Sunday, January 23, 2011

Session 2--Social aspects of social computing

Session 1 feedback

Before we start the second session, I'd like to give you some feedback on the first. Hopefully reading other students' blogs gave you some good ideas about how to present your ideas in this format, and the level of analysis the assignments require. One of the strengths of the blog format is that it allows for individual expression within the framework of class assignments, so while I encourage you to learn from the posts of others, please don't use them as a strict template--be as formal or informal as you like with your posts, as long as the content is there.

I left comments on most of your blogs yesterday, and noticed that while many of you had left excellent comments on the minimum five blogs (or more), some of you had not. While waiting until the deadline to post your blogs in the first week of each session is fine (and perhaps preferable), holding back comments til the last few hours or minutes restricts interaction. So for this session, I'm making your initial five comments due by Friday night instead of Sunday, to give everyone more of a chance to react and interact. We'll see how this works, then decide whether to continue or change it for Session 3.

Asking you to review and comment on each others' work might be a good meta-example of social computing, but I thought at this early stage you might also be interested in the opinion of the person giving you your grade ;). To give you an example of what constitutes excellent work, here are some Session 1 blogs that met (and surpassed) my expectations:

If your blog doesn't appear in this list, it doesn't mean your work wasn't excellent--it probably means you analyzed fewer than four readings, did not provide a substantive analysis of the readings you did cite, or did not address all aspects of the assignment, such as neglecting to provide your own definition of social computing. Other problems were people who quoted from readings or other sources as much or more than they wrote their own opinions. Compare your blog to these examples, and you should both see the wide range of diverse and effective expression styles, and have a better idea of the expectations of the assignments going forward. If you still have questions about your work, feel free to email me directly anytime.

Session 2

In this session we begin to confront some of the consequences of squeezing human interaction and social dynamics through the Web infrastructure. This session's readings and assignment give you a lot of freedom to follow your own interests, so it's a perfect time to start thinking about what you'd like to explore in more depth in your final projects.

By Sunday Jan 30, 11:59pm:

1) Choose five of the seven assigned readings for this session and point out specific connections or mismatches between concepts within them, examples and/or counterexamples from your research or experience, and one question raised by the readings that for you remains unanswered.
Example: Albrechtslund mentions "empowering exhibitionism" as one rationale for online information sharing. What are some specific examples of empowerment, and is there a corresponding (or overriding) loss of power when putting personal information online?

2) Join an online community (loosely defined) under your pseudonym, and investigate your unanswered question. Choose a topic and community that is of genuine interest to you, not something made up, and discuss your experience. Make your comments as data-driven as possible (linked to specific actions and interactions), and relate your experience back to concepts you raised from the readings. What did this experience allow you to do that you couldn't have done offline? Provide at least one screenshot or link to your interaction (or relevant portions), and post it on your blog along with your discussion.

By Friday Feb 4, 11:59pm:

Comment substantively on at least five other students' Session 2 posts. Try to choose students you didn't engage with during Session 1.

By Sunday Feb 6, 11:59pm:

Conclude your discussions, and take one last look at the posts and comments you found most interesting. Use this opportunity to guide your future posts, and to get some ideas for your final projects.


  1. Am having the problem again this week where the posts on my blog & comments on everyone elses are time-stamped for 2 hours later than the actual time (west coast time) - I realize that it is not good to do your work at the last minute (not to make excuses, but my family has been in town for 2 wks and is leaving tomorrow- whew! -- but also don't want to be penalized for doing my work late (because I am getting stuff done before midnight as we were assigned to.) Is anyone else having this problem?

  2. See: here we go - it's 11:33 not 1:33

  3. Are you using the default time zone the blog came with? I'm just asking because when I set up the preferences for mine I changed the timezone from Pacific to Hawaiian Standard Time, and my posts and comments all seem to have the correct time. You can check what timezone your blog uses under Settings/Formatting. Hope this helps!

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  5. Oh wow, forget everything I said, I'm 2 hours off too! Although my post from last weeks seems to have the correct time on it, it's definitely not 3:21 now... or maybe it depends on the settings of each individual blog you're commenting on? That's the only thing I can think of...

  6. Just wanted to thank everyone for their great blogs this last week. You all gave me a lot to think about and inspiration for my own posts in the future. Cheers!

  7. Thanks all, I had Pacific time settings initially but all should display accurate Hawaii time now--nice that making the change updated past posts!