Have we changed HTML or is HTML changing us?

This weeks lecture presented a variety of ideas around education, the future and why all this ‘stuff’ is so revenant to us as communications students. However once again they all related back to HTML.  With the majority of symposium discussion in the last few weeks being primarily orientated around html, I’ve found myself becoming much more aware of not only the complexity of this subject but also the immediate relatively of it’s content.

Everything we do now bows down to the Internet. We revolve our everyday lives around it from messaging friends and family or emailing work clients . We bathe ourselves in technology from radio to TV, computers to phones. Yet in contemporary reality there is little distinction between these technologies. You can watch TV on your phone, just as you can listen to the radio on your TV. You can use your TV as a computer and a computer to make audio calls to people in distant locations. As a result of this, hypertext is something that can ultimately be woven throughout all things that we engage with on a daily basis and is no longer specified to your ordinary desktop computer. Integrated within hypertext is then also the component of hypermedia, which then goes beyond simply text but to images, audio and video. This then got me thinking. Has constant access to information readily available at our fingertips, changed the way we process information? If we are now unsure about something, we simply look this up on a search engine, or more accurately the search engine, google. Has this, or will this access encourage us to be more intellectually active or simply lazy?  How often do you rely on someone else searching something and you gaining that information from them? Is this different to when we had to get up and physically go to a library if we wanted to find out a pice of unknown information?

Adrian then extended on my train of thought by questioning us on questions…Have we forgotten how to ask good questions? It seems our world today t has very much lost its clear-cut black and white colouration. So much of today is blurred with masses of grey yet has this been achieved through mass confusion or the evolution of a more curious and inquisitive race? something to think about…



Validity, Credibility, Ability and a Little on Elliot’s Hair

Today we started off the lecture talking about Elliot’s trip to the hairdresser…a seemingly mundane, personal hygiene and appearance maintenance task, but no! He managed to very relevantly bring it back to the issue of how can you trust the validity of the internet? The answer simply is, that most of the time you can’t. Unless you know how to navigate through the copious amounts of pages and posts to find which ones have academic or a reputable authority, a number of links to other sources and, how many people have actually referred to this issue. That is, like what Jason mentioned, until you see how many people have written or posted about it and on what platform. For me, this issue was very relevant as only this morning had I seen the articles on Robin William’s death, and just like Jason, I too initially regarded it as a hoax. Too retrieve the truth on the matter however, I waited for about half an hour before making a post to two of my personal social media sites – Facebook and this blog. And in that time, I searched 3-4 websites and skimmed through my Instagram page and Facebook newsfeed to validate his death.

Before finishing this week’s discussion, we touched on the differences between print and network literacy, and in the eyes of some, our current inability to comprehend the technicalities that are imbedded within network literacy despite our generational reputation. We compared and contrasted the understandings that people hold of print literacy yet does not exist within the form of network literacy. Do we need to understand how toner in a printer works to fully understand print literacy? Is this the same as understanding how a website is developed in order to become network literate?

You many not be bilingual, but you can be biliterate

Sitting on the train this morning, reading this week’s content I realised that I was quite literally surrounded by everything that Adrian Miles was talking about in his piece about ‘Network Literacy’. Looking up from my laptop, almost everyone that was on the train was holding some sort of electronic device capable of enabling the user to read, write or listen to anything that interested them on the web.

Yet whilst reading up on the differences between print and network literacy, it made me think, for the amount of people that pour their time into the online world, how many of them actually understand it? How many people are simply ‘computer literate’ yet are naively ‘network illiterate’? With the world now being so technologically dependent, print literacy is fast becoming next week’s topic in your weekly highschool history class rather than something that is being taught and practiced on an every day basis.

Being biliterate, therefore understanding and practicing both print and network literacy is now something that is a necessity rather than a unique, personal characteristic. Unlike the real world, in the online world of websites, RSS, HTML, blogs, links, search engines, tags, subscribers and live feeds, writing is not about who wrote it, but about what is written. Throughout network literacy, you are what you write.

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