Although we’ve long surpassed the discussion of validity on the internet, I came across this article from Mashable which I thought was extremely relevant and easier to read than some of the wordy readings we were assigned!
George gave a really good example in this post, similar to what I discussed in my entry below, of citizen journalism. The smart phone application that he mentioned, called ‘Five-O‘ is designed as an aid for police brutality victims, where he/she can record her/his experience, thereby providing a public record. If it succeeds in its intended purpose, it may help prompt investigation and action.
This made me think to the role of journalism, often referred to as the Fourth Estate, a concept designed by Edmund Burke, that suggests all journalists are public servants and have a duty to keep track of and and document anything the public has a right to know.
Digital medias have allowed the everyday citizen to take up this role in an effective fashion, where they can report and share breaking news, sometimes quicker than what traditional media reporters can. This brings be back to the culture of free labour, where the public is donating their time to occupy a role that many get paid to do.
However, it’s interesting to think about just how effective citizen journalism can be, and while it remains to be seen for George’s example, there are plenty of other instances (for example here and here) where this has indeed been the case.
I was quite interested in what Adrian was saying in the lecture this week about our willingness to donate free labour and content to the Internet, on digital medias like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and well, this blog. The whole premise of Wikipedia is that people will voluntarily donate their knowledge – generally without any kind of recognition. It was not a concept I had previously considered, but it really got me thinking – people are making serious money out of our free time and work. I researched into it and found this article, which was a bit too dense for my likings, yet made this article an absolute pleasure to read. In the latter, the writer quotes Terranova, who defines free labour on the internet as ‘simultaneously voluntarily given and unwanted, enjoyed and exploited’ and consisted of ‘building web sites, modifying software packages, reading and participating in mailing lists and building virtual spaces’. (2004, p.74)
The writer also draws really interesting comparisons to reality TV, where ‘consumers are invited to sell access to their personal lives’ in a way that is not dissimilar with how we can (over)share our personal lives through social media. (Andrejevic, 2004)
The more I read, the more fascinated I became, helped along by Adrian’s post with a link to this article from The Atlantic. Did you know (although this is only marginally related) that most start up sites, such as Pinterest and things like Pandora radio (a favourite of mine now ridden with ads) run on a thing called investor storytime. Ethan Zuckermann from The Atlantic refers to it as an ‘advertising future’ which is essentially the idea that these sites get paid big money by companies, with the guarantee that when the site gains enough followers and implements advertising, these companies investing their money will get prime advertising spots on the site, in turn, making them lots of dollars $$. Who knew!
Hesmondhalgh, D 2010, ‘User-generated content, free labour and the cultural industries’, Ephemera, accessed 25th August 2014, http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/user-generated-content-free-labour-and-cultural-industries
Zuckermann, D 2014 ‘The Internets Original Sin’, The Atlantic, accessed 25th August 2014, < http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/08/advertising-is-the-internets-original-sin/376041/>
In the reading this week, Landow writes about the beginning of hypertext and attempts to define and outline how it changes the reading of texts. What I derived from it, is that the beauty of hypertext lies in its nonexistent structure. You can begin wherever you may wish, and travel down whatever path interests and benefits you the most. As Adrian mentioned in the lecture this week, you don’t get this freedom when reading print texts. Sure, you have the freedom to put down the text/book whenever you lose interest, however you will always have the knowledge that there are unturned pages within its covers. For me, an unfinished book is like a silent guilt or unpleasant nag at the back of my mind.
Alternatively, Landow used blogging, as an example of where hypertext allows the existence of an ‘active reader-author, envisaged by Nelson and other pioneers'(p.78). Unlike books, when I come across a new blog, I don’t feel the incessant need to start at the first blog post ever written (arguably the beginning). Through hypertext, I can start at any of the listed archived posts and through links to other pages or entries, gather ‘context without the (blogger) having to explain again’.(p.78) I may then read comments from other users on the particular entry and reply specifically to them, or comment my own thoughts. Maybe one of the submitted comments has been done so by an expert, and I could therefore link out to his/her profile. Here, I am actively engaging in deep reading about a particular topic. I am gathering opinions from more than one person, while simultaneously contemplating and sharing my own. A book, while I cherish its physical presence, has no interactive qualities. I may write in the margins and dog tag pages to come back to, but I cannot change or add to the text itself, which will always remain static.
Hypertext, in the words of Landow, ‘moves the boundary of power away from the author in the direction of the reader’ (p.124) where the reader can choose where they enter the text, where they leave the text and what the borders of the text are. It means any internet user can be a producer of content and actively interact with a text.
This isn’t a concept which will deem hard copy books irrelevant, but rather, they will exist simultaneously and dependent on each other. This argument comes from Bolter who says that the very existence of hypertext is dependent on books, just as books can only exist because the egyptians wrote on papyrus all those years ago. There are times where handwriting is still a preferred mode of communicating, just as physical books are always going to have a place in the hypertext world.
Long live books!!
Callista wrote a really in depth summary of the Theodor Nelson reading that clearly expressed her level of understanding while simultaneously exposing my lack thereof…However, reading her extremely thorough piece provided me with a kind of light bulb moment, further instating many of his points. She gave a good balance of factual summarising as well as sharing her opinions, making for an extremely well-rounded piece. Keep up the good work Callista and I know where I’ll be tuning in to make sense of the readings in the future!!
As per Adrians suggestion, I have decided to contemplate the many ways I user the internet.
In the morning, I check Instagram, Facebook, the weather forecast and my emails, all through my phone.
As I’m eating breakfast, I check the train times from the PTV app so I know what time to leave. On the way driving to an unfamiliar station, I use Google maps on my phone.
When I get onto the train, I check my Netbank through the app to see if I got paid. I also continue to scroll through Facebook and Instagram.
My phone and laptop connects to the Wi-Fi as soon as I get into uni and I log onto myRMIT to get access to some readings.
I then work on an assignment where I open 15+ sites in order to get the information I need. Simultaneously I’m consulting with my group member through Facebook and receiving iMessages from some friends on my phone.
During my day at uni, I continue to use my laptop to surf the web. Before the day ends I also transfer some money to a friend through my phone, continuously update my social networking sites, use the online dictionary on my phone to look up a word, check my work roster online, access my pay slip and email my boss.
That night, as I sit around chatting to my family I Google a variety of things that come up in conversation including how to apply for Family Feud, how old David Attenborough is (88 in case you were wondering), a healthy dairy-free slice recipe and what Outlander the new TV series gets on IMDB… just to name a few.
All of which I did without being consciously aware of my utter reliance and dependability on the internet. I think this is interesting based on what we were discussing in the lecture about people being attached to books and disliking any process that would transfer them online. It’s interesting because I have been quite passionately one of those people: looking down on the way-too-common Kindle users and still fondly frequenting the library to borrow my books. And yet I use e-books and peer reviewed journals on a weekly basis, and love the ease of the online RMIT library. Am I a hypocrite or can I love both for different reasons?
To my surprise, the lecture today debunked the theory that most of my high school teachers instilled in me, that Wikipedia being an unreliable source. Previously, I have often sidestepped the Wikipedia link when ‘googling’ something, thinking it was untrustworthy. Little did I know about the statistic that claims its validity over Encyclopedia Britannica, a source that although I hadn’t used, I had deemed highly reliable. Adrian also said something useful in relation to Wikipedia, along the lines of, and I use these quotations marks loosely; ‘while there are a lot of people posting untruths, there are also a lot of people online debunking these untruths’. And therefore, you really just need to be an active surfer of the web, questioning things and using your common sense. Which, alas, is probably common sense.
On other things in the lecture – literacy can actually stand as an extremely broad term and is defined as ‘the competence or knowledge in a specified area’.
Some examples in everyday life: how to cross the road, how to understanding the sizing system of clothes, how to brush your teeth, how to listen to music. These are all literacies that we learn and develop over a time and network literacy is no different. In fact, it has been implemented as part of the curriculum for many schools and is slowly starting to gain prevalence in early education. Part of me wishes I were a part of this movement as I slowly scramble to update my network literacy. Is anyone else freaking out about the HTML test coming up?
“Hope 1. To have our everyday lives made simple and flexible by the computer as a personal information tool.
Hope 2. To be able to read, on computer screens, from vast libraries easily, the things we choose being clearly and instantly available to us, in a great interconnected web of writings and ideas” (Nelson, 1992, p. 15)
I am awed at Nelson’s ability to predict these things years and years prior to them occurring. I need only think to the University Library domains we have accessible to us to fully understand how accurate his musings were. Not only is this a ‘great interconnected web of writings and ideas’, but we have tools which allow us to ‘choose (what is) clearly and instant available to us’. (p.15) We can advance our search, ruling out certain keywords and providing emphasis on others, and we have the ability to save the writings and ideas for out own collection on our own device, ready to access at any time with or without the internet.
A way that we have advanced even further than Nelson’s expectations, is the expansion of technology into everyday objects. At our fingertips we now have fridges that can outline their contents from the screen outside, the same screen can also tell us the weather, give us access to Foxtel and detail the nearest supermarket. We have household weighing scales that keep track of any weight loss/gain we’ve made, and give us the option of sending the information to a social media site to keep us accountable.
Considering the initial concepts for the internet were proposed a mere 50-60 years ago, approximately half a lifetime, the rapid expansion we have already faced leaves me excited yet slightly apprehensive to what comes next. What will the coming generations, who have never known life without the internet, come up with? Is the internet going to invade every aspect of out ‘offline’ life, like the google glasses propose? Or are we almost already there? Can’t wait to see what evolves.
Reference: Nelson, Theodor Holm. Literary Machines 91.1: The Report On, and Of, Project Xanadu Concerning Word Processing, Electronic Publishing, Hypertext, Thinkertoys, Tomorrow’s Intellectual Revolution, And Certain Other Topics Including Knowledge, Education and Freedom. Sausalito: Mindful Press, 1992. Print.
When Adrain mentioned the tag cloud in the week 3 reading, my mind strayed immediately to the recent Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel movie, Sex Tape (2014). I wouldn’t recommend the film at all, but it does have a mildly amusing line,
“It went up in the cloud…Nobody understands the cloud. Its a f***ing mystery.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself Segel.
But if you strip the ‘tag cloud’ back down to what its intended purpose is, as Adrian does in the reading, it’s really just an extremely useful tool which helps to coordinate and make sense of the ‘enormous amount of material added daily’. (2007, p. 205) The use of tags is described as a folksonomy, which I later discovered is a a fairly recent word (see image) and maybe why it has an angry red line underneath it as I write it. Update your dictionary word press.
The overall concept of network literacy is in fact a very new and refreshing concept. It makes manageable and possible what I had previously deemed inaccessible. Yet, the internet doesn’t have to be a scary thing, and we can adapt and learn to understand its helpful tools just as we have to learnt to use a call number in a library. I have a feeling that this realisation is going to become more and more prominent in contemporary society and as people begin to further understand the internet, our celebrities will continue to evolve as a result. Think about YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles, or Zoe Sugg off Zoella. They wouldn’t have risen to fame had they not networked appropriately, using the right tags to attract the right people.
So I got a flickr account and turns out there are millions of creative common photos that are accessible to us! Thought I would share some of the wide variety of images I found.
Everything from Landscapes,
Image sourced From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobenis/14798884726/
Image sourced from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maurizio_mwg/14808343615/
Image sourced from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/intermundia/14747436684/
Image sourced from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikey-a-tucker/14786132101/
To of course, the obligatory cats;
Image sourced from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sejism/14586418568/
Cannot wait to explore the creative commons realm more!