Ben Pettis

Other Projects

In addition to my academic interests, I also have experience with many facets of the media world including photography, image manipulation, graphic design, video production and editing. In my spare time, and often to distract myself from my other work, I dabble in these kinds of media projects and other creative endeavors. Here is a collection of some of the things that I have created.


  • A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace - 2020
  • In 1996, John Perry Barlow (of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) gave us a utopian view of what the increasingly popular World Wide Web might offer. Demanding that governments "leave us alone" and keep their regulations and laws out of online spaces, he suggests that the online communities which inhabit cyberspace are fully equipped to resolve any conflicts that may arise. But when we think about what the Web looks like in 2020 as compared to the late 1990s and early 2000s, there are stark contrasts.
  • This video revisits Barlow's Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace and asks whether his words still ring true. Were we actually successful at creating a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace? Is it actually more humane and fair than the world governments have made before?
  • Watch on YouTube
  • It - 2016
  • This is a short video produced for J 206 at the University of Oregon. I worked with a team of three other students to quickly shoot and produce a video in a highly compressed time frame of just about two hours.
  • Watch on Vimeo
  • The Litterbug - 2015
  • This is a short film I created as part of my CINE 270 (Introduction to Narrative Production) class at the University of Oregon. I wrote the script, and directed a crew of 18 other film students to create the short.
  • Watch on Vimeo


  • The Mall - 2020
  • For some reason, when I was in elementary school I became obsessed with creating and drawing imaginary storefronts and the various items that each of them sold. The drawing skills are sub-par at best, and the actual spatial organization of the mall lacks any logic or structure whatsoever. But it was the third grade. Sue me.
  • Years later, while visiting my parents and cleaning out some of my old stuff I rediscovered a folder full of these drawings. Now armed with the technical know-how (aka the confidence to Google and poke around with basic JavaScript), I set out to scan these old drawings and finally connect all these stores with one another like younger-me had always envisioned.
  • Visit The Mall
  • 4chan Scraper - 2019
  • This simple Python script uses 4chan's read-only APIs to scrape the information from the front page of a given imageboard. In addition to saving every image posted to the board, the script will also generate multiple CSV files that record which threads were on the front page at a given time. A folder is generated for each thread's images, as well as an individual CSV file that records each reply in the thread as well.
  • I have done some research on anonymous online communities, the ways they communicate with one another, and how they're able to influence real events in the physical world. Rather than manually browsing and downloading content from 4chan imageboards, I built this script to automatically scrape the most recent content from a given 4chan imageboard.
  • View on GitHub
  • .org Doesn't Mean Credible - 2018
  • Many textbooks, online research guides, and other resources claim that a .org domain name is an indicator of credibility. The common explanation is that only non-profits, professional associations, and other organizations are able to register a .org domain name.
  • One of the course objectives for SPCM 200 (Public Speaking) at CSU was to develop research skills, including practice evaluating the credibility of web sources. To that end, I wanted to teach students that there are rarely hard and fast rules to immediately assess a website – such as looking at the URL. Instead, they should expect to think critically about the web page and its content.
  • To demonstrate this point, I purchased a domain name and created this simple website.
  • Trumpster Fire Twitter Bot - 2018
  • I wrote a simple Twitter bot to represent anything tweeted by the President in a somewhat different format. Running on a simple Virtual Machine, the bot checks Trump’s Twitter feed every 10 minutes for new posts. Whenever it detects a new tweet, it pulls the text and overlays it atop an animated GIF of a dumpster fire using a python script and the Python Image Library (PIL).
  • I have used this twitter bot (along with @RealPressSecBot) as examples to teach Marshall McLuhan’s famous assertion that “the medium is the message.” By taking the same content – one of Trump’s tweets – and adapting it to different formats, the overall message being communicated can change significantly.
  • @USDumpsterFire


An illustrated graphic. There is a circle split into several sections. On the top, there are illustrated hills with a sunset. In the middle, there are the words 'Eugene, OR.' On the bottom of the circle there are illustrated pine trees.
  • Eugene Snapchat Geofilter - 2017
  • I had originally created this simple vector graphic for the 2017 UO Zero Waste Screenprinting Workshop. Several months later, I decided to modify the image to match Snapchat's guidelines for community filters. I resized the graphic, and inverted the colors - and submitted it for the Eugene area.
  • I had submitted my design not expecting it to ever be accepted and appear within the app, so I was pleasantly surprised to see other users beginning to use the graphic that I had designed and submitted.
A photograph of several stickers on a table. Each sticker is a rectangle with the words 'Break the Hegemony' in large type. These words appear to be breaking through a brick wall
  • SOJC Majors Night - Media Studies - 2016
  • Each Fall, the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication holds a Major's Night event to showcase the various programs that it offers: Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, and Media Studies. The event is targeted at Freshman and other undeclared students who might want to pursue a degree in the SOJC.
  • I designed “Break the Hegemony” stickers that we distributed to students, as well as a short video to display on a loop during the event.