NETWORKED MEDIA: The Closing Ceremony

This week was our last symposium; an eventful, solemn yet exciting time that demonstrates our Networked Media journey coming to a close (in this course that is). I definitely enjoyed the ceremonial closing theme to the lecture as it felt like the end of an era not just a lousy week 11 lecture.

Firstly was the blog database program which was an amazing non-fiction text that really demonstrated the network and its vastness. You could search emotions à gender à age group à weather à country to find a very specific blog post of your desire. Pretty neat hey! But to be honest it did make me a little scared and sad that there were so so so many blog posts out there that are clearly so important to that person but are the tiniest blip on the blogosphere and network radar.

Here are my notes from Adrian’s powerpoint:

  • Again, we must become active knowledge creators, not slip into being passive consumers
  • Journalism à what’s it for? It was originally created for an economy of scarcity but in today’s online world that’s been completely diminished; so what can journalism do to stay afloat?
  • Triple R was created solely because there was no other place to listen to alterative music on the radio; every other station played top 40 crap. The thought of having no access to a certain type of music these days is totally mind boggling. The economy of scarcity is gone. So what’s Triple R now?

Networked Media has been experimental learning which is easy enough to assume seeing as there’s so much debate about what the network even is!

Our journey:

  • Double loop learning à our assumptions are what need to be recognised and reworked; what need to be less passive with our learning and thinking
  • Design fiction à looking backwards only gets you so far; looking forward is when you learn the most, particularly in the digital age
  • Hypertext à we’re so deeply immersed in print, so hypertext is a good way to introduce disruption and change and make us question: what is a writer? What is a text?
  • Networks à scale free, dense nodes emerge that make it easy to get from any node to another, and a describable and understandable structure emerges because some nodes become more connected than others
  • Protocol à about communication between peers à there is no head office or centre to the Network or permission needed to say what we say; we must engage and participate and learn the social and technical rules to the game.
  • Databases à how we store lists of things; stories have an order; databases separate content from presentation and do not have to use or rely on cause and effect

And finally Adrian’s closing points about the network:

  • We are not the centre of anything
  • We share agency with non sentient things
  • Meaningful structure always emerges
  • Communicative relationships are at its heart à between parts of a single text, between texts (blogs, emails etc.), between systems and services (Twitter – Instagram), between people and communities


This is my last symposium blog post; a truly bittersweet victory.

The unattended unlecture.

Hello, I was unable to make a lot of posts due to a sudden camping extravaganza which I solved by ScHeDuLinG mY PosTs!! (how dedicated am I!!!)

I was unable to attend the unlecture, however by reading through the questions to be asked on the Networked Media blog and also a few other students takings, I feel I should make a post about how I assumed it would go down and what it was about.

There was a lot of talk about whether or not the internet is ‘democratic’ or not. Reading Abby’s takings (I hope you don’t mind me stalking you, your name is conveniently the most alphabetically blessed out of the whole course), I learned that Adrian thinks that because the net was made by the best of the best and it’s more ‘flat’ than democratic, but Eliot believes it is because there’s universal access.

The whole narrative vs database was a bit tricky for me to understand, but Lauren’s post helped me understand; Databases are not particularly narratives; they’re merely lists. She mentioned Cowbird which was apparently used in the lecture, which is essentially just a list of stories that may contain narratives, but the site and database itself is not one. IS THE INTERNET A GIANT DATABASE? Lauren asked, which is very interesting. It’s more than just a list or things, but it’s not quite a narrative. Is the middle ground simply ~thenetwork?~


The end XoxoOXOXOoxoxoxoXOoxx


Lectureee 1st October! (can’t remember what number we’re up to)

This lecture was pretty cool as it was a lot about technology and technique which i’m pretty interested by.

Before writing, you had to remember everything, it was up to the elders to remember everything. This is crazy. I remember this point relates to one Adrian made from a while ago; back before writing and reading came about, it was probably possible to know absolutely everything there was to know. These people were the elders in society. Since writing, and definitely these days with the billions of tidbits of information floating around in every field and study, it’s impossible to know everything. BUT the iphone comes pretty close which is why it’s such a success.

Apple is the largest media company , not technology company; they sell entertainment, technology, music, news etc. People who think technology doesn’t matter don’t know how to make anything digitally. This is pretty true seeing as my mum thought Facebook was a flash in the pan until she got one herself. Now she’s liking, sharing and commenting like a 17 year old!

In terms of technique vs. technology: there is a rhetoric about mastery – strange relationship where you think you’re in charge of your computer and technology; it’s a lot more sophisticated.

Does technique drive technology or does technology develop technique?

Technique is required when you have technologies so technology develops technique. For example, when the technology of writing led to the development of handwriting styles and techniques.

The end!! xoxoxoxoxo


Unsymposium 6

Is the internet really a virtual network? 

Adrian states that the internet isn’t actually virtual. It’s not some virtual online network that uses no power or electricity; in fact Google uses more power than the entire city of Melbourne. There’s nothing virtual about African and Chinese people assembling iPhones from dangerous toxic materials and sending it back to us. The internet literally has a carbon footprint. I’m a little confused that Adrian said the internet is in no way virtual. Obviously it’s not all online with no physical hubs whatsoever, but there’s definitely something virtual about it.

Popular culture and the long tail 

I think Adrian answered this question really well by addressing every aspect to it (ok it was my question so I was really interested…)
Adrian compared it to retail; the most expensive thing in your store are your shelves. You definitely cannot afford to stock your shelves with obscure things all the way down the tail that one quirky person will buy every 4 months. Because of this, it’s easy to aim towards a low common denominator so it will appeal to a lot of people. This is the ‘mechanics of scarcity’. As a TV station can only show one show at a time, they have to make sure as many people view it as possible.

This is why despite the long tail and no more mechanics of scarcity (thanks to the immediacy of technology) there is  still a popular culture, with summer pop tunes and epic blockbusters that are still successful; they appeal to the masses and are already proven to be popular and successful.

Unsymposium 5 – QWERTY keyboards, video games and ‘intertwingling’

This symposium was pretty entertaining and informative seeing as it was my class’s questions (my question was the only that didn’t get answered.. *sadface*) so we’d already discussed the concepts in some depth.

But before we got to that there were more hypertext questions. The one about video games was fascinating, in that it’s so easy to pass it off as nerdy le3t gaming mumbo jumbo, but it’s the biggest entertainment industry in the world. Is a video game a hypertext? Short answer – no. Hypertext is mainly based around storytelling whereas a game isn’t.
Adrian’s point about the difference between a narrative in a game was that games are not about storytelling; they’re defined by a notion of winning. You don’t win stories, you read them. For example, is there any narrative element in Tetris?!

There’s no beginning, middle and end, no conflict, no main characters or love interest, no hero or villain; no narrative principles. It’s about winning.
Is there any narrative to Ball-in-a-cup?

Nope. It’s about catching a ball-in-a-cup. Nothing more, nothing less. BALL IN A CUP! (that’s stuck in my head now…)

What this has proved is that video games don’t rely on narrative; but they can include them. Games like GTA, Saints Row, LA Noire and most other console video games are strongly based around their narrative storyline.

The QWERTY keyboard fact was pretty cool; it was created 120 or so years ago to stop typists (mainly females) from typing too fast as they could quite easily jam the keys on the typewriter. I can’t imagine typing on an ABC keyboard, that’s so foreign.

Recommendation hierarchies; a notion directly relevant to our reading this week. Amazon’s seemingly simple ‘recommendations’ algorithms based on your previous activity or purchases was pretty revolutionary. Most social networking somewhat uses this to make your experience as personal and individual as possible, instead of feeling like you’re part of a mass market with identical interests as everyone around you. Instagram; your dashboard is entirely personalised by you and users you like. Facebook will show posts on your newsfeed that it feels you’ll be interested in, Spotify will flat out recommend songs for you and almost every online shopping outlet will have some sort of “Similar items” or “recommended for you” thing going on.

Finally, building the network (related to ‘The Long Tail’) will require us linking around to each other and tagging students instead of just the media blog. Which I will be doing, because everyone deserves a page one ranking when they google themselves.

And bitches love pingbacks.

Unlecture/symposium numbah 5

If a tree falls in the forrest…..
The old cliche that is so relevant in so many situations.

If I post a blog to the web, but nobody reads it… Does it exist?

Adrian’s interesting answer to this was: just because nobody’s in the rehearsal studio with us while we are dancing or buying and analysing our paintings isn’t an excuse to not paint or dance.

Definitely an inspiring thought.

Is Print Dead? Funnily enough, I posted on this a while ago. How far will digital technologies go to completely eradicate and replace the book? Adrian stated that people will always choose the digital versions of massive textbooks over the heavy real life versions. But to be honest, every time I have a reading to do for class (which is about 2 readings per class per week), I print them off. Because nothing beats a good ol’ pen and highlighter to really absorb the information. I really can’t read a long paper off a computer screen and expect myself to get any of it. Secondly, I read a lot of fiction books. I’d much prefer the feel of a paperback book in my hands than the cold feel of an iPad when I’m killing time on an aeroplane.

But, I am just one person with one opinion. I bet a vast majority of people would prefer everything digital. Who knows what the future of print will hold?

Class #5

This weeks class made me feel reasonably confident in my ability, progress and achievements in networked media so far. Firstly, a class discussion about the readings was insightful and interesting and I felt myself connecting to and understanding the concepts and ideas brought up my other students. It’s always interesting to see different perspectives on a text.
I didn’t realise we had two weeks to do our Niki assignment, so my group with Courtney and Emerald smashed it out of the park in time for class today, as seen here:
I really began to love the kooky and bizarre Susan Blackmore and l her amazing theories about memes, religion, aliens etc. I think she’s bloody fascinating. So I don’t have to do any niki work this week yay!
Lastly, we got reminded that the essay/blog submission is due next Friday. I feel confident in some of my posts that they’re probably submission-ready. And I’m such a rambler anyway so the essay will be a breeze. Hopefully…

Unlecture #4

There were two key points and topics that I walked away from the unlecture still considering and contemplating.

Firstly, the ‘content is not king’ point was alarming yet interesting, as Adrian poetically told us that to merely become ‘content producers’ was to place outselves at the bottom of the media food chain. Which is a nasty place to me. Instead, he encouraged us to be idea and knowledge creators, figuring out what content needs to be created, not just idly and passively making what’s trending at the time.

A girl behind me, Bec, asked the bitterly realistic question of “if 14 year olds are posting videos on Youtube and are more successful than me, why should I bother?” essentially talking about how everyone has access to the same materials to it’s almost impossible to stand out. This question rang so true to my fears about being in the media world. I don’t want to put hard work into a project only for it to buried under the success and popularity of the newest ‘Cat Walks Up Stairs’ video made on someone’s iPhone.

e.g. This is a 20 second video of cats staring at each other (still pretty fantastic) that has 72,000 views… How many views do my short films have on vimeo? About 1/72 of that…


I think Adrian managed to answer this quite well, by stating that bloody Uncle Ben and his DSLR and iDVD can produce any old crap, so we need to sell and advertise our experience, not our quick access to equipment, which essentially everybody has. We can’t just learn how to use a camera or how to add a cross dissolve between these two shots, we need to learn how to make brilliant things and gain experience over the technologically-illiterate.

For some reason, I didn’t feel I engaged with this unlecture as I had the previous 2 or 3. This may have been the comedown from my caffeine high due to an 8am start, or the fact that I’d just had my brain turned to scrambled eggs after a stressful Broadcast Media class.  I felt like the lecture was slightly a bit too “conceptual”; the top three questions to be answered were all very broad and conceptual, unlike the one from last week that was essentially “why are we doing this?” which could get answered in a very conceptual yet specific way.

I do, however, like the idea of each class posing a few questions to the panel to be answered.


Unlecture #3

This week’s unlecture was quite interesting. Following a similar pattern, it was unlike the last two in that it was not as interactive and open as last week but not as ranty as first week. However it still inspired some great thinking in me.

The reptilian brain concept was sort of funky à we all have a fight or flight instinct that is entirely instinctual and prehistoric in a way; deeply embedded into our human nature. It can be applied to almost anything; for example my anxieties about my workload this semester (uni work, internships, jobs etc) is something I can either tackle head-on or completely run away and hide from. The more I use my flight instinct against it the more it will overwhelm me, so my lizard brain is telling me that fight is the right option. Thanks, lizard brain!

I enjoyed Adrian’s rant about how modern education is too similar to a ‘shop assistant’ style of learning; we go into a store (or uni) and try pick what we like (e.g. decide on a course/what we want to learn/our goals) and if it doesn’t work for us (if we feel our teachers, lectures, classes aren’t working), it’s so easy to blame the shop assistant (uni) and demand another size or style. That was a bit confusing to type but I completely understand it in my head; that university is too similar to a retail environment; we shop and choose what we want then complain if it isn’t right for us.

However, what we should be concertrating on is that if we feel that something in our courses isn’t working for us, like our teachers, classes, lectures, assignments, it is our responsibility to make it work, not to complain about it. We should see what we can get out of it, not complain about what we don’t.

Education is an experience, not a commodity or a right.

I thought that was pretty insightful seeing as I see so many people complaining about uni but clearly RMIT has some sort of successful system in place if thousands of kids are graduating and getting prestigious jobs every year…

Like a romantic waltz (I’m loving Adrian’s metaphors), we shouldn’t give up and stop dancing just because we’re finding the steps difficult or foreign to us.

This lecture was different and I’m still deciding whether or not it worked for me, but nonetheless I’m excited for next week’s.

Class 2

The fact that this class involved a lot of discussion was quite alright with me seeing as this class is one that definitely relies on open communication about ideas, theories, thoughts and opinions.

The entire media industry is one based on making and keeping connections with people, therefore this class encouraged us to branch out and discuss our progress so far.

I learned a lot by sharing ideas with my classmates, such as Miguel’s interesting experiences on public transport which prompted me to start blogging about random thoughts and experiences I have throughout the day, and Anna’s very interesting and thought-provoking opinions on blogging which I definitely could relate to.

Eliot ran us through what we want our blogs to be; entertaining, appealing outside of the course, topical, evidentially backed up with depth of thought and quality of writing.

This class was great in my progress on the Networking Media path as I was part of open discussions about ideas that have helped me in my blogging and considering of this course!