What Kind of Tech User Are You?
The Pew Internet & American Life Project asks this in a quiz you can take to get a sense of where you fit in the tech spectrum.
Here are my results:

You are an Digital Collaborator
If you are a Digital Collaborator, you use information technology to work with and share your creations with others. You are enthusiastic about how ICTs help you connect with others and confident in your ability to manage digital devices and information. For you, the digital commons can be a camp, a lab, or a theater group – places to gather with others to develop something new.”

To all of my students: What are you?

 There is a lot of discussion about the impact of social media on journalism and what role it could/should play in ‘real’ journalism. Those of us who are teaching media in the midst of this revolution are thinking and talking a lot about how and what to teach while riding this often precarious wave. TED Talks, one of the best resources for exploring all kinds of important, timely topics, offers a wide range of thoughtful lectures examining all sides of social media in their series “Media with Meaning.” In his talk, ‘How Social Media Can Make History,” Clay Shirky argues:  

“While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.”

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History

In his talk, “When Social Media Became News,” James Surowiecki argues the 2005 tsunami transformed social media forever. Check it out:

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A student of mine is writing a story about Twitter on campus for another class. I thought his questions — and hopefully my answers — were worth a blog post:

1) What’s your official title at Oregon State University? What name would you like to be referred by in the article? What’s your age? Finally, how long have you been teaching?

ANSWER: I’m an Instructor in NMC at OSU. Pamela Cytrynbaum. Second reference is always “Cytrynbaum.” I’m 43. I’ve been teaching in one form or another for 12 years.

Now onto our subject.

2) Do you think Twitter is widely used by students on campus? Have you encountered Twitter in any of your classrooms (as an interruption or distraction, perhaps)?

ANSWER: No, I don’t see much use of Twitter on campus at all. In fact, I’ve been surprised at how few students have even heard of it when I raise the question in all of my classes. Very few of my my students — most of whom are new media students — use it. I require my NMC 301 (Writing for the Media Professional) students to learn it and do one assignment where they Twitter an event. It’s important for them to know what it is and how to use it. Once that’s done, it’s up to them to continue or not. Some do.

I think it seems useless to many students. They’ve got texts and Facebook messages coming in…what do they need this shortened social networking tool for? Far fewer students seem to continue on with Twitter after learning it in class than with blogging. I have many students who blog for the first time in my class and then get hooked and build their blogs and keep them going. They see the value in that. I’m not sure Twitter offers enough payoff for the effort. For me, I’ve had lots of fun with it. I use it as storage for all kinds of links I want to keep for classes, to connect with organizations, media outlets, friends, writers, to keep up with their lives and work. I don’t follow anybody who uses Twitter to proclaim an ingrown toenail. I’m looking for actual information.

I’m a working, writing mom. I don’t have one second in the day to waste on that.

3) Do you think Twitter has any potential as a teaching aid? In your opinion, should teachers or campus officials use Twitter to spread information to students?

ANSWER: I can’t speak for any other teachers or tell them what to do. I know from being a Twitter Follower of the Chronicle of Higher Education (and a regular reader) that there are lots of professors arguing for and against the use of Twitter. One story I read was by someone advocating the use of Twitter DURING classes and conference lectures as a way to INCREASE engagement.

Personally, I’d lose my mind juggling that. I’d rather have somebody comment in person so I can see them, hear them, respond one human being to another. But this person argued strongly that for them, Twittering deeply enriched the teaching experience. It’s important to take it seriously, though, and not just ignore or disregard Twitter. There are plenty of stories and surveys that have found Twitter is the top social networking medium for helping people get immediate information on natural disasters, like the Indonesian Tsunami. But, as we’ve seen just yesterday in the news about the swine flu issue, it’s also a mechanism for spreading false or overly-hyped information that can be deeply concerning. Either way, it’s here, and the larger plugged-in world is taking advantage of this technology. We need to check it out for ourselves and make our own choices.

(more…)

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When a high school cheerleader in northeastern Pennsylvania learned that she might face criminal charges after investigators reported finding a nude photo of her on someone else’s cellphone, she was more confused than frightened at being caught up in a case of “sexting”: the increasingly popular phenomenon of nude or seminude photos sent over wireless phones.
Almost unheard of a year or two ago, cases related to “sexting,” nude or seminude photos sent over wireless phones, are popping up all over the country.
What are the rules of the pedagogical road, here, in yet another bizarre exit on the New Media Super Highway?
Okay, like I don’t have enough to worry about trying to plan my New Media courses, which require relentless Twitter-like updating because so much happens every single minute. So I’m reconfiguring my language on the syllabus (again) about plagiarism to keep widening and deepening and broadening the big new media tent that it has become. (Post on that coming soon)
Next I come to the section on student conduct and appropriate classroom behavior to create an environment most conducive to learning with 77-82 students in a class.  I’m about discussion, engagement, exchange, not lecture alone…the bank deposit method where I have “The Knowledge” and you open your brain, receive it, vomit it back to me and I reward you for the reminder of my genius. Maybe it’s that I’m so confident in what I know and how crucial it is, that I’m comfortable with a conversation.  They teach me. I teach them.
Normally that happens and for the most part, my students end up feeling smarter and happier for having taken my class. Not all, of course, by any means. There are plenty for whom my style, the topic, my hair,  whatever, is simply enraging or whatever.  With new media, though, there are new implications. With new implications, come new lines on my syllabus. Like the one I’m putting on all my syllabi this term for the first time about how recording someone without their knowledge or consent is a Class A Misdemeanor in Oregon. If a student has a disability, that’s an entirely different set of rules. We will come to an agreement where all parties are made aware that recording is happening for this educational purpose.
But for the record, college students: In most states, it’s a crime to use any device to record someone without their knowledge or consent.  I hope to have a longer and more specific post on that soon as well.
I ask students to post photos of themselves with brief bios on our Blackboard discussion forum so I can start to learn their 77 or 82 names (I do that with my 27-person classes as well.) Many inevitably post photos from their Facebook pages: tube dresses made of yellow  police “CAUTION” tape, shots of body parts I don’t want to be able to identify in various stages of undress, dance moves that would make Elvis blush, a menagerie of images that, in the end, will not help me learn their names because their faces are smushed beneath ski caps, intertwinted with other faces or something else….you know the drill.
I show their posted photos and we do the “giggle test.” If your photo makes the class giggle, it’s not appropriate and would not make a potential employer giggle and it shouldn’t be on Facebook. I put that under “professionalism.”
There’s the usual no texting or Facebooking or im-ming in class unless I give you an assignment. And yes, I ask my students to commit various forms of new media during class.  A great way to bust them Facebooking in class is to get them to Friend you, and then during class when they have laptpos clacking away, just get on your Facebook page and see who else is on live. The kids LOVE that trick. Makes me seem very New Media hip. Once, when my students had a reporting assignment out of class and were supposed to be Twittering in from the field, one student didn’t come back to class. On the screen in front of the rest of the group I sent him a note on Facebook and Twitter — “Where are you? We’re all in the classroom waiting for you.” He wrote back and soon the door opened.
This is all appropriate and on point because these are New Media classes where we talk directly about the use, abuse, impact, relevance, dangers, emergence, transformation of new media in all forms. Plus I love playing with this stuff.
Now a new entry on the syllabus and in the Rules of the Road first-class talk. No sexting. Do I really have to say this? The New York Times says they’re sending naked pictures to each other in high school. In my 101 Intro to New Media class, most of the 77 or 82 students are in their first year of college. In fall term, the last school experience they had WAS high school.
Add this to my list. It’s child pornography and it’s a crime.
Remember when the most heinous crime we addressed in writing classes was the misplaced modifier?

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HERE’S MY ANSWER TO THE QUESTIONS I KEEP GETTING ASKED:

WHAT IS NEW MEDIA? WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING IN IT? WHY EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

(I took this post from my About the Blog page, which nobody reads so I’m moving it here.)

I’m a former newspaper reporter now teaching New Media Communications at Oregon State University. My students require an entirely new set of skills and talents far more technologically sophisticated than my Gen X peers did when we came up, when “media” was called “journalism” and things made more sense.

Now there’s a whole generation of editors and profs working under a whole new set of rules, trying desperately to hold onto as many of the old values of content, substance, accuracy, fairness, justice and professionalism while learning to Fark and Twitter and Vodcast  and Podcast, Twitter my Tweets and Optimize my Search Engines.

This blog is me writing from that tightrope, balancing like we all are, on what feels like a crossroads made of dental floss. The extra trick for me is that this journey of technologizing and socially mediating my media is not one I’m making alone. I actually have to teach students what I know, while I’m learning it.

So there it is.

Like New Media itself, those of us who came up in Old School, big-city newspaper journalism are flailing in transformation. We have a trove of essential journalistic skills. We are diligent and enterprising reporters, skilled and empathic interviewers. We have a hound’s nose for news. We see stories leaping out of the woodwork and we know how to report the hell out of them and make them sing. We can pound out a 1500-word story in 24 minutes that does the readers and sources justice. We demand fairness, balance and accuracy of ourselves and our work.

We still believe deeply in the old saw about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

We learned on typewriters, moved up to Trash 80s and portabubbles; we transmitted stories through pay phone lines and the raw nerve of deadline dictation. We did not fight technology. No siree. We embraced the newfangled. We boogied and House Partied onto the Internet and got our first e-mail accounts in the 90s. We rode the Information Superhighway, pal. I mean, all our aerobics classes played Techno music!

But the story was still king. We worked on our own time writing those long Sunday Page One features about how the system failed the most vulnerable of us. We gave voice to the voiceless.

We wrote tight and bright when our bosses went to management conferences and learned we all had to write like USA Today.

We embraced the long and winding narrative lead where the nut graph didn’t make it before the jump.

We wrote touchy-feely trend thumbsuckers on parenting when our Boomer bosses started having kids.

When our bosses made us rip a comb through our hair and run an iron over our clothes we chugged down our Joe, spiffed up and dragged our perk-o-lated selves onto televsion spots, learning how…to…speak….using…a….telepromp….ter….um…without….um…cursing…much.

After two decades of the frantic, hectic, adrenalinized daily news life, you expect us to do WHAT now? Podcast and vodcast and slideshows? Yahoo who? Facebook my what? Film it? Blog it? Twitter it? Digg it? FARK it?

Alrighty then, we say. Bring it.

The plot thickens, or, as my Dad always says at the height of the narrative arc in every move he’s ever watched: “What a revolting development THIS is.”

The paper came out without its staff. The staff is dutifully and impressively documenting every move from all sides on their various public content vehicles, Facebook group, Twitter, blog. They offer a PDF of the errant issue. I’m deeply moved by that. They are indeed walking the walk of freedom of information.I’m still wating to see two additional new media technologies used by the students: YouTube videos documenting their strike, and streaming video.

Here’s the blog post updating us:

First Emerald produced since 1900 without student contributors

March 5, 2009 by independentjournalist

Uploaded tonight to the ODE drop (an internet resource we use to publish) was a copy of tomorrow’s “Oregon Daily Emerald.” (Quotes are intentional.) We decided to repost a pdf the first-ever non-student newspaper ever published at the University of Oregon under the masthead of the “Oregon Daily Emerald” here tonight for our readers, advertisers, and community to review.

Contained is a series of articles covering our strike, including content pulled from our blog and a statement from the ODE Board. The rest of the articles are from the AP wire, meaning that tomorrow students will receive from the Emerald the coverage of news written not by other students but by journalists working elsewhere.

The UO Journalism staffers at the Daily Emerald — currently on strike — are wisely using all social networking tools at their disposal to get their word out. They’ve set up a blog to update interested parties on their thoughts, progress, news, actions. I haven’t checked for a Facebook group but I assume if there isn’t one yet it’s coming any second.

Much to explore!!

The striking Emerald staff blog is:

Independent Journalism

The Oregon Commentator, of all publications, has come out in support of our strike. You can see the full text of the OC’s editorial here.

Source: collegemediamatters.com