We’ve covered plenty of topics in lecture, but there are several that seem to keep reappearing in some way or another. Privacy is a big one of course, and it all begins with social network sites. I think that Dannah Boyd’s three-part definition of a social network site is important because it gives a good platform for determining what constitutes a SNS: “1. construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, 2. articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and 3. view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (Boyd). I also believe that the terms “networked publics” and “imagined audiences” are relevant because they occur within almost all SNS platforms, although probably most with Twitter. Since we focused a lot on Twitter, I think that the easiest way to sum up the material is to consider the argument between Malcolm Gladwell and Leo Mirani. Both have important stances on privacy within social network sites, and both have strong feelings about the importance (or unimportance) of Twitter and slacktivism in today’s volatile society.
I think that the next big takeaway would be the fact that others can easily obtain sensitive information from a user’s “private” internet profile. One of the most important things we’ve learned this semester is that privacy can be bought and sold, often without the user’s knowledge. Nothing is really private anymore, and I think that the most important article from that section is Zizi Papacharissi’s, in which she states, “The balance between privacy and sociality takes on new meaning as Internet–based platforms, like social network sites, afford sociality for privacy, at the expense of personal autonomy” (“Privacy As A Luxury Commodity”).
Another interesting topic we have covered is copyright law, especially when viewed in the context of remixing and sampling. It’s hard to focus on key concepts from this section of the class because there are no clear answers. Lawmakers are still trying to decide what is considered “stealing” and what isn’t. But there are still some terms and topics that stand out. For instance, “fair use” and “copyright” are terms that are crucial to have a strong understanding of, as are “commercial economies,” “sharing economies,” and “hybrid economies.” Besides copyright law specifically, another big concept from this last section is the three keys to success (long tail, little brother, and lego-ized innovation) which shows how commercial economies operate.
As for the important concepts from the last section (Exam 1), I believe that participatory culture and convergence, crowd-sourcing, and the organization of digital material are still the most important. These are the concepts that have carried forward into the new material we have discussed during the second half of the semester. Participatory culture, convergence, and crowd-sourcing can relate to remixing in sampling in ways that we didn’t explore when we first viewed these topics. Likewise, the organization of digital material that we discussed at the beginning of class can easily relate to copyright law and privacy, because the new methods of organization allow for such ease of access. These, along with the topics I identified from the second half of the semester, are what I believe to be the most important concepts so far.