Chell's blog

Thoughts, ideas, and other things 'a bit unkempt'…

Week 11 UnLecture


The second last week for semester already?!


This week we discussed how current society is based on a ‘gift economy’. That is, that we are willing to give away all our information, thoughts and ideas to the world, for free. Adrian raised the point that most people these days are participatory actors on Facebook. But do any of us get a cheque in the mail for contributing to it’s network? No. The same applies for many databases on the internet. Hardly anyone gets paid to put things on Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and the like, yet, you can access nearly if not all the knowledge you would ever need or want by visiting these sites. The internet is based on public protocols, it is not private or ownable. It is also democratic (in most places). For it not to be democratic, there would need to be some sort of mediation that stops people accessing it, such as the Great Firewall of China. Adrian, however, is not convinced that this was always the case because the Internet was created by academia. He says it is a flat entity, everything is equally distanced apart.


Adrian also talked about ‘trend forecasters’. How nobody has the capability or capacity to decide what the world, or a technology will be like years down the road. He gives examples like how when the telephone was originally invented it was seen to potentially be a way to broadcast music concerts to people’s homes. Nobody would have thought that it could be used to connect us to the world through access to internet, music and anything from the knowledge economy. I hope there is some hope left for forecasting though, because my semester 2 elective which starts in three weeks is “fashion  trend forecasting”… I hope I don’t become too skeptical!


Something else I took away from the Unlecture, which I didn’t, but probably should have known, was that all web-pages have an IP number. This was how the internet operated in the beginning. But to make it easier for the common user, domain names were created (such as etc.) because they are easier to remember.

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Week 10 Unlecture


Firstly, WOW! Before I came into this lecture I had spent a good 15 minutes trying to find either my face, or the face of someone I know on this. These are the faces of Facebook. The number as I am writing this post is 1,278,837,969…. and continuing to grow really fast! Apparantly this would take 36 years to look through! Miami-based “creative technologist” Natalia Rojas is responsible for this creation- maybe she has a LOT of time on her hands, but either way, snaps to her- this is pretty cool!


This is what it looks like on the home page….


This is what it looks like when you click one tiny little pixel!


Moving on…..

This “unlecture” continued to improve my understanding of the Latour reading;

– The internet is scale free, it doesn’t have edges, it can’t fill up

– It is made of nodes, which can be thought of as ‘things’ and they can connect to similar ‘things’

– Because of this we get hubs

– It is not random, a structure will emerge

Then…. another cool app thingy! The Oracle of Bacon (Kevin Bacon, American Actor).

This app lets you put in a name of a movie star, and shows you the connection that they have to Kevin Bacon. They may not have specifically starred on the same movie, but they starred in a movie that had another actor that starred in a movie with that actor… For example: Reese Witherspoon was in Twilight (1998) with Giancarlo Esposito, who was in Enormous Changes at the last Minute (1983) with Kevin Bacon. So Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde) has a “Bacon Number” of 2.

Then we talked about technology and technique:

– Technology has agency; it can act

– Media is not just about meaning and representation, you also have to conform to certain rules

– Technology designs the technique

– Technology is now the air we breathe. I challenge you to think of a situation where you are not in any way influenced by human creation. Camping I hear you ask? How did you get there? Drive? What did you sleep in? A tent, a sleeping bag, a tarp? How did you get those things there with you? How were they made? Did you see any planes flying overhead? Did you light a fire with matches or did you go caveman style with a couple of sticks?

Fun Lecture! 🙂 Sorry, Unlecture 😉

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Week 8 Unlecture


This week’s symposium was quite fascinating. I am with Brian and Jasmine, or probably even less knowledgeable about video-games, my knowledge base spans from ‘they take first priority over girls’… thanks guys! to crashing into walls on a scooter thing and falling into the abyss on my little brother’s Mario Kart Wii game. However, despite my lack of understanding of video-games, I was really interested in the discussion of whether they could be considered hypertext narrative or not. The consensus was generally no; intentional hypertext usually links different types of content to the original text, something completely different, but on the other hand, video-games exist in “a World”. They provide a diagesis. Everything in some way relates as it all exists in this fictional, yet consistent and comprehensive society.

I furthermore liked the discussion about what makes a game? And this supported the hypothesis that video games aren’t hyper-textual narrative. Games (which don’t just mean video games) are driven by the aim of winning. Narratives, or stories on  the other hand don’t share this specific objective that is crucial to defining a game. Hypertext is primarily about narrative, even if it is non-linear; but games are not really about the story. They can have very cleaver story-lines that the avatars follow (so I’m told) but there is still the overwhelming desire to win the game. That is why you “play”. Hypertext is structure in the making.

I like how Adrian put into perspective reality t.v. shows such as Survivor and XFactor as ‘games’ bought into reality. There still exists a story for the audience, but it is centered around the characters/ players trying to win/ acheive something.

I remembered this point from high-school and it is just annoying; ‘Everything is a text, everything that communicates meaning is text’… so a pencil is a text, a chair is a text, I am a text… Ok… I get it… but I don’t like it and I just don’t want to talk about it!

And finally, some food for thought…I really like Brian’s idea of creating an online forum to store his family history in a hyper-textual way. I think this is a really cool idea!



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Week 7 Unlecture


The first Unlecture back since the mid-semester break had a disappointing turnout. I really don’t understand why people enrol in the course if they aren’t going to turn up. Sure there are acceptable reasons as to why you miss some sessions but could that many people have had the flu? Then again, if I’m being completely honest, I am intending to miss an Unlecture on Tuesday 24th September for “Comm Ball related reasons” (It takes a girl like me a whole day to get ready for a 7pm dinner party!)

I took conscious note of Adrian’s point that we need to stop instantly describing hypertext as ‘create your own adventure’, which I have been doing a lot of. When you think about it, those stories have limited possibilities. Hypertext is more than that. It has possibly endless routes. The example Adrian bought in was a childrens’ book ‘, with 10 pages and 3 flaps on each page. Apparantly this book can make 1000 combinations (10 x 10 x 10). And would take a really long time to read! And that’s only a childrens’ book. I was thinking what could be comparable in adult literature?

Adrian introduced us to some software that allows authors to create several folders if you like, which can have inexhaustable links between them. This sounds really cool! A great way to store all your information, and link it to other information completely sparse in time and location but connected by one key idea for example. This sounds like my kind of thing. I really like having recorded and archived all of my thoughts, ideas, lists etc. But when I am limited to chronological order, I can forget things. I think this thing was called TinderBox. Is this right Adrian Miles?

The second key idea I was thinking about after this Unlecture was that authors can’t control the minds of the readers. As I said in a post last week, but I feel so strongly about it now, why in high-school are we instructed to right to “create a sense of… in the reader”? When we can never actually confirm that this is how it will be taken on at the receiving end. I understand that we can definitely try, and many things just seem to have certain reactions among people, i.e. babies are cute, chocolate is yummy, you can trick people into answerring a really easy question with an obviously incorrect answer… but I’d like to explore this further… I’m still not satisfied. Like Adrian said, ‘What is communications without intent?’, where does this leave me when I graduate my Bachelor of Professional Communication. There are 2 very strong sides to this and I’d like to settle my opinion on 1, but I need to ponder some more.

Lastly, the idea of the interactive documentary. Haven’t watched one. Would like to. My Mum thinks I’m weird because I quite enjoy documentaries. (Particularly about animals and really really old things). Maybe I’ll look into that 🙂



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Week 6 UnLecture


This week we got back into the swing of the Beta Symposiums. We focused on some very interesting questions, so I would like to post about what I heard from Adrian and the tutors, as well as my own speculative ideas.

1. How does Hypertext relate to storytelling in different media formats?
In the discussion about this question, what really caught my attention as a singer/ songwriter was the point that in songs, a chorus can, and is repeated more than once, throughout the space f 3-4 minutes. So too, is the bridge. This is never disputed in a song. The same message is given more than once, word for word. But, do this in a VCE essay and “out comes the red marker”, even if the words aren’t exactly the same. Networked Media Unlectures have a way of making me question everything I learnt in high school English 🙂
The second key point I got out of this discussion was that authors can’t guarantee their intent, or that the delivery of their message goes through to the audience the way they intended. Again I am question my English class; and why it was so vital to say “I used this strategy/ form of persuasion to evoke a sense of such and such in the reader”… how do I know that happened? What if they read some of my news article, then looked at something else, then came back to it, and didn’t feel any emotion. Is it true, throughout high-school, have we been trained to write for teachers and to become university lecturers?… Hmmm…

2. Is the work we publish online only valid if someone else views it?
I particularly resonated with Jasmine’s interpretation that things we publish online, for example on a blog, Facebook, Instagram etc.are similar to a journal. The point is that we publish what we want to say to help ourselves understand something better/ record something that happened or that we might like to come back to later. I know that is the case with my blog, checking my stats, I have had no more than 15 readers in any one week. I don’t necessarily like it because other people will read it, I do it because I want to write it. So no, I don’t think this is the case.

3.Do you think the digitalisation of literary texts and the use of the E-Reader will eventually replace the physical book completely?
Some of the responses to this question bothered me. Adrian said it was a no-brainer that students would rather have a digital copy of text-book than a physical copy where they have to carry it around and go through it with the highlighter. Am I the only one who prefers this experience? I find it much more satisfying to have all my readings available to me in physical form where I can go through with my highlighters and post-it notes (both of which I am a fond collector of)? Maybe I just old-fashioned. But I love the satisfaction of reading a 1000 page novel and seeing how far through the book I have gotten by the place of my bookmark.
On second thought, I really resonate with the idea that books are valued for wisdom and knowledge. That soon, and perhaps even now, people appreciate physical books as collectable items. Like vinyl records, which were replaced by tapes, then cd’s, then digital versions of music. I can see where its going, but I really hope physical books are never lost! 🙁

4. Last random point that I really liked: The difference between a traditional essay and the work we are encouraged to do in networked media… not knowing what the ‘conclusion’ is going to be when we start. Not the standard essay layout of including the hypothesis, arguments and answer in the introduction. Speculative writing. I really enjoy speculative writing. There is less pressure. I can just keep writing until I am satisfied with what I have written. I like not being restricted by structure, word limit, references, format, language, style, etc.


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Week 5 Un-UnLecture


So there was no actual lecture this week due to the strike. But in lieu of the actual lecture we were assigned 3 videos to watch on youtube. I found all 3 really captivating for different reasons and I intend to watch more similar videos when I’ve finished writing this post 🙂

I will explain the Hypertext one first because it was the shortest, and least abstract (now that I think about it… it was VERY abstract, particularly its ideas… but for the point of my sentence, lets just go with it 🙂 ) I found this video really helpful to my understanding of what all the little letters and numbers and codes mean in web page development. I haven’t studied IT since year 7 and this was a great memory jogger! I’m still no website technician or computer whizz, but if you want to learn the basics, and how we can embrace them to do amazing things, you should definitely watch this!

The other videos, Sir Ken Robinson, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ and Michael Wesch, ‘From knowledgable to knowledge-able’ were immensely inspiring and thoroughly engaging.  The ideas expressed in these two presentations could have books written about them, and I know I have a habbit of writing really long blog posts, so I’m going to “do my best” (see the videos 😉 ) to summarise and highlight what I thought were key ideas.

Robinson makes a bold but interesting statement at the beginning of his presentation; that in education, creativity should be harnessed and recognised as just as important as the learning of literacy. He uses Picasso’s quote that “all children are born artists” and explains that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. And this is because society is institutionalised and children are educated out of being creative in order to conform to this industrialised state.

He suggests we think about the idea that in every education around the world, subjects are organised in a hierarchy; maths and language at the top, then humanities, and the arts always sit at the bottom end of the spectrum, and even then, fine arts and music are ‘respected’ more so than drama and dance. Robinson asks ‘Why’? He proposes the current system sets up all students to be university professors. But they, in honesty, are just the same as any other human being. They are no better than a dancer for example. His example of choreographer Gillian Lynne who choreographed the stage productions of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. As a child she couldn’t sit still, and today would probably diagnose her with ADHD, but her doctor said ‘there is nothing wrong with her, she is a dancer’. So Gillian Lynne was sent to a dance school where her passion could be embraced and she became a successful multi-million dollar choreographer.

It makes me wonder why such skills aren’t respected as greatly as writing essays or speaking more than one language or being able to calculate the density of the sun (or something mathsy like that). My passions as a child, and still today are singing and fashion. I was advised by teachers, family, friends etc, that because I am also good at writing and other highly respected academic subjects, that I should focus on them instead and go to university and become a ‘professional’. ‘I would never get a job as a singer’ and ‘fashion isn’t a good enough career’… This is what Robinson says is wrong with the world.

In other words, intelligence is looked upon the wrong way. Yes, I understand that we need a certain amount of people to do certain jobs to keep the economy running blah blah blah…. but intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct. Shouldn’t our generation of children have time to build their identity before they are construed into institutional conveyer belts? This leads me to the ideas of Michael Wesch…

Using the Dove ‘Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does’ ad (see video link), Wesch talks about how the constant evolution of media can be damaging to young people who are still trying to find their own identity. He shows his lecture theatre, full of disengaged students, all conforming to the institutionalised expectations as was explained by Robinson. These students had done all the right things; they had achieived good grades at school and made it into university. But now they are sitting in a room looking less than satisfied. Why? Because we are restricting their knowledge-ability to 4 walls and 1 person standing at the front of the room. Everything they could ever possibly need to know is “in the air”… they all have devices which give them access to the web which contains 2 billion people’s minds worth of information so why do they need to sit in a room and be taught stuff? (And pay for it I might add).

He makes a point that current technology makes it really easy to connect, organise, share, collaborate, publish etc… but without it, these skills are really, really hard. Much like Adrian’s unlectures earlier in the semester, he explains the importance of breaking these bounds in order to create knowledge-able students, ‘experience makers’, ‘inventors’, ‘knowledge producers’. Our ideas are the most valuable thing that we possess- we need to take more time to appreciate this.


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Week 4 Unlecture


This week I found the unlecture a little less engaging… It wasn’t a negative experience, but I found it harder to keep engaged in the conversation- maybe it was because I was really annoyed that after specific instruction not to be going on the internet during the lecture, the person in front of me was checking Facebook, updating their blog, etc. and the people either side of her were also checking social media on their smart-phones… Gosh, I must sound like an old man but why can’t they just do that before/ after the lecture? Is it that hard to sit there for 50 minutes without Facebook? -_-

Anyway… here are my key take-away ideas:

1. I found it really interesting that there was an outlet initiated about 3 years ago that channelled 12 second video clips that failed making its presence in the market, but now Vine, which is only 7 seconds is a major hit. It just shows how speculative ideas can potentially be too advanced for the present, however really accommodated in the near future.

2. The point about professional identities and social media. I absolutely think that some time in the near future there will be a Facebook equivalent of professional identities, where people can upload their resumes, references, career and education histories, photos, etc… on a public internet platform. We are already at the stage of employers checking potential employees’ online profiles for character reference and such, so how far away can this be? If I invented it, I would call it ‘IdentifyMe’ or ‘MyOnlineResume’ haha 🙂

3. We are not content producers… we are knowledge creators/ experience designers.

4. This wasn’t really part of the lecture, but I am really excited about the MarketPlace… There are so many things I need to and want to learn to improve my blog! Downside… my lack of knowledge gives other people more marks which I have no way of obtaining myself… Can the person who trials an instructional video receive a mark or two for writing constructive feedback?

Looking forward to this week in Networked Media 🙂


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Week 3 Unlecture


Sitting through this unlecture was so captivating and inspiring I actually thought we were all going to clap at the end of Adrian’s speech!

I know… I’m a nerd for admitting this but I actually don’t care 🙂 I even found myself considerring being a media professional rather than a PR professional, which was what I was initially leaning towards. Little problem, I suck at computers, and my photo-shop skills are similar to those of my 3 year old brothers’ cut and paste projects he brings home from kindergarten…

I was especially moved by the concept that Adrian’s lectures are not like a “business transaction”, which got me to thinking, well most education facilities are. I mean from my little brothers kindergarten, which prepares you for primary school, which prepares you for high school, which prepares you for VCE which completely dictates how your life is going to turn out… is just a big fat conveyer belt. Children are institutionalised from the moment they can talk and put through a strict process to extend their knowledge to the edge of the child’s capability. It doesn’t care about feelings. It cares about results. Efficiency. Productivity. Future benefit to the economy. Its a machine! My friends could all tell you this rant that I frequently went on through high-school.

However, I am proud to say that the whole business-transaction thing wasn’t quite as strong for me. I went to a public school, I never had a tutor. I persevered with school to get the best grades I could because I WANTED to go to University. Most everyone I have spoken to in my degree has come from a private school and had access to private tutors. Sometime I do feel disadvantaged when I realise the gaps in my knowledge base that these friends already have, and I would definitely send my own children to private school if I had the means to in the future.

I am the first person in my family to have gone to University. Don’t get me wrong, my family aren’t unintelligent, they all had great jobs that they loved, but it just wasn’t within their means or interests to go to a higher level tertiary institution. My mother is a nurse, my father is a police-officer (I don’t talk to him very much but I know he’s somewhere high up in the force now), my grandfather was an electrical engineer and my grandmother a chef. I feel very privileged to be where I am today.

And thats what Networked Media is about. Its not a case of “you must learn this and this by this time to get any sort of job”, its an opportunity for us to broaden our perspectives on knowledge where it is free and valued. It all comes back to that concept ‘University teaches you how to BE something, rather than how to do something”.

So yeah, this lecture made me feel very proud and privileged to be a student at RMIT sitting in that very lecture theatre. *Here are the claps that I envisaged for the end of Adrian’s’ speech * 🙂 End of emotional reflection.

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Week 2 Unlecture


This time we were asked to write a question on a piece of paper to ask Adrian about the course. Panic! Could I get away with sliding it under my notebook? What is the most common question going to be? Maybe I could write that so I don’t look silly! Oh my gosh what if I write something totally off the mark and Adrian reads it out and says who wrote this SILLY QUESTION? Oh my goodness! Time’s up. I find myself collecting pieces of paper from the people behind me and proceeding to hand them down the front. I didn’t submit a question. Would anyone notice? … Adrian: “Who didn’t submit a question?” Oh my goodness why did I put my hand up? Hang on, the majority of the room didn’t write a question. Phew. I mean, I am absolutely not proud of it. I am a student that prides myself on participation. Why couldn’t I just think of a question? Anyway, the question seminar was actually really helpful. I’m glad everybody else was brave enough to ask a question 🙂

Here’s my key take-away messages:

– Write about things in your blog that are of interest to you… Make way reading analysis and unlecture notes, Im here to tell you about fashion and beauty!

And that was it! I was just so happy to hear that. Finally I can start blogging. I have really wanted to for almost a year but just never got around to it. With that in mind, I’m going to end this post here. I have my new copy of Cosmo waiting for me to do some um.. research. 🙂 Ciao xx

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The ‘Unlecture’


It was a day that started out like any other… Actually it WASN’T!

I walked in to the Networked Media lecture, eyes still puffy from crying after having been harassed at my usual tram stop by a middle-aged man who thought it was ok to be totally wasted by 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon. He first attempted the whole old-fashioned handshake where the gentleman kisses the lady’s hand coyly, however he was so drunk and disorderly that he was having a full of make-out sesh with the back of my hand :S Gross! Of course, in times like these there was absolutely no-one else around to help me escape this situation, I pulled my hand away and tried to be friendly as he persisted in asking where I was going. He followed me onto the tram and sat next to me. I told him my boyfriend would be waiting for me at the next tram stop and he got off, carrying his 2 plastic bags full of loose cans of Jim Beam and a couple of bottles of vodka. I hoped that he wouldn’t meet any other young “gorgeous thang” on his way to well, whereever he was going to drink all that booze.

Needless to say, I was not in the most inspired mood coming into that lecture. But by the time it was over, I was excited about the next 12 weeks in this course. To say I had an epiphany might sound a bit extreme, but somewhere in between the horror I felt when Adrian said these lectures probably won’t ever have any lecture slides (me being known to be OCD about my note-taking, I found this very unusual and difficult to process) and his estimate that after graduating we will probably never write an essay again, I suddenly realised that it isn’t about how to do something, its about how to be something that matters… and thats why I need to be here, at RMIT University, sitting in building 12, level 5, room 2, and 3 rows in from the front.

This idea resonated with me. After all these years of learning to construct a sound research essay, or a perfect hard-news story, or a short ‘mash-up’ film, I have learnt what to DO, not how to BE. I am a very text-book type learner, my creativity level is somewhere below negative 1. I need to learn how to come up with my own ideas, as well as to understand and embellish on others’. It made me think, a good employee can do x, but a great employee that can earn enough money never to have to catch the tram again, can turn x into something memorable by putting their own flavour in it. Much as Adrian did in the ‘Unlecture’… Breathe out Chantelle, there is life beyond textbooks and essays! 🙂

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