Category Archives: Information and Communication Technology

Civics, Politics in SecondLife

I wa slooking for a project for my undergraduate research studnet to work on.

The SL researchers listserv had a good suggestion.

Request:

He is interested in politics or civic discourse in virtual worlds.

Ideally, it would be a sim, island, community with either robust internal debate, or an explicit goal of being a forum, an agora of civics.

He would be doing some virtual ethnography to explore how expressiveness, community, and technology relate to political discourse.

And the first response form a Law School Professor:

1) If he hasn’t done already, he should read Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life, which is a good example of doing ethnography in SL.

2) He might look into the Coalition of Democratic Sims (or something like that), which is a group of sims that have instituted some form of democratic governance.

I hope he keeps us posted on his work. It should be very interesting.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

On-line reputation(another media inquiry)

I got _another_ media inquiry.

Summary: How does on-line reputation matter?  What can you do if your reputation is being trashed?

Hmmm. It is interesting how many of these queries seem to be “how-to.”  There is the famous case of the Facebook suicide, but such stories do more to illustrate our fears than capture the reality of most people most of the time.  My first thought to protect your reputation is to have a reputation worth protecting.

You might ask Greta Polites and Eric Santanen also.  (In my department.)

I have this book and have not read it but it seems relevant.

http://www.wordofmouthbook.com/

It must be possible to spend a lot of time surveilling   one’s on-line profile.  “Google myself” is a verb and a state of mind.  How is the “me” I know being seen in cyberspace?  But I think if you obsess about it, it says more about you than the world.  Judging by the generally low level of negative feedback on eBay transactions, or in Amazon ratings, or in other open reputation systems (by open, I mean where any user can comment on an identifiable user).  As opposed to the Hobbesian dog eat dog world we often imagine, when we look at most interactions, even on-line, it is kind of boring in the sense that most people are OK and not trying to cheat others for gain or trash them for a sick kind of fun.  There are of course a few exceptions.

For those times when you are worried about how you are being presented, I would think about the audience before reacting.  If an employer or consulting prospect is concerned or I think they can see negative comments, offer up your own list of recommenders for them to contact directly.  Offer several.  This would mean more than written letters.  If the negativity comes from anonymous systems, you can delicately point out that such attacks are not very reputable and cowardly.  On systems like LinkedIn, have people who will speak on your behalf noted so that a prospective contact can link to them easily.  Include contacts form multiple jobs over your career.  If those people are not on, take this moment to be a technology maven and encourage them to sign up.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Society, participatory technology, Social Networks, technology, writing

Discussion of governance at TN blog

Here is an interesting discussion of governance over at TN blog.

The premise is to compare Internet to VW governance and see how VWs differ.  Sensible approach (! one I am using!).

Reading it did make me wonder if we are using governance More broadly than it is usually used.  The post author, Ren Reynolds, is looking at very “normal” governance issues; taxation and criminal enforcement. And those are fine and good to look at.  I have just thinking about governance as not only government control, but the production of order especially from a phenomenological perspective.  How do people feel or experience a VW as regularized or ordered?  The basis for that experience of order (or ordering) includes the code written by programmers working for firms constrianed by national governments. But it also includes the more normative and cogntive sources of patterning and order (look, NOT being surprosed by non human avatars is a certain kind of order.  A libertarian one, i suppose).

That is why I keep looping back to neo-institutional theory.

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Climate Change Song- “Get Down Into It”

YouTube – Get Down Into It

Local musicians and citizens raising awareness fueled by digital and living web technologies.  Look for me and Thea in early part.

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Filed under activism, climate change, lewisburg, life, Media, participatory technology, technology

Blogging and Democracy of the blog media- 2nd Guardian Column

I think the title for my Guardian Column (they don’t seem to update the site) is “Our Online Selves.”  That can be improved.

Here is the second installment.

“The End of Culture and Truth?”

I am a blogger.  Eight years ago, saying this might have conjured up someone doing something disdainful with their finger and nose, or some fascinating example of a field position in some strange British idea of a sport.  But now, most people recognize that I maintain a web-published journal or log (“blog” is a contraction of Web-log).  Why would I or anyone else write publish a personal journal on the web?  Who do we think we are, anyway?  Great unwashed masses clogging the for a with our swollen egos.  Like so much on the Internet, from the amusing video of Mentos and Diet Coke (google it!) to archives of Saturday morning cartoon characters, the common response is “Who has the time?”

A friend of mine, a professor, told me off-handedly: “I don’t read blogs.  I don’t have time for anyone’s unfinished writing.”  I was spluttering with annoyance at such a narrow perspective of blogs and blogging.  I have kids so I get the “no time” complaint.  But unfinished writing?  Surely he has heard the idea that no writing is ever finished meaning that all his favorite classics were also “unfinished writing.”  Who knows what undiscovered Shakespeares and Toni Morrisons are out there?  I think what he really meant was that he preferred writing that had already been vetted by some authority.  He wanted a seal of approval.

Continue reading

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Filed under digital culture, Information and Communication Technology, Living Web, Media, technology, writing

My first Guardian column

I suppose for my first column (anywhere) some sort of inaugural words are called for.  Let’s start.

With the arrival of the Internet as a major form of interactive communication, we have seen an avalanche of new types of communication.  From websites, blogs (an online journal- web+ log=blog), video sharing (YouTube), social networks (Facebook.com), to the newest virtual worlds (Second Life), the breadth and depth of these forms of communication is, for me, exciting, over whelming, disturbing, and, ultimately, unavoidable.  As much as you can not imagine going without a telephone, or the postal service, or written language, these newer forms of digital communication are here to say and will have all kinds of impacts on how we collect, share, and distribute information.  Information is the backbone of all relationships, and, so, also of communities, societies, and culture.

One of the benefits of all these digital goodies is that you, the consumer, have a wide degree of what you choose to see, to watch, to ingest.  Sweeping generalizations aside, lets zoom in on the details.  Let me be a tour guide for you through this teeming landscape of media and information.  That is a mouthful.  Is there a better term?  President Bush offers up “the Internets.”  Or his sidekick, Senator Stevens (AK) famously lectured his colleagues about how the Internet is a “series of tubes.”[JC2] The internet doesn’t really do the job o describing what is out there.  Its like describing the auto industry as roads or the economy as money.   The internet, roads, and money are all simply ways to get from A to B.  The exciting stuff, the pulse of culture, politics, discovery, and life are all the As and Bs.  So, the world of information is the digital jungle, the metaverse, the infoscape, or where-we-are-headed (albeit at different speeds).  Cyberspace has emerged as an alternate term ad I’ll stick with it for now because it implies a destination, not a mode of transport.

We have a good sense of how people move around in cyberpsace.  For the record, that is about 73% of us.  The US still has the greatest degree of Internet use, even if the foreigners are kicking our butts in everything from manufacturing to mathematics.  No one out gadgets the average American.  Yet.

Anyway, the Pew Internet and American Life Project (http://www.pewinternet.org) has been doing some insightful research into what we are up to with all of our on-line hours (32/month, according to Nielsen Online; that’s nothing compared to world-leading Israel, at 58 hours per month according to comScore.)  The good Pew folks look at how assets (your computer, your connection), attitudes (do you want to take a sledge hammer to your machine?), and actions (what do you do?) jointly can define the various types, species, of denizens of the infoscape.  They have this nifty quiz (online, of course) you can take to identify yourself (http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/quiz.asp).  It takes about 10 minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under digital culture, participatory technology, sociology, technology, writing

Conference leads for Ted

Possible conference venues for SL paper… Some may be for next year assuming they repeat.

Social Aaspects of Web

Computer Human Interaction fro Managing IT:

Economics and Finance modeling– see mostly the idea of emergence in complex systems.  Thats our emergent layer.

Tools for participation. This one is more about VW as place for collaboration or new forms of community.

ACM Hypertext… They may be only about links now but by next year interworld links will be an issue?

Intntl Conf on Computer Mediated Social Networking

Weblogs and Social Media– isn’t a VW the ultimate social media???

You gotta love any conference with Hawai’i in the title. this is about VW specifically.

Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems

Any leads?

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Filed under conferences, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Living Web, New Projects, participatory technology, Research, Social Network Sites, technology, virtual worlds

Obama Everywhere in PA (song)

Lewisburg, thanks to Earl Pickens, punches above its weight…

And, yes, they are all real towns in PA.

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Filed under activism, participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism

My first try at a wiki…

The need to better sort and aggregate a raft of free writing between me and a collaborator (Ted over in Singapore) led us to try wikis.  This is after collating 19 pages in a word file of emails back and forth.

On the surface, I see the big advantage being the ability for each wikipage to be a persistent text that can be more easily edited and modified than email threads.  The hyperlinking also seems like a nice feature.

As I have been fretting over how many different areas of research and schoalrly literature I draw on, and finding myself stymied by the lurking sense that I know less than I have forgotten or let go rusty, I thought it might be an effective way to organize my own core knowledge for use in classes and research writing.  I had been day dreaming about my own private encyclopedia.  Maybe a wiki would function similarly.

Wikispaces, which we used because OSWC had used it, has blog integration (cool).

I wonder if select pages can be made public?

Mine is private for now, but maybe I will go public if it seems valuable or worthwhile (and not crap).

For a title, I played with networks-movements- organizations.  So its called netmoveorg for now.  Lame probably, but oh well.

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Still a great ad- Bush in 30 seconds

This was the last winner of the Moveon.org participatory ad contest.

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Filed under participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism