Resources for your Final Papers:

Generation Sell
Facebook Is Using You

Killing Us Softly 4 (we watched 2:43-5:10):

Tough Guise (we stopped at 3:20)

Miss Representation

Merchants of Cool

Interview with Mark Cronin, whose company produced Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, America’s Most Talented Kids

Quotes from Thursday's Concentric Circles activity:

Viewpoint 1: Equal and open opportunities to share and publish real stories improves the quality of ideas in the world (more brains are better than a few and the best ideas rise to the top, thanks in part to search engines and aggregators).
“Reality TV has one appeal, which it shares with fiction–we as viewers hope, desperately, to find something relevant to our own lives. We seek any small hint about how to live our own lives just a bit better, to justify our hope, or to see that we are not alone in what we face in our life. The possibility that reality-based stories will reveal something real is so enticing that the televised society is just fine with us. Turn the camera on.” --Charles B. Slocum, Writer’s Guild of America West Assistant Executive Director

Social media is now at the stage in which we are all becoming expert storytellers, often without knowing it, and developing the skills to tell those stories effectively … Far from storytelling being a way of inventing characters and plots to entertain or teach lessons, we are now the central character of the story, and the stories we create about ourselves online are our crucial social currency and the way in which we connect with others. –Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher, social media marketers,

What social media means in the evolution of storytelling however, is that far from storytelling being the reserve of a privileged few in society, who others may look to for entertainment or moral lessons (the role of shamans for example), we are now all storytellers, telling a story about ourselves through social media that plays a crucial role in the way in which others perceive us, but also, interestingly, how our own lives are preserved. Think of your Facebook profile or Twitter account as your section on a cave – your piece of media in which you use a variation of symbols (in this case the letters of the alphabet) to tell your story to others who might find it. – Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher, social media marketers,

Ah, for the good old days, when a handful of writers got to tell the world how to think. How sad it is that those writers now must compete with blogs. But whether victims of competition are happy or not doesn't determine the quality of the competition. In my view, there's little evidence of "taste" in the product of "media companies." --Lawrence Lessig, Stanford law professor and Creative Commons founder

Because the blogging community is so highly self-referential, bloggers paying attention to other bloggers magnifies their visibility and power. The "echo chamber" that critics decry is also an amplifier. If it were merely an amplifier, blogging would be uninteresting. But like Wikipedia, blogging harnesses collective intelligence as a kind of filter … the collective attention of the blogosphere selects for value. -- //Tim O'Reilly//, publisher and supporter of free software and open source movements

I read blogs every day, for all sorts of reasons, but I turn to blogs especially when I want to hear alternative viewpoints — for example, information on a particular medical treatment from the viewpoint of patients receiving it, rather than doctors administering it; reports from the battlefield seen through the eyes of soldiers rather than politicians; thoughts on a particular technology from the standpoint of engineers rather than executives. --Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist

Just as we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how all those poets out there are going to monetize (make money from) their poetry, the same is true for most bloggers. – Seth Godin, author and entrepreneur who started Squidoo, Yoyodyne and ChangeThis

Although there is a lot of talk about how digital technologies will lead to the end of the book, social media shows us that storytelling remains a key way of how we make sense of each other. – Ruth Page, lecturer in English language at the University of Leicester, and author of Stories and Social Media: Identities and Interaction.

A great reality-TV concept takes some commonplace piety of polite society and gives it a wedgie. Companies value team spirit; Survivor says the team will screw you in the end. The cult of self-esteem says everybody is talented; American Idol's Simon Cowell says to sit down and shut your pie hole. Romance and feminism say a man's money shouldn't matter; Joe Millionaire wagers $50 million that they're wrong. –James Poniewozik, TV critic and journalist, Why Reality TV Is Good for Us

When a reality show depicts bad behavior, it's immoral, misanthropic, sexist or sick. When The Sopranos does the same thing, it's nuanced storytelling. We assume that viewers can empathize with Tony Soprano without wanting to be him; we assume they can maintain critical distance and perceive ironies between his words and the truth. Why? Because we assume that people who like The Sopranos are smarter, more mature — better — than people who like The Bachelorette. -- James Poniewozik]], TV critic and journalist, Why Reality TV Is Good for Us,9171,421047,00.html#ixzz1njttz8gi

Viewpoint 2: Experts ought to be charge of filtering what is published in order to maintain high standards of accuracy and focus public conversations (discourse) around what is most important to society (the most intelligent people should be in charge of deciding what ideas are important).

The YouTubification of politics is a threat to civic culture. It infantilizes the political process, silencing public discourse and leaving the future of government up to thirty-second video clips shot by camcorder-wielding amateurs with political agendas. Andrew Keen, Cult of the Amateur, p. 68.

News aggregating sites like Digg or Reddit or Rojo, which rely on the collective behavior of other users, also limit our access to fair and balanced information … our knowledge—of everything from politics to current affairs, to literature, to science—is being shaped by nothing but the aggregation of responses. -- Andrew Keen, Cult of the Amateur, p. 93.
The price we pay for the growth in egalitarianism offered by the Internet is the decentralized access to unedited stories. In this medium, contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus – Jurgan Habermas, German philosopher, quoted in Cult of the Amateur, p. 55

Wikipedia is insidiously crammed with misinformation, much of it planted by special interest groups or malign individuals with axes to grind. Yet it is also the 17th most accessed site on the internet. Encyclopaedia Britannica, with 100 Nobel prize-winners, 4,000 expert contributors, and its strict code of accuracy and objectivity, is ranked 5,128. -- A.N Wilson, The Internet is Destroying the World as We Know It

Magnified across the whole sprawl of the Internet, it is easy to see how truth itself has been made cheap by Web 2.0. And this is just the start of the problem. If civilised life, and our shared perception of goodness, depends on keeping the division very sharp between truth and falsehood, then it also, surely, depends upon an idea of ownership. You don’t pinch other people’s property. Yet teachers in schools, colleges and universities have noted a terrifying rise in what used to be called cheating - with vast screeds of students’ coursework often lifted wholesale from the internet (though much of the material is often riddled with factual errors). This habit of mind - "If it’s online, it’s free" - extends to films and music, too. -- A.N Wilson, The Internet is Destroying the World as We Know It

“If you democratize media, then you end up democratizing talent. The unintended consequence of all this democratization… is cultural ‘flattening.’ In the end we’re left with nothing more than ‘the flat noise of opinion.’ –Andrew Keen, Web 2.0 is Reminiscent of Marx;contentBody

I’ve noticed in the last 10 years that students are no less intelligent, no less ambitious but there are two big differences: Reading habits have slipped, along with general knowledge. You can quote me on this: You guys don’t know anything [this is said in relation to general facts, such as when Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas] – Mark Bauerlein, English professor at Emory University, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)

The mass never comes up to the standard of its best member, but on the contrary degrades itself to a level with the lowest. – Henry David Thoreau, The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, p. 34.

Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups Friedrich Nietzsche, Aphorism 156, Beyond Good and Evil.

Without the New York Times, there is no blog community. They’d have nothing to blog about. – Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink

Has the level of self-regard in the blogosphere really reached such dizzying heights that it can’t acknowledge the work that traditional media does on behalf of the rest of us? Yes, the newspaper business isn’t as lucrative as it once was (although it’s still pretty lucrative). And it doesn’t seem as exciting and relevant as it once was. But newspapers continue to perform an incredibly important function as informational gatekeepers—a function, as far as I can tell, that grows more important with time, not less. Between them, for instance, the Times and the Post have literally hundreds of trained professionals whose only job it is to sift through the mountains of information that come out of the various levels of government and find what is of value and of importance to the rest of us. Where would we be without them? We’d be lost. – Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink

Resources for Your One-Pagers

Memoirs Available on Google Books:

Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

Night, by Elie Wiesel


Perez Hiton (celebrity/entertainment gossip blog)

FailBlog (humor)

Kotaku the Gamer's Guide

TV Shows

Pawn Stars

Myth Busters

Big Brother

Top Chef