Symposium 6.1 – Actor Network Theory


Today’s symposium panel focused on the subject topic ‘actor network theory’ whilst drawing on the reading ‘On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications 1/2’ by Bruno Latour.

Stacey and Meg were the members (well that showed up) for today’s symposium. Stacey showed a YouTube video on ‘actor network theory’ to assist the class – presenting the ‘socio-technical theory’.


Elliot brought the class through some of the key properties in actor network theory from the reading and told, “The theory takes into consideration all of the actors that can have an affect and connects them together to make a network. These connections are varied and fundamental”.


Stacey told, “The reading points out characteristics associated with actor theory. Stacey proceeded to provide examples (although these were completely over my head), Stacey explained “No network is considered bigger or small and is solely based on the intensity of the network. Additionally, a network is a positive notion that does not need negativity to be understood”.


Esther questioned whether the “theory” has a practical application.


Elliot voiced, “The actor network theory is essentially not a theory and that it acts as a lens into networks”. Elliot also spoke about distance within the theory. He relayed that distance is not physical, it’s temporal. Also he told how A is not the B, it’s how A affects the B. Interestingly, Elliot relayed that the theory was created in response to semiotics – disregarding meaning and the science of signs.


Meg commented, “If you’re not taking any meaning from an element, you’re essentially just mapping out the point of cause and effect. Again, what is the point?!”



Symposium 5.1 – Protocols and Social Systems


This week’s symposium focused on the subject topic, ‘Protocols and Social Systems’, with members discussing the academic texts ‘Culture and Technology’ by Andrew Murphie and John Potts as well as ‘How Control Exists after Decentralization’.


Elliot opened the dialog between the symposium members and the classroom by gathering opinions as to what culture, technology and the term theory means. Elliot’s exercise exemplified how open-ended definitions on the mentioned topics can be and how we can go around in circles all day and still be puzzled by our supposed meanings.


Interestingly Elliot told, “The less applicable a theory will be, the more precise it is”.


Elliot proceeded to stimulate the class in proposing the question – is technology dependent? The conversation quickly altered to an in-depth discussion. Peers compared human behavior to how technology behaves – strikingly realizing strong similarities between our conduct. I shared my non-technodeterminist opinion with the class, stating that technology is not independent. My case being that technology is created and modified by human beings and that it wouldn’t exist without us. I gave a familiar example of technology and its dependency on humans by noting ‘Benders’ character in Futurama. Whilst Bender has his own quarters, has established friends and pretty much does whatever he feels like, generally in an obnoxious manner, Bender is ultimately controlled by his mother. This is notable on Mothers Day when Bender’s mother utilizes her remote control that she keeps in the bra and turns all her robot spawn evil.

Bender's momImage sourced from

Some thought-provoking ideas brought about in the dialog involved how humans are also somewhat programmed by institutions, regulations, customs, educational systems etc…

It was also spoken of how we can behave in certain ways due to our upbringing, disciplines and social values.

A class member eventfully speculated “Are we technology?!”.





Symposium Panel 4.1 – Intro to Network Science


The symposium, consisting of only Simon and Elliot today discussed Duncan Watts’ film, ‘Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age’.


In relation to the video, Simon spoke of the parlor game that features Kevin Bacon, titled ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’. Kevin Bacon attempted to demonstrate the truth of the concept of ‘six degrees of separation’ by trying to connect any living or dead celebrity in Hollywood to himself. The experiment that adapted into ‘The Parlor Game’ consists of cinema fans working against each other to find the quickest path between an actor and the character, Kevin Bacon, in six degrees or less. Furthermore, Simon told that Kevin Bacon didn’t particularly take the experiment too seriously to start with, however the project proved to be quite successful in proving Bacon’s point.


Interestingly enough, Kevin Bacon’s project is chartable giving website titled, The official ‘Six Degrees’ page tells, “That is a social networking with social science”.


The second academic resource to be discussed in the panel was Chris Anderson’s ‘The Long Tail’.  In relation to the reading, Simon spoke of dinosaur erotica novels by Kristy Sims and how there is pretty much a market for anyone. Righto. Drawing on a different point from the reading, Eliot spoke of heritage media and the point  “where distribution is no longer viable”. Furthermore, Elliot told that “The Conservative argument is that only the best quality media would be making it out there, however that is not necessary the case, it is what is most popular is more successful.”

Symposium Panel – Hypertext Narrative

 In this week’s symposium, I found myself on the panel with Meg and Elliot – engaging in dialog about the subject matter, Hypertext Narrative.


The key academic texts that the symposium members discussed consisted of:

Extracts from ‘Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization’ by George Landow as well as Douglas Yellowlees’ ‘The End of Books — Or Books Without End?’


Although I didn’t have the chance to document the symposium discussion (as I was occupied conversing about Hypertext Narrative), I made some potential discussion points about the readings before the panel took place – many of which I brought up throughout the symposium.

Discussion points from Landow’s text

  • Not all narratives appear in hypertext form.
  • Paper explored many types of form hypertext has taken.
  • High modernism – uses linking to grant the author more authority.
  • Notes that some online fiction consists of hypertext that is derived from the author’s own reading.
  • No hypertext systems are superior to others.
  • Investigation as to how hypertext may affect literacy form.
  • “Hypertext can reveal new organisations or functions of itself to a reader”.
  • Suggests that hypertext has roots in Canonical texts (texts of belief).
  • Argues that hypertext creates great questions about narrative and plot by ridding linear organizations.
  • Readers now serve a dual purpose as readers and authors.

“Linearity, however, now becomes a quality of the individual reader’s experience within a single lexis and his or her experience following a path, even if that path curves back on itself or heads in strange directions” (221).

“The writer can write in such a way to allow a reader to make informed choices” (225).

Speaks of the closure of indefinite, infinitive hyperlink narratives. However, he suggests that traditional writing and reading methods aren’t closed and allow for the reader to grasp multiple endings or modes of closure – often dependent on what the reader takes in from the narrative’s finally.


Discussion Points From Yellowlees’ text

  • Speaks of the CD-ROM adventure conceit of the Titanic and the interactive narrative.
  • Provides implications of hypertext within the Titanic software with the ability for the viewer to participate and choose their own path, explore and par take in the narrative and its conclusion.
  • Considers a more personable approach to interactive narratives stating that “The book that responds every time you read it – responding to your moods, your whim, your latest fetish…”
  • Also considers the closure to a story.
  • Tells that hypertext is still at its “icebox stage”.
  • States that some novels are best suited to their traditional book form.
  • Speaks of the role of the reader – how the author can never determine what the reader will take from a story.
  • Some narrative qualities remain the same throughout hypertext narrative e.g. characters.                                                                                                               “Alike fiction, hypertext stories can enthrall, amuse, frustrate, repel and even frighten their readers”

The Rebirth of Vampires in Contemporary Media and Their Cultural Implications

Vampires have made a media revival in recent years with popular television shows, films and novels including True blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight and heap more. Additionally, the dominant fan-base for the modern vampire genre has shifted to teenagers. They can’t get enough of the stuff. However, the resurgence of the well-liked vampire genre raises questions about the cultural implications on their primary audience.

Dracula meme


So what is it about teenagers and vampires?


The positioning of vampires in modern media shows them trying to integrate themselves into society – resisting their blood thirst to kill and generally just trying to fit in at Forks High or Merlotte’s Bar and Grill. Within these fictitious yet relatable settings, the vampire’s hunger for true love prevails along with their desire as a minority to be accepted in their community. In this light, it is notable that the primary motivations for the vampire antagonists form parallels with teenager’s desires for romance and to be accepted for themselves.


The highly sexually charged narratives also focus on vampires enforcing self-control in order to resist their intense and instinctive blood lust to kill (which would ultimately end in devastation). Could this not be a metaphor for teenagers to resist their firsthand sexual desires in order to avoid catastrophe? Or in Twilight’s case, until after your Mormon wedding…

Twiilight wedding Image sourced from:

 A research paper titled, ‘The Resurgence of Vampires and Vampires in Fan Discourse in Contemporary Popular Culture’ tells, “Despite the characters’ love and desire for their mortal beloved, their protracted struggle to suppress the desire and resist the temptation of bloodlust to protect their partners from harm is implicitly encouraging teenagers who are experiencing their first stirrings of desires, to employ self-control on dangerous sexual and aggressive impulses”.


Another present similarity between vampires and their teenage fans is the longing to break away from their disguise or protective shell to be accepted, fit in amoungst their peers whilst maintaining their own identity within society.


It is all just a self recognising, coming of age, sexy blood bath really.


Anyway, here is Buffy kicking Edward’s stone cold but.

Buffy vs Edward: Twiilight Remix (original version)

Video sourced from:

Symposium 3.1 – Introduction to Hypertext Theory

This week’s Symposium focused on ‘Introduction to Hypertext Theory’.


Esther told, “The readings reinforced the nature that they are networked documents. You can go around in circles and come back to the same place”.


Similarly to Esther’s observation, George Ladow’s reading titled, ‘Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization’ told “Linearity, however, now becomes a quality of the individual reader’s experience within a single lexia and his or her experience following a path, even if that path curves back on itself or heads in strange directions”.


Elliot argued that when writing online narratives, “You are writing as part of a discourse”.  I considered this to perhaps ascertain a recognizable dialog in the blogging process and with it, its capabilities and simplicities. Additionally, Elliot voiced, “It’s a collaborative process in creating discourse”. Elliot’s observation on the subject matter as well as researched text allowed me to consider Landow’s acknowledgement that readers can now become readers and authors.


Further on in the symposium, members of the group discussed the reader’s behavior in relation to hypertext narrative.


“Writing becomes second nature and it’s something that’s ingrained in our lives. We aren’t conscious that I’m writing now and this is a technological skill. Writing becomes native to you”, expressed Esther.


Although the panel were referring to a technological reading by David Bolter, I made a connection with a concept Landow proposed in his reading. Landow suggested that traditional writing and reading methods aren’t closed and allow for the reader to grasp multiple endings or modes of closure – often dependent on what the reader takes in from the narrative’s finally.

Workshop 2.2 – Our blogs

In today’s workshop (2.2) our class grouped up in threes to share a blog post that we have composed on the subject ‘Networked Media’. I spoke to the class about Jake Farfound’s blog titled ‘Double Loop Learning’.


I found Jake’s blog post to decipher the concept of ‘double loop learning’ and to relay his understanding in a concise manner. Jake imposed examples of the concept to assist in explaining its definition. I found that the simple writing style and tone allowed for the information to come across clearly along with Jake’s tone being present. Furthermore, Jake’s blog included a link to a past student’s blog on the same topic as well as a diagram that assisted in further explaining the concept.


I found the workshop to be constructive as it allowed for the class to see different styles along with approaches to our blogs. It also brought out good aspects of our blogs and what was worked in our posts.

2.2 Reading – Literary Machines

Nelson’s main focus within the article is to pronounce his ‘Universal repository hyperlink system’ along with foresee future envisions as to the online storage systems that will be necessary by 2020. Nelson tells of his project, The Xanadu – a system which is designed to address online storage systems through hypertext. Nelson tells “The Xanadu system is designed to address many forms of text structure, has grown into a design for universal storage of all interactive media.”


Bringing hypertext back to a simple definition in order to educate the reader of it’s importance, Nelson relays “We can create new forms of writing that better reflect the structure of what we are writing about; and readers choosing a pathway, may follow their interests or current line of thought in a way hereto for considered impossible”. Additionally, Nelson determains the three basic relationships is ‘Xanalogical theoary’.

– Origin – the parts where elements begin

– Commonality – the sharing of elements between units

– Links – that mark, annotate and connect portions


Nelson’s Xanadu theory and observations from 92’ into the online storage requirements of the future appear relevant. Whilst reading this article online storage systems came to mind that seemed fitting to Nelson’s theory. Perhaps in concept rather than technicalities, however, online storage systems such as ‘Dropbox’ and Apple’s iColud seem in line with the ideals Nelson investigated throughout the Xanadu project.






Workshop 1.2 – Applying ‘Double Loop Learning’

Today’s symposium panel consisted of Mishell, Daniel and Esther with Elliot directing the conversation. The primary topic of focus was ‘Loop Learning’ based on Chris Argyris’ discourse on ‘Concept of Double-loop Learning’.


Esther grasped the concept well and provided visual aid to relay her understanding of loop learning and its practice to the class. Esther’s diagram showed that there are three stages of the process.


Concept of Double Loop Learning Explained Image sourced from:

“If your action strategy isn’t working and you implement Argyris’ ‘double-loop learning’ method. And if you can move beyond the barriers, you can re-evaluate and create dialog about underlying assumptions, then you may be able to amend your results”, Esther explained.


Elliot places Argysis’ theory into relative perspective – providing an example of the theory in relation to catching public transport.


Esther also positioned the theory into a similar situation. Both examples provided further insight into Argysis’ theory and how to adopt the practice of ‘double loop learning’.


Further on in the class, Elliot applied the theory to our studying practices. Elliot told that often it is a matter of finding what works best for yourself as an individual to achieve your desired results, other than doing what you think is the best action strategy.


Point made! I will take this into consideration with my hefty summer study load.


How to Create Hyperlinks

Hey there Networked Media Summer Class

This is how you hyperlink text within your blog posts:


  • Firstly underline the word or words that you wish to hyperlink.
  • On your icon bar there is a chain symbol (located next to the broken chain symbol).
  • Click on the chain symbol.
  • Insert the internet link where specified. A tick or a cross will appear that lets you know if the link is correct/ active.
  • Label the name of the hyperlink. Note that this will not appear on your page.
  • Select ‘open link in new window/tab’. This allows for your readers to view the link of interest without leaving your page.
  • Once the chain process is completed, preview your page and check that your link works correctly.