Week 7 – Class Notes

Frameworks and Theories: Computer-Mediated Communication and Hypertext

  • Guest Speaker: Warren Sukernek (twitter), Director of Content Marketing – Radian6
  • Discussion Leader Group 4
  • Theoretical Review/Exercise
  • Housekeeping

Discussion Leaders

Notes from Warren’s talk:

A note about learning (which I should have shared week 1)learning-pyramid

Last week’s DL post-class reflection

Possible group questions:

  • How does the concept of the “tragedy of the commons” apply in a digital world where the commons exists of zeroes and ones?
  • Facebook, as becoming our social capital tool, follows a path from offline to online in building social networks. By this means, since our offline and online presence are perceived as one, what makes an online political activity different from the offline one?
  • How might digital technologies make it profitable for firms to be socially responsible? How might these technologies empower consumers to reward socially responsible firms?

Theoretical Review/Exercise

A look at the VCR.

Housekeeping: Papers

Posts (NCR) to read:

To Make Mine & Meg’s Lives Easier:

  • Readability: no justified type!
  • Submit papers as WordDoc (not pdf) with yourName_paper_no as the file name.
  • See range of word counts

Grammatical Areas For Improvement (Common Mistakes)

  • Passive tense
  • Verb-noun agreement
  • Punctuation (comma splices; 1900s not 1900’s … it is plural, not possessive!)
  • Missing bridges between ideas
  • Super-long (or super-short) sentences/paragraphs. Each paragraph should be one idea. Sentences, generally speaking, should have one idea and be short enough for the reader to breathe while reading! Single-sentence paragraphs do not usually fit this writing style.

Structural Areas For Improvement (Common Mistakes)

  • Lack of clear structure for paper: the structure is a formula … introduction, usually three points, conclusion. Tell the reader what you are going to argue (your thesis) and how (part 1, part 2, part 3 of this paper) in the introduction.
  • Lack of clear thesis statement/introduction.
  • Lack of clear timeline/boundaries (what is the past, the present, the future).
  • Conclusion does not reframe introduction (impossible to do if there is no clear introduction!). Conclusions rest on evidence presented in the paper, no citations in the best conclusion — it’s your own words.
  • Lack of evidence for claims (data are the most persuasive; failing in that, cite someone). Unless a “fact” is common knowledge, it should be credited, where it is in the paper (there may be multiple citations in one paragraph). Any claim (argument) that you make should either follow from the evidence you have presented up to that point or be credited to someone else who made that claim.
  • Missing linkage between facts and rationale. Why did xyz happen? Why is xyz important in the scheme of your paper? How did xyz’s happening link to a theory or concept discussed in this (or in some other) class?

Citing Sources (Common Mistakes)

  • Wikipedia is a good place to start with research but is usually not the best (most credible) source. Exceptions may be definitions and very new technological innovations (which should not have been in this paper!).
  • References cited should be in alphabetical order by author’s last name (or title, in the event of a source cited in that manner)
  • References are single-spaced with double-space between each source.
  • In-line citations: we discussed in class the method is (LastName, date). If you want to talk about someone’s book, the first time you reference that person, please use FirstName LastName (year) in the sentence. After that, it’s OK (to me, maybe not to APA) to use LastName if there is only one reference by this person; in that case, it’s LastName (date).
  • Remember to include the “retrieve date” for all electronic resources.
  • Credit images separately, if you decide to use images in the web version of this paper, but be sure to credit them.
  • Each paper contains a cited reference list. In your annotated bibliography, you may include sources that you found but that you did not use in your paper. When the source is used in the paper, part of the annotation is an explanation of how it is used.

Example – Ross (pdf)

Example – concise introduction:

In an era where “Google” is a verb and almost any type of information can be found on sites like How.com or Wikipedia.org, it can be easy to forget how people learned skills and created communities of common interest before the internet. This paper will examine how people who created quilts, needlework, and other crafts communicated with each other before the internet and how their communication and craft influenced and developed their community. Specifically this paper will discuss why crafting was important, how women learned skills and techniques, and ways that information was shared through the use of patterns. It will then examine how women gathered based on a common interest in crafting and, as a result, created a community that became a powerful influencer in fundraising, civil rights, and the war effort. Finally the paper will discuss the financial value women found in handmade items versus those that were store-bought.

Example – multiple sources in one paragraph (synthesis):

Because of copyright law, music can be a product to be bought and sold like any product – this is the cornerstone for the U.S. music economy. However, copyright law’s existence doesn’t come without challenges. As University of Massachusetts professor Reebee Garofalo (2004) observes: “Since its inception, copyright has never simply been an exclusive contract to exploit the fruits of one’s creativity, but rather a balancing act, weighting the legal protection of intellectual property against the public rights of access to information and freedom of expression” (Frith, 2004, p. 90). Because copyright both protects musicians’ work and limits public access to these works, copyright law embodies a dichotomy that Garofalo (2004) approaches somewhat cynically. She asks, “Is copyright law really a means of protecting composers from exploitation? Or is it better understood as a mechanism through which the loosely collective and inter-textual tradition of popular music-making… is straight-jacketed by the legal structure of the market economy?” (Frith, 2004, p. 2) Regardless of perspective about whose best interests copyright law serves, there is no question that it is central to the U.S. music industry.

Example – scope:

The first section of this historical analysis begins around 1920 and continues to the mid to late 1990s when the proliferation of internet access in American households provided tribe members with opportunities to take ownership of the production, sharing and consumption of information than was possible given the structural models of mass media communications technologies like the radio and television. The year 1920 is a logical place to begin because it happened to be the year that the first sporting event was broadcast to a mass audience, albeit an event other than football. It was also the first year that the professional football league that would soon be re-named the National Football League (NFL) formalized its operations.

Though the most basic psychological needs of group and identity formation would not be satisfactorily met by the communication platforms of the radio and the television, it was their emergence in American society that first gave rise to a larger audience hungry to consume media related to the game more generally, and to their adopted teams of choice more specifically. Communication theory will be applied in the second part of this project to highlight the importance of this re-structuring of control for tribe members collectively and individually, but for this paper it is beyond the scope of what is discussed.


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  • Kathy  On 17 February 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Notes on VCR:

    * VCRs will stay afloat as long as they can – personal connections with collection
    * It’s not about the VCR as a recording device – playback is not affected
    * Extremely sharp decline in VCR usage in next 5 years

    * Adoption rate – 72% may have them, but how many are actually recording
    * Overshot – technology is beyond a portion of the population – energy required
    * Digital transition is an accelerator
    * VCR is a sustaining innovation – businesses no longer interested in VCR technology because digital trumps analog. Last innovation: VCR player/DVD recorder … VCR/BlueRay
    * Companies innovate faster than customers lives change
    * As a recording technology – VCRs disruptive and so is live-streamed video
    * Overshooting customers + VCRs mostly playback – there will be a market for cheap playback for when the current VCR dies [Note example: machine for rewinding]
    * Converter box is a suppressant – so is change in conversion date
    * Resistance to DVD/BR because of cost
    * VCR not sustaining technology – like Polaroid cameras
    * Rogers – steps of adoption – the late adopters are being forced, not a choice
    * Suppressant – hard to figure out how to make it work
    * Online TV shows is disruptive to the VCR
    * Trial process & feedback process not provided

  • Mattso  On 19 February 2009 at 1:16 pm

    In June of 2008 the FCC provided information to the public on how to continue using their VCRs after the DTV transition.


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