CMS News Archives
Download or watch below.
In recent years, otaku culture has emerged as one of Japan's major cultural exports and as a genuinely transnational phenomenon. In this talk, Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at UC Irvine, discusses how this once marginalized popular culture has come to play a major role in Japan's identity at home and abroad. In the American context, the word otaku is best translated as "geek"--an ardent fan with highly specialized knowledge and interests. But it is associated especially with fans of specific Japan-based cultural genres, including anime, manga, and video games. Most important of all is the way otaku culture represents a newly participatory fan culture in which fans not only organize around niche interests but produce and distribute their own media content. How did this once stigmatized Japanese youth culture create its own alternative markets and cultural products such as fan fiction, comics, costumes, and remixes, becoming a major international force that can challenge the dominance of commercial media? By exploring the rich variety of otaku culture from multiple perspectives, Prof. Ito will provide fascinating insights into the present and future of cultural production and distribution in the digital age.
Continue reading "Video: Mimi Ito, "Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World"" »
The Vanished team sought to invite players during the lead up to the game through outreach from the Smithsonian and press. Player recruitment expanded organically as players pulled in their friends to join the fun, while the home-schooling community provided its own influx of players. There was significant international participation, despite the game’s US-centric design focus. Over 6,700 player accounts registered, plus an additional 3,000 watcher/adult accounts; over a thousand players remained active through to the game's finale. The Vanished team attributed this high level of active participation to the tight player community that formed over the game’s eight week run.
One design goal for Vanished was to “squash the pyramid” by encouraging traditionally casual players to take a more active role. Typically, participation in high engagement campaigns like alternate reality games are expected to take the shape of an inverted pyramid, with casual players forming the base, supported by the efforts of the highly engaged few at the top. To encourage active collaboration, players at received one of 99 unique codes at the beginning of Vanished, and the players had to assemble every code to advance. Assignment was random, so players actively solicited others to speak up and become involved. As the game progressed, players received achievement points for their participation, which could be spent to unlock documents. Many documents required more points than any single player could afford, and so players had to pool their points together as a team. While presenting Vanished at GDC Online in October, Scot Osterweil and Feeley cited improvements to the traditional “90-9-1″ player percentages of casual-active-enthusiast to 69-25-6 - tripling the active participants, with a large number of players serving as heavy contributors.
"Vanished" Teaches Children to Save the Future with Science -- ARGN.com
Interested in the CMS graduate program? Today at 2pm eastern time we are hosting our second online infosession, featuring our directors and research managers...as well as other perspectives adding their own great questions to yours.
Log on: cms.mit.edu/infosession
As a prologue to the Futures of Entertainment conference, this Forum will focus on the emergence of powerful new production cultures in such cities as Mumbai, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro. What do these developments portend for the international flow of media content? How does the nature of these cities shape the entertainment industries they are fostering? At the same time, new means of media production and circulation now permit individuals to produce content from suburban or rural areas. How do these apparently opposed trends co-exist? What is their likely impact on audiences and on the international media landscape?
Speakers include Sergio Sa Leitao, president of RioFilme; 2005 CMS graduate and author of Gay Bombay Parmesh Shahani, who now heads the Godrej India Culture Club and is Editor at Large for Verve magazine; and Ernest James Wilson III, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Download the video of this event or view below.
Continue reading "Video: "Communications Forum: Cities and the Future of Entertainment"" »
Download a recording of this event.
As a prologue to the conference, this Forum will focus on the emergence of powerful new production cultures in such cities as Mumbai, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro. What do these developments portend for the international flow of media content? How does the nature of these cities shape the entertainment industries they are fostering? At the same time, new means of media production and circulation now permit individuals to produce content from suburban or rural areas. How do these apparently opposed trends co-exist? What is their likely impact on audiences and on the international media landscape?
Speakers include Sérgio Sá Leitão, president of RioFilme; 2005 CMS graduate and author of Gay Bombay Parmesh Shahani, who now heads the Godrej India Culture Club and is Editor at Large for Verve magazine; and Ernest James Wilson III, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Continue reading "Podcast: "Communications Forum: Cities and the Future of Entertainment"" »
This talk focuses on digital spaces to support positive youth development.
Download, or listen below.
As the design of our digital landscape is increasingly guided by commercial purposes and not by developmental concerns, there is a sense of urgency for developing strategies and educational programs that promote positive development by taking into consideration the children's social, emotional, cognitive, physical, civic and spiritual needs. But we should also consider the unique design features of each technology and the practices and policies that shape different interactions in the digital landscape. Although this talk will focus on new technologies, it is inspired by an old question: "How should we live?" This talk will present an approach to help children gain the technological literacies of the 21st century while developing a sense of identity, values and purpose. Too often youth's experiences with technology are framed in negative terms. This talk acknowledges problems and risks, and takes an interventionist perspective. Based on over a decade and a half of research, this talk provides a theoretical framework for guiding the implementation of experiences that take advantage of new technologies to support learning and personal development, as well as examples from concrete experiences. These engage children in playful learning by supporting digital content creation, creativity, choices of conduct, communication, collaboration and community building. These are the six C's proposed by the Positive Technological Development framework. They can guide the design and the evaluation of digital experiences from early childhood to adolescence, and offer a possible path to help children out of the playpens into the playgrounds of this technological era.
Marina Umaschi Bers, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. She heads the interdisciplinary Developmental Technologies research group. Her research involves the design and study of innovative learning technologies to promote positive youth development. Dr. Bers received prestigious awards such as the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a five year National Science Foundation Young Investigator's Career Award and the American Educational Research Association's Jan Hawkins Award. Over the past decade and a half, Dr. Bers has conceived, designed and evaluated diverse technological tools ranging from robotics to virtual worlds in after-school programs, museums, hospitals, and schools both in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Bers has received several NSF grants and is active in publishing her research in academic journals. Her book Blocks to Robots: Learning with Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom was published in 2008 by Teacher's College Press. Most recently, Dr. Bers wrote The Design of Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development: Out of the playpen into the playground, to be published by Oxford University in early 2012. Dr. Bers is from Argentina. In 1994 she came to the U.S. and received a Master's degree in Educational Media from Boston University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory.
Continue reading "Podcast: "Out of the Playpen into the Playground: The Design of Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development" »
Every couple of months we take a deep look into our Google Analytics numbers and adjust content accordingly, trying to improve tactics bit by bit.
But toward the end of the year, before the holiday crunch, we take a step back to see how those statistics are meeting overall goals versus years prior. Are we reaching a larger, more diverse audience? Are we keeping up with changes in technology? Is our content getting easier to find, and is our site getting easier to navigate?
The numbers below compare November 2010 to November 2011 against November 2008 to November 2009. (Note the gap year...our goal is to identify longer-term changes.)
- Visits: Up 32% to 114,629
- Homepage visits: Up 796% to 64,248
- Pageviews: Up 16% to 307,460. We take this to be a good sign relative to visits: since our site is informational rather than commercial, we want people to find what they want quickly. Thus...
- Bounce rate (visitors who view only one page): Up 13%
- Average time on site: down 4%
- Our international reach has grown. It's up 45%. Visits from Asia alone are up 59%.
- Likewise, while small compared to those using English, browsers with their language set to Chinese are up a whopping 84%, making Chinese the second-most used language behind only American English.
Our academics and graduate program pages are behind only the homepage in all visitor categories.
- We've seen a small drop-off in people visiting for the first and second time but a modest increase in those visiting three or more times. (We'd really like to know who these people are that have visited cms.mit.edu pages for the 200+th time. There are too many to ascribe it simply to students, faculty, and staff.)
- There's been a dramatic swing in browser usage, reflecting higher ownership of Macs and a switching from Firefox to Chrome.
- Likewise, visits via mobile devices have exploded: Up more than 4,600% in the last two years.
- Changes in how visitors find us are difficult to account for in meaningful ways. Visits via Facebook are up more than 500%, but in '08-'09 we used Facebook far less often. We don't set specific goals as businesses do as to what percentage of visitors should find us via search engines (up 15%) versus typing in our URL (up 26%) versus from sites that link to us (down 18%).
- Keywords (search terms) are important, though. These results are indeed mixed. Our brand recognition efforts have paid dividends, with variations on "mit cms" and "mit comparative media studies" up around 80%. But the more general search "media studies" has brought 20% fewer visitors over the last two years, we assume meaning either there are more such programs or (perhaps and) programs are pushing their marketing harder as well.
Why do we consider these results mixed? While people are finding new ways to access our content, well, they're finding new ways to access our content. Our site will have to keep up.
Frankly, there's little to be disappointed in...except that our sister site gambit.mit.edu has done so much better. (Just one example: their visits are up 215% since 2008/9, to 506,000 visits in the last year.)
Then again, maybe we're biased in what statistics we're showcasing. Do you have specific numbers you'd like to see? Just ask: email@example.com.
From an on-campus infosessions about our grad program to "Cities and the Futures of Entertainment," there's lots to be excited about at CMS in November...
Upcoming Events (x7)
Mapping Media Ecosystems
The Design of Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development
Featuring Marina Bers of Tufts University
Next Thursday, 11/10, 9:30am
On-Campus Graduate Program Infosession (RSVPs close this Friday)
Next Thursday, 11/10, 5pm
Cities & the Future of Entertainment
A Communications Forum
The emergence of powerful new production cultures in such cities as Mumbai, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro.
Thursday 11/16, 5pm
Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World
Featuring Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at UC Irvine
Monday 11/20, 2pm
Online Graduate Program Infosession
Monday 11/30, 5pm
Sasha Costanza-Chock, Assistant Prof. of Civic Media, publishes chapter in Race After the Internet:
"New Voices on the Net? The Digital Journalism Divide and the Costs of Network Exclusion"
Videos & Podcasts
Communications Forum: Local News in the Digital Age
Designing Connections with the Mobile Experience Lab's Federico Casalegno
Revision, Culture, and the Machine: How Digital Makes Us Human with John Bryant, Hofstra University
Communications Forum: Surveillance and Citizenship