Week by week course schedule:

Feb 09 - Blogorama



DUE today:

Turn in a 1-page brainstorm for your blog project. It should include:

  • Generate at least 3 possible names for the blog.
  • Identify the topic of your inquiry and at least 2 and no more than 4 lenses through which you will examine your topic. Spend some time thinking about this. You will be asked to make at least one post on your blog every week of the semester… so choose things that you are interested in learning and care about so that you don't get bored. The point here is NOT to recreate what you are already doing on MySpace, Facebook, etc. - so topics can't include things like what you did with your friends last Saturday night…
  • Research and identify at least 3 other blogs that deal with similar material. They don't have to agree with you (in fact it would be more interesting if they didn't) but the things they write about should be fairly obviously related to some of the things you plan on writing about. The point here is to find some "massive conversations" that are happening online and join them. Briefly describe each one.


Feb 16 - Citizens journalism

Extending your blog skills: commenting, link equity, search engine optimization (SEO)

  • - call in audio, Facebook, Twitter, apps

DUE today:

  • create your blog at
  • write your 1st post entitled "Hello, world!" - introduce your blog to the world - indicate the topic(s) and lenses you will be dealing with
  • your 2nd post - this is your first "real" post after the intro
  • email me your blog URL


Additional resource:
Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents [pdf]

scott-shane_spotlight-again-falls-on-web-tools-and-change.pdf106.35 KB
naomi-wolf_wikileaks-revolution-lost-cojones-american-journalism.pdf186.03 KB
al-gore_assault-on-reason-ch1.pdf1.72 MB

Feb 23 - The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted

Twitter demo - learn how to tweet
Watch: Egypt: Seeds of Change on People & Power (Al Jazeera)
DUE today:
Now that you've planted your blog, grow it:

  • start "following" related blogs and "track" some tags
  • comment on at least 2 other blogs
  • weeding: install Disqus - try to respond to comments in a timely manner, watch out for spam
  • continue to write at least 1 post per week + experiment with promotion: post a comments on other blogs about your content, email your blog to friends and family, ask for other people to give you a boost
  • create a blog roll
  • experiment with another form of media: add images, audio or video



Mar 09 - Gift Economy + Open Source

Workshop: Hacking

DUE today:
Continue your weekly blog posts/tweets etc.

Your private public self - part one - start crafting your new identities:
Register at
Choose a name.
Get Dressed (create your avatar).
Learn how to fly.

Register at
Choose a name.
Start bookmarking socially.


Pekka Himanen, "The Academy and the Monastery" [PDF]

Mar 23 - Your Social Graph

Social networks have been the focus of much recent research and entrepreneurship. This discourse views social relationships as nodes and links (or ties). Nodes are individual entities (often people) and the links are the relationships between them (parent-child, student-teacher, friend-friend). The people you know are your social network. Social relationships can be characterized on a spectrum from shallow to deep. Some theorists claim that social networks with many weak ties are more valuable than ones with fewer and deeper ties. The premise is that the more connections you have, the more likely that new ideas and opportunities will be introduced to you. This seems to be the guiding principle of many of these new social networking websites. Deeper connections have greater costs in terms of time commitments, etc and tend to have redundant ties. Of particular value in these systems are nodes (people, entities) that can bridge two networks thereby brokering relationships between networks that otherwise are not directly linked.

In 1967, Stanley Milgram made the famous "small world experiment" which claimed to prove that people in the world are separated by at most 6 links. While the experiment is considered to have many flaws, the notion of six degrees of separation has persisted in popular culture.

Social network class notes


Privately Public Self Essay


Friends, Friendsters, and MySpace Top 8: Writing Community Into Being on Social Network Sites. by danah boyd

The Rhythms of Salience: A Conversation Map by Judith Donath

Apr 06 - The Commons


Introducing the wiki.
Wikipedia Cheat Sheet
MediaWiki Handbook
Wikimedia Commons

DUE: Your Social Graph


"The Wealth of Networks: Chapter 3. Peer Production and Sharing" by Yochai Benkler [pdf]
"Silence is a Commons" by Ivan Illich [pdf]

"The Tragedy of the Commons" by Garrett Hardin

Apr 13 - Collective Intelligence and Cognitive Surplus

DUE: Work on the wiki


Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky - Chapters 1, Chapter 5 (excerpt), Chapter 6 (excerpt)

clay-shirky_cognitive-surplus-ch-1.pdf1.55 MB
clay-shirky_cognitive-surplus-ch-5.pdf2.46 MB
clay-shirky_cognitive-surplus-ch-6.pdf1.2 MB

Apr 20 - The Networked Public Sphere

the Evolution of Cooperation
The Prisoner's Dilemma

DUE: Wiki updates

2 substantive original entries [150-200 words each]
3 substantive edits of existing entries


The Wealth of Networks: Chapter 7. Political Freedom Part 2: Emergence of the Networked Public Sphere by Yochai Benkler

Apr 27 - Freemium and the Economics of Sharing


wiki updates


The Mesh - Chapters 1 and 2

lisa-gansky-the-mesh-ch1.pdf2.59 MB
lisa-gansky-the-mesh-ch2.pdf1.88 MB

May 04 - We the participants

Commercial ReMix

Original Apple Commerical Introducing the Macintosh computer in 1984

"Anti-Hillary" commercial produced by the Obama campaign
Published March 2007

Video by Astrubal critiquing the 20 year rule of Tunisian president Ben Ali
Published February 29th 2004.

Terms of Service:

Discuss Final Project

Links for final project inspiration:

DUE: Collective Intelligence essay


We Media. Chapter 4: The rules of participation by Dan Gillmor

May 11 - Critiques and propositions

Critiques and propositions

May 18 - Final Presentations

Last day of classes - presentation and discussion of final projects.