Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds

I played the open-source version of Uru with my daughter for a few weeks when she was about six or seven. I enjoyed the opening tutorial game, but after that found little to do and found the learning curve was too steep to keep my daughter interested. She was happy running around and endlessly re-dressing up her avatar, but I soon switched to DDO Online, something that I, my son,…


The Formation of Love

Relationships start with a period of courtship: on Facebook, messages are exchanged, profiles are visited, posts are shared on each other’s timelines. The following graph shows the average number of timeline posts exchanged between two people who are about to become a couple. We studied the group of people who changed their status from “Single” to “In a relationship” and also stated an anniversary date as the start of their…


What You Get When 30 People Draw a World Map From Memory

Tasked with creating “a piece of art that would reveal something unseen” as part of a pre-college fine arts program, Ziebell approached 29 strangers on the University of Michigan’s campus, handed them a pen and half a sheet of paper, and asked them, on the spot, to draw a map of the world. Ziebell, who recently posted his findings to Reddit, then completed the task himself and digitally merged the…


‘Facebook is simply not cool anymore’ to teens, study finds

Teens also don’t seem to care that Facebook is more technically sophisticated than other platforms. Miller believes that the last straw for most teens is a dreaded friend request from a parent. “It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore,” he said. —‘VentureBeat | by Christina Farr.


Portrait of a Ten-Year-Old Girl

This thoughtful article demonstrates how to use colorful details to keep a reader engaged enough to absorb statistics and trends. What could be just an amusing slice of a Canadian girl’s life of carpools, playdates, and self-invention becomes a launching point for social commentary. The author does refer to herself, but deliberately, selectively; to serve the story, not drown it out. Saving this for the next time I teach “News…

Why Are Glasses Perceived Differently Than Hearing Aids?

Scholars and people who are activists for disability rights have spent a lot of energy in the last decades showing that disability is not about the state of a human body; it’s about the built environment, structures, and institutions that make life possible and meaningful—or conversely, impossible and meager—for certain kinds of bodies and minds. In other words, disability studies has worked to transition an understanding of disability from a…