Online Review

Manisha and I will be available from 7-9 pm tonight to answer any questions you have in advance of the exam. Ask your questions in the comments and we’ll answer them below.

UPDATE, 8:21 PM: PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS TO SEE IF YOUR QUESTION HAS BEEN ANSWERED. And if you have the answer, feel free to contribute it as some of you have done already.


37 thoughts on “Online Review

    • I am confused as well Brienne. Would one’s local maximum affect a person’s algorithm (since Google is an algorithm)? For example, does it limit one’s search results based on one’s information/”educational status”?

      • The “local-maximum problem” is mentioned in Eli Pariser on pages 125-126. It’s what happens when we try to optimize a system. We take a result, and use it as the jumping off point for the next result, and so on, with the idea that the system will eventually get to a closer version of what we’re looking for. But it causes problems, it causes bad results, and then the system can reaffirm and reaffirm those results in a vicious circle. It’s the kind of situation you find on Facebook, when you click on someone you knew in grade school, and all of a sudden, Facebook fills your News Feed with news of that person. Or you buy your dad that Garth Brooks album that he loved in college, and now Amazon has decided you’re the biggest country music fan ever.

      • And site developer means you! Let’s put it this way: think of your blog groups. SEO, or search engine optimization, is what you’d want to do to make sure that your blog posts are coming up in the top Google hits for whatever people are searching. You would want “gluten” and “Madison” to find Goodbye2Gluten, and so you want to make sure the blog is well-designed, that it uses keywords and categories well. If you were a real company, you might pay someone to work with you on this strategy. Ira Basen wrote about this in “Age of the Algorithm.” You should revisit his description.

    • The Power Law is the imbalance highlighted by the fact that a few people contribute to many articles and change them as well (e.g. Wikipedia), yet most contribute to just one. Even though such a small portion contribute, they are contributing a huge amount.

      • Good explanation from the specific reference to Wikipedia. The power law also operates in many other aspects of the society (for example, wealth) but for the test it is good to explain it in the specific context of our reading.

    • Power law: a few people do the majority of the work, or the posting, or the editing… or make the most money (the 1%). The Clay Shirky reading has the best explanation starting on p. 123 to 130.

  1. Could you please explain the difference between the media fluency and media literacy? Do I need to talk about media literacy when I’m explaining the media fluency? Thank you!

    • Think of it from the point of view of language. When do we call a person literate and when do we call her fluent in any language?

    • We discussed this in the first class or two and they’re in the first set of lecture slides. In short: Strategies for effectively consuming media, knowledge about how the media work, skills for effectively producing media

    • Refers to organizational structures. We’ve dealt with this two different times in class in two different contexts. Either would be okay for the test. The first time: dynamics of convergence: big media companies brought together–converged–their media from the top down (big corporations organizing media outlets from above), versus the way that things come together organically from the bottom up.

      The second time: wikis. Wiki structures are not organized top down: you don’t sit there and plan out all the Wikipedia entries that could ever exist. Instead, they are organized from the bottom up, in an ad hoc, informal manner, and people (or bots) create them when needed.

      With both of these, it’s good to check the lecture slides.

  2. Emily: Morozov is writing about the Green Revolution (Arab Spring hadn’t happened yet). That being said, he would also be critical of any overly optimistic view of social media’s role in any kind of revolution.

    • Authenticity was discussed with regard to the fashion blogger piece by Alice Marwick. It’s pretty straightforward: I’d check there.

    • Networked individualism: the person is the focus, not the group (e.g., it’s no longer the nuclear family, or the religious group: it’s the individual networked and connected through technology to other individuals). Check out page 22 in the Rainie/Wellman reading in Networked. There’s an orange slide in the networks & convergence lecture slides that shows some of the changes that have supported this movement to networked individualism that reflects the information on page 38.

    • They’re two different terms. Wikipedia uses the wiki platform. Check your lecture slides for more information on the platform, or think of Dan’s examples (he is one of the people running a wiki).

    • We talked about this in our class review. They’re effectively the same things. Where do you remember hearing about armchair activism? What kinds of examples did we raise?

    • Clicktivism and slacktivism are in some sense used pejoratively to denote a lesser version of activism where you don’t leave your armchair or your computer and just use your mouse to click, like, share etc. instead of really doing activist work. Some people do see value in this type of activism.

    • You should identify what it is, where we’ve discussed weblogs/blogs (same thing), and some other context. There are a ton of possibilities for this one: political blogging (lecture), fashion blogging (article), platforms, guest speaker on Skype, your blog group…

  3. Our lecture on Sept 23 about weblogs there is a slide about Sherrod vs Breitbart. What was the slide about?

    • Nvm figured it out. “Sherrod smeared Andrew Breitbart as political rhetoric and negative ad spending increases leading up to the 2012 presidential election. “

    • “You loop” is Eli Pariser’s term—your online behavior reinforces the content you will be served, which affects your behavior. Whatever you click on determines what you’ll see next. This can get you stuck in a local maximum, in the kinds of examples that my other local maximum comment provided (Amazon decides you like country when you like punk).

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