Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Social Media Silliness on YouTube

Had a bit of fun with this semester's Social Media class here at Fordham University, exploring YouTube and digital anthropology, and here's this year's quick upload:

Thanks to all my students for being good sports!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Exodus Online

I wanted to share a post here that I put up over on the Congregation Adas Emuno blog.

has provided the following YouTube video for the Passover holiday.  What if the Exodus were happening today?

Although the title is "Google Exodus," followed by "What if Moses had Facebook?" this short video runs the gamut of the online environment these days.  

Gotta love the Amazon plagues department, but maybe there should have been some new plagues, like computer viruses, internet worms, Twitter fail whales, hard drive crashes, and no signal?  Can you think of any other online plagues for a virtual exodus?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Go the Distance for Autism

If you feel so inclined, at this sacred time of year, we are looking for donations in support of my daughter's school, EPIC, which is devoted to serving children with autism.  You can make a gift directly from my daughter's "Go the Distance for Autism" Donation page (and any amount is welcome).

Here's a picture of her, on the right, from that page:

And here's the little write-up that appears with it, written on behalf of my daughter:

I can not ride a bike but I Go The Distance everyday! I swim like a fish because a teacher from EPIC taught me to swim. I fly around an ice skating rink because teachers from EPIC taught me to skate. Teaching a person with autism is not easy and takes a lot of patience, talent and dedication. I Go The Distance each and every day - just not on wheels - and you can count up the miles I have traveled because of my awesome teachers at EPIC. 

Of course, donate only if you this does not cause you any financial hardship.  But if you can, thank you for helping us to Go the Distance for Autism.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Fall of Nations

So, I was one of the keynote speakers recently at a symposium held at the University of Bologna, which is in Bologna, Italy, in case you were wondering, and which also was the first university ever, anywhere, older even than the University of Paris, which is pretty cool.  

The conference was in celebration of the centenary of Marshall McLuhan's birth, and in fact was the first European event of a series scheduled for this year (McLuhan having been born in 1911).  And the event also was associated with the 150th anniversary of the founding of Italy as a nation-state, a celebration of 150 years of Italian unity as they put it (though some over there would beg to differ on the subject of unity).  

Elena Lamberti, a professor of American literature at the University of Bologna, and the organizer of the conference, brought the two anniversaries together by giving the conference the theme of La comunicazione costruisce la nazione which translates as Communication makes the nation in case your Italian has gotten a little rusty.  Here's the web page for their McLuhan Centenary events:  http://www.100mcluhan.com/en, and for the symposium:  http://www.100mcluhan.com/en/symposium.

They used a pretty cool image as the symbol of this symposium, actually one with North American origins, and it's worth including here in Blog Time Passing:

She's lovely, but seems a little wired, don't you think?  Sorry, couldn't resist.

Anyway, they had live video streaming of the talks, which was pretty appropriate given the theme, and it led to an interesting exchange at the beginning of the symposium, as Eric McLuhan was giving his lead off plenary address.  Bob Blechman was watching back in New York, and through Twitter alerted me to the fact that the video was too far away from the speaker, so I relayed this information to the folks from Bologna, and they were able to make adjustments during his talk.

All of the videos have been archived, and you can watch them here:  http://www.100mcluhan.com/en/symposium/webtv.  Not surprisingly, much of the conference was in Italian, and they were nice enough to provide English translation for the attendees, but online I'm afraid folks aren't so lucky.  But there are several presentations in English, or in what passes for English up in Canada (just kidding friends), including Eric McLuhan's keynote, and papers delivered by my friend B. W. Powe, and new friends Dominique Sheffel-Dunand, the new head of the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto), Seth Feldman of York University, and Edward Slopek of Ryerson University.  Alexander Stille of Columbia University also participated, but he spoke in Italian (show-off!).

I was the only English-speaking American, actually, and you might ask if I would be so kind as to embed the video of my talk right here for your convenience, and yes, of course, I'd be happy to:

Actually, it's pretty cool that they gave us the embed codes, gotta love that.  Anyway, I'm introduced in Italian, but of course my talk is in English.  There was no alternative to sitting, no podium or microphone stand, so it was not an optimal speaking situation, as I find that energy is lower when sitting than when standing (not to mention the fact that I was feeling very worn out at this point).  Also, I did not have the chance to properly time or cut down my talk, and it turned out to be way too long, so if you watch this through to the end, you'll see me skipping over pages in the last part of the talk.  Even so, I think it went well, and was well received.  

We didn't have a question and answer session until after three other shorter presentations were made, but then we had some lively discussion that I was very happy with.   All in all, it was a great event, wonderful to get together and get to know a fine group of scholars, and to get to revisit some ideas about nationalism that I had worked on while I was still completing my dissertation back in the good old days of the good old media ecology program.  

And that about sums it up, think I'll go have an espresso now, might as well make it a double...