It is difficult in the current times to tell a harmless joke because it seems inevitable that someone/some group will be offended by it. Even worse we are in a digital age where it seems natural to want to share views and jokes on social media platforms with those in our network and the public. The online situation with Professor Ciccariello-Maher reminds me of a similar in person situation with Dr. Click at the University of Missouri where a short moment was taken out of context and her support of a liberal view resulted in her losing her job. The problem, I think, with those in academic fields engaging with the masses is professors like Ciccariello-Maher and Click are seen as a representation of an entire university/institution as opposed to one single person having an opinion or doing an action. Lots of people have told jokes that are in poor taste. That does not mean they don’t deserve to be able to earn a living. We are just in an era where a main way to communicate with others is online with a bigger audience or when you do something in person that people do not disagree with you can be caught on camera and out of context. Unlike previously where a joke in bad taste would just be heard by the few people in your vicinity, and you would just be scoffed at and everyone move on. Yes, many digital communication scholars are liberal but that does not mean all are so the group that are liberal are no means a representation of all and definitely not a representation of an entire university. Though universities do need to have some accountability of their faculty and staff, it should not lead to digital media scholars having to stifle their thoughts/opinions/actions/jokes when engaging with others in fear of coming off “too liberal” and losing their job.
Although I understand the satire of Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet, taken in context with the rhetoric from Trump and his supporters, it seems to be a case of bad taste because of timing. I’m not religious or conservative, but common sense would dictate the timing of release was questionable. Having said that, I do think that Academics need to unite and mobilize collective action that negates the notion that critically engaged, thinking, diverse, open and inclusive environments are somehow bad. I reject the notion that being “politically correct” is a bad thing and am tired of the far right making it seem so. Academics believe that intellectual rigor demands consideration of multiple viewpoints and perspectives, and is much more “correct” than not. The far right community is the myopic one, by thinking the opposite and often claiming some measure of the moral high ground. Academics must NOT retreat in fear of retribution, but rather provoke critical conversations across many communities, including digital ones. Not only must Academics lend their voices to forums such as this, but it critically important to meet other communities where they are at, including social media and conservative media outlets. Academics can’t do that comfortably unless they have the full support of upper administration, senior leadership, and board members — in fact, they should be the ones leading the charge. Yes, some Academics live in an ivory tower, but the pursuit of knowledge and to critically examine the world around us is worth defending in all ways possible.
I agree that the scholars should continue to debate and contribute to public discourse, especially in the current reality. Obviously any threat to someone's safety needs to be taken seriously, however, if they allow the threats to silence the debates than the other side controls the entire conversation. We see this as the current administration attempts to control and silence various agencies and groups. The creation of rogue accounts on social media sites so that information can still be shared and maybe, more importantly, saved. Scholars need to follow the lead and stand in solidarity with those who fight to continue to ensure that accurate information is accessible and available to everyone. As scholars, we are encouraged to challenge existing ideas to further knowledge. This pursuit of knowledge should not only take place when things are easy. It is far more important to challenge ideas when we have the most pushback to these ideas.
When engaging with the commons I do feel that it is important to be somewhat censored in not only what you say but how much of yourself you divulge as well. This response reminds me of a conversation I was apart of when we were asked should an employee be fired based off of posts they placed on social media. This, like the above response, leaves me in a controversial space. Mainly because when placing personal feelings on any media platform, you open yourself up to the world and unknowingly become vulnerable. I think that when you have a profession keen on being conservative with it's views or are in any scholarly position like a professor, graduate student, lecturer etc., it is important to be careful not to place any information that could lead to a misinterpretation of your character or validity. I wholeheartedly agree that, "It is crucial to recognize that it is often easier to for our critics to launch a campaign of harassment than a substantive counter-argument." In this digital day and age, it has become popular to bash someone because of an ignorant moment and/or comment. There are many people who want to engage in scholarly discussion, but many more who wait for the next victim they can tear apart if they even feel there is an ounce of misinformation being presented. It is unfortunate that this is a sort of ritual with some users of digital media because more often than not it effects more than the person who is targeted. Many digital harassers don't take into account the family that suffers because of a loss of a job, nor do they think about what it might mean for future employment.
As an avid social media user, and someone who will willingly admit that I am guilty of getting a lot of my information from social media platforms, it is concerning when considering that for some that is where the interest and intelligence start and stops. I like to think that social media has created an incredible resource for breaking the initial layer of any story or issue. However, I believe people forget to look further and really do their research in finding out all the facts and I think this most recent election was a great example of that. Many people put their faith in the bare minimum and assumed everything would work out the way it was presented to them rather than taking the steps themselves to investigate and take action towards the results they desire.
I fully agree that as media scholars there is a responsibility to be active, in some way, to political activism. In our society now, refocusing how that is approached in imperative to future social issues, politics, and generations. As an avid social media user, and someone who will willingly admit that I am guilty of getting a lot of my information from social media platforms, it is concerning when considering that for some that is where the interest and intelligence start and stops. I like to think that social media has created an incredible resource for breaking the initial layer of any story or issue. However, I believe people forget to look further and really do their research in finding out all the facts and I think this most recent election was a great example of that. Many people put their faith in the bare minimum and assumed everything would work out the way it was presented to them rather than taking the steps themselves to investigate and take action towards the results they desire.
I fully agree that as media scholars there is a responsibility to be active, in some way, to political activism. In our society now, refocusing how that is approached in imperative to future social issues, politics, and generations.
I really liked your post regarding your critique on the taken-for-granted attitude that has resulted due to political activism in digital spaces. Also, the article on big data and data analytics strategies was interesting because of the data-driven approach that helped Donald Trump winning the election. I am questioning myself here how we, the people, are manipulated by big data and also point to the same argument you make: people need to be careful with their usage of the internet! We should rely on the information that comes from people who work in these areas.
Most likely, I would have enjoyed your class in which you asked the students to identify fake news. Not only does the constant increase of data collection have a big impact on economics and politics, to some extent, it also distributes social and political goods. Trumps’ strategy of targeted facebook ads was a success that was enabled by big data analytics.
We need to question our sources and pay attention to what is said and not immediately believe in all the stuff that is written. We should read our sources with a sensible eye, therefore, remain humble.
The author mentions the accessibility of online archives such as the commons creates a dynamic set of media that can be remixed, appropriated, drawn from, or extended in a creative practice. To explain her idea, she brings an example of iOS application: Women of EL Toro in which you can hear voices of women and create the historical and educational atmosphere, while you are offline. This is a real innovation that not only entertains individuals but indeed, increases individuals’ knowledge. As women, I am so excited to try this application. That sounds so cool. And to me, this method could be one of the best ways of an education system. It is a great idea to create different applications which use online data in different fields, then recover and remix them to educate people. I am very optimist about this method, because nowadays most of the people get their news, direction, temperature, etc., via cell phone. That would be great if we have more of this kind of educational application.
Unfortunately, I do not have an iPhone, otherwise I would have checked how the app The Women of El Toro is like. I liked how the app implements digitized archives to engage the audience with an offline facility. I strongly believe that you are right saying that the accessibility of online archives are useful sources to start from and create something that is unique and special. I can imagine how it is an interesting experience to listen to women’s voices and create an atmosphere that is educational but also of historical significance.
The work that you put in to create an app that offers a reality tour, e.g. reading one thousand pages of interview transcripts, leaves me again the impression how closely related offline and online realities are. I think that it is a great idea to implement women’s voices into the park and using a different method to give visitors some information and something they maybe talk about. As we have seen, archived material is definitely useful for such an idea. Maybe this archived material is even more interesting to the public because it gives the people something they did not think of before, or narratives that sound spectacular and comprehensible.
I understand how easy it is to get caught up in fake news. If we see something that agrees with what we are thinking, of course, we want that validation and may seek it without actually thinking about the sources. However, I do not think that fake news is the only problem. Cable news networks allow us to pick and choose what information we want to see and whose viewpoints we want to hear. Gone are the days that news had to present both sides of the issue they are reporting. For this reason, news is no longer fair and balanced. Even stations that claim to be (fair and balanced) have a bias. I don't know how we combat that without teaching individuals to critique the sources they are reading and investigate to find out if it is true. While we all want to think that we do these things, there are times that we take short cuts and believe a story before we should. However, I feel we do this with research also. Do we really stop to think about the sources we are using for our resources? Even if they are peer reviewed - they can still hold biases depending on who wrote them, when they were written, and the interests of those involved. It is important to stop for just a moment and use these same considerations on our work. Are we actually looking at it from all angles, taking into account all the things we should? Maybe that is how we found ourselves in this problem with fake news after all. It is far too easy to just take someone's word for it, especially if we feel they are smarter or more knowledgeable on a subject. We should never be afraid to question EVERYTHING!!
I enjoy reading this thoughtful idea. This is a teacher’s idea who really concerns about student educational progress. In the past, she preferred that her students be taken apart from social medias; she thought that they dedicate a significant portion of their daily time to social medias. But, sometimes about last year, she has changed her mind when she realized that based on survey most of American get some part of their news through social medias and many of them such as Facebook which works base on Algorithm can distribute a fake or biased news. This fake news caused individuals cannot see the reality. Thus, she came to an idea that it is good to teach our students to read news critically and analyzed them. Students should know that each news has a creator which might have some unconscious biases or sometimes creator might have lost some viewpoints. Students should also realize an important role that power play in creating a news and try to confirm it from other resources. I think all these comments very useful, but a little hard to really teach to every single student to read critically or find out the biases inside the news. Because it is possible that some students have the same bias as the creator of news has. Thus, they really cannot understand the bias. I think confirming the news with other sources is a better idea. But, the important point is media scholars should attempt to optimize their use of this online sphere to inform other individuals about different issues such as politics, social, etc.