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A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your Website on the Commons

As the semester winds down for students and faculty alike, there’s no time like the present to take a moment to think about your online scholarly profile. Do you have an online portfolio that gathers your various academic achievements in one place? If you haven’t done so already, consider creating a profile on the CUNY Academic Commons! Continue reading

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Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, recently released an op-ed in The New York Times, “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook,” expressing concern about the monopolistic nature of Facebook and the power wielded by Mark Zuckerberg.

Leapfrogging off concerns raised about Facebook’s recent mistakes, including “the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention,” Hughes urges for more than governmental oversight over the company: he suggests that the F.T.C. and Justice Department break up Facebook into multiple companies (and thus undoing its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp).

He justifies this call to action based on the need to create a competitive market (which cannot be achieved organically due to the enormous amount of capital needed to “take on” Facebook) and to engender more governmental oversight over sensitive privacy and “free speech” policies, thus curbing Zuckerberg’s lone decision-making as majority share holder.

While Hughes defends Zuckerberg’s character, he questions whether any one person should be allowed so much control over billions of people. And to that end, he leaves us to ponder several important questions, such as “Should we be worried that Facebook owns all of our private conversations and photos?”; “To what extend is the company’s knowledge about our interests invasive?”; and “Is Facebook really ‘free’ or do we pay for it with our time and data?”

Read the full article here: “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”

A counter-argument in the NYT by Nick Clergg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, can be found here: “Breaking Up Facebook Is Not the Answer”

How to request video recording service at the Graduate Center

If you are organizing an event for your department, working group, or various other occasions, you might be interested in using the video recording services provided by the IT department at the GC. This blog post illustrates how to request the livestreaming and recording services for events that take place at the GC. It also gives some useful tips when publicly sharing the recorded videos online.

Requesting the video recording service through the IT department

  • Fill out this simple IT Media Services Form 3-5 business days prior to the event. Note that you need to provide the name of a person who will oversee the recording. This can be the EO, director, or chair of department or organization.
  • When filling out the form, select if you want your event to be livestreamed and/or recorded. *Remember! If you choose to have your event livestreamed, make sure you have active plans to share the livestream link (sent from the IT) with your potential audience via email listserv or social media. Here are some great tips on how to better promote your livestream.

  • Once you submit the form, you will receive an email confirmation from the IT department. Make sure the date, time, and requested service options are correct.
  • On the day of your event, IT will set up the video stand a couple hours before the event. Note that IT will not be present during the event to record the video. Most likely, you will be responsible for pressing the start and end button, so make sure to read the written instructions attached to the stand on how to start/end the recording.

Accessing and/or downloading the video

  • Once the recording is finished, you will have 15 days to access the recorded video from the GC’s Streaming Video Service. You need your GC ID and password to log in to the website. Only the person who requested the video service can download the video. Since the recorded video is accessible for only a limited time, quickly download and save it in a safe place.

  • To download, first select your video from the home page and then click the “download video” button on the bottom right. There are two quality (high and low) versions of the recorded video. Choose the one that suits your need. If your video is long, the high-quality version may have more than one file.

Sharing the video online

  • To upload and share the video on the official GC website or YouTube Channel, you must have the video captioned and submit it to the Office of Communications and Marketing for review. Find the detailed guidelines HERE on important policies and procedures about sharing videos online.
  • Learn more about some video captioning tools and how to add captions to videos for various social media platforms.  
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Internet Rules per Zuckerberg

In the Washington Post article, “Mark Zuckerberg: The Internet needs new rules. Let’s start in these four areas”, Zuckerberg calls for the government to make more regulations to preserve the legitimacy of the internet and safety for its consumers. Specifically, by: (1) regulating harmful content, (2) preserving election integrity, (3) protecting the privacy of its users, and (4) improving the maintenance of data. Zuckerberg explains each as they pertain to certain needs in mending internet usage on various platforms which are not limited to Facebook. The first is (1) the need for a standardized metric to evaluate and determine what constitutes “harmful content”. Zuckerberg states that Facebook works with an independent agency in this vein and recommends a different third-party to govern harmful content in accordance with the new comprehensive standards. Concerning (2) election integrity, Zuckerberg mentions that Facebook already improved the verification of political ads and created searchable archives for them; however, he argues that determining which ads classify as ‘political’ is not always clear. With regards to the (3) confidentiality of personal information, he proposes that more countries should adopt privacy policies, like GDPR, which would coordinate a framework for data protection across the globe. This framework would allow users to choose how their information is used and better ensure that privacy standards are universally met. He also stresses that this information should not be stored locally (where it is most vulnerable). Zuckerberg admits that there should be recognized protocol to “hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when [they] make mistakes” and that regulations which vary by country or state will not be as successful as a “common global framework”. To address (4) data portability, Zuckerberg proposes that well-defined statutes outlining which agency is responsible for protecting information when it moves between services (different apps etc.) are necessary. He concludes that Facebook has made tremendous strides to identify and locate harmful content, to remove posts related to election interference, and to improve the transparency of ads. Additionally, Zuckerberg welcomes a discussion with lawmakers around the world to promote this agenda and acknowledges that there are many other issues to address.

Link to full article below:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mark-zuckerberg-the-internet-needs-new-rules-lets-start-in-these-four-areas/2019/03/29/9e6f0504-521a-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html?utm_term=.5db312329cea

Ask the kids! Looking to research on child development in digital contexts to create a value-based model for social media use

As Program Social Media Fellows, one of our goals is to advocate for the use of social media as an academic medium to foster community and scholarly discourse. We strive to demonstrate how social media can be used to share information about recent publications and upcoming events. But how can we portray the significance of this medium to those who are skeptical about its benefits? How can we respond to those who tell us social media is just going to eat away at time they don’t even have or that it lacks academic gravitas? Rather than simply pleading for the creation of Twitter accounts, how can we communicate the benefits of social media and debunk some of the stigma surrounding it?

As an Educational Psychology PhD student who is interested in digital technology as a context for child development and how digital mediums such as video games can promote learning, I have been thinking about how my research can inform the use of social media within an academic environment. Can we combat some of the bias and skepticism surrounding social media by looking to research on the relationship between digital technology use and learning or well-being? Would making this connection allow us to create a value-based model for effective social media use within an academic context?

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