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Watch what you post November 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:02 pm
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Jenkins states over the past several decades that media literacy advocates have called on schools to, “foster a critical understanding of media as one of the most powerful social, economic, political, and cultural institutions of our era.”  He goes on to say that these skills are essential.  New Media literacies should be viewed as social skills, as a way of interacting within a larger community, and not simply an individualized skills to be used for personal expression.  Along these same lines, McLuhan states that privacy doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in previous time, and that was from an interview he did in 1966.


We are at a time in our cultural where individuals need to be trained on the use of media and technology.  Not just how to use it, but when.  Understanding the use of media literacy is not just necessary for younger people and children, but adults as well.  I have heard and read much discussion on one’s Freedom of Speech.  True, this is a Constitutional right in order to be able to have a say.  There are times, that this can bring repercussions though. 


In Trottman’s article, she discusses workers being fired for bad-mouthing their employers on social media sites.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers are allowed to complain about pay, safety and other working conditions.  The article goes on to describe one firing where a woman called her boss a “scumbag” and an employee of BMW being fired for voicing his displeasure in an upcoming event for the dealership. 


Just in this past week, there was an article about a girls’ basketball coach from Idaho.  She posted a photo on Facebook of she and her fiancé (who is also a coach at the same school).  In the photo, they are both in their bathing suits and he is seen grabbing her chest.  It was on Facebook for less than a day and she took it down.  However, as we all know, once the digital trail has been created, one may not know who sees it.  Someone had seen the photo and submitted it to the school.  The school fired her on the basis they felt the photo was inappropriate to have been shared on Facebook.  Oddly, her fiancé kept his coaching position, which is a totally other issue.  McLuhan states that when you put a new medium into play in a given population, all sensory gets shifted and had an affect on the population’s outlook and attitude.  Frankly, the photo was foolishly shared, but not a fireable offense.  It is quite obvious that individuals police social media activity.  

It’s really difficult to figure out who is responsible for the education of critical media literacy.  As I mention above, this is something that is needed for children as well as adults.  Even with privacy settings in place, electronic trails are created. 

Work cited:


Allen, S. Idaho High School Fires Coach for Facebook Photo of Boyfriend Grabbing Her Chest.  USAToday (accessed November 9, 2013):  http://www.usatodayhss.com/news/article/idaho-high-school-fires-coach-after-she-posts-a-photo-of-boyfriend-grabbing-her-chest


Daily Mail Reporters.  The Facebook photo of a high school basketball coach and her fiancé that got her fired (because he touched her boob).  Mail Online (accessed November 9, 2013). 


McLuhan, M.  (1966).  TV as an involving medium.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/television/1966-tv-as-an-involving-medium.php


McLuhan, M.  (1968).  Privacy in the electric age.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/prophecies/1968-privacy-in-the-electric-age.php


Trottman, M.  (2011)  For Angry Employees, Legal Cover for Rants.  The Wall Street Journal.  (accessed November 9, 2013): 


Challenges of a Participatory Culture September 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:01 pm
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Marshall McLuhan, a media guru far before his time, talks about The Global Village, long before the days of social media platforms.  The global village took the literary man as an individual and brought us into a tribal group.  He talks about this, and at the time, the electronic devices he was referring to were stationary telephones, radio and televisions.  As a society, we moved from interacting as individuals, obtaining our knowledge through books, to being members of a tribe – a global village of interaction.  From the 1960’s when he shared his view until now, we have seen many changes in the way individuals interact.  We now have mobile devices that can alert us the minute triumph or tragedy happens, no matter where we are.  Even when the electronic age he referred to started growing, there was no way to prepare for the all out openness we are experiencing now.  Through new technologies, we can connect two classrooms from half way around the world with each other to share a common lesson through the use of smart boards and the internet.  But attention needs to be paid to the use of the technologies and media.




Jenkins discusses the need to teach media literacy, and the challenges that are faced in order to do so.  The first is the Participation Gap.  Access to internet is one thing, access to internet with the capability of being able to do the work that is necessary for schooling is another.  I conducted an interview at the beginning of the year for another course to find out about the development of courses and instructional design.  One of the many things that needs to be taken into consideration is the technology which may be affected by the participation gap. (p. 13)  


The second challenge, Transparency Problem is one that I should not be surprised with, yet do find surprising.  In Shier’s study (2005) a game was developed based on historic interpretation of the first shot of the American Revolution.  Students took the representation of historical evidence in the game as being authentic.  (p. 16)  The concern lies in the ability of young people to be able to assess the quality of information received.  I had an exchange with a friend today on Facebook on this story:


When I initially commented of the fakeness of the story, responses came back with stories less and less believable than this initial posting.  But because it was on the internet, and shared by several people, then it must be truth. 


The third concern, Ethics Challenge, is an issue where young people creating new modes of expression that are poorly understood by adults.  He also points out the implications of their media and communications practices.  Most notably that the information that is shared maybe initially just for friends and followers can bring unwelcome attention.  (p. 17)  A recent example that comes to mind with me is happening right now in the Capital District.  Over Labor Day weekend, a party was held at a vacated house that is up for sale by a former NFL football player.  Somewhere between 200 – 300 kids illegally entered the home and held a party.  Through a series of Tweets, the teens implicated themselves not only with the text but with visual proof of who was at the party and what was going on.  The ethical norm was non-existent as they not only were breaking and entering, they stole items and did thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. 


We have come a long way from the new media that McLuhan referred to, yet we need to be more diligent in not only teaching and understanding the media and the use of them.  Not only do we need to make sure users can understand the operation of the media, but be able to develop critical thinking in regards to determining the validity of what they are reading/viewing.




Jenkins, H.  Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:  Media Education for the 21st Century


Marshall McLuhan – The World is a Global Village (CBC TV)


Visions and Actions; Focus and Perspective January 2, 2011


Bradley states, “Visions and actions can be formulated in various ways and with various focuses and perspectives – physical and psychosocial life environment, human needs, human requirements and human rights.  These are and will be challenged in the ICT society with opportunities and risks.  We have new chances to deepen human qualities and social qualities, and bring people around the world closer together.” (p. 234)


In wrapping up my blog entries for my Social and Community Informatics course, I find like with all my other courses, sad to see it over ~ yet I’ve come away with a whole new breadth of what I want to do, what I want to accomplish.  I have a Bucket List for 2011 that ICTs will play a major part in.


#1 – I will finish my Bachelors by the end of the summer.  Possibly, soon after that, I may pursue my Masters.  In an ICT society, I have been able to complete 12 courses since Fall of 2009, with another 4 slated for the upcoming semester. Through Empire State College (ESC), I’ve been in classes with people in various parts of the country and around the world.  One of my professors is even located in Florence, Italy.


#2 – Create a photo blog.  Similar to the premise of the movie Julie and Julia.  It’s going to be a “Me” thing so to speak.  I absolutely, love, love, love photography … in particular digital photography.  There are so many styles and techniques to be able to experiment with.  It will be a photo a day, and maybe at the end I’ll make my own little coffee table book.


#3 – My family plans on hosting another exchange student.  Remembering back to the early 80’s when I was in high school and we hosted a student.  I believe ‘snail mail’ allowed us 1 or 2 letter exchanges before Fabiola arrived.  Now, with the use of Facebook and Skype, finding out about our student and her finding out about us can be done quickly and easily.  Her family and friends will be able to keep track of her through digital pictures posted to Facebook and Webshots.   “We have new chances to deepen human qualities and social qualities, and bring people around the world, closer together.”  (p. 234)  Sending your under 18-year old child half way around the world to a family you have never met before is a stressful and brave action.  I’m glad that there are these venues that can make those at home feel a little more connected.


#4 – Surpassing my fundraising goal for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, from my 2010 mark.  By one month into 2010, 4 people I knew were diagnosed with cancer.  By the end of the year, I truly lost track of the number of new cases I heard about ~ and sadly, there were those who lost their battle as well.  Raising money for ACS is only a small thing that can help them carry on their services to patients and families.


I set a personal goal of $1,500 for last year.  I sent emails to businesses around the greater Capital District.  I ended up with over 40 wonderful prizes!  By ways of my blog, my fundraiser page and Facebook, I was able to promote the sales of the raffle tickets and ended up raising $1,492.


#5 – Still turning to social informatics/social media ~ I will continue to promote activities surrounding volunteer opportunities and needs with the food pantry and ACS.  But, I also plan to find a new cause or two to add.  Paying it Forward is my motto for the new year, new decade.  Not everything costs money, not everything needs to be a financial donation (though if one has the ability ~ let them keep coming in!).  The donation of your time can be a gift that money can’t match.


Sit down at your computer, Google “Volunteer Opportunities” and see what you come up with.  Or, go to Volunteer Match, where you can search by geographic location or volunteer opportunity.  I’ll close with one of my favorite songs.  It inspires me with a vision and to take action; it gives me a focus and puts things in perspective.  There are so many opportunities to make brighter tomorrows for someone’s bleak today.

Goo Goo Dolls, Better Days


Forget Text to Vote … Text to Donate Instead November 14, 2010

Filed under: Fundraising,Technology — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 9:19 pm
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On Monday, I interviewed Mark Quandt, Executive Director for the Northeast Regional Food Bank.  This was done in part for my Field Project for my Social and Community Informatics Class.  Besides the staggering statistics on food need, in particular a 25% increase in need from 2008 – present, I was able to find out how one becomes involved to help.  The Food Bank relies on food donations as well as monetary donations.  They are able to purchase food in large bulk, being able to pass more along to the food pantries.


In Kling’s text, “ICT policy analysts must often center their analysis on specific technologies, such as cell phones, broadband, or wireless communication.  What we have learned from SI is that it is helpful for the analytic purposes to move beyond the conceptualization of ICTs as discrete objects and view them instead as configurable “social-technical networks” made up of tangible and intangible components.”  (p. 55)


These components include:

  • People in various roles and relationships with each other and with other system elements
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Techniques
  • Support resources
  • Information structures


When I read this, it brought to mind the new wave of fundraising that is done by organizations such as the Food Bank and other non-profit service organizations.  With the surge of use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as their own websites, organizations have gone from phone call campaigns to internet campaigns.  People are able to see and have reminders in their newsfeeds to know what is going on within these organizations.  The organizations can do a fairly inexpensive type of outreach to the greater public in ways that are much easier than in the past.  Through the bank, you can check schedules, sign up to donate time, or donate money – 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.


Beginning now, the bank uses volunteers at Crossgates Mall for the Holiday Hunger Appeal.  In discussion with Mr. Quandt, he stated that people carry cash less and less during the holiday season.  Yes, they can go home and make a donation at home, if they remember.  To try to get the donation while it is fresh in the public’s mind, they are introducing a new feature this year in collaboration with a wireless service.  People who are unable to make a cash donation at the moment, can opt to text a donation to the food bank.  They will have small sheets of paper with the information on how/where to text the donation.


In January, when the earthquake hit Haiti, the American Red Cross implemented a Text-to-Donate campaign to raise funds.  According to an article by Thomas Heath of the Washington Post, these donations, by January 19, reached $22 million, which was one-fifth the total raised as of that date.  If the image in our minds of what the destruction could look like, individuals created photo montages of the Haitian world turned upside down, such as this one I found on YouTube.



Heath, T., U.S. cellphone users donate $22 million to Haiti earthquake relief via text, Washington Post, January 19, 2010.

Hope for Haiti video, YouTube, Author LittleCTide:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4IxbTYJv_c

Kling, R., Rosenbaum, H., Sawyer, S. Understanding & Communicating Social Informatics: A Framework for Studying and Teaching the Human Contexts of Information and Communication Technologies. 2005. New Jersey: Information Today.


Global Villages November 4, 2010

In the Spring 2010 semester, I took the Advanced Visual Literacy course.  I did a research paper on Marshall McLuhan, his thoughts on the Medium being the Message and the Global Village.  I was fascinated by the Global Village as it was presented in the 1960s.  Fifty years later, his theory of the Global Village seems to be a part of everyday life.  Through technological villages, this vast world of ours becomes smaller and smaller each day.

In the McLuhan’s Global Village, society moves away from being individuals and becomes part of groups of like interests.  These groups become a bonding of sorts that connect people who may not have connected in other circumstances.

Think Facebook.  After doing my research for my paper, I had to wonder how many of these social networking sites based their initial concepts off of his thoughts of the village.  Facebook and other social media sites build these common areas (both foolish and serious) of like interests.  Facebook takes all different arenas and provides a solid line of newsfeeds.  I can log on in the morning, see what’s up with friends, find out what sales and promotions my favorite stores are having, find out any important information or news that is going on, I can find out what is going on with my sports teams, politicians, and what headlines the newspapers are touting.  When my daughter was in Italy in May, she went out to dinner with our cousins.  With that hand-held ICT, the took a photo with the camera phone, uploaded it to Facebook … and moments later, halfway around the world, I felt I was there.

Using the power of social media, politicans have taken their campaigns to the internet more and  more.  Attempts to win voters over by different political campaigns by advertisements, videos and messages about the candidates and party were found all around.  This arena of the Global Village grouped like frustrations, like supporters into larger groups.  Come 2012 Presidential Election, it will be interesting to see how much of a part Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., will play in the overall campaigns.

Then there is the area of the Global Village that I use most often.  The quest for doing good.  If I see or hear of an event going on which will make someone’s life a little easier (ie. American Cancer Society Events, Northeastern NY Kidney Foundation, Food Drives anything supporting our troops), I like being able to promote it.  Anything that makes our villages just that much is worth promoting.


The Power of Social Media September 29, 2010

Filed under: Social/Community Informatics — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 10:00 am
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As a lead in to my side-bar top in my blog, I selected a passage from Gunilla Bradley’s, Social and Community Informatics:  Humans on the Net to focus on.  Bradley states, “If technology is used properly, it can give us more time for human contacts.”   (p. 80)   She goes on to describe scenarios that are pros and cons regarding the virtual world.  People spend enormous amounts of time in front of a computer screen.  There’s less dialogue, more text between people.  People hide behind their screen.  Some hiding from conflict, while others feel this sense of power to say to bully and degrade others.


But then, people can find a balance.  They can use the virtual world to promote and get others involved in events, that maybe they would not have know about.  Which takes me to my next blog about my project for this course.


I am working with the Green Island Food Pantry as a service project for this course.  Though I have worked on the Food Drive for 15 years now, I will be able to delve a little deeper into the inner workings of the Pantry.  I’ve put together a page on Facebook where hopefully others will post Food Drive activities they are involved in.  The one thing I have noticed in the past two years is the “power” of the social networks through the world wide web, and how one can promote the good deeds and projects that are out there.  Using Bradley’s comment, I will use the technology I have before me, promoting this event.  The days that we organize the various pieces of the drive from flyer distribution, to pick-up, organization, packing and then delivery ~ the human side and hearts will be out in full force.


Bradley, Gunilla.  Social and Community Informatics  Humans on the Net.  New York:  Routledge