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Alternative facts, social media bubbles, assortative mating/friendships and diversity

We all like to think we have a handle on what’s real — it’s natural. However, with the pervasive nature of opinion media broadcasting 24/7 on television and now on the internet, it can sometimes be hard to get a handle on the situation. This is compounded by the echo chambers of our social media […]

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What made Facebook successful?

I remember, in 2006, when I first started to notice Facebook. At that point, it was a basic service, allowing users to connect to one another and share updates and information. It had competitors – myspace and Orkut, amongst many others. Why did Facebook grow to be so dominant? Facebook’s simple visual identity and early […]

7 Tips for succeeding at conferences

Conferences are microcosms of human society. They are opportunities to observe people of all ages interacting, performing, charming and arguing. Everyone is a little nervous before they arrive and then they reveal themselves in the few appointed days of concentrated interaction. Conferences are a great way of focusing and honing your communication skills and your […]

Community building in the emerging oral culture

Everyone seems to be talking about building and managing community these days. But what does it really mean? I think some of the answers lie in awareness of what culture is and how it works. We used to be a print and language based culture. Things were only deemed to be “official” or legally or […]

The future of communications is interpersonal

I began teaching communication studies in 2001, when I was hired out of my post-doctoral fellowship to be the first professor in the new communication studies program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. My first week was marked by the first great tragedy of the 21st Century, when the World Trade Centre was bombed and […]

Students don’t read anymore. What does this mean for democracy?

I have spent most of the last week marking papers. As professors, we sometimes grumble and complain about this task, but it is important to consider how vital evaluation and feedback is to student growth. The thing is, marking work is a two-way street. I have been thinking a lot about the value of assignments […]

Gave a “Mac on the Road” Alumni Lecture on “Making Sense of Social Media”

I had a wonderful night giving a public lecture to a great audience at the Holiday Inn on Wyecroft Rd in Oakville. The lecture was in the “Mac on the Road” Alumni Lecture Series, so I knew some people in the crowd! What a pleasure to reconnect with people who were my students only a […]

We live two lives, in two realities: physical and online

People no longer live one life, but many. Physical. On-line. With whom are we really communicating? You may think that this is a silly topic, if you’re someone who hasn’t grown up on-line or thrown yourself into the world of the Internet and social media. But you would be mistaken – a significant proportion of […]

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