Bringing Back the Talk


Starting just a few week ago, Melbourne student Matt Kulesza developed the ‘1000+ Coffee’s Project’ in an attempt to break the ‘strange effect’ social media has had on today’s society. “I find it hilarious how in uni lectures if we’re waiting for the lecturer to arrive, everyone is on their phones, totally silent.” Reading this article and thinking back to my classes and lectures from this, and last week, and really to all my uni attendance this year, I can honestly and disconcertingly admit that Matt is pretty spot on. This makes me seriously question whether this because there is just so much to do on the internet now from social networking to reading the news, or because we no longer know how to approach someone for no apparent reason beside the hope for a engaging conversation.

For Matt, this everyday occurrence has gone too far so he has decided to take it upon himself to ‘bring back the talk’ and meet up for a coffee with every single one of is 1088 online friends.  “No one is taking up that opportunity to talk to people or network”

I worry now that I see this as a brave thing to do. Am I alone here? I have too have over 1,000 friends on Facebook but I don’t have that many friends that I would realistically catch up and laugh with or confidently confide in. Has the extensive networked system that the internet functions off created a divide thats too big between the online and offline worlds?

I know it’s not on the same level, but heres my effort...monique, claudia, and giorgia I hereby invite you guys for coffee!

Getting Technical with Technology

In both our symposium and class this week we began to discuss the nuts and bolts that make up the networked system that we currently experience online. Referring to the internet as a somewhat ‘ecology’, Adrian compared network literacy to that of a natural ecosystem, both of which function as a united structure despite the many individual and quite separate parts that are present. Furthering his analogy, Adrian continued to compare the two on their similar characteristics, as although both a naturally existing ecosystem and the artificial form of the internet both lack a controlling centre, it is through this lack of a centre that enables both representations of an ‘ecology’ to intercommunicate in complex ways, irrespective of size or scale.

It is this concept that I believe most accurately represents the functioning of network literacy as although not every piece of data is connected to each other, no one piece of data stands alone. With this subject now bringing to draw to an end with the end of semester creeping closer and closer, I feel I hold a much great comprehension of how network literacy works now that we have gone further than the theoretical and the practical perspectives and into the structural. Through  both discussions and the practical work induing weekly posts through this blog, I understand now Adrian has always stressed the difference between computer literacy and network literacy.

Class discussions this week then fastened my grasp on network literacy even further as we talked about the ‘nodes’ that refer to the connection points between different websites. It is then the number of incoming links to a certain node that determines how high up in a search a website will be. Although there are no nodes that are more or less important in the actual networked system of the internet, some sites such as Wikipedia or Youtube are seen as more prominent than other websites due to their large amount of incoming links from various locations across the web  as apposed to a small time blog on cupcakes that may only receive links about baking.

Spreading the Word to the World – Powerfully and Efficiently

emmaOn the weekend Emma Watson went above and beyond her years, standing up in front of hundreds of global ambassadors, spokespeople and representers as she gave her first speech as the newly appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Despite fighting back a trembling voice, Emma Watson put her celebrity status to remarkable use as she delivered an exceptional speech on feminism, showing the world the real woman behind the former Hermoine Granger. Receiving not only a deafening standing ovation at the UN Headquarters but the words of Emma Watson has now resulted in tremendous outpour of online recognition and support from both male and females of all ages.

Naturally, an event such as a UN convention is by no means an event for the general public. However, it is thanks to the interconnected and interlinked system of the internet that has allowed millions of people worldwide to watch the speech only moments after it took place and has enabled the global spread of the empowerment and inspiration that was undoubtledly experienced  by all those who attended. Watching the video myself as soon as I saw it come up on my newsfeed, I certainly believe the intercommunication that internet has now granted us is something many people of my generation take for granted. If it weren’t for the internet, the ability to be apart of once isolated events would not be something we are able to experience on a daily basis.

Please watch this video and appreciate the ways in which spreading female empowerment will change our world into a better place .

Click here for the link to the UN Womens webpage for further information.

The Development of Unfathomable Choice

Venturing back pre 2006, Chris Anderson revels in the new wave of media consumerism that has risen out of the ease of access and choice that the development of the internet has enabled. Declaring that ‘with online distribution and retail, we are entering a world of abundance’, we are now presented with profound differences to our traditional methods of media consumption. From the mid 2000’s onwards, the internet began its permeation into our everyday lives and with it, slowly erased the restrictions that went hand in hand with DVD shops, book stores and even analogue broadcast television. Online however, with sites such as Netflix as Apple’s iTunes, not only has the access to media transformed but so as the economics of it. Now, with an abundance of films, music and books available at the touch of a button, it no longer matters what kinds of books are more likely to sell in one region of a state than in another, or more problematically, how many people want to watch your favourite horror film on a rainy saturday night. The internet ‘has, in short, broken the tyranny of physical space. What matters is not where customers are, or even how many of them are seeking a particular title, but only that some number of them exist, anywhere. Also, now with the extensiveness of options, alternate links, related alternative viewings and ability to bookmark pages as ‘favourites’, access to everything that still existed before the internet is now accessible in a networked and interlinked medium. Reading throughout this article however it amazes me how the content in which was deemed as so innovative not only 1o years ago now seems so primeval. Even more so because we have been born into the generation that has grown up parallel to the revolutionary developments of the internet, we are able to understand the significance of how much has change in such little time.

Neutrality and Speeds of Technology

Whether I’m beginning to reach saturation point in regards to absorption of theories and ideas on network media, or perhaps this week’s symposium was just a bit less comprehensive than others but this week I found myself, and I hope I’m not alone, struggling to take in all that was discussed my Adrian, Elliot and Jason. Maybe I’ll just put it down to the abstract yet vague nature that governs the concept of ‘neutrality’ of which was discussed for majority of the symposium. What is ‘neutrality’? According to the discussions that have unraveled both in the symposium and in class this week it is the term that describes the notion of an something being uninvolved and unmotivated by other surrounding objects, circumstances, cultures or people. Naturally stemming from this, the question was raised, ‘How can anything live abstractly by itself?’ Of course, from what we know at this moment, nothing can. Perhaps it could have 200 years ago when everything we know now was still undiscovered, invisible to the world and various cultures but right now, everything must exist in relation to something else. This concept is certainly something that takes a few goes to wrap your heads around, but as abstract as it may seem, it does make a lot of sense. How can a pen exist as a stand alone, individual object? It exists because people need to communicate and because it needs a smooth surface, ink, and a literate person to operate it.

Nearing the end of the class in a quick wrap up Adrian threw a final thought provoking concept at the group regarding the idea of speeds of technology. Referring to Jason’s laptop, Adrian pointed out that although he was holding a piece of state of the art technology, he was also holding something that included technology that dated back 150 years. I laughed at this, realising how right he was and how silly I felt that despite spending so much of my time on my laptop, not once had this thought crossed my mind. Even though Jason’s laptop was the newest edition mac book air, most likely equipped with retina display and the highest speed processor, it still possessed a keyboard that mimics almost exactly that of the keyboards from typewriters. Additionally, it also contained a camera built into the screen, despite the fact that cameras have been around for over 100 years. Looking at technology like this really does reflect the old saying ‘some things never go out of fashion’, and that even though the speed of technological development is faster than its ever been before, we are still very much dependent on the technology that has been around longer than any living person.

Losing Sight…

There’s nothing more annoying then dropping your shopping, or even worse your coffee, because you’ve been blinded bumped into by someone too immersed in their mobile phone. A small town in China however have decided to tak a stand on this annoying consequence of modern day life! I really hope this is merely an act of boredom and comedy from the local council in Chongqing city and won’t be something that becomes a necessity on our own sidewalks!

To checkout the article click here



Connect The Dots

This week’s reading by Barabasi took a new approach to the concept of network media by comparing the way in which we network ourselves online and way in which we network in person. Speaking of the most common way a social network exists, whereby we each circulate within one or two close ‘cluster’ of friends yet we ourselves, nor are the other members of that cluster socially exclusive to that one group alone. Therefore, the members of these two close ‘clusters’ generally know each other and often coincide with one another at parties and through similar interests. Additionally, you may have many other ‘acquaintances’ outside of these clusters who may have ‘acquaintances’ in your clusters and so on. In comparing this type of network with that of the networks online, I realise now just how dissimilar they are. Online, it is not a question of your opinion or knowledge being published, but more of whether or not it will be read. The more incoming links to your page, the deeper and wider your work seeps into the online system, holding a higher chance of being noticed. This I now see is very much the same in society. The more acquaintances you have, the more connections you have to those small clusters, therefor the more widespread you are through social groups and greater chance you have of someone in seemingly dispute social group knowing who you are.

For much of this subject we have discussed what is network media, how it has come about and why. Now 8 weeks into the semester its almost funny to see how much of our ingrained social behaviour is so unnoticeably imbedded in our technology. Putting aside the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, of which were obviously developed with the singular role of social communication, it’s amazing to see how the fundamental operating system of the internet and the networking of websites through search engines is so similar to how we socialise in society. As outlined, in society you are simply apart of one big network, your connections with others forming links between clusters that may seem ‘random’ yet through that one link can be associated with you. This as we all know is the exact same as internet whereby that are the most ‘well known’ web pages have only achieved that stauts through their many links to other sites.


The Modern Evolution of Language

This weeks symposium wasn’t as structured as the previous ones this semester but hey, it’s the week after mid semester break and we all know and understand just how easily one week can throw you off! Admittedly, as a result of this I found that this symposium was one that I struggled to connect with. However I did find the content Adrian discussed regarding language particularly intriguing due to the way in which he approached this subject, a way in which I have not come across before whereby rather than simply blurting out the ordinary, ‘a word is a word because it has a valid and deliberate descriptive meaning’, but rather taking the approach that a word scan only mean something by what it is not. In other words, a word holds its individual meaning by virtue of the relations of the words that could have been used but have not. It is then because of the this that words create a panoply, otherwise known as language.
Yet what intrigues me about the subject of language even further is it’s amorphous nature, the way in which it can so easily be changed through culture, memories and experiences, and most relevantly, technology. Without the rise of texting and the original constrictive limitation of words per text, would abbreviations such as ‘lol and ‘soz’ have been created that are now so widely known and accepted? Yes, these examples are abbreviations but that does’t defer from the fact that these are still a form of language that is more commonly being used off the medium of the technology and in verbal conversation.

Collage, Lines of Narrative Progression and Plot

Collage…the piecing together of different matter, perhaps of different forms in such a manner that they become linked and related in some way. Within the reading that interested me the most this week, Shields discusses the concept of collage throughout his work whilst in a paralleled thread of discussion also questions the role and necessity of ‘plot’. In a bold and somewhat audacious manner, shields declares ‘plots are for dead people’, arguing that it is now the art of collage that is the dominating literature of today. What interested me so much about this reading was the way in which I both heavily disagreed and agreed with the ideas being presented.

Firstly, i disagree that plots are no longer needed and I believe that that are also something that are unavoidable. As plots are the series of events within a story that make up some sort of pattern, they are something that arise out of any form of writing, even within the form of collage. In relating this concept to the structure of the internet as shields does himself, I agree that the network like system of the internet is undeniably like that of a collage as ‘The very nature of collage demands fragmented materials, or at least materials yanked out of context’ of which occurs when using the internet through hypertext. However, I believe that when using the internet you could argue that the presence of a plot is both recognisable and valid. You start off on google, search the organisation the ‘The Cancer Council’, you then search their web page, then continue onto their Facebook page, their twitter page, youtube channel, wikipedia page then end your journey by downloading their app. Is this not a series of events that are related through a pattern?

However, I also then do agree with Shields’s further questioning of his initial overconfidence in the form of collage as he poses the questions, ‘How long do you not need a story?’ and with the constant weaving ways of the web ‘how long will the reader stay engaged?’  Perhaps we need both plot based narratives and collage influenced literature. Do we really need to move away and almost eradicate everything that is traditional just to give ourselves confirmation of advancement? Maybe we’re all just shooting ourselves in the foot here…

Life Outside of Uni – MSFW!

Ah the mid semester break. Even though it was only one week, I worked full days for almost half of it and there was plenty of group assignments to be done, to my utter joy and luck, semester break this year fell perfectly on Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Here are a few snaps of Fashion Show 2 for those that are needing an ease back into the regular course based posts.




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