#ResNetSem: FROM digital citizenry & the silent majority TO participatory game development & generative commentary

A thank you to Aspa & Nicholas who spurned many thoughts last week about the critical issues of digital citizenry and participatory culture.  As we continue to ponder the impact and influence of social media networks on society, it was an important turn to think about the role digital literacies play in supporting the citizens of tomorrow.  In addition, we consider what it means to participate “productively” in different social media contexts, thinking further about the broad umbrella term of the “silent majority”.  We also discussed the significance of selective anonymity in social media.  I really look forward to Aspa & Nicholas’ final projects.

I was reading a bit this morning and came across this interview with Jaron Lanier.  In his interview with Maureen Dowd, he is articulate when calling out social media platforms as top-down “behavior modification empires” and casting true light on the silicon valley impulse to “optimize”.  It is worth a read (certainly an echo some of what we have discussed from a variety of angles during #ResNetSem):

Also, please check out this digital art which is a fascinating comment on algorithmic reality – Lauren McCarthy’s “The Human Intelligent Smart Home” – a home that will deploy a series of smart devices to watch over you 24/7:  https://get-lauren.com

For our last gathering next Thursday, we will have two interesting discussions to round out our time together.  The first will be directed by Silje, who will consider participatory culture in game design/development throughs the lens of her recent foray in creating a Twine game.  Sondre will take a creative turn in his seminar presentation and project.  He is making a website that will take facebook comments on music/band/review pages and put them in different arrays – it will then generate random strings of texts, creating new comments.  He is creating an ironic text generator that will ultimately be a commentary on the uselessness and subjectivity of comment culture, especially in regards to music.  I have sent you the readings (assigned in sync with their presentations) via email.

See you for our “last hurrah” on Thursday!


Algorithmic Awareness vs Accountability

A quick note to thank Victor for his presentation last week.  His early MA research on algorithmic awareness has been an important part of our discussion and shared learning in the seminar.  Victor has further evolved or developed his thesis focus recently, shifting from the consumer side of the equation (i.e. considering an individual’s relative awareness level of online algorithmic manipulation & data tracking) to the producer side side of the phenomenon (-perhaps this shift lends more emphasis on algorithmic accountability (?)).   I think this is a smart move for the implications of the overall inquiry.

Please remember we that we have crowdsourced an excellent reading list on the issue of data tracking, AI, and algorithms here:

Also, for further understanding of the current research on the issue, please read this NYTimes article posted yesterday, and the resulting twitter thread in response to the claims made by author Cathy O’Neil.  The thread (twitter conversation) that ensues in response to O’Neil’s post points to a wealth of important research work being done (in a variety of academic disciplines).  In short, the twitter thread is a treasure trove of possible leads/resources when considering the current work being done on the societal implications of algorithms:

Next up!:  Aspacia will take us through some thoughts on the significance of early digital literacies in a school context, and Nicholas will guide us through his early consideration of the “silent majority”.

I look forward to these discussions!

See you soon,

Dr. Zamora


Trolls & Technology….

Thanks to Anders for his engaging presentation of his work developing a brand/application/digital identity/platform for his unique “TrollScape” world-building project.  Anders has been envisioning this digital project for sometime, step by step imagining different facets of a special digital experience that he hopes to bring to life.  “Trollscape” is a gamified experience wherein one in invited to discover the world of trolls in Norway.  It is designed with the imagination of a child in mind, but with interactive elements for people of all ages.  Trollscape will include many possible entry points, including locative storytelling via maps and outdoor discovery, mythology/historiography via discovery of “scientific” journaling, craft creation activities and incentivized games which help grow one’s “expertise” regarding trolls.  The project might evolve in a local context (Bergen) as a preliminary phase, but it has a broad appeal in a national context.  As different aspects of the overall vision are designed, a gradual scaling can occur.

I think our discussion with Anders brought to light the challenge of moving a creative and artistic vision into the realm of implementable reality.  We discussed the need for branding, the need for collaboration and funding, and we discussed the ways in which this creative/business-oriented project could dovetail effectively within the academic context of an MA in Digital Culture.  One of the most significant aspects of Anders contribution is his focus on interactive design, and especially the way in which a digital experience might refigure our experience with the real (our shared natural environments).  This project seeks to help people rediscover nature through storytelling and imagination fueled by digital design.  A term that came to the surface during our discussion was “pervasive interaction” -the design will reorient people to the real world.  The real world is therefore the key interface (but it is re-discovered via creative digital facilitation).

Next week we have some special time set aside to engage with visiting Digital Artist Ian Hatcher.  I really look forward to sharing some time with him and all of you.  I think you will find that his work, which explores cognition in the context of digital systems, is truly inspiring and compelling.  The plan is to meet at the University Library (at the cafe at the entrance).  He will give a short performance there of his work, and we can follow up with some pizza and discussion in the upstairs (2nd floor) atrium of the library.  The event should last about an hour and a half.  Please go directly to the library, and try to get there a bit early (perhaps around 13:20), so I can introduce you as my grad students in the crowd that will be attending.

For your blog post this week (due 2/11/17), there will be no assigned reading, but please write a reflection about the form and content of your planned contribution for the e-book collection we are compiling at the end of this semester.  In short, you will submit a final project that will be your “chapter” in our journal-like collaboration.  Your chapter can ultimately be a traditional academic “white paper”, it can be a hyper-text multi-modal presentation of your research, it can be a digital artifact/website designed to present and engage our readers in your research inquiry.  I would like for each of you to describe your plans for what you would like to submit – what it will look like, how you will organize and present your work.  Please provide as much detail as you can (i.e. if it is a website, what kinds of pages and sections will you develop?), and please start to map or outline the work you will need to complete in order to offer a solid and meaningful contribution.  You are welcome to take a picture of a mind map for your contribution.  ***Please remember, no matter what kind of “artifact” you plan to produce, your work should have a comprehensive Literature Review that reflects the critical/theoretical understanding that informs your research.

In two weeks we will be tackling the issue of algorithmic awareness with Victor as our presenter.  He will be providing a shared reading for us soon, which I will forward you.  You can read Victor’s shared material and blog your reflection about it before class on 9/11/17.

See you next Thursday 2/11/17 – remember to go directly to the University Library at 13:20!

Looking forward to it,


Ps.  Thanks for teaching me more about the Groke!


From Commenting in Networked Forums to Designing for Interaction….

Hi everyone,

So last Thursday we had a discussion of the readings that Magnus provided for us (see Oct 19th).  He chose these readings to accompany a presentation of his current research work on the issue of commenting in networked/online forums.  I found these readings to be very helpful in thinking about the kinds of dynamics to consider when thinking about how a networked platform invites community formation through commentary.  My notes (shared with all of you in class and on the class website) on Magnus’ two readings outline some of the main arguments offered by Reagle Jr. & Suler.  As I mentioned  in class, you are invited to expand on those ideas by collaborating in this open “notes” document.

Magnus’ walked us through the history of his project describing his methodology as an iterative process in which he has fine tuned his own taxonomy of commenting.  The process he sketched out reveals his considerable commitment (excellent!) with the efficacy of his methodology, and the intention to tighten up the reliability of the data collected.  The question that I think emerged for me overall is why is this study important?  Why do we need to think about the patterns and nuances that emerge in different commentary forums online?  What might these different commenting behaviors reveal for us when we think about community formation in the 21st century?  What do the commenting trends teach us about the nature of digitized notions of community?  What do these commenting trends teach us about the formation/development of human community in the digital age?  I think these questions are key to making this research matter in a significant way.

I think some important organizational concerns have emerged for me at this stage in our seminar proceedings.  In short, I think you all need to consider your preparation for this “discussion lead” with more nuance.  In our course syllabus I included the following description of what it means to take the helm as the discussion leader during this phase of our seminar (see course syllabus):

One of you will take the lead with specific readings and content of your choice.  In other words, you will be the discussion leader for a class period.  For your presentations, you will lead our class consideration of the assigned readings and organize our time together productively.  … 

***As our class leader, you should develop your own “lesson plan” or protocol for how we will engage with the text(s) and the ideas as a learning community.  You are welcome to -present the material, -distribute new supplementary material for us, -give us some guiding questions or prompts/ideas we can respond to and work with, -lead us in certain pedagogical exercises that will open up our understanding of the ideas for that week.  Be creative with the readings!  Think about new ways to work with colleagues to share this material and engender meaningful discussion.

In moving forward, I really hope that you will all take the time to prepare a thorough presentation of what you are working on, and why you chose the readings you selected for us to consider in light of your work.  You should plan a discussion about your own research thus far, sharing your questions and concerns about your own process.  I think it is useful to develop a few formal questions to prompt the seminar group with, as you think through your work more purposefully.  In short, this “discussion lead” protocol is your designated time to connect your research intentions with your own reflections regarding life in the networked digital age.  By preparing your presentation thoroughly, you will move your work along significantly.

So…..Anders is up next.  He will present to us a map of his ideas about his “Trolls of Norway” project – an online networked experience he is designing for eventual scale up in a public sector/open context.  He will link a walkthrough and explanation of his project map with a reading from “Evil by Design: Interaction Design Leads us Into Temptation” by Chis Nodder.  Please read the chapter entitled “Envy” (137-168) and like each week, blog a reflection of the reading. You can blog about your thoughts on online/networked interaction design.  For most of you, I think this text will be of real interest in your work moving forward.

Looking forward to our next seminar session!


Dr. Zamora



October Break update

Hi everyone.  Greetings from the fjords and glaciers northward!

The fjords and mountains of Norway just can't be captured in photos, yet I try… #hikinginwonderland

A post shared by Mia Zamora (@miazamoraphd) on

Great class last week!  I enjoyed our discussion in class, and it was great to see some of you during the chat with Henry Jenkins and Esra’a Al Shafei later that evening as well.

I also wanted to draw your attention to this very interesting keynote talk by Dana boyd last week at the DML 2017 conference.  This is worth watching for sure:


What is next?…

If you are wondering what is up next on our schedule, we are now officially entering a new “phase” in #ResNetSem.  Each of the coming weeks we will be collectively focusing on your individual #ResNetSem research work.  Each of you will take the helm of our discussion for one week, assigning an applicable reading for all of us to read and reflect on via our blogs.  One by one you will present/workshop your current work with all of us in an extended seminar discussion.  This is a collaborative and supportive forum – each of us will contribute to the presenter’s ideas by offering productive and thoughtful feedback on the ongoing work he or she has shared with all of us.  Each of your individual research projects will be a part of a final e-book publication for the class.  The e-book will feature your unique research inquiries into networked life/culture.   Please refer to the Course Calendar to take note of when you are scheduled to workshop/present on your own current work for #ResNetSem discussion and feedback.

First up nest week is Magnus!  He will be presenting his current MA research work next Thursday, October 19th,  As soon as he forwards me his reading selection, I will forward that to all of you.  You should receive this soon in your UiB email.  Please read his selection in full and blog your reflection on his selection for your next blog due Oct. 19th.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week.

Hope you are enjoying your break time.  I am reveling in the majestic beauty of Norway!

Dr. Zamora

Formulating our collective research inquiry for #ResNetSem

Due to my three day (all-day) VR Unity Hack this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I am now finally blogging for #ResNetSem and our fantastic class last Thursday.  Last week’s #ResNetSem discussion was very dynamic and I think our discussion of networked learning and commercial culture drew to the surface some very important/timely considerations.  I hope to extend these conversations when we meet next Thursday, first by checking in regarding your own specific research vision, and then connecting those interests to the material for our collective consideration this week.

I have asked you all to listen to danah boyd’s recent podcast (link in tweet):

Remember, for this week please write a two-part blog post.  The first part should include a reflection based on your listen to the podcast.  The second part of your blog should include a further clarification of your current research topic to be pursued in this seminar.  In class, I gave each of you a more specific way to think about that clarification.

Remember that this Thursday evening you will have an opportunity to speak with Henry Jenkins & activist digital Esra’a Al-Shafei via google hangout.  Please write me an email to clarify your intention to participate.  I will then send you the link to our forthcoming hangout (to take place online at 23:30 Thursday night).   The conversation will take place from California live at the Digital Media and Learning conference held at the University of California in Irvine.  Our conversation is listed on the Virtually Connecting schedule here: http://virtuallyconnecting.org/blog/2017/09/25/dmlconference/.

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Your own research (in a networked era)?

Hope you have been enjoying the unusual week in Bergen.  😉 In the spirit of the #Bergen2017 meme heard round world, I am posting this viral classic to mark our passage of time this week.  I am sure you have seen this more than enough times already…

I have been catching the different races sort of by happenstance all week, as I move through the city to get from point A to point B.  I am impressed by the enthusiastic (and orderly) fans, and their general equanimity in encouraging the racers from every nation.  This has definitely been a week to remember in terms of Norwegian hospitality (and no-nosense security ;).

So, …I am truly inspired having recently read this last batch of blogs.  I think they are chuck full of great ideas which I hope to pick up on in dynamic conversation next Thursday.  I am looking forward to imagining what kind of final project we can pull together that would showcase your individual research work.  I certainly hope that whatever you design for research development and writing in #ResNetSem will become a formative step in your thesis work overall.

For next Thursday, please read selections Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd:  Chapters 4 & 5.  Please also blog your reflection regarding that reading before class on 28/9/17.  Next week’s class will be a key moment in attempting to weave a sense of your own individual interests into our overall discussion of networked culture.  We will work with the tool “Feedly” and think about building out a Lit Review for each of your individualized topics as you further narrow them down and devise a plan for research within the context of this #ResNetSem seminar.  In addition, I hope we can revisit the latter half of the Course Calendar and start to plan for each of your own individual presentations/contributions to the seminar (more on this when we are together Thursday).

**Remember that the week after next (5/10/7), we will have an opportunity to speak with Henry Jenkins and Mimi Ito, our own Alan Levine (#ResNetSem co-director), and some of the Kean University #ResNetSem grad students.  The conversation will take place from California live at the Digital Media and Learning conference held at the
University of California in Irvine. This means that for us, it will be a late-night screen hangout (for those of us who choose to participate).  I am hoping that I can get at least three of you to join in.  Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!


#ResNetSem during #Bergen2017 UCI Bike Week

Hello everyone,

Great conversation on Thursday afternoon!  I am really enjoying our Thursday afternoon time together, and I am glad we have established a foundation for thinking about “architectures of participation” online via the Rheingold readings and our shared perspective of on life online these days.  We have basically been discussing the ways in which one might participate in online networks and communities.

We have been able to consider together networked issues such as:  -peer-based learning forums; -the role of lurker; -role-playing & gaming for establishing dialogue around difficult topics like civic concerns and ethics; consumption vs. production in online spaces; playbor vs. data mining concerns;  -civility and generosity; -how we can think about building online cultures of reciprocity; the value of crowdsourced knowledge production; social capital in the formation of professional learning networks, etc.   Some of you have some really great ideas for forums that would benefit your own self-driven interests.  And we also covered the ways in which we can effectively cultivate a particular form of learning community during our #ResNetSem seminar time together.  It is interesting to take a glimpse of the networked visualization of #ResNetSem thus far, and think about the growth potential for more complex forms of connection as our time together continues to unfold.

Thank you for your thoughtful contributions on your individual blogs.  I want to encourage you to tweet your weekly blogs with our hashtag if so inclined, especially if you feel like generating further conversation about what you chose to write about in any particular week.  In addition, I want to encourage you all to share interesting readings and outside material that you think would expand the scope of our #ResNetSem conversation.  Remember the power of our purposeful backchannel.  For example, in our relatively brief F2Fseminar time together, we weren’t able to dive deeper into the important issue of data mining yet.  But this discussion (“data is the oil of the 21st century”) is a certainly a topic that we can continue in our #ResNetSem backchannel with tweets and Slack posts.

So…this coming week is the infamous UCI World Championship bike racing week.  The rumors have abounded regarding the number of international visitors to our lovely city of Bergen.  It will certainly effect our public transportation, so as per collegial advice, there will be no meeting next Thursday (21/9/17).  That said, I do want you to blog for that Thursday, and also to keep our backchannel on twitter and/or Slack lively.

For Thursday September 21st:

-Please see these instructions about your blog post for this week.  I will be reading your blog posts, synthesizing, and responding to them in my next blog post on this site.  I will post next week to signal to you to what is next in terms of reading for 28/9/17.  I will also be posting the next reading sometime this coming week, and will be emailing you about that so you know where to find the reading for 28/9/17.

-If you have a thoughtful follow up question for @hrheingold, please tweet with #ResNetSem.  He has been gracious enough to be “on the lookout” for our possible ?s.

Enjoy this unusual week!  Looking forward to reading about your ideas and forthcoming work.


Dr. Zamora

Gaining momentum…

So we are now officially gaining momentum as a seminar.  We have met for the second time, we have set up some of our major networking tools/platforms together, we have introduced ourselves to our Kean University colleagues in NJ, and we have heard from them as well (i.e. check our SLACK channel under #general).  Overall, we have just started to pursue a continuous conversation about digital networks and how to thrive online.  When we meet again I am looking forward to digging deeper into an analysis of Net Smart by Howard Rheingold, while we consider the significance of participatory culture and collective intelligence, etc.

While we were covering twitter last week together, we discovered more about how this tool can work (with a fair share of banter and giddiness).   In the midst, we covered the basics about how to quote a tweet, and how to use hashtags in purposeful ways to grow a community in conversation.  The pitfalls of twitter are somewhat common knowledge – it can be used in sophomoric ways as a soapbox or a megaphone (with amplification deemed the main motivation or value).  But with a bit more nuance and understanding, we can redeploy the very same tool thoughtfully and with purpose.   We can grow a connected learning environment and open up a vital conversation about digital citizenship and the networked effect.  I look forward to doing just that with all of you this semester.

For next class, please continue to read Net Smart (chapters 3, 4, and 5 – these files were sent to you directly last Friday).  Please submit your next blog on that reading before we meet on Thursday.  Each of your blogs is now in the course site feed (with one exception), so I will look to read your work from this site under our “student blogs” tab.  Your blogs last week were definitely insightful, and I really look forward to reading your reflections on the next few chapters of the book.

When you blog/reflect on the power of networks, please keep in mind your own research agenda, and the ways in which participatory networks might play a role in how you will proceed – as a researcher, as and artist, and/or as an intellectual in the field of digital culture.

See you in a few days 😉

Dr. Zamora

Great to meet you. Warming up with “Net Smart”….

Processing GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

It was a pleasure to connect with all of you yesterday and have the opportunity to hear a bit about each of you.  I am confident that together we are a diverse group of smart thinkers/designers/writers/makers, and that collectively we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with each other.

A review of what we did together:

-We introduced ourselves. (Thanks for playing along. I know some random things about each of you now.  I hope to discover more as we spend more time together.)

-We talked/walked through the course website and syllabus.

To do for our next seminar meeting on Thursday:

-Please email me your class blog URL & your class twitter account.  There is already is some activity in our backchannel which is great to see.  You should be ready tweet regularly with our class hashtag #ResNetSem .

Please read Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart: How to Thrive OnlineIntroduction & Chapters 1 & 2, pages 1-96)

Your first blog post is due before class on Rheingold’s Intro & Chapter 1 &2 from Net Smart. Remember, your blog posts should be a thoughtful consideration of the week’s reading as you keep in mind the context of the conversations we are having in class. Your purpose in these responses is to consider the author’s project: give an overall (brief) summary, talk about the key phrases/terms in the text, and reflect on how the reading helps you to make sense of your own undertanding of both the aesthetics and politics of networks.  –What are the main ideas of Net Smart?  –Do you agree/disagree with Howard Rheingold’s claims? -You are welcome to connect the author’s ideas to your own experiences as a digital citizen.  Do you have any key questions that emerge from reading this material?  I encourage you to include links to websites/videos/resources that help to further enhance the readings and our discussions.  The tone of your blog post can be informal, anecdotal, and you are welcome to play with stylistic conventions.

I am looking forward to our class next week already.  On the agenda for next Thursday:

We will discuss the notion of of digital citzenship, and consider networked learning and networked practices together.  We will also go over some of the tools we will be using together (i.e. Slack, Feedly, Twitter, etc.).  We will make an introduction video together for our colleagues in our Slack channel.  We will start to identify some of our shared learning outcomes/goals for our seminar.  We will start to fill out our schedule (pertaining to after our October Break).  We will further discuss and co-curate our Reading Roster.

See you in a week.

God helg,

Dr. Zamora



Dr. Mia Zamora’s DIKULT 303 "Digital Aesthetics" Seminar at University of Bergen, Fall 2017