Breaching Experiment Essay

Breaching Experiment Essay-64
Garfinkel required his hapless students to break all sorts of norms and write about their experiences, and I found that fifty years after it was written, my students reacted the same way Garfinkel’s did when contemplating breaching social norms—with horror, embarrassment, and trepidation.

Garfinkel required his hapless students to break all sorts of norms and write about their experiences, and I found that fifty years after it was written, my students reacted the same way Garfinkel’s did when contemplating breaching social norms—with horror, embarrassment, and trepidation.

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I was deeply influenced by Bambi Schieffelin in graduate school, who introduced me to ethnomethodology.Instead, I decided to spend the first half of the class grounding the students in a mish-mash of theory drawn from computer-mediated communication (CMC), science and technology studies (STS), and digital ethnography, and the second half organized topically, around key areas of interest like journalism, memes, and privacy.I wanted to do two things with the class: First, give the students some practical skills they could bring to bear in an internship or entry-level job, and second, focus on the , the interplay between technological affordances and social norms, to provide a skill set that would enable students to approach new sites and apps with a critical eye.While they could pick from ten, the students overwhelmingly picked one of these two: The “picture creeper” assignment came from a discussion we had in class about when it was acceptable to comment on people’s Facebook information.(Being from a different generation than my students, I often learned about appropriate online etiquette and new apps from them.) The responses to this assignment were fascinating.The book gives a thorough schooling in CMC theory, some of which is out of fashion but still useful, and more modish key concepts in STS, while maintaining a critical, anthropological viewpoint. I’ve used Word Press in the past, but Tumblr is more fashionable and I thought it was more likely my students would encounter it professionally (many communications students go into PR, marketing, and advertising, where “cool” social media like Instagram and Tumblr is often used to promote brands and clients).Unfortunately, Tumblr has limited support, so I wrote a lengthy “How To” document, which was immediately obsolete as the site implemented changes constantly.The students who picked Facebook Picture Creeper reported being blocked, getting texts and phone calls asking them to stop, being chided by friends, and unfriended on Facebook.About half of the Oversharers reported similar results, with the other half saying they had become much closer to their subject as a result.Not only did Alice construct an interdisciplinary reading list to prepare her students to critically analyze social media, she also aimed to give her students practical social media skills for entry-level jobs and internships. Only a professor who has a deep understanding of the contemporary internet!While we weren’t lucky enough to be Alice’s student, she gives us an abbreviated tour of her class below.

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