A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit

Code of NRA_Tally

A Call for Bots of Conviction In 1965 the singer-songwriter Phil Ochs told an audience that “a protest song is a song that’s so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit.” Ochs was introducing his anti-war anthem “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”—but also taking a jab at his occasional rival Bob Dylan, whose expressionistic lyrics by… Continue reading A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit

Closed Bots and Green Bots
Two Archetypes of Computational Media

The Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference was last week in Milwaukee. I hated to miss it, but I hated even more the idea of missing my kids' last days of school here in Madrid, where we've been since January. If I had been at the ELO conference, I'd have no doubt talked about bots. I… Continue reading Closed Bots and Green BotsTwo Archetypes of Computational Media

Followup to the Ever-Expanding Classroom Discussion

Last week I was a guest of the Davidson College Teaching Discussion Group, where I was invited to talk about my pedagogical strategies for teaching large classes. I mostly focused on how I use technology to preserve what I value most about teaching smaller classes. But many of the technique I discussed are equally applicable… Continue reading Followup to the Ever-Expanding Classroom Discussion

Twittering N+7

At the risk of alienating my readers on Twitter---something I'm likely to be doing anyway---I've been playing an old Oulipo game with my tweets today: N+7. It's quite simple: replace every noun in a text with the noun that follows it seven nouns later in the dictionary. The results are often nonsensical, occasionally revelatory, and… Continue reading Twittering N+7

Twitter is a Happening, to which I am Returning

I quit Twitter. Or, more accurately, I quit twittering. Nearly three weeks ago with no warning to myself or others, I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped updating Facebook, stopped checking in on Gowalla, stopped being present. I went underground, as far underground as somebody whose whole life is online can go underground. In three… Continue reading Twitter is a Happening, to which I am Returning

Maps and Timelines

Over a period of a few days last week I posted a series of updates onto Twitter that, taken together, added up to less than twenty words. I dragged out across fourteen tweets what could easily fit within one. And instead of text alone, I relied on a combination words and images. I'm calling this… Continue reading Maps and Timelines

One Week, One Tool, Many Anthologies

Many of you have already heard about Anthologize, the blog-to-book publishing tool created in one week by a crack team of twelve digital humanists, funded by the NEH's Office of Digital Humanities, and shepherded by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media. Until the moment of the tool's unveiling on Tuesday, August 3,… Continue reading One Week, One Tool, Many Anthologies

The MLA in Tweets

I've learned from following several digital humanities conferences from afar the past year (including Digital Humanties 2009 and THATcamp 2009) that the Twitter archive of a conference back-channel can be unreliable. Twitter's default search stream for any hashtag is extremely ephemeral, and that impermanence poses a problem for conference participants and observers, as well as… Continue reading The MLA in Tweets

Tips for the Modern Language Association

In the spirit of my fake advice for National Novel Writing Month, last month I began posting "tips" on Twitter for the upcoming Modern Language Association conference, an annual exercise in masochism for literature professors and graduate students the world over. This year's conference was held in Philadelphia, from December 27 to December 30, and… Continue reading Tips for the Modern Language Association

MLA Word Cloud for 28 December 2009

Today the Modern Language Association Conference goes into its second full day of meetings in Philadelphia. What's the conference been like so far? You can be the judge of whether the conference backchannel on Twitter captures the conference or not. Here's a word cloud of all #MLA09 tweets from Monday, December (minus the hashtag itself)… Continue reading MLA Word Cloud for 28 December 2009

The Modern Language Association Wishes Away Digital Différance

This is the first academic semester in which students have been using the revised 7th edition of the MLA Handbook (you know, that painfully organized book that prescribes the proper citation method for material like "an article in a microform collection of articles"). From the moment I got my copy of the handbook in May… Continue reading The Modern Language Association Wishes Away Digital Différance

National Novel Writing Month Tips

November has been decreed National Novel Writing Month by some wise guy in California. The idea is that you have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. A noble endeavor to be sure, but one that seems doomed to not succeed on any satisfying level. I imagine it's like running a marathon, but without… Continue reading National Novel Writing Month Tips

Twitter is a Snark Valve

Last week I described the intensive role of social networking in my teaching. Although I explained how I track and archive my students' Twitter activity, I didn't describe what they actually do on Twitter. That's because I wasn't sure myself what they do. I mean, of course I've reading their tweets and sending my own,… Continue reading Twitter is a Snark Valve

Reflections on a Technology-Driven Syllabus

I'm five weeks into the new semester, and it's time to consider how my ambitious technology-heavy Graphic Novel course is going. And I'm serious when I say it's technology-heavy: we're doing a blog, a wiki, Twitter, and rigorous Pecha Kucha presentations. About the only thing we're missing is a MMORPG. I plotted out the major… Continue reading Reflections on a Technology-Driven Syllabus

Teaching Technologies for Large Classes

Faced with the prospect of teaching larger classes, I've been thinking about how technology might help me preserve what I value most about small class sizes—and perhaps even bring added value to those large classes. But first some background. There's probably not a humanities program in the country that hasn't received a memo from its… Continue reading Teaching Technologies for Large Classes