Breaching Experiment Essay

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Alice explains her motivations for including several key readings in her syllabus.

We get a peak into some of the lesson assignments for her students.

The book gives a thorough schooling in CMC theory, some of which is out of fashion but still useful, and more modish key concepts in STS, while maintaining a critical, anthropological viewpoint. I’ve used Word Press in the past, but Tumblr is more fashionable and I thought it was more likely my students would encounter it professionally (many communications students go into PR, marketing, and advertising, where “cool” social media like Instagram and Tumblr is often used to promote brands and clients).

Unfortunately, Tumblr has limited support, so I wrote a lengthy “How To” document, which was immediately obsolete as the site implemented changes constantly.

It was important to me to avoid the ‘gee whiz’ enthusiasm that’s often endemic to scholarship on ‘new’ media, a term I can’t stand.

We read a few chapters from Tom Standage’s terrific book on the telegraph, The Victorian Internet, one on scam artists and one on telegraph-facilitated romance.She is turning her dissertation, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity & Self-Branding in Web 2.0, into a book.I started my first semester as an assistant professor at Fordham with free range to take over a recently-added undergraduate class called “Social Media.” I’ve seen social media classes taught at the undergraduate level that focus entirely on learning to use the sites Not only does this approach not age well, it doesn’t give students skills to analyze social media critically, which is my primary ethos of teaching media studies.We also get to learn how she integrated tumblr into her lesson plans.Alice is currently an Assistant Professor at Fordham University in the Department of Communication and Media Studies and an academic affiliate at the Center for Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School.The title of Standage’s book makes clear the parallel between the two technologies, and the colorful stories about cheaters and lonely hearts places social media within a much more understandable history of human interaction and emotion than stand-alone ‘cyberspace.’ I assigned two pieces: Donald Norman’s chapter on “The Psychopathy of Everyday Things,” which takes a very pragmatic, design-oriented standpoint to various poorly-designed objects with lots of pictures and illustrations.Norman clearly explains the concept of an affordance, and we spent a lot of time in class talking about the difference between what an object or technological feature is intended to do, and what people use it for.I knew I was going to use a version of Christian Sandvig’s social media breaching experiments, which identified key norms on individual social media sites and asked students to break them.For background, I assigned Garfinkel’s “Studies of the Routine Grounds of Everyday Activities,” a great piece for undergrads.A few examples: Here’s where I introduced ethnography.I was deeply influenced by Bambi Schieffelin in graduate school, who introduced me to ethnomethodology.


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