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Convergent Wrestling: Call for Chapters

Official Call for Chapter Proposals Title: Colliding Inside the Squared Circle: The Convergent Nature of Professional Wrestling Editors: CarrieLynn D. Reinhard (Dominican University) & Christopher J. Olson (Dominican University) Purpose: The concept of convergence represents one of the most pervasive buzzwords in media studies, but with good reason. In essence, convergence concerns how the boundaries between different technologies, practices, and ideas blur together to create … Continue reading Convergent Wrestling: Call for Chapters

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Online Learning Communities with a Dominican Flair

Online Learning Communities with a Dominican Flair: Arguing for applying the Dominican ethos to online higher education CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and Claire Noonan (Dominican University) Introduction It seems that everywhere one looks in the world of contemporary higher education, someone is making an argument for the elimination of faculty in favor of technology as the driving force in the learning environment. From the creation of … Continue reading Online Learning Communities with a Dominican Flair

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Advice for Children on Social Media

My first piece of advice is to focus on teaching your children how to be respectful when they communicate and engage with people, online but also in person. This means being aware of not just what you are saying but how you are saying it, and that how is immensely important in social media with its lack of emotional cues. Even a young child can … Continue reading Advice for Children on Social Media

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Avatars, Audiences and Interactive Television

This presentation was given at the 100th National Communication Association Conference in Chicago on November 21, 2014. This presentation reflects the work I have done with Pooky Amsterdam to understand the nature and potential of virtual world television as reported in the Journal of Virtual World Research. This presentation was awarded one of the Top Paper Awards for the Communication of the Future Division.

The current state of affairs brings what is “television” into question. Amongst the various layers of activity and discourse that surround it, “television” can, and perhaps should, be deconstructed into at least two primary components: the content it relays, “television-as-content,” versus the technical interface it is, “television-as-technology”. There may soon come a time when the idea of watching television does not involve the use of a television set. Instead, television content will be increasingly divorced from the medium for which it was developed: over-the-air broadcasting of audiovisual content. At that time, television-as-content will become another aspect of the Internet.

These challenges to what is “television” are also challenges to the traditional models of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption that have for so long defined it. These challenges are also implicated in the move toward higher interactivity. The traditional models are predicated on transmission and passivity, whereas the interactive models require dialogue and activity. Concepts and technologies like video on demand, time-shifting, and social television are all part of these challenges. This paper explores yet another, virtual world television or VWTV. With VWTV, we are seeing another possible location for the evolution of television.

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Pragmatic Approach to Social Media

(The following comes from my extended position in a debate on the benefits and drawbacks, the harms and hopes, of social media.  This debate was developed for the Dominican University Caritas Veritas symposium and was delivered on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013.)

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My name is Dr. CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, and since I am the director of our new social media minor program here at Dominican University, I am taking the negative stance on the resolution “Social media is harmful to the intellectual and emotional development of young people”.

According to media and cultural historians Carolyn Marvin, Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey B. Pingree, we should take not a technologically determinist, artifactual, instrumented-centered approach to understanding the interplay between the technology and the people.  Instead, we should understand the people’s relating to each other, and how the medium’s introduction impacts these relationships.  To quote Marvin from her book “When Old Technologies Were New” (p. 8):

Media are not fixed natural objects; they have no natural edges.  They are constructed complexes of habits, beliefs, and procedures embedded in elaborate cultural codes of communication.  The history of media is never more or less than the history of their uses, which always lead us away from them to the social practices and conflicts they illuminate.

When we look at the media technologies this way, Gitelman and Pingree argue that they seem to have a common pattern: every introduction of a new medium, or a new communication technology, seems to undergo a phase of “identity crisis” as the meanings and use of the technology are negotiated over time.  And part of this pattern is how they are met with the same two polarized positions: risk and potential.  Risk is the reactionary position, which sees the introduction as a detriment to the current and future status of civilization – this is the position my friend here is espousing.  Potential is the revolutionary position, which sees the introduction as the long-awaited arrival of the savior of civilization.

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