The Faith of Hashtags

J Brentlinger

Social Media

You hit your name and maybe something in the whole scheme of the system gives a death rattle. For now your name is over their name, over the subway manufacturer, the Transit Authority, the city administration. Your presence is on their presence, your alias hangs over their scene. There is a pleasurable sense of depth to the elusiveness of the meaning. Norman Mailer, The Faith of Graffiti In 1974 Norman Mailer put words to Jon Naar’s photos depicting what some

Bringing Black Feminist Twitter in the Classroom

Rhiannon Goad

Social Media

In most intro to Rhetoric courses, students evaluate the credibility of sources wherein they’re discouraged from incorporating unreliable sources into their own work. Intentional or not, this lesson tends to limit students to major media outlets (e.g., New York Times and Wall Street Journal.)  What might we risk in through this practice?

Studying Twitter Communities

Pete Kunze

Social Media

Image Credit: LSE Gender Institute

Recently, Twitter user Aziah King posted a lengthy story via Tweets that took social media by storm. Chronicling a seemingly unbelievable weekend trip to Florida, King’s 148-Tweet epic is amazing not only for its content, but how she tells the story. Her voice—intensely personal, often hilarious, brazenly forthright—exhibits the Black discursive practice that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. notably theorized as “Signifyin’.”

The ‘Fantasy’ of Participation

J Brentlinger

Social Media

There’s an article that I love, because it analyzes a growing trend regarding people and their relationships with technology. Titled, Communication in online fan communities: The ethics of intimate strangers, author Christine James analyzes relationships between celebrities and paparazzi, celebrities and fans, and fans among themselves. James wants to know why they seem so strange. The answer is simple—tech love is embedded in each, it’s mediating our relationships. Donna Haraway was right, James asserts, about ‘the current state of the

Twitter’s Open Heart Surgery: More Than Just Cosmetic

Axel Bohmann

Social Media

An anatomic drawing of a heart on bird feet, looking like a bird with its head cut off. It spurts blood from the neck/artery, and there are a couple of feathers on the ground.

As of this week, on Twitter you can no longer “favorite” tweets. Instead, you “like” them, a change in language that is visually represented by a move away from the little clickable star icon at the bottom of a tweet to a little heart that turns bright red if you click it. As with any change on Twitter, this one is causing a major uproar across the social network. And indeed, there are a lot of reasons to be upset,

African American English, Appropriation and Corporate Culture Killers

Axel Bohmann

Pedagogy, Social Media

So, you might have heard that Taco Bell’s marketing strategy is “on cleek.” (If you get what’s funny about this, read right on; if not: their marketing genius is appropriating and obviously butchering the expression on fleek, derived from African American English and recently popularized on social media.) It’s easy – and entirely appropriate – to ridicule a corporate exec’s desperate attempts to sound hip and “with it.” But this little episode reveals aspects of linguistic and cultural appropriation that

The Problem with Appropriation

Axel Bohmann

Pedagogy, Social Media

In a recent blog post, I talked about the opportunities Twitter offers for tracing processes by which the cultural mainstream appropriates African American English linguistic practices, often for gains in material as well as cultural capital. In that post, I focused on the how of the critique without going into much detail about why critique is necessary.

Activist Twitter and Race: Mid-Semester Update

Rhiannon Goad

Social Media

A stencil grafitti of a man shouting, with a speech bubble containing the Twitter symbol. Background and speech bubble are the Twitter shade of blue. A stenciled caption reads: "ALTO A LA VIOLENCIA."

As we approach the mid-semester mark, the Activist Twitter and Race research group is giving you a little behind-the-scenes view of what each group member has been working on. We think about, use, and relate to Twitter in a number of ways: as a pedagogical tool (Rhiannon, JB), as an aggregation and curation instrument (Pete) and as a data source (Axel).

Aggregation as Activism

Pete Kunze

Pedagogy, Social Media, Tools

Digital spaces have fashioned new identities or, more accurately, given new life to extant ones. Take, for instance, the troll. In “real life,” we might call this individual a bully, but clearly the perceived anonymity of the internet allows for criticism to become a perverse art form. Artists (broadly understood) online become “content creators,” from bloggers to vloggers, Tweeters to Instagrammers.