Weekly Roundup: Blog Picks for October 17, 2008

This week, the place of politics


• Stanley Fish, at the New York Times, tries to sort out recent university memos barring professors from wearing campaign buttons, attending campus political rallies, and even placing political bumper stickers on their cars. After discussing several worthy (and not so worthy view points), he concludes that it’s contextual: “It’s a policy matter, not a moral or philosophical matter, and as long as the policy is reasonably related to the institution’s purposes, it raises no constitutional issues at all.”


• Michael, at Gamestate, points to several “in-game political ads”. No commentary means more space for your interpretation.

at gnovis, the permeability of the real and the digital

• Lauren Alfrey, the Assistant Managing Editor at gnovis, questions her relationship with Facebook. She suggests that regardless of how hard we try to sculpt our online identities, middle school rules still apply: "your coolness is directly proportional to the coolness (or lack thereof) of your friends."

• Meanwhile, I wonder about online spaces of communication. Does our behavior in physical spaces extend to applications like Blackboard discussion forums and blogs? Brad Weikel posits that it may not be behavioral, but structural: “though we’re all used to hearing that "blogging is a conversation," it is often framed as an author-to-commentor conversation, whereas discussion boards are generally understood to be community-centric conversations.”

around CCT, its more about blogging

• Will blogs kill writing? Jed Brubaker comments on the article in the Atlantic Monthly, quoting Andrew Sullivan, on the role of a blogger: “The role of a blogger is not to defend against this but to embrace it. He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.”


• Ashley Bowen offers a review of Blog Wars by David Perlmutter. While she finds it “to be an excellent introduction to the world of blogging without being overly simplistic”, she also wishes he had “spend more time talking about blogs with small audiences, small scopes, and an emphasis on good chewing (as opposed as just chewing your cud).” Read her review, pick up a copy, and comment.

special callout: posts about the financial crisis

Students in Dr. Garcia’s Networks and International Development class consider the financial crisis in the context of global society. In his post about the US’s place in a globalized world, Matt Tyrrel asks "if the U.S. has no institutions, no horizontal relationships: has it
over-valued itself? Could it be that past American dominance in the
global market has been a leveraging of interests more than economic
muscle?"
Hushmath Alam suggests that the US has something to learn from the way other countries have handled economic crises in the past: "…the fact remains that countries will have to work together and take
part in some form of civic engagement if they want to get out of this
global financial crisis."
Read Dr. Garcia’s thoughts on the subject here.

for your amusement

Freudian slip? Three hundred absentee ballots sent from Rensselaer County, N.Y had listed the Democratic candidate for president as “Barack Osama." (Link thanks to Brad.)

Want to jumpstart your tourist industry? Give this a try, but check with PETA first. (Link thanks to Jed.)

Something we should be reading? Let us know!

Margarita Rayzberg

After receiving her B.S. in international business from Northeastern University, Margarita worked at a start up management consulting firm specializing in innovation for the service sector. A growing interest in the role of technology in development brought her to CCT where she wrote her thesis on the sociotechnical conditions that made possible the establishment of a rural real estate market in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. She is currently working for a research group focusing on microfinance and scheming her future in academia.