Demos Chiang, Chiang Kai-shek’s Great Grandson, on the Cost of Social Media

Demos Chiang, photo by Yi-Ping Wu. CC BY-ND 2.0.
Demos Chiang, photo by Yi-Ping Wu. CC BY-ND 2.0.

In a BuzzOrange.com interview with Demos Yu-bou Chiang (蔣友柏), who is Chiang Kai-shek’s great grandson and  founder of the Taiwan design firm DEM Inc. (橙果設計), the interviewer asks if he uses social media:

Q:你有 Facebook 或 Line 等社交通訊軟件嗎?

不開,很累,真的很累,而且 Facebook 商業行為太嚴重。我的手機是 4G 可以上網,但所有通訊軟件 、Line 都不使用,只用簡訊。我不喜歡人家可以免費找到我。

Y’s translation into English:

Q: Do you have Facebook or Line accounts, or any kind of social media apps?

A: I don’t use it. It is too much work. Facebook has too much commercial activity. I have a 4G cellphone to get online, but I don’t use the communicating apps like Line except for text messaging. I don’t like it that people can find [or reach] me for free.

There are three parts of Chiang’s response that I would like to discuss.

First, he observes that social media takes “too much work.” This is one of the reasons why I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago. It seemed like I was putting in a lot of time and labor on the Facebook website and mobile app. On the one hand, I wanted to connect with others, create conversation, and share my goings-on while enjoying the goings-on of others. However, it increasingly seemed to me to take a considerable amount of effort to keep up with the information and conversations taking place there. Jennifer Pan goes into the issue of labor that sustains social media networks in her Jacobin article, “The Labor of Social Media.”

Chiang laments that there is “too much commercial activity” on social media. This can be interpreted in different ways. On the one hand, there is a lot of advertising on social media, which is a kind of commercial activity. On the other hand, people use social media as a platform to publicize their work or seek support for their work on social media (another form of advertising). While social media opens new ways of supporting otherwise unfunded projects (such as with Patreon or Kickstarter), the number of such projects that one sees on a daily basis can be overwhelming and seemingly unsustainable.

Another aspect of Chiang’s lament is the unseen commercial activity of tracking and personal information. Social media platforms make money in part through targeting advertising to its users by selling targeted and detailed access to its advertising partners. The more information that a social network can get about its users and the more meaningful that information can be made for the purposes of advertising mean that the social network can potentially make more money by selling a higher value to advertisers.

Finally, the third issue that Chiang takes with social media is that he says, “people can find me for free.” This is important point that I hadn’t really considered when I left Facebook and other social media platforms a few years ago. For Chiang, he is a business person whose time is valuable. Even deflecting questions or offers takes away from his focus and time, which is time and focus he could apply to other endeavors. Social media at its core is about connecting people together. Social media makes it easier for one person to contact another person. Some networks, such as LinkedIn, place monetized barriers in the way of too easy contact, but others, such as Twitter, make contact for public accounts extremely easy. By not being on social media, Chiang places the ultimate old-school barrier to others bothering him, stealing his focus, or taking away his time. Making it so that others cannot simply find you “for free” protects your time and attention so that you can apply yourself to the work and living that matters the most to you.

Chiang’s three points are useful for thinking about what the costs of social media are for you. It involves our labor, out information is bought and sold, and others want to monopolize our time. Consider these things when you sign-up or configure your social media accounts to protect yourself and maximize its value to yourself.

Social Media Workshop on Professionalization and Pedagogy, May 12, 2015, 3:00-4:00PM

Twitter_logo_blueToday, I’m leading a workshop on social media as a tool for professionalization and as a tool for pedagogy. I am including some of the details from the workshop flyer below. You can download the flyer here: ellis-jason-socialmedia-workshop and my workshop notes here: ellis-jason-social-media-workshop.

Social Media Workshop on Professionalization and Pedagogy

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

3:00PM-4:00PM

Namm 321 Conference Room

Organizer: Jason W. Ellis | Email: jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu | Twitter: @dynamicsubspace

Social media is an increasingly important communication tool for our students and us. We are integrating it into our daily practices, and it, like any new communication medium, is changing the way we think and connect with others.

As scholars, we can leverage social media to promote our research, share ideas with colleagues, and collaborate on projects and network building. As educators, we can guide and mentor our students in responsible and meaningful ways of using social media.

In this workshop, we will discuss several popular social media platforms that we can use in our professionalization and pedagogy, and develop rhetorically grounded strategies for using social media as scholars and educators.

Some of the professional strategies discussed will include: sharing and promoting our work, and establishing and maintaining professional networks. Some of the pedagogical areas addressed will include: composition, and professional and technical writing.

Please bring your questions, ideas, and experiences, or if you can’t make it, let’s continue the discussion online!

Discussion topics and other resources are listed on the reverse side.

Some Topics for Discussion:

  • Rhetoric and Multimodality (WOVEN: written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal)
  • Audience(s)
  • Network Building (breadth versus depth)
  • Risk Assessment
  • Online Identity, Metadata, and Commodification of the Self
  • Managing an Emergent Online Identity
  • Social Media Assignments for Composition and Technical Communication
  • Personal versus Professional Spheres, or Is There a Division?
  • Assignment Ideas
  • Reflection Exercises

Some Social Media Platforms Discussed:

Resources Discussed:

Support Files for My Module of DevLab Social Media Pedagogy and Assignments Workshop

Twitter_logo_blueAs part of DevLab’s 2014 Workshop Series at Georgia Tech, Valerie Johnson and I will be leading a discussion today about the use of social media strategically as a part of our pedagogy and tactically in our assignments. We encourage Britts to share their approaches to social media use during the workshop, raise questions about the use of social media pedagogically, and brainstorm new approaches for social media use in the classroom (repurposing, developing literacy, collaboration, asynchronous discussion, participation options, etc.). I am including my workshop notes and files below.

Notes

  • I use Twitter in the classroom for collecting thoughts before discussion, reflecting on reading before writing formal summaries, encouraging discussion/backchannel between students, and demonstrating ways of turning social media to our own purposes (collecting individual thoughts/dataset, professional discussion, and transforming/translating compositions from one media form to another).
  • Discuss WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) potential for social media platforms including Twitter.
  • William Gibson, “the street finds its own uses for things,” from “Burning Chrome” in Omni, July 1982.
    • Repurpose social media for our needs, purposes, and use.
    • Use social media to collect data, build a data set, and cite data in future self-focused research projects.
  • Develop digital literacy–understand how the technology works, use the technology in different ways, see models of different uses of the technology, and critique how others use the technology.
  • Audience awareness–public facing, multiple audiences, and unintended audiences.
  • Ephemerality and permanence.
  • Examine how the medium effects/shapes/is the message. Mention Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media and “the medium is the message.”
    • Transform compositions from one medium to another, share these transformations with peers to observe reception, and discuss how the message might change, lead to misunderstandings, or be more effective (e.g., Twitter > Storify > poster > essay).
    • Explore how we can use rhetoric to maximize each medium’s possibilities to persuasively communicate our message to audiences.
  • Bridging discussion across sections of the same course–especially for students on-campus and off-campus (Summer Online Undergraduate Program–see LMC3214 syllabus below).

Files

Join Me and Fellow Brittain Fellows Mollie Barnes and Marty Fink for “Engaging Students via Class-Related Social Media” Brown Bag

CETL Engaging Conversations Poster.

Register at the link below to join Brittain Fellows Mollie Barnes, Marty Fink, and me at the upcoming Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) Engaging Conversation Series Brown Bag: “Engaging Students via Class-Related Social Media.” Mollie, Marty, and I have some great pedagogical stuff to share and discuss with the brown bag participants on using social media, questioning the use/purposes of social media, and engaging students with social media. I hope that others will share their approaches and ask awesome questions.

Writing the Brain Assignment Poster.

In my presentation, I will discuss my “Writing the Brain” assignment [ellis-jason-engl1101-01-assignment] from my ENGL1101 course at Georgia Tech. In this assignment, students use different media to express their thoughts on Twitter, Storify, a visual poster, and a five-page essay. I have adjusted the assignment this semester so that instead of charting their thoughts overall, they now focus on those thoughts related to their academic, professional, and life goals. Also, I no longer require them to use ComicLife for the visual poster–they may use it or any other software for creating a poster with photographs and drawings of their own creation. The poster embedded at the beginning of this paragraph explains an earlier iteration of the assignment.

The information and registration link for the event are included below.

ENGAGING CONVERSATIONS SERIES

Engaging Students via Class-Related Social Media

October 2, 2013

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Student Center, Piedmont Room

Brown Bag Luncheon

Song of Myself and Social Media: 

Teaching Reading Practices through Tweets

Mollie Barnes, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Writing the Brain: 

Using Twitter and Storify in a 

Multistep and Multimodal Project

Jason W. Ellis, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Autobiography of the Selfie: 

Multimodal Engagements with Instagram

Marty Fink, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

The Georgia Tech Brittain Fellows are collectively leading the way on campus with the use of social media in their classes.  In this session, three Brittain Fellows will highlight how they are using Twitter, Storify, Tumblr and Instagram for teaching and learning.  The Fellows will provide brief demos of the platforms, share their experiences with student assignments that range from using tweets as reading notes to semester-long projects that integrate social media with posters and essays, and discuss the challenges of FERPA.

REGISTER

Learning and Teaching New Tricks in Technical Communication: Presentations on Single-Sourcing and Digital Literacy

LCARS Initialization Screen from Star Trek: TNG Technical Manual for Windows 3.1

As a member of Georgia Tech’s Brittain Fellowship in the Writing and Communication Program, I have the tremendous opportunity to participate in seminars with my peers after the day’s teaching is done.

All Brittain Fellows are required to participate in the weekly Digital Pedagogy seminar on Wednesday evenings and those Fellows who are specifically teaching technical communication or business writing are also required to join the weekly Technical Communication seminar on Monday nights. Since I am not teaching tech comm but eager to teach it in the near future, I volunteered to join the tech comm folks on Mondays.

At the beginning of the semester in both seminars, we brainstormed and chose topics to present on. From the list of topics, two people elected to work together to choose readings and guide the discussion. For tech comm, we picked these topics to discuss during the fall semester: Rhetorical vs. Instrumental; Career planning; the Ethos or Soul of Technical Communication; Syntactics, grammar, conventions in tech discourse; Gender and Technical Discourse; Visual literacy; Accessibility issues; Single-sourcing and user experience (UX); Digital Literacy and Social media; Workplace Ethics, Technical Discourse, and Business Culture; Service learning; Orality and Nonverbal Communication in the workplace;  and Disciplinary distinctions and conventions.

As you might guess from my research interests in digital discourses, I volunteered to present one week on Single-sourcing and user experience (UX) and another week on Digital Literacy and Social media.

Rachel Mahan and I presented on single-sourcing and user experience on Oct. 29, 2012. After I introduced different approaches and theoretical issues surrounding single-sourcing, Rachel shared her personal workplace experience with single-sourcing. I also shared firsthand experience from fellow Georgia Tech alums Smitha Prasadh and Andrew Pilsch (many thanks!). You can find our discussion readings and questions on TechStyle here.

Olga Menagarishvili and I presented on Digital Literacy and Social Media on Nov. 5, 2012. I lead the group through a number of tools for analyzing social media privacy, and Olga prepared a fun active learning “jigsaw” assignment to lead the group toward a deeper discussion of “layered literacies.” You can find our readings, discussion questions, and online resources on TechStyle here.

I am now developing my first technical communication syllabus and assignments. I have some ideas about how to approach technical communication from simultaneously practical (workplace-oriented) and imaginative (science fictional) directions. I want to guide students to be exemplary technical communicators who capably demonstrate and understand the rhetorical, critical, and ethical dimensions of what that entails. We will see when the opportunity for me to do this will present itself.

Prepping MacBook for Digital Pedagogy Seminar

I’m prepping my MacBook for this evening’s Brittain Fellow Digital Pedagogy seminar. As you can see above, we are going to be running simultaneous backchannels–one on Twitter and one on TodaysMeet.com. Besides looking at how these technologies work, we will do other things with the words that we write with Wordle and Storify. Details of the meeting including readings and technologies are available on TechStyle here. I will see my fellow Britts in Skiles 302 shortly.

 

Co-Hosting Digital Pedagogy Seminar on 9/12 about New Media

There are some exciting things going on in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. On 9/12/2012, Peter A. Fontaine, James R. Gregory, Patrick McHenry, and I will be hosting a seminar for the Brittain Fellows on using new media in the classroom. While discussing the theory and praxis behind new and social media in the composition classroom, we will specifically focus on technologies by Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, TodaysMeet, Storify, and Wordle. Learn more about what we will cover by visiting TechStyle here.