Blogging New Media

why hockey via twitter is boring

image1947819809.jpgBecause it’s all one way. Twittering game action seems like a good idea to keep the sport in the public eye, but twitter is being used by BSU Hockey as one-way broadcast when the medium’s strength and user expectation is in dialogue.

Getting a conversation going about the game as it plays out, bringing other voices into the stream, and talking with others who are following the stream might create the buzz they’re hoping for.

They might arrange for two or three fans to post to twitter as the game goes on, either from the arena or in response to the twitter stream. Exemplify the convo. Then encourage others to join in the exchange. A pic now and then wouldn’t hurt, either.

The steady stream of beaver logos and one way comments belies how exciting the game might be. Get the medium to enact the game.

Hockey fans: Follow them. Then during the next game you can engage the commentator in conversation. See what happens.

Pedagogy Social Media

bird *here*

I’m starting to pull things together for the E-Rhetoric course that starts in January, so a twitter from Anne that Brightkite was in open beta came at the right moment.

I’m a latercomer to the service, so much of this has been said before. At root, Brightkite is like Twitter but centered on location information: the where just as much as the what. Less bird here than bird here. When a user checks in, they make their location available to others nearby. And that allows for face to face contact and flash mobbing.

The service also has built-in photo sharing, which opens the message up to more than 160 characters. That visual channel makes a difference.

It’s integrated with Twitter, so that posting to Brightkite will also post a location and a link to the photo to the twitterstream. Need to be careful with that feature; it can create a lot of noise on Twitter. (Of course, Brightkite also has a Twitter account, so you can follow them.)

It has the usual friends network set up, and will send notifications vie email or text.

Some older mentions:

lauren’s library blog » brightkite and twitter

Brightkite: Twitter + Maps + Photos – Joe Lazarus

Matt Thommes / Customize Brightkite-to-Twitter updates

Hands on with Brightkite: real-world social networking

A Peek At Brightkite For the iPhone

and of course

Brightkite Wants to Win the Mobile Social Network Battle

One interesting marketing feature is the Brightkite Wall. It streams Brightkite activity to a browser that can be set as full screen. The persuasive element is the banner encouraging viewers to send text messages that will appear on the wall – without having to register.

But there are some prosaic uses for all this in mobile learning. Students out exploring can trace where they’ve been and where they are, which makes it possible to focus content sent to them. And the wall allows everyone in a cohort see where everyone else is. That says flash mob gorilla theater.

So far, I’m finding Brightkite more interesting to play with than Twitter. Pulling together act, place, and image is pretty compelling. I’ll run it past the E-Rhetoric students and see what they can come up with.

Blogging General New Media Print Culture The Mundane Wikis

e-planning planning for spring

E-rhetoric textsIt might snow Sunday, and that means it’s time to start to select texts for spring classes.

Our campus bookstore wanted selections by mid-October, and while I’d like to accommodate the corporate giant, it will have to wait. Two courses I’m teaching in spring, E-Rhetoric and Weblogs and Wikis, benefit from using the most recent texts and addressing some of the most current ideas. And I’m still looking for the right texts, and will be right through the US Thanksgiving.

For E-Rhetoric, I’m considering a look at digital and new media poetics. Our Creative and Pro Writing BFA students don’t get much exposure to the work that’s going on in poetry and short prose in the electronic world. While an e-literature course might be best, E-Rhetoric can take a look at current electronic modes and productions. A new literature brings with it a new rhetoric: a new set of affordances, a new way of making and articulating meaning. The difficulty in this section of the course might be keeping a focus on the rhetorical dynamics of the object rather than the object as an expressive artifact. But digital products tend to be collaborative ventures, which moves us away from self-expression and towards semiotics.

In the same vein, I want to look at digital- print hybrids and social- digital mapping. There are projects possible. I’m thinking of having students annotate a journey or two through the campus or sections of downtown. Students from the visual arts department have done a little of the preliminary work for this, chalking some of the academic buildings, and annotating the doors.

While it would be nice to have everyone with an iPhone or a laptop post to geo-located walls using something like graffitio, we might be able to do this as a mapping hybrid along the line of the proboscis projects. The idea of leaving text annotations at the particular site is interesting. The next move is a rhetoric of geo-cacheing.

The rhetorical angle: Look at the places students choose to define as noteworthy, the contexts they place those places in, the language they use to give them importance. If rhetoric is calling attention to something, then inscribing it with a building name or sticking a 3X5 card on it is a starting point. Annotating makes the campus into a campuscape, a gallery, a narrative, an argument.

The rhetorical choices behind social scape annotation starts to stand out when we compare citizen annotation of the campuscape with the authorized labeling: building names (former faculty and presidents for academic buildings, tree species for student residences), the Deputy Arch, the names of scientists carved into stone on Sattgast, campus maps, advertising banners, even labels on some of the benches. There’s more going on than first seen.

Mobile Learning. A lot is just about to happen with mobile technologies and learning in the field. E-Rhetoric’s interest would involve how language is used and shaped to suit onthefly learning. Perhaps by annotating the urban landscape.

Persuasive Technologies. I get blank stares when I mention captology to students. How does your car persuade you to slow down? The E-Rhetoric students can benefit from a brief look at captology, less as a field of study and more as a way of thinking about technologies in the world.

For Weblogs and Wikis: Jill Walker Rettberg has a new text on blogging (Yes!) that addresses it as a social- and professional act. I’ve been making that up-hill argument for six years, and it’s good to have back up. Students tend to view blogging more as diversion than substance; faculty at large tend to see it more as daily diaries from amateurs. Faculty with a stake in print place it as a diversion from the Real Work of writing and publishing. No editors! Certainly second-rate writing.

I’m still waiting for / writing the similar text for wikis. But I reckon I’ll be able to slide laterally to apply Rettberg’s observations on weblogs to wikis. And I’d bet I can do the same with Wikipatterns: use it to apply to weblogs, especially collective weblogs.

What’s in my bookbag?

I wait until the snow flies to make the final choice, designing a syllabus around the texts I have in mind to see how it all might fit together.

Education doesn’t need to be driven by the self-serving deadlines of bookstores.

New Media The Mundane

anarchy rules ok


30 years on: Johnny Rotten on Country Life. Some would say it’s a sellout, but Lyndon sold out years ago, back in the days with Malc and Vivienne.

But Lyndon’s a British icon and obligated to live up to that iconic status, bless him.

image via: Concerned of Linwood

Blogging New Media

the lodge revisited briefly

Snack by the shack in the woodsAlana Taylor’s embedded posting about her NYU Gen-Y course Online Reputation: A Love/Hate Relationship is making a moderate stir in a MediaShift post, NYU Professor Stifles Blogging, Twittering by Journalism Student.

A Web 2.0 tempest in a 1.0 tea pot. While the MediaShift post raises some slightly interesting issues (Is a university classroom private or public? And [when] is posting about the classroom appropriate?), the incident rests on how one professor handled one student blogging about a course for media publication.

What Alana Taylor is encountering is a little like what The Lodge project brought to the surface a couple of years ago. I hired selected students as interns to blog about BSU for a semester, which caused the same kind of headaches for some of our faculty and administrators as mentioned by MediaShift. Faculty and admins (rightly or wrongly) were concerned mainly about press fallout: How will we look to the rest of the world?

At the time, university leadership was on edge about notorious Facebook postings, and so they were justifiably uneasy about local students speaking outside the official communication channel. They were also unsure that Web 2.0 social interaction would self-right itself by discussion, like a bobber. I suspected that if a student trashed something in a blog post, others would rise to the defense.

Nothing happened, of course, although I spent some sleepless nights as apprehensive as everyone else.

See here, here, here, and here for some observations during the project. From my perspective, now, two years after the project, The Lodge revealed some faculty and administrative attitudes that we didn’t want to see, and that I certainly didn’t intend to reveal. “If you are squeamish,” wrote Sappho, “Don’t prod the beach rubble.”

I pulled down The Lodge at the beginning of spring semester, 2007. Why? Few people read it, and after the project, few students posted to it. It died of boredom.

New Media The Mundane

the second coming announced

St. Cloud State University.jpgSCSU is one of my alma maters, so to read this announcement pronouncement of their presidential inauguration is embarrassing. Maybe calling attention to it will encourage the copy writers to get their releases under control.

Friday, September 5, 2008
Inauguration celebration

The Sept. 19 inauguration of President Earl H. Potter III will celebrate St. Cloud State University’s immeasurable positive impact on Minnesota and the upper Midwest.

While the centerpiece will be a ceremony with wide campus and community participation, this commemoration of new leadership also will shine a brighter light on accomplishments and contributions of faculty, staff and students.

[From St. Cloud State University]

New Media

yay print

From Wired Campus: New Report Says Digital Textbooks Are off Track –

New Report Says Digital Textbooks Are off Track

A growing number of textbook publishers are offering digital editions these days, but a new study by a student group argues that many of those digital editions do not have the features that students want.

The group, the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a collection of independent statewide organizations representing college students, surveyed 500 students from several campuses for the study. They found that students wanted digital textbooks to be more affordable than print versions, to be printable, and to be free from restrictions on how long they can be viewed. But the report said that the electronic textbooks offered by major publishers through CourseSmart, generally cost about the same as printed versions, limited printing to 10 pages per session, and expire after about 180 days. Publishers put such restrictions in place to try to prevent students from giving copies to their friends for free or trading them on pirate Web sites.

The survey showed that students feel strongly about the printed word. About 75 percent of those surveyed said they prefer a printed textbook over an electronic one. And 60 percent said that even if a free digital copy were available, they would still pay for a low-cost print version.

The report calls on professors and colleges to support more “open textbooks” that are offered free online.

Aw, bless.

New Media

teacher in your pocket

What I really like about this Apple email ad is how it quietly suggests that to learn, you need an iPhone. Buy the phone and get the content for free.

Having just bought an iPhone and committed myself for two years of at&t, I couldn’t agree more. I need a good ROI.

Forever curious.
Learn more
From lectures to documentaries to museum tours, iTunes U lets you learn anything, anytime, anyplace.
Now your favorite destination for music and movies is also a great place to entertain your brain. iTunes U in the iTunes Store offers free audio and video content from top universities, famous museums, public media stations, and other cultural institutions. So whether you want to learn from the world’s leading thinkers, get a sneak peek at the latest MoMA exhibition, or simply brush up on your Spanish, iTunes U makes it easy. To see for yourself,watch the tutorial.

This is an interesting ad for a close read. Teacher – and teaching – has been iPhoneized: captured, in the phraseology of knowledge management, to be processed later. The technology dominates, even to the extent that the professor – pictured at the business end of his own concrete tether – is now captured on screen, for access – or not – anytime, anyplace. Play, pause, rewind. The copy, too, glosses over any human construction or creation of content or ideas. Content comes predominantly from universities, museums, public media stations (BBC and NPR I guess). “Learn from the world’s leading thinkers” is the only nod.

Anytime and anyplace because the content is recorded. Perhaps the obvious use of the iPhone (or any 3G phone) for on-the-spot-just-in-time teaching and learning from a teacher/mentor is just too obvious to mention. Anytime anyplace is pretty hackneyed. Come to think of it, so is “entertain your brain.”

But really the ad promises no more than you could get from a local library: books and magazines. A good parody for reading would play on this matter. Use books for iPhones, adjust the copy just a little, or use it against itself, and link visit your local lending library. Get outside. Meet people. Have a coffee. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask someone.

Or call me. I still have to justify my new phone for teaching.

Blogging New Media Pedagogy Print Culture

looking forward to looking forward

We’re beginning to wrap things up in Weblogs and Wikis. Starting tomorrow, we’re back to face to face meetings with two ends: project presentations, and some discussions of implications – looking back and looking forward.

The discussion idea came to me late last week when I ran into a posting on The Ed Techie, a blog run by Martin Weller, a professor with the IET (I’m not sure we ever met when I was in MK years ago). Whither the blogosphere? looks briefly at the fragmentation of discussion spaces occurring with Google Reader, Flickrr, Facebook, and Twitter. Not that there’s anything to lose sleep over. People are still reading and writing blogs, even as they start to use other spaces. Ed sees the fragmentation as succession.

What I think is happening is another example of technology succession. The blog was the primary colonizer for the barren landscape of online identity. The presence of this colonizer changed the environment, which made it more amenable to secondary colonizers, e.g. YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, etc which relied on the blog to spread. This in turn made the environment even more friendly towards the social flow apps, which started out linking to blogs, but have gradually taken on their own life. This resulting ecosystem will vary for each of us – for the people above the third wave of colonization has taken over the dominance of the blog and forced it into a smaller ecological niche. For others, the blog is still dominant, but these other tools flourish around it.

For me, it’s a matter of ends. Blogs are still used because they still serve rhetorical purposes, still provide a space for a running discussion.  Other spaces provide a space for different rhetorical situations (Twitter), or serve a different set of rhetorical purposes (Facebook, Second Life, Flickr).

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Martin’s post started me looking for a way to frame up a discussion on the (social – rhetorical) implications of blogging and wiki writing. They are always just below the surface, but I don’t think I ever worked at bringing them out in class. Now that 16 students have finished 10 week projects, they are in a pretty good position to stop and think about what All This Might Mean.

Class discussions on implications tend to digress into hearsay, anecdote, clichés, and yawns. To avoid that, I’m starting with some class notes [link to come], and a set of links to sites that just begin to tease open some implications.


Then there’s the Wikipedia reminder for would-be posters that neatly puts students and professors alike in our place:

Remember that millions of people have been taught to use a different form of English from yours, including different spellings, grammatical constructions, and punctuation. Wikipedia:Manual of Style

Nothing like shaking the ethnocentric tree a little to get things started.

The trick to this discussion will be to focus groups on specific groups of people: university teachers, for instance, or marketeers, or administrators, freelance writers, technical writers, students who are only 12 years old right now… Keep a human face on the implications, and keep grounding matters in the material world of symbol users.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out.