2014, Here We Are

Welcome to the 2014 iteration of network media. You’ll find a list of staff and email addresses under the About menu. If you’ve come along here to find out about what’s happening, stay tuned, there will be plenty soon. You will have received an email with details of how to log in to your mediafactory blog. If none of it makes sense don’t panic, just hold on to that email ready for the first classes next week. Any pre class questions, shoot me an email (adrian.miles at rmit.edu.au).


I’m going to wield the magical big stick super powers I have a subject coordinator and veto some class decisions that were made about participation in relation to assessment. Specifically, if you claim to do something, and haven’t, then something should happen as a consequence. I’ll explain why, but first I’m doing this not because I think the alternatives developed or other options are wrong, but in the specific context of network media and the trust based assessment model we have adopted we want the idea of trust, reputation, and the concept of a trust or reputation network to be enacted. In this model trust is understood and defined as an obligation you have to another, it is not only a relation you have with yourself. Trust, in this deep sense, is where you have expectations of others and they, in turn, of you. I trust that my friend will do what she says she will do, the people I am collaborating with will do what they say they will do and that I even need to trust other drivers on the road to, pretty closely, follow the road rules, and I will too, so that it isn’t Russian roulette every time I decide to drive a car, or ride a bike.

In this way of thinking about trust we can see that it is not something I can define for myself. It is completely dependent on the judgement of others. It is not up to me to decide that I’m trustworthy – this is up to those that need to trust me to determine. This is similar (not identical, but similar) to how reputation works online. Your reputation as a blogger for example is determined by others judgement, often realised through readership, and more significantly, links in. This is why a twelve year old can be an authoritative fashion blogger, even they when they started they had absolutely no industry reputation or position at all. I could be employed as a fancy professor at an Ivy League university, but when I take up blogging, if my blog isn’t much good, then it simply isn’t much good and its reputation (and potentially mine) will be low. However, as a professor at an Ivy League university I don’t have to do much else to have reputation and authority within the university, simply because it is a hierarchical system and I am, by definition, a long way up towards the top. Being near the top bestows authority – the role and hierarchy guarantee this – whereas when I start blogging, my prestige from my position will probably help, but if I don’t walk the walk in my blog my real world position very rapidly counts for little. This is why we can think of it as a reputation network, because the authority of your blog is determined by others, not by the institutional granting of authority (they are a professor, they must know what they are talking about, they are employed by Vogue, what they think matters more than someone not employed in the fashion industry, they write for a music magazine so must know more than that blogger over there).

The participation assessment is repeating this. It relies on trust as you self audit your participation each week, but it only becomes a trust network when others are able to judge your trustworthiness. Remember, trust is not something you can self define, it relies fundamentally on your conduct in relation to others, and they are the ones who decide. (It is hard to build, easy to break, much harder, if broken, to restore.) Therefore for the participation assessment to become a trust network there needs to be consequences of breaking that trust. What those consequences are, well that I’m less concerned about then making it clear that trust is not something you are able to define for yourself – it is not up to me to claim that I’m trustworthy. I can think I am, I can claim I am, but the proof is what others say about me, not what I say about myself. Why? Because trust relies upon an ethical obligation to an other.

What is Networked Media?

There is a shape to the course (perhaps that introduction of the boat just let everyone assume there is no agency, anywhere?) and the intro to the readings that don’t have to be done for a week or two yet might help. We are laying the bricks or foundations or ideas or words or theories or concepts for what the deep structure of the network is. It is all about structure. Structure I define as a pattern. So what is the pattern of the Web (and at the moment we’re really only worried about the Web, email, FTP, gopher, BBS, RTSP, forums, virtual worlds, MMORPGs and so on, won’t fit in, this is not a survey of the internet circa 2013 but what is its deep shape)

Blog Assessments

Blog assessments coming due real soon now. The essay, up to a thousand words please. Less is OK if you’re comfortable with it. You submit your blog assessment on paper, print the entries/copy and paste them into single doc, attach to essay on paper, hand in the usual way to level 4 of building 9. Due Friday August 30th.

Beta Symposium 0.2

There will be NO unsymposium 0.2 this Tuesday August 20th due to a half day stop called called by the National Tertiary Education Union from 1:30pm that day. This also means that Tuesday’s 3:30 lab will not run this week. The questions that have been framed for the symposium (below) will be held over until next week.

In lieu of the symposium please check out the following on YouTube:

In other news, in other labs this week work to date in niki will be critiqued, and then further developed (next week the next lot of topics will be distributed). Readings have been updated, Adrian saw a platypus (alive) in the Yarra at Templestowe, and these are the very good questions from Friday’s class for the symposium:

  • how does hypertext relate to storytelling in different media formats?
  • is the work we publish online only validated once it is viewed/consumed by others?
  • do you think the digitalisation of literary texts and the use of the E-reader will eventually replace the physical book completely?


Have added a menu item to the blog called ‘kernels’. They are key nuggets, ideas, the primary take aways that I (just I) think matter from the 75 blog posts written so far. Think of it as a high level filter.


OK, there is a new page on the networked media blog where you can ask how to do things. These will be put up on a page yet to be made and others can see what is being asked, and if they like make something that shows everyone how to do that. Put that in your blog, let me know (in case I miss it), and it will join the new help list on the main mediafactory page. If you make something in response to a request, you earn two marks.

The help list is being compiled at http://www.mediafactory.org.au/help/, and the request a how to form is on the How To? form page with an outline of the idea and principles in our new marketplace page. Be nice to extend this, to perhaps definitions or similar? What do you think?