One problem… (and a question)

One thing that I noticed in all of the readings (Emilio Ferrara, “How Twitter bots affected the US presidential election“, Sam Sanders, “Did social media ruin election 2016?“, Danah boyd, “I blame the media. Reality check time.“) is that none of them actually propose a solution to these issues (the widespread misinformation and the bots notably).

I can only think of a few, and I would your opinion on some others. One that I could think of is enacting a law on credited media outlets (CNN, Fox, etc) to require that they either show academically substantiated polls (meaning that they have a large data pool, of various races, genders, and ages) or that they have to have a disclaimer saying that the information might not be accurate.

I honestly have no idea how we could solve the issue of bots polluting social media so that the actual issues aren’t discussed, but I would love to hear some suggestions.

Do you have any idea what one way to help mitigate these problems would be?

Design Document

Image result for the lottery shirley jackson

The main idea behind this project is to tell the story of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson using multiple visual media forms rather than simply using text.

This project will demonstrate how different media can be combined to add depth and detail to something like text. The short story selected was published in 1948 and this project will also serve to show how new and different forms of media have been developed and how they can aid in the story-telling process.

Throughout this course, we have learned about different types of media and how they can be used to deliver information to their audience. Since we will be using multiple types of media to tell the story of The Lottery, we will be further demonstrating the content taught in the course.

In order to do this, we will be using 4 different media to tell this story. The first of which, is a comic strip, which will be used to set up the story in a clear and purely visual manner, as shown in the rough sketches here.


Following this part, we will post  the backstory portion of The Lottery in a blog post, with  the text reformatted so that it more accurately represents how that part of the story would be presented if it were in a blog format (meaning that the language and sentence formatting will be more modernized, pictures will be added and the tone will be adjusted to be less formal as it is in blogs).

The next part will be done in a youtube video which will handle most of the dialogue that takes place in this part of the story. The video will include music in the background, appropriate sound effects when necessary, images that coincide with the events in the dialogue. It will be done similarly to this video of Christopher Lee reading The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

The remaining parts of dialogue will be shown using a twine game, as well as the ending of the story. In this portion, we will also be adding a variety of unique options that are not part of the story, leading to a more ‘adventure’ style to convey the end. The true ending (meaning the one that happens in the actual text) will be clearly marked, with the other endings being marked as variations.


The text that we will be focusing on here is The Lottery by Shirely Jackson, where we will be using her text (originally published in 1948) and telling it through a variety of media, with variations at the end of the story.

Fragmentation and cybercascades

You know, right now it’s almost impossible to talk about this and not talk about politics.

I saw this exact thing happen very early on in the past presidential race, primarily in my own social media feeds, in my mothers social media feeds, and in my grandparents exposure to media (they don’t use social media).

My social media feeds were very pro-Hillary, so I ended up seeing a lot of anti-Trump material in them, involving past scandals that he had been a part of (for example the failed condos in Mexico). Yet when I would mention these things to my mother, she had no idea what I was talking about, and I would end up pulling up five or six articles to show her what I meant before we could even begin to talk about the implications this would have on the election.

Conversely, on my mother’s social media, she saw not so much of pro-Trump, but more of anti-Hillary material, and the situation would happen in the reverse. She would bring up a new event in her email issues, or some new information regarding Benghazi that I had not heard of yet, and she would pull up five or six article about  those issues before we could have an actual conversation about them.

There was an interesting moment during one of my visits with my grandparents where we were watching the SNL skit of the first presidential debate (Link here) and my grandmother made a comment on how accurately Kate McKinnon was mimicking Hillary Clinton’s body language and mouth movements, so I commented on how well Alec Baldwin mimicked what Donald Trump would do with his hands in his debates, and her response was “Hmm, I’ll watch him closer during the next one, because I haven’t noticed it”. This just shows how she was purposely insulting herself from Clinton’s side of the election by focusing so much on her body language and not the body language of the candidate she was voting for.

This just shows that Sunstein was right in saying “that too many people will be insulated from exposure to views that are more moderate, or extreme in another direction, or in any case different from their own” simply because that isn’t what aligns with their views.

The only critique that I have for this piece is that it focuses on the dangers of this polarization of insulation of people based on what they believe, but it doesn’t talk about how to mitigate the damages of these effects, and it goes so far as to say that the author isn’t even sure if we should look to mitigate these effects, because the effects essentially mean that people are at least listening, but I can’t agree to that.

As the author states “The good news is that the Internet can operate to debunk false rumors as well as to start them” but the sad part is, most people in these extremes of groups that he talks about either don’t know how, or don’t care to, fact check the things that they read on the internet. One of the biggest things I’ve ever learned from an internet safety course was that you need to fact check everything you see on there because anyone can post anything and you don’t know who posted what and if it’s true or not. I think that if more people did fact checking there might not be less polarization, but the polarization would be more grounded in truth than it is in most circumstances on the internet.


“If it doesn’t spread it’s dead” text response

First off, I just gotta say how fascinating it is that people study memes.

Moving on, I have a few thoughts on what Henry Jenkins has to say about memes. I thought it was interesting how he mentioned that other people have related memes to a virus that spreads through a “cultural “bloodstream”” like a biological virus, because it is not at all like that (as he states in his argument). One key issue with the metaphor that Jenkins doesn’t clearly state is that when there is a wide spread epidemic of a virus, most people know about it (as in Zika, and Ebola of recent years, and bird flu and mad cow disease in the past) , not just the ones effected know about it, and that just is not the case for a meme. It is entirely possible to simply miss a meme and only find out about it once it is old and done away with. It would take a lot of effort for people in our society to not know about Zika or AIDS, but it takes little to no effort to not know about a meme, simply because it isn’t popular in your community. Personally, I can think of quite a few memes that I only found out about once they had passed and were no longer popular (like this one).

Secondly, memes are only popular if they can be remixed which Jenkins points out as one of the possible reasons that the LOLcat meme became so popular (and why some memes die very quickly, so that they aren’t widespread), so the idea that a meme replicates and maintains purity is actually kind of hilarious . Jenkins states  that”the re-use, remixing and adaptation of the LOLcat idea [a popular meme from 2009] instead suggest that the spread and replication of this form of cultural production is not due to the especially compelling nature of the LOLcat idea but the fact it can be used to make meaning” because a meme is only as good as it’s ability to take many forms in various contexts.

Take a classic: bad luck brian. In it’s early days, it looked very much like this 1e797a2ea3c4001c7c5d6d08736a0c8ca4c68b497a3f4c93cdf0594130bff486

Then it changed into this (intentionally too much text in the top portion for it to be legible, followed by a profanity is in itself a meme)


Shortly followed by this

Image result for bad luck brian

Yet everyone knows that it is still the bad luck brian meme. Frankly, all it would take to qualify as said meme is that it has the same background, and the same unfortunate sweater vest and polo. The face that is one the picture does not matter any more, which is what makes it one of the ‘oldies but goodies’ of memes.

Henry Jenkins feels similarly about memes in the sense that a meme is only ‘viral’ if the viewers can take it, enjoy it, and then make it whatever they want, while maintaining the integrity of what it was conveying, no matter how many times it is redesigned or altered, since it is the purpose of memes to carry an idea (whether that idea is humor based on juxtaposed poor grammar or to convey an emotion or experience that is commonly felt) regardless of the format that it is portrayed in.

First off, a proposal

So for the project I was thinking of doing a kind of web 2.0 narrative, where we would use different platforms to tell one story.

The story that we would use would be the lottery, and it would start off partially published on one of our blogs (with citations of course), then at the end of that portion would be a link to a YouTube video where either myself or Jillian would be reading the next part of it out loud, where once again we would stop at some point, and have a link to comic strip that shows another part of the story. It would conclude with a twine game to show what the end of the story is.

In doing this, we would be exploring the variety of ways that one story can be communicated through digital network media. It is also necessary that Jillian be part of this project because we will be dealing with a lot of platforms in a relatively short amount of time (there being less than a month before finals week).

Group Contract:

We both agree to do an equal share of the work, and have agreed to share the credit that we receive on this project. If one of us is falling behind, we must talk to each other before deciding whether or not to remove the other from the project, which if necessary, must be done with the others full knowledge and fair warning.


In the reading (CHRISTOPHER J. RITTER) the author refers to “w/r/t” a few times (2 to be exact) and he never explains what that means.

He says “game world w/r/t”, and “w/r/t racism” without anymore context

So what does w/r/t mean?