Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogs on CNN

As part of my new exercise kick, I was browsing the channels at the gym and caught the end of a CNN segment on blogs. It appeared as though two bloggers (Joi Ito and Rebecca MacKinnon) were being interviewed via webcam in front of a studio audience. Neither said anything terribly new to me, but it was nice to see some of these ideas get more play in such a public forum.
As for the idea of using webcams for broadcast interviews such as this, I think the technology needs to be developed a bit more before widespread adoption. The audio, especially for Ito, was hard to understand, and the visuals were pixelated and clunky.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

How to email a professor

Stumbled across this post today - all about the act of emailing a professor and the norms that should be adhered to. I always get a kick out of my students addressing me as "Ms Nellison." I see this as a cue that's given off -- evidence that they perhaps haven't looked at the syllabus but rather are only responding to emails from me. And signing one's name and class is always welcome - I've received a few emails from such cryptic characters as "hotbuns54."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Bill Gates - in a new light

The Oct. 24, 2005 New Yorker includes an insightful article, Healing Africa, which made me look at Bill Gates in a new light. He's spent literally millions of dollars trying to fight diseases, such as malaria, which have been essentially eradicated in the developed countries and therefore aren't popular with drug company researchers. But which still kills thousands, mostly children under 5, in African countries. This research seems so much more important than most other things many of us - myself included - are doing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Been busy traveling as of late. I was in Chicago for the Association of Internet Researchers conference where I presented some of my research on the effects of publicly writing about one's Ideal Self. We are still crunching the numbers and are collecting additional data to get a true control group. It turns out thinking about the Ideal Self may have effects similar to writing about the Ideal Self.
The following weekend I went to beautiful Ithaca, NY to visit the Communication Department at Cornell and participate in their research speaker series. What a gorgeous place! Some very interesting research being done -- I was especially impressed with the graduate students I met.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blogging in Academe

Inside Higher Ed recently had an interesting article about academics who blog: Too Much Information. This issue is something that's come up a lot for me, most recently in a grad class i'm teaching. I am curious about the ways in which academics manage the desire to disclose with the need for impression management; the pressures to have an active online presence (especially in media fields) with the penchant for revealing minimal information that could be "used against you." (What! Assistant Professor Jones is blogging about Desperate Housewives again - when does he have time to publish!")

Anonymous blogging is sounding better and better.

Monday, September 26, 2005

George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People

If you haven't seen this video or heard the song, you should. it's a great example of remixed culture being more than the sum of its parts.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Update (or lack thereof)

The blog has been quiet lately as we've been away on vacation and now are back but awash in household projects. Namely, a complete kitchen renovation. Well, we kept the walls up, so perhaps it doesn't qualify as complete, but pretty close!
Last week we spent a delightful, relaxing week in west virginia with my friend laura and her family. I can safely report that there is not much happening in WV. Which is a good thing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

More Blog bashing from the NYT

Actually, that's not quite true - but "more discouraging rhetoric" doesn't have quite the same ring. Today the NYT warns would-be bloggers about incorporating work-related content into their blogs. The title of the article, "Write all about it - at your own risk" says it all. Granted, this approach may apply to some kinds of blogs and some kinds of organizations. But what about all the organizations who have incorporated blogging into their PR/knowledge-management/public outreach strategies? Or those who benefit from blogging? How about some of these kinds of stories?

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Littlest UnderWater Hockey Player

Recently my husband participated in the National Underwater Hockey tournement. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, it is played with snorkeling gear and a weighted puck at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Katerina here is modeling the typical gear, including googles, a stick (for pushing the puck along the bottom of the pool towards the goal), ear protection, and rubber glove (to keep skin on your hand as opposed to on the bottom of the pool).

Hooking Up - Where's the technology?

Although the recent ABC online dating reality show ("Hooking Up") is an addictive guilty pleasure, it has little to do with online dating as I've studied it for the past three years. As pointed out in WiRed (and elsewhere, no doubt), the technology that underpins these encounters is largely absent. A glimpse of an email here, a pixelated photo there, but very little of the CMC leading up to the dates is present. This is a real loss, as without it this show is much like"Blind Date" -- but with a updated hook for 2005. I guess it is the nature of the beast, as watching people type email in their jammies does not make for very exciting television. And watching relationships develop, then deteriorate, from afar satisfies the busybody in all of us.

I would have liked to see a wider range of participants and perhaps a glipse of online dating as it is practiced outside of New York City. However, I am curious to see, in the end, how this show affects the ways in which the average American perceives online dating.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Riled up and inspired by the postings on the recent article in the Chronicle, Bloggers Need Not Apply, I've decided to take the plunge and get serious about keeping a blog. I've had students in multiple courses keep blogs as part of their participation, so it only seems fitting that I as well venture into this territory in a more committed way.
Recent events that have caught my attention include the recent online/offline discussions about blogs and the way they mesh personal and professional lives. I'm thinking specifically of the recent article in the New York Times in which the writer describes her discomfort with her nanny's blogging activity (and the, um, rebuttal here) as well as the recent discussions in the Chronicle. As danah and others have noted, social software tools such as blogs make it easier for us to collapse contexts. Rather than keeping professional activities in one box, and personal aspects in another, everything is available and very, very searchable. When I did my interviews with teleworkers several years ago, I noted that they used ICTs (information and communication technologies) purposely to calibrate the permeability of their home/work boundaries. For instance, they might have a work telephone line and a home line, and adhere to rules about when they answered one or the other.
It seems now with the tools we have today that less calibration and control is possible. If I post something in a newsgroup and ten years later wish I hadn't - too bad. If someone wants to say something unkind about me online, so be it. I suppose there are those who see this transparency as positive, but I'm not completely sold yet.