Tag Archives: Facebook Inc

The Social Network and Our LIB Courses

In light of the great, informal conversation in Randy’s office today about using films in our credit courses, I thought I’d make a pitch for screening The Social Network and for a few interesting angles to employ when discussing the film in class. First, there is an interesting debate about intellectual property that can come out of the movie. Did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg actually “steal” anything from his colleagues at Harvard that he worked with early on? Were the lawsuits that embroiled Zuckerberg based on valid complaints? In a really interesting review of the movie, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig condemns the lawsuits between Zuckerberg and his Harvard colleagues who accused him of stealing their ideas:

Did he steal a trade secret? Absolutely not. Did he steal any other “property”? Absolutely not—the code for Facebook was his, and the “idea” of a social network is not a patent. It wasn’t justice that gave the twins $65 million; it was the fear of a random and inefficient system of law. That system is a tax on innovation and creativity. That tax is the real villain here, not the innovator it burdened.

In his review, Lessig then goes on to critique the movie for missing what he sees as the most important aspect of the story of Facebook’s phenomenal growth: Zuckerberg didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to create this site on the web, which in less than 6 years has grown to have nearly half a billion users. Lessig argues that the creators of “The Social Network” seemed oblivious to the way that Facebook magnificently embodies the idea that the web has democratized innovation:

Because the platform of the Internet is open and free, or in the language of the day, because it is a “neutral network,” a billion Mark Zuckerbergs have the opportunity to invent for the platform. And though there are crucial partners who are essential to bring the product to market, the cost of proving viability on this platform has dropped dramatically.

As Lessig points out, those watching this movie should wonder how the network neutrality debates playing out right now might lead to changes on the internet that would make it much more difficult for a future Mark Zuckerberg to innovate on the web.

Lessig, Lawrence. “Sorkin vs. Zuckerberg.” The New Republic, 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

The Social Network – Official Site. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

Wu, Tim. “Network Neutrality  FAQ.” Tim Wu. N.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

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Tech Sharecase, 18 September 2009

Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Mikhail Gershovich, Tom Harbison, Gerry Jiao, Louise Klusek, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Luke Waltzer

Mobile Web Development
A recent post by John Blossom on Robin Good’s blog (“Future of Mobile Web Applications: Applications Centered or Browser Centric?”) argues that the era we are in now of downloadable apps for phones may parallel the early days of the web when AOL and Compuserve offered the web via walled gardens; as the web developed, users left those walled gardens behind mostly and explored the open web. Blossom argues that the mobile apps are somewhat like AOL and Compuserve in that they enclose a small world of the web to make it manageable.

Google Voice
Stephen demonstrated Google Voice using his personal account, showing how it unifies phone numbers , allows web-based access to voice mail (including transcripts of those messages), and the abilit to send and receive SMS. Some libraries are using it for a text message reference service. The web-based interface for voice mail messages would be useful for a telephone reference service.

Blogging for Freshman Seminar
Luke talked about the blogging initiative for the Freshman Seminar this fall. In just two weeks, there are already 600 blog posts. You can search across all the blogs to see how students are talking about the library. As most students are new to blogging, the college offers guidelines for them. As a test of the possibility of making student blogs universal at Baruch, students in the Baruch Scholars sections of the freshman seminar will get to keep their blog accounts after the seminar is over and may continue to post.

We also discussed how the FRO blogging initiative and the Schwartz Institutes VOCAT tool might be incorporated into the library’s evolving plan for videos created by FRO students. (Note: VOCAT was discussed at the 25 June 2009 meeting of the Tech Sharecase.)

Online Video
As we discussed how student videos could be shared, it was noted that CUNY set up YouTube accounts for each college (Baruch’s is here). Our library had already set it up its own YouTube channel a few years ago. We discussed the functionality of our Digital Media Library and that there is an upgrade of it being planned now.

Stephen showed the LibGuides system briefly, including a draft of one of the guides that the committee working with testing the software has created. It was noted that LibGuides offers embed codes and a Facebook application that allows you to deploy widget versions of a guide.

Space for CUNY Faculty to Share Instructional Materials

Mikhail brought up Curriki as an interesting model for a project he’s part of that is looking for ways to make instructional materials created by CUNY faculty made available online. CUNY’s nascent institutional repository, a hosted DSpace instance, was mentioned as another possible tool that could be a part of the solution. MERLOT was also mentioned, although its collection is limited to multimedia instructional materials.

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