Week 1

Week 1

I have dared to deliver my weekly review essay in form of an online talk.

As this is a life blog, I felt and thought a live transmission was a natural consequence.

This also allows me to not only discuss the past online week, but while doing so experiment with teaching technology. So my humble online live lecture is delivering information to whoever wants it, enabling interaction with me and my thoughts and making it possible for me to learn about the whole process, its aspects and possibilities and difficulties.

250 written words are more or less 2 minutes of talk. I failed terribly by talking about eight minutes. This is all part of my learning process.

Topic of week one was the radical openness of the Education and Digital Culture course. I took this aspect, which struck me, and tried to apply it to a wider context.

11 thoughts on “Week 1

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on week 1, Dirk – and so innovatively. I missed the live transmission, but caught it about an hour later.

    I agree that the creation of groups allows for (and can encourage) the construction of ‘otherness’/’sameness’. This part of your talk/post made me think of that  famous lesson with the brown-eyed and blue-eyed children (Jane Elliott, experiment starts at 3:19). However, I’m not sure that reducing anonymity or enforcing real-name policies are ways to eliminate the vitriole. Research by Rost, Stahel and Frey (2016) suggests that people are actually more hostile during online ‘firestorms’ when using real-names (empirical evidence is based on behaviours in a German social media platform http://www.openpetition.de, 2010-13).

    The authors further suggest that the reason we often equate anonymity with increased agression online is because most attempts to thorize about such behavior use traditional bullying research theory. Under this theory, as you noted, online agression is driven by lower-order moral ideals and principles, which people would be ashamed to express if their identity was known. However, Rost, Stahel & Frey suggest viewing such behaviour through a different lens – social norm theory. Through this lens, those posting aggressively online might be viewed as enforcing of social norms – ‘aggressive word-of-mouth propogation in social media is the response to (perceived) violating beahviours of public actors…In this view online firestorms enforce social norms by expressing public disapproval with the aim of securing public goods, for example, honesty of politicians, companies or academics’ (Rost, Stahel & Frey, 2016, ‘Introduction’, para. 8). If this is held true, many people who post aggressively online believe themselves to be acting from a position of higher-order morals, and perceive the public actor they are aggressing as acting from lower-order morals, and they have no need to hide their identity (ibid., ‘hypothesis 3′). Even when real-names are given, acting aggressively online as a way of norm enforcing is low cost for the actors: their geographical distance reduces risk of physical harm, lack of non-verbal cues from recipients reduces agressors’ empathy, and technology allows them to reach a large audience with little time or effort (ibid., ‘online firestorms within a social norm theory’).

    No doubt some people who act aggressively are just bullies, acting as you say, because their anonymity allows them to disregard morals through reduced fear of getting caught. I’m not sure it is the full picture, though.

    Thanks for prompting me to think more deeply about this.


    Rost, K., Stahel, L., & Frey, B.S. (2016). Digital social norm enforcement: Online firestorms in social media. PLOS ONE, 11(6): e0155923.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155923

  2. Dirk, I really like the idea of what you’ve done. I hope that the Powers That Be accept the format for a weekly report. It’s great to ‘see’ you, and to get more sense of you as a person.

    I’ve got some thoughts on your thoughts which I hope to put on my own Lifestream in the next day or three. They’re of a biblical / theological nature, which is my angle of approach on these things, but I hope they’re of interest to you. When I’ve got them up, I’ll try and flag them up to you (and others) here.

    1. @msleeman: Can’t wait for your take on it! Especially from a theological perspective, which I always find very interesting! I do that myself rather often ^^ Thanks loads for taking out the time to watch and comment!

  3. Wow, great reply, thank you.
    So this is what I learned from your comment:
    Online hate speech can have two origins: (1) Haters attempting to (re) establish assumed moral codes or (2) haters hating because they feel save.
    Thanks for taking the time to watch and comment! I love that!

  4. Sorry Dirk, testing for my IFTTT feed but have to say I really enjoyed your video summary of the week. Made me feel that my week was quite dull in comparison. I had thought about trying some video but was a bit scared that I wouldn’t manage in time 🙂

  5. Dirk , I love your approach….I may build up to an online talk. I may need to kick my dog and kids outside for peace and quiet lol

    Linzi x

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