Symposium Week 9

Murphie and Potts identify some technologies as ‘neutral’ (as in reference to the gun violence debate). How does this apply to networked media and technologies?

  • intended use vs actual use – eg. social tech/systems such as pedestrian crossings; use of comm tech; texting is now used very social – was not originally intended this way, was intended to be more business-like
  • tutors do not consider themselves tech determinism
  • tech being neutral doesn’t equal more uses
  • neutral refers to a less defined idea of how a tech should be used – idea would come from creator
  • neutral tech = language, internet – not isolated, broad, diverse
  • Adrian: no such thing as a ‘basic’ or ‘useless’ tech = this isn’t what neutral means
  • eg. hammer – considered basic, but think of it’s history, why and how it was made, how its used, different types of hammers with different uses, different materials needed to make it
  • nothing is neutral, but nothing is coercive either
  • nothing exists independently of anything else
  • people have different relationships with different tech
  • Adrian: no such thing as a neutral tech
  • actions are dependent on situation

If Shields is correct in saying ‘plots are for dead people’, then how do we tell stories and utilise the network/new media resources available to us today? Alternatively, how might we tell stories that are ‘alive’?

  • create narratives around tech you use – eg. story/narrative of reddit – eg. tumblr, you know what has been trending and how people have changed how they talk and what they post about based on fandom and based on time
  • trends
  • characterised by user base
  • Shields is a non-fiction writer – the claim is suitable to both – however in terms of plot, has to apply to fiction. Real world doesn’t have a plot
  • Your life is not what fiction considers a story/narrative
  • we’re not in charge of everything to do
  • plot and story are not the same thing
  • story is what happens; plot is narration and how we actually tell that story
  • Adrian: because they’re not the same thing, it’s the plot that matters more than the actual story (how you tell it.) Eg. two movies based around the same story, one can be better than the other. It’s how it was told that mattered.
  • pages and essays are linear – cause you to think in terms of causality. real world is messier than this.


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