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Where is New Media Now? Some Ideas...


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Towards some Lecture Notes for the Creative Writing and New Media Master's Students at DMU

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Where is New Media Now? Some Ideas...

  1. Where is New Media Now? Lecture for Creative Writing & New Media Masters at De Montfort, University, March 2007 Jess Laccetti
  2. Recent Reports <ul><li>In October 2006 Mary Madden and Susannah Fox note that “[t]o be sure, there has been an explosion of businesses and applications that behave differently from the static Web of yore – Flickr, Wikipedia, digg, and Bit Torrent are just a small sampling among a growing wave of players and investment in this field .” </li></ul>
  3. Recent Reports UPDATE: More than 70% of 16-24 year old internet users use social networking websites (compared to 41% of all UK internet users) and 37% of 18-24 year olds have contributed to a blog or website message board (compared to 14% of all UK internet users
  4. Recent Reports <ul><li>February 5, 2007 – World Internet usage is estimated at 1,100,112,756 people according to the Internet World Stats database, and a global penetration rate of 16.7%. Latest updates correspond to 211 million users in the United States as of December/06, 137 million users in mainland China also for December/06, and 13 million users in Argentina as of September/06. </li></ul>
  5. Recent Reports
  6. Reports, but… <ul><li>While these reports on internet statistics certainly provide interesting data (for 70% of 16-24 ‘net users social media is second nature) they don’t include detailed accounts or examples of social media (other than note that more people are using blogs than ever). </li></ul><ul><li>So, let’s take a look at what’s going on *out there* with a focus on new media literacies </li></ul>
  7. Some Key Aspects of Web Now <ul><li>Personalisation, Personalisation, Personalisation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We can make sites unique to us. Think of Amazon and E-Bay, two examples where users can personalise the information and how it appears. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. Some Key Aspects of Web Now <ul><li>Interaction, Interaction, Interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. Some Key Aspects of Web Now <ul><li>Content Creation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users should be able to EASILY create their own content. Enter accessible and straightforward blogging platforms (Blogger, Moveable Type, Word Press). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. Some Key Aspects of Web Now <ul><li>Make Friends/Collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Making friends plays an important role in the creation and dissemination of content. Friends can point you to new content, can comment on your content, can change your page ranking , and just generally add to your online persona) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Personalisation? </li></ul><ul><li>Ok, so you might not be able to change the ending of Wuthering Heights or protect Maya in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings but how about being a character in an interactive fiction (IF)? “ Unlike a conventional work of fiction, the main story only unfolds in relation to what you, as the main character, decides .” </li></ul><ul><li>Example of a text-based IF: Pentari: First Light - Demo </li></ul><ul><li>Example of multi-media IF: the beautifully rendered Diary of Anne Sykes </li></ul>
  12. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Interaction vis-à-vis narrative? </li></ul><ul><li>How might stories change with the added dimension of user interaction? Marie-Laure Ryan says “becoming a character in a story is the ultimate narrative experience.” </li></ul><ul><li>Take a look at The Adventures of Josie True by Mary Flanagan . Although billed as a “game” how </li></ul><ul><li>does interaction drive the narrative? </li></ul>
  13. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Content Creation and Narrative? </li></ul><ul><li>Rafael Chandler explains that while vocabulary is important to games, “ Words such as &quot;ecdysis&quot;, &quot;meretricious&quot;, and &quot;ophidian&quot; have no place in a game design document, unless they are in some way a part of the game experience .” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It's our natural desire as fans, as Harry Jenkins describes so eloquently, to appropriate content and reshape it so that it contains personal meaning .” (Brenda Laurel) </li></ul><ul><li>A million penguins or a few people writing together on the same project can illicit confusion, linear trajectories, and even “ resists rational enquiry .” However, collaborative authoring can help focus ideas, generate feedback, and, occur in real-time. With technologies like wikis and blogs comes an important shift in emphasis: rather than the individual “author” there is now a team of creators. </li></ul><ul><li>A Million Penguins might not be a game but maybe some authors saw it as such. How did you, as the DMU team working on A Million Penguins negotiate what seems to me to be a double-bind: user-input is required to create content but user-created content doesn’t necessarily facilitate narrative. (From my Frontline Post ) </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe content creation in this sense isn’t so much about creating a narrative but about creating an environment? </li></ul>
  14. Some Key Themes in Web Lit.
  15. Some Key Themes in Web Lit.
  16. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Personalisation/Interaction/Collaboration? </li></ul><ul><li>If there is no longer a social category of “author” (in Foucault’s sense) what remains? Is this a move towards “in-group” authoring or authoring with a collective mentality? What might diverse authorship mean for genres (the wiki novel is a case in point) (or is it technologies ?), for plot ( ibid !), for the final “product?” (Or should that be products?) If a wiki-novel or any collaborative project is so amorphous how might one critique it? Where does critical literacy fit in? </li></ul><ul><li>If plot isn’t so important any more, nor are beginnings which begin at the beginning…collaborative authoring might just be an off-shoot of postmodern or hypertextual tendencies: attempts to move away from hierarchy, from rigid divides between user/producer, from views of “the work” as a totality to a new conception of the novel as feral. Jill Walker sees hypertext as “ wild ” and “ untamed ” and &quot; never fully under our control .&quot; Is it possible that “ A Million Penguins ” is just a feral novel: undisciplined but with plenty to offer. </li></ul>
  17. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Collaboration/Making Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube (I have no friends!) </li></ul><ul><li>Delicious </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Wayfaring </li></ul><ul><li>Frappr </li></ul><ul><li>citeulike </li></ul>
  18. Some Key Themes in Web Lit. <ul><li>Collaboration/Making Friends </li></ul><ul><li>What stories evolve through the social tagging that takes place on sites like delicious , magnolia , or stumbleupon ? </li></ul><ul><li> a dynamic archive of information </li></ul><ul><li>items denote popularity </li></ul><ul><li>what you add and how you tag alters the overall profile of the site </li></ul>
  19. Folksonomy <ul><li>Folksonomy: portmanteau of the words “folks” and “taxonomy” (coined by Van der Wal ) </li></ul><ul><li>Ways of tagging : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content description </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creator </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Context </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>use type </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instruction </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Object </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Categories </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. Folksonomy <ul><li>Statistics : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>28% of internet users have tagged or categorised content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorise online content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Q: What started the current interest in tagging? </li></ul><ul><li>Weinberger: The bookmarking site hit a nerve [in 2003] when it let users tag Web sites with a word or two so that they could find those sites later. And hit the same nerve when it adopted tagging as a way to let people organize the photos they posted. But the nerve was there, ready to be struck, because of two factors: First, tagging lets us organize the vastness of the Web -- and even our email, as Gmail has shown -- using the categories that matter to us as individuals. You may want to tag, say, a Stephen King story as “horror,” but maybe to me it's “ghost story” and to a literature professor it‘s “pop culture.” Tagging lets us organize the Net our way . ( David Weinberger , emphasis added) </li></ul>
  21. Folksonomy <ul><li>Compare these tag clouds – what stories about the users become apparent?: </li></ul>Flickr’s all-time most popular tags Tags from the PaRT group Creative Writing and New Media Online Masters’ tags
  22. Folksonomy <ul><li>Rashmi Sinha presents a social analysis view of the way people use information through tagging. If &quot; our concepts and languages are constantly in flux. If tagging systems allow a loose coordination of terms across people, then the question arises: &quot;What role do tagging systems play in ebb and flow of concepts .” </li></ul><ul><li>A future project might conduct an analysis of tag clouds and attempt to track the changes in descriptions, tags, and consistency that occur over time and with users. Also, one could look at the anatomy of trackbacks and what role that might play in folksonomy. </li></ul>
  23. Folksonomy <ul><li>What does your tagging say about you? Do you use terms that mean something specific to you or will any reader recognise the signification? Do you have a handful of favourite terms or do you prefer to be as descriptive as possible employing a myriad of terms? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feel free to start a discussion on my blog . </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>For the super folksonomic why not pimp your laptop and use your tag roll as a laptop cover?!
  24. New Media Narratives <ul><li>We know that stories don’t have to be just text. New media narratives can include text, sound, moving images, streaming video, and touch (i.e. interaction). </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at an online example of a new media narrative that focuses on sound and puts you in the authorial position </li></ul>
  25. Sonic Postcards <ul><li>Listen to the following audio: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>List as many sounds as you can </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What kind of place is this? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How are the sounds presented? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What story is told through the sound? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Does this image fit with the sound story? </li></ul>
  26. Sonic Postcards <ul><li>If you’d like to have a go at making your own sonic postcard follow the instructions detailed here: </li></ul>
  27. Monetize? <ul><li>The Lulu Blooker Prize is the world's first literary prize devoted to &quot;blooks&quot;-books based on blogs or other websites, including webcomics </li></ul><ul><li>Blooks are the world's fastest-growing new kind of book and an exciting new stage in the life-cycle of content, if not a whole new category of content. </li></ul><ul><li>The Lulu Blooker Prize is sponsored by Lulu , the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books, including a growing number of blooks. </li></ul>
  28. Monetize
  29. Summary <ul><li>The online environment plays host to various modes ( audio , video , images, text , etc…) </li></ul><ul><li>As users, we should be literate in these modes (i.e. transliterate ) </li></ul><ul><li>The current version of the web enables us to personalise, interact, create content, and make friends (collaborate) </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of the online environment, stories today can be both personal and communal, private and public, educational and experiential. </li></ul>
  30. Conclusion <ul><li>Remember, the most important thing one can do is </li></ul><ul><li>“ tell a compelling story .” </li></ul><ul><li>(See slide 42 of Tara Hunt’s presentation on Slide Share) </li></ul>
  31. Just for Fun…