Facebook shrinks fake news after warnings backfire

In its efforts to combat the spread of false news online (whether by malicious people who knew it was propaganda, or through the wishful thinking of overly-credible sheep who saw a post as confirmation of a value they already held), Facebook experimented with flagging stories as “disputed by third-party fact-checkers.” It turns out that a significant number of users were motivated by the “disputed” flag to share that item even more. Now FB is trying a less aggressive approach, one which recalls “disemvoweling” (the practice, circa late 2000s, of removing all the vowels from offensive comments — a balance between…

Blog RSS Feed Generator for WP RSS Aggregator

I paid a little attention to a long-neglected RSS aggregator for student blogs. It had stopped working at some point, and was no longer recognizing the RSS feeds generated by WordPress. Fortunately, the Feed Creator for WP RSS Aggregator does the trick — it generates RSS feeds automatically. I’m blogging this in part because every semester I’ll probably have to do a little tweaking. Blogging the fix is a good way to encourage I’ll find this page again when I need it. And maybe someone else who’s looking for the same fix can find it via this blog post.

Privacy and reporting on personal lives

Interesting guidelines, phrased as suggestions and best practices rather than rules, from a project designed to help bloggers and independent journalists — and professional organizations too — develop their own codes of ethics. Celebrities know a loss of privacy is a cost of fame. Politicians and other public servants know their power brings public scrutiny, and they carry that awareness into many of the decisions they make. That doesn’t mean, however, that either group doesn’t complain at times about what they consider overzealous coverage of their personal lives. When journalists consider disclosing elements of a person’s private life, they should be…

Out of the Zuckersphere, (back) into the Blogosphere

This is why I still blog. While commercial platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to keep you churning out new content that attracts shallow attention, a weblog encourages reflection, the exploration of lateral thinking and deep linking, and the accumulation of ideas (your chronologically sorted, taggable history of posts) over time. Mark C. Marino says it well: [T]he problem with living your life on FB and Twitter is that while clever posts and link-sharing can gain you Klout and followers, it doesn’t accrue, not to mention it’s not publicly accessible, and while the well-liked post feels good in the…


Former student: “I remember sometimes being annoyed with all of our blogging assignments, but…”

A third alum in the last few weeks has contacted me to thank me for challenging her while a student: When I look back on my time at SHU, I remember sometimes being annoyed with all of our blogging assignments, but yet again, this is proof that the skills you taught us so a few years ago are still transferring into my professional career. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, because I probably wouldn’t be nearly as successful today as I am without all of the support — and pressure — you gave to me during my time at Seton Hill.


The Unstoppable Rise of the Digital Content Creator

This is why I have been encouraging blogging for years. Unlike social media posts, that are fodder that generate income for someone else, a blog lets you accrue content for yourself, on your own terms, building up your personal credibility as a source of reliable and timely links, commentary, and perspective. Of course you can create content on platforms other than your blog, but if you blog about that content, then it’s still part of your online footprint. Liberal arts majors who want to be part of the new economy have to get out there and create — on a…

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens

That feeling when you hit a million followers, make more money than your mom, push a diet pill scheme, lose your blog, and turn 16. | When I began reporting on the world of Tumblr teens, I first wanted to explain the absurdist comedy of Pizza and dozens of other Tumblrs like hers. But I soon discovered a secret world hidden in plain sight, one in which teenagers, through wit and luck, had stumbled into a new kind of viral fame and fortune, by outsmarting internet ad networks and finding ways to earn thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars…

Seven reasons why blogging can make you a better academic writer

I’ve been doing this since 1999. Why do academics blog? What do academic bloggers get from blogging? Discussions about scholarly blogging most often centre on the need for we academics to write in ways that attract new audiences. If we write blogs, we are told, we can communicate our research more effectively. Blogs enhance impact; they are a medium for public engagement. The advocacy goes on… Blogs (and other social media) can point readers to our (real) academic publications, particularly if they are held on open repositories. Blogging, it seems, is a kind of essential add-on to the usual academic…


So Long Blogging. Hello—Yep, We’re Going to Say It—Plogging

I still blog, because I want control over my own archives, so that I can link back to my own posts to provide context (such as this 2004 post on the emerging SHU blogging community, or this 2011 post on the switch from MovableType to WordPress). Your past pretty much doesn’t exist if you post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, because those communities are built around the now.   Facebook and Twitter posts, as we know all too well, force you to sacrifice subtlety for space. (Medium has the opposite problem—it’s always existed as a venue for longform; now it’s trying…

I expect that before long Google and Twitter and the other major players will come up with ways to extract and use the texts contained in screenshots. I imagine the technology would need to be scaled up to deal with screenshots in real time. Nevertheless, if screenshorting causes a problem, I expect it to be a short-term problem.

R.I.P. Blogging, Killed By Screenshorts

Are screenshorts slowly killing blogging as we know it? For some things, I think so, because it’s an easier and more authentic way to reach your fans, friends or followers directly on social media than it is to spend time setting up a blog and then sharing out the link. Sharing text as an image has other benefits too: it helps increase shareability on social media because we respond better to visuals versus text. A test by Buffer found that it leads to 150 percent more retweets than a tweet without an image. If that’s true, it’s no wonder everyone’s…

Blog ten-beat lines of verse, like Shakespeare wrote.

Blog ten-beat lines of verse, like Shakespeare wrote. But lazy bloggers, fill you not your posts With words transpos’d, poetic more to seem. Like this, who speaks? Like Yoda will you sound. Nor stuff your limping lines with pointless words And really wasteful phrases filling space And stretching points so thin across each line In order to fulfill the ten-beat rule. Yet rhymeless soul-pack’d verse arrests the ear. It echoes common speech we make all day, Then surges with a rush of metaphor, And floods ideas into our minds and hearts. Introduction to Literary Study, Seton Hill University

When T.S. Eliot Invented the Hipster

  Prufrock cannot bring himself to ask his companion the “overwhelming question” (which he never identifies) that carries us through the poem. He is paralyzed by the same overwhelming fear of missing out (yes, “FOMO”) that plagues a generation facing endless options and clear few choices: “In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse,” Prufrock laments. Instead, not daring to “disturb the universe,” (“how should I presume?” he asks), he engages in one long monologue rather than dialogue. Today, Prufrock might be a blogger—and, in his fixation on trivial objects of beauty,…


Why I Still Blog

I particularly value blogging because of the visibility of older content. Facebook and Twitter don’t make it easy for you to contextualize links pointing to something relevant you posted a month or a year or decade ago. It may seem right to ask, after so many years: what is left to discuss about blogging? We all know what it is. We all know what it does. What used to be the Blog Special Interest Group (SIG), then the Blogs and Wikis SIG, then the Emerging Social Software SIG at the College Conference on Composition and Communication (CCCC), is now gone—no…


Blogging is NOT Analog Writing in Digital Spaces

Blogging in education is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global audience, while observing digital citizenship responsibilities and rights, as on documents, reflects, organizes and makes one’s learning and thinking visible and searchable! Blogging is not analog writing in digital spaces. Blogging is not an activity, but a process. The process includes reading, writing, commenting and connecting. It is about reciprocating and an emphasis on quality, not just publishing. —Langwitches Blog.

A Classicist Goes to Work in Silicon Valley

Kristina Chew writes about what her friend called “the most creative career change ever.” It turns out a humanities Ph.D. can provide you with precisely the opposite of what people think—skills that are applicable and even useful outside the academy. Graduate training provides one with well-honed research and analytical skills as well as the steadfastness to soldier on with a project in which progress comes slowly and with little immediate gratification. A Ph.D. in literature and languages means you have been trained to read with your mind alert to the play of words and the semiotic power of images. Training…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu

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 do online. But it is interesting, from an ethical perspective, and as a writing teacher maybe a little frightening, to see how the hypesters are profiting from the intellectual efforts…