Summer 2018
Pendleton East 327
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday: 1:30 – 4:40pm
Office Hours: By appointment



It’s easy to take for granted that we live in a world of 24/7 mobile communication. Yet, this relatively recent development is having profound impacts on how we live. Our aim in this course is to explore social implications of this technological revolution. Some of the topics we will consider include: the forging of virtual identities, the quality of our online relationships, multitasking; and the dangers technology poses to youth.


This course will enable you to:

• Recognize the powerful roles information technology plays in our society.
• See your own life differently by noticing how it is being shaped by the ways you use information technology.
• Become comfortable with expressing your ideas orally in front of your peers.
• Write with focus, clarity, and brevity.


The success of this course hinges on the productive exchange of ideas through discussions.  While I will at times give short lectures, your active participation is essential.  I am convinced that the more you each bring to class, the better it will go and the more that you will take from it. I may call on you to voice your ideas in the event that discussions begin to drag or if it becomes clear that only a handful of people are participating.  My reason for taking the liberty to do this is to convince you that what you have to say matters.  In a liberal arts course, there are often not “right” or “wrong” answers.  Therefore, just contributing something to the discussion can be very constructive in productively moving it along.


You must be here, period. We only meet 12 times so each class is critical.


There is nothing you need to buy for the course – everything is posted here!

* Please bring assigned material to class.  Either print it or bring a device to class so you can access it electronically.


Your final grade will be based on two papers as well as attendance & participation.

30%                    Paper 1
40%                    Paper 2
30%                    Class attendance and participation


Monday, July 2nd

Course overview

*READ IN CLASS: Tim Wu, “The Tyranny of Convenience.” New York Times, February 16, 2018.

Tuesday, July 3rd

*READ: Stephanie Rosenbloom, “Putting Your Best Cyberface Forward.” New York Times, January 3, 2008.

*READ: Peggy Orenstein, “I Tweet, Therefore I Am.” New York Times Magazine, July 30, 2010.

*READ: Alina Tugend, “The Anxiety of the Unanswered E-mail.” New York Times, April 19, 2013.

*READ: Jeffrey Rosen, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting.” New York Times Magazine, July 19, 2010.

*READ: Clyde Haberman, “Mob Shaming: The Pillory at the Center of the Global Village.” New York Times, June 19, 2016.

Thursday, July 5th

*READ: Natasha Singer, “The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers.” New York Times, November 3, 2015.

*READ: Marina Micheli, “What is New in the Digital Divide? Understanding Internet Use by Teenagers from Different Social Backgrounds.” In Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications 2015, Edited by Laura Robinson, Shelia R. Cotten, Jeremy Schulz, Timothy M. Hale, and Apryl Williams.

Monday, July 9th

*READ: Sherry Turkle, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.” New York Times, September 26, 2015.

*READ: Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein, “Can You Connect with Me Now? How the Presence of Mobile Communication Technology Influences Face-to-Face Conversation Quality.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships July 2012 1-10.

*READ: Jenny Davis, “Our Devices Are Not Turning Us Into Unfeeling Robots.” The Daily Dot, November 15, 2016.

*READ: Mark Oppenheimer, “Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All.” New York Times Magazine, January 17, 2014.

*READ: Stephen Marche, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” The Atlantic, April 2, 2012.

Tuesday, July 10th

*READ: Verena von Pfetten, “Read This Story without Distraction (Can You?)” New York Times, April 29, 2016.

*READ: Timothy Egan, “The Eight-Second Attention Span.” New York Times, January 22, 2016.

*READ: Bionka Bosker, “The Binge Breaker.” The Atlantic, November 2016.

*READ: Farhad Manjoo, “It’s Time for Apple to Build a Less Addictive iphone.” New York Times, January 17, 2018.

Thursday, July 12th

*READ: Neil Swidey, “The End of Alone.” Boston Globe Magazine, February 8, 2009.

*READ: Teddy Wayne, “The End of Reflection.” New York Times, June 11, 2016.

Sunday, July 15th

Paper 1 due

Monday, July 16th

*READ: Christine Rosen, “Our Cell Phones, Ourselves.” The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society, Summer 2004: 26-45.

*READ: Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, “Hello, Stranger.” New York Times, April 25, 2014.

*READ: Christine Rosen, “Are Smartphones Turning Us Into Bad Samaritans?” Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2013.

Tuesday, July 17th

*READ: Dan Slater, “A Million First Dates.” The Atlantic, January/February 2013.

*READ: Dale Markowitz, “The Future of Online Dating is Unsexy and Brutally Effective.” Gizmodo, October 25, 2017.

*WATCH: “Her”

*LISTEN: “Can You Have a Whole Relationship Through Texts?” Note to Self podcast, October 14, 2015.

*READ: Daniel Jones, “Romance at Arm’s Length.” New York Times, February 6, 2014.

Thursday, July 19th

*READ: Nicholas D. Kristof, “After Recess: Change the World.” New York Times, February 4, 2012.

*READ: Zeynep Tufekci, “#Kony2012, Understanding Networked Symbolic Action & Why Slacktivism is Conceptually Misleading.” Technosociology Blog, March 10, 2012.

*READ: Christopher Mele, “Online Petitions Take Citizen Participation to New Levels. But Do They Work?” New York Times, December 28, 2016.

*READ: Nicholas Kristof, “Payday for Ice Bucket Challenge’s Mocked Slacktivists.” New York Times, September 3, 2015.

Monday, July 23rd

*WATCH: Eli Pariser, “Beware Online ‘Filter Bubbles”

*READ: Lindsay Meisel, “Don’t Blame the Internet for Political Polarization.” Breakthrough Journal, Summer 2013.

*READ: Jenna Wortham, “Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture?” New York Times Magazine, November 22, 2016.

*READ: Antonio Garcia Martiniez, “Facebook, Snapchat, and the Dawn of the Post-Truth Era.” Wired, May 28, 2018.

*READ: Jonathan Maher, “The Problem with ‘Self-Investigation’ in a Post-Truth Era.” New York Times Magazine, December 27, 2016.

Tuesday, July 24th

*READ: Danah Boyd, “Addiction: What Makes Teens Obsessed with Social Media.” Pp. 77-99 in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014

*READIra Silver, “Stranger Danger: Protecting Kids from Threats Lurking Everywhere”

Thursday, July 26th

*READIra Silver, “Have Kids Gotten Meaner? An Up-close Look at Cyberbullying and Suicide”

*READ: David Finkelhor, “The Internet, Youth Safety and the Problem of “Juvenoia.’” Crimes against Children Research Center, January 2011.

*READ: Adam Thierer, “Why Do We Always Sell the Next Generation Short?” Forbes, January 8, 2012.

Monday, August 6th

*Paper 2 due