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Celebrating Erasmus University's 100th Birthday & honoring Arjun Appadurai

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What a wonderful event ! It was the 100th anniversary of Erasmus University Rotterdam on Nov 8th and for that, they did not cut corners to say the least. The event was at the de doelen, a massive orchestra house which I had never been to until now, in spite of living in the Netherlands for four years now. The hall was packed with invite-only guests that were fed a four course meal, unlimited drinks and wonderful dessert. I believe there was at least a couple of thousand people overall.  It was indeed a spectacle and I could see many Erasmus University alumni getting rather sentimental about their time at the university. Also, thank god the construction is gone and we now have a much improved campus. Since I came here years ago, I have gotten used to cranes and re-routes to classes and mountains of mud and construction signage all around. What a relief it is now over.








Also, my faculty of History, Culture and Communication commemorated this occasion by nominating Arjun Appadurai for th…

Frontiers of New Media Symposium at University of Utah

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So am back from the University of Utah, having participated in their Frontiers of New Media symposium. The location of Utah is not a coincidence. In 1969, the University of Utah was the fourth of four nodes of the ARPANet. It is popularly believed that the birth of the ARPANet, and later the Internet, marked the beginning of this "new frontier." To top it off, this year, the National Security Agency’s “Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center” will be completed in Bluffdale, Utah. This data center will be a key archive of the electronic communications of individuals all over the world.


In light of the PRISM/NSA scandal, this years symposum theme was "The Beginning and End(s) of the Internet: Surveillance, Censorship, and the Future of Cyber-Utopia." The speakers came from diverse disciplines including law, sociology, cultural studies and communication. Ron Deibert opened the symposium with an alarming keynote on the extent to which we …

2 New Papers Out on First Monday: Museum 2.0 & the Fashion Blogosphere

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What a wonderful day to see 2 of my Masters students get their thesis published as papers in one of my favorite journals - First Monday. This journal is one of the first open access journals dedicated solely to the study of the Internet. It has published excellent and pioneering texts from several renowned scholars such as Howard Besser, danah boyd, John Seely Brown, Edward Castronova, Paul Duguid, Nathan Glazer, Eszter Hargittai, Lev Manovich, Helen Nissenbaum, Trevor Pinch, and Richard Wiggins.

So proud of Jessica Verboom, and Kristina Sedeke, both wonderful young scholars and practitioners.

So the first paper by Jessica Verboom , 'Museum 2.0: A study into the culture of expertise within the museum blogosphere' is on how museums are addressing the rise of social media and how this challenges the notion of expertise in the art world. The abstract below gives a glimpse of what its about:

Abstract
While studies on popular culture have a more vast understanding of the impact of …

General Electric Panel on Cutting through the hype (Helsinki WCSJ 2013)

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Just got back from Helsinki after speaking on the GE sponsored panel on energy at the World Conference of Science Journalists 2013 (click here for thelive video recording of our panel talk). And yes, before you even go there, it is true that I'm not an expert on energy. In fact, ask me a question on wind turbines or solar energy or whether or not fracking is good or bad for the environment, and I would just advise you to Google these issues instead. So where do I fit in on a panel with Haydn Rees, the managing director of Clarke Energy or Rhys Owen, Deputy Editor of Global Water Intelligence or Tom Freyberg, the Chief Editor of WWi Magazine?

Simply put, there is no escaping the conversation of social media infiltration into all corporate spheres, including that of the energy world. In a forum such as this where science journalists are confronted time and again with the hype on citizen scientists and amateur journalism as somehow more authentic, there is need to talk about the imp…

Expertise. The judgment between art history, technology, law and market

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Next week my colleague Filip Vermeylen and I are heading to Zurich for a speaking engagement on art expertise in the digital age. This colloquium is being organized by the Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIK-ISEA), Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich and the Centre of Cultural Law (ZKR) at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Looking forward to what apparently is going to be a very 'Swiss' experience as the talks will be in German, English and French with simultaneous translations! 
Besides, this could not have come at a better time as we just published a paper in the Information, Communication and Society Journal that speaks directly to this topic. Basically, the premise for our talk is based on the fact that at this point, few challenge the fact that recent developments in the art world are hugely impacting the process of knowledge construction in the arts and the valorization process in the art market. According to some observers, the digital revolution…

Arm Chair Activism: Serious Games usage by INGOs for Educational Change

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A new paper (PDF) that I co-authored with Sorina Itu on the analysis of serious games usage by INGOs as a means to foster virtual activism has just been published in the International Journal of Game-Based Learning. Sorina Itu deserves significant credit for this as she embarked on gathering data on which this paper is based on.

Basically, this is about the battle between educators and entertainers specifically when it comes to gaming. This paper argues that the edutainment battleground has expanded to include actors outside formal schooling agencies, namely International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs). These actors employ digital games with the aim to educate and activate towards specific social causes. These serious games are viewed to have tremendous potential for behavioral change through their interactive and persuasive aspects. This paper examines serious games deployed by certain prominent INGOs and analyzes the educative aspects of such new media platforms. What is re…