Welcome to the Digital CrossRhodes — the intersection of Vincent Rhodes' academic, artistic & professional lives.

Peering into Disaster with Liza Potts

Liza Potts, Old Dominion Uniersity

Liza Potts, Old Dominion Uniersity

Okay, so this is a little odd. We’ve been doing brief bios for the authors we’ve been reading throughout the semester. But, in this case, you all know the author. She’s our professor. In any event, here are some of the usual details: She’s clearly on Twitter, we’ve seen her Academia.edu page, and we’ve visited her LinkedIn account. You can see a link of selected publications on her ODU faculty page. Potts earned her undergraduate degree from Florida Atlantic University and her Masters and PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In Peering into Disaster: Social Softawre Use from the Indian Ocean Earthquake to the Mumbai Bombings, Potts defines social software as “any Internet-based networked system that provides a space for people to come together, share and exchange information, and build community, however temporary it may be.” She notes that interactions studied occurred across a variety of platforms/services including LiveJournal, BBC News, Craigslist, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and blogs.

Potts uses Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a critical framework for evaluating interactions via these social networks. In her 2008 article Diagramming with actor network theory: A method for modeling holistic experience, she explains:

ANT suggests that we examine human and non-human actors equally, giving neither priority [7]. Thus people and technology are regarded as equal agents of action. According to ANT, actors are constantly in motion, creating and leaving networks and associations with other actors. Rather than pigeonhole these associations, ANT seeks to observe these traces and let the actors instruct the designer as to what the connections might mean (np).

You can review more about ANT on Wikipedia. Bruno Latour’s Reassembling the Social is an excellent resource for more in-depth study of ANT.

Continue Reading..

Share

Academia.edu

So, as part of our class exploration of social media tools, we dove in to Academia.edu. I created my profile as required. It was pretty straightforward. I was reminded as I perused lists to determine my research interests that different disciplines claim the territory we are studying. At some point, I should probably go back and review the lists more closely. My first reaction was to look for the category “English” since that’s the department I’m in, but it didn’t really offers the sub-categories/areas of interest I was looking for. I didn’t add a CV at this time because, frankly, I don’t have an academic CV. I have a resume… but this isn’t LinkedIn and I’m not sure what I have is appropriate for this venue since it is more focused on industry rather than academic endeavors. I enjoyed logging a few of the books I’ve read as part of Masters and PhD studies And, I enjoyed the department diagram.

One thing I’m not really sure I have the hang of is the KEYWORDS feature. I see it Dave’s and Liza’s pages, but I’m not sure how to make it active for mine. I searched for help, but didn’t really find what I was looking for. It’s possible I wasn’t using the right terms… or that the info I’m looking for wasn’t easily accessible. I ran a few Google searches for my name, but the football player of the same name from Baylor still ranks more highly than me (first two hits; no surprise there). My Facebook page comes in third, my Twitter page 5th, LinkedIn profile 8th, class blog 9th, and then various excerpts from news reports on Zoom Info that date from my stint as Communications Manager at Norfolk Public Schools rank 10th on the search. (That’s just the first page. Ironically, my portfolio site and Academia.edu listings didn’t appear until the third page of Google results.) [Side Note: It occurs to me, in light of our discussions of the Panopticon and participatory surveillance, that I’ve just connected quite a few “digital identity” dots for someone with this post. Oh well!]

In any event, I thought the site was fairly easy to use. I also can see how it would be helpful for academics looking to make connections. It’s clearly geared for a specific community (for example, there are no categories for administrators in higher ed) and it appears it can be pretty successful in serving that niche. With that said, I’m not sure how much I’ll use it. Perhaps I have social media fatigue, but I find I barely update my Facebook status anymore. I rarely have used LinkedIn. I tweet most regularly (but that could be because I have to use it for class). I’m just not sure I want to invest the time to update so many sites. I guess we’ll have to see…

Share

Virtual Panopticon?

Meet Anders Albrechtslund

Anders Albrechtslund

Anders Albrechtslund

Our exploration of issues surrounding privacy and control relative to social media continues with Anders Albrechtslund’s First Monday article Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance. On his website, Albrechtslund identifies his research interests as:

Persuasive design, persuasive technology, blogging, social networking, social software, web 2.0, surveillance studies, philosophy of technology, philosophy of science, computer ethics, trusted computing, values in design, human-computer interaction, interaction design, science technology society studies (STS), artificial intelligence (AI), electronic patient records (EPR).

He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark. He received his PhD in Information Studies in 2008 from Aalborg University, his MA in Philosophy in 2003 from the University of Southern Denmark, and his BA in Philosophy in 1999 from the University of Odense in Denmark. His dissertation, In the Eyes of the Beholder: Introducing participation and ethics to surveillance, posits the concept of “participatory surveillance.” An English summary of his dissertation is available online. Albrechtslund has published and presented extensively and can be found on Twitter (@Albrechtslund), LinkedIn, and Facebook. (Given his take on participatory surveillance and online identity construction, I thought it appropriate to include these links.)

Continue Reading..

Share

Panopticon

Our Foucault reading deals heavily with the concept of the Panopticon. Designed by Jeremy Bentham in the late 1700s, the Panopticon provides the architectural means to enhance control while minimizing the actual supervision required. The physical structure of such a building maximizes the isolation and visual exposure of prisoners while obscuring the appearance of the observer. As a result, one person could effectively monitor all the prisoners. Additionally, because the observer himself could not be directly viewed, prisoners must assume they were constantly under surveillance and act accordingly.

Although Bentham proposed his design for a prison, he suggested that it also could be of use in “houses of industry, work-houses, poor-houses, lazarettos, manufactories, hospitals, mad-houses, and schools.” You can read Bentham’s Panopticon Writings online. You also can read more about the concept in the Panopticon Wikipedia entry.  The images below show a blue print for Bentham’s concept and photos from a Cuban prison that utilized the panoptic model.

Continue Reading..

Share

Quality-tative Research

Image of NAncy Baym from her web site

Image of Nancy Baym from her web site

I enjoyed Nancy Baym’s chapter “Finding the Quality in Qualitative Research” from Silver & Massanari’s edited collection Critical Cyberculture Studies. Since Tami will be covering background info on the author in her blog, I’ll just be offering my summary of the chapter and some reactions to it here. [Note: You can find/follow her on Twitter. She replied to one of my tweets about her chapter. So, she seems fairly accessible.]

I think the reason I enjoyed the chapter so much is the fact that she directly addresses what makes me most uneasy about this topic:

“Perhaps the biggest problem facing all qualitative research is that the standards for what makes qualitative research good are very unclear” (79).

“How are we to determine what evidence is good enough to make a claim or how may subjects are enough?” (80)

The answers to these questions appeal to my rhetoric background: Qualitative research (like quantitative) is a means of making an argument. The counterarguments may be harder to predict than in quantitative studies, but they should be considered as the research design is constructed and the findings presented. Her challenge to qualitative researchers: Be prepared to answer the question: “Am I convinced by the evidence?” (81)

Continue Reading..

Share

All A-Twitter

Susan C. Herring, Professor of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington

Susan C. Herring, Professor of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington

In Beyond Microblogging: Conversation and Collaboration via Twitter, Courtenay Honeycutt and Susan C. Herring examine how Twitter is used (particularly English-language tweets) and conjecture about the potential of using Twitter for collaborative endeavors. They seek to answer five research questions:

  1. What is the breakdown of the language of tweets across time periods, and to what extent is the @ sign used in tweets in different languages?
  2. How do instances of the @ sign function in English tweets?
  3. What do people twitter about, and does it vary for tweets with and without the @sign?
  4. To what extent do English @ messages that are directed to others receive responses, either with or without @ signs?
  5. How long, and how coherent, are interactive exchanges , and to what extent do they make use of the @ sign?

Author Background

Herring received her MA and PhD in Linguistics from UC Berkley and has served as a past editor of the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication and as current editor of Language@Internet. She is a Professor of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington and has published extensively. In case you are interested in following her, Herring has a Twitter account.

Courtenay Honeycutt received her MA in Speech Communication from Penn State and is a PhD candidate at Indiana University Bloomington. Honeycutt also has published several articles. (Note: Honeycutt did not include a photo on her bio page or CV. The only image I found of her is a “social” snapshot so I elected not to post it.)

Continue Reading..

Share

World 4.0

Yes, I know the title for this blog post is a corny take on Web 2.0. Yes, I know “Web 2.0” is a term smirked at by some new media scholars. But it got you reading, didn’t it? Take a look at the YouTube video post from XPlane. It provides some interesting fact about social media, mobile devices, etc. It’s worth the five minutes it takes to watch.

Video not available

When I worked for the public school system, earlier versions of this caught our faculty/staff interest. The original concept was created by a high school teacher to start a staff discussion about what kids needed to be prepared for in the 21st Century. It went viral (see Did You Know and Did You Know 2.0). This version is less education focused, but still intriguing. Xplane did the 2.0 version as well. They do some pretty cool work.

To give credit where it is due, I saw this in a post on Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen blog. He offers great insight about presentations. You should check the blog out… if you haven’t already!

Share

Standing at the CrossRhodes

This is it. Not my first stab at a blog… but certainly the first self-hosted one. I’ve had a blog before as part of a previous class, but let it fall into disuse once the course concluded. The impetus for Digital CrossRhodes is yet again a PhD class. This time, however, I’d like to see the blog outlive the course.

While the next semester will certainly see this space filled mainly with posts pertaining to academia, I’ll also be sharing some of my creative endeavors and, perhaps, some reflections on my professional experiences. I considered constructing separate digital identities, but realized there was too much overlap. The paths cross too often. Besides, if I’m honest with myself, I’m a bit too busy (or, too lazy) to maintain multiple blogs.

As some of you may know, I’ve been pursuing my PhD in English at Old Dominion University (in the New Media & Professional Writing track) part-time. I have one class in Fall 2009 (ENGL 883: @PW: Social Media Theory) and one more class in Spring 2010 (hopefully, New Media Theory & Practice II, if it makes) to complete before I’m ready for dissertation seminar in Fall 2010. For more information about my day job, follow the ABOUT link at the top right of this page.

Thanks for joining me at the “crossrhodes.” Don’t worry about which path to take… They all eventually loop back and cross here again. I hope you enjoy the blog and choose to travel with me for a while on this digital journey.

Share