Archive for the ‘Media and Coms’ Category
You may have heard of Michael Wesch, professor of anthropology and digital ethnographer, known for his outstanding videos about the impact of information and communications technology on global society (particularly university learning). After listening to his keynote at the 2009 Association of Technologist Conference, I went to Wikipedia to find out more, and there I learned that in 2008 he had won something called The John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology from the Media Ecology Association. So, because Michael Wesch’s videos are important and he has been called ‘the explainer’, I went to see who had won the award before and since.
I came across the best-articulated piece of technophobia I’ve encountered in a long while (and I don’t use technophobia in a rhetorical pejorative sense but a straight descriptive one). It references Postman, Debord, Ellul and Mumford (you can see most of their pictures along the top of the Media Ecology Association site), and I understand technophobia a lot better now. Here it is.
Michael Wesch is more interested in rethinking things.
Two such different winning presentations for an award overseen by an organisation which included Marshall McLuhan. Is the medium the message?
He’s collected his tweets (up till June 16) at his spot on The Atlantic website, including from early:
“Mssg from Twitter: Our…partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.”
Use of the #nomaintenance tag persuaded Twitter not to shut down for maintenance yesterday. They are running Twitter for the Iranian democrats.
“I have to say my skepticism about this new medium has now disappeared. Without it, one wonders if all this could have happened. A reader notes a few facts:
Ahmadinejad’s and Khamenei’s websites were taken down yesterday – I saw the latter go down within a couple of minutes because of a DDOS attack organised via Twitter. @StopAhmadi is a good source for tweets on this. The other important use of Twitter has been distribution of proxy addresses via Twitter. This would be how most video and pictures of today’s rally have gotten out.
Technology has not just made the world more dangerous; it has also enabled freedom to keep one small step in front of tyranny and lies.”
Will the ayatollahs now close Twitter in Iran?
Note to self:
“Please remember that this is about the future of the Iranian people. While it might be exciting to get caught up in the flow of participating in a new meme, do not lose sight of what this is really about.”
How to support Iranian twitterers.
Update: scholars of the Iranian and Arabic blogospheres write in the Washington Post – Reading Twitter in Tehran? Why the real revolution is on the streets – and offline.
“Paradoxically, the “freedom to scream” online may actually assist authoritarian regimes by serving as a political release valve of sorts. If dissent is channeled into cyberspace, it can keep protesters off the streets and help state security forces track political activism and new online voices. As Egyptian democracy activist Saad Ibrahim said last week during a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, this appears to be part of a long tradition for governments in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, where dissent is channeled into universities and allowed to thrive there, as long as it does not escape the university walls.
With so many individuals overcoming government efforts to block online communication, particularly via Twitter, it is notable that the Iranian government has not shut down Internet access completely. Similarly, as we discovered in our recent study of the Arabic blogosphere, the Egyptian government tolerates extensive blogging by the Muslim Brotherhood while outlawing its other activities. The Chinese often ease the harshest of their Internet regulations over time. And the military junta in Burma didn’t keep the Net down for long. Ultimately, almost all such regimes choose to leave the Internet more open than closed, then move to regulate specific activities that they deem worrisome.
After all, it appears that people living under authoritarian regimes such as the one in Iran are as addicted to the Internet as the rest of us are. Even though states push back, they can’t keep the Internet down for long without serious blowback from their citizens. Iranian officials have the power to shutter the Internet just as they once clamped down on reformist newspapers, but they may be more concerned now about any move that pushes those watching — or blogging or tweeting — from the sidelines into the throngs of protesters already in the streets”
See also this from the Berkman Institute of Internet and Society on shutting the blogosphere.
And Patrick Meier, also at Harvard, who understands this stuff and is updating his piece on how to communicate securely in repressive environments.
I hope colleagues understand now that ‘techies’ are not to be maligned – well, not simply for being techies, anyway.
Tim Crook, convenor of the popular Media Law and Ethics course in the Media and Communications Department and former CELT fellowship holder, emailed to let us know that his course area on the learn.gold virtual learning environment was the swinging factor that persuaded the UK Broadcast Journalism Training Council to give Goldsmiths the Excellence in Teaching Broadcast Journalism Award for 2007-2008.
At the awards ceremony it was stated ‘The intranet site provides anything and everything, and much more to any student studying or needing to find out about Media Law & Ethics. It is outstanding.’
Here’s a short mp3 format interview with Tim (right-click, or apple-click for Macs, that link to save to e.g. a portable player). The first part of the recording is an excellent introduction to the course itself; how it is taught and the kinds of learners it attracts. At 7 min 49 sec Tim discusses the aspects of the course and the VLE area which were valued by his learners and by the BJTC. Of particular interest is the role of this enormous repository of resources in a course whose focus is media ethics and law as a dynamic collection of texts. At 10 min 53 he talks about his use of the log files to gauge use and perceived relevance of the different resources he has made available. At 11 min 42 he observes that theory students, whose assessment is based on coursework, are beginning to opt for a fearsome-sounding 3-hour unseen paper. From 13 min 21 sec he talks about the award ceremony.