Monday, June 28, 2010

dana boyd has just released the draft of Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review for public feedback. The review was produced for Harvard Berkman Center's Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative.

Rather than rely on the rantings of the conservative media or pandering to technoutopianism, this document draws together and synthesizes a large range of recent research focused on youth and online behavior. This is an important publication for those of us interested in digital media, digital literacies and youth online.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More on the Facebook privacy debate

I've been following the Facebook privacy debate (circa May 2010) pretty closely. I'm kinda interested in issues around privacy, identity and how kids are using social networking and this has coincided with the most recent concerns about the way Facebook treats user information. Moving away from issues of selling information and buying privacy, the most thought-provoking piece i have read to date is this one by Jeff Jarvis on BuzzMachine. I am very interested in his suggestion that Facebook has been at the receiving end of a backlash because it has crossed a particular line. This is the line he has in mind:

In Facebook, we get to create our publics. In Twitter, we decide which publics to join. But neither is the public sphere; neither entails publishing to everyone. Yet Facebook is pushing us more and more to publish to everyone and when it does, we lose control of our publics. That, I think, is the line it crossed.

There is a difference between 'the public' and 'publics'. Nissenbaum's new book Privacy in Context is also interesting in this respect.

London Zine Symposium

The 2010 London Zine Symposium is on this weekend. Lucky you if you are in London this weekend!

In a celebration of DIY and zine culture, the symposium brings together zones, small press writers, radical press and comic creators.

The pedagogies of disney princesses

This from Boing Boing

Social Media Revolution

Socialnomics pulled together a range of interesting information about social media to create this video. Watch it. Go to the website to read the lists of information from a vast range of sources.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Facebook owns you

Kurt Opsahl, writing for the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, has constructed a timeline of Facebook's privacy policies. He's mapped out the shifts from 2005 to April 2010. He begins with:

Since its incorporation just over five years ago (Vic: can it only be that long?), Facebook has undergone a remarkable transformation. When it started, it was a private space for communication with a group of your choice. Soon, it transformed into a platform where much fo your information is public by default. Today, it has become a platform where you have no choice but to make certain information public, and this public information may be shared by Facebook with its partner websites and used to target ads.

Read "Facebook's Eroding Privacy Policy: A timeline" here. If you're yet feeling slightly meh about what happens to your data when you join Facebook you should read Ryan Singel's Wired article "Facebook's gone rogue" which gives you a more detailed overview of what happens to your profile information.

If any of this alarms you, then go here and read how to opt out of the bits you still can.

For an alternate view, read this. Daniel Castro has a point, "Facebook is neither a right nor a necessity". If don't like it, don't use it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zombie chain

I am a big fan of zombies. There's something appealing about their mindless shuffling and refuse-to-stay-dead attitude. I give you: A chain of zombies!

We begin with Boing Boing (they have some great entries lately) and the Annotated Walking Dead Google Map. It maps the action from the Walking Dead Comic onto a map of the real site.

Then, we move on to Trendhunter and Undead Movie Apparel which includes living and dead movie stars. They call this one 'Zombie at Tiffany's'
Next, armed with our map and t-shirt, we move to literature and the zombie-ification of classic literature at You will all be familiar with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (and once you have enjoyed this new classic, you can move on to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).

As we come to the end of our chain, some zombie movie greats:

And finally, because you know you want to - a video game: Plants vs Zombies.

We are being overrun with zombies. For dead ghouls, they're surprisingly active.

Why am I so interested in zombies? They are a key theme in a range of Gothic literature and popular culture and this is an area of fascination for me at the moment. The Gothic's engagement with the past, the provisional and slippery notion of the incomplete or fractured self, constructions of the 'other' as monstrous and fearful, its fascination with the grotesque, its attention to the boundaries of life and death, space and place and claustrophobia and control. These themes have resonance.

UPDATE. See Trendhunter for a just posted list of zombie stuff: "Forget werewolves - zombies are for sure the biggest contender against vampires for pop culture domination...the undead have invaded every facet of mainstream life, from lingerie to plush toys".

More mappings

More on the theme of maps and how we represent the world around us. Boing Boing pointed me towards the brilliant blog Comic Book Cartography.

This stuff is awesome!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vampire conference in the UK

The University of Hertfordshire's Dr Sam George is convening the first UK Vampire Conference 'Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture' (16th & 17th April 2010) in response to the Americanization of contemporary vampire narratives.

Catherine Spooner (whose work i have coincidentally been reading this week - see for example The Routledge Companion to Goth & Contemporary Gothic) - is giving a keynote (yay!!) and the conference themes look spectacular: 'undeed teens', 'politics of the undead', 'undead in the new media', 'appetites of the undead' to name a few.

For more information, contact Sam George.