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What Twitter Changes Might Mean for Academics

This is one of the reasons I still consider my blog to be my main presence on the internet. Twitter and Facebook and all the other commercialized social media platforms regularly change their algorithm in oder to suit their business model, without warning and without the consent of their user bases. Even though I am dependent upon WordPress (and my blog host, and several free plugins, and to Google for…

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Robot Dramas: Autonomous Machines in the Limelight on Stage and in Society

A thoughtful overview of robots in culture, addressing the fear and hope that go hand-in-hand when humans reflect upon, fictionalize, and create our relationships with with mechanical workers of all stripes. Aaron Dubrow, National Science Foundation media officer, includes his perceptions of a panel on robots in theater, where I brought up the legacy of the 1920s Czech play that introduced the word “robot.” Theater is not an arena where the NSF…

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Robert Morris University to offer video game scholarships

Robert Morris University’s video game scholarships make exactly as much sense to me as sports scholarships. “It’s a team sport,” Melcher said. “There’s strategy involved. You have to know your role in the game. Obviously it’s not cardiovascular in any way, but it’s mental. There are elements that go into it that are just like any other sport.” Since news of the scholarships broke last week, Melcher said, the school…

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Journalism is doing just fine, thanks — it’s mass-media business models that are ailing

Hmm… I warn my freshmen not to use the vague “Some people say…”, so I’m immediately biased against this author’s writing. Nevertheless, the internal links provide a useful overview. Some argue that the rise of the internet has destroyed — or severely crippled — journalism, but all it has really done is disrupted traditional mass-media business models. Journalism itself has never been healthier, and new players are finding new models.…

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Fantasy football and the cold future of robot journalism

For fantasy football players, the service is a clever added bonus that keeps people on site longer. It’s like having a hometown beat reporter covering your fantasy team: analyzing your draft picks, providing fun recaps of games, and insightful game-day analysis. But Automated Insights, and contemporaries like Narrative Science, are having a major impact outside the realm of fantasy football. Such prominent news organizations as Associated Press are trialing this…

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News Feed FYI: Click-baiting

It’s hard for me to think of Facebook as the “good guy” in any situation, but I am pleased to learn that FB is adjusting its algorithm to penalize click-bait headlines. A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months. We’re making these changes to…