I’m Doing Research

Welcome back all! This is Digitally Literate, issue #307. I hope you’re taking time out.

This week I post the following:

I also serve on the advisory board for BARWE. We’re in the second month of the latest inquiry series. This month we discuss how we can take action when doing anti-racist work in spite of real or perceived risks. If this is your first year doing this series, we recommend starting with an orientation meeting using the September 2021 material before moving on to the current month. 

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Reach out and say hello at hello@digitallyliterate.net.

Hall and Nails – “I Can’t Get Closer for That”

Haven’t laughed this much at one of Bill McClintock’s mashups in quite a while.

Music used in this mashup:

  • Hall and Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
  • Nine Inch Nails – Closer
  • Iron Maiden – Flight of the Icarus

How Facebook Hobbled Mark Zuckerberg’s Bid to Get America Vaccinated

We’re continuing to unpack the Facebook Files, A Wall Street Journal investigation. Company documents show Facebook knew it was “cesspools of anti-vaccine comments” and that they knew they needed to do something about it. Despite their problems with handling anti-vaxxer content, as the coronavirus vaccinations became available, Facebook made minimal or ineffectual efforts to address the issues and plays them down in public. Facebook has similarly struggled with how to handle the spread of inaccuracies on other issues, from QAnon conspiracy theories and other election falsehoods to hoax cancer cures and Holocaust denial.

Why is this important: One of the interesting pieces to take away from this reporting is the work that is happening as you use Facebook. You or a loved one may use Facebook to share photos, check in on others, and generally mean no ill will. You use the social network as your main media feed and trust what you’re reading as it is “shared by your friends.” In addition, as Facebook makes changes to any rules or structures in the community…you don’t really pay attention.

In truth, when Facebook makes changes, some individuals and groups are keenly aware of these changes and use the tools to their advantage to spread misinformation, continue astroturfing, seed doubt, and stir violence. This is disinformation by design.

What this looks like to you is an innocuous post that a friend shares with you with questions about vaccinations. You click on it and the algorithm pays attention. It shows you a couple more posts of the same type and you click on a couple…the algorithm feeds you some more. You then “conduct some research” and search online. You find a couple of groups that were set up ahead of time to handle your research interests. Suddenly, you’re caught in one of those cesspools.


TikTok’s algorithm leads users from transphobic videos to far-right rabbit holes

Before you start thinking that Facebook is the only place with cesspools of content….TikTok says “hold my drink.”

Olivia Little and Abbie Richards with some research on how TikTok’s algorithm took an account from transphobic videos to extremist videos in an alarmingly short amount of time.

The researchers created an account on TikTok and only engaged with content identified as transphobic. Transphobia is deeply intertwined with other kinds of far-right extremism, and TikTok’s algorithm only reinforces this connection. TikTok’s algorithm quickly picked up these signals and suggested content increasingly populated with videos promoting various far-right views and talking points.


Borrowed a School Laptop? Mind Your Open Tabs

When tens of millions of students suddenly had to learn remotely, many schools lent laptops and tablets to those without them. These devices typically come with monitoring software. This is generally viewed as a way to protect students and keep them on-task.

In one district, parents and teachers recognized that the monitoring software started closing some tabs. They soon learned that all of the district’s school-issued devices use Securly, student-monitoring software that lets teachers see a student’s screen in real-time and even close tabs if they discover a student is off-task. During class time, students were expected to have only two tabs open.

Now, some privacy advocates, parents, and teachers say that software created a new digital divide, limiting what some students could do and putting them at increased risk of disciplinary action.

There are certain groups of students, more likely those attending lower-income schools, who are going to be more reliant on school-issued devices and therefore be subject to more surveillance and tracking.” – Elizabeth Laird, Center for Democracy and Technology.


Here’s what I tell teachers about how to teach young students about slavery

Teaching slavery has been and will continue to be challenging. Raphael Rogers shares four things that can serve as strong guideposts for creating lessons that should make the challenge easier to navigate.

  • Explore actual records
  • Examine historical arguments
  • Highlight lived experiences
  • Consider the relevance

13 People Share the Habits They’re Bringing Back to the Office

As I’m beginning the transition back to face-to-face work after working from home for some time, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned…and what I’ll keep in my workflow. This post shares some actionable guidance.

  1. Plan out your week every Sunday
  2. Keep my essentials in a carryall zip pouch
  3. Use time blocking
  4. Eliminate meetings on Mondays and Fridays
  5. Write down the next day’s to-do list
  6. Wake up at the same time every morning
  7. Set intentions every morning
  8. Add personal appointments to your work calendar
  9. Go paperless
  10. Set an alarm to take a walk
  11. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  12. Use the 45-second rule
  13. Get outside at least once a day

How to Read a Book

Thinking about reading more?

Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren literally wrote the book on reading. They identify four levels of reading:

  • Elementary Reading – This is how you were taught to read.
  • Inspectional Reading – Look at the author’s blueprint and evaluate the merits of a deeper reading experience.
  • Analytical Reading – A more through reading where you chew and digest the text.
  • Syntopical Reading – Identifying relevant passages, translating the terminology, framing and ordering the questions that need answering, defining the issues, and having a conversation with the text.

You can do anything but you don’t have to do everything.

A modification of the quote from David Allen.

I came across this visualization this week on Reddit. I’ve been trying to find the source to link to it…and worried it would be removed so I uploaded it for an archive. Enjoy. 🙂

Let me know if I got anything wrong at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

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