Network Literacy

The first reading for Week Three compared and contrasted print media and online media, similar to Week One’s reading on blogging (which I discussed in an earlier blog post: Reading 01). It specifically discussed print and network ‘literacies’ – not the general type of ‘literacy’, in as reading and writing, but the kind of culture which surrounds print and the internet.

Both ‘literacies’ are essentially an ‘implicit’ knowledge that is embedded through many years of teaching and learning; both provide a basis for education and both, when used correctly by a ‘participant’, help people to translate information into knowledge.

Books are linear and complete. A significant part of print literacy is knowing that pages, lines and words are ordered sequentially, so that they create a ‘whole’ – there is a beginning and an end. Network media, although still following the general principles of reading text as with print, is slightly different because there is generally no set order to web pages. As well as this, online ‘containers’ (like blogs and other social platforms) are constantly being added to, so essentially there is no one end point… nor is there one set starting point.

In addition, there is more room for users of the internet to ‘participate’ within the medium. In fact, in this reading it is suggested that ‘to be ‘good’ at network literacies is to contribute as much as it is to consume’, or in Axel Bruns’ words it is to be a ‘produser’. Print on the other hand cannot realistically receive ‘feedback’; although you could potentially write your own comments onto a book (‘defaming’ the text and going against general protocols associated with print literacy), there is no way for the original author to see it. This idea is quite dissimilar for Network media: it is not only accepted, but encouraged to ‘comment’ on or ‘like’ another person’s contribution to the world wide web.

At this point in time I don’t think I would be considered great at network literacies, but here’s to hoping I will be a master at it by the end the semester!

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