Sunday, 3 January 2016

Module 1: Introduction



Module 1: Introduction

Monday Jan. 4, 2016  - Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016

  • First Day of Class (January 4th)
1)  Join Twitter
2)  Follow instructor: @JessL
  • By Jan. 4th send an introductory tweet with the
           class hashtag: #NMN
  • By Jan. 8th:
    • Be sure to send me your preferred e-mail address so that you may author on the class blog due on or before end of day
    • Class Blog: Add a comment on my Module 1 post – introduce yourself and share with us
      your thoughts on the readings for Module 1. Remember to critically analyse the readings and your reaction; a simple “I agree” won’t suffice
  • By Jan. 10th:
    • Watch the 33 second video: 51 Keywords of Digital Literature”: http://glia.ca/2010/ELO/51keywords.html
    • Send me @JessL, at least 3 tweets with your findings, remember to include the class hashtag: #NMN

Digital Literacy Assignment DUE by 23:59 Jan. 10th


20 comments:

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    4. Raquel, this is a very interesting and provocative post. Your comment, "Reading, writing, and publishing were once reserved for the privileged—for scribes," leads me to ask you if you think there are two futures- the free surveillance state and the pay for privacy state? I wonder about this as companies like Google and Facebook give you something for free and in return you give them your information, which they sell. Perhaps a business model of the future is that you pay for privacy.

      I agree that trans-literacy includes knowing where your contributions are going and how they are going to be used. As the contribution tools are so easy to use, paired with the desire to be a part of something and without concrete examples (as opposed to possibilities) of how our world will look in the future makes it hard for many people to take the extra time to understand all the risks associated with a rich online life.

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    5. BTW the unknown comment was me. But it didn't publish my name so I deleted it and re-posted it so you would know where my comment was coming from.

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    8. Thanks Raquel for your full response. And for including your references.

      I'm sitting here mulling the term dataveillance. You note:"For as many opportunities, perks, and technological & sociological advancements trans-literacy creates—like a sense of agency through access to public discourse—multimedia rich environments and trans-literacy have also damaged our privacy and agency—the quality of information—and even the viability and integrity of our personal narrative."

      Of course, like most developments, there are opportunities and critiques. You mention the drop in quality of information? Of course, there has always been a spectrum of quality, even if we look at published books; some are not as value-rich as others. Do you think this is specifically a technology production or rather, an issue that has always been?

      I'd want to say something similar to the idea of dataveillance. Yes, we are online and Facebook and others use our information in ways we might not want (and some aren't even aware of how their info is being employed) but when shop cards came out and started tracking what we bought and how often we shopped and what we'd spend....people didn't necessarily know that information was being gleaned each time they added "points" to their store card. Are there other examples? What do you think?

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    9. I will say that I share some of Raquel's feelings regarding the blogging (specifically blogspot) aspect of this course.

      I'm not sure how the coursework benefits from this kind of public display. Why not blog within the sandbox of Moodle? Does the public nature of classwork encourage exploration of topics or inhibit it?

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    10. I agree with Mark and Raquel that a certain amount of honesty is lost when you are posting within a format like Blogger. With my experience with Moodle, it seems like a "safer" place to explore these themes because we know the University of Alberta is going to erase the course content of the page after a certain amount of time. It's kind of like the difference between speaking up in a classroom of your peers and speaking up in the boardroom (because who knows how long this page will stick around, or who is reading it.)

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  3. Trans-literacy to me means understanding how to tell a story in ever evolving ways, and sending it out through different distribution paths as those change too. As a journalist, I am always looking at ways to make stories click for my audience. In print, that’s by using numbers, good, long quotes, and compelling writing. In audio, it’s by using simple, active language: you only get one shot to say something and if you confuse the audience you may never get them back. Telling a visual story is telling two parts of the story, what your audience sees and what they hear, at the same time, with the understanding that what people see always trumps their understanding of what they hear.

    I agree with the sentiment that trans literacy doesn’t always mean being tech savvy. Story telling is a learned skill in the same way as programming is. That may be why tools like Facebook and twitter are so easy to use. Think about the power of a smart phone- we can now take a video on our phone, edit it and publish it for all the world without to see in a way that a decade ago was reserved for broadcasters with sophisticated editing and cameras, or tech geniuses. Of course, that doesn’t mean all of us are thinking about what’s changing in the world when we all become publishers, and are constantly connected.

    I wasn’t surprised by the Pew Institute research (Module 1 PPT, slide 14) showing the number of people reading election news on their phone has increased, because so much of the news we consume comes from mobile devices today. I wonder what it means to be reading news all the time? It’s fairly common knowledge the news is very good at showing one slice of the world- the bad news, and isn’t very good at showing the good news. If people are exposed to more and more bad news, how does that change their world view? If newsrooms start to assign resources to stories based on their page views, as analytics now makes possible. It's not just sites like Facebook that target content to an audience, news editors make decisions like this every day and I’ve seen this in my own work to some degree. Will this lead to news rooms covering only what people want to know about? Celebrity, sports and the weather? If so, who is going to cover the “important” issues like politics, corruption, crime (the bad news.) How will only being exposed to good news change our perception of the world in the way the disproportionate bad news now does?

    I agree with Socha and Eber-Schmid that "new media evolves and morphs continuously," and as the tools evolve so do the ways in which we communicate. I continue to believe the core pillars of storytelling will continue to be the same. Things like sharing human experience, connecting with an audience and a desire to make one's mark on the world will continue to drive what we share and what we consume, the question going forward is how will we do that and what will that do to us.

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    1. I think you're right Jennifer, that the core of strong storytelling is still what sells. We might be able to add to it (storytelling plus) in the online environment and make things clickable and searchable and perhaps more easily shareable, but, none of these community elements (sharing, liking, engaging), happen if the story, if the content, doesn't provide value.

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  4. Well my general takeaway from this week’s readings and the only thing I can say for certain is that new media is: 1) digital; 2) connected. Past that, everything gets confusing. Fast.

    Could the divide between old and new media ever been more stark than reading Hayles piece on Electronic Literature? The old-media text-based essay obfuscates more than enlightens. It would most definitely benefit from linking out to source material to demonstrate what is being talked about. This is a shame, because it seems to present some really interesting things (I think?).

    It gets more interesting when it moves out from the Genres section and begins to explore the differences with print. The five principles of new media of Manovich hints at something to chew on, mostly the notion of transcoding, the idea that computer layer effects the cultural layer; we drive new media and new media drives us.*

    I find interesting the discussion around the role of the machine in all this. Manovich’s idea of transcoding makes sense when thinking of new media in a broad sense but there is the other notion of materiality more specific to electronic literature whereby the source code is considered part of the ‘text’. Here, code is meant to help bring understanding to the cultural text (embedded information intended to aid interpretation of process, likely in the form of comments).

    On the other hand, there is an underlying alternate narrative at play – bear with me – the narrative of the machine as it executes instruction. I say this because I recently happened across an archive of old ‘cracked’ Apple II games. These were commercial games whose copy protection was broken by ‘crackers’, some of whom took time to document the process of circumventing it. Take for example the cat-and-mouse exploits of ‘4am’ vs ‘BurgerTime’ as they attempt to reverse engineer the boot loader:

    https://ia801505.us.archive.org/33/items/BurgerTime4amCrack/BurgerTime%20%284am%20crack%29.txt

    I found this a fascinating and dramatic direct interplay between human and machine.

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    * Unfortunately (for me) I was not able to access the complete Manovich PDF on initial tries; it was blocked as inappropriate content (strange!) but have been able to since and look forward to delving into this more deeply.

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  5. Hi everyone. I’m Cara, I’m part of the MACT 2015 Cohort, and I currently work as a communications coordinator and EA for a company that is involved in the improvement of air quality. Before that, I was an events and recreation coordinator. My background doesn’t necessarily tie into this course, but my curiosity does. The public blog is new territory for me, and hopefully by the end of this course I’ll be more comfortable with the whole idea.

    When I first started the readings, transliteracy to me almost felt like something I grew up developing. It was being able to look at any platform that you want to, or are requested to (for work, etc.) and being able to figure out fairly quickly how it works. But I threw out that idea pretty fast. I typically do not have problems logging onto a new type of social media platform, blog, website, etc. and figuring it out on my own. But that is just being tech savvy on some level. That doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to really use the medium it to project change, tell a story and create impact. I’m hoping this course is going to help me improve those skills.

    While reading "What is New Media” by Lev Manovich what really stood out to me was actually in the very first part of the book. “A Western artist sees the Internet as a perfect tool to break down all hierarchies and bring art to the people. In contract, as a post-communist subject, I cannot but see the Internet as a communal apartment of the Stalin era: no privacy, everybody spies on everybody else, always present are lines for common areas such as the toilet or the kitchen.”

    It’s both, there’s a good side and a bad side to everything, and when it comes to the internet both sides can be incredibly extreme. It all depends on your views, your skills, and your education and knowledge of how the Internet works. What can happen to you because of the internet is terrifying, from hacking accounts, identity theft, the Government collecting and selling data, or posting something online that would come back to haunt you in ways you never thought possible (such as a British man being detained in America due to a tweet he had sent to a friend about getting ready to ‘destroy’ America, when it was slang for ‘party’). But on the flip side, there really is ways to break down barriers, to further your own knowledge and understanding, from YouTube tutorials, online programs to learn coding for free, applications to learn new languages, etc.)

    PP Slide 18 – “Users should be able to EASILY interact with others. Think of the commenting on blogs or podcasts, linking to other blogs, linking to profiles, responding to you tube videos.
    I understand the value of easy communication, but is it too easy? Online harassment and bullying is a serious issue, and to make it worse, there are some programs that allow for anonymous commenting, and people will never even know who they are being targeted by. Some argue that this is all part of the internet culture, others say the internet should be policed. I think I fall somewhere in the middle, where I don’t think anyone has the right to police the internet, but I also don’t think people should get away with some extreme forms of hate that are out there (I don’t know what the solution is, I’m a walking contradiction).

    In regards to social media and the ‘identities’ that people create, they all must be taken with a grain of salt. The most common people see on my Facebook feed involve either ranting about all of the horrible things in their life, or the exact opposite, how awesome their life is and everything great that they’re doing. Identities are carefully chosen and developed, but what we see doesn’t necessarily reflect the user’s life as it really is. I can see how that ties in with creation, and interpretation of an online identity that a person projects the world.
    While many aspects of this course are pushing my comfort boundaries (this podcast I need to do, for example) I’m looking forward to diving into the content of this course.

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  6. The Average Person and Blogs

    An example of how “traditional media outlets now rely on new media sources for data and information” is provided by Socha and Eber-Schmid in their online publication “What is New Media”. Based on an article in the French daily Le Monde that “charted the evolution of political blogs across Europe in order to assess emerging trends and opinions in the region” and looking at the newspaper’s data collection strategy, the authors drew two general conclusions about the new media’s impact on engagement in proactive civic discourse and methods of news gathering and consultation by both reporters and readers -- first, that new forms of media “enable the average person to engage in political, cultural, social, and economic action” and second, that “for many” of these individuals “old-style reporting and data outlets are secondary and not primary sources” of insights into the news.

    Both claims are worthy of further examination. First, how do the authors define the “average person”? Does this person put together, consult or contribute regularly to political blogs, or any other type of blogs, for that matter? Does this also include postings of a political nature shared in social media networks like Facebook or Twitter? I am curious about the empirical foundation of these claims and would be interested in reading more about the ways in which new media further democratize access to public discourse. I am sure there is no shortage of literature on the topic. It seems that the key word for the authors is “enable”, meaning that the new media introduce platforms providing means or resources that permit individuals to voice their opinions with greater ease and access. If this is the case, it is only natural that journalists would sound out the opinions found on social media so as to keep their finger on the pulse of public opinion wherever it may be found. John V. Pavlik’s 2008 book Media and the Digital Age contains interesting observations on how “reporters are increasingly supplementing and sometimes supplanting face-to-face news gathering with Internet-based reporting.” It is a worthwhile read that echoes some of Socha and Eber-Schmid’s observations.

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  8. Hello dear classmates! I hope all is well. I am just getting into the groove of COMM555, but am eager to share with all of you. Very interesting analyses posted, here, so that's pretty promising. I'll post another intro over in e-class, but I live in Los Angeles, work in communications (and have for the last 15 years). I grew up in Ottawa, and went to undergrad in the maritimes (at Mount A). Onto the mad world of transliterate living!

    N. Katharine Hayles' piece was the heavy of this week's readings, so I'll dwell on it. It served, for me, largely as a introductory literature review of the field of electronic literature; she says as much in framing her essay anyway. I found it not the most helpful discussion, as a list of links to many of the pieces she references would in some ways be even more helpful. At once, her description of some of the features of the types of material that quality as electronic literature--in particular that interactivity and the formal operative functions of digital distribution are essential to the literature itself and required of criticism--remains potent for seeking a functional theory of the phenomenon. Furthermore, distinctions between electronic literature and avant garde patterns in other media that pre-date the digital revolution, which Hayles pegs at 1995, provide greature contours than Manovich's introduction, for example.

    Having let it percolate for a few days, Manovich's concise and precise observations stick with me to a greater degree than the Hayles piece; and yet I spent so much more time engaged with Hayles material. This very feature of my experience is itself among the key factors that nearly all of the readings sought to address: how the reader/user interacts with and engages the material of a given literature or asset specifically acts upon their assimilation and interpretation of it. While this creator-consumer dynamic played out in earlier media, Manovich and the others all insisted that classical criticism provided insufficient tools to analyse and understand narratives in the new media.

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