Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 7: Participatory Literacies

As Howard Rheingold notes, “a participatory culture in which most of the population see themselves as creators as well as consumers of culture is far more likely to generate freedom and wealth for more people than one in which a small portion of the population produces culture that the majority passively consume.”

  • according to recent studies by the Pew Center on the Internet and American Life, more than half of American teens online have produced media content and about a third have circulated media that they have produced beyond their immediate friends and family.
  • growing importance of participatory culture in the everyday lives of young people. Work across a range of disciplines suggest that these emerging forms of participatory culture are important sites for informal learning and may be the crucible out of which new conceptions of civic engagement are emerging. 
  • the next techno-cultural shift according to Rheingold 
  • collective intelligence

Required Readings: Adora Svitak “What Adults Can Learn from Kids,” Howard Rheingold, “Adora Svitak: A 12 Year Old on Digital Literacy," Henry Jenkins, “Combating the Participation Gap,” Howard Rheingold, Introduction,“Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.”

Recommended Readings: Henry Jenkins, “Your Kids on Social Media.”Mark Prensky, “What Makes a Digital Native?”

Discussion Questions

Q1. Rheingold says that media is changing the way we communicate. After reading the introduction to Smart Mobs and listening to Jenkins’ podcast lecture, what in your view, are some of the ways that new media is affecting communication?
Q2. The ability to be critical is at an all-time high if one considers the plethora of information available online.
What are some ways we can be critically literate about texts that are online?
Q3. Henry Jenkins explains that “many kids today” see themselves as not only readers of their culture but as authors of their culture. What examples do you find in your daily life that supports this view? What role would you say new media plays in your own authorship of culture?
Q4. Are there any critical new media skills missing from Jenkin’s list (see lecture notes)?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 7: Participatory Literacies

Social media and devices such as BlackBerries, iPhones, etc is changing the way we communicate with everyone. New media has reshaped how we communicate with friends and how we interact with business clients. Here are some communication changes that I believe are a result of new media:

Information has always been expected be delivered in a timely manner but the perception of acceptable response time has changed. Five years ago the accepted wait time was a couple of days but with new media, the response time is expected within minutes. People are expected to complete more tasks in the same amount of time due to the ability to receive information sooner.

New media has created a participatory culture. People are able to interact with others more frequently and with more people than a few years ago. Jenkins is correct when he states that participatory culture can happen when there is a "relative low barrier for engagement". New media is allowing anyone to engage with anyone about anything. For example, Twitter allows people to engage with others with similiar interests.

Social media sites have increased the number of emails received. It was predicted that email would be used less as social media use increased. This is not the case as proven in the below survey that was conducted by Nelson Company in August 2010. The graph shows that as social media use increases so does the email consumption. This can be attributed to "notification" emails from Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Collective Intelligence: Assignment 2

REMINDER: Input method has changed. Please use DELICIOUS instead of Zoho

Weight: 15%
Objective & Procedure
2 heads are better than one, so goes the saying. Following Rheingold’s concept of a smart mob, as a class we are going to collectively share our findings.
  1. Choose 3 texts (blog posts, journal articles, book chapters, YouTube videos etc...) that deal with this week’s key ideas of participatory literacy, smart mobs, community/collective action. 
  2. Instead of inputting your findings on ZOHO, please do it on Delicious which we're already using - those are the bookmarks on the right-hand side of our blog.

     Go to
     You'll have to create an account if you don't yet have one (it's free of course)

     Then, choose to "save a new bookmark" and paste in the url of the text you want to summarise.

    Now, delicious only lets us use 1000 characters in the notes section for each url that we bookmark, that's probably not enough for a summary and all the bibliographic information (we're aiming for 2-3 paragraphs per summary). So, instead, bookmark your three texts using Delicious and BE SURE to use our course tag NMN when you bookmark them so we can all find them.

     THEN in your blog post, please include a summary and the bibliographic information:
 Title Author Surname, First name Author First Name Additional Authors Publication Date Journal Publication, Book Title (if chapter in a book), Website Publisher Page Numbers or URL (any other pertinent information) Tags & Keywords Summary: Key Terms and Ideas
  1. Input your findings by Friday 17:00 so that, as a group, we have the weekend to peruse and comment on each other’s readings. Any comments on readings should be noted in a concise blog post (titled appropriately and tagged as assignment 2) on our class blog:

Due: March 4th 2011. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Media of Education

The following video gives an insight into how new technology is applied in the field of education. The form of new literacy that is evolving with the use of technology is a non-linear and non-traditional - like the medium used. The aspects of gaming and technology, incorporating play and games - implemented at different levels of education, at museums, at libraries - are interesting to watch.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week 6: Folksonomy: Tag Clouds

Kleine Dada soirée Haagsche K.K. [lithographic proof], January 1923(?), by Theo van Doesburg (Christian Emil Marie Küpper), Dutch, 1883-1931;



I hadn’t paid much attention to tag clouds prior to taking this course. Vander Wal’s Amazon example seems to be a demonstration of herd behaviour. Most of the tags are quite uncomplimentary of k-fed’s musical ability. However, I wonder how many of the taggers actually listened to the music? I’m not defending the artist in question here, but I am wondering how much critical analysis was actually undertaken by the taggers. Tagging seems to be a way to express oneself without expending much effort or applying more than a minimal amount of critical thinking. If the words in the tag cloud are remotely congruent with one’s preconceived idea, then it is simple enough to copy the same tag or dig up some synonyms for new tags. This creates the impression of a mass movement of opinion for or against the particular issue, but there is little depth to the analysis.

Tag clouds are somewhat reminiscent of the Dada collages from the 1920s and the cut-ups of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. It is interesting that the Dada collages were promoted as meaning nothing, yet there were elements of authorial control present. With tag clouds, there is clearly a meaning to be gleaned from the presence and size of certain words, but there is no authorial control. (i.e. the cloud only emerges from the collective action of the readers, and is not consciously controlled by anyone.)

I do believe that tag clouds can alter the reader’s perception. If the cloud is viewed before reading the text, then a preconceived impression may be created in the reader. People are quite often biased by “representativeness” (i.e. they tend to believe information that reinforces their own ideas while discarding contrary data), so the cloud may promote a type of “momentum of opinion”. A more positive interpretation may be that tag clouds could trigger new associations in the reader that could lead to synthesis of new ideas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Social Media and Data and Things - The Mesh

While this video is more in line with weeks past, it is an excellent video , integrating social media, data, business and discussing connections, platforms.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Folksonomy: A must with information overload

It appears that in the modern world of information overload, where selection of valuable data becomes a necessity, folksonomy seems to be the tool for screening. The idea of tags allocated by individuals, shared in a common social medium, in other words economising the links with appropriate titles, seems to benefit everyone engaged in the process.
 Employing of taxonomy for creation and marketing of publication will eventually be a norm in the virtual world. In collection of research articles from the WWW for the purpose a publication can be economised by d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s or Google reader or any such RSS feed servers. You can categorise and keep all the relevant links through hypertext in one place – gathering into one page from all over the virtual world.
Many websites now provide the tag clouds to filter through their content. The Amazone example shows that sometimes it defeats the purpose of economising as same product is tagged over 395 times; it is more a crowd than taxonomy. But from a business point of view (irrespective personal views), the multi tags will link the product to different genre; thus providing more exposure to the product.
A good tag cloud should be the one leading to easy search and brings out the accent of ideas on the page. It should serve the purpose of easy manoeuvring beyond being an artistic mess. The example of MSNBC brings out the ideological emphasis seen through tags. In the example Edwards and Clinton seem to emphasise more on presidency, whereas Obama brings out woman and families. The creation of tag clouds of the past writings and present day writings can possibly bring out the ideological evolution of human history. Very interesting to see how folksonomy is leading to an unintended consequence of comparative analysis.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 6: Folksonomy

What exactly is folksonomy and how can we leverage it for education and business?  What are the current folksonomic platforms in web 2.0?

Some key ideas to consider during this class:
Folksonomy as social activity
The erosion or at least blurring of hierarchies and oppositions
The impossibility of identity
What are some current views about the emergence and diffusion of media?

Thomas Vander Wal, who coined the term, folksonomy, defines it as:

"Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one's own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). 

Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information."

The "f-word" (as Vander Wal puts it) allows "regular" folks to categorise or structure information in a way that is pertinent to them (i.e. personalised).

As the name suggests, it's a taxonomy made by the folks – user generated definitions and information structures. But folksonomy is just a part of a larger idea: tagging. Tagging is the tying of words to objects. I think Vander Wall explains that this method of tagging has less "cognitive load" for users because it’s about key words rather than some kind of overlying systemic planning. I see it more of a free–form way of categorising information – personalising it.

Folksonomy is a subset of tagging – identifying/categorising for personal use, “re–finding” information

This aspect of personalisation has important impacts for the business sector in that it allows businesses a view of their product from the customers' point of view.

Q1. Are their any drawback to employing a taxonomy created by the folks?
Especially if one considers the marketing of products (such as your own book).
Q2. I’ve shared with you my interpretation of what makes a *good* tag cloud. What makes a tag cloud good in your opinion?
Q3. Can tag clouds alter the perception of a text (think of Vander Wal’s Amazon example). Also have a look at Janet Harris’s use of Tag Crowd to analyse the MSNBC Democratic debate and how these tag clouds affect our thinking of the texts: (aside: isn't there loads of interesting stuff here...note who is the only person to mention women..also note the use of "America" but one candidate chooses only to say American, keeping it more personal?)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week 5 - Facebook seed question

In the spirit of Web 2.0 (i.e. collaboration) I decided to ask my Facebook group “Authors” the question about whether Facebook status updates could be considered a new form of narrative. One of the responses stated:

“Yes. I am always interested in the subtext. After someone breaks up with their lover they are suddenly all over the place, clubbing and having a GREAT TIME! Or... just letting the other person know that they really don't need them?”

In this example, the narrative is found in the interpretation, but not necessarily in the status update itself. This leads to an interesting question about authorial intent. Is the writer conscious of his or her motivation in presenting the status of having a “great time”, or is the motivation more subconscious? Also, is the spurned lover really the intended recipient of the message, or is the statement meant for the world at large? Is the writer even concerned about the reader’s response, or is the status update motivated by more narcissistic concerns?

Another comment from the “Authors” group:

“But of course. Storytelling is always changing shape. From cave drawings to the epic poems of Homer to sonnets and plays and novels and films...”

This suggests that Facebook status updates are another form of storytelling that has evolved from previous forms. This doesn’t negate the other forms, but simply reflects the changing artistic esthetic of the readers. Although elements such as plot may not be so obvious in status updates, other literary techniques such as metaphor, allusion and other types of figurative language can certainly be used effectively. I often use metaphors and allusion in my status updates to entertain my friends as well as sharpen my own skills as a writer. (Although often, my meaning is buried under so many layers that readers may just be confused. This, I suppose, makes another type of personal statement.) It is much more interesting to try to invent abstract methods of expression, rather than just stating “I’m happy/sad/angry/tired today.”

I would also argue that more structured concepts like plot and character development can be expressed through status updates, although it is likely that a reader would have to track a series of updates over time for a particular individual. This takes more care on the part of the reader, as many Facebook users may only browse the status updates that the Facebook software “selects” for their News Feed. This fragmentation will certainly interrupt any attempts to intentionally create a narrative flow, but Facebook readers who are interested in “following” a particular individual will still be rewarded with some type of story.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 5: Web 2.0

According to Levinson, Meyerson, and Scarborough, Web 2.0 “has changed what real people see, and how they interact and use the internet”. They also write one of the new components of Web 2.0 is, “collective intelligence is valued. People want to share their ideas and opinions. Internet users are tired of listening; they want to talk and be heard”. We can see this is true through the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter have changed the definition of narrative. According to wikipedia, “A narrative is a story that is created in a constructive format (as a work of speech, writing, song, film, television, video games, in photography or theatre) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional human events”. The majority of Facebook friends status updates are a new form of narrative. Most people post about how their day is going, or what they are doing which is a “sequence of non-fictional events”. Facebook would be similar to narrative in a photograph. The same two people look at the same photograph but they tell different stories based on their interpretation. This is similar to Facebook as sometimes a person does not give all the information so the meaning has to be interpreted. For example friends will comment “what do you mean”, and the original poster will go into details so it could be argued that the comments are part of the original narrative. Tweets have similar qualities as Facebook but the narrative is scattered through many different tweets so it is difficult to follow the story. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so it is difficult to get the narrative into one or two sentences. Tweeting is taking me a bit to get used to as sometimes it is difficult to get what your message/story out in less than 140 characters.


Jay Conrad Levinson, Mitch Meyerson, and Mary Eule Scarborough. Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet. (176)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nonlinear – Snippets of Energy Outbursts

I was watching a documentary on the technological revolution on PBS; the issue of hypertext was widely discussed in the program. In this modern age of technology and multitasking, one of the concerns raised was in line with the lack of continuity in thought, reading and attention among the digital natives. The concept of non-linearity is often criticised along with multi tasking, a reason for attention deficiency. The students interviewed in Stanford admitted to writing in ‘paragraphs’ rather than an ‘essays’.
Aarseth (1994) explains text as “ a fixed sequence of constituents...” (p.763). The author also points out the two perspectives of text namely, a technical or historical, social perspective and individual perspective. Looking from such a perspective of text the relevance of  hypertext will be more significant in a culture of ‘cloudsourcing’.
Non-linearity as not being a mathematical or logical consequence can bring in logical interpretation with the application of hypertext. As Aarseth (p.766) points out, nonlinear text can bring in turbulence and unpredictability, as often pointed by critics as ‘scary’ jump into the unknown. It seems sometimes that the nonlinear texts are snippets of energy outbursts.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 5: Web 2.0

Some key terms we will discuss during this session:
web 2.0
network as platform

Required Readings: Tim O'Reilly, “What is Web 2.0?” Michael Wesch, “The Machine is Us/ing Us,”

Q1. How have new media technologies resulted in a more participatory media culture? Give examples of
audience participation and contrast with other theories of the role of the audience. You may refer with examples from your experience at work and at home as you respond to this question.
Q2. How does the shortened character usage (140) of Twitter affect narrative?
Q3. Can Facebook status updates be considered a new form of narrative? Why? Examples?
Q4. What would you say is the greatest impact of web 2.0 technologies on publishing?
Q5. Web 2.0 denotes a shift from “passive use” to “active participation.” If web 2.0 does away with roles of the producer, consumer and end user, where is the text? What is the product? Who is the author?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Time Based, Mutimodal, Temporality Transient Narratives

The narrative in Web 2.0 and the hypertext age can be transient, fleeting, never ending, repetitive and confusing. "Reading' Twelve Blue, Judy Malloy's LOveOne and Slipping Glimpse by Stephanie Strickland & Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo were all different experiences. Yes I was reading text but I was also viewing images and choosing where to take the story. Sometimes I could choose a link to move forwards in the story (choices provided by the author) and names of characters were often the same, providing a semblance of linearity in story progression.  These narratives were colections of thoughts, memories, poetry, visual images, sometimes never ending. I always got to choose and exit when I had enough of the experience. It doesn't feel like reading, it appears to me that the new narrative has in some instances taken on some of the computerized gaming aspects such as a Second Life. In other instances it seems to be art and not a narrative, but a juxtopostion of images perhaps tied together with words. I did get to one narrative where the links weren't working - nothing happened. As I was 'clicking' around looking for the 'link', it reminded me of buying toys for a child for Christmas. You pick up a toy or Teddy Bear and start poking at it , wanting to know what it does. Does it talk, walk, sing etc. It can't be only what it appears. So are we losing our own imaginations and letting ourselves be entertained in the new narrative. Does it really allow for abstract collection of thoughts and the ability for us to choose where we want a story to go? Does it motivate co-creation and imagination or is it another way of providing fast, in the here and now of the new fast paced world we live in.

Week 4: Narrative Theory & Temporality

What is narrative and how is it affected by new media developments. The focus will be on time-based narratives with a close reading of Cruising by Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar.

Basing our discussion on the week’s readings we’ll critique these main ideas:
  • feminism
  • nonlinearity
  • temporality
  • transiency
  • rhizomatic
  • time-based narrative
  • multimodality

Discussion Questions:

Q1. How can we define nonsequentiality/multi-linearity, interactivity, narrative?
Q2. To what extent are these aspects determined by the text, the reader, the digital format?
Q3. What kinds of narratives are especially suited for a multi-linear/interactive format? Are there stories that can only be told in an online format?
Q4. Read Cruising. Analyse the structure of the narrative (is it non-linear, multi-linear?). How does it engage the reader? What are the textual mechanisms by which the text achieves engagement?

Required Readings:
Espen Aarseth, “Nonlinearity and Literary Theory,” Bill Marsh, "Reading Time: For a Poetics of Hypermedia Writing," Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar, Cruising, Jessica Laccetti, "Where to Begin? Multiple Narrative Paths in Web Fiction."

Recommended Readings:
Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar, “Author Description, Cruising.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

How Social Media is Changing Marketing Campaigns

This post is not in relation to this weeks reading but I found the below article interesting. Andy Vuong writes that the "Super Bowl will serve as the launching pad for a new age of advertising". Previously marketing campaigns consisted of businesses choosing between print, radio or television mediums. The "new age of advertising" uses the conventional marketing tools but incorporates social networking sites. Super Bowl advertisers are using the social networking sites to "tease" the consumer without showing the commercials. Advertisers are convinced that people will be hooked-up to the internet during the game. I agree that viewers will be hooked-up to the internet during the game. Viewers will continue to Facebook or Tweet while watching the game. The advertisers are offering some high valued prizes so this will also ensure that viewers are on-line and that their campaigns are of interest. I have not done enough research to know if this is a new concept. At work, I currently incorporate social media into the marketing campaigns I coordinate. What are other people's thoughts?

Information taken from Denver Post online article: Companies use Social Media in Super Bowl Ads

Week 4 - Temporality and "Crusing"

I found that my approach to “Cruising” changed through repeated viewings. At first, I simply listened to the spoken words and ignored the images and music. I did this to establish some narrative coherence in my brain. The words themselves are quite linear, as they describe a fairly common scene in some detail that eventually leads to a broader conclusion about the significance of the event. (i.e. a fairly standard use of inductive reasoning.) Once I determined the purpose and message of the narrative, I started to play with the images. With some practice, I was able to align the text on the screen with the spoken words. Although this created a satisfying sense of accomplishment, I can’t say that any greater understanding was achieved. However, once I played the scrolling text faster or slower than the spoken word, the experience was more interesting. As well, I played the scrolling text backwards at different speeds, which created a very strange effect. Watching the backward text, particularly at a faster speed, made me focus on certain words: lipstick, love, pickup, skinny. Although I would consciously try to find different words, the same ones would always “grab” my eye.

I found that after a slow pass with the pictures, I tended to ignore their specific details. Although the individual images were certainly appropriate to the piece, their effect on the viewer seemed related more to the speed of their passage. It was fun to play with the combination of the size and speed of the images, as the closer one looked, the faster the images passed. This has an obvious metaphorical meaning to the piece. (i.e. the deeper one looks for meaning, the harder it is to find). There are obviously other implied meanings related to the passage of time and how young people view the progression of their lives and the future.

I’m not sure this piece could be described as non-linear. Aarseth describes a non-linear text as one where the words or sequence of words differ from reading to reading. In this case, although one could vary the speed, size, and direction of the printed text, there was always the recurring voice-over that kept the narrative moving forward. Manipulation of the printed text and images certainly suggested new associations that may not have been obvious from the initial reading (I am still wondering why my brain repeatedly fixed itself on certain words in the backwards viewing) and these associations could clearly create poetic meaning beyond the literal, but I found my interpretations always seeking their way back to the linear narrative.

Multi-linear might be a better way to describe this piece. I visualize this type of narrative as a single stream moving forward that then has various branches of meaning splaying and straying outward. These branches could split into further branches, could loop back on themselves, could intersect with other branches, but they always find their way back to the main stream.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sa test temp

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twitter and Sunil