Bringing Back the Talk


Starting just a few week ago, Melbourne student Matt Kulesza developed the ‘1000+ Coffee’s Project’ in an attempt to break the ‘strange effect’ social media has had on today’s society. “I find it hilarious how in uni lectures if we’re waiting for the lecturer to arrive, everyone is on their phones, totally silent.” Reading this article and thinking back to my classes and lectures from this, and last week, and really to all my uni attendance this year, I can honestly and disconcertingly admit that Matt is pretty spot on. This makes me seriously question whether this because there is just so much to do on the internet now from social networking to reading the news, or because we no longer know how to approach someone for no apparent reason beside the hope for a engaging conversation.

For Matt, this everyday occurrence has gone too far so he has decided to take it upon himself to ‘bring back the talk’ and meet up for a coffee with every single one of is 1088 online friends.  “No one is taking up that opportunity to talk to people or network”

I worry now that I see this as a brave thing to do. Am I alone here? I have too have over 1,000 friends on Facebook but I don’t have that many friends that I would realistically catch up and laugh with or confidently confide in. Has the extensive networked system that the internet functions off created a divide thats too big between the online and offline worlds?

I know it’s not on the same level, but heres my effort...monique, claudia, and giorgia I hereby invite you guys for coffee!

The Development of Unfathomable Choice

Venturing back pre 2006, Chris Anderson revels in the new wave of media consumerism that has risen out of the ease of access and choice that the development of the internet has enabled. Declaring that ‘with online distribution and retail, we are entering a world of abundance’, we are now presented with profound differences to our traditional methods of media consumption. From the mid 2000’s onwards, the internet began its permeation into our everyday lives and with it, slowly erased the restrictions that went hand in hand with DVD shops, book stores and even analogue broadcast television. Online however, with sites such as Netflix as Apple’s iTunes, not only has the access to media transformed but so as the economics of it. Now, with an abundance of films, music and books available at the touch of a button, it no longer matters what kinds of books are more likely to sell in one region of a state than in another, or more problematically, how many people want to watch your favourite horror film on a rainy saturday night. The internet ‘has, in short, broken the tyranny of physical space. What matters is not where customers are, or even how many of them are seeking a particular title, but only that some number of them exist, anywhere. Also, now with the extensiveness of options, alternate links, related alternative viewings and ability to bookmark pages as ‘favourites’, access to everything that still existed before the internet is now accessible in a networked and interlinked medium. Reading throughout this article however it amazes me how the content in which was deemed as so innovative not only 1o years ago now seems so primeval. Even more so because we have been born into the generation that has grown up parallel to the revolutionary developments of the internet, we are able to understand the significance of how much has change in such little time.

Connect The Dots

This week’s reading by Barabasi took a new approach to the concept of network media by comparing the way in which we network ourselves online and way in which we network in person. Speaking of the most common way a social network exists, whereby we each circulate within one or two close ‘cluster’ of friends yet we ourselves, nor are the other members of that cluster socially exclusive to that one group alone. Therefore, the members of these two close ‘clusters’ generally know each other and often coincide with one another at parties and through similar interests. Additionally, you may have many other ‘acquaintances’ outside of these clusters who may have ‘acquaintances’ in your clusters and so on. In comparing this type of network with that of the networks online, I realise now just how dissimilar they are. Online, it is not a question of your opinion or knowledge being published, but more of whether or not it will be read. The more incoming links to your page, the deeper and wider your work seeps into the online system, holding a higher chance of being noticed. This I now see is very much the same in society. The more acquaintances you have, the more connections you have to those small clusters, therefor the more widespread you are through social groups and greater chance you have of someone in seemingly dispute social group knowing who you are.

For much of this subject we have discussed what is network media, how it has come about and why. Now 8 weeks into the semester its almost funny to see how much of our ingrained social behaviour is so unnoticeably imbedded in our technology. Putting aside the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, of which were obviously developed with the singular role of social communication, it’s amazing to see how the fundamental operating system of the internet and the networking of websites through search engines is so similar to how we socialise in society. As outlined, in society you are simply apart of one big network, your connections with others forming links between clusters that may seem ‘random’ yet through that one link can be associated with you. This as we all know is the exact same as internet whereby that are the most ‘well known’ web pages have only achieved that stauts through their many links to other sites.


Collage, Lines of Narrative Progression and Plot

Collage…the piecing together of different matter, perhaps of different forms in such a manner that they become linked and related in some way. Within the reading that interested me the most this week, Shields discusses the concept of collage throughout his work whilst in a paralleled thread of discussion also questions the role and necessity of ‘plot’. In a bold and somewhat audacious manner, shields declares ‘plots are for dead people’, arguing that it is now the art of collage that is the dominating literature of today. What interested me so much about this reading was the way in which I both heavily disagreed and agreed with the ideas being presented.

Firstly, i disagree that plots are no longer needed and I believe that that are also something that are unavoidable. As plots are the series of events within a story that make up some sort of pattern, they are something that arise out of any form of writing, even within the form of collage. In relating this concept to the structure of the internet as shields does himself, I agree that the network like system of the internet is undeniably like that of a collage as ‘The very nature of collage demands fragmented materials, or at least materials yanked out of context’ of which occurs when using the internet through hypertext. However, I believe that when using the internet you could argue that the presence of a plot is both recognisable and valid. You start off on google, search the organisation the ‘The Cancer Council’, you then search their web page, then continue onto their Facebook page, their twitter page, youtube channel, wikipedia page then end your journey by downloading their app. Is this not a series of events that are related through a pattern?

However, I also then do agree with Shields’s further questioning of his initial overconfidence in the form of collage as he poses the questions, ‘How long do you not need a story?’ and with the constant weaving ways of the web ‘how long will the reader stay engaged?’  Perhaps we need both plot based narratives and collage influenced literature. Do we really need to move away and almost eradicate everything that is traditional just to give ourselves confirmation of advancement? Maybe we’re all just shooting ourselves in the foot here…

Cultural and Literary Issues Arising out of Networked Media

Following on from my previous post, during this weeks symposium the bulk of discussion was focused around the following two ideas; ‘can technology progress independently of art and culture?’ and ‘is the internet causing a permanent  change in our literary format ?’. Initially when the first question was raised I instinctively disagreed. How can you remove culture from technology when technology is now embedded within it? We use technology everyday, our entire existence now balances on our deep reliance on technology from medical tools and equipment to kitchen and cooking appliances. However, when Betty raised the issue of a ‘tool’ vs ‘technology I begin to wonder what defines each of these terms? What is art. What is technology? Is technology simply an object that is new? Perhaps it may be old to one culture but new in another? Technology isn’t simply an object with an electrical source. It can a pen, fire, the wheel etc. So then if technology is dependent on how and when it is introduced, does that make art a product of new thinking that enables the development of technology? If we were to follow on with that idea then really art and culture cannot develop independently of technology because we need the art to create the technology that becomes woven into the foundations of our culture.

Following on nicely from talk about movements into the future, we then began to discuss the non linear format of internet and how it has influenced literature of today. Within ‘traditional media’ i.e written books, there is a physical and real distance between sources that does not exist within ‘modern media’ i.e the internet. As per the example that was given by Adrian, if you were reading about nutrition and then wanted to go deeper into your reading and read up on the digestive system, the physical format of book require you to get up off your chair and walk up the stairs to the biology section on level two of the library yet with the internet, all the information is able to arrive at the same time, equally distant from one another. The structure of the internet is non-linear, it is literally a network of sites that that equally distant from each other, causing no distinctive shape, no edge, no ending or centre. When we read a book out of order, we know and accept just that, that it is ‘out of order’. Yet this does not occur in the format of the internet.

Will this forever change the way we write? Will there no longer be a need for words such as ‘therefor’. Writing for the web now forces us to write in a manner than enables viewing at any angle.

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?

Skip to toolbar