Sunday, 10 April 2016

Final Reflection, or, Musings on Sensemaking and the New Media

As I look back over the scope of the course, I recall beginning the process feeling that we would cover an enormous amount of territory -- and we did!

Our early explorations of interactive fiction, twitter fiction, aggregation, and the selfie, gave us a survey of formally reconstituted narratives in these emerging digital spaces. I feel like this tweet/image/item gets at what I am trying to speak to:
So narrative becomes the sum of any number of these formal tactics. These reimagined tools for mythmaking were natural segues into the material of online communities, activism, and the changing topography of civic engagement to include, and in many ways, valorize digital. As the denouement of our course takes us through crowd/mob-generated content and narrative -- resituating stories and identity as the nexus of personal and communal.

This shift in perspective, I think for me, has been most helpful in my day-to-day life and in my work environment. The levers for storytelling and sensemaking that the types of narratives explored in this course employ are crucial framework through which to evaluate the value and effectiveness of quotidian tasks like crafting social media posts and press releases. Working in mission-drive social justice environment that repeatedly unearths and confronts privilege, this effect is even more pronounced.

Kicking off the course with a podcast about digital self and identity, I think, gave the exact platform for exploring this idea of what precise value of these adjustments to narrative that digital media really introduces. By converging a mix of on and offline experiences in communal and personal myths of self, I think the self-audit was an important way to take stock and critically consider those components of a digitally-driven narrative. At once, even though I spent several hours each day on the radio about 15 years ago, it caused me some anxiety to go open kimono so early in the course. On balance, I remain grateful for the prompt even if it was a minor leap.

All of this to say, the nagging, frustrating, permanent critique of the authenticity/sophistication of the new media remains. And even though it was not a direct feature of the coursework, subsequent class "discussions" inevitably returned to it. One of the benefits of working with young people regularly is that they keep our ability to define experiences in check, by consistently introducing new habits in their own social explorations. Reminds me of this article about how Snapchat narrative is constructed so differently based on usage.

I think that article is an apt way to conclude my reflection. The more you know, the more you realize there is so much more to encounter that will eventually reshape how my own experiences will themselves occur. Thanks to classmates, to Dr. Lacetti, and other interactors and folks who I got to connect with along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment