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Culture

Cyberhills of Isolation and Connection: Italy in the Time of Coronavirus

Ironically, the very thing many have lamented as chief atomizer of humankind, social media, has proven to be indispensable for bringing us together — and for bringing me solace while, like Boccaccio's women in Decameron, I wait out the pandemic in the hills of Abruzzo.

Books

#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (Excerpt)

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, Brooke Foucault Welles
Recent
Books

Is Social Media Facing Its Biggest Existential Threat?

Jaron Lanier says we should delete our social media accounts, yet it's not social media per se, but the way in which it presently exists, that Lanier is concerned about. But Lanier is overlooking a critical factor in our social media addiction.

Film

'Social Animals' Focuses on the Highs and Lows of Instagram-Famous Teens

To say young people's identities are tied up in social media would be a failure to recognize that the digital is now intrinsically part of the real, as evidenced in the documentary, Social Animals.

Books

Nick Drnaso's 'Sabrina' and Affronts to Truth

Drnaso's Sabrina explores how isolation, both psychic and social, fuels the evolution of tragedy into social paranoia and a dehumanized narrative of fraud.

Film

A Stranger Thing: Shannon Purser on 'Sierra Burgess Is a Loser'

Shannon Purser discusses her debut role in film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, catfishing, and the unrealistic expectations imposed on today's youth.

Hans Rollman
Books

'War in 140 Characters' Is to the Point

David Patrikarakos has written an engaging narrative that covers the activities and surroundings of eight 21st century social media crusaders.

Film

Social Media and Identity Formation in Bo Burnham’s Film, 'Eighth Grade'

Rather than moralize, critique, or make grandiose statements about "digital natives", writer-director-wunderkind Bo Burnham brilliantly visualizes what it means to live in a world in which social media is omnipresent.

Music

How Does Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' Fit in with The Current Political Climate?

Like an alchemist, Taylor Swift turns stray thoughts and abject emotions into global cultural touchstones—and into piles and piles of cold, hard cash. What do her fans get out of it?

Film

'Eighth Grade' and the Act of Disappearing in Plain Sight, Online

Bo Burnham's big-hearted, emotional tidal wave of a movie shows how the look-at-me / leave-me-alone contradictions of adolescence, powered by social media, are cranked up to 11.

Books

Video-idiocy? No, 'Videocracy' Celebrates the Bright Side of YouTube Indulgence

Against the constant distaste for and dismay about social media, Videocracy gives readers a series of anecdotes that connect YouTube to the goodness of being human.

Reviews

Propoganda Isn't About Trying to Fool You

Lee McIntyre's 'Post-Truth' is a history lesson and a call to action asking liberals to defend the concept of objective truth. But is it the best approach to the problem?

Culture

A Cappella Punk: What's Happening to Alternative Comedy in the US?

The DIY strategies and indie allegiances of recent alternative comedians reveal the spirit of punk to be alive and kicking beyond the music world.

Film

Tribeca 2018:  'Netizens' and 'Every Act of Life'

These important documentaries about online abuse and the works of Terrence McNally attempt to illuminate empathy and social awareness at a time when it is being woefully ignored.

Books

Is Life in a 'Post-Truth' World Sustainable?

How do we overcome the human tendency to resist verifiable reality? Lee McIntyre takes this on in this installment of MIT's Essential Knowledge series.

Film

True/False Film Fest: 'Our New President'

The next film from Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer director Maxim Pozdorovkin treats us to Russian propaganda about the United States.

Books

Why Aren't Safe Spaces and Brave Spaces Working in Academia?

University campuses are seething. But telling people to get along with each other is not the answer.

Film

'Glory' Is a Searing Indictment of Social Media Optics Fixation

Anchored by an unflinching cinéma vérité style and a powerful lead performance by Margita Gosheva, Glory (Slava) thrives as a grave parable on the social media economy's corrupting influences against ethics and morality.

Books

Are You Paying Attention? 'The Distracted Mind'

Multi-tasking on your smart phone consumes too many resources, including memory, and can cause the system to "choke". Imagine what it does to your brain.

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Google's Burger Emoji: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

To those who would deny the Google burger because it's messy, I say, get a napkin and get over it.

Reviews

A 21st-century Muckraker Pierces the Heart of the Internet in 'Reading the Comments'

If Eggers' The Circle gave us a glance at the inimical nature of social media via Orwell’s idea of “groupthink”, then Reagle takes us even deeper into why we love to comment on anything and everything.

Culture

The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais (in 140 Characters or Less)

One of today's most accomplished and revered comedic minds has jettisoned himself onto the frontlines of the culture wars where he wittily battles on behalf of humanism, reason, and secularism.

Games

The Brilliant Failure of Miranda July's Social Media App, 'Somebody'

On its web site, the social media app, Somebody, is described as the "antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises".

Internet

Could YouTube Help Bernie Sanders -- and Hurt Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton may be the Democratic establishment's favorite, but on the Internet, social media users are feelin' the Bern.

Reviews

Some Memories Just Won't Be Released in 'Unfriended'

Unfriended successfully updates horror movie conventions for a social media savvy audience.

Books

Isn't It Always Complicated, When It Comes to Teens?

Hangouts at a drive-in theater, bowling alley, or mall have moved to online spaces as changes in commuting, school districts, and chronic overscheduling of teens means they need a new way to network.

Television

Daley Pearson Gets Some Strange Phone Calls

Australian writer and director Daley Pearson is funny in all of his creations and conquers every type of comedy he tries.

Technology

How Live-Streaming Social Media Websites Complicate the Male Gaze

Teenagers use social media to escape the control of authority figures, engage in sexual behavior with peers, and entertain anonymous strangers. Is this a problem?

Reviews

How We Hurt Each Other: 'Dirty Love'

Dirty Love’s four linked novellas examine the ways we fail one another in love, in all the old-fashioned ways: lies, adultery, criticism, betrayals, booze.

Internet

In Defense of Wanting to Quit the Internet Because of the 2013 Oscars

The barrage of Oscars-related hate on Twitter and other social media can sure kill the fun of the Internet.

Music

In Defense Keeping It Real, and Live

How long does it take until YouTube clips and streaming festivals overtake the incredible experience of a live concert?

Technology

In Defense of Twitter as the Devil

Twitter and other social media websites trick us into thinking our thoughts matter to people we don't know and we'll never meet.

Sports

When Superheroes Die

The death of Randy Poffo, aka Macho Man Randy Savage, once again revealed the dark history of professional wrestling. A history replete with drug abuse, murder and suicide. In this essay a writer and fan explores the varied reactions to Savage's death; a death which created more questions than answers.

Books

What Would Happen If You Threw a Revolution and Everyone Showed Up? You'd Have a Cognitive Surplus

Clay Shirky's 'Cognitive Surplus' is presently the #1 selling book on Amazon in three categories. Sound smart at your next cocktail party by reading this review instead of the book.

Film

Someone to Watch Over Me: An Interview with Ondi Timoner

Director Ondi Timoner talks to PopMatters about her new film, We Live in Public, and what one-time media mogul Joshua Harris' story reveals about our current obsession with social media and its potential consequences.

Sports

Must See TV No More?

“You’ve created a fetish around watching the commercials, and not going to the kitchen or the bathroom during the commercials. That’s a pretty amazing thing to have done,” says Turow. But is the phenomenon sustainable?

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What It'd Be Like to Tweet, FB-Update or Podcast Live from the 1963 March on Washington

Digitizing revolutions: The Negro still is not free [‘My lord’ a sister can be heard saying, and you can almost see her gleaming from sweat, fanning herself and shaking her head side to side with her eyes firmly fixed on Dr. King].

Diepiriye Kuku
Internet

In the J-Zone Zone

Like college, or Play-Doh, a social media tool is what we make of it, and J-Zone's got the skills to make things interesting.

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