Week 6 Assignment Guide

Representation (gender, race, culture, orientation)

Mesmerized by Numbers, by Hsing Wei
Facebook. All those smiling friends staring back at you like a bag of skittles. Such diversity. Everyone’s so different, except they’re not. Why?
Racial and ethnic groups segregate themselves even in living spaces, such as colleges, that have been designed to promote integration. Following a tendency toward ‘homophily,’ this self-segregation seems to be a fairly resilient tendency. Yet shouldn’t you be more likely to form an integrated network online than to seek out diversity in your living environment? Compare choosing Facebook friends to choosing your roommates? Shouldn’t we feel more free to seek out diverse groups online than we would in face-to-face settings where we may feel racial and ethnic difference most strongly?
Curiously, online networks tend to follow the pattern of our in-person networks, even though they are presumably free of the constraints of location and opportunity and seem to require such low levels of risk or commitment.
-Mark C. Marino


For Tuesday (8am)

Finish your network analysis from Week 5. Come to class ready to present what you found. Show us your network graph and tell us what you learned from it.

Tuesday class meeting

In class, we will show off our network analyses and reflect on insights gained.

For Thursday (8am)

Read at least three of the articles listed under Readings below. Leave at least two annotations in our digitalstudies group on hypothes.is. Read over as many of your colleagues' annotations as you can before class, especially those posted on the articles you didn't read.

Be sure to do some work on your domain this week. That could involve posting the results of your network visualization project to your domain. Or if that project doesn't fit your site's theme or isn't in the shape you'd want it to be before sharing it more publicly, you can make other additions/changes/deletions on your site (perhaps following up on last week's blogging unit).

Thursday class meeting

We'll do some Google searches on terms like teacher, professor, doctor, nurse, baby, teenager, criminal. What is striking about the results? Are we surprised? How are those results "chosen"? Are they meaningful at all? If we wanted to alter the results, what would it take? We'll discuss these questions in light of the readings for the day and reflect on what it means for our own work in public on the internet.

We'll also introduce activities for Week 7 (Wikipedia).

For Friday (8am)

Complete your self-assessment for Week 6 and add it to the document you created last week. Be sure to comment on the updates you made to your domain, and include links to your network visualization project and at least some of your annotations/replies.

For materials due Monday and Tuesday, see the Week 7 Guide.