November 22 – Social Media

//November 22 – Social Media
November 22 – Social Media 2018-01-07T15:25:11-04:00


(PDF for complete The Social Media Reader which includes Rosen, O’Reilly, and boyd)

Jay Rosen. “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” in The Social Media Reader. Michael Mandiberg, ed. New York: New York University Press, 2012.

Tim O’Reilly. “What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software” in The Social Media Reader. Michael Mandiberg, ed. New York: New York University Press, 2012.

danah boyd. “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle” in The Social Media Reader. Michael Mandiberg, ed. New York: New York University Press, 2012.


Robinson Meyer. “The Decay of Twitter.” The Atlantic, November 2, 2015.

Bonnie Stewart. “Academic Influence on Twitter: The Findings.” the theoryblog.

Bonnie Stewart. “Something Is Rotten in the State of…Twitter.” the theoryblog.

Zeynep Tufekci. “Mark Zuckerberg Is in Denial.” The New York Times, November 15, 2016.


Pew Research Social Media Demographics

Social Media Storify Jam

This assignment is to test entry level query and recording of topic-based information across a number of social media platforms. Rather than a deep data scrape that would be able to utilize Twitter APIs and Python scripts, we are going to perform this query with readily available coding-free platforms to see what kind of experience one can have doing research in the nascent systems of social media.

Please do the following:

  1. Choose a topic to follow across social media for a week. This topic can be related to your semester project, but in this instancenI would pick something broad in scope and near the top of the current zeitgeist to get adequate information. World events, popular culture stories, active movements, and long standing internet memes and conversations would fit in this scope.
  2. Create an account at Storify
  3. Search for your topic on at least three of the following social media platforms. (The more the better and you may want to choose your platforms based on your content.) Remember to vary your search parameters and search using hashtags as well as regular text.
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
    3. Instagram
    4. Tumblr
    5. YouTube
    6. LinkedIn
    7. Pinterest
  4. While searching, use Storify to bookmark and gather the relevant material.
    1. Information on how to use the Storify bookmarklet or Chrome Extension to capture social media posts is HERE (I had far more success with Chrome than Safari)
    2. This is a helpful general introduction as well
  5. Edit your Storify
  6. Be prepared to present your Storify and findings in class


  1. Isabelle November 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Rosen makes a sort of side comment concession that “we” (the people formally known as the audience) are content with also having TV, radio, movies, etc available for our pleasure. He goes on to say that nothing can replace these sort of big media experiences. However, the industry might beg to differ. The TV and film folk are awfully concerned about a potential decline in viewership with the rise of the internet. So is it true that these media will always persist? The music industry learned the hard way. And various outlets are attempting to include the viewers as best as possible to keep their interest. CNN scrambles to constantly find relevant tweets that Wolf Blitzer can read on air. Talk shows work tirelessly to include their audience in comedic bits. More and more TV shows are being aired exclusively on Netflix, which seems to cater perfectly to every audience. Movies attempt to throw in exclusive content for their theatrical release (a new trailer, for example) in hopes of getting people to come. I just wonder if Rosen’s assertion that we will always still turn to these media is true.

    Boyd stated that people turn to the internet because of our insatiable need for context and communication. We’re curious and social. And that is the reason for the rise of the “always-on” lifestyle. Yet, I feel there is something missing. How much does narcissism play a factor in the rise of social media? Are people logging into Facebook because they have genuine curiosity about their friends’ lives? Or are they comparing their own lives, hoping to update their status with a witty sentence to prove how awesome their life is? (I’m sure we also all have the friend who writes the “woe is me” status every day, which seems equally as attention-seeking.) Is this perhaps a manifestation of a deeper human nature, revealing that we all desperately crave attention?
    Also, as an aside, her comment about looking online for information on who was buried at the Pantheon so she could have context puzzled me. Couldn’t she have just asked someone else? Couldn’t she quell that craving for human interaction by just asking someone, possibly someone who works there? English is often understood at major locations.

    The NYTimes article floated around my Facebook feed for a bit, and it raised a serious question that I have been struggling with for a little while now: why isn’t it our responsibility to fact-check sources, or use common sense? Why is the responsibility on Facebook? Shouldn’t we teach how to sniff out fake websites and how to look beyond headlines? I remember when I was in school we learned about doing research on the web and how to find credible sources. Why must we rely on the social media site to do the work for us? Doesn’t that make us lazier?

  2. Cristina November 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    1. In her editorial for the New York Times, Zeynep Tufekci reports that the editors at Facebook that were responsible for filtering false spam journalism have recently been fired. I like Isabelle’s take that we need to emphasize media literacy, and that instruction is certainly falling on some friends and colleagues of mine that work in college library systems. Moving forward with the accountability of Facebook nonetheless, what kind of training do you imagine such editors should receive? Are these journalists? Fact checkers? Let’s discuss those roles as they are resituated in the social media environment and what, if any, appropriate schooling is available for that work force.

    2. It is common to talk about finding strategies to balance the “always-on” lifestyle that danah boyd describes in her essay in The Social Media Reader. How intentional are these strategies, in your experience? Are we not each engaging some strategy, even involuntarily, by living with or without this constant immersion? Let’s discuss our own strategies and how mindfully strategic, or happenstance, they in fact are.

    3. I loved Bonnie Stewart’s enthusiasm and tone. While reading her post/essay “Academic Influence on Twitter: The Findings,” I was struck by how carefully considered her study participants choices are of whether to follow or not follow other academics. Granted, her interviews seem to pull apart and capture in slow motion some very quick social assessments, the likes of which we all make everyday. I saw these choices as part of a larger strategy to find balance, as noted above, but also I wondered if any other field has these points of evaluation so ready as academia, with its peer-review, h-index (etc.) metrics of influence. In many cases, social media creates this data where it previously didn’t exist. In what other populations might such an inquiry uncover conflicting strata of status in analog and digital environments?

  3. Sarah November 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Social Media as the Proletariat’s Tool
    Rather than the amateur’s tool, is Clay Shirky arguing for social media to be conceptualized as the proletariat’s tool?
    “Clay Shirky sees this cognitive surplus, released from the drudgery of passive spectatorship, as a force (a workforce) that will tranform media and society in ways we cannot yet conceive.”(page 8, Michael Mandiberg)

    Living Digital before Digital Technology
    According to danah boyd, the “digital native” “is a lifestyle choice (always-on lifestyle) rather a generational descriptor tied to being born into a digital age, therefore can we think of were people that were “living digital” before the arrival of technology? The question is not about books, phones, typewriters, printing presses – as much as it is about a state of mind – a way of communicating – a way of being…

    Chronology of Blogs
    We mentioned this earlier in the semester, can we return to Tim O’Reiley’s point about the “chronological difference in the organization of blogs.” What I think I recall is that the most relevant events are listed first _ as top feed and header information rather than attached onto the bottom as a continuation of a conversation or as a reply. O’Reiley states that this layout “drives an different delivery, advertising and value chain.” (p. 40) I’m thinking of email with its reply chain / if I reversed the order…. – but I don’t quite see how that changes how we think about chronology? Is it about the narrative structure? Prioritization of present and anticipation of future vs. sequencing past events?

    WIKI: Chronology (from Latin chronologia, from Ancient Greek χρόνος, chrónos, “time”; and -λογία, -logia)[2] is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time. Consider, for example, the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also “the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events”.[3] Chronology is part of periodization. It is also part of the discipline of history, including earth history, the earth sciences, and study of the geologic time scale.

  4. Zejun November 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Q1. In “What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”, the keyword of what O’Reilly describes as Web 2.0 is participation and audience as developer. I am wondering with all the unknown manipulation and the lack of control over one’s online posted and received content, how free is one’s participation?

    Q2. In “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle,” Boyd praises the always-on technologies enhance one’s experience of the world and recognizes the need for one to shut-down sometimes to GTD. She acknowledges that availability does not guarantee accessibility. For instance, at the dining table, Boyd uses online search to generate topics but does not reply to social media messages. At this moment, she claims her inaccessibility to her connections on social media. However, the boundary between on and off is set entirely by one’s subjective preferences. In this case, Boyd’s friends may not even notice she is “offline” to them. It seems to me it is impossible to be off in this digital age at all. So my question is, do technologies recognize this need of people to be offline or inaccessible?

    Q3. The ways social media companies are manipulating online content are unsettling. It reminds me about my unpleasant past encounter. Baidu is the most frequently used search engine in China (Google can only be accessed via VPN). It launches Baidu Blog in 2007 and hit peak popularity in 2010. However, since another social media giant Sina started its microblogging site in 2009, the two giants start the long fight in competing users. Baidu Blog initiatives a series of dramatic changes to keep up with the trend of microblogging. It forces its users to upgrade to a new UI which not fully compatible with the existing features. Tons of user content lost in the transaction phrase and Baidu Blog starts to lose its loyal users. In 2015, Baidu announced the closure of its blog. Users’ blog articles will be moved to a cloud-based server (like Google Drive) without public access. All the effort one made to maintain the blog site is gone overnight. The profit-driven model of social media companies and the needs of ownership and freedom of their users seems irreconcilable. What is the next stage of the social media or the Web?


    Storify: Gamifying the museum

  5. Shoshanah November 20, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Reading Danah Boyd’s “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle,” I was reminded of a storyline from Season 1 of the Netflix show “Grace & Frankie.” Boyd writes, “The assumption is that we’re addicted to the technology. The technology doesn’t matter. It’s all about the people and information.”

    Frankie: Well I tried to join the conversation, Mike, like you and I talked about… but nobody is talking back to me.

    IT guy Mike: Ya’know Frankie, the internet’s not like a real conversation. It’s just a bunch of people screaming into the void. For a real conversation you need –

    Frankie: I know, I know Mike, you need real people.
    (Grace and Frankie, Season 1, Episode 7)

    Jay Rosen defines the people formerly known as audience as “those on the receiving end of a media system that [previously] ran one-way.” The new media system his “manifesto” touts (what O’Reilly calls Web 2.0) purportedly gives a voice to the voiceless. This is reminiscent of Shirky’s writings from last week on mass amateurization. The process of giving speech to those previously underrepresented online is similar to the transformational process Freud describes between mother and infant during the acquisition of language. Can we thus see Web 2.0 as being a transformational object which gives the masses a means of expression?

    In O’Reilly’s “What is Web 2.0”, he sites Google as a facilitator of a user driven web experience, rather than a “server” or “browser”, “Internet-era software delivered as a service, not a product.” (44). Could we view the distinction between Web 1.0 and 2.0 as a representation of the old adage “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry”? By providing a service rather than a product, does Web 2.0 allow its users to never grow hungry?

    I found Danah Boyd’s discussion of the temporality/ephemerality of text based communication and oralality quite interesting. There seems, in her analysis, to be an assumption among users that permanence equates to truth. But is that true? Later she states that we don’t know how to talk across our differences (referring to twitter’s ability to put people in contact and communication with others whom they would otherwise would never have crossed paths with.). Isn’t this both highly valuable and highly problematic? And even if it is problematic, isn’t this a problem we should be working through collectively, rather than running from?

  6. Leslie November 20, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    In “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” by Jay Rosen writes, “You were once (exclusively) the editors of the news, choosing what ran on the front page. Now we can edit the news, and our choices send items to our own front pages” (14). In the wake of the election, this really, really hurts, especially considering the mention of the Macedonian teenagers in The Times article & the exposé on the paid Russian meme makers. “The press…is now divided into pro and amateur zones,” Rosen continues. In this election, not only have the lines between amateur and professional journal have been blurred, but the line between fact and fiction. How do we cope with this in the future since we cannot, as Rosen states, “own the eyeballs”? Are we destined to turn into the world of 1984, in which fact is determined by what we think: “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth”?

    And then you consider the when danah boyd in “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle,” writes about not being able to manage her social feeds, so she pays attention to the people who are “bitching” the loudest (74). She reads what is prioritized, which is understandable because we are inundated, as social media users, with information. While we can curate and we’re given prioritized posts due to algorithms, we stand the danger of the echochamber. Are there real strategies these networks can implement to counteract this, like what is called in “Mark Zuckerburg is in Denial”?

    And speaking of Zeynep Tufekci’s NYT piece about fake news on Facebook: “Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief, believes that it is “a pretty crazy idea” that “fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of content, influenced the election in any way.” In holding fast to the claim that his company has little effect on how people make up their minds, Mr. Zuckerberg is doing real damage to American democracy — and to the world. He is also contradicting Facebook’s own research.” The fact that Zuckerberg is willing to look past his own company’s research dumbfounds me. I’m wondering: is this a PR move or symptomatic of fact v. fiction battle we’re experiencing now?

  7. Ariel November 22, 2016 at 12:00 am

    In Jay Rosen’s section, in speaking of the people formerly known as audience, “We graduate from wanting media when we want it to wanting it without the filler, to wanting media to be way better than it is, to publishing and broadcasting ourselves when it meets a need or sounds like fun” (14). This may be the progression of what the “people formerly known as audience” want, but has this want and the ability to use media themselves caused a change from the Big Media firms? Has media evolved to remove the filler, or to “be way better than it is”? I am not questioning the people’s desire for the media to be this way, I am questioning if the people’s desire for the media to be this way coupled with the fact that the media is more accessible now, has changed the media to be such?

    Tim O’Reilly brings up, “what Chris Anderson refers to as ‘the long tail,’ the collective power of the small sites that make up the bulk of the web’s content” (36). I haven’t thought about the make-up of web content in this way before. I’m intrigued to know what the make up is. How many small sites are there, and what constitutes a small site versus a large site? How often are these small sites visited, especially in comparison to how often the large sites are visited? How much time is spent on each?

    Throughout O’Reilly’s piece, he mentions a key component of Web 2.0 being that “the service automatically gets better the more people use it” (37). I feel like today we are so used to services automatically getting better that we are desensitized by it. While improving services is obviously a good thing, I can’t help but wonder at what cost? Are we becoming a more demanding society because we are used to the constantly improving services we experience through the internet?


  8. Anna November 22, 2016 at 2:56 am

    In « The people formerly known as the audience »
    On p 13, Rosen says that blogs « extend freedom of the press to more actors.” But can we really talk about freedom of the press ? Many blogs are not written by journalists. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to talk about freedom of speech? Also, later on in the text p15 Dave Winner “one of the founders of blogging” talks about “users” a very general name and doesn’t especially refers to professional from the press when talking about. At the end of the readings the author does mentions the press is now divided between professionals and amateurs. I feel this is a confusing and that it would be interesting if not necessary to rethink the Press as a concept.

    On p14, Doesn’ the law given by Jeff Davis, “Give the people control of media, they will use it. The corollary: Don’t give the people control of media, and you will lose. Whenever citizens can exercise control, they will.” join the idea of democracy applied to the media?
    Def for democracy Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by themor by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

    In Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle , p72 Boyd mentions the fact that “there are plenty of teens who have no interest in being perpetually connected
    to information and people even if they can.” I think the question to raise here is can they actually?

    p75 Boyd raises an interesting paradox. According to her, “It’s also typically assumed that being always-on means facing severe personal or professional consequences” however, there are many examples of workers who are asked to be always-on by their company thus creating equally severe consequences on private lives and questioning boundaries of work place/time.

  9. Lauren November 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

    The notion that a blog could be a little ‘first amendment’ machines got me thinking of how do you weigh the value of the ability to change the participation module from the previous centralized source to the multi mode inter connected audience as it relates to our participation in politics. Did the blog really allow people the freedom of speech and a way to have their voices heard or did it create a sea of noise that has drawn out the majority and left only the radical voices? Did blogs open up freedom of the press or actual force press to move away from being a more held accountable source into a higher noise to signal ratio? This seems like the opposite of the intent of the first amendment.

    O Relly talks about how blogging is the new wave since it moved from the central feed to the ability to broadcast, RSS (which is the birthplace of twitter), i mention last week the notion of twitter failing and what that tells us about the viability of these pure push methods of communication. Are we seeing a current swing back to the centralized media stores, are people losing a desire to be the receiving node rather than the collector? The fact that you sign up for what you want is the shift in how we consume material does place the power of choice into the consumer but as Rosen said we still do consume Big Media, do people want Big Media because it does take out the choice and can be a lazy way of consuming the world?

    O’Rielly talks about harnessing collective intelligence, if you think about the internet it has gone through many iterations, first it was a large collection of data without much meta data on it, then it starts to be tagged with meta data which allowed things like google to become the Web 2.0, the ability to query and find the data in a semi structured way allowed there to be an ability to find and process the pieces. The thing that is still missing is the ability to build onto of this data and keep the chain of custody. When you create a new piece of content you have inherited parts of the ideas from others, the “old” way of doing this was to allow a bibliography and was important that the siting was done in a very orderly and patterned way to allow ease of sharing. with the web the idea of citing your work has fallen by the wayside yet are we really harnessing intelligence if we lose the ability to navigate and maintain the governance of the ideas?

  10. Whitney November 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    1.) If blogs constitute as “First Amendment machines”, as they are called in Rosen’s article, where can the line be drawn between opinion sharing and media tampering? I’m thinking specifically about the “Mark Zuckerberg is in Denial” and the fake news articles spread around Facebook here. If my blog looks like a news site but I claim that what I write is either knowingly fiction or opinion based, then can I be held responsible if readers don’t fact check what I say?

    2.) I’m skeptical about the idea of trusting users as codevelopers as seen in O’Reilly’s “What is Web 2.0” article. Again, keeping the “Mark Zuckerberg is in Denial” article in mind, I can’t decide how I feel about the democritization of changing the user interface depending upon how the public at large responds to it via changing subtle components and analyzing how they were responded to (like in the display of friends voting during this recent election). Can the public at large be trusted to choose best for itself, or do we need more structure online?

    3.) Boyd’s article “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle” felt so spot on in its analysis of the desire to WANT to be part of social networks and the general acceptance of “publicness” in today’s society. Seriously, I loved this article. Boyd’s assertion that our networks are determined more by values and lifestyle than by age solidified the idea of “the echo chamber” of like-mindeness we surround ourselves with and base our opinions on. If, as Boyd says, our networks are not just about consumption and production of content and are really more about creating an ecosystem, how can we establish truth when often we are presented at the surface level with only one side of an issue?


  11. Sarah November 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm


    SATURDAY: RIP Brangelina: Mourning our loss
    SUNDAY: The End of Brangelina: Is love Dead

    MONDAY: Brangelina Resurrected: The Sun will rise in the morning.

    TUESDAY: Brangelina_ Officially Over

    **Another Author**
    The Epic Brangelina Break-UP

  12. Isabelle November 22, 2016 at 9:17 pm
  13. Lauren November 22, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Honoring Grace Hopper :

    Is Brexit The Code Word For Everything Bad:

  14. lbowen November 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm
  15. lbowen March 1, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    1. Tufecki’s article takes to task Facebook’s self-proclaimed “neutral” stance on the dissemination of fake news and its algorithms that reproduce online the “echo chambers” that characterize many of our real life social networks. The author rejects Faebook’s claims that its policies and algorithms have “no impact” on the political climate within a nation or a community. And given the company’s safeguarding of its data from researchers, it makes the issue harder to quantify. A lot of classmates have wondered whether it’s the individual’s responsibility or the company, and I kept wonder where the government plays in all of this? Currently, it appears that few or no regulations or checks and balances exist to curtail Facebook’s influence. Due to the lack of access over data, it would likely prove difficult to build a case against Facebook beyond tracking the numbers of shares of certain articles, memes, etc. Once again, I wonder about the question of ethics and monitoring of business practices to ensure that certain standards around ethics are maintained online.

    2. Rosen’s article chronicles the relatively recent changes in media whereby “the people formerly known as the audience” have shifted from mere passive consumers to producers and key influencers in the production of media. Does a shift in the number of media sources truly equate to a transfer of power?

    3. Boyd’s article argues that the always on lifestyle that has come to characterize so many people’s relationships with technology is ultimately about connection—particularly maintaining open channels for online connection, even if one does not act upon them. As is the case of many of the articles we read this semester, there seems to be a general emphasis on the positive aspects to the always on lifestyle, and only the negative aspects, e.g. feelings of overwhelm, are discussed in passing. Beyond anxiety, overwhelm, or addiction, what are some less than fuzzy feelings that motivate the always on lifestyle?

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