The Social Executive – Dionne Kasian Lew


A couple of weeks ago I had this book suggested to me by a friend of mine. Published this year, this modern and futuristically focused novel is all about the importance and vitality of network media in the establishment and sustainability of businesses today. Throughout this novel we are ironically presented with the modern concepts we are discussing in both our classes and symposiums that revolve around understanding various media platforms and utilising an online presence as a key to connect with others within your industry through the traditional and now seemingly constrictive  form of a written book.  However, although I doubt many of us have arrived at the point of owning a business, ‘The Social Executive’ is definitely worth a flip through if anyone is wishing to ferment their understanding of the type of work place we will all soon be finding ourselves in.

Hyped on Hypermedia

A dove is a small bird.

It is a member of the Columbidae family of which includes approximately 310 species around the world.

However, when searching the word Dove on the internet you will find that the pages you come across are not simply restricted to its context as bird.

Dove is also the renowned name of a global personal care brand, chocolate manufacture and is the universally recognised symbol for peace, derived from the christian religion.

As a result of this symbolism, the dove has also become a popular design for body tattoos.

The above is an example of hypermedia, a piece of writing that comprised of many chunks of interlinked texts consisting of both text and imagery. As you can see the text may have one common denominator, such as the dove, which relates the various links. However, readers are not bound to a particular sequence and may browse through information by association, following their interests by clicking on a highlighted keyword or phrase in one piece of text to bring up another, associated piece of text.

As we can see here, although the above passage is about the word ‘dove’, through each of the links, and the different content found through each link, we realise that the passage holds a a very diverse range of information and is fact perhaps more unrelated than related.

Irrespective of what you wish to search online, hypermedia is inescapable. The way we communicate online is now through the use of hyperlinks. Hyperlinks allow us to connect with each other on a global scale and allow content to be extend on in new and unique ways by enabling a connection between multiple separate ideas, concepts or information that   may then create a new perspective or approach.

Additionally, as a result of the network like configuration of hypermedia, the environment it creates is inherently non linear. As expressed in this week’s reading, the development of hypertext has displaced the literary problems created by the axial structure of linear text. As online readers, we now have no beginning or end to a text, and better yet, we are able to interact with media that holds no barriers.

You many not be bilingual, but you can be biliterate

Sitting on the train this morning, reading this week’s content I realised that I was quite literally surrounded by everything that Adrian Miles was talking about in his piece about ‘Network Literacy’. Looking up from my laptop, almost everyone that was on the train was holding some sort of electronic device capable of enabling the user to read, write or listen to anything that interested them on the web.

Yet whilst reading up on the differences between print and network literacy, it made me think, for the amount of people that pour their time into the online world, how many of them actually understand it? How many people are simply ‘computer literate’ yet are naively ‘network illiterate’? With the world now being so technologically dependent, print literacy is fast becoming next week’s topic in your weekly highschool history class rather than something that is being taught and practiced on an every day basis.

Being biliterate, therefore understanding and practicing both print and network literacy is now something that is a necessity rather than a unique, personal characteristic. Unlike the real world, in the online world of websites, RSS, HTML, blogs, links, search engines, tags, subscribers and live feeds, writing is not about who wrote it, but about what is written. Throughout network literacy, you are what you write.

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