Introduction to Unit 2

Today we’re talking about Unit 2 and Twitter, but before we do that, let’s review what’s due tonight:

  • Post your final Truth-o-meter fact-check as a new post. That is, do not overwrite the DRAFT post; instead create a new post so that I can compare the changes. This post is due by midnight tonight, unless you go to the Writing Center. If you do that, and you email me the client report form, you may turn in your work on Thursday (10/12) instead.

Unit 2 overview

Let’s look at Unit 2, the schedule, and get you into your panels for the unit:

Panels

 Section 3 (9:30)Section 4 (12:30)
Group 1Tori
Melissa
Amanda S.
Rachel
Joe
Laura
Lex
Group 2Darien
Jessa
Katy
Justina
Olivia
Taylor
Nah'Ja
Group 3Amanda B
Kim
Taylor
Julie
Ariana
Tom
Nikkaya
Group 4Brittany
Amira
Reilly
Stephen
Dana
Ellie
Melanie
Group 5Gia
Nicole
Briana
Domenica
Alexis E.
Jade
Jenn

Trackers and nefarious hackers: why we need critical digital literacies and counter-technologies

You’ve had a lot of experience practicing basic web literacies using fact-checking sites like Snopes, Politifact and Wikipedia; going upstream for original source material, and assessing credibility by reading sources laterally. Although we dabbled in the reasons why we need such literacies when we discussed filter bubbles, much more can be said of the kinds of technologies that require these literacies. In other words, we need to ask questions like:

  • Who or what are we trying to sidestep in using these skills? What traps exist for users trying to find pure info on the web? What is the worst that can happen? What stories do we know of people having a terrible experience online?
  • What are some of the trackers and hackers that make the web a potentially dangerous place? Who are these bad actors and what are their interests?
  • What are some ways you already avoid these traps? What critical digital literacies do you already have?

 Twitter: An Introduction

In this unit we move from readers of social media to readers and writers of social media, specifically Twitter. As your readings for tonight suggest, Twitter has become an important — and problematic! — tool in the attention economy. My hope is that you’ll understand this better as you use it. To get started we’ll create an account:

  1. Go to Twitter.com and click the “sign up” button or load the app from your phone.
  2. Use your real name or a pseudonym and enter a valid email address.
  3. Before you accept the option to “Personalize Twitter based on where you’ve seen Twitter content on the web,” click “Learn More.”
  4. Also before you accept everything and sign up, click the advanced tab (which is purposefully hidden) and decide if you want “others” to find you by your email address or phone number. Now that you’ve decided on these privacy measures, you probably also want to skip entering your phone number on the next screen.
  5. Decide on a username. Usernames do not have to reflect your name in real life (IRL) and – above all – should be memorable. Use this username generator especially since twitter is sensitive to nonconforming names that look like bots (i.e. wrt_799). NOTE: if Twitter locks you out and asks you for you phone number, you can try this procedure with Google Voice or start over and see if you can get an account without one.
  6. Confirm your account by checking your mail and clicking “confirm now.”
  7. Once you’ve decided on a username, add it to our blogroll and link it to your Twitter page. (example: @futureofwriting)
  8. Feel free to customize your experience, but you should know that the more info you give Twitter, the more its algorithm will assume about you.

Getting Started: 3 moves

  • Follow. Once you’re in the interface, find and follow @futureofwriting, your classmates on the blogroll (especially your fellow panelists), and possibly other good sources of info we discussed in the 1st unit (Snopes, Wikipedia, Politico, etc.).
  • Customize. Upload a profile pic and banner image, and write a bio for others to see. Still: be protective of your privacy, as your default setting is not private (and switching your account to private would lock us all out).
  • Tweet. Posting to the general public is as simple as entering a message in the “What’s happening?” field, but you can also post to specific users using the “@” sign at the beginning of your message (example: “@futureofwriting Here are 3 discussion questions…”).
  • # (hashtag). You should use the course hashtag, #wrtf17 for all tweets, which will help us organize our conversation and give you points. But feel free to use other hashtags and tag users too (example tweet: “Reading about twitterbots on @NYTimes for HW. #Russia def played a role in #2016election.” Tagging another user will notify them in their “mentions” tab.

Homework for Th, 10/12