KCB201 Week 5 Slidecast: Networked People


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Week 5 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

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  • KCB201 Week 5 Slidecast: Networked People

    1. 1. Networked People KCB201 Virtual Cultures Dr Axel Bruns [email_address]
    2. 2. Cultural Technologies <ul><li>The story so far: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>media convergence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>participatory culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collective intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in cultural communities from the global to the hyperlocal level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enabled by (but not driven by) new media technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New media as cultural technologies (Flew, pp. 25-26): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>three levels of understanding technologies: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>technologies as tools and artefacts e.g. the physical network of the Internet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>technologies as contexts of use e.g. browsing, bookmarking, blogging, … </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>technologies as systems of knowledge e.g. how we create meaning from this </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technologies are all three at the same time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contexts of use and systems of knowledge are (in part) constructed by us as we use technologies – technologies are socially constructed </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Cultural Power <ul><li>Systems of knowledge: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>determine what their users are able to do within them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide certain roles for participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>distribute power to different actors in the system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>determine shape of our cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>television vs. YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>small number of active producers large number of contributors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>large, passive audiences small, niche audiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>one-way, one-to-many two-way, many-to-many </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>telephone (today) vs. telephone (as invented) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>interpersonal communication wired broadcast system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>direct access to all participants consumers subscribe to stations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>one-to-one one-to-many </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Technocultures <ul><li>Cultural technologies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>takes into account the philosophies behind technologies and their uses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this includes institutional, economic, intellectual, legal, social, cultural frameworks for using these technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this is the ‘grammar’ of a medium (Flew, p. 32) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e.: not simply technologies, but their uses and the systems of knowledge associated with them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technocultures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>shifts focus to the cultures which are supported by these frameworks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>which impact on the status of the individual in such cultural environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marshall McLuhan: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ the impact of the communication media … influences not only what we think but how we think” (McPhail & McPhail qtd. in Flew, p. 32) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments” (McLuhan & Fiore qtd. in Flew, p. 32) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Technocultural Choices <ul><li>A question of power: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what technocultural frameworks (systems of knowledge) do we </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>have? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>use? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>want? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g.: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>passive audiences vs. participating users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>top-down vs. bottom-up </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>one-to-many vs. many-to-many </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>focussing on mass interests vs. focussing on long tail interests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>controlled by business interests vs. controlled by user interests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>unified culture vs. diverse communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>high quality, limited choice vs. extensive choices, limited quality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>these are questions we negotiate every day! </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. The Networked Environment <ul><li>Emerging framework: (Effects for users:) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>network model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> flatter information landscape (fewer opinion leaders) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> information pull rather than knowledge push (users must seek) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>anyone can publish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> abundance of information (difficult to cope with) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> multiperspectival coverage of any topic (confusing and contradictory) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of in-built filters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> lack of authority, reliability, and trust (threat of mis/disinformation) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> users must make meaning for themselves (requires new knowledge literacies) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but also possibility for collaborative, communal meaning-making efforts </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Networked People <ul><li>In other words: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we’re exposed to an abundance of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we’re adding to that abundance by remixing content and adding it to what’s already available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we’re engaged in a continuous contest over information, meaning, knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this may lead to social divisions – diverse interest communities, conflicting belief systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we take part in a struggle to determine the future of our technoculture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A postmodern environment (Collins in Flew, pp. 34-35): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>explosion of information, universal media access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>aesthetics based on repurposing, reuse, remixing, mash-up ( bricolage ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>intellectual stance denies the existence of absolute truths: everything is relative and subject to reinterpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>issue-based rather than movement-based universal politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>probably unavoidable, and irreversible </li></ul></ul>