Social/Media: Critical Inquiries into Internet Cultures
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Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and others permeate our society and daily lives. You may check one or more of these platforms regularly to keep up with friends, communities, or news, or notice their increasing importance in social groups, popular culture, and politics. And yet we rarely step back to examine the structure of these ubiquitous websites and how we use them. In this half-time (8 credit), remotely instructed daytime program, we will critically explore a selection of social media sites and phenomena through theory, media studies, cultural studies, and anthropology. How do these technologies offer new opportunities for individual well-being, creative work, and social action? In what ways do they represent enhanced forms of distraction, surveillance, exploitation, and inequality? Centering on the notion of the digital commons, we will consider the possibilities for shared cultivation of knowledge, art, and community via online platforms.
Program activities include seminar on academic readings, computer labs to analyze websites under study, essay and response writing assignments. Students will take a qualitative, ethnographic approach to social media, through a careful documentation and analysis of particular digital sites and situations. Ethnographic work will culminate in a short audio podcast; as part of this work, students will gain proficiency in the use of audio editing software.
To successfully participate in fall quarter of this program students will need access to a computer with a video camera or a smartphone phone; a secure wifi connection; and a space for videoconferencing. Students should expect to participate in 3 hours of synchronous activities each week using zoom, canvas, Instragram, and other social media accounts. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.
Credits per quarter
- Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
- Winter: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
$25 fee to cover museum and exhibit costs
Class Size: 50
Located in: Olympia