Digitally Literate #226

Reasons for Being
Digitally Lit #226 – 12/14/2019

Hi all, welcome to issue #226 of Digitally Literate, thanks for stopping by. Please subscribe if you would like this to show up in your email inbox.

We posted a new episode of the The Technopanic Podcast titled Smart Things…Friend or Foe?. Ian and Kristen are joined by Bud Hunt, and we talk about smart devices in our lives, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, PocketCasts, Stitcher…or the podcast app of your choice.

This will be the last issue of Digitally Literate for the year. I’ll spend the next two weeks with a bit of a digital detox. I’ll still be working on some things behind the scenes and I’ll see you in 2020. I’ll start the year with a series of posts focusing on sprucing up your digital hygiene for the new year.


An Antidote to Dissatisfaction (10:00)

This video from the Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell YouTube channel focuses on one of the strongest predictors of how happy people are, how easily they make friends and how good they are at dealing with hardship…Gratitude.


Video Games and Online Chats Are ‘Hunting Grounds’ for Sexual Predators

A piece in the NY Times by Nellie Bowles and Michael H. Keller on the reports of video games and online chats becoming “hunting grounds” of youth by sexual predators.

I’d like to note at this point that we’ve seen pieces in the past by the NY Times, and most specifically Nellie Bowles, that push a narrative of a moral panic against tech…especially as it relates to screentime and youth. This narrative is one of the reasons why I started up the Technopanic Podcast with Kristen Turner.

The piece makes the following points:

Sexual predators and other bad actors have found an easy access point into the lives of young people: They are meeting them online through multiplayer video games and chat apps, making virtual connections right in their victims’ homes.

The criminals strike up a conversation and gradually build trust. Often they pose as children, confiding in their victims with false stories of hardship or self-loathing. Their goal, typically, is to dupe children into sharing sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves — which they use as blackmail for more imagery, much of it increasingly graphic and violent.

I think there is a danger of strangers reaching out to youth while online. I also recognize that this danger could happen as they walk down the street. The key is to have dialogue with children as they interact in digital, social spaces.

Why Ring Doorbells Perfectly Exemplify the IoT Security Crisis

Lily Hay Newman with a piece in Wired that synthesizes some of the recent stories about home surveillance cameras (e.g., Ring cameras) getting hijacked.

There’s been a lot of creepy and concerning news about how Amazon’s Ring smart doorbells are bringing surveillance to suburbia and sparking data-sharing relationships between Amazon and law enforcement. News reports this week are raising a different issue: hackers are breaking into users’ Ring accounts, which can also be connected to indoor Ring cameras, to take over the devices and get up to all sorts of invasive shenanigans.

Ring responded to the Wired article with a statement that one of the hacks reported in the article was “compromised.” If you listened to our latest episode of the Technopanic Podcast, we talk about the challenges of updating and securing your smart things.

If you want to dig deeper in on this story, read this piece on how Silicon Valley is listening to your most intimate moments.

On Digital Disinformation and Democratic Myths

A post by Dave Karpf on the amplification and exploitation of racial strife in politics by digital means.

Generating social media interactions is easy; mobilizing activists and persuading voters is hard. Online disinformation and propaganda do not have to be particularly effective at duping voters or directly altering electoral outcomes in order to be fundamentally toxic to a well-functioning democracy, though. The rise of disinformation and propaganda undermines some of the essential governance norms that constrain the behavior of our political elites. It is entirely possible that the current disinformation disorder will render the country ungovernable despite barely convincing any mass of voters to cast ballots that they would not otherwise have cast.

Who’s Teaching the Teachers?

The Chronicle of Higher Ed asks how many individuals received any meaningful pedagogical training during graduate school. I’d add to that question and ask how many received pedagogical or content area training in tech & digital literacy.

Inside Higher Ed follows up with an overview of the online discussion on this topic.

The 100 Memes That Defined The 2010s

In the last decade, for better or worse, memes became a major way that we express ourselves.

This decade, memes became something not just for a handful of internet nerds who lurked on message boards; memes are now for everyone. The online culture of this decade hasn’t just changed the words we use, it’s changed how we express ourselves. Huge technological shifts of the 2010s led to this: widespread smartphone adoption and the rise of newfangled social media platforms like Vine. Memes also became a business — brands used meme-speak and accounts like @fuckjerry made big bucks by reposting memes.

Skim through this list of the top 100 memes of the decade and see what you’ve missed out on.

As a literacy researcher, I also enjoyed this list of the defining words of the decade.


Highly Confident People Avoid These 14 Behaviors

A great primer for those of us that are making decisions about the ending year…and preparing for the new year.

People certain of themselves tend to avoid these actions.

  1. They don’t seek attention and praise.
  2. They refuse to make excuses.
  3. They aren’t defensive.
  4. They don’t avoid conflict.
  5. They don’t hide behind indecision.
  6. They’re not downtrodden by feedback.
  7. They don’t feel they’re in competition with others.
  8. They’re not afraid to take a stand.
  9. They don’t shy from failure and setbacks.
  10. They don’t pummel themselves with negative self-talk.
  11. They don’t spread negative energy.
  12. They don’t talk only about themselves.
  13. They don’t do the easy thing by doing everything.
  14. They don’t require permission to act.


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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Søren Kierkegaard

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Digitally Literate is a synthesis of the important things I find as I surf, skim, & scan the Internet each week. I take notes of everything that piques my interest, and then pull together the important stuff here in a weekly digest.

I’ll close out 2019 with a visualization of Ikigai from the Information is Beautiful website. The original diagram was created by British community activist Marc Winn in 2014 from a TED Talk on Longevity by writer Dan Buettner.

To learn more about Ikigai, contact Eylan Ezekiel. He is ikigai AF.

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See you all in 2020. Feel free to say hello at or on the social network of your choice.

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