Week 7 Class notes: Trust

Posted: October 21, 2014 in Class notes

We started class with a review of what we’ve learned so far – and a reminder to read each other’s blogs, including this one and to continue diving into Twitter and trying to get the most out of it.

After Alex’s visit, we worked with the readings on trust.

Specifically, we identified the story line behind the 4 readings: We know a lot about online trust in the Web 1.0 era. Social media has an influence on social trust, which is related to social capital and to civic and political participation. The sharing economy is the next step, and it opens up a whole new world/can of worms re: trust.

We then worked on identifying the specific arguments and phrases authors use to position their work in the “garden” of existing research. I hope you learned from that, continue to pay attention to that as you read, and use the techniques in your own writing.

Here are some student written posts that do a good job of capturing what we did in class: DMCrimm provides a complete overview, and Joygreenleaf some tips related to the last hour of class.

You might also find it useful to look at the review of this class from last year, which includes some slides and more details on literature reviews.

I hope the exercise we did in class this week – capturing the essence of each paper in one tweet – got you thinking about how to write smartly and concisely. I would like to challenge you to adopt the same approach when you write your reading notes and blog posts.

In your reading notes, aim for quality, not quantity. Write one “tweet” that summarizes the main point of the reading rather than 2 rambling paragraphs that make me wonder whether you understood what you read. Capture the essence. The reading notes I ask for are not a simple summary of what you read. That’s too easy. You can keep a summary for yourself if it helps you, but what I ask for is an assessment – thinking about those ideas and deciding which one is the most important. As you saw in class, that’s not easy – it requires more thinking, less writing. Let that be your mantra:

More thinking, less doing. Work smart.

For your blog posts, which I have really enjoyed reading, I invite you to become familiar with blogging culture and expectations. I feel that most of you expect way more of yourselves than blogging requires. I asked you about this yesterday, but didn’t get answers, so I don’t know if my feeling is correct…

Not every blog post needs to be smart and well-documented. It is OK to post a short commentary, an example, a half-baked thought that shows us what you’re thinking about. It’s OK to keep blog posts short, concise, and smart. It’s OK to keep each sentence short, concise, and smart. Academic writing is notoriously bad. Unlearn it.

In academese, the writer’s chief goal is to defend himself against the accusation that he is naïve about his own enterprise. So academics describe what other academics do instead of what they study (“In recent years there has been increased interest in X”). They use many metaconcepts—concepts about concepts, like level, perspective, framework, and approach—instead of writing “call the police,” they write, “approach this problem from a law-enforcement perspective.” They turn verbs into nouns—instead of writing, “People cooperated more,” they write, “Levels of cooperation increased.” And they sprinkle their prose with hedges—somewhat, virtually, partially—in an attempt to get off the hook should anyone ever try to prove them wrong.  – Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker, from his book that came out yesterday and that I can’t wait to read.

So, tell me. In your understanding, what makes good writing? What makes good writing for blog posts?

Assignment: Research Topic

Posted: September 30, 2014 in Assignments
Tags: ,

This assignment is available on Blackboard, and that’s where you submit it. Please ask questions about the assignment in the comments below.

Research Plan

Draft due Oct . 6; Finalized version due Oct. 27

By answering the questions below, you create a plan for your class research project. Please answer the first 3 questions in detail by Oct. 6.

Draft answers to the other questions, but you don’t have to finalize them until Oct. 27. Please answer in italics the parts that you are really not sure about.

Research goals – intellectual and practical

What do you hope to accomplish with this research? Please explain it to me in detail. What difference will your research make for theory and/or practice?

Personal goals

How does this research project align with your long-term life and career goals? How is this research project a step towards your thesis, dissertation, a publication, your dream job, etc.?

Research question(s)

List your RQ(s) here. Please make sure they are specific (particularistic). As we discussed in class.


What are the main concepts and possibly theories that define your perspective on this topic? For example, are you looking to increase profits, examine strategy, decision making, risk taking, etc.? These are all concepts that are linked to theories and theoretical perspectives. Please explain to me what your angle, or point of view, is.

Data Collection Methods

What are the concepts that you hope to capture or measure with your data? E.G.: influence of A on B. Define A and B for me (e.g. self-esteem, risky behavior, cultural values, satisfaction with life, etc.).

How can you operationalize and actually assess or tap into each one of the concepts that you want to capture? Is there a scale for self-esteem that you can use? Do you need to create one? What are the research instruments that you need? If they are available, include them here. If not, draft them here.

How do you plan to collect data for this class project? Will you use interviews, surveys, collect tweets, etc. Why is this method the most appropriate for your research purpose?

Please describe the exact procedures you will use, including details about how you will record and store the data.


What sampling strategy will you use? Why did you choose this sampling strategy? If your sampling strategy is not the ideal one, what would be an ideal sampling strategy for this research?

If you are using social media content: please include some information to let me know that you are able to find sufficient and relevant data. Try out your search strategy and see what you find. Fine-tune it so you find what you need.

Data Analysis

How will you analyze the data you collect? What data analysis methods will you employ?.

Other notes you wish to make:


Questions for Dr. V:




(Please insert rows as needed to share with me the steps you plan to take to complete the project.)


Activity Completion Date
Finalized research plan Oct 27 (P/F)
Literature review part of the paper Nov 10 (5 points)
Final project draft Dec 8 (5 points)
Final project presentation Dec 8 (P/F)
Final project Dec 15 (15 points)





Grading criteria:

The research plan is graded only as Pass/Fail. You cannot proceed with your final paper unless you have an Pass for your research plan. Even if you proceed, your paper will not count for a course grade.

I expect to see that you have thought everything through to the best of your abilities. Know what you plan to do and why. The more detailed and specific the plan, the better it will be. Think of it as a recipe for your research. Make it sufficiently detailed so that if you get run over by a bus, someone else can conduct exactly the same research by following the steps you outlined here.

This is not easy, and it requires a bit of research to refine your topic and your research question, and a bit of learning of new research methods. Do remember I can help, so consult with me.

Week 5 Class notes – Social capital

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Class notes

Today’s class was focused around the fundamental concepts of social capital and social network theory. I invite you to consider how social media has changed things in these realms. But, more important, I would like you to consider the implications of the things you learned for you as an individual (how can you use social media to increase your social capital?) and for your research: If you look through the lens of social capital and/or social network theory, what do you see in your area of interest? What issues emerge? What research questions? What dynamics that maybe you didn’t notice before?

As you continue reading for this class, focus on grasping the essence of each reading and the connection among the readings in a way similar to what we did tonight. Identify the core concept or theory and how the readings organize around it to define, explain, and illustrate it. Work to see the connections among the readings and the connections of the readings to you and your work – make them yours. I invite you to engage with the readings actively and deeply and see how you can use these concepts. What’s in it for you? What happens if you look at your piece of the world through the lens of this concept or theory?

Finally, related to today’s class discussion, I want to encourage you to leap. One thing I promise you – in public and in writing – that in this class, you will get all the tools and support that you need to succeed. It is safe. The only sure way to fail is not trying hard. So, try hard. Dive into the deep end of social media. Use Twitter to acquire new social capital. Do a different research project. Step outside your comfort zone. Grow. I’ve got your back. I won’t let you fail once you leap. Yes, this class might be a bit different than what you’re used to. Enjoy it. Make the best out of it. Use this opportunity to explore. You don’t need to play it safe. You are in a safe place from which you can be adventurous. Take advantage of that.

This coming week, show us how you’re all on top of Twitter, and on #followfriday, and how you’re using Twitter and blogs to acquire new social capital.

Questions or thoughts? Please let me know in the comments below. And do remember to let me know in some way or another that you read this post. Let’s maybe try a poll:

Are this kind of class notes helpful to you?

This week’s goals were to define and classify terms related to social media.

We first became familiar with the “classic” pieces people cite when defining Web 2.0, SNS, and Enterprise 2.0.

We discussed definitions of the following:

  • memex
  • hypertext
  • Internet
  • World Wide Web
  • Web 2.0
  • social media
  • SNS
  • Enterprise 2.0

The classification resulted in 3 concentric circles as shown in the graphic created by one of your colleagues:

For follow-up, I would ask: Where do you place Enterprise 2.0? How about blogs?

Do remember to let me know that you read this post by interacting with it somehow.

The main concepts I want to make sure you got are:

1. Goffman’s dramaturgical approach vs. (plus) Hogan’s exhibitional approach.

2. Identity as performance – or more, performativity. See Judith Butler explain the idea (3 min. video) that self & identity are not performed, but are created and re-created and constantly renegotiated. This is consistent with lines of thinking from symbolic interactionism and social psychology – see Gergen & Gergen, Narratives of the Self (pdf.) and also Andersen, S. M., & Chen, S. (2002). The relational self: An interpersonal social-cognitive theory. Psychological Review, 109(4), 619–645. doi:10.1037//0033-295X.109.4.619.

3. Context collapse. - this is related to how we manage multiple groups online. See also:

Lampinen, A., Tamminen, S., & Oulasvirta, A. (2009). “All My People Right Here, Right Now”: Management of group co-presence on a social networking site. Proc. GROUP ’09, 281. doi:10.1145/1531674.1531717

Stutzman, F., & Hartzog, W. (2012). Boundary regulation in social media. Proc. CHI ’12, 769–778. doi:10.1145/2145204.2145320

4. Lowest common denominator – aka the mother in law check.

A few selections from the many more interesting citations on this topic:

DiMicco, J. M., & Millen, D. R. (2007). Identity management: Multiple presentations of self in facebook. 2007 International ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work GROUP ’07, 383–386.

Mischaud, E. (2007). Twitter: Expressions of the whole self. An investigation into user appropriation of a web-based communications platform. London: Media@ lse. Retrieved May 20, 2008 From Http://Www. Lse. Ac. Uk/Collections/Media@ Lse/mediaWorkingPapers/MScDissertationSeries/Mi Sch Aud_Final. Pdf, 1–53.

Pike, J. V., Bateman, P. J., & Butler, B. S. (2009). I Didn’t Know You Could See That: The Effect of Social Networking Environment Characteristics on Publicness and Self-Disclosure, 1–9. Retrieved from http://www.katzis.org/wiki/images/e/ec/PikeBatemanButler2009.pdf

Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(4), 357–364.

Marwick, A. E., & boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114–133. doi:10.1177/1461444810365313

My questions for you:

Did I miss anything? Do you have questions about any of this? Please comment. Also, what research questions emerge for you from these issues? For me, the focus is on context collapse. I try to figure out how to help students deal with this. And I inquire how various groups of people deal with context collapse and how they manage their various social groups across different social media.

To do:

Remember to tweet and blog and comment heavily this coming week so we can all get used to communicating with each other using these media.