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[multilit] Explosion of Social Media

September 24, 2011
I think Kate and Joel have hit on a great discussion topic for our final week of this course. I've heard of Putnam's book but I haven't read it. ??Indeed Joel (a frequent contributor to this community) is spot on pointing us to Sherry Turkle's book Alone Together. ??NPR's On The Media featured her research in one of their recent shows?? ??You can read the transcript here?? see that Turkle relates an incident where someone threatened suicide on Facebook and none of her friends did anything about it. This serves to illustrate that distance we keep from one another in a world where the left hand never knows what the right thumb is txting, and in which our responsibilities to one another online are not well defined. ??

Nicholas Carr features in that program as well. ??He talks here about how his book The Shallows harkens back to a more innocent time recalled, apparently, by Putnam where people had more time for smelling the flowers and relating to one another's literature and humanity. I explore Carr's ideas in my blog post here?? ??

I also discuss Shirkey's Cognitive Surplus in an earlier post??, in which he develops the thesis he started in Here Comes Everybody

I have read the Shallows, Shirkey's books, and also Alone Together. ??To help me recall its premise, I had a look at Turkle's TEDTalk just now????and was surprised to see that she didn't mention at all her research into 'smart' dolls which I would have said the book was really about. ??Here's an article I turned up on Google which discusses Turkle's research into these fascinating, almost uncanny devices:?? ??Check out My Real Baby on YouTube if you want, really want, to see what I mean by 'uncanny'.

Google also put me on to this article?? links to a recent Radio Lab show, Talking to Machines. ??This episode is one of my favorite's on Radio Lab. ??Listen to Robert Epstein's experience with his Russian correspondent to appreciate how close computers are to passing the Turing test (Epstein's bot didn't quite get there :-). In this episode there is also a segment on Furbies, one of the smart toys that Turkle has researched.

There's a lot of food for thought here, and it would be fun to pursue it. ??Meanwhile I've just announced our chat for 15:30 gmt tomorrow Sunday. ??Next week, if you're willing, I'd like to invite you to join us and tell us about your experiences in this course in connection with your Me-Portfolios. ??We can arrange a time later, but 15:50 GMT is ideal for me. ??

Also check to find other events this week relating to EpCoP MOOC, Change MOOC, and Jeff Lebow's COOLcasts in Google+ Hangout. ??Hope to see you live online.

On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 11:25 PM, Kate Robbins??wrote:

Thank you for the lead. I will look into Sherry Turkle's *Alone Together* as
I'm curious to see how she came to this conclusion.

A quick scan of her book on
two of Vance's recommended readings:
*The Shallows* (Nicolas Carr) and *Here Comes Everybody* (Clay Shirky) It
seems I have some catching up to do!

On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Joel Bloch??wrote:

> you might want to look at Sherry Turkle's Alone Together. Her thesis is
> that social networking does not resolve the problem that Putnam identified.
> Joel Bloch
> The Ohio State University
> ESL Composition Program
> ________________________________
> From: katerobb.dhrnewmedia??
> To:
> Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:59 AM
> Subject: [multilit] Explosion of Social Media
> When I think about how social media has exploded, I often consider the
> book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,
> Robert D. Putnam
> (> .)
> Putnam's 1995 research and book became required readings in some social
> and/or political courses as he pointed to the rise of television and
> both heads of households working, etc., to the loss of the backyard
> fence and bowling leagues. That is, the culture of sharing news, forming
> groups of interest via backyard fences, front stoops and neighborhood
> leagues and groups undermined political interest, socio-pollitical
> movements. Social isolation was developing because of television, etc.,
> resulting in people having to 'bowl alone'.
> Fast forward to now and our discussions about forming Personal Learning
> Networks via MOOCs, FB, twitter, Second Life, and Learning2Gether
> events. Not to mention Barack Obama's amassing votes during the 2008
> presidential campaigns or the political unrest fueled by social media.
> I'd love to see a follow up to Putnams', Bowling Alone of 1995. I wonder
> what it'd be called, "Bowling Online" or, perhaps, "Farming Together".

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