Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu
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My Anti-Linkbait Pledge: Cynical Overhyping vs. Simply Being Online

When I find something interesting that an online friend has shared via a linkbait site, I hereby pledge that I will link to the origin of the story, rather than a third-party site that republishes it without commentary. The people who share and like and respond to Upworthy and similar linkbait websites are just responding to content that they like, and they’re sharing it online because, well, that’s what people…

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TSA Agent Confession

It was May 2007. I was living with a bohemian set on Chicago’s north side, a crowd ranging from Foucault-fixated college kids to middle-aged Bukowski-bred alcoholics. We drank and talked politics on the balcony in the evenings, pausing only to sneer at hipsters strumming back-porch Beatles sing-a-longs. By night, I took part in barbed criticism of U.S foreign policy; by day, I spent eight hours at O’Hare in a federal…

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International Studies Association proposes to bar editors from blogging

“I think it’s a really strange proposal in 2014,” said Stephen M. Saideman, a professor at Carleton University in Canada and one of many political science scholars who assailed the policy on social media. “I would have expected it in 2006.” Faculty members, several outside the field of international studies, said the proposal is simultaneously too broad and too narrow. Some pointed out that, as written, the proposal could be…

What blogging was

I’ve maintained this blog since the spring semester of 1999, though at the time I considered it an “annotated list of links.” Updating it meant editing the HTML by hand. Like Crichton’s dinosaurs, blogs have evolved into everyday things that we may not recognize as the powerful, conspicuous giants they once were. Blogs have evolved into the social media outlets where most of us (including me) do most of our…

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I Hate Your Blog

I hate your blog. Your recipe for vegan eggnog is stupid. I hissed and I booed it, and then eschewed it, never made it once. Yes, your blog roll is a confederacy of dunces. It abuts less interesting links in your posts. Hamsters that dance! I’m not engrossed. I’m not opposed to your collection of All Your Base pics, but they’re longer in the denture than a ninja flipping out…

The effects of September 11 on the leading search engine

On October 2011, this thoughtful article appeared in the journal First Monday. This is a fascinating glimpse of the world before YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, before most people carried around digital cameras, when the home pages of Fox and CNN advised readers to turn on their TV sets for the latest news. Just as the assassination of JFK forced journalists to invent modern TV news on the spot, the terrorist attacks…

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100 Word Challenge

It is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. This should be posted on a class blog and then linked to the 100 Word Challenge blog. The link is usually open from midnight on…

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The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’

Adorable photos help tell this story about a type-A parent realizing she’s been blessed with a type-B child. “You don’t have to rush. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed. And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and…

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Summer Project: Responsive Web Design

I spent more time than I’d like to admit this summer redesigning my WordPress website. The new theme emphasizes thumbnails, which are very easy to create on an iPad or handheld and upload via the WordPress iOS app. Most important for me, though, is the fact that this new theme is responsive — that is, it arranges the content in a manner that is useful for very narrow screens through…