Social media syllabus

This fall I’ve been teaching a new masters course at Uni Oslo that I’ve simply called “social media”. I spent the summer trying to figure out what to cover in this class and what to put into the reading list. Now that I’ve finished the course and my students are writing their final dossiers in our class wiki called the “social media archive”, I thought I post the syllabus here. Thanks to all the folks who’ve been giving me advice on how to design this course! This course went over 7 weeks, with weekly 4 hour sessions. In total 28 hours of lectures and seminars (standard Norwegian course load for a 10 ECTS course at the masters level).

MEVIT4610 – Social Media

Course blog (in Norwegian):

27/9 Introduction. What is social media? Historical context

Recommended readings (not obligatory):

  • Garden, M. (2012) Defining blog: A fool’s errand or a necessary undertaking Journalism 13(4) 483–499. (16 s.)
  • Lovink, G. (2012) Networks Without a Cause. A Critique of Social Media. Polity Press.
  • Mandiberg, M. (2012) The Social Media Reader. New York: NYU Press.
  • Rettberg, J. (2008) Blogging. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 Seminar: Blogging

4/10 Conceptual background: Keywords and central issues of concern

  • Andrejevic, M. (2011) Social network exploitation, In: Papacharissi, Z. (ed.) Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites. London and New York: Routledge, s. 82-102 (20 s.).
  • Baym, N. Chapters 2 & 3 (50 s.)
  • Jenkins, H., Ford, S. & Green, J. (in press) Chapter 4: What constitutes meaningful participation, in Spreadable Media. New York: NYU Press. (ca. 35 s.)
  • Van Dijck, J. (2009) ‘Users like you. Theorizing agency in user-generated content. Media, Culture & Society 31(4): 41-58 (19 s)

Recommended readings (not obligatory):

  • boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007) Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13:210-230
  • Langlois, G. (in press) Participatory Culture and the New Governance of Communication: The Paradox of Participatory Media. Television & New Media. Published as online first, 2. February, 2012
  • Terranova, T. (2000) Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy. Social Text 18(2 63): 33-58

Seminar: Wiki

11/10 Social context: Identity, audiences and the presentation of self

  • Aalen, I. (In press) En liten bok om sosiale medier. Fagbokforlaget (selection)
  • Baym, N. Chapters 4 & 5 (50s)
  • boyd, d. (2010) Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications, In: Papacharissi, Z. (ed.) Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites. London and New York: Routledge (18s.)
  • Hogan, B. (2010) The Presentation of Self in the Age of Social Media: Distinguishing Performances and Exhibitions Online. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 30(6) 377–386, (9 s)
  • Marwick, A. & boyd, d. (2011) I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media and Society 13 (1): 114-133 (19s)

Recommended readings (not obligatory):

  • Arendt, H. (1996) The Human Condition (Vita Activa). Oslo: Pax.
  • Bucher, T. (In press) The Friendship Assemblage: Investigating Programmed Sociality on Facebook. Television & New Media, published as online first, 24. August, 2012
  • Goffman, E. (1959) ThePresentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. (Introduction & Chapter One)
  • Granovetter, M. (1973) The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology 78 (6): 1360-1380:

Seminar: Anonymity

25/10 Material and infrastructural conditions for sharing and participation

First two hours: Data, protocol and APIs

Last two hours: Surveillance and privacy

  • Angwin, J. (2010) The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets, The Wall Street Journal, 30. July.
  • Bodle, R. (2011) Regimes of sharing: Open APIs, interoperability, and Facebook. Information, Communication & Society 14(3): 320-337 (17s)
  • boyd, d. & Crawford, K. (2012) Critical questions for big data. Information, Communication & Society 15(5): 662-679 (17s)
  • boyd, d. (2010) ‘Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity’. SXSW. Austin, Texas, March 13 (12 s.)
  • Papacharissi, Z. & Gibson, P. (2011) Fifteen Minutes of Privacy: Privacy, Sociality, and Publicity on Social Network Sites. In: Trepte, S. & Reinecke, L. (eds) Privacy Online. Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web. Berlin: Springer Verlag (15.s)
  • Simonite, T. (2012) What Facebook knows. Technology Review, July/August
  • Stalder, F. (2012) Between democracy and spectacle: The front-end and the back-end of the social web. In: Mandiberg, M (ed.). The Social Media Reader. New York: NYU Press. (12s.)

Recommended readings (not obligatory):

  • Blum, A. (2012) Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Elmer, G. (2004) Profiling machines: Mapping the personal information economy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Foucault, M (1977) Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. London: Penguin Books (in particular chapter 3 ‘Panopticism’, p.195-228)
  • Margulis, S. (2011) Three Theories of Privacy: An Overview. In: Trepte, S. & Reinecke, L. (eds) Privacy Online. Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web. Berlin: Springer Verlag (9s.)
  • Nissenbaum, H. (2009) Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Particularly introduction and part 1.

Other web resources:

1/11 Algorithmic cultures: Social media as sociotechnical systems

Recommended readings (not obligatory):

  • Beer, D. (2009) Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious. New Media Society 11 (6): 985–1002
  • Gibson, J. (1986) The Theory of Affordances. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers (14 s)
  • Foucault, M. (2007) Security, territory, population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-78. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan (especially section 5, lecture 8. February 1978, s.161-174; and concepts s.489-507).
  • Fuller, M. (2008) Software Studies: a lexicon. MIT Press.
  • Latour, B. (1992) Where are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts, In: Bijker and Law (Eds.) Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change. MIT Press. p. 225-258.
  • Metz, C. (2012) How Facebook knows what you really like, Wired, 24. Mai:

8/11 New Mobilizations? Collective action and new forms of political

First two hours: Memes and politics

Last two hours: Guest speaker: Christopher Wilson on the Arab Spring

  • Dahlgren, P. (2005) The Internet, Public Spheres, and Political Communication: Dispersion and Deliberation. Political Communication, 22 (2): 147–162 (15 s.)
  • Noam, E. (2005) Why the Internet is bad for democracy. Communications of the ACM (2s)
  • Gladwell, M. (2010) Small change: The revolution will not be tweeted, The New Yorker, 4. October
  • Howard, P. & Hussain, M. (2011) The Role of Digital Media. Journal of Democracy 22(3): 35-48 (13s.)
  • Morozov, E. (2011) Kirkegaard Hates Slacktivism, In: The Net Delusion. Toronto: Penguin Books. Sider179- 203 (24s.)
  • Coleman, B. (2011) Anonymous: From the Lulz to Collective Action. Part of the ‘Politics in the Age of Secrecy and Transparency’ cluster (edited by Gabriella Coleman). The New Everyday (March 2011)
  • Tufekci, Z. and Wilson, C. (2012) Social media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Observations from Tahrir Square. Journal of Communication 62: 363-379 (16s.)
Recommended readings (not obligatory):
  • Fraser, N. (1990) Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. Social text, 25/25: 56-80.
  • Habermas, J. (1974) The public sphere: an encyclopaedia article. New German Critique 1(3): 49-55.
  • Mouffe, C. (1999) Deliberative democracy or agonistic pluralism. Social Research 66(3): 745-758.

15/11 A crowdsourced lecture

Readings will be decided on a later stage, as this is your opportunity to let me know which aspects of social media you would like to know more about, or missed during the course of this class. Two weeks prior to November 15th, you can let me know what to give a lecture on and I will do my best to provide you with some insights into the desired topic.