Malwebolence

The headline writer was having an off day, but the content — a thoughtful examination of the trolling subculture — is excellent. NYT Magazine. In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid…

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In New Media Programs, Who Benefits?

In today’s landscape, defining “the media” isn’t nearly as clear-cut as it used to be. Big-name newspapers and networks mingle with cable channels, all-purpose Web sites and blogs in the minds of the average news consumer, and for good reason: They are, in many cases, converging, with widely read blogs run by newspapers and online Web stories originating from cable networks. Meanwhile, a number of relatively new outlets have become…

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Electronic Hybridity: The Persistent Processes

It was intersting to see online political discourse (with a case study on the Kerry-Edwards attempt to build a blog presence in 2004) and a history of the internet filtered through a folklorist’s lens. I’m saving this in case I need ever need to update some of the insights found in the older, classic, historical studies of cyberculture (such as Buckles’s dissertation on Adventure, or Levy’s Hackers, or Kidder’s The Soul of…

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Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

A good feature from the New York Times: Young people “aren’t as troubled as some of us older folks are by reading that doesn’t go in a line,” said Rand J. Spiro, a professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University who is studying reading practices on the Internet. “That’s a good thing because the world doesn’t go in a line, and the world isn’t organized into separate compartments or…

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Mourning the Internet Famous: Randy Pausch's Distributed Funeral

Interesting observations on the internet’s response to the death of Randy (“The Last Lecture”) Pausch. You interacted with Randy through a little box embedded in a webpage. Your headphones piped his voice clear and strong into the center of your brain, almost as if some deep part of your own mind was delivering his nuggets of wisdom. He was talking to you alone, not the hundreds packed into a theater…

Mom, Dad, I'm into Steampunk.

If you want to label me retrofuturistic so I can fit into your compartmentalized worldview, that’s fine. But look past my airplane goggles. This is my lifestyle. While many of my kind doubt there’ll be a complete societal collapse in the future, a near-cataclysm is likely. In this scenario, I will be able to repair a generator, suture the wounded, and even train carrier pigeons. I’m learning valuable skills. –Marco…

Editorial on Emily Short's Galatea (inter alia)

Jimmy Maher offers a provocative editorial in the latest issue of the Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games newsletter. Galatea excites admiration, interest, even a certain amount of awe, and all of it richly deserved.  However, it seems to excite very little love.  Nor does it seem to inspire its player to grapple with anything more universal than the design of good IF conversation systems. Is this a problem?…

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Death in Cyberspace: A Study in Contrast

When you die, would you rather be remembered as a technology hack who annoyed millions and forced them to waste time by weeding through torrents of junk e-mail, or a brilliant teacher who inspired millions to treasure every moment of the time they have left? According to police, Edward Davidson, the “spam king” whose wife helped him break out of a minimum security prison, has killed himself, his wife, and…

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When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web: Public Profiles Raise Questions of Propriety and Privacy

Blogging yet another story that reminds young fans of social networking sites that their profiles may be more public than they think. WashPo “I know for a fact that when a superintendent in Missouri was interviewing potential teachers last year, he would ask, ‘Do you have a Facebook or MySpace page?’ ” said Todd Fuller, a spokesman for the Missouri State Teachers Association, which is warning members to clean up…