Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jason Calacanis and the other 24...

Here is the article that Marissa was talking about, it features our next public speaker Jason Calacanis (number 23). I thought it was pretty interesting that Perez happens to be number 2! Whats happening to the world....


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Senate Course Guide

I remember we talked about the website, "Senate Course Guide" in class. It's really good for checking reviews on professors at USC before signing up for a class. Here's the website in case some of you guys had never heard of it:


Not all the professors are listed on this website, so lots of times I'll use www.ratemyprofessor.com as a back-up site too.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Moving Away from Hardware?

An interesting article from Forbes.com on open source information storage -- a move away from hardware toward a more mobile information storage/access.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Revolution OS - Trailer

couldn't post the documentary from google video, but youtube (also owned by google) lets me post the trailer.

streaming movies

for some reason, google video doesn't seem to recognize me as a blogger user, despite the fact ITS THE SAME COMPANY. incompatibility sucks. so I can't post Revolution OS directly on the blog, but you can find it here, in case you want to listen to the dulcet, scandinavian-inflected tones of Linus Torvalds to lull you to sleep.

I also want to point you guys to an article in today's nytimes on netflix's new entry into the semi-crowded streaming video space. best thing about the netflix service: if you're already a subscriber, its there. no additional fees. other best part: your usage is metered by time, not per movie:
But the huge, mind-bending, game-changing advantage of this model is that you can channel-surf movies just the way you channel-surf TV. You can watch 15 minutes of “Single White Female,” decide you’re more in the mood for a documentary, and switch over to “Super Size Me.” When a buddy tells you that “Twister” is lame except for the climactic final sequence, you can fast-forward right to that part. You can watch the beginning of “Gladiator” tonight, and watch the rest of it a month later, without having to re-rent it or pay late fees.
worst part: its streaming instead of downloaded, which means you have to be connected to the Internet to watch. not a problem if you're lying in bed at home, but much less convenient if you're on a plane.

what do you think? do you think this will be the "killer app" that will lead to the death of the DVD? would you use it? why or why not? what affect do you think this will have on the movie business? positive? negative? neutral?

More speakers and info on today's class

Another newly confirmed speaker: Rebecca Woolf, will be joining our class on Feb 15th. Rebecca writes the populars blogs Girl's Gone Child and Straight from the Bottle on Babble.com. Rebecca has written a book based on Girl's Gone Child that will be published by Seal Press in early 2008. Additionally, Rebecca is a chathost on the community site Starbright World for chronically ill teens.

Yesterday Forbes released it's first annual Top 25 Web Celebs and next week's speaker, Jason Calacanis, comes in at number 23 on the list.

This week we don't have a speaker, but after lecture and discussion we will be viewing the documentary Revolution OS, a look at the open source software movement and an illuminating look at the economies of online cooperation.

see you later.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Investing through Social Networks

I heard about this on a Podcast (I can't remember the name) and this site is basically an Investing version of a Social Network Site. People basically share their investment recommendations with other members of the site. The goal of this company is to help people invest better by having access to relevant information without having to spend hours searching for it. I though this was an interesting approach to online communities. Check it out!


Monday, January 22, 2007

confirmed speaker: jason calacanis

just got confirmation that jason calacanis will be speaking at our feb 1 class. he is currently the 'entrepreneur in residence' at Sequoia Capital (a venture capital firm) and was the founder of Weblogs, Inc. (now owned by AOL).
For those of you having a hard time deciding what your "wild card" community will be, this site may be helpful in leading you towards a community of interest. I've also added it to the "useful links" section on the right.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Music Genome Project


I discovered this site last year and its basically a music search engine/ radio service where users can type in a band name and search for similar bands. The program is interesting in that it identifies patterns in music for the band you're searching and matches it to similar patterns others. Its great for discovering new music.


PS3 vs. Wii

a bit of fun - mocks both the apple ads and the playstation 3

Funny article on "blog slapping"

this is the first time I've heard the term "blog slapping" - I doubt it will put an end to rude behavior but its interesting to think about how technology sometimes blurs the line between the public and private spheres. its also an account of how technology can be put to some very creepy uses.

Is online community a real community?

unfortunately, we didn't have enough time yesterday to discuss the presentation before jessica arrived.

I'm wondering what your thoughts - how do you define community? is it possible to create the emotional bonds online that are necessary to call a group a 'community'? is it better than offline? worse? do we need to re-define what we mean by community?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

DIY convention - free for college students

I occassionally speak at conferences on topics related to digital media, technology and culture. I have one coming up that I'm particularly excited about - the seventh DIY convention. (DIY stands for Do It Yourself) and the conference focuses on DIY media such as blogging, podcasts, music, publishing and entertainment. I'll be speaking on a panel on blogging on sat feb 10th.

you are under no obligation to attend this festival, but it IS free to college students, if this is something that interests you:
High school and college students with valid ID will be admitted free to the panel portion of the event if they RSVP with full name, address and contact information to DIYConvention@aol.com by Feb. 1, 2007.
I know you all have a lot of classwork, some of you hold jobs, etc so again, let me reiterate - this is entirely voluntary and does not impact your class grade. just thought some of you might find it interesting.

Two good stories in Wired today

first, How Yahoo Blew It. A great recap on how yahoo tried to cobble together a competitor to google but was hamstrung by corporate inefficiencies, turf wars and a lack of a clear strategic vision.

second, Why Joost Is Good for TV - this is a project founded by the same guys who invented Kazaa and Skype. Next up for them is TV - they're getting a ton of buzz lately and I'm participating in the beta test. will let you know more about that as it progresses.

tomorrow's guest speaker

tomorrow's guest is Jessica Morgan, of Go Fug Yourself and Television Without Pity, as well as New York mag and an upcoming book.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gadgets as Tyrants

Interesting op-ed in the nytimes today on gadget incompatibility and the consumer electronics industry's attempts to limit consumer freedom - how you use technology, your ability to copy and distribute content, and how consumers find ways around ever-tightening restrictions.

thoughts? opinions? what does 'digital freedom' mean to you? have you found ways around a device or technologies intended use?


since we mentioned them in class, links to two great mashups: Brokeback to the Future and Shining. Enjoy.

brokeback to the future

Monday, January 15, 2007

Best of Bootie 2006

every once in a while, I'll direct you guys towards some interesting mashup or remixed content - and I hope you will do the same.

today's link: Best of Bootie 2006. I think my current favorite is the Lady Sovereign/Eurythmics mashup. what's yours?

Friday, January 12, 2007

new speaker confirmation

nick desai, ceo and founder of Juice Wireless will be joining us on feb 8th to discuss mobile content and mobile marketing.

how do you guys feel about an evening lecture?

before you say 'no way' consider this - I've asked perez hilton to come speak to the class but he's only able to do it in the evening. if I can secure a room for us, would you guys be interested in a supplementary lecture by perez? I realize it may be difficult to organize everyone's schedule so this would be voluntary. if there's enough interest, I'll organize the lecture.

leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Confirmed speakers

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Welcome to COMM 321: Communication in the Virtual Group

Hey folks, welcome to the blog for USC Annenberg's Comm 321 class: Communication in the Virtual Group. We'll be using this blog to comment on the readings and class discussions throughout the semester. To kick things off, here's a copy of the syllabus:

Marissa Gluck
Office: TBA
2:30-3:30 Thurs and by appointment

I prefer not to post my email or phone number online, but will provide this to you in class.

Course Description:
A globe-spanning web of computer networks offers millions of users the opportunity to exchange electronic mail, transfer files, search databases and retrieve information from remote libraries, take part in real-time conferences, run software on distant computers, buy products in online marketplaces, view images from galleries and museums, and participate in discussion groups on topics from autism education to yacht design. The growth of the Internet has been explosive in recent years. The number of users on these networks has been growing at a staggering pace.

The convergence of computer and communication technologies is becoming a social convergence as well. The global reach of the Internet not only facilitates communication among members of existing distributed groups and teams, but perhaps more importantly it provides a medium for the formation and cultivation of new relationships through virtually instantaneous access to thousands of potential contacts with compatible interests and spheres of expertise.

COMM 321 is designed to acquaint undergraduate students in ASC with the fundamentals of developing and distributing content for this rapidly growing medium, primarily as participants in social networking, blogs, and online video-sharing sites. Students will also consider the uses and gratifications of the Web, how such issues as commercialization, privacy, and the digital divide influence Web content, and how the Web contributes to the formation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships.

The course will meet in ASC230. All units in the Lab are connected to USCnet, providing full access to the scf, library resources, and the Internet. Students who have not yet activated their email accounts should go here (http://www.usc.edu/go/firstlogin) to do so. To learn about the steps required to set up a web page at USC, go here (http://www.usc.edu/uscweb/authoring/ppages.html). These procedures will be reviewed in class to make sure that everyone has a working email account and basic web page.

Components of the Course Grade:

  1. In-class participation: 25%
  2. Online participation in a virtual community: 25%
  3. Mid-term Paper: 25%
  4. Final Term Paper: 25%

Academic Integrity Policy
School of Communication is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and ethical support. It endorses and acts on the school policies and procedures detailed in the SCampus section titled: "University Student Conduct Code." See especially Appendix A: "Academic Dishonesty Sanction Guidelines." The policies, procedures, and guidelines will be assiduously upheld. They protect your rights, as well as those of the faculty. It is particularly important that you are aware of and avoid plagiarism, cheating on exams, fabricating data for a project, submitting the same paper to more than one professor, or submitting a paper authored by anyone but yourself. In the 321 class plagiarism is also defined as submitting a web site copied from someone else. If you have questions about any of these matters, confer with the instructor.

Academic Accommodation based on Disability
Any student requesting academic accommodation based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to the instructor as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776."

Outline of the 15 course meetings

Week 1: Introduction
Jan 11, 2007
1. A Short History of the Internet by Bruce Sterling
2. Finding One's Own Space in Cyberspace by Amy Bruckman


Week 2: Virtual Communities: Introduction
Jan 18, 2007

  • This week we will broadly review how to define community, examine the unique attributes of virtual communities, and review some of the social experiments taking place online.

1. Communities in Cyberspace by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith

2. A Slice of Life in my Virtual Community by Howard Rheingold
3. Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? By Jan Fernback & Brad Thompson

Week 3: Virtual Communities: Rules and Regulation
Jan 25, 2007

  • This week we will examine how virtual communities work and evolve, and what are their limitations.
1. The Economies of Online Cooperation: Gifts and Public Goods in Cyberspace by Peter Kollock
2. TBA

Week 4: Virtual Identity: Race, Class and Gender
Feb 1, 2007

  • This week we will examine how users formulate and experiment with identity and self-perception online, and some of the pitfalls virtual communities encounter.

1. Gender Swapping on the Internet by Amy Bruckman

2. Self Without Body: Textual Self-Representation in an Electronic Community by Mark Giese
3. How Women and Men Use the Internet: Women are catching up to men in most measures of online life by Deborah Fallows
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/171/report_display.asp (download pdf)

Week 5: Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Real and Virtual Communities Collide
Feb 8, 2007

  • This week we will examine how virtual and physical communities intersect, and how users deal with loss and grief on the Internet.

1. Getting real: Virtual communities that break the fourth wall by Derek M. Powazek
2. Searching for Barry Goldstein: Virtual Community -- Real Loss by Leonard Grossman
3. Community Participation and Internet Use after September 11: Complementarity in Channel Consumption
4. The Internet’s Growing Role in Life’s Major Moments by John Horrigan, Lee Rainie
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/181/report_display.asp (download pdf)

Week 6: The Digital Divide
Feb 15, 2007

  • This week we will take a look at how social, educational, racial and cultural inequalities manifest themselves online. We will also focus on what, if anything, can be done to address these inequalities, on both a local and global scale.

1. Digital Divisions: There are clear differences among those with broadband connections, dial-up connections, and no connections at all to the internet by Susannah Fox
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/165/report_display.asp (download pdf)
2. The Breakthrough of That Dance Video, the Future of YouTube and the Wisdom of Google by Virginia Heffernan

Week 7: The New Social Networks
Feb 22, 2007

  • This week we will address the growth of social networks, what constitutes a successful network, and why some fail where others have succeeded.
  • Midterm paper due

1. Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad? By Danah Boyd
2. Addendum: Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad? By Danah Boyd
3. Copy and Paste Literacy: Literacy Practices in the Production of a Myspace Profile by Dan Perkel

Week 8: The Privacy Paradox
March 1, 2007

  • This week we will take a look at some of the burgeoning privacy issues engendered by the rise of social networks, and the intersection of the private and public spheres.

1. A Privacy Paradox: Social Networking in the
United States by Susan B. Barnes
2. Imagined Communities: Awareness, Information Sharing and Privacy on the Facebook by Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross

Week 9: Networks, power and politics
March 8, 2007

  • This week we will inspect how the Internet influences political processes, how powerful is the blogosphere in affecting political change and how can we measure its strength?

1. The new blogocracy by Danah Boyd
2. The Power and Politics of Blogs by Daniel Drezner
3. Social Media and the Networked Public Sphere by Ulises Ali Mejias
4. How can we measure the influence of the Blogosphere? by Kathy E. Gill

Week 10: Open Source and Web 2.0
March 22, 2007

  • This week we will attempt to define innovation online. Is it simply technological invention or is it dependent upon the collective knowledge and contributions of networks? How does copyright encourage or stifle innovation?

1. The Architecture of Innovation
2. What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software by Tim O’Reilly

Week 11: Copyright, Piracy and Distribution
March 29, 2007

  • This week we will address the issue of piracy and copyright in entertainment industry. How does the industry protect itself? What can be done to curtail piracy? How do consumers resist and react to the industries’ attempts to enforce copyright protections?

1. Courtney Love does the math by Courtney Love
2. Innovating Copyright by Larry Lessig

3. Second Life Will Save Copyright by Jennifer Granick

Week 12: Remixing, Mashups and Participatory Culture
April 5, 2007

  • This week we will take a look at mashups and remixed cultural artifacts and examine their function as forms of aesthetic dissent. We will use mashups and remixes to understand how the traditional producer-consumer power dynamic is currently being subverted and used by consumers to react against tightening control over intellectual property.

1. Mash it up! Hearing a new musical form as an aesthetic resistance movement by
Aram Sinnreich
2. TBA

Week 13: Video Games
April 12, 2007

  • This week we will look at one of the fastest growing sectors of the entertainment industry: video games. In this class we will examine the role of video games not just as an economic commodity, but also as a cultural commodity with a unique social dynamic that is changing the way we tell stories, they way we interact with each other, and the ways in which we understand the world.

1. The Day the Grid Disappeared by Mark Wallace
2. TBA

Week 14: Advertising and Marketing, E-commerce
April 19, 2007

  • This week we will address two of the primary revenue models for the Internet: advertising and e-commerce. We will discuss how online advertising differs, if at all, from traditional advertising models, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages to advertising online, and what the future of online advertising holds. This week we will also examine ecommerce. We will attempt to understand how virtual communities intersect with online commerce, how they can help or hurt a brand, and some of the most prevalent commerce models.

1. TBA
2. TBA

Week 15: Conclusion and Review
April 26, 2007

  • Today, we will spend some time reviewing the semester’s lectures and reading assignments, in preparation for the final paper.
  • No readings