Friday, January 06, 2023

New Year, back on this with a post

 I've been dancing around blogging again. So here's in a public post I made on LinkedIn about AI-generated writing with services like ChatGPT and the anxiety over authenticity, from a Communication perspective. 

I talk about my favorite precalculus teacher and getting acting headshots done during grad school--all in one post. :) Enjoy! 

Clearly, the race to cover our bases when it comes to automated paper writing through services like ChatGPT, is definitely on.  The popularity of my last post indicates that the anxiety over automated processes encroaching on the creative, as well as the need to engage in dialogue about this with some perspective is also warranted.

The comparisons with calculators are a common one. During my undergraduate Computer Science days, my first year precalculus instructor banned calculators. It wasn't terrible, because he designed our pen and paper exams with that fact in mind. The test questions centered around whether or not we understood the concept. If we got it right, the correct answer would spit out a pretty round number. No need for a calculator (which, in a typical hastily constructed exam, would have spit out a messy number that I would have had to put into its memory in order to reuse etc etc). It was pedagogically brilliant.

A less common comparison has me thinking about When I was getting headshots done for my talent agency, the rules at that time (20 years ago) were strict: black and white, no digital alterations. I had very little control over my self-presentation. My agent went through the Casting Workbook service (online, digital), but it was primarily my agent submitting me for gigs. This helped suss out legitimate outfits that were worth the time and trouble, but also relied upon the imaginations of the casting directors and higher level executives which were more limited at the time.
With each year, more and more became digital. Mistakes (like makeup catching a scar the wrong way in a photograph) could simply be blurred out, teeth whitened, or a slight asymmetry made symmetrical.  

This change was fast but the distinct changes in practice were shocking to me each time. Compare that to the range of practices we can now readily observe via apps like Instagram.  
As the written word goes through similar disruptive changes in practice, we'll see more discourse about authenticity along the way.

We hobble along in our imperfection nonetheless.  


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Online Games and Digital Ethnography

My article on Online Games and Digital Ethnography is now available. 

It is part of The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. So many good articles, with a handful of them provided as samples.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Constructing Amusement... in transition!

It's been a busy Fall semester, with an even busier Spring on the horizon.

Among many projects in the works, a new slicker website.

Watch this space for announcements to come! Until then, follow me on twitter @cheeflo for the latest and greatest in stream-of-consciousness constructions of amusement.

Best wishes to all in the final stretch!


Monday, September 08, 2014

Job posting for tenure-track position: Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change

At School of Communication at LUC this Fall, the search has begun for someone interested in advocacy and social change with a strong background in digital technology.

Details here:

Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change
The School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago is looking for a tenure track assistant professor specializing in advocacy and social change, with an emphasis on digital communication.

Applicants should have significant training and demonstrated expertise in one or more of these; rhetorical theory, public advocacy and argumentation, or critical/qualitative approaches to the study of culture, society, and political discourse, situated within a world where digital technology has become of primary importance.

The prospective candidate who can build upon these foundational qualities with expertise in one or more of the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply: political communication, social movements and new media, digital literacy, issues of privacy, security policy, digital rights, diplomacy, social justice, environmental advocacy, civil society discourse, cybercultural studies , ICTs for development/global advocacy, conflict management & mediation. Successful candidates will have a demonstrable research program relevant to these areas and will be prepared both to teach existing courses in the Advocacy & Social Change track and to develop new courses in that area.

The School of Communication serves 750 undergraduates, offers a master's program in digital storytelling and enjoys a new facility, including a state-of-the-art convergence studio; a collegial faculty distinguished by a mix of professional and academic achievement; and a location just steps away from the nation's leading ad agencies and media outlets.

A Ph.D. is required and candidates should demonstrate the potential to be an outstanding teacher and productive scholar.

Applicants are asked to submit (1) a letter of interest, (2) resume, (3) names and contact information of three individuals prepared to provide professional references. Submit applications to Starting date is August 2015 with initial review of applications beginning Fall, 2014.

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty. As a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will contribute to our strategic plan to deliver a Transformative Education in the Jesuit tradition. To learn more about LUC's mission, candidates should consult our website at For information about the university's focus on transformative education, they should consult our website at Applications from women and minority candidates are especially encouraged.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Exciting research plans for the summer

Now on the other side of my first academic year on the Tenure Track, I'm happy to say that the whirring of the machine has not stopped here at Constructing Amusement.

Teaching: Courses I've taught in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago so far include: Communication and New Media, Game Studies, Critical Ethnography, and Intro to Digital Media (Grad).

Ethics: At the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy, we host an annual symposium and I'm delighted to share that this year our featured speaker is Anita Sarkeesian, who very much embodies emergent issues in Digital Ethics and Policy.  This year's takes place November 7th, just before NCA in Chicago.

Research Infrastructure and Service: With my SOC colleagues, I've co-founded our Social & Interactive Media Lab (SIMLab).  We've kicked things off with a fantastic Open House and lunchtime speaker series of topics at the intersection of Technology and Society.  More exciting things to come there.

Speaking: In the next two weeks, I'll be presenting work at the International Communication Association's annual meeting (ICA), the Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA), and the Canadian Communication Association as part of Congress 2014 of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 

Field Research: I am happy to say that I am embarking on a fieldwork sojourn in Europe and Asia, having been awarded a Summer Research Stipend from Loyola University Chicago.  As part of my project on "Asian and European contexts of social and mobile gaming industries: the global dynamics of big data and micro practices in flux," I'll be spending June in Finland and July in South Korea building upon prior work in this area and adding to a corpus of comparative contextual studies in digital lifestyles.

In the immediate: Hard to believe at this time in 2 weeks I'll be in Jyväskylä, Finland, where I've been invited as a Visiting Scholar and will be bouncing around Angry Bird-ing my way to other cities within Finland including Tampere and Helsinki.  I'm very much looking forward to meeting with Finnish researchers in the games and tech community with an eye on everyday users as they engage with digital devices and culture (kind of a recurring theme:).

Then, slingshotting myself to the land of KakaoTalk (South Korea) for what serves to commemorate 10 years since visiting South Korea for fieldwork the first time in 2004! So much has changed since then, and it is such a privilege to bear witness to just a small portion of such a dynamic national context.

Of course there's more, so watch this space and in the everyday @cheeflo @SimLabChicago for more frequent updates.

As the Terran Firebats like to say: Jacked up and good to go!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Announcing April’s SIMLab Brown Bag talk: Investigating a MMOG community through a social justice framework

Time/Place: April 7th, 2014 @12pm, SIMLab (SOC 016)

Speaker: Kelly Bergstrom, York University

As with all games, Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are a voluntary leisure activity. However, the voluntary nature of play does not necessarily mean these gameworlds are equally open to all.  To illustrate barriers to participation I present a case study of EVE Online, a space-themed MMOG with an extremely homogenous player community consisting of primarily economically advantaged white males. Drawing on four years of data collection including participant observation, surveys, interviews, and content analysis of community-created texts, I document how marginalized groups – in particular women and people of colour – are inadvertently and/or actively discouraged from participating in this popular MMOG.  And yet, this lack of engagement is held up by existing community members as evidence of women’s lack of interest, which in turn reinforces gender and race-based stereotypes about MMOGs and the people who opt to play them. This investigation addresses a significant gap in current research on MMOGs, which to date has yet to substantially engage in questions about who does not play online games and their reasons for disengagement. 

Speaker bio:
Kelly Bergstrom is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at York University and currently holds a Doctoral Fellowship from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Her research falls into overlapping areas of interest: incivility (e.g. trolling, griefing, harassment, etc.), (dis)engagement in online communities, and the ways in which gender stereotypes are replicated in and through digital culture.


For more details:
Join us for the livestream:
Inquiries about this event or SIMLab may be directed to Dr. Florence Chee:

Monday, February 24, 2014

CFP: The Annual International Symposium on Digital Ethics, Chicago Nov 7th, 2014

Call for papers

The Center for Digital Ethics & Policy at Loyola University Chicago ( will be holding its 4th Annual International Symposium on Digital Ethics on Nov 7th, 2014.

We are looking for papers on digital ethics.  Topics might include privacy, anonymity, griefing, free speech, intellectual property, hacking, scamming, surveillance, information mining, transparency, digital citizenship, and/or the ethical use of digital technologies in journalism, advertising and public relations.

Paper abstracts should propose original research and be between 500 and 1,000 words in length (not including references).

Authors invited to present papers will be eligible for up to $400 in travel funds to be able to attend the Chicago symposium.  The author(s) of the Top Student Paper will be eligible for up to $1,000 in travel funds.

Abstracts are due by midnight CST on April 15th, 2014, should follow APA or MLA.

Authors of top papers will have the opportunity to have their work published in Proceedings from the 4th Annual Symposium on Digital Ethics.

Send your submission in a MS Word document attachment to<>, and please write Digital Ethics Symposium submission in the subject line.

Please send questions to the same email address.