Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Neil Fastabend, Melanie Erickson
April 29, 2009
E-literature (E-lit) and games have integrated in everyone’s lives, since the 70’s. They either interact with them or they have been integrated into their lives or careers. E-lit and gaming has advanced over the years. The first interactive game came out to the public in 1976. Because of the memory and the technology at this time, computers were the limitation. “During the 70s, games had to be small enough to fit on a single 5½ floppy, the only way a computer could tell a complex, engaging story was through text-based interactive fiction” (Jerz). Gaming and E-lit has grown dramatically since 2001-2003, witch at this time Broadband came out. Broadband made a big impact on online gaming and E-lit.
E-lit is a innovated spinoff from the Tree Fiction novel. Tree Fiction novel is choose your own adventure book. The book will ask the reader a question like do you want to stay in the house (go to page 5) or do you want to go into the woods (go to page 15). Our project is a Hyperlink extension to this, that uses advanced technology such as Photoshop and flash, to create an on line adventure. The variety of options gives our reader an in sight of what is going on in the depressed, morbid character’s mind. Instead of turning to page five the reader may click on the link to what they are interested in. The interaction with the body and mind gives them more of a perception of being the person sitting at the table. By being, and thinking that they are the protagonist it gives a sense of owner ship to the story. They are able to go back and reread it or move on to something else. As they continue on with the journey they get a better understanding of character’s thoughts and the state of mind.
The main focus for our E-lit project is to interject the audience with a sense of mystique and perhaps the sensation of uneasiness. The viewer should get a dramatic sense of hopelessness from the unknown narrator. Most of the slides are darkly foreshadowed and carry with them a bleak, macabre aura laced with cynical commentary. The idea is not to disgust the viewer but to draw them into a generic, yet intriguing inner monologue of a depressed man.
Our project “undoes the teleological effect” (Barth’s); there is no beginning and end. The reader has control of the story. The reader is able to click on what ever he wants; when ever he wants. A disconnection from the author appears because the reader has control of the story. The reader has a sense of authority that is not offered in paper books, because paper books are linear and they are reminded that the author sets the path. The audience in our e-lit will have spacial control. With our project they are able to select on an image and read the macabre aura laced with cynical commentaries. The home page consists of a picture of a table. On the table there is; a scrapbook, a pill basket, an address book, a bottle of whiskey and a bullet. Each item has several sub-items that they are able to select. This gives the audience many different variations of how the story may go. They also have the choice not to continue in the story as well. This could conclude to be a dilemma, whether or not they will be interested in going through all the steps to get through the whole sight. This is why we made our story short and to the point. We did not want to bore our audience and make them walk away. We decided sweet and simple gets our message across, and still leave the audience with a since of understanding.
With our project we are able to use pictures as well as text; because we are not as concern about memory space or dinosaur technology like they did in 1976. This gives our audience the chance to visually see what is going on in the story as well as read the uneasy and bleak thoughts of the character. The audience can choose what path they wish to travel. Our limitations are not as strict as the 70’s or 80’s; however, we still have limitations. We will need to consider reasonable sized files so it down loads with out a lot of time. If something takes a long time to up load the audience will get impatient. When people get impatient it is so easy to leave the sight before they even have a chance to find out what it is about.
We encourage you to go on a journey in to a personal transformation and get in side the head of a depressed man. You may explore all the possibilities and relate to his pain and suffering as if it were your own. Most of all have fun with it.
Reflections of a Depressed Man. Group Project:
Jerz, Dennis. “Interactive Fiction How is it Different”. Retrieved April 30, 2009. January 27, 2000. http://jerz.setonhill.edu/if/differs_from.htm
Mateas, Michael; A Preliminary Poetics for interactive Drama and Games. Retrieved April 30, 2009. http://www.jasonfarman.com/dtc375_sp09/Mateas.pdf
Word Count: 812
How many seeds are in an apple? Although the numbers of the seeds may differ from apple to apple, there will always be a definitive answer to this question. However how many apples are in a seed? This question cannot be answered. The planting of one single seed can produce millions of apples. Our project has taken this ideology and transformed it into something positive. Something that not only has the potential of reaching millions of people, but determines whether our seeds are planted for the good of mankind or damages society one deed at a time. On your way to work or running errands, did you help anyone in need? Someone with a flat tire on the side of the road, or perhaps you just opened a door for someone? The focus of our project is to not let these deeds go unseen. Millions of people blog every day over the most minute details in their lives. Our concept is to take the power of blogging and utilize it for the benefit of mankind.
Instead of blogging about taking your dog out for a walk, our website will be dedicated to the documentation of everything you have done that was beneficial or detrimental to society. The idea behind our concept is to make people aware of their surroundings as they travel through life and to hopefully reflect on our website as they do so. The concept is virtually the same as blogging. For those who manage their own blog site, they are always mindful of circumstances that are “blog worthy”. The purpose of our website is to influence other people to not only finding those blogging moments, but the actions that matter to other members of society.
Our website will consist of a homepage which will have a video of positive as well as negative images of people in the community. This video is developed to make the reader reflect on their activities throughout the day and to decide what actions they have done that have influenced others. Below the video will be two separate links that the reader can transfer to. One link that transfers the reader to a blog site that is strictly for the actions they have done during the day to help other people and another link to a blog site where they write what they may have regretted doing. Once the reader is on either blog site, they will have the opportunity to post a comment of the actions of their day. It will be a journal of what they did that made a difference to someone else, or what they could have done that will change their future relationships with other people.
The positive blog will be a journal of what other people are doing throughout the world that brings people closer to each other. In today’s society, we are so busy with our own lives that we seem to forget other people. The key to the positive blog will be to inspire other people to make their communities a better place and to make other people more aware of how they treat each other. The idea is to spread this blog site and ideology to as many people as possible. The more individuals who see what others are doing to change the world, the better off we all will be.
The negative site is not meant to be a confessional. It is meant to be a reflection on the activities of the day that may have been altered for a better result. For example, perhaps you were in a hurry and cut someone off on your way to work. Maybe the person you cut off was having a less than stellar day and being cut off was just another addition to it. It is almost impossible to go into the world today and not be involved in the lives of other people in one way or another. Instead of cutting the person off, you could have waited for the person to let you in the lane and waved to them, acknowledging their generosity. The results would have been beneficial to both parties, and a seed would have been planted.
The website will be completely interactive. The goal is to have our website in the back of our minds at all times. Wherever we go throughout the day, we can always utilize our idea to change our circumstances and the lives of other people. The most inter
esting part of our website is that you can always monitor both blogs to see which blog is being utilized the most. The idea is not to see which blog has the most comments, but to see where society is going and to lift it up in any way we can. One seed at a time.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Kelly Rauh (Writer), Ben Oliver (Designer)
Alex Lasota (Writer), Adam Roll (Designer)
Dr. Jason Farman
Electronic Literature Team Project
Word Count: 1088
April 26, 2009
Cultivating Growth: Since forming our electronic literature team, we have advanced immensely. Starting as a small idea, this has blossomed into an amazing accomplishment. We began slowly, but as time went by, the pace perked up quite a bit. We had great success keeping informed with meeting minutes, and encouraging words from others, both through emails and verbal contacts. These techniques, along with the diverse skills of each member, have matured our project from a seed to a flower in a matter of weeks.
Brainstorming and Project Description: Our assignments to review existing electronic literature created a number of possible directions. After deciding on positions for our group, we brainstormed what role our task should take. Several plans were shared about two people corresponding, or a campus treasure hunt. This evolved into a story about climbing up a mountain trail, including one member’s vacation pictures. To provide a varied sense of linearity, we incorporated a unique effect. Instead of reading from top to bottom, ours would start from the bottom and be read upward. In place of moving left to right, ours would do the opposite.
We were inspired to utilize the bricolage technique of putting things together in a new way they were not necessarily intended. As authors, we controlled what the reader sees, by making the picture invisible, until after its corresponding section of text is read. At first we planned to have the image open to the side (in the same window) by clicking on a hyperlinked word, but that proved too difficult. We kept the meaning vague so our virtual hiker has increased mental agency until the photo appears to reveal our idea of the storyline. In those few seconds, the reader has a role in the narrative, as they imagine what that text might represent. This provides them with the illusion of control, although we maintain the hierarchy of publishing power. The reader must fill in the blanks, and is limited to the amount of text they read at a time. Once launched, there is no opportunity to go back, as in a book. We have hot media and keep the reader on a short leash. Our project offers minimal embodied agency. The audience has physical interactivity when initializing the software. We give them choices to view group members’ names, access contact information, or launch the program.
We decided to add the sound of a beating heart. The throbbing channels the reader’s imagination and brings energy to the journey. This pulsating, coupled with other sound effects, involves the reader’s senses in ways a traditional book cannot. These electronic attributes immerse the audience, transporting them to another dimension, engaging their thoughts more interactively in the setting.
As the authors, we hold power over the pace and flow. If the readers are distracted, they miss a segment of action or portion of scenery, forcing them to rerun the entire program. They have no influence over the speed at which they will read. This locks the audience in, keeping them from walking away, and placing the burden on them to complete the adventure in a single sitting.
Challenges Resolved: Initial group communication was hampered by an incorrect email address, infrequent checking of email, and complicated personal schedules for the five members. Tension occurred when crossing or misread emails resulted in expectations different from intermediate results. Apologies and clearer statements of desires and limitations achieved compromises and resolutions. Time became a major issue, and it was vital for all to accommodate each other’s different schedules. We decided to overlap separate duties, helping each other with all aspects.
Our designers thought it would be possible to incorporate a background with sound and pictures. Although it initially looked promising, the second designer felt he wasted effort using PowerPoint. They discussed advantages and disadvantages between Adobe’s DreamWeaver and Flash programs. They went with Flash’s greater flexibility of control over graphics movement. The first designer worked on initial motion of text frames in the portal, while the second designer learned to use Flash, experimenting with text display fading in and out. Inserting pictures and reformatting fonts has been a difficult process. Designers consulted Dr. Farman for assistance in creating picture boxes, and methods to join two programs together for a smoother transition.
We experienced media challenges when discs would not open on a laptop, emailed Flash files would not run, and thumb drives were too full to accept more information during class. We learned an html file must be included to view content if anyone does not have Flash. All teammates eventually installed Flash on their home computers. We were able to successfully appreciate each other’s progress.
Successful Techniques: Group discussions were taken seriously, with each member's opinion respected. Further detail, editing, and changes were handled in a timely manner. We reviewed the five assignment guidelines to make sure we were still on track. These techniques formed a great basis for our success, resulting in commitment, honesty, and open communication. Designer work sessions at WSU’s Mac lab, full team conferences in the classroom, and a writer’s home meeting have all been highly productive. Members’ work in various formats was exchanged on discs and jump drives to make efficient use of time. Peer reviews encouraged refinements, and were well accepted.
One writer submitted text for the story line, while the second writer was excited to help with the design efforts. The writing was short, but electronic elements required extra effort and collaboration to master unfamiliar features of the platforms. So, the third designer built on the foundation previously laid by the second designer, bringing to life what the group originally envisioned.
Our academic researcher took meticulous notes at each meeting, wrote them up, and distributed them within 48 hours. Her chronology of events became the foundation for this report. In that capacity, she functioned as writer and historian, keeping the project intact and on schedule. Both writers and the academic researcher did the final editing and report submission on time. This document was generated using electronic technology by dictating into Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software.
Wrapping Up: Electronic literature began by simply displaying text on a screen, and then added interactivity with hyperlinks. Although we have not pushed the boundaries into the anticipated future of total disembodiment or complete immediacy, we have enjoyed creating an adventure that provides a satisfying interactive experience somewhere in between these extremes. With this “new media” literature, classmates will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors in a simultaneous feast within hours of our completion.
E-Lit Group Project
Word Count: 763
All A-Twitter over Nothing
Produced by: Team Twitterpated
Upon avid brainstorming efforts, Team Twitterpated made an executive decision to pursue the creation of electronic literature centered on the often perceived nothingness of the Twitter application. Twitter is often regarded as pointless due to the large capacity of mundane information entered into the application, but as we discovered through personal experience, when hundreds of pieces of mundane information are combined they result in what we now know as ambient intimacy. The mission of Team Twitterpated is to exhaust the concept of ‘nothing’ in the form of electronic literature.
Team Twitterpated thought that this concept would fit well in embracing the medium of electronic literature as opposed to printed literature. Twitter is an edgy social platform that utilizes cyberspace for functionality so it is appropriate that our literature exists electronically as well. Twitter has also been utilized as a medium/platform by electronic literature writers. Jay Bushman created The Good Captain which takes Herman Melville’s novella, “Benito Cereno” and publishes it via Twitter updates (Bushman). Because of this usage we believe electronic literature is appropriate for our subject.
Team Twitterpated decided to use the Adobe Flash platform in the creation of this electronic literature. We were inspired by other electronic literature in the use of this platform, such as The Dreamlife of Letters and Star Wars, One Letter at a Time, both created by Brian Kim Stefans. We liked the word introduction used in The Dreamlife of Letters and the fresh edge offered by the Star Wars piece. We decided to mimic these literature pieces through the use of flashy entrances that at some points are borderline invasive. Due to this design choice, the level of interactivity employed in ‘All A-Twitter over Nothing’ is minimal. This is suitable for our concept of ‘nothing’ because individuals cannot really do much about nothing. The individual or audience viewing this piece is left with two choices: watch or do no watch. This is typical of literature that utilizes the Adobe Flash platform.
The literature we used for our e-lit is both borrowed and original. Much of the literature is sourced from Twitter, some from unknown and innocent tweeters and some are original tweets entered by members of Team Twitterpated. The tweets of innocent bystanders were gathered by Kristin, Shannon, and Sheila. Kristin and Sheila created much of the dialogue of our electronic literature through their own tweets; either centered around nothing or on the word ‘nothing’. Examples of such pieces are, “What do u do when there is nothing to do?” “Oh, you know, nothing” and tweets as outlandish as, “Oh the satisfaction of popping a zit!” The combination of tweets come together to show the audience what Twitter is really about, which truly is a lot of pieces of nothing.
Team Twitterpated collectively agreed to include the ideas of Shakespeare in our literature as well, with quotes from King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. King Lear is frustrated with Cordelia, who provides “nothing” as an answer to King Lear’s inquiry. King Lear states that, “Nothing will come of nothing”, a statement that serves as a dramatic point in our literatures definition of ‘nothing’. The title of Much Ado About Nothing can be interpreted as ‘a lot of trouble over nothing’. The central theme of this play is making something out of nothing, with many of the characters influencing others to fall in love through manipulation. Our literature asks the readers, “What’s this all about anyway? Isn’t it all just much ado about nothing?” While it is clear to Team Twitterpated what the benefits of Twitter are, we encourage the audience to question that for themselves.
Another borrowed piece of literature employed within our Electronic literature comes from Lance Winslow, who wrote an article titled “If Something Comes of Nothing; Then Nothing Can Be Redefined”. This article induces critical and philosophical thinking with statements such as, “Of course if we know nothing will become something then nothing is really a pre-something and it is not nothing at all. Therefore nothing cannot be nowhere, it can only be in an unlabeled place and first we need to find where nothing exists, if indeed it exists at all” (Winslow).
Sheila collected much of the borrowed literature while Kristin organized many of the tweets to make them useful. The material for our electronic literature was then distributed to Josh and Zack who worked together to create a design. They then split the assignment in half so that each of them was actively designing. Team Twitterpated successfully and collectively created the masterpiece that can be found at the following link:
Bushman, Jay. "The Good Captain" THE FISHER: a diary of the Loose-Fish Project.
2007-2008. 29 Apr 2009
Winslow, Lance "If Something Comes of Nothing; Then Nothing Can Be Redefined." If Something Comes of Nothing; Then Nothing Can Be Redefined. 24 Feb. 2007. EzineArticles.com. 29 Apr 2009
When given a task to pick an online piece for inspiration, we try hard not to copy the piece exactly. E-lit and online works give us the platform and we use our creativity to make it different and our own. Coming up with the idea was easy, how we were going to put it all together was the difficult part. Working with a great, intelligent group of individuals makes it that much easier though.
Our vision was simple: create a riddle game online. We created a work that allows the audience only three choices. The three initial choices are hyperlinks and you choose from the hyperlinks of: Person, Place, or Thing. It is very simple in its layout and easy to follow as well. We decided to keep the interactivity extremely basic, simple and to the point. Not too much content was needed to meet our needs of interactivity. The audience picks one of the three choices and then waits for the descriptive words/clues to appear. Random images flash in the background as soon as a new word appears to somewhat confuse the player and then they are supposed to guess who, where, or what it is that is being described. The interactivity comes into play with their initial choice and the user needs to stay interacted with the work in order to see all the clues and guess wisely. We give the answer at the end after a delay of about five seconds.
We used Flash as our medium because we wanted to somewhat replicate an initial link we liked and it is what we replicated our piece after. It was very simple and easy to follow. Flash was simple and easy to use, so we thought it would fit perfectly into the creation of our piece. We liked the simplicity of words coming onto and off the screen, in somewhat random patterns. We did not want to overload the audience with too much to do and Flash allowed us to keep it from being confusing. Without extreme knowledge of Flash, it kept us from adding too much information, which would then, take away from the game. In a perfect world we wanted to do at least four different people, places, or things for each category, unfortunately our designers had little to no knowledge of Flash an had to apply what basic knowledge they had, as well as learn while doing the projects. So for that simple fact we had to simplify our idea even more and limit it to one riddle for each category.
We want the audience to have specific interaction with the work. They have to specifically choose a person, place, or thing. They then have to read all the clues given and at the end of the riddle, take a guess. The interaction may be somewhat limited, but they have to stay focused throughout the whole work, in order to make that final guess. If they initially click and then look away, there is a huge chance they could miss one of the clues that would allow them to guess accurately. The clues are the main part of the game. We actually didn’t offer much agency in our work, besides clicking over a few hyperlinks, there is no agency, no avatar or character.
I believe the dilemmas concerning interaction is the fact that we do not have any special characters the audience can use or create. We have no avatars because it is not that kind of game. The way ours is set up is that you have to wait until the end of the first riddle and click on the answer to get back to the home page. We should have created another link, so at anytime the user can get “home”. If we had the chance to add more options we probably would have done that. Marsha Kinder was correct in saying: “All interactivity is also an illusion because the rules established by the designer of the text necessary limit the user’s options”. Also, we ran into the problems of wondering if our piece was aesthetically pleasing and stimulating. Would the user be enticed to initially play and keep playing? It is hard trying to decide all the key elements of the piece; color of background, color of text and font, color of images, how do clues appear, how long of a delay for an answer, all these factors can make or break our piece.
Our piece utilizes a computer instead of printed page because nowadays people are online more and more. Computers keep up with people who are in that fast paced atmosphere/environment and spend ridiculous amounts of time in front of a computer screen. The computer adds great dissemination of our work because the minute you type in the word riddle, instantaneously, you are bombarded with infinite finds for that word, which, one of the finds would be our link. The more people online, the better the turnout is.
Our work fits in with the history of e-lit because it is solely meant to be read on a computer. You cannot interact with our work any other way than through the net. The narrative component is minimal, but it does impose interactivity. Our work is in fact a game rather than a story, but still allows the audience to choose which clues/words they will see first. It is procedural, participatory, and online. The way our culture and society is advancing can only mean that so is our technology. Most games are already accessed online and create a new place to do so. E-lit is advancing with the amount of whom or what is presented to us.
Overall this was a fun project. We enjoyed making an interactive game for our fellow peers. We are excited to see the other projects, as well as hear if they had the same dilemmas. When working with and catering to those who absolutely love and get lost in technology, we have to push the envelope. We have to think, “sure, this may have been done before, but has it been done like this?” It is up to us to add that little something extra to make it unique and make it our own!
Dr. Farman ROCKS and so does his class, we loved it!!!!!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Instructor Jason Farman
Word Count: 967
Twitter: Old Dog, New Tricks
Let’s say you attend a technology conference and on the agenda is a session on Twitter. It might be called something like “Ambient Intimacy” or something about connectedness or awareness. Regardless, if you attended this and heard the latest craze about what has been coined as micro blogging, you might be blown away; not by the genius or newness of it, but by how strikingly mundane and trivial it all sounds. If the speaker got up and talked about how he tweets regarding when he wakes in the morning or when he makes a quick trip to the grocery for some milk, cheese and tortillas. Now, you could even be an avid Facebook or Myspace user and still find a service like Twitter that offers users the incredible opportunity to project banal details such as those listed above to be fruitless and it very well could leave you stunned by the apparent pointlessness of it all. However, if you were actually force yourself to try it with a few friends, in time you might discover what many skeptics and non skeptics alike have been discovering - Social connectedness and even intimacy. This is what makes Twitter and micro blogging in general a phenomenon. The mundane details that Twitter allows users to project among those that choose to “follow” the user actually over time begins to foster intimacy on a level not possible before among so many, and this is what makes media like Twitter “new.”
In closer examination of Twitter, it is not a breakthrough new media that pays no homage to pre-existing media. The term “micro blog” obviously gives that away seeing as how the word “blog” is in there. Twitter technically really isn’t any different from an actual blog except that it is limited to 140 characters (Mischaud, 2007, p.4). However, Clive Thomson (2008) says when writing in the
In light of this truth, the effects of Twitter’s micro blogging within its community of users are far from mundane and actually are very fascinating to look at. Mundane little nothings become something much more as Clive Thomson points out. “This is the paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting. This was never before possible, because in the real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwiches she was eating (2008, p. mm42).” This is where even skeptics like myself have to stop and ponder the implications of this because an effect like this over something so simple at first glance is the genius of Twitter. Putting in no more effort to use Twitter than the effort you put into a text message, over time, users can maintain a degree of intimacy with a vast number of people that would not be possible in simple face to face interaction and all the while giving a whole community of tweeters the chance to know them too.
In Twitters simplicity, people have an outlet for their need to express themselves and be heard. There are plenty that don’t even address the question that Twitter poses of “What are you doing? (Mischaud, 2007, p. 38)” In my experience on Twitter, I’ve found that people can and do say whatever they wish. In whatever way people choose to express themselves they will say it regardless of the question. Because of this, along with the knowledge that many people are hearing them, users can rest assured in that their expressions are not in vein. The mundane lives of people over time become something much more; something special. That in itself is a satisfying thought and it fosters a communal social consciousness that only at first looks like the opposite of narcissism.
So, to the many that have doubts about Twitter’s genius, I have no reason to blame you, for I was once in your shoes, and really I still have my frustrations with it as far as its capabilities. However, I think Robert Lucky of IEEE Spectrum (2009) said it best when he said that we are in the middle of something that we don’t really quite yet understand, and the full effect of rising social awareness isn’t yet fully visible to us (p. 22). The trend I found in my research of this was the term “ambient awareness” or “ambient intimacy.” This is actually happening. The many involved in social networking really are becoming much more socially conscious. As said in the beginning of this essay, this is what makes Twitter new even though it obvious remediates other media both new and old.
Lucky, R. W. (2009). To Twitter or Not to Twitter [Electronic version]. IEEE Spectrum, 46(1), 22. From Academic Search Complete.
Mischaud, E. (2007). Twitter: Expressions of the Whole Self. (Doctoral dissertation, Media@lse, London. 2007). Retrieved April 9, 2009, http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/media@lse/mediaWorkingPapers/MScDissertationSeries/Mishaud_Final.pdf
Thomson, C. (2008, September 7). Brave New World of Digital Intimacy. The New York Times, p. MM42. Retrieved April 9, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
A product of the web, the blog (short for weblog–a diary or log) began to emerge as a new medium around 1999. Since its conception, it has grown out of online news casting, itself a remediation of cable news networks, and T.V. news networks, and has developed into its own medium–a virtual environment with unlimited potential. New technologies in the communication of information bring about radical change in existing hierarchies of power, and it is never pleasant for those at the top, as the Vatican discovered when Luther got his dander up (Hewitt, H., 2005, p. 63). The unique nature of a blog is the power of its format, the power of its potential, and the power of authorship; which revolutionized media in the digital age, by breaking down the hierarchy of the news media–empowering the individual to make a difference (globally) through one’s own personal expression textually and interactively!
[W]eblogs bring the Web–in theory–a leveler, a democratic medium–to the People (Rodzvilla, J., 2002, p. x–Introduction). The blog reformation has literally leveled the playing field, so to speak, between the news media and its individual audience members for anyone wanting to participate. The nature of the blog structure allows for unique developments in social networking and publishing. These new opportunities have changed our understanding and use of textuallity and our level of interactivity within the news media itself each day.
The blog has very uniquely empowered the individual by changing the ordinary citizen from readers and viewers to writers, editors and publishers. Just as email has made us all writers, weblogs have made all of us publishers (Rodzvilla, J., 2002, p. x–Introduction). No longer does one have to rely on professional journalists to find out what is going on around the world. The two main types of weblogs are structured blogs (usually pertaining to a certain subject or particular viewpoints) or free-style blogs (where one can talk about anything). At any given moment, a person can express their opinion about daily events or interest in various subject matters. There are weblogs for just about everything including: daily news events, food, photos, art, points of view, judgment, religion, socializing and many sites that cater to different professions. Some of the most popular weblogs are about politics or war, called poliblogs or warblogs respectively. Many are free and usually noncommercial. Thus, weblogs can be used as outlets – sources of empowerment where an individual can feel like they are making a difference or just a place where a person can vent one’s frustrations to millions of others who may share similar feelings (where one can gain a greater sense of solidarity). For many people, a weblog is a soapbox from which they can proclaim their views, potentially influencing many more people than they can in their everyday lives. (Rodzvilla, J., 2002, p. x–Introduction). Other ways in which blogs have become uniquely powerful forms of media in their own right, are that they are perfectly suited as natural global agents for social networking.
The powerful nature of weblogs are their virtues or characteristics of form, its potential use and power of the author – you. These are just some of the reasons it is a
unique medium. The virtues of a blog’s form (or intuitive option) are how it allows the user to interact with others on the internet. One can use it for short comments to express opinions about daily events, and naturally for the exchange of ideas, information, photos and art, or by exchanging social narratives, the blog site can be a very powerful or helpful devise for socializing.
A blog’s potential is virtually unlimited. One person can literally affect millions of people form all across the globe by the information one posts on a blog page. Your blog input may influence others and could actually help to change the world. For example one could post a short essay and photos on a popular blog site, expressing how one person or a group of people are making a difference in the world. Or a person can use a blog to shed light on a real-life situation, involving ongoing social struggles, which would presumably never get noticed otherwise.
The virtues or characteristics of the author and that author’s writing style or social message, can also be a powerful way of using a weblog to influence others from all over the world, and all walks of life. The power of the author can also be expressed through one’s own blog. With one’s own weblog, a person can be more than just an author. The creator of the blog is empowered as the editor and publisher of their own global media network. In this respect the capacity of a global blog site, again, is unprecedented – it can’t be matched!
In closing, I reiterate that blogs are not mere remediations of T.V. network news channels, cable news networks, or on-line news casting. Blogs have become new and unique forms of media with unmatched integrity all their own. They are revolutionizing
media in the digital age, and reforming the information age, by redefining society’s understanding of textuallity and interactivity through remediation of each of these older forms of communication media.
Hewitt, L., (2005). Blog. Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Rodzvilla, J., (2002). We’ve got blog: How weblogs are changing culture.
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Perseus Publishing
The term "chat room" refers to an interactive, communicative medium used to read or express thoughts of the users in usually just text and emoticons. Chat rooms exist for a variety of reasons, but the most common is to communicate cheaply to friends, family or coworkers. This is why a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found 68% of teens 12-17 use instant messaging (2006). Instant messaging / chat rooms are remediating face to face talking in a much simpler fashion. But they, by design, force users to communicate with simply their words. This creates havoc when considering sarcasm, humility, anger, pride and all the other emotions of the spectrum are greatly limited with regard to expression in chat rooms due to no visible body language. This is where emoticons come in. They are usually a luxury but help assist in displaying emotion. They however, like words, can be misinterpreted much more easily than body language can, given its innate origin.
Although chat rooms started as a simple user interface concept, code writers have since greatly expanded their interactivity. This is displayed most often in video game software where users must communicate with each other in an effective way. Time and accuracy of the message play large roles in players’ ability to complete missions or solve problems. For these purposes we see the use of preset words or phrases clickable while typing. In Final Fantasy XI, a MMORPG spanning multiple countries and languages, these presets even translate into the user’s own language, allowing cross language communication with relative ease.
Chat rooms are very unique to other media when it comes to flexibility of interface design. There are thousands of different text commands and options on different programs to better suite communication, information, and action needs. If, say a particular site is the host of practicing medical workers, it could have numerous medical jargon words preset to use, or have the ability to check a user’s education by typing “/checkED UserName.”
User biography checks are very common in chat rooms in fact. This compromises some anonymity but for the most part chat rooms are much more anonymous than other kinds of mediums. Research from Becker and Stamp of Communication Studies suggests users are more able to strategically project themselves as favorable in chat rooms while withholding bad information, maintaining given impressions (Becker and Stamp, 2005). This is most clearly shown when FBI agents catch child predators through text chat. Manipulation isn’t necessarily a bad thing between chat room participants though. Bromly writes, “Although misrepresentation can hold a pejorative connotation, it is sometimes necessary for smooth social interaction” (1993). And we know that misrepresentations are common and expected in new social interactions (Goffman, 1959).
An extremely wide variety of functions make chat rooms very different than other communicative tools, such as voice chat and telephones. These often serve just one purpose, getting your voice to someone else’s ears and vice versa. Chat rooms also differ when it comes to the theoretical limitlessness of the number of conversations comprehended and participated in by a single user. This is much like a cocktail party, except you can understand as many conversations as your mind can read. So, it is common for multiple conversations to occur and multiple topics discussed simultaneously by as little as two or three users. In comparison to say . . . blogs, communication occurs at a much faster pace. Blogs generally are much longer and make direct communication harder by design. Vlogs are very similar to blogs in their communicative capabilities, with the exception of "video responses" on YouTube (the king of vlogging sites). So, they perform a little better in the area of communication speed, but lower in communication quality. This is simply because there is no easy review process for vlogging. Each video is pretty much a one shot take, unless the user wants to edit the footage afterwards, which is very time consuming in comparison to shooting. Communication quality is usually low in chat rooms as well because the majority of users don't look up when they type and often can't edit posted script, therefore it leaves a lot of room for error. A lot of spontaneity is involved in this; there are no take-backs. It's almost a text version of talking face to face, in that regard. If you want to edit previous script, chat rooms are very difficult to work with. The most common self response to a mistake is retyping the grammatical error correctly with either of these symbols: *, ^.
Chat rooms remain an integrated part of our social society with consistent use and application. With expanding horizons of use and technologically growing developing countries, I would not expect other mediums to replace them anytime soon.
Pew Internet & American Life Project Survey (2006). Retrieved Wednesday, April 8, 2009 from
Becker, J. A. H., & Stamp, G. H. (2005). Impression Management in Chat Rooms: A Grounded
Theory Model. Communication Studies, Vol. 56, No. 3, 243-260.
Bromley, D. B. (1993). Reputation, image, and impression management. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor.
April 9, 2009
Word count: 831
In 1974 Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver accidently invented the post it note (Ament, 2007). Used widely in offices since its birth, the post it note has also become a staple in homes to answer the question ‘what are you doing?’ Jump to 2006, in walks Twitter, and asks ‘what are you doing?’(Sarno). To which one has about as much space to type as one would have to write on a post it, and one might reply about food they are eating, music they are listening too, books they are reading or a combination of all of it. Twitter combines our society’s desire for speed and information sharing with an easy to use application that surpasses the post it note in today’s fast paced culture by allowing one to quickly share thoughts with others.
On a post-it-note one may write a note that says ‘I am out back’, or ‘I went to the store’. Maybe the note says what one of my high school friend’s step mother used to write ‘Debs, cat box, NB’ (NB being her stepmother’s initials). Short sweet and to the point. Now NB could have used some of her fancy letterhead and written a lovely note explaining to my dear friend Debbie the she would like her to clean the cat box and take the whole mess to the dumpster outside, but even in 1988 we wanted speed, and the post it note did the trick. Pointedly so, since post it notes are quite small, the information has to be concise. Twitter has taken the post it note and made it environmentally friendly. There is no paper waste when one ‘tweets’. No pencil to find, and unlike a text, when one ‘tweets’ the love is spread all around, so everyone knows you’re cleaning the cat box, walking around with snot running out your nose, or eating French fries, but only if you ‘tweet it’ that is.
Twitter is unique in that one can share their daily activities through their phone, laptop, or home computer to a select group of followers. From a Wired article on Twitter author Clive Thompson explains the benefit of receiving tweets from friends, “when I get such granular updates every day for a month, I know a lot more about [them]. And when my four closest friends and worldmates send me dozens of updates a week for five months, I begin to develop an almost telepathic awareness of the people most important to me.” He goes on to declare that, “Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination” (Thompson). Twitter brings a group together and creates a sense of solidarity even when a ‘group’ is separated by miles, or even an ocean.
McLuhan’s idea of a global village is the idea that we are interconnected through technology, Twitter facilitates this. It brings people closer together through our connectedness with our technological extensions of ourselves. McLuhan states, “As electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a village” (McLuhan, 1995). As part of this ever changing global village we communicate digitally and create bonds that transcend the span of our physical village. Prior to the invention of Twitter this bonding was done through other avenues of digital and non-digital communication, and as McLuhan theorized , “[t]hey are now involved in our lives, as we in theirs, thanks to the electric media” (McLuhan, 1995). One can follow celebrities on Twitter like Paris Hilton, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher even P. Diddy, right along with your favorite Aunt in Omaha and best friend in New York. And with McLuhan’s idea of a global village we are digitally intertwined in each others lives and further connected globally.
What's more, “[t]witter provides an opportunity for community participants to control their own experience. Each user can arrange their virtual space as they see fit, compose the content of their own posts, include content of others they choose to follow, and engage at whatever level of participation they desire” (Hazelwood, Makice, and Ryan). Our society loves solidarity within a group, and at the same time enjoys expressing our individual desires. We are a culture that is “all about me”. Twitter gives one their fifteen minutes of fame, while allowing those to stay in touch.
In regards to the interactivity of Twitter, Zhao and Rosson agree that, “[t]he brevity of microblog posts make them easy to update and read. Its pervasive accessibility (e.g., from website, browsers, and mobile phones) allows authors to update their experiences and thoughts instantly, as things happen and thoughts cross their minds. Readers can check others’ updates when they get a moment (e.g., in the airport, on the train, or in between of two meetings).” We are globally connected even when we are physically apart. Twitter is another way to keep in touch that it is quick and convenient, and with rising advances in technology Twitter will make the post-it-note obsolete.
Ament, Phil (2007). Post-it-note history. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from The Great Idea Finder Web site: http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/postit.htm.
Hazelwood, William, R., Makice, Kevin, and Ryan, William. Twitterspace: A Co-developed Display Using Twitter to Enhance Community Awareness. Retrieved April 2, 2009 from http://www.wrhazlewood.com/~whazlewo/publications/pdc2008.pdf.
McLuhan, Marshall. Essential McLuhan. Ed. Eric McLuhan, and Frank Zingrone. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
Rosson, Mary Beth, and Zhao, Dejin. How Might Microblogs Support Collaborative Work? Retrieved April 2, 2009 from http://research.ihost.com/cscw08-socialnetworkinginorgs/papers/zhao_cscw08_workshop.pdf.
Sarno, David. Los Angeles Times. Twitter creator Jack Dorsey illuminates the site's founding document. Part I. Feb 18, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009 from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/02/twitter-creator.html.
Thompson, Clive. "Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense." Wired Magazine 15.07. 26 June 2007. Retreived April 2, 2009 from http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-07/st_thompson.
April 9, 2009
Word Count: 787
What Are You Doing: An Inside Look at one of today’s most popular interfaces
With the advent of new technologies on the rise each and every year, and our societies constant demand for rapid communication tools, it seems fitting that Twitter has become one of the largest social networking sites across the globe today. This free digital communication tool, has introduced its users to a whole new realm of instant communication. Unlike many other social networking sites, Twitter takes pride in its one hundred and forty character limitation barrier, which has most commonly been referred to as ‘tweets.’ Tweets enable individuals across the globe the capability of micro-blogging anywhere, anytime, to anyone. No longer do individuals have to physically position themselves in front of a computer screen, but instead can translate their inner thoughts and emotions to the world, all through their cellular device. Twitter Users not only have the capability of informing society of their own thoughts, but also allows its users the access to explore other individual’s micro-blogs through ‘following.’ Individuals are thence able to subscribe to any individuals micro-blog, all in hopes to virtually connect a large mass of people in real time. The popularity of this social networking site has also enticed other social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, to embrace the “what are you doing,” logo onto their own networking sites.
After continually evaluating the novels and articles of our ancestors, it is quite apparent that many historical figures throughout history have undergone a type of censorship in their lives. Individuals such as John Milton whom wrote articles such as “Areopagetica” , have been known to persistently attempt to dismantle this power influx, through their pivotal articles and novels. However, because of the timely and costly constraint of the particular medium they were utilizing (print), their attempt was never entirely successful, for their distribution could not reach a mass influx of individuals. It is quite obvious today, that in 2009, this power influx has undergone a major transformation. No longer do only the privileged political figures have the power of communicating to a mass audience. With the advent of blogging, individuals were thence able to transcribe their thoughts, ideas, and emotions to whomever took the time to read them. And in 2006, blogging itself underwent a massive remediation. Founder Jack Dorsey weighed in on the heightened popularity of Internet blogging…and found a way to enable communication at a much faster pace. Funded by Obvious in 2006, Twitter then took on a life of its own (Jones 146). Dorsey’s simple and basic idea of virtually communicating through instant messages eliminates the social barriers our history has taken pride in. The power of the author is no longer privileged to the countries elitists; but is instead, open to each and every individual across the globe. It is simple, the more followers you have, the more capability you have to reach out and make a difference. While popular figureheads of pop culture today, like Barrack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, and Good Morning America, may have the capability of inhabiting more followers because of their celebrity…everyday individuals are also capable of establishing their own credibility online. All individuals are thence able to interact with one another, and the boundaries are thus removed. This then rids society of its social dynamic structure, allowing the people to communally express bits and pieces of information without any hierarchy of power.
These popular texts based posts, have condescended and simplified older forms of communication in a timely manner. Because of the mobility of its infrastructure, Twitter has taken on a life of its own, and has enabled individuals to connect with each other in new ways. Josh Bernoff argues in his article “Groundswell” that “Twitter doesn’t add media to existing forms of communication like blogging and texting, but instead permits people to broadcast and subscribe to a constant stream of content in a new place: the mobile phone” (Bernoff 20) . Unlike any medium ever before, Twitter allows the globe to stay simultaneously connected to one another at all hours of the day. Through its frequent distribution of tweets, individuals are able to build founding relationships, relay information, gather support, transverse ideas, broadcast knowledge, and keep in touch with those around them. Twitter doesn’t care who you are, what you do, how much you know, or how little, but instead only poses the question “What are you doing?” Unlike any other medium before, twitter inches forward each and everyday to globalization, allowing individuals to stay virtually connected in real time.
Bernoff, Josh. “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Harvard Business Press, 2008.
Jones, Bradley. Web 2.0 Heroes: Interviews with 20 Web 2.0 Influencers John Wiley and Sons, 2008.
DTC 375 Farman
“Tweet” "Tweet" "Tweet"
“Just lost my championship game for city league.” This was the message I just added to my twitter account. Twitter is a micro blogging website where you can put short messages everyday about what your doing at that very moment. You can only put a total of 140 characters in each message or “tweet”. Not only can you “tweet”, but you can follow other members “tweets” as well. These tweets can even be sent directly to your phone via text message so you can make sure you don’t miss an update. Twitter is unlike any other form of communication in the digital age but yet still holds true to its historic background.
Since writing was invented, journals have been a major role in our society. Take the bible for instance, it is many journals of holy men compiled together to help us learn about God and be more like him. It is the moral basis of our culture today. Another example is how many people keep journals about their everyday lives. They write down their thoughts, experiences, and ideas in these journals. It is usually a very private and personal thing. Then in the coming of the digital age, blogging became the next big thing. Blogging is basically keeping a journal on the Internet, however, it is not so private anymore. Twitter, however, allows people to capture an individual’s experience that would otherwise be missed. It takes small snippets of people’s daily lives and makes them important (Kroski, 1). Now people can read them and follow your everyday experiences and thoughts. This brings a new sense of a society, and helps people feel like they are part of a group, a very large one at that. People today even read and use blogs to gain political information and ideas. A newer type of blogging done today is video blogging or “vlogging”. This is again a journal online, yet it adds more to it than that; it adds video to the mix. Now people can see the person whose blog it is. One of the more popular vlogs was a series by Lonelygirl15. It was a video blog of a girl where she talks about her problems and thoughts. It became very popular, and people couldn’t wait for the next one to come out.
Twitter is like these previous forms of communication of the Internet yet still staying fresh in being a new idea. It is the idea of micro blogging, to where your “tweets” (blogs) have to be fewer than 140 characters. You can do multiple posts throughout the day, but the idea is not what you did today but what you are doing right now. This is a new idea because it now quicker and you don’t have to sit down and think about what you did today, you can just say “just ate bananas in my cereal for breakfast”. It becomes an emphasis on the mundane rather than the major events in someone’s life, and that fact makes this form of communication revolutionary. It makes the little things in life actually matter, and become more important to people. The fact that you can have the “tweets” sent to your phone so you don’t miss anything goes to show you how people now care about the simple things in life.
Twitter or something like twitter, has been around our whole lives. When we talk on the phone and we tell people we just ate, or tell someone what we were doing at the time. Or when you are with a group of friends and you talk about how your child had a noodle come out of his nose. It used to be called chatting. However, Twitter is most effective in the digital age. It allows us to anyone anytime. You don’t have to directly communicate with someone for them to see what your up to, they can just look online at your updates. Think of it as a new way to gossip, except the person writing the tweet is gossiping about themselves, to anyone that wants to hear. NBC and BBC use Twitter to deliver news and programming information. Corperations such as H&R Block and Dell use it to answer customer questions and “converse” directly with the customer. Authors are asking people to give short reviews of their work. Penguin Books has even distributed new titles using twitter. (Kroski, 1). Twitter is a powerful tool and we can use it for as much or as little as we want.
We know that Twitter is out there for people to get those mundane things out everyday, but how interactive is it really? This question is followed with another question, how interactive do you want it to be? Yes you can post your tweets anytime, but that only has so much interactivity. The true nature of interactivity is in the people following your tweets. As stated before they can have the tweets sent to their phone, so they know what your up to all throughout the day. They can even log in from their phone and write their own tweets. Also you can add pictures as part of your tweets, which Twitter calls “twitpics”. Even though it is limited to what you can or cannot do, Twitter still can be as interactive as you want it to be.
Twitter is an idea that has been brought about through years of journal keeping, blogging, vlogging, gossiping and chatting. Even though Twitter isn’t the most novel of ideas, it is still revolutionary because it has drawn the focus of the major events in everyday life to the now very mundane. People can see what you are doing throughout any part of the day. Even if they are not by their computers, they can still receive tweets via text message on their phones. It is fairly interactive medium, where you can “tweet” and receive tweets anytime as well as send “twitpics”. Twitter is limited to what you can or cannot do, but it can still be as interactive as you want it to be. The digital age really has revolutionized the way we communicate today, and Twitter is a result of that revolution.
Grossman, Lev, “Quitting Twitter”, Time Magazine, 3/16/2009, Vol. 173 Issue 10, p50
Kroski, Ellyssa. "All a Twitter: Want to Try Microblogging?" School Liabrary Journal (2008): All a twitter: Want to Try Microblogging? 1 July 2008. Reed Business Information. 9 Apr. 2009
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No more mediation.
Blogging is “a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog” (Wikipedia). Blogging is completely reliant on the technology of today and has redefined the hierarch of today’s published culture. In this paper I am going to discuss how blogging and technology have re-invented they way in which we are able publish unmediated content for all to consume.
How would one who wanted to get their point across in a published form go about it? Well, not too long ago you only had a couple of options. One, you could write a letter to the editor of you local paper hoping that it would make it through the editorial process and they (the paper) deemed it ok to publish. Secondly, if you had the means you could publish your own book, but then again it would go through the editorial process. Another option, though not textual, would be to place a call to a local radio station trying to get your opinion heard on air if you could get through the call screener. All of the above mentioned ways to get your opinion out into the public realm is somehow dependent upon someone else allowing it to be published or mediated. Another restriction on published thoughts was typically geographical, whether it be your city, state, or your country. This is explained by Gillian Youngs as “the public sphere“ (128). Youngs goes on to say that “the majority of people consuming such media (whether local or national) would traditionally have been located within, or associated with, the public sphere within which the media is generated. These audiences could be assumed to bring some kind of foundational historical knowledge of the specific context to the material they are accessing” (129). This means that people talk about what they know, which typically is dependent upon their geographical and societal standards.
With the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) a new form of communication is now possible. There are no longer geographical boundaries in place; this new idea of communication is known as globalization. Globalization has no boundaries on communication; it brings the whole world to one common place, the internet. Technology has allowed people to communicate simultaneously around the world. The best thing about the WWW is that for the most part it is unmediated. This is where the success of blogging comes into the picture. After all the years of mediated information, now there is a way for anyone to post anything online. Blogging has removed the hierarchy put in place by public media, newspapers, news TV, magazines, etc. In 2006 “more than 20 million blogs being tracked around the world. They have risen in prominence as well as in numbers, with some leading blogs challenging the established order of the mainstream press”(worldpress.org).
It is safe to state that blogs are a remediated form of communication. “Individual voices, including different forms of feedback or audience engagement, are not new in themselves in the public sphere, “letter to the editor” in the traditional print media, perhaps being the archetype, but radio phone-ins, continuing to be a familiar form (and now text-ins and emailing-in)” (Youngs, 130). What Youngs is trying to say here is that the content of blogging is not necessarily new, but new technology has allowed us to create a spinoff of textual print media and move it to a digital age. You can find all sorts of what used to be private and or public information in the form of a blog, for instance; journal, political, personal, and business, etc. You name it and there is someone out there with a blog on the subject.
This brings up another interesting point about blogging, since anyone can blog people have to use their better judgment to make sure that what they are reading is valid. With the ability for anyone to publish Youngs states that “ as already indicated the location of the blog, its form and content, all contribute to how it may be regarded, and in addition to the points covered earlier, this goes well beyond distinctions between, for instance, fact and opinion. We might want to ask what kinds of facts, presented for what purpose, what kinds of opinion (professional, personal and so on) and for what purpose. Judgments about such areas are likely to contribute to the level and kind of authority, authenticity and trust granted to the blog by different audiences”(132). Basically the old saying “don’t believe everything you read” holds true here.
Blogging has given the world a new forum to publish our thoughts and opinions on anything and everything. It gives people a chance to say whatever they choose without having someone “screen” it so to speak. However with blogging allowing us to remove the hierarchy of published media, it has intern opened up the possibility for fiction to rule over the truth. If people are not educated or at least selective when reading blogs, then they run the risk of believing fiction over facts. We need to make sure that we understand the different types of blogging, the form, the content, and the context in which is relayed. Blogging has brought back the power of speech to the people and we need to encourage people to “speak” their thoughts as this was a given right that our Country was founded on and still follows today.
Blogs and Freedom of speech, June 6 2006,
Youngs, Gillian. “Blogging and globalization: the blurring of the public/private spheres.” New Information Perspectives 61.2 (2009): 127.