In The News

Current events in new media

Just A Note On Net Neutrality



Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 1.13.05 PM


Recently, politicians have been muddying the idea of Net Neutrality, either due to political influence or due to misunderstanding of the issue. Here’s an explanation of the issue to clear things up…From The Oatmeal.


The Great Web 1.0 Revival


Kyle Chayka, writing for Gizmodo, discusses nostalgia for the early Web in his article “The Great Web 1.o Revival.” He describes different kinds of early online communities, how they used anonymity to their advantage to create a safe and intimate space to interact and play with identity.

“When it first got popular, Facebook was like the back room at a club: A cozy space filled with just your friends, everyone clearly connected to everyone else. Now, it’s more like a stadium, with thousands of voices competing to be heard on every activity feed. Brands and strangers clamor for attention alongside people you might actually know, and it’s getting harder to connect with the people you really want to reach. But the web doesn’t have to be so big.”

In today’s Web, he writes, online communities can feel too large, overwhelming, and too vulnerable to outsiders. There’s a new batch of online communities that are modeling some of their core design features after early Web communities in an effort to create more intimate communities.

#GamerGate links from class




Deadspin, The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate

a fairly comprehensive history and critique of the whole #Gamergate story from it’s beginning to the events of 14/15 October.


HuffPost Live, Female Gamers React To #GamerGate

A video interview with female gamers who support #GamerGate.

NYTimes, Anita Sarkeesian, A Video Game Critic, Cancels Speech After Threats Of Massacre

A brief report on the canceling of the USU event cancellation.


Washington Post, The Only Guide To Gamergate You Will Ever Need To Read

…but you will read others because trusting ONE version of such a complex situation is irresponsible, and you are smarter than that so will look up multiple sources to understand multiple angles on not only the events of 14/15 October, but the #Gamergate hashtag, the reddit thread, live-streamed and archived audio debates from the recent Digital Games Researchers Association Meeting (DiGRA) where Jenni Goodchild, a scholar and gamer, debated “representatives” from #Gamergate…

Other Voices on Games and/or Feminism

Washington Post, Allison Bechdel Just Won A McArthur Foundation Genius Grant. She’s Already Changed The Way We Talk About Film

Allison Bechdel’s website , Dykes To Watch Out For, has more.


TED Talks, Jane McGonigal, The Game That Can Add Ten Years To Your Life

Get Some Power Back

Whenever you use the Internet, you are tracked. Cookies and other tools let advertisers know everything about you, often to an invasively personal extent.

Jer Thorp, a “data viz guru” has a way to fight back.

He has created an extension for the Google Chrome browser that catalogs every ad you see in your browser. Not only does this plugin categorize the ads, it catalogs it in a beautiful way. The real breakthrough is that you can choose to voluntarily share your advertising habits to researchers on his team, so they can try to reverse engineer the algorithms that populate adspace on the web.

Check out the original article here.

Designed Distractions


Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 11.54.15 AM

Image courtesy NPR’s Planet Money.

After our discussion in class yesterday about designed distractions, digital duality, and how to live a life lived in media, this piece from NPR’s Planet Money is particularly interesting. In her report, You Can Create A Hit Video Game About Anything. Even Making Toast, Stacey Vanek Smith explores the lengths game designers go to design elements that bring you back, keep you distracted, and stoke your need for more.

NY Times and the New Yorker on Privacy and Sharing

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.38.04 PM



On October 4, 2014, the New York Times published an article by Kate Murphy called, We Want Privacy, But Can’t Stop Sharing. Murphy describes our shifting definitions of privacy, both online and offline. She explains the social implications of some basic, and often ill-conceived, assumptions we make about individuals who choose a higher level of privacy than ourselves. She considers the different metaphors we use for privacy to work through new perspectives.

“When people want privacy there’s often this idea that, ‘Oh, they are hiding something dirty,’ but they are really just trying to hold onto themselves,” Professor Nippert-Eng said.

As people work through what it means to be private, to have privacy in public digital spaces, and to share for convenience and sociability, the European Union is pressing for a right to be forgotten.


Meanwhile, The New Yorker is reflecting this week on the changing nature of friendship in a digital culture where limits on the number of people you can share with (or friend) are nearly limitless.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.08.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.57.50 PM



Maria Konnikova writes about the study of social networks, and the changing expectations of how we maintain circles of friends. Konnikova reports on studies defining limits on friendship in social media extrapolated from observations of social habits of monkeys.

There’s no question, Dunbar agrees, that networks like Facebook are changing the nature of human interaction. “What Facebook does and why it’s been so successful in so many ways is it allows you to keep track of people who would otherwise effectively disappear,” he said.

The article describes how our social media are enabling us to maintain much larger circles of friends in spite of scientific evidence that shows consistency in social network sizes due to human limitations. The article discusses the relative benefits of this increased social capacity, but also how it is making us less social in certain ways.