Tyranny of Convenience, New York Times Opinion. Feb. 16, 2018.

Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today. As a driver of human decisions, it may not offer the illicit thrill of Freud’s unconscious sexual desires or the mathematical elegance of the economist’s incentives. Convenience is boring. But boring is not the same thing as trivial.

Jay Owens, Post-Authenticity and the Ironic Truths of Meme Culture, Medium. April 11, 2018.

Reality’s been having a tough time of it lately. From fake news to fake video to the utter charade of our Instagram personas, ‘authenticity’ seems to be over. When everything is an ironic meme, what are the new vectors for talking truth?

In 2017 Jean Twenge wrote that smartphones have destroyed your generation and made several claims about you and your phones. Is she right about you?

Week 1 Introduction to DTEM Technology, Access, & Media History
Greenfield: A Sociology of the Smartphone Longreads

Smartphones have altered the texture of everyday life, digesting many longstanding spaces and rituals, and transforming others beyond recognition.

It’s not you. Phones are designed to be addicting.

Week 2 Virtual Worlds

Black Mirror (s03e04) San Junipero

Delanty, G. (2010) Chapter 9 Virtual Community, in Community: key ideas.

The Pleasures of Community

Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft

Virtual Communities Lecture

Week 3 Reality & Hyperreality
Black Mirror (s03e05) Men Against Fire

Lessig, L. (2006) What things regulate, Chapter 7 of Code

Gillespie, T. (2014). The relevance of algorithms. Media technologies: Essays on communication, materiality, and society, 167.

Algorithms play an increasingly important role in selecting what information is considered most relevant to us, a crucial feature of our participation in public life. Search engines help us navigate massive databases of information, or the entire web. Recommendation algorithms map our preferences against others, suggesting new or forgotten bits of culture for us to encounter. Algorithms manage our interactions on social networking sites, highlighting the news of one friend while excluding another’s. Algorithms designed to calculate what is “hot” or “trending” or “most discussed” skim the cream from the seemingly boundless chatter that’s on offer. Together, these algorithms not only help us find information, they also provide a means to know what there is to know and how to know it, to participate in social and political discourse, and to familiarize ourselves with the publics in which we participate. They are now a key logic governing the flows of information on which we depend, with the “power to enable and assign meaningfulness, managing how information is perceived by users, the ‘distribution of the sensible.’” (Langlois 2013)

Can We Trust the Media? (Baudrillard) – 8-Bit Philosophy

Are Cell Phones Replacing Reality? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

How Is Orphan Black An Illustration of the Simulacrum? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

Week 4 Participatory Culture and fan production
Black Mirror (s04e01) USS Callister

What is participatory culture? In Delwiche, A., & Henderson, J. J. (Eds.). (2012). The participatory cultures handbook. Routledge.

Academics often think in terms of disciplinary boundaries, but participatory-culture studies are more properly thought of as an emergent, interdisciplinary project. As early tremors rippled across our global media and technology landscapes, scholars across disciplines noticed common patterns and began referencing each other’s work. In fact, some of the most useful research on this topic never uses the phrase “participatory culture.” For decades, researchers have been writing about contribution, collaboration, and collective knowledge. In an attempt to get a handle on recent scholarship that provides the foundation for this collection, we suggest that participatory culture studies can be divided into four distinct phases.

Melissa M. Brough and Sangita Shresthova (2012) Fandom meets activism: Rethinking civic and political participation Transformative Works and Cultures, 10, 1-27.

Fan activism lies at the intersection of cultural and political participation. The study of fan activism can inform our understanding of contemporary collective action more broadly. We suggest four key areas for analysis: the relationships between cultural and political participation; the tension between participation and resistance in the context of fan activism; affect and the role of content worlds in civic and political mobilization; and evaluation of the impacts of fan activism. By drawing on work across several disciplines including media studies and social movement literature, the analysis of fan activism through these lenses offers insights for theorizing contemporary cultures and modes of collective action.

Murillo, L. (2013). New expert eyes over Fukushima: Open source responses to the nuclear crisis in Japan. In Fukushima Forum.

In this article, I explore the responses of the Open Source community to the Fukushima disaster by describing the development of collaborative technologies to measure radioactive contamination across Japan. Based on participant observation at Tokyo Hacker Space, this article addresses an emergent form of technoscientific expertise which is not confined to or legitimized by established institutions, but, rather, is distributed and organized around transnational networks of field specialists, companies, educational institutions, and volunteers. Both Tokyo Hacker Space, as an independent laboratory, and Safecast, as a spin-off project, advanced practices of hardware engineering and Open data management, which are examined in this article as manifestations of bricolage. As a concluding argument, I suggest that expertise and responsibility are interpretive keys for under- standing the possibilities and impossibilities of collaboration and coordination in the context of Open Source-based responses to the Fukushima crisis. Responsibility has become an open question for Safecast and Tokyo Hacker Space, as both have championed “openness” as an ethical point of departure, a projected outcome, and a technical orientation in the context of the Fukushima disaster.


Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture (Big Thinkers Series)

Everything is a Remix Remastered (2015 HD)


Moderators Speak Out About Abuse On Reddit

Week 5 Property, Ownership & Work
Black Mirror (s01e02) 15 Million Merits

Bergvall‐Kåreborn, B., & Howcroft, D. (2014). Amazon Mechanical Turk and the commodification of labour. New Technology, Work and Employment, 29(3), 213-223.

Crowd employment platforms enable firms to source labour and expertise by leveraging Internet technology. Rather than offshoring jobs to low-cost geographies, functions once performed by internal employees can be outsourced to an undefined pool of digital labour using a virtual network. This enables firms to shift costs and offload risk as they access a flexible, scalable workforce that sits outside the traditional boundaries of labour laws and regulations. The micro-tasks of ‘clickwork’ are tedious, repetitive and poorly paid, with remuneration often well below minimum wage. This article will present an analysis of one of the most popular crowdsourcing sites—Mechanical Turk—to illuminate how Amazon’s platform enables an array of companies to access digital labour at low cost and without any of the associated social protection or moral obligation.

Arcidiacono, D., Gandini, A., & Pais, I. (2018). Sharing what? The ‘sharing economy’ in the sociological debate. Sociological Review 275-288

This essay introduces the subject and interpretative perspective of the monograph ‘Unboxing the Sharing Economy’, and is divided into three parts. The first part illustrates the evolution of the concept of the ‘sharing economy’ and the main analytical implications. The second part outlines the key findings of a systematic review of the literature, which indicates both that academic research on the sharing economy has expanded considerably since 2013, and that sociology’s contribution to this debate remains underdeveloped and somewhat incoherent. The final part both locates the contributions to the monograph in the context of other studies and summarizes its content.

The big debate about the future of work, explained

The Rise of the Sharing Economy

Why Your Airbnb May Be ILLEGAL

Week 6 Identity & Culture


Marwick, A. (2013). “Online Identity.” In Hartley, J., Burgess, J. & Bruns, A. (eds), Companion to New Media Dynamics. Blackwell Companions to Cultural Studies. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 355-364.

In this chapter, I discuss some basic theories of identity, apply them to new media contexts, and look specifically at social network sites, blogs, and microblogging services like Twitter to examine some of the major issues surrounding identity and new media today.

Nakamura, L. (2008) Measuring Race on the Internet: Users, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the United States, in Digitizing Race, University of Minnesota Press

Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet

Is The Internet A Luxury Or A Right? | AJ+

The Future of America

Week 7 Technology, Body & Death
Black Mirror (s02e01) Be Right Back

Myles, D., & Millerand, F. (2016). Mourning in a ‘Sociotechnically’ Acceptable Manner: A Facebook Case Study. In Memory in a Mediated World (pp. 229-243). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

This chapter investigates how mourning practices are transposed on and performed through social network sites (SNS). We define mourning practices as the ways in which bereavement status is performed and grief is expressed in socially acceptable manners. This interest in the social dimension of mourning was already present in Durkheim’s work (1912/2008, p. 567) in which he argues that ‘grief is not the spontaneous expression of individual emotions’.1 Mourning practices are framed through a series of conventions, customs and rules (Baudry, 2003) that authorize certain rights and privileges, but also stress certain restrictions and obligations to specific individuals (de Vries, 2001; Sklar, 1991). Mourning ‘causes mass or individual behaviours (attitudes, conducts, rituals) that are more or less strictly codified depending on cases, places and times’ (Thomas, 1988, p. 44).

Is It Okay To Mourn Celebrity Death Online? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

Week 8 Selfies, Oversharing & Blocking
Black Mirror (s03e01) Nosedive

Kennedy, J. (2016). Conceptual boundaries of sharing. Information, Communication & Society, 19(4), 461-474.

hough sharing is a central concept of networked culture, in this paper I show how its boundaries with other social theories of exchange have not been sufficiently established nor has the concept itself been adequately critiqued. Most significantly, this paper problematizes how sharing is implicated and positioned in studies of networked culture. I argue that a framework for a theory of sharing is needed and identify three distinct perspectives in the literature: sharing as an economy driven by social capital; sharing as a mode of scaled distribution; and sharing as a site of social intensification. It is shown how the use of the term sharing in the description of practices in networked culture is fraught with ambiguity. The paper concludes by elucidating how a focus on sharing practices can advance the field.

Tiidenberg, K. (2018) How do we selfie, in Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them

SEMIOTICS: The theory behind media literacy

Selfie City Project

Murphy, K. What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves

Should You Post A Selfie?

The Art of the Selfie | Art History Lesson

The Art History of the Selfie | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios

What Is The Treachery of Images?

What is Semiotics? A short film by Creative Semiotics

Week 9 Technology and Memory

Black Mirror (s01e03) The Entire History of You

Victor Mayer-Schonberger Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (Chap3)

Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all. In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played through.

Rowen: The End of Forgetting – The Atlantic Online

Bannon: Forgetting as a feature, not a bug: the duality of memory and implications for ubiquitous computing. CoDesign, 2(01), 3-15.

From earliest times, humans have developed strategies for increasing their ability to remember and commemorate significant events in the history of their communities. Epics have been created, memorized, and passed on through generations even before the development of written records. Monuments have also been built to commemorate important events. Stratagems for helping people to retain information, mnemonics, have allowed us to develop what has been termed memoria technica—‘artificial’ memories. In this essay, while recognizing that new technologies support people and organizations in their remembering processes, I wish to stress that other complementary human activity that constitutes the duality of memory, namely forgetting. This is a topic that has been relatively neglected or treated in a cursory fashion in much academic discourse to date. I note some examples of the scattered but intriguing work on the subject, from very different disciplinary perspectives, before turning attention to the potential relevance of judicious forgetting in the context of new technologies and visions of the future. Examining the role of forgetting opens up some interesting possibilities.We should re-frame our discourse and expand the design space concerning ubiquitous computational technologies in our everyday life to incorporate aspects of this forgetting dimension.

Forgetting is a part of memory | Richard Morris | TEDxMadrid

Is Google Killing Your Memory?

Week 10 Surveillance and Privacy
Black Mirror (s04e02) Arkangel

Browne, S. (2015) Notes on Surveillance Studies, in Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, Duke University Press

Galič, M., Timan, T., & Koops, B. J. (2017). Bentham, Deleuze and beyond: An overview of surveillance theories from the panopticon to participation. Philosophy & Technology, 30(1), 9-37.

This paper aims to provide an overview of surveillance theories and concepts that can help to understand and debate surveillance in its many forms. As scholars from an increasingly wide range of disciplines are discussing surveillance, this literature review can offer much-needed common ground for the debate. We structure surveillance theory in three roughly chronological/thematic phases.

Zuboff, S. (2015). Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75-89.

This article describes an emergent logic of accumulation in the networked sphere, ‘surveillance capitalism,’ and considers its implications for ‘information civilization.’ The institutionalizing practices and operational assumptions of Google Inc. are the primary lens for this analysis as they are rendered in two recent articles authored by Google Chief Economist Hal Varian. Varian asserts four uses that follow from computer-mediated transactions: ‘data extraction and analysis,’ ‘new contractual forms due to better monitoring,’ ‘personalization and customization,’ and ‘continuous experiments.’ An examination of the nature and consequences of these uses sheds light on the implicit logic of surveillance capitalism and the global architecture of computer mediation upon which it depends. This architecture produces a distributed and largely uncontested new expression of power that I christen: ‘Big Other.’ It is constituted by unexpected and often illegible mechanisms of extraction, commodification, and control that effectively exile persons from their own behavior while producing new markets of behavioral prediction and modification. Surveillance capitalism challenges democratic norms and departs in key ways from the centuries long evolution of market capitalism.

An Introduction to Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish – A Macat Sociology Analysis

PHILOSOPHY – Michel Foucault

Surveillance and Race Online | Simone Browne at MozFest

Online Privacy: How Did We Get Here? | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

The Power of Privacy – documentary

Surveillance and the City: Know When You’re Being Watched

Week 11 Politics in the Digital Age

Black Mirror (s02e03) The Waldo Moment

Loader, B. D., & Mercea, D. (2011). Networking democracy? Social media innovations and participatory politics. Information, Communication & Society, 14(6), 757-769.

Early conceptions of digital democracy as a virtual public sphere or civic commons have been replaced by a new technological optimism for democratic renewal based upon the open and collaborative networking characteristics of social media. This article provides an introduction to a special issue of the international journal Information, Communication & Society which attempts to present a grounded analysis on these claims drawing upon evidence-based research and analysis. A more cautious approach is suggested for the potential of social media to facilitate more participative democracy whilst acknowledging its disruptive value for challenging traditional interests and modes of communicative power.

Trottier & Fuchs: Theorising social media, politics and the state: An introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a basic framework for the analysis of social media, politics and the state. This topic—which the authors in this collected volume study—can be situated in the broader field of Internet and social media studies (see Dutton 2013, as well as the contributions in Ess and Dutton 2013 for an overview). Internet and social media research can be conducted in different ways. More administrative approaches analyse how digital media are used by whom, for what purpose, addressed to which audience, bearing which content, and having which effects. In contrast, critical Internet studies go beyond the digital version of the Lasswell formula. They do not exclude studying empirically the cornerstones of digital media use, but always situate such analyses in theorising and analysing larger contexts, such as power structures, the state, capitalism, gender relations, social struggles, and ideologies, which shape and are shaped by the digital media landscape in dialectical processes (Fuchs 2008, 2014d). This collected volume, in studying social media in the context of politics and the state, suggests the approach of critical Internet and social media studies. (See also Fuchs and Dyer- Witheford 2013; Fuchs and Sandoval 2014.)

Piercing the Narrative: Political Deceit in a Social Media Age | Matt Katz | TEDxCapeMay

The impact of social media in political debate | Mark Shephard | TEDxGlasgow

How politicians troll the media

Week 12 Crime, Justice & Activism
Black Mirror (s02e02) White Bear

Milan, S. (2015). From social movements to cloud protesting: the evolution of collective identity. Information, Communication & Society, 18(8), 887-900.

This article develops a conceptual framework for understanding collective action in the age of social media, focusing on the role of collective identity and the process of its making. It is grounded on an interactionist approach that considers organized collective action as a social construct with communicative action at its core (Melucci, 1996). It explains how micromobilization is mediated by social media, and argues that social media play a novel broker role in the activists’ meaning construction processes.

Bonilla, Y., & Rosa, J. (2015). # Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States. American Ethnologist, 42(1), 4-17.

As thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to protest the fatal police shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown in the summer of 2014, news and commentary on the shooting, the protests, and the militarized response that followed circulated widely through social media networks. Through a theorization of hashtag usage, we discuss how and why social media platforms have become powerful sites for documenting and challenging episodes of police brutality and the misrepresentation of racialized bodies in mainstream media. We show how engaging in “hashtag activism” can forge a shared political temporality, and, additionally, we examine how social media platforms can provide strategic outlets for contesting and reimagining the materiality of racialized bodies.

Social movements | Society and Culture | MCAT | Khan Academy

Episode #083 Henry David Thoreau – https://youtu.be/Kl1Ao4PJa-I

Civil Disobedience – https://youtu.be/elrTpoY6AYQ

Thoreau and Civil Disobedience – https://youtu.be/gugnXTN6-D4

Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail – https://youtu.be/s5Y-64GJT8E

Is The Internet a Public Place? – https://youtu.be/FmZbdaqGqlc

Week 13 Friending, dating and relating
Black Mirror (s04e04) Hang the DJ

Hess, A., & Flores, C. (2016). Simply more than swiping left: A critical analysis of toxic masculine performances on Tinder Nightmares. New Media & Society.

Launching in September 2012, Tinder has become a popular phenomenon in the world of online dating and hookup culture. Simultaneously, it carries notorious reputation for being home to hypersexual and toxic masculine expressions. This analysis examines Tinder Nightmares, an Instagram page featuring failed attempts at hooking up, as a site that promotes counter-disciplining the deliberate toxic masculine performances on Tinder. Through a Foucauldian lens, we argue that this page delimits the toxic masculine performances through the outward display of crude performances, the showcasing of witty responses from Tinder users, and the extension of counter-discipline through digital circulation practices on the page. Given that Tinder is a location-aware app, the discipline offered through Tinder Nightmares surfaces in interpersonal, physical, and networked spaces, as Tinder users become multiply implicated public subjects of shame across media platforms.

Wallace, L., James, T. L., & Warkentin, M. (2017). How do you feel about your friends? Understanding situational envy in online social networks. Information & Management, 54(5), 669-682.

Online social networks (OSNs) offer a stream of information that readily provides comparison opportunities, often resulting in feelings of envy. Two factors that drive OSN-situational envy (OSN-SE) are a user’s personality and needs. Leveraging the five-factor model of personality and uses and gratifications theory, we explore how personality traits and OSN use affect OSN-SE. Data from 625 survey responses indicate that Facebook users experience greater OSN-SE when they exhibit neuroticism and use Facebook to gratify needs to gather information, seek attention, or pass time, suggesting that envy- prone users should use OSN for specific purposes and avoid passive pursuits.

How I hacked online dating | Amy Webb

Week 14 Body Mods & Quantified Self

Black Mirror (s04e03) Crocodile

Sharon, T. (2017). Self-tracking for health and the quantified self: Re-articulating autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity in an age of personalized healthcare. Philosophy & Technology, 30(1), 93-121.

Self-tracking devices point to a future in which individuals will be more involved in the management of their health and will generate data that will benefit clinical decision making and research. They have thus attracted enthusiasm from medical and public health professionals as key players in the move toward participatory and personalized healthcare. Critics, however, have begun to articulate a number of broader societal and ethical concerns regarding self-tracking, foregrounding their disciplining, and disempowering effects. This paper has two aims: first, to analyze some of the key promises and concerns that inform this polarized debate. I argue that far from being solely about health outcomes, this debate is very much about fundamental values that are at stake in the move toward personalized healthcare, namely, the values of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity. The second aim is to provide a framework within which an alternative approach to self-tracking for health can be developed. I suggest that a practice-based approach, which studies how values are enacted in specific practices, can open the way for a new set of theoretical questions. In the last part of the paper, I sketch out how this can work by describing various enactments of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity among self-trackers in the Quantified Self community. These examples show that shifting attention to practices can render visible alternative and sometimes unexpected enactments of values. Insofar as these may challenge both the promises and concerns in the debate on self-tracking for health, they can lay the groundwork for new conceptual interventions in future research.

Wexler: “Do-It-Yourself” Brain Stimulation

The “do-it-yourself” (DIY) brain stimulationmovement began in earnest in late 2011, when lay individuals began building stimulation devices and applying low levels of electricity to their heads for self-improvement purposes. To date, scholarship on the home use of brain stimulation has focused on characterizing the practices of users via quantitative and qualitative studies, and on analyzing related ethical and regulatory issues. In this perspective piece, however, I take the opposite approach: rather than viewing the home use of brain stimulation on its own, I argue that it must be understood within the context of other DIY and citizen science movements. Seen in this light, the home use of brain stimulation is only a small part of the “neurohacking” movement, which is comprised of individuals attempting to optimize their brains to achieve enhanced performance. Neurohacking itself is an offshoot of the “life hacking” (or “quantified self”) movement, in which individuals self-track minute aspects of their daily lives in order to enhance productivity or performance. Additionally, the home or DIY use of brain stimulation is in many ways parallel to the DIY Biology (or “biohacking”) movement, which seeks to democratize tools of scientific experimentation. Here, I describe the place of the home use of brain stimulation with regard to neurohackers, lifehackers, and biohackers, and suggest that a policy approach for the home use of brain stimulation should have an appreciation both of individual motivations as well as the broader social context of the movement itself.

Wissinger: Wearable tech, bodies, and gender

New forms of wearable technology are blurring the lines between technology and bodies, raising questions about personhood, selfhood, and what it means to be human. Consequently, scholars are examining these iterations of body/machine interface and human machine communication from a variety of angles. While fashion scholars focused primarily on garments and celebrating potential techno‐futures, media and communication scholars more critically examined how wearable tech mediates bodies and relationships. Social scientists are concerned with issues of labor, privacy, data ownership, and value, drawing on ethnographic studies of the Quantified Self (QS) community and the phenomenon of self‐tracking more generally. This scholarship is rooted in studies and theorizations of ubiquitous computing, feminist science and technology studies (STS), and fashion and dress as both ornament and second skin. Generally, it asks how wearable technology can augment the human body, how it affects human relationships to self and other, and whether wearable technology can promote human autonomy, when it is locked into commercial and power relationships that don’t necessarily have the users’ best interests at heart. The essay ends by briefly outlining of directions for further research, urging further investigation into wearable tech exhibiting gendered attitudes toward “femme” women, and calling for increased attention to issues raised by wearable technology’s coming merger with the growing fields of biotech and synthetic biology.

SHIFT: Biohacking Documentary

The Man Biohacking Encryption From His Garage

The Quantified Self: Data Gone Wild?

Quantified Self: Your Digital Self-Help Mentor | Nichol Bradford


Week 15 Fake News and Manufactured Outrage
Black Mirror (s03e06) Hated in the Nation

Farkas and Schou (2018) Fake News as a Floating Signifier Javnost: The Public, 2018 Vol. 25, No. 3, 298–314

Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social media and fake news in the 2016 election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211-36.

American democracy has been repeatedly buffeted by changes in media technology. In the 19th century, cheap newsprint and improved presses allowed partisan newspapers to expand their reach dramatically. Many have argued that the effectiveness of the press as a check on power was significantly compromised as a result (for example, Kaplan 2002). In the 20th century, as radio and then television became dominant, observers worried that these new platforms would reduce substantive policy debates to sound bites, privilege charismatic or “telegenic” candidates over those who might have more ability to lead but are less polished, and concentrate power in the hands of a few large corporations (Lang and Lang 2002; Bagdikian 1983). In the early 2000s, the growth of online news prompted a new set of concerns, among them that excess diversity of viewpoints would make it easier for like-minded citizens to form “echo chambers” or “filter bubbles” where they would be insulated from contrary perspectives (Sunstein 2001a, b, 2007; Pariser 2011). Most recently, the focus of concern has shifted to social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook have a dramatically different structure than previous media technologies. Content can be relayed among users with no significant third party filtering, fact-checking, or editorial judgment. An individual user with no track record or reputation can in some cases reach as many readers as Fox News, CNN, or the New York Times.

Klang, M. & Madison, N. “Vigilantism or Outrage: An Exploration of Policing Social Norms Through Social Media.” in Vanacker & Heider (eds.) Ethics for a Digital Age. Peter Lang Publishing.

Fake news wasn’t the biggest media problem of 2016

How Social Media Makes Us Angry All the Time | Molly Crockett

Week 16 Hackers and Trolls

Black Mirror 2014 Christmas Special – White Christmas

(Black Mirror (s03e03) Shut Up and Dance)

Phillips, W. (2011). LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online. First Monday, 16(12).

This paper examines the emergence of organized trolling behaviors on Facebook, specifically in relation to memorial groups and fan pages. In addition to mapping the development of RIP trolling — in which online instigators post abusive comments and images onto pages created for and dedicated to the deceased — the paper also examines the highly contentious and ultimately parasitic relationship(s) between memorial trolls, Facebook’s social networking platform and mainstream media outlets. Recalling Oring’s account of disaster humor, the paper goes on to suggest that, inadvertently or not, Facebook memorial page trolling presents a pointed critique of a tragedy–obsessed global media.

Massanari, A. (2017). #Gamergate and The Fappening: How Reddit’s algorithm, governance, and culture support toxic technocultures. New Media & Society, 19(3), 329-346.

This article considers how the social-news and community site Reddit.com has become a hub for anti-feminist activism. Examining two recent cases of what are defined as “toxic technocultures” (#Gamergate and The Fappening), this work describes how Reddit’s design, algorithm, and platform politics implicitly support these kinds of cultures. In particular, this piece focuses on the ways in which Reddit’s karma point system, aggregation of material across subreddits, ease of subreddit and user account creation, governance structure, and policies around offensive content serve to provide fertile ground for anti-feminist and misogynistic activism. The ways in which these events and communities reflect certain problematic aspects of geek masculinity are also considered.

The world’s greatest internet troll explains his craft

Are Internet Trolls Born or Made?