New Media

Digital Job Search — The Center for Communication

The Center for Communication, a New York–based organization dedicated to connecting today’s media industry professionals with the leaders of tomorrow, is hosting a workshop on jobs in the technology sector.


Wednesday, March 11, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor

The technology sector is booming! Exciting opportunities (with incredible perks) exist in this highly competitive field. Silicon Alley recruiters share insights on the various openings and the skills you need to land a job.


Telegraphs and Blizzards Don’t Mix

Due to the “potentially historic” blizzard due to hit the Northeast today and tomorrow, all classes at Fordham scheduled on Monday after 1:00 PM and on Tuesday are cancelled. We will have to wait until next week to discuss Tom Standage’s book The Victorian Internet.


Incidentally, during the Blizzard of 1888, one of the most intense snow storms to ever hit New York City, telegraph lines that hung above the street posed one of the greatest dangers. Ice formed on the wires and threatened to bring down the lines with icicles acting as daggers. This particular blizzard is why power lines are now underground and why many cities moved to construct underground mass transit systems, such as the cities.

New Media, Spring 2014, Final Review

To make up for the cancelled class, due to the various winter storms, please take about a half hour to watch the following review I prepared last week.

The video covers the format for the final exam and the material the exam will cover. The exam will consist of five identification questions and three essay questions. Remember that our final exam will be on Wednesday, May 7, at 9:00 AM.

In the video I also summarize the thirteen chapters you presented in the second half of the class. Those readings include the following chapters:

  1. Howard Rheingold, “Crap Detection 101: How to Find What You Need to Know and How to Decide If It’s True”
  2. Rhiengold, “Social Digital Know-How: The Arts and Science of Collective Intelligence”
  3. Douglas Rushkoff, “Be Yourself”
  4. Siva Vaidhyanathan, “Googlization of Us”
  5. Vaidhyanathan, “Ways and Means: Faith and Aptitude and Technology”
  6. Lee Raine and Barry Wellman, “Networked Relationships”
  7. Eli Pariser, “The User is the Content”
  8. Pariser, “Adderall Society”
  9. Clay Shirky, “Gin TV and Cognitive Surplus”
  10. Shirky, “Means”
  11. Evgeny Morozov, “How to Break Politics By Fixing It”
  12. Morozov, “The Perils of Algorithmic Gatekeeping”
  13. Lawrence Lessig, “Property”

Finally, I wish you good luck with this and your other exams. See you on Wednesday.

Inside the Filter Bubble


  • Google and Facebook
  • Apple and Microsoft

prediction engines

  • a theory of who we are
  • alters the way we encounter ideas and information

three dynamics of the Filter Bubble

  1. you are alone in it
  2. invisible
  3. you have no choice, except to enter the bubble

Adderall Society

  • we need Adderall because there’s so much going on
  • distorting effect
  • acts like a magnifying glass
  • is the idea of the filter bubble helpful or harmful?
  • is this isolating us?
  • personalized filters promote narrow focus
  • hyper focus promotes synthesis

The User is the Content

  • crisis of print
  • advertising revenue
  • in the age of the mass media: editors do the filtering
  • in the age of digital media: personalization does the filtering
  • filter bubble: personalization, people become isolated
  • Click-bait: sensationalism, for the aim of clickiness of an article

Are we paying closer attention to the dead squirrel in front of our home than a genocide?

Don’t Want to Be Tracked

The Networked Individual

We had a pretty great discussion on the first and fifth chapters of Rainie and Wellman’s recent book, Networked: The New Social Operating System.

Here are some questions that I drafted to review what we covered.

  • What is “networked individualism”?
  • What are the “triple revolutions”?
  • Why do critics use the Internet as a scapegoat?
  • What is an ICT?
  • What are “strong ties”? What are “weak ties”?
  • How are online exchanges extensions of offline relationships? How are they distinct?
  • How has “networked individualism” altered the specific location for our relationships with others in our network? Do we always communicate with specific people in only one place?

Feel free to add any other questions…

One of the things that stuck with me is how Rainie and Wellman are challening the assumption that the Internet is ruining our relationships. When we discussed the deterioration of proper spelling and grammar in personal communications, we considered whether everything would eventually be written in a style resembling a casual, instant message.

I thought we convincingly challenged that theory by considering how our online messaging style is determined by our offline relationships. If you’re messaging a close friend, you’re going to have a casual tone with him/her, but you’re not going to write a potential employer in that same style. However, if you do land that job and you work closely with that person, the style of your communiques might change. Just like your relationship has changed.

Another issue that we considered is whether online messages are absent of all nonverbal cues, like tone, gesture, and spatial context (such as your specific location). I wonder how your offline relationship is one of those nonverbal cues.

Finally, I mentioned to a few of you about a recent book that resonates with this topic. Check out danah boyd’s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. You can get a PDF from her blog.

Googlized, Are We?

Earlier today in class, I mentioned that I small collection of links related to Google. My entire collection, which I thought was bigger, is available on Pinboard, a bookmarking service. Here are some of those that might help with today’s excellent discussion.

The Jenny McCarthy and erroneous UAL stock story reveal that using Google, or really any single source, for information can be dangerous. The episode I mentioned about pump-and-dump is partly due to an erroneous story gaining prominence.

Eugene sent me a list (an illustration, really) of the products Google has killed. The one that hurt me the most was Reader, but I found another service that I pay a monthly fee to use. In the meantime, Google has been pushing people towards its social network Google+, even if it really only serves Google.

Another creepy thing about Google+ is that if you use the services, it allows users to send you messages to your Gmail. As with everything in the data-gathering world of “free” Internet services, this is the default behavior. However, you can opt out.

One explanation for why Google “sunsets” these services is because Google is trying to keep us in its walled garden, dependent on their services. According to Marco Arment, Google did so to “compete with Facebook for ad-targeting data, ad dollars, growth, and relevance.”

One of the most popular services that Google offers is Gmail. It’s no secret that Google sniffs your email to build an advertising profile. That seems like a fair exchange, no? You get a free email service in exchange for your delicious data. But what about when your university switches to Google Apps for Education, which is free to qualified institutions? It’s not like you have a choice. You have to use whatever email service your university offers, no? Is your university email and other data safe from Google’s terms of service that allow them to use it for advertising/marketing purposes? A lawsuit, moving through the federal courts, argues that Google has been using the data of Apps for Education users, including K–12 students, for building marketing profiles.

Michael Arrington, founder of the popular website TechCrunch, is certain that Google has gone so far as to read his Gmail messages. Eek!

Finally, I’m surprised…shocked even that we didn’t mention Google Glass. (Is it really that irrelevant?) As Google’s motto has been “don’t be evil,” it now implores those testing Google Glass to not be a “glasshole.”

N.B.: Yes, I am aware of the irony of the Google+ link in this and every other blog post. Follow me, and let’s be done with it.

De-Program or Be Programmed

Review Questions

These are the review questions that I posed based on the introduction, Chapter 1, and Chapter 10. Liz had different questions for Chapter 6, which she listed on her slides.

  1. What is a bias, according to Rushkoff?
  2. Computers are great at handling a steady stream of inputs—my typing on a keyboard, an incoming email message, a push alert, etc. How many inputs can a human being handle?
  3. Our class meetings are synchronous, but our home work is asynchronous. How does understanding this difference help us manage the various inputs we encounter?
  4. A good deal of this reading reminds me of Walter Ong’s famous argument about orality. Ong argued that writing was a technology that transformed oral cultures into ones capable of advanced thinking. Rushkoff seems to argue the opposite: that our use of digital technology in real time has ruined our thinking. How are we are using these technologies differently?
  5. What does he mean by “hacking” an arbitrary system?
    • Missile guidance systems used for assisted driving technologies: cruise control and GPS navigation
    • Missed call feature -> Text messaging
    • Powerful personal computer best used as an Internet terminal
  6. Is learning to program the only answer?

Net Smarts: Crap Detection and Community in the Digital Age

Review Questions

  1. What is “crap detection”?
  2. How has the Internet led to the proliferation of “crap”?
  3. How does the Internet aid us in the “detection” of “crap”?
  4. Why is community fundamental to our use of digital media?
  5. How is community different with the advent of new media?
  6. Is there such a thing as anti-social media?
  7. Where do we draw the line between contributing as a community building exercise and a way to exploit free/cheap labor?
  8. Why would someone contribute to a crowdsourced or open-sourced project without any financial benefit?
  9. How do digital networks respond according to the needs of the “external environmental”?

Presentation Tips

As we pass the midpoint of the semester, I wanted to provide a few pointers for your presentation, which you will all be doing by the end of the term.

Research Your Authors

The authors who we are reading have public personas and are active online. Follow them on Twitter. Read articles they’ve published on their blogs or other websites. Watch presentations or media interviews they may have given.

Aim for 20 Minutes

Your presentation should last 20 minutes. That might seem like a lot, but it’s really not. Practice ahead of time so that you can properly “scale” your presentation to this length.

Analyze, Don’t Summarize

There’s no need to summarize the chapter you’re presenting: we’ve all read it. Instead, prepare an analysis of the argument. You might consider isolating two or three main points that you want us to consider. Tell us about those three points at the beginning of the presentation.[1] For each abstract point, present an original concrete example. Consider asking us to analyze this example with you. It will for a more interactive session.

Don’t Read Your Slides

Slides are useful because they allow your audience to visualize what you’re discussing. For example, if you want to discuss the breakdown of New York City neighborhoods, it’s helpful for everyone to see a map. Similarly, if you want us to look at how advertisements follow you on the web, then show us a few webpages to illustrate that point. Charts and tables are really useful, too.

Avoid, as much as possible, having text on your slides. People will want to read the text and will stop paying attention to you. But if you’re going to use text, use only bullet points that build one-at-a-time, never complete sentences. Your slides should be presentation tools, not the presentations.

Whatever you do, don’t use your slides as notes.

Keep Us Engaged

Consider that we’re sitting in the audience waiting for your pearls of wisdom but our attention spans are small. A student in a previous semester had the class perform an exercise during the presentation by asking us to put a search term into Google and compare everyone’s results. We got to see one of her points in real-time. We all dug it.

Do something like that to break up your presentation. “Research” shows that hard as we try, we can only concentrate for ten minutes at a time. Change things up to reset our attention clocks.

Get More Pointers

Gabe Zicherman offers some suggestions on how to give a great keynote. He writes, “being a good speaker at conferences and events is not unlike being a great performer. You need to know your material, intuitively understand your audience, bring something new to the table, and keep yourself in great physical and mental shape to do your best.” One of the more compelling points I took from his article was to learn from standup comedians to keep your audience engaged and to appear excited about your material.

Zach Holman has an entire website on public speaking. Some of it is not relevant for our class, but some it is, such planning your talk and getting your slides together.

Richard Forno dispels the notion that Powerpoint is the point of your presentation. It’s not. He emphatically writes, “Technology – if used – should enhance the quality of a presentation, not become the sole reason for its existience.”

Prefer to listen to something? Respected Apple blogger John Gruber and productivity guru Merlin Mann have an extended conversation about several topics, but the most relevant for us is the discussion on Powerpoint and on public speaking.

  1. One the best presentations I’ve ever seen is the keynote presentation Steve Jobs gave at MacWorld 2007 to introduce the iPhone. He immediately tells everyone that he’s going to introduce three revolutionary products: a new touchscreen iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. The twist is that it was one device and then explains each part: the iPod part, the phone part, and the Internet communicator part.  ↩