Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Supreme Court weighs in on violent lyrics posted on Facebook (Elonis v. US)

The Supreme Court yesterday threw out  aspiring rap artist Anthony "Tone Dougie" Elonis's conviction for posting violent rap lyrics directed at his ex-wife and co-workers on his Facebook page. However, the court ruled narrowly and intentionally avoided taking a stand on the degree of First Amendment protection enjoyed by online speech. Full New York Times story here. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Free web templates and other good stuff...

Here are some complete, pre-fab web templates that you can use. Be cautious about using complicated templates that employ lots of images as elements of the design, use XHTML, have multimedia capabilities, etc. In my experience, those templates are difficult to edit without screwing up their formatting and creating more headaches than they are worth. It is best to use very simple templates (with basic 2- and 3-column layouts) as you can simply past your text directly into the text "container" and they can typically be modified without too much trouble.  In the past students have had success with designs like "Simple Beauty", "Simple #2," "Three Column Fluid," and "Event Horizon."
Free skeletal designs:
Finally, if you work with Adobe Dreamweaver, you'll find it comes with a number of different easy to use templates. When you start up the program, just click on the "Create from Sample" option:

Blog Prompt: Social Media and Social Activism


We've spent the past couple of class sessions talking about the impact of new media on politics and contemporary political discourse. There are some quite notable examples of digital communication technology helping to launch significant social movements-- for instance, the protest movements associated with the Arab Spring-- but there are also examples of social media-based activism that is either overly simplistic (see Kony 2012) or accomplishes very little. Have you ever engaged in "activism" or "political action" via social media-- signed a petition, made a political Tweet or status update, shared a politically-loaded meme-- and , if so, how effective do you think such activism was? In general, in what ways do you think social media is helping to "politicize" and "mobilize" this generation of college students?