Week 2 – social and technological context

Our topics this week:

  • A brief history of the Internet and blogging.
  • From Thomas Paine to Blogs (and points in-between)
  • Blogging: definition, features and forms.
  • Technologies: RSS, Bloglines, GoogleReader

Today’s Agenda:

  • Housekeeping
  • Discuss readings (your questions)
  • Multimedia:
    • Clip from Desk Set (4’00”)
    • EPIC2015 (8’56”)
    • AT&T 1993 “You Will” Ads (from Melissa, 2’05”)
    • Ethan Zuckerman on The History of The Internet (6’52”)


  • Blog comments should not be moderated (settings -> discussion)

Discuss Readings

  • Open v closed questions
  • Trace collapse of time through reporting of disasters:
    Lisbon earthquake, 1755, 60K died, months for news to spread, brief mention in NY and Boston
    Indonesian Tsunami, 2004, ~200K died from the tsunami, minutes for news to spread, global response
  • What technological changes have occurred since Fidler wrote his book in 1997?
  • From the article 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web, which rule is most beneficial to you and why? (small group discussion)

Blog Form

  • Blogging software as logical extension of mechanical printing (movable type, Gutenberg et al, c.1450, followed by machine-powered presses, c1810)
  • Blog definition/characteristics:
    • an online journal of personal thoughts and web links, usually published frequently and presented in reverse-chronological order
    • blog characteristics: also includes blogroll
    • blog post characteristics
      1. title
      2. body (post)
      3. permalink
      4. categories/tags
      5. date/timestamp
      7. trackback
  • The link post:
    A link post (example) serves as a pointer to another Internet resource. These posts tend to be short and pithy and usually point to only one additional resource. However, a link post may point to multiple sources about the same topic. The quintessential link blog is BoingBoing, although it have evolved and offers both medium and long form posts. Some people are using Twitter as a link blog; others are using Posterous (Guy Kawasaki, Steve Rubel). Today, most blogs are of mixed form.
  • In-class assignment:
    Find a resource related to blogging, such as a how-to for writing or design, an article on blogging history. Write a short description of the resource and link to it. Write a catchy headline. Categorize as “assignment.” Publish! Due end of class; does not count as one of your subject-matter posts due this week, as it is an in-class exercise to help you with that assignment.
  • How to make a hyperlink in WordPress


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1 Comment

  1. All present; Alana, Melissa, Abigail late


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