Role Play for Negative Messages

Tim Green

 © Sarah Kriger

Coming from a theatre background, I’ve had some good experiences building on performance activities for lesson plans. My favourite is a role-playing exercise that I developed for part of the Negative Messages class for CMN 279, focusing on delivering negative messages in person.

I like that role-play helps students experience and overcome “safe” versions of potential emotional obstacles to delivering effective negative messages. Often, many of them start the exercise feeling confident about the concepts we cover but find that applying those concepts in a face-to-face discussion with another person raises new challenges.

Because this exercise has been helpful in my class, I thought I’d share it with everyone else. The lesson plan has six main parts. I’ve found it leaves plenty of time to go over written negative messages and upcoming assignments at the end of class.



Social Media and Censorship

Bill Kerr

I attended a number of Canadian Communication Association sessions at Congress and thought you might be interested in a summary of the keynote address by Tarleton Gillespie.

Here is the bio provided by the association:

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, an affiliated associate       professor in Cornell’s Department of Communication and Department of Information Science, a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, co-founder of the blog Culture Digitally, the author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007) and a co-editor of Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT, 2014). His next book (Yale University Press, forthcoming, spring 2018) examines how the governance of content and behavior by social media platforms has broader implications for freedom of expression and the character of public discourse.

His lecture distilled his current research on the quiet content moderation conducted by a complex hierarchy of checkers–paid and “volunteer”–by Twitter, Facebook and Google. Using Facebook’s removal of the famous image from the napalming of Vietnam as an illustrative case, he explained how censorship decisions based on algorithmic triggers and personal bias can determine what is culturally acceptable, often without our knowing it.

Here’s one of his YouTube lectures exploring similar questions in 2010, as well as an interesting article defining “platform.”

Gillespie’s twitter page is a rich source of alerts about ComCult issues. See also his blog, Culture Digitally.