It’s the start of a new semester and we’ve already read some thought-provoking texts! I’m starting out with a series of prompts here. Feel free to mix and match, or choose one text to comment on in detail:
Some of you wanted to complicate John Palfrey and Urs Gasser’s Born Digital and ask what being a “digital native” or born after the introduction of the Internet might mean. Do you believe you experience a different sort of relationship to identity than “digital immigrants” who’ve been around since the stone ages (or, at least, since cable tv)? Do you worry about the information that represents you online, or do so many people engage in things like social networking sites now that you experience safety in numbers?
We also asked “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” with Nicholas Carr and considered a brief overview of writing and computer technologies. Do you experience yourself reading less and skimming more as you work and play online? Carr was rather skeptical, but can you think of examples where different ways of reading and thinking in a “post-internet” way have worked to your advantage? How do you experience technology as changing your approach to basic problems?
Finally, we’re currently reading Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and thinking about privacy laws and civil liberties in an anxious post-terrorist vision of San Francisco. Some of the technology seems a bit shocking, but much is based on real-world devices and programming techniques. Discuss what aspects of the book intrigue or surprise you the most. What do you think of the portrayal of the Department of Homeland Security in the novel? How do you perceive the motivations of teen hacker, Marcus Yallow?