Week 3: Research + Creativity in Networks, Project Management and Critical Analysis of Networks

So far, we’ve covered a few research tools and tools for blogging. Today we will look at the feedback-loop (creative exchange) of producing text and content for the internet and ideas of participating within a network.

Delicious and RSS re-cap:

Blog post – brief description of idea for Final Project

Last week we looked at Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats technique for problem-solving and brainstorming ideas. Here is an example post which sums what we’re doing in Concept Development – and – what Lauren is doing about it.

To do for Week 4

1. Project Management and Ideas Blog post: If you haven’t already, write a short post on your blog about your Final Project using Six Thinking Hats and/or the following checklist:

  • A brief outline and description of your project
  • A Project plan and timeline (in other words, a to-do list with dates)
  • What are you trying to achieve with your project?
  • How and what are the strategies you will use to achieve you project aims?
  • What are you project’s strengths? What will you do to harness these?
  • Weaknesses? What will you do to overcome these challenges?
  • Who is your project’s target audience?
  • How will you evaluate and learn from your project

2. RSS exercise: Select three websites covering different topics, which look likely to present new content fairly frequently. One or more may be blogs. At least one should be a mainstream news source. Subscribe to their main RSS feed(s). Then read the sites for a week, through your RSS reader, as well as reading the sites directly through your preferred Web browser. Write up your observations at your blog, in at least two posts (one or more during the week of reading; one conclusion at the end).

Media and convergence culture

Today we will look at two media analysts and pop culture thinkers, Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) and Henry Jenkins (1958 – ) and discuss if and how these ideas are relevant to the contemporary landscape.

Marshall McLuhan (from the Medium is the Massage, 1967):

All media works us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media works as environments.

all
media
are
extensions
of
some
human
faculty-
psychic
or
physical

The Global Village: Let’s watch an excerpt from a clip (circa 1960) with McLuhan and his global village. How do these ideas apply in the age of the internet and social networking?

Henry Jenkins (from Convergence Culture, New York University Press, 2006):

You are now entering convergence culture. It is not a surprise that we are not yet ready to cope with its complexities and contradictions. We need to find ways to negotiate the changes taking place. No one group can control access and participation.

Jenkins introduces three key terms in his blog Confessions of an Aca-Fan:

Convergence:

  • the flow of content across multiple media platforms
  • the cooperation between multiple media industries
  • the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want
  • describes technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes
  • top-down by decisions being made in corporate boardrooms and bottom-up by decisions made in teenagers’ bedrooms
  • It is shaped by the desires of media conglomerates to expand their empires across multiple platforms and by the desires of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, when they want it, and in the format they want….
  • Does not occur through media appliances (eg. iPhones, laptops) no matter how sophisticated they may become. Convergence occurs within the brains of individual consumers
  • Each of us constructs our own personal mythology from bits and fragments of information we have extracted from the ongoing flow of media around us and transformed into resources through which we make sense of our everyday lives.

Participatory Culture

  • Line blurred between content makers and consumers
  • Emphasis on active participation rather then passive viewing of media
  • Contrasts with older notions of media spectatorship
  • Interactivity between producers and consumers according to ‘a new set of rules none of us fully understands’ In this emerging media system, what might traditionally be understood as media producers and consumers are transformed into participants who are expected to interact with each other according to a new set of rules which none of us fully understands

Collective Intelligence

  • Consumption has become a collective process
  • None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills
  • Collective intelligence can be seen as an alternative source of media power
  • We are learning how to use that power through our day to day interactions within convergence culture

Discuss the similarities and differences between McLuhan’s ideas at the advent of the television, radio and rock n’ roll and Jenkins’ current theories about our convergence culture. Write a blog post about your findings.

Community exchange, social media and digital storytelling

Digital Storytelling: (from The Centre for Digital Storytelling)

digital story (dig·i·tal sto·ry)
A short, first-person video-narrative created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds

Institutions, non-profit and community groups work with people from diverse backgrounds to enable them to script, speak and visualise their own stories. Generally speaking, themes of “place”, “identity” and “family” feature strongly in digital stories. Locally, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image runs a digital storytelling program. This story/interview came out of a project exploring young people’s experience of bushfire and natural disaster. We’ll look at audio-visual storytelling in more detail in future weeks.

Let’s look at the Yellow Arrow Project, a locative media project which began in New York in 2004. How it works (from Yellow Arrow):

Participants place uniquely-coded Yellow Arrow stickers to draw attention to different locations and objects – a favorite view of the city, an odd fire hydrant, the local bar. By sending an SMS from a mobile phone to the Yellow Arrow number beginning with the arrow’s unique code, Yellow Arrow authors connect a story to the location where they place their sticker. Messages range from short poetic fragments to personal stories to game-like prompts to action. When another person encounters the Yellow Arrow, he or she sends its code to the Yellow Arrow number and immediately receives the message on their mobile phone. The website yellowarrow.net extends this location-based exchange, by allowing participants to annotate their arrows with photos and maps in the online gallery of Yellow Arrows placed throughout the world.

Let’s take a journey to Washington DC, Capitol of Punk

To practice our storytelling skills, let’s play Five Card Flickr a game initiated by Alan Levine

Critical Analysis of Networks

While, as Jenkins suggests, our thinking and policy may never catch up with our use of the internet and social media, we must still understand that just like the rules of law and social etiquette that govern everyday life, there are also guidelines and rules for behaviour online. Browse these community guidelines and report back to the class:

Now look choose one of the above networks and explore some of its communities, channels, and groups. Find 3 groups which may be relevant to your Final Project and where there is the possibility of creative exchange (sharing of ideas, links, audio-visual content) between you and the group.

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~ by eugerino on March 22, 2010.

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