Battling Trolls, Fears, and Other Things that Make Us Not Want to Talk about Immigration

Step/Flickr CC by 2.0
Step/Flickr CC by 2.0

I’ll be at Yale University on November 11 to give a talk and discussion in American Studies.

It’s been two years since I’ve joined Public Radio International to build digital content and find ways to use social media to make news better. On a macro-level, I’ve grown a large network of people who use Twitter and Facebook to do amazing things. There are people using the medium to share stories about their lives in intensely personal and engaging ways. On a day-to-day level, though, this job has also exposed me to enough hate speech to last a lifetime.

What makes the Internet a space for critical thinking and real debate? How can social networks both isolate and broaden horizons? And what role can (and should) scholars and journalists play in this new media economy? At Yale, I’ll make the case for engaging with trolls on the Internet. If you have any insights or stories about your experience I’d love to hear it.

Things that aren’t about Pastor Jones

It’s 9/11 in America. I feel like every year for the past nine years, we’ve been questioning our identity, our values in this country. I wanted to remind myself that this is not a country of people like Terry Jones. Rather, this is a country where people like Terry Jones might end up all over the news, but also where Lee Ielpi, Henry Rollins, Amman Ali and Bassam Tariq can carve out their say. So here are a collection of things I saw and heard that gave me a broader view.

Upcoming Events

While I am working on, well, all the different things I am working on, I am excited to be a part of two upcoming events in Southern California. One is a UCLA Extension writing seminar, “Writing in the Digital Age” on May 8. On June 7, I’ll be in conversation with Ian Johnson at UC Irvine, an event hosted by The China Beat, about his new book on the Muslim Brotherhood and his work in China.

Here’s the published blurbs about these events, but let me know if you want more information or if you have thoughts about what we should cover:

iPhone: Cracked but still good

i cracked my iphone

Last week I impulsively tweeted (twittered? I think that’s more clear) about the unfortunate accident my iPhone met with my bathroom floor. I guess it’s lucky that the damage is superficial, but I was floored by the outpouring of support I received from friends and strangers. So here’s the update: Everything still works and a smooth plastic cover is preventing me from cutting my finger when I play FS5 Hockey.

In truth, I don’t play games on my iPhone all that often, unless you consider Facebook and Twitter games. I have a friend who scrolls through the applications I’ve downloaded every time we meet, looking for new tools and tricks to help her make the most of this very expensive little device. I thought I’d post some of my favorites here. These are the applications that I think make my life much more efficient — they’re helpful for me, a Los Angeles-based writer who travels often, particularly in Asia.