Critical internet ecology analysis
Weighting 45% 1800 words
In this assignment, you will profile and critically analyse the transformative effect of an internet service, platform, company or group in economic, political social and/or cultural terms. Please choose an entity related to one of the topics we have studied this semester. You will also map, using a diagram, the online ecosystem that this entity is part of.
Using theoretical concepts from your readings and independent research, you will situate this entity historically, economically, politically and culturally within its internet ecosystem and discuss how its products, services and strategic promotions have been used in transformative ways e.g. to alter business models online, to change the way that people relate socially and/or politically, or to help mobilise social or cultural change.
The company may be a social networking service, a social media or social management company or agency, a games developer or digital arts collective. In your analysis will define the type of entity and its role as an agent of internetworked change. You will give a historical overview of its development, analysis of its ownership, business model and research agenda, and discussion of any political or regulatory debates that it figures in locally and internationally.
You will also produce an infographic (a flowchart or other diagram) showing how this company is interdependent with other competitors, clients, service providers and regulators or watchdog bodies. This is your ecosystem map.
We’re expecting that in your critical analysis you will use theoretical concepts from your readings and independent research, giving weight to evidence from peer reviewed sources like journals, reports and books.
As this assignment will be published on our class blog, you should attempt to using in-text links to relevant online source materials and supporting images, social media content, audio and/or video. Where possible you will use Creative Commons sourced material and all material not created by you must be properly attributed to the original creator. You will provide a bibliography of all referenced works and should include at least 10 academic bibliographic references, not just media articles.
Choosing the entity:
The entity whose transformative effect you analyse might be may be a social networking service, a social media or social management company or agency, a games developer or civil society group. In your analysis you will define the type of entity it is (eg. social media platform, games platform, online accommodation service, video streaming service), and discuss its role in transforming our internet use and our world.
Structuring the analysis:
- Introduction: What is the company or entity you have chosen to analyse, and why has it had a transformative effect on our use or understanding of the internet and our economic, political, social or cultural worlds?
- What type of an entity is it, what is the history of its development and how has it come to have such a transformative effective?
- Who owns it and what is its business model?
- What is its place in its industry or social ecology? Does it work with partners? Does it have competitors? Who supplies it with goods or services? Who regulates it? Who uses it?
- Draw a diagram that shows these actors in relation to each other. Use Word Smart Art (you will find this under the Insert menu) to create a flowchart or other diagram.
- How is this entity transformed our use or understanding of the internet? How is it innovative? (you may have two or three points to make here).
• Has it changed the way people relate socially and/or politically?
• Did it introduce a new type of business model online?
• Has it been used to mobilise social or cultural change?
• Has it triggered new regulatory processes?
- Summary – how has this entity been part of an Internet transformation, changing some aspect of the way we live, work or play?
As this assignment will be published on our class blog, you should attempt to using in-text links to relevant online source materials and supporting images, social media content, audio and/or video. Where possible you will use Creative Commons sourced material and all material not created by you must be properly attributed to the original creator. You will provide a bibliography of all referenced works and should include at least 10 academic bibliographic references.
The Critical Analysis should demonstrate:
• a critical understanding of the history, politics, economics and cultures of the internet and internetworked technologies
• awareness of social & cultural issues arising from networked change
• skills in web writing (chunking, lists, SEO practice, effective and appropriate use of anchor link words)
• skills in web and social media production (use of relevant, illustrative multimedia content; correct attribution of all images including third party content; infographic showing relevant internet ecosystem; all titles, captions, and alt text on images uploaded)
• capacity for independent academic research, analysis and critique
• clarity of argument & depth of research
• presentation (meets word count; accurate citation and referencing; correct spelling, punctuation and grammar)
When you have finished posting your essay on the blog, please upload a Word version of your essay via the Assessment 3 Canvas assessment link. If any plagiarised or ghost-written material is detected you will receive no marks for this task.