26 research outputs found

    Teaching with infographics: practising new digital competencies and visual literacies

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    This position paper examines the use of infographics as a teaching assignment in the online college classroom. It argues for the benefits of adopting this type of creative assignment for teaching and learning, and considers the pedagogic and technical challenges that may arise in doing so. Data and insights are drawn from two case studies, both from the communications field, one online class and a blended one, taught at two different institutions. The paper demonstrates how incorporating a research-based graphic design assignment into coursework challenges and encourages students' visual digital literacies. The paper includes practical insights and identifies best practices emerging from the authors' classroom experience with the infographic assignment, and from student feedback. The paper suggests that this kind of creative assignment requires students to practice exactly those digital competencies required to participate in an increasingly visual digital culture

    When I'm Sixty-Four: Beatles Rock Band and the Commodification of Nostalgia

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    In 2009, only a few months after the game’s release, the popular trade magazine Advertising Age declared Beatles Rock Band one of America’s hottest brands ("America's hottest brands", 2009). This is quite a feat for a lowly video game, and begs that we consider the reasons for the game’s success as well a the potential social consequences for similar popular games. There are two major elements at work in the creation of Beatles Rock Band as a successful brand, and this paper conducts an analysis of the game in order to identify both of them. First of all, it explores the Beatles as a brand that continues to provide emotional and spiritual value for consumers, and how the feelings associated with this brand have developed intertextually since the band first gained international popularity in 1962. Secondly, this paper will show how Beatles Rock Band works almost like a documentary game, and in doing so rewrites history in order to capitalize on a white-washed and romanticized ideal of 1960s culture. As such, it will show the ways that the Beatles Rock Band draws on previous commercial texts associated with the Beatles brand to create an hyperreal fiction based on historic people and events. This paper is divided up into four sections. The first section will provide a theoretical overview of convergence, remediation, and the business of culture, and then will conduct a brief review of the methodology of digital game studies. The second section will look at the specifics of the game, and some of ways that the game has been marketed to the public at large. The third section will provide a description and overview of the Beatles as a brand, and the ways the brand continues to adapt and change over time in order to appeal to a broad and changing audience. Finally, the fourth section will discuss the commoditfication of nostalgia generally, and the specific ways that this game rewrites history to reproduce it as a commodity

    "What social media ""likes"": a discourse analysis of the Google, Facebook and Twitter blogs"

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    Google, Facebook and Twitter are arguably synonymous with social media (Vaidhyanathan, 2011; Yakolev, 2007; Levy, 2009). Selling the attention spans of internet users to advertisers using content almost entirely created by the labour of others, makes these organizations leaders in a media environment that is beginning to redefine the relationship between consumers (or prosumers), technology, and the modern digital organization (Drache, 2008; Lessig, 2008; Rainie & Wellman, 2012; Castells, 2010; Shirky, 2010). As such, these organizations often get caught in between public action and other forms of online protest, such as the Arab Spring (Castells, 2012) and their practical business needs to maintain discursive control. This dissertation examines the tension between corporate control and user participation as it manifests on the official Google Facebook and Twitter corporate blogs. This research employs critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1995) supported by corpus linguistics techniques (Stubbs, 1996) to analyze each entry from the official Google, Facebook and Twitter corporate blogs between 2006 and 2011. When taken together, the discourses from these three corporate blogs reveal an underlying media logic, otherwise known as social media logic (van Dijck, 2013) that drives these sites, and directs the actions of people who engage with these sites. Put simply, all three sites have an organizational discourse on the blogs which makes technological develop seem both necessary and inevitable. They construct a techno-centrism which often comes at the expense of the people who both develop the technologies, and the end users. These discourses support the commercialization of these sites, but do not support the view that these technologies are somehow inherently democratic (Shirky, 2010). Fortunately however, the fact that the business models of social media sites depend on the free contributions of user-generated content, means that should the people who use these sites decide to fight for change with respect to these organizations, they would be uniquely positioned to do so

    Playing in Drag: A Study on Gender In Virtual and Non-Virtual Gaming

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    This project explores hybrid avatar identities and gender through an analysis of how players navigate gender in games that are popularly considered to be “for girls only” or “for men only”. It also considers the choice of avatar gender that players make in game, and their reasons for making that choice. Finally, it looks at the reported experiences of playing characters of both genders in both online visually rich immersive game environments, as well as leaner table-top RPG play. Using Butler’s gender trouble, we analyze how gender in game play can be both like and unlike drag performance. We also use the frame of gender trouble to consider the question of whether players who openly play games contrary to social expectations, or play an avatar of a different gender, are engaging in a transgressive act. Data was collected through a discourse analysis of online forums, participant observation, and autoethnographic reflection.We find that when the act of play itself is transgressive, there are opportunities to reach a community with a message that challenges dominant ideas of gender. However, the reasons why people choose to play a specific game or avatar within that game are very complex, and the content of the game, along with the reasons people choose a gendered avatar, or how they relate to the avatar both support and subvert dominant gender norms

    Heuristic responses to pandemic uncertainty: Practicable communication strategies of “reasoned transparency” to aid public reception of changing science

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    Scientific uncertainty during pandemic outbreaks poses a challenge for health communicators. Debates continue over the extent to which health officials should be transparent about uncertainty and the extent to which they should suppress uncertainty and risk losing the public’s trust when information changes. The middle ground, the concept of “reasoned transparency,” proposes that communicators focus on interpreting uncertainty to the public in ways informed by risk research. However, little guidance exists for health officials on how to do so in this context. After conducting a series of one-to-one interviews about people’s coronavirus disease 2019 information habits, we identified significant trends in the heuristics that people depended on to process uncertainty. Based on those trends, we propose health communicators use narratives of science as evolving to set expectations for change, and that when changes do occur, health communicators note divergences from the past and avoid simply replacing old information with new information

    COVID-19 health misinformation: using design-based research to develop a theoretical framework for intervention

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    Purpose: Because health misinformation pertaining to COVID-19 is a serious threat to public health, the purpose of this study is to develop a framework to guide an online intervention into some of the drivers of health misinformation online. This framework can be iterated upon through the use of design-based research to continue to develop further interventions as needed. Design/methodology/approach: Using design-based research methods, in this paper, the authors develop a theoretical framework for addressing COVID-19 misinformation. Using a heuristic analysis of research on vaccine misinformation and hesitancy, the authors propose a framework for education interventions that use the narrative effect of transportation as a means to increase knowledge of the drivers of misinformation online. Findings: This heuristic analysis determined that a key element of narrative transportation includes orientation towards particular audiences. Research indicates that mothers are the most significant household decision-makers with respect to vaccines and family health in general; the authors suggest narrative interventions should be tailored specifically to meet their interests and tastes, and that this may be different for mothers of different backgrounds and cultural communities. Originality/value: While there is a significant body of literature on vaccine hesitancy and vaccine misinformation, more research is needed that helps people understand the ways in which misinformation works upon social media users. The framework developed in this research guided the development of an education intervention meant to facilitate this understanding

    Communicating Environmental Research: Harnessing the Power of Curation

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    Never before has public communication of critical research, science, and knowledge on climate change and biodiversity loss been more important. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, stated that we only have 12 years to limit the catastrophic effects of climate change, including extreme weather, flood, drought, and poverty. The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services revealed that roughly 1 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Given these dire warnings, the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss have never been more relevant, considering the impact these unprecedented issues will have on human survival, health, and well-being. This paper describes the results of our study, which explores findings used to develop the practice of research curation, which found that adapting and applying museum engagement strategies, using art to communicate science, and applying social media content curation and marketing strategies in combination with social learning practices are key to successful knowledge mobilization. This article focuses primarily on the methodologies and results of three projects: an art and literary exhibit, a biodiversity conversation series, and a sustainability-themed Instagram account. Based on our experience and findings, we share the lessons learned that we believe are actional for other researchers with similar goals, in particular those who are communicating research on climate change and biodiversity loss

    Introduction to the 2019 International Conference on Social Media & Society

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    This paper provides an introduction to the Proceedings of the 2019 International Conference on Social Media and Society (#SMSociety). The conference is an annual gathering of leading social media researchers, policy makers, and practitioners from around the world. Now in its 10th year, the 2019 conference is hosted by the Social Media Lab at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. The Proceedings features a total of 26 papers (the acceptance rate is 42%)

    The State of Anti-Social Behaviour on Social Media: A Census-balanced Survey About Anti-Social Behaviour on Social Media

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    One of the early promises of social media is that it would give voice to the voiceless and turn the world into a utopic connected village. While we are more connected than ever before, in recent years, social media usage has also been linked to a rise in anti-social behaviour online. In the context of this report, antisocial behaviour on social media is defined as any interaction between two or more users that is hateful, harmful, or contrary to the norms of an online community or platform. This can include cyberbullying, hate speech, trolling, doxing (revealing one’s personal information without consent), and spreading disinformation about someone or something. Around the world and here in Canada, users are grappling with the impending normalization of aggressive behaviour, hostility, and toxic discourse in online spaces that demand more precise attention and interventions from policymakers, social media platforms, researchers, and civil society organizations. At the individual level, anti-social behaviour on social media has reallife psychological and emotional consequences for people. At the community and organizational level, anti-social behaviour can impact work performance and relationships, community ties, and lead to stress and burnout. At the societal level, there is a growing concern that some types of antisocial behaviour, such as hate speech, can erode public trust and confidence in democracy itself. Using a census-balanced sample of the Canadian population (18+), this report aims to empirically shed light on this dangerous trend by analyzing how anti-social behaviour manifests on social media and how it affects different demographic groups in Canada. To establish a point of reference, the report opens with a brief overview of the social media landscape in Canada (Section 1). The following three sections examine Canadians’ experiences with different types of anti-social behaviour on social media (Section 2), the impact of anti-social behaviour (Section 3), and the responses to acts of anti-social behaviour (Section 4)