After the course introduction, we’ll take a look at the foundations of social media, both the history and some common patterns and elements to be found in the things we call “social media.” We’ll focus on some key sites and moments from history to help us think about the answers to questions that are critical today. (For example, why does one social media site succeed where another fails?)
Much of this is fairly traditional content – people, places, dates – so we’ll use a fairly traditional format to measure your success: a midterm exam.
To give you some idea what kind of material we’ll be looking at, here are some of the study questions from the midterm I gave for this class in 2009:
You should know about the following sites for the test: SixDegrees, Digg, Friendster, Meetup, Orkut, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook, LiveJournal, Ning, Twitter, YouTube.
With respect to these sites, you should be able to tell me what is important about it historically, what sort of focus each site has or had, any specific features of the site that are important, and about what time each site was developed. I won’t be looking for specific years, but you should be able to tell me that MySpace came before Facebook, for example.
Finally, there will be a few questions on how to do basic activities in the sites we are using for course tools.
We read something by or about each of the people in the list below. You should be able to tell me who these people are and what things made them notable for our class: Nicole Ellison, danah boyd, Clay Shirky, Jonathan Abrams, Howard Dean, Mark Zuckerberg, Laurence Lessig, Marc Andreesen, Gina Bianchini.
A few questions on key points
– what was the point of the statistics Wesch quotes at the very beginning?
– what are some of the important points that are made in the examples of the Numa Numa Dance and the Superman song?
– how does Wesch think his definition of media is different?
– what are the age demographics of YouTube?
– what is “networked individualism?” (also see discussion at about 30:00)
– what is “context collapse?”
– what is “aesthetic arrest?”
– Who was LonelyGirl15 and why was she important in the history of YouTube? What issues did the story bring to the surface?