Syllabus

This schedule represents a good faith effort to describe our strategic plan for the semester. I may alter the order or content of topics, activities and assignments as necessary or appropriate—given the nature of social media, I expect changes to happen quite often. You are responsible for keeping track of what goes on in class as well as all readings and deadlines. Please do not ask me to call to discuss or email you content you may have missed. I’m happy to meet with you during office hours (no appointment necessary) or by appointment to discuss any of the material or assignments. Selected course material will be available via the various online resources used in this course.

The course is divided into three sections, as we move from a broader lens to focus on narrower areas. The sections are not separate, however: as we move through the material, you will see that there are a number of connections and cross-references. Readings should typically be completed by the Tuesday of each week, since they will inform all lectures, discussions, quizzes, and in-class work. Assignments are generally due on the Thursday of the week indicated, unless otherwise specified.

Section 1: Laying the Cornerstones

Week o (August 19)

Course overview

Readings: None
Assignments due: None

Week 1 (August 24/26)

Culture & social media

Required readings: CC Introduction (pp. 1-24); CT Chapter 2; Digital Nation parts 1 & 2; Vertesi (2010), “Tweeting Spacecraft” (PDF); Henry Jenkins, “Multitasking and Continuous Partial Attention” Part 1 & Part 2;
Recommended readings: CT Chapter 5; Miller (2008), “New media, networking, & phatic culture” (available on Blackboard); Andrew Keen interview of Clay Shirky, “Can the Internet save the book?“; Henry Jenkins, “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” (PDF)
Platforms explored: Twitter
Assignments due: Introductory Twitter assignment

Week 2 (August 31/September 2)

Economics & ownership

Required readings: CT  Cluetrain Manifesto (pp. xiii-xxi); Annalee Newitz, “How the Google/Verizon Proposal Could Kill the Internet in 5 Years“; Erick Schonfeld, “Zuckerberg On Who Owns User Data on Facebook: It’s Complicated“; Ryan Singel, “Why Google Became A Carrier-Humping, Net Neutrality Surrender Monkey“;
Recommended readings: Mathew Ingram, “Facebook Wants to Own All Your Social Graphs, Not Just One“; Rachel Donadio, “Larger Threat Is Seen in Google Case“; Hartelius (2005), “A Content-Based Taxonomy of Blogs and the Formation of a Virtual Community” (Blackboard)
Platforms explored: None
Assignments due: None

Week 3 (September 7/9)

Privacy

Required readings: Julia Angwin, “The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets“; Leah Betancourt, “How Companies Are Using Your Social Media Data“; boyd & Hargittai (2010), “Facebook Privacy Settings: Who Cares?”; The Wall Street Journal, “Getting Personal, But Too Personal?“; Papacharissi (2010), “Privacy as a Luxury Commodity“; TFOTI, Chapter 9, “Meeting the Risks of Generativity: Privacy 2.0”
Recommended readings:We Live in Public” (movie)
Platforms explored: Location-based social media tools
Assignments due: FourSquare assignment begins

Week 4 (September 14/16)

Law & ethics

Required readings: CC  (pp. 175-200); Laura M. Holson, “Short outbursts on Twitter? #BigProblem“; Kathleen Richards, “Yelp and the Business of Extortion“; Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Bloggers’ Legal Guide
Recommended readings: PleaseRobMe.com (including the explanatory post at the Center for Democracy and Technology site); Rachel Donadio, “Larger Threat Is Seen in Google Case“; Julie Hilden, “A landlord-tenant defamation case highlights the risks of Twitter“; Jacqui Cheng, “Death and Social Media: What Happens to Your Life Online?”
Platforms explored: Blogging
Assignments due: First position paper

Section 2: Central Issues in Social Media

Week 5 (September 21/23)

Identity and reputation

Required readings: Jeffrey Rosen, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting“;  Donath & boyd (2004), “Public Displays of Connection” (Blackboard); Miguel Helft, “Charges Settled Over Fake Reviews On iTunes“; Soraya Mehdizadeh, “Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook“;  “The Sting in the Long Tail: An analysis of BP’s growing social media crisis” (BlackBoard)
Recommended readings: Marwick & boyd (2010), “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience” (Blackboard); Lüders (2008), “Conceptualizing Personal media” (Blackboard); Gilpin (2010) “Organizational Image Construction in an Online Media Environment” (Blackboard)
Platforms explored: Social bookmarking and rating tools; Peer recommendation sites (e.g., Yelp)
Assignments due: Blogging assignment begins

Event: Cronkite Must-See Monday lecture series, Dan Schawbel on personal branding (First Amendment Forum)

Week 6 (September 28/30)

Social networking and social capital

Required readings: Todd Zeigler (2009), “Using Twitter Lists to Judge Influence“; Boyd & Ellison (2007), “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship“; Ihlen (2005), “The Power of Social Capital: Adapting Bourdieu to the Study of Public Relations” (Blackboard); Gina Jacobs, “National Poll: Young People See Social Networking as Attention Seeking“; Norris (2002), “Social Capital and the News Media” (Blackboard); David Kirkpatrick, “With a Little Help From His Friends” (Vanity Fair); Jose Antonio Vargas, “The Face of Facebook” (The New Yorker)
Recommended readings: Wellman et al. (2003), “The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism
Platforms explored: Social networking sites (SNS)
Assignments due: ongoing
Event: Movie “The Social Network” premieres October 1

Week 7 (October 5/7)

Interacting visually

Required readings: The New Yorker, “Finger Painting“; Steve Grove, “YouTube’s Ecosystem for News“; Noah Schachtman, “Mumbai Attack Aftermath Detailed, Tweet by Tweet“; Michael Wesch, “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube
Recommended readings: Lange (2008) “Publicly Private and Privately Public: Social Networking on YouTube” (Blackboard); Wang (2009) “Grassroots Netizens Get Control of Public Discourse Right and Change the World–the Contest of Public Discourse Right on Tibet & Olympic Issue” (Blackboard)
Platforms explored: Photo and video sharing sites (e.g., Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.); collaborative creative sites such as HitRecord

Assignments due: ongoing

Week 8 (October 12/14)

Technological convergence and the rise of mobile technology

Required readings: CC Chapter 4; Alex Payne, “On the iPad“; Nielsen Wire, “For Social Networking, Women Use Mobile More Than Men“; Peter Kirwan, “Wired-O-Nomics: Mad Men, Media, Marketing and a Fine Mess”; “Blaise Aguera y Arcas Demos Augmented-Reality Maps” (TED video); Dorian Benkoil, “How The New York Times, Others Are Experimenting With Augmented Reality” (Poynter)
Recommended readings: Fred Wilson, “FourSquare Google Maps Mashup
Platforms explored: Mashups, augmented reality
Assignments due: ongoing

Week 9 (October 19/21)

Measuring, monitoring, and analyzing social media trends and impact

Required readings: Erik Qualman, “Is Google a Social Media Company?“; Vanessa Fox, “Finding Where Your Customers Are Talking About You Online“; Gilbert & Karahelios (2009), “Predicting Tie Strength With Social Media” (Blackboard); Brownstien, Clark, & Madoff (2009), “Influenza A (H1N1) Virus, 2009 – Online Monitoring” (New England Journal of Medicine); Charlene Li, “Calculating the ROI of Blogging“; Social Media Monitoring Wiki (examine at least some of the tools listed); “How to Calculate Your ROI With Social Media” (Entrepreneur); Dan Woods, “The Predictive Power of Social Media” (Forbes)
Recommended readings: Scott H. Greenfield, “A Dissenting Voice in a Very Small Pond“; Shel Israel, “An Overview of Video SEO for Communicators“; Reyes et al. (2009), “Humor in the Blogosphere: First Clues for a Verbal Humor Taxonomy” (PDF); the social media measurement and social media monitoring tags from my Delicious account; Vanessa Fox, Marketing in the Age of Google (book)
Platforms explored: monitoring and measurement tools for various platforms
Assignments due: Book analysis

Section 3: Domains of application

Week 10 (October 26/28)

Social media, Crowdsourcing, and the news

Required readings: CT pp. 257-267; Joe Keohane, “How Facts Backfire“; Pew Internet, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer“; TFOTI, Chapter 6, “The Lessons of Wikipedia”; Mendoza et al. (2010), “Twitter under crisis: Can we trust what we RT?” (Blackboard)
Recommended readings: Crowdsourcing and Sentiment Analysis (Twitter Sentiment blog);
Platforms explored: Crowdsourcing knowledge and advice (e.g., Wikipedia, AskMetafilter, Quora) and citizen journalism
Assignments due: Proposal for final project

Week 11 (November 2/4)

Social media & organizations

Required readings: CT chapters 4 & 5; Tim Bradshaw, “Companies woo investors via social websites“; Shel Holtz on employers who block social media access (video); Steve Radick, “Addressing the Digital Divide Within Your Organization
Recommended readings: none
Assignments due: Wiki assignment begins

Week 12 (November 9/11)

Social media and government/DIPLOMACY

THURSDAY (NOVEMBER 11): NO CLASS (Veterans’ Day holiday)
Required readings:
CT “Obedient Poodles” (pp. 37-52); CC pp. 217-233, Afterword; Alex Howard, “On Language: Putting Government 2.0 in context“; Travis Kaya, “Separating the Truth from the Truthy“;  take a look at the U.S. State Department’s blog, DipNote
Recommended readings: Gilpin, Palazzolo, & Brody (2010), “Socially Mediated Authenticity” (Blackboard); McKinney & Rill (2009), “Not Your Parents’ Presidential Debates” (Blackboard)
Assignments due: FourSquare assignment ends

Week 13 (November 16/18)

Social media & activism/slacktivism

TUESDAY (NOVEMBER 16): NO CLASS
Required readings: Transmedia Activism Network, “Mission Media in 2009“; Elizabeth Schwarz, “Cleaning Up the Gulf with Twitter“; Ilana Arazie, “4 Brands Promoting Social Change Through Social Media“; Jack Shafer, “Doubting Twitter”; Christopher Borrelli, “‘Slacktivism’: Social Media Politicking Is Wearing Thin“; Brian Skepys, “Social Activism at the Click of a ‘Like’ Button“; Malcolm Gladwell, “Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” (The New Yorker); Jeff Sonderman, “Malcolm Gladwell’s Errors on Social Media Activism“; Leo Mirani, “Sorry, Malcolm Gladwell, the Revolution May Well Be Tweeted” (Guardian);
Recommended readings: Ayres (1999), “From the Streets to the Internet: The Cyber-Diffusion of Contention” (Blackboard)
Assignments due: Second position paper

Week 14 (November 23/25)

Race, class and the digital divide

THURSDAY (NOVEMBER 25): NO CLASS (Thanksgiving holiday)

Required readings: Nedra Weinreich, “Transmedia Storytelling for Social Marketers“; danah boyd (2009), “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online“; Marcia Stepanek (2009), “The New Digital Divide“;  Allison Clarke (2009), “Access + Digital Literacy is the New Civil Rights” – Part 1 & Part 2;  Stewart et al. (2006), “Framing the digital divide: A comparison of US and EU policy approaches” (Blackboard); Bruce Horovitz, “KFC Offers $20,000 to High School Senior Who Tweets Best” (USA Today)
Recommended readings: Weber, Gould, & Riley (2007), “Globalization, leapfrogging, and the diffusion of affordable technologies: Toward a theory of pro-social convergence” (Blackboard)
Assignments due: Blogging assignment ends

Week 15 (November 30/December 2)

What comes next?

Required readings: TFI, Chapters 7 & 9; CT “In Defense of Optimism” (pp. 53-72); Sellers & Magalindan, “How Gaming Became the Future of Social Media” (Fortune); Vadim Lavrusik, “The Future of Social Media in Journalism” (Mashable); Asur & Huberman (2010), “Predicting the Future With Social Media” (Blackboard)
Recommended readings: CT Chapter 7 (pp. 245-256); Radiolab, “What Does Technology Want?” (podcast)
Assignments due: Final project

Week 16 (December 7)

Wrapping it all up

Required readings: TBA
Recommended readings: TBA
Assignments due: Wiki assignment ends

December 14, 2:30 pm

Deadline for Final Project Blog Posts

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