Professor of media and popular culture, and creator of courses in social media, digital culture, politics, and history
When I developed my first course on social media, I could not have expected the impact it would have on my students and my career. What we now call "social media" began for me in 2005 as #RotoloClass. That was the name my students adopted for the class I was teaching, and what the school could only call "multimedia" since "social media" wouldn't be a thing for another year or so. I could see that big changes were coming -- that's why I created the course -- but I didn't know it was the first college course on Social Media.
When I began integrating real-time social media in my lectures, I knew it would be useful, and a challenge, but I did not know it would become my preferred teaching style or that it would become the subject of research studies. I had no idea #RotoloClass would be called a "Twitter legend" by journalists and "epic" by students. Or that others would call it little more than "cheerleading for the Internet" (whatever that means), a blowoff class (most of those kids failed) and even a "life changing experience" for a few (including me).
I blinked, and suddenly I'd been teaching at Syracuse University for over ten years. Along the way I was appointed the school's first-ever social media director and with an amazing team we transformed Syracuse University into a center of social media activity, and a recognized leader in the field (SU was ranked higher than Harvard when we were done). I launched a research lab called Starship NEXIS and blasted the Syracuse iSchool into the 21st Century with bold exploration of new fields like 3D Printing, open source electronics, and social network analysis. From NEXIS, I created a graduate curriculum in Social Media and then the Starship landed on new ground at the renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where I created the school's first ever online master's program. That was all a lot of fun, but a decade in academia is more than enough for anyone.
#Rotolo Media is an outfit for sharing my research on media and pop culture with everyone. My courses on Star Trek became #TrekClass, a free online course exploring the science and fiction of the Final Frontier. By popular demand, I then created #WhoClass for those wanting the same serious study of The Time and Space of Doctor Who. Going beyond sci-fi and starships, I took students to the strange world of politics with #ElectionClass, my course on the "substance and spectacle" of the U.S. Presidential Election. These courses have made international news with stories by NBC's TODAY Show, the BBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and Nerdist (that one was my favorite). The online content is available worldwide and is always under development with the help of my small group of research volunteers.
I enjoy visiting new places and public speaking. I've given talks at the United States Senate, NASA, South by Southwest, and the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas (ok, I was nervous for that one). I also write from time to time and have contributed to CNN, Mashable, StarTrek.com and other places. I am always open to collaborations, speaking invitations, course presentations, or special celebrations. HMU @Rotolo or here.