If you’ve adopted Superconnected for your fall course on internet and/or digital impacts — thank you! If not, and you’d like to consider it for an upcoming semester, you can check it out for free on the Sage Publications site. You’ll find sample chapters and a link to request a free review copy: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/superconnected-the-internet-digital-media-and-techno-social-life/book239425.
I’d also encourage you to check out the podcasts on the “Podcasts” page, above. They each contain an overview of the chapter and a representative excerpt. They would be great to assign to students as supplementary chapter material, and may help the text come alive in a new way. You can tell students that I am a professional radio announcer and recorded the podcasts in a studio, and that my career in radio explains a lot about my fascination with social bonding via media.
When I was a full-time radio announcer during and just after college, I noticed a fascinating phenomenon. I felt deeply connected to my listeners. And when they called in to make a song request over the phone, or I met them at a concert or event, I could tell that many of them felt the same way. I felt that we had created a community that mattered to us, even if some or most of us had never met face-to-face and likely never would.
Years later, I decided to shift my focus from radio to higher education, but I never forgot the strength and power of these media-facilitated relationships and communities. I knew that physical co-presence was not sufficient, or in many cases even necessary, to initiate and maintain what I was beginning to call “communities of the mind.” And when a new thing called the internet started making inroads into every facet of our lives, I had a feeling that the phenomenon would translate to the online, digital world.
I was right.
They say timing is everything. Becoming a sociologist and a researcher at the time when the internet began exploding in popularity was the most fortuitous timing imaginable. Intrigued by the experiences people were having online, and sensing that many of these experiences would be real, relational, communal, and highly consequential, great research opportunities — and my whole career, really — followed.
And almost everything I’ve learned along the way is reflected in the multidisciplinary, broad-based, foundational nature of Superconnected.
If you do choose to check it out, I hope you (and your students) enjoy it! I wrote it, mostly, for them — for my own students and for my own children. Click around this blog and feel free to share the podcasts and posts with students or others. And please let me know how it’s received!