Tech Policy Seminar: The State of Social Media

 

Randal C. Picker

James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law

The Law School, The University of Chicago

 

Class Blog:

 

The seminar will meet on Thursdays from 4-6. Students will do blog posts in weeks 1-7. In weeks 8 and 9, student groups will do presentations. Groups will have 2-4 students and the presentations should run roughly 12-15 minutes per student. Once you have formed a group, send me the group members and you can at that time indicate whether your group wants to present in week 8 or week 9. Allocation to the presentation weeks is first come, first served, but we will need to have roughly the same number of students in weeks 8 and 9.

The blog posts will not satisfy one of the Law Schoolís writing requirements. The seminar is a 2-credit course, but you can take the seminar as a 3-credit seminar if you choose to write a meaningful additional paper for 1 credit. A natural approach in those circumstances is to write a paper based on your presentation, but the one-credit paper need not be based on the presentation. And the one-credit papers will also not satisfy the Law Schoolís writing requirements. Students wanting to write a longer paper on tech policy should see me about signing up for an independent 499 research project.

As you will see below, we will read three books in the seminar. I did not order those at the University book store, so you should get them on your own and of course you should feel free to read either the physical book or the ebook version.

You will see a variety of deadlines below. I think that they are useful for making the course work. Students donít need to hit them perfectly, but I do expect a good faith effort to hit them, as again, I think that will help the overall operation of the seminar.

Week 1: Thursday, January 10, 2019: Tech Policy Topics

In week 1, we will try to survey possible topics for the group presentations in Weeks 8 and 9. Each student will choose a topic and then do a blog post on that topic. These are intended to be preliminary looks at these topics, so you can do as much or as little research as you would like. A good post will describe why the topic might be of interest and might include relevant links. These topics need not be focused on the particular topic of the seminar this year but can be about anything related to tech policy. These posts need to be up by Thursday, January 10 at Noon.

Week 2: Thursday, January 17, 2019: Gillespie, Custodians of the Internet, Pages 1-110 (Chapters 1-4)

Each student in blogging group 1 will need to post by Monday, January 14 at 9 am. Each student in blogging group 2 will need to post by Wednesday, January 16 at 5 pm. Monday posts need to discuss the reading; Wednesday posts need to discuss the reading and at least one of the Monday posts.

Week 3: Thursday, January 24, 2019: Gillespie, Custodians of the Internet, Pages 111-213 (Chapters 5-8)

Group 2 will do posts by Monday, January 21 at 9 am. Group 1 will need to post by Wednesday, January 23 at 5 pm.

Week 4: Thursday, January 31, 2019: Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Pages ix-xxxi + 1-131 (Introduction, Chapters 1-5)

Group 1 will do posts by Monday, January 28 at 9 am. Group 2 will need to post by Wednesday, January 30 at 5 pm.

Week 5: Thursday, February 7, 2019: Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Pages 132-277 (6-9, Epilogue)

Group 2 will do posts by Monday, February 4 at 9 am. Group 1 will need to post by Wednesday, February 6 at 5 pm.

Week 6: Thursday, February 14, 2019: Vaidhyanathan, Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, Pages 1-105 (Introduction, Chapters 1-3)

Group 1 will do posts by Monday, February 11 at 9 am. Group 2 will need to post by Wednesday, February 13 at 5 pm.

Week 7: Thursday, February 21, 2019: Vaidhyanathan, Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, Pages 106-220 (Chapters 4-7, Conclusion)

Group 2 will do posts by Monday, February 18 at 9 am. Group 1 will need to post by Wednesday, February 20 at 5 pm.

Week 8: Thursday, February 28, 2019: Student Presentations

Week 9: Thursday, March 7, 2019: Student Presentations