#Future directions, plans… vague, but interesting… #WEB206

To those who are reading, please excuse the vagueness of this post. It refers to a project we’ve been given in the subject I am studying. If you didn’t read about this earlier, all is explained in my ‘An Interesting Conundrum‘ post. My response to the tutor below is purposefully generalised for the reasons expressed in the link above.

winged-inspiration

winged inspiration‘ by EladeManu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.


TUTOR:
In light of this week’s writing task, can you think of other ways you might add value for your readers?

MY RESPONSE:
When we were asked to create and start a blog for this subject, I included three sections: the home page, an ‘about’ page and a page for attributions and references to the work I used on my blog that were not my own. At the time, the blog was envisioned to act as a space for me to post my writing during and after studying this subject. But, I do that in a few blog spaces on the web.

So, things have changed since the establishment of this new blog space. I recognised early on that I may not attract readers to my blog if I didn’t add other features to create a reason for others to establish a habit of visiting my blog. Sure, at first I might attract much appreciated friends, family and colleagues from my studies, but I want to increase that reach. So, I started thinking about other ways I could enable that to happen. It’s still early days, but for future development, I added other sections to my blog to ensure spaces for me to work on extending that reach.

As I wish to remain anonymous on that blog at this stage, those who know the URL of my new blog can see the sections I have added. But, first and foremost, I thought about what would make me return to another’s blog if I shared the same passions as the blogger. I decided that I wanted to develop a community around my topic on the blog – those who enjoy the topic I have selected will return often if it is updated on a regular basis, remains timely, and importantly, offers others the chance to share their work, critique one another and interact with and/or listen to experts on the same topic. Even though it will primarily serve as a space for me to publish my work, I thought it’d be beneficial for the entire community I hope to develop if it was also a place to learn from one another.

I’m keeping this response as generalised as possible for the sake of anonymity on my newest blog… enabling that fragmentation that you commented on, L…

I hope to add value to my blog’s visitors by:

  • hosting regular pod/vid casts to listen to or watch whenever it’s convenient
  • hosting live chats using a variety of media to engage online
  • creating a space for others to post their own work for scrutiny by others with more or less experience in the area
  • informing followers when events online and/or in Australia are being held that they might wish to attend
  • providing links to other sites that may be of interest, perhaps even invite followers to add their own
  • adding reviews on new items or other older items that are still relevant to our interests (these can be written by me, or another member of the anticipated community)
  • teaming up with other, relevant organisations to promote their work as well as my own (this will take some effort – networking connections, a reputation and trust will need to be established and developed)

Of course, I know that there are other sites that serve these purposes in the subject area I have selected. But, I hope to somehow differentiate my project by offering a collaborative space, where everybody can contribute and attain that voice I seek to establish in that world.

I am realistic – this will take time and much effort – I study, work full-time and am politically engaged, so this will not happen overnight. My age and life experiences thus far have taught me to be more patient and consistent. However, I do not seek money, I seek a reputation. If money eventuates at some stage, so be it. But, this is primarily a passion I wish to share with others and learn from throughout the experience. It will also provide me with opportunities to research (something I also love) to establish something engaging and worth visiting more than once. I see that I will eventually pay for my own domain, as it evolves from being a blog to a proper website that contains a blog. It’s strange – even though money and financial reward are not drivers for me with this project, I find myself exploring and writing up a kind of business plan in my spare time to make this work. I suppose money will eventually become important if I succeed and manage to develop a solid reputation in my chosen area – currently, it’s a pipe dream for this pursuit to eventually replace my present work commitments… a new career opportunity, if you will. If my project ever got that far, I would add further features, which could potentially add value to my site’s community. I could provide opportunities for others to remediate my work if they wanted to, much like what occurs on Cory Doctorow’s Craphound.com.

So, unless some act of unfortunate circumstance befalls me, I hopefully will witness this come to fruition somewhere down the track. Time will tell…

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Posted in Blog Appeal, Blogs, Cory Doctorow, Developing an Online Reputation, Engaging Blog Readers, Exploring Possibilities, Fragmentation, Future Directions, Generative Value, Marketing a Blog, Networking, Passion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discussing ‘#Weblogs and the #MassAmateurization of #Publishing’ by @cshirky #WEB206

TUTOR:
Discuss the claim that Clay Shirky makes in ‘Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing’ that the Web and Weblogs have made publishing a “financially worthless activity”? What do you think?

MY RESPONSE:
Technically, I agree with the notion that blogging can be a financially worthless activity. I also concur with Shirky’s (2002) statement that “…weblogs ensure that the few people who earn anything from their weblogs will make their money indirectly” (para. 1).

In order to make such activity viable, some of Kelly’s (2008) and Anderson’s (2004) notions also come into play here. If one can ensure their blog has “generative value” (Kelly, 2008, para. 11), or takes advantage of as many parts of “the long tail” (Anderson, 2004, para. 27) as possible, such indirect monetary profit can be made.

But, I would also argue that while blogging can be considered financially worthless, there are those who are of the opinion that money is not of great import – that in a monetised world, some find the act of blogging worth much more than money. Despite Shirky’s correct observations, he ends on a positive note and asserts that the mass amateurisation to be found in weblogs also “…points to a world where participating in the conversation is its own reward” (2002, para. 14).

REFERENCES:

Anderson, C. (2004, October). The Long Tail. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html

Kelly, K. (2008, May 25). Better Than Free [Blog message]. Retrieved from Edge website: http://edge.org/conversation/better-than-free

Shirky, C. (2002, October 3). Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing [Blog message]. Retrieved from the Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet website: http://shirky.com/writings/weblogs_publishing.html

Posted in #WEB206, Barriers to Entry, Blogging, Blogs, Chris Anderson, Clay Shirky, Economies of Scale, Generative Value, Internet, Kevin Kelly, Mass Amateurisation, Monetisation, Online Writing, Participatory Culture, The Long Tail, Web Publishing, Writing, Writing for the Web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can the #blogosphere be seen as a revitalising influence on the #publicsphere ? #WEB206


blogosphere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUTOR:
Do you agree with the suggestion in Walker’s article (last week’s readings) that the blogosphere can be seen as a revitalising influence on the public sphere?

And, in tandem with this:
Setting aside the Internet, in what areas of your life do you contribute to the public sphere?

MY RESPONSE:

I do agree with Walker Rettberg’s argument that the blogosphere can be seen as a revitalising influence on the public sphere. As she states, “Blogging and other participatory media reposition writing and reading as social, rather than solitary activities” (2008, p. 8). This is not difficult to see in today’s blogosphere, where solitary and/or highly social spaces can emerge depending on a blog’s popularity and whether or not it is private or public. This is further supported by the fact that “…there has been drastic fragmentation of… traditional media, with an ever-expanding number of… niche publications” (2008, p. 8). I also foresee that as blogs become increasingly sophisticated and more engaging due to the continual emergence of new technologies, the online public sphere will constantly be in a state of renewal.

To answer the second part of the question, I must admit that I spend a lot of time online. However, I am happy to say that I was able to find a few areas of my life where I contribute to the public sphere. I am a member of the Australian Greens Party, attend meetings and cast votes on representatives we want to put forward to represent us in elections, both federal and state. Occasionally, I also attend fund-raisers and protests, if I feel it to be necessary to further an important cause.

I attend lectures, philosophical discussions and festivals – these vary, as I do not get the opportunity to contribute to each of the topics that are discussed, but again, occasionally, I am able to publicly voice an opinion or offer an alternative point of view for those around me to consider or dismiss.

Finally, by attending my work five days a week, I contribute to the institution’s public sphere by training academic staff and/or students in digital literacy and associated social network technologies to (hopefully) enhance the standards of teaching and learning in the university. Some keep coming back for more, so I guess my contributions could be considered worthwhile. LOL

REFERENCE:

Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3), 10. Retrieved from http://jilltxt.net/txt/Blogs–Literacy%20-and-the-Collapse-of-Private-and-Public.pdf

 

Posted in #WEB206, Activism, Australian Greens, Blogging, Blogosphere, Blogs, Digital Literacy, Fragmentation, Online Public Sphere, Public Sphere, Social Networks, Teaching & Learning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#WEB206 The discussion of #passive goes on…

TUTOR (12/10/2015):
lol – no I’m having a stoush with them about Shirky who argues in one of the Web101 videos that if everyone stopped watching TV and got online to be ‘interactive’ we would have this wonderful source of collective intelligence. He equates watching TV to alcohol. My students seem to agree with him – that TV is numb and dumb and they would rather have their kids on an interactive device – the TV being non-interactive. I am trying to convince them otherwise. Not having much success. Granted The Bachelor doesn’t help my argument. But trying to get them to at least acknowledge GOT, Breaking Bad, Dr Who, Veep, Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful, The West Wing, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, Humans, Mr Robot, 12 Monkeys, The Office … Not having much success. 

MY RESPONSE:
RE: RE: Function (13/10/2015 @ 1.25pm)

Been thinking more about this one, L. One is not passive when consuming any media if they are cogitating on what they see, read or interact with. I am re-reading the Walker-Rettberg (2008) reading at the moment, particularly the part where she mentions the concept of dissemination and dialogue. Of particular note, she states  “… such a dichotomy is inherently false, as there will always be many ways of showing how the ‘passive audience’ is not necessarily as passive as it appears…” (p. 5).

REFERENCE:

Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3), 10. Retrieved from http://jilltxt.net/txt/Blogs–Literacy%20-and-the-Collapse-of-Private-and-Public.pdf

P.S. I despise the way Blackboard (and this blog) don’t readily permit me to hang-indent my references… *grrr*

Posted in #WEB206, Blurring of Boundaries, Clay Shirky, Dissemination & Dialogue, Interactivity, Media consumption, Passive & Active, Private & Public | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In what way do you see the #reliability of #TraditionalMassMedia and #PersonalMedia as being different? #WEB206

TUTOR:
In what way do you see the reliability of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?

MY RESPONSE (Originally posted on 07/10/2015):
My view is that the reliability of the traditional mass-media is generally more trustworthy than that of personal media.

Mass-media online sources generally employ qualified journalists and other staff. They have lawyers to represent them if bias or public slander has been alleged, which one would hope would make their fact-checking more thorough in order to avoid defamation. They also have media standards to abide by (even though this has been questioned more than a few times by programs like the ABC’s Media Watch, and ABC Radio National’s The Media Report). Their online presences will, more likely, look more professional than sites containing one’s personal media.

If I were to question the reliability of the traditional mass-media outlets, it would be because of the media landscape’s domination by major players like the Murdoch empire and Fairfax. Smaller, independent news sources tend to be drowned out by such mass-media in Australia. Murdoch’s publications, in particular, have been accused of bias and blatantly expressing preferences for political parties in Australia, for example.

Technically, the reliability of personal media would be more questionable, as these media are usually run by one or a few individuals, which may or may not have an agenda, or lack of qualifications and objectivity. It’s a generalisation, but personal media may not reveal or give attribution to their sources of information, rely on hearsay or base their contentions on their personal world views which can provide an unbalanced account or opinion to their audiences.

Research has shown that “…studies of blog users found blogs were judged as more credible than other online and traditional news sources because they were perceived as a viable alternative to corporate-controlled media” (Johnson & Kaye, 2004a, 2006, 2007, 2009; Johnson et al., 2007; Kaye & Johnson, 2004b; Kim, 2006; Reynolds, 2004, as cited in Kaye & Johnson, 2011, p. 240). This finding implies that we all assess reliability differently when looking at information on the web. It can be a very subjective process.

As a former librarian, I can confidently state that I will trust the reliability of all online media, traditional mass-media and personal, as long as the information they present can be verified. I will not, as some others might, blindly accept that anything I find on the internet is true because it has a professional appearance, and merely looks trustworthy.

As for personal media such as blogs, which contains much opinion and information on a wide array of topics, I will enjoy reading and generally accept for entertainment purposes. But again, if an individual blogger’s facts cannot be verified by other authoritative sources, I will not make references to such information unless it was needed to highlight an inaccuracy in some of the public’s thinking about an issue.

REFERENCE:

Kaye, B. K., & Johnson, T. J. (2011). Hot Diggity Blog: A Cluster Analysis Examining Motivations and Other Factors for Why People Judge Different Types of Blogs as Credible. Mass Communication & Society, 14(2), 236-263. doi: 10.1080/15205431003687280

TUTOR’S RESPONSE:
Your view tends to be an unpopular one – that blogs are less reliable than traditional media, there tends to be more suspicion around traditional media with blogs framed as ‘interventionist’ and truthful in the face of institutional lies – why do you think this is?

MY 2ND REPONSE (Today):
Yes, I see what you mean. I answered the question as a librarian – as I mentioned, I always verify my information sources. However, I also stated in the last three paragraphs, in a round-a-bout way, that I am willing to accept a lot of information that is to be found on personal media. I apologise, I should have teased that out a bit more.

I use and access all kinds of personal media, blogs included. As one that accepts the left-wing side of politics, I will usually accept alternate views on things – they are the lenses through which I look through a lot of the time. You referred to them as interventionist – I totally agree with that feature and would also include activist and progressive as words to describe them, depending on the purpose they serve.

Even so, I cannot get out of the habit of fact-checking the publications, blogs and online media I tend to refer to the most. If something can be questioned, no matter where its source, I will do so. I like to think that I can serve myself, or others, as a more factual repository of information than one who can be blind-sided and found to be short on said facts. It’s a bad/good habit that librarians tend to possess… we can be obsessive about information, where it’s sourced from and whether or not it’s true – I suppose I’m not the average kind of netizen in that regard (<—see? showing my age and subjectivity there too… LOL).

I also tend to be suspicious of the traditional media – I will take what they print and publish with a HUGE grain of salt. If such a source must be used, I will check, check and check again whether or not it’s true. But, I do find that when I particularly feel strongly about an error, or find blatant promotion of propaganda abundant, I will take to the opinion boards on a variety of online media, as well as writing official letters/emails to the publication/blog in question and to ministers and senators if it goes that high up in terms of lies and the perpetual promulgation of them in the media.

Finally, to answer your question… who do I think this happens?

The nature of how we live in today’s world is one reason. We are inundated by information and we tend not to have the time to get a handle on it. When we are interested in something for study, for news, for general information, we want it quickly, we want it yesterday. This is a feature that was explored in the Rowse (2008) reading, which provided this advice when blogging:

The perils of presenting text on the computer screen are, by now, fairly well established. Readers have little patience for electronic text, blogs included. They are far more likely to skim through your post – pausing for a moment here and there to read a snippet of text that catches their eye – than to read it straight through from start to finish. (para. 11)

I’m sure that we all do this at regular stages when we read information online and understandably so. But, I will take the time to read things more carefully, when it is required (e.g. when I have to absorb the details of a pdf I downloaded for further study in order to write an essay).

But we do, as societies who glean information from online sources, see so many lies and questionable “facts” in the traditional media outlets, we either don’t read them, read the facts that align with our own world views, or completely disengage and escape from reality in our own, individual ways.

The ultimate answer to your question can be highly individualised. The less individualised it is, though, the more my concern grows. Like the information inundation, we are exposed to an inordinate amount of advertising and distractions online. I believe we think we’re all very different, but I am of the opinion that we are becoming more homogenised as technology develops. I have referred to Eli Pariser (2011) in another post. I will also refer to Siva Vaidhyanathan (2011) as another example of the examination of this phenomena. They are but two, of many writers that explore how this can occur without people even realising that it’s happening.

L, this is a whole other discussion/debate/essay/thesis in itself! If the quote I provided above is true, I’m sure the others are skimming through my post, or I’ve lost the ones who attempted to read my entire response to you! LOL

REFERENCES:

Pariser, E. (2011). The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalised Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think. New York: Penguin Books.

Rowse, D. (2008, October 7). Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post [Blog message]. Retrieved from the Problogger website: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/07/10/nine-signs-of-an-effective-blog-post/

Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The Googlization of everything : (and why we should worry) (Updated ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Posted in #WEB206, Blogging, Blogs, Blurring of Boundaries, Citizen Journalism, Collective Action, Collective Knowledge, Credibility of Bloggers, Information Bias, Information Sources, Institutional Conventions, Internet, Journalistic Values, Letters to the Editor, Mass Media, Media consumption, Media production, Participatory Culture, Personal Media, Propaganda, Traditional Mass Media, Traditional Mass Media (Reliability), Web Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the #function of traditional #mass-media and so-called #personal-media different? #WEB206

TUTOR:
In what way do you see the function of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?

MY RESPONSE:
The function of traditional mass media and personal media are increasingly becoming aligned. As Lüders recognised in 2008, it was important to explain the “…technical and social dimensions of the concept of personal media and to revise the distinction between personal and mass media” (p. 685). Reading Lüders’ paper in 2015, I fully concur with her notion that personal and mass media are discernible “…if not always technically, then at least socially” (p. 685). However, the boundaries that were more easily identified by Lüders in 2008, have become increasingly blurred. The persistent and rapid evolution of technology and its impacts on both personal and mass media has enabled the two to merge in ways that make the function of previously traditional mass media embrace and, in some ways, absorb the other.

The news media provides a good example in this instance. Conventionally, the news media functioned from a top-down approach. Journalists would be sent out locally and internationally to write and report on the news and the public would consume whatever was published in the paper or on television if they chose to do so. While we can still see these methods evident in this area, our current notions of news media have changed. We can be citizen journalists via a blog, or even merely by being one of the first witnesses on the scene of an event that would be considered newsworthy, armed with our smartphones and their digital cameras to film or take pictures as the event unfolds.

The way that the two media are still different, in my opinion, is that, taking the news media as an example again, mass media is increasingly primarily motivated by prestige and capital. News in personal media may be consumed passively for increased access to knowledge, actively shared and passed on with one’s personal opinions and reactions added (e.g. blogged or micro-blogged via social media tools like Twitter), or even curated and/or manipulated and remixed for a variety of reasons.

Then again, having stated that, I cannot completely escape my personal perception that the two media are increasingly and subtly blending together, so the differences between the two functions will be less and less apparent. I’m on a George Orwell kick this week… I am referring, in this instance, to the notions of newspeak, the Thought Police and propaganda, which is evident in the news media today.

REFERENCE LIST

Lüders, M. (2008). Conceptualizing personal media. New Media & Society, 10(5), 683-702. doi: 10.1177/1461444808094352

Orwell, G. (2003). Nineteen eighty-four: a novel (Centennial ed.). New York, New York: Plume.

TUTOR’S RESPONSE:
A nice response – yes the two a starting to blur quite significantly. We increasingly are searching for the personal in the traditional framework as it adds ‘sensation’ or emotion. But it is an interesting balance. If we take the recent shootings in Oregon we need dispassionate reportage so that we understand what happened and how, but it also seems like a betrayal to not be outrage to not be emotional about such a thing. One thing of note is the increase in journalists, particularly news anchors and hosts having emotional responses on air. When news media and/or traditional media is top-down perhaps this is less likely to occur.

P.S. FYI – I don’t think we are ever passive when consuming media. This is an argument I have been having with web101 students 🙂

MY SECOND RESPONSE:
Yes, indeed! I used “passively” incorrectly. It sure have been a while since I completed WEB101 – either my poor memory is active, or I’m approaching the statement frequently used throughout my youth-to-older adult growth period. LOL

I must say… your comment wants me to fish out all the readings from WEB101 to refresh my memory! Eeek!

Posted in #WEB206, Blogging, Blogs, Blurring of Boundaries, Citizen Journalism, Curation, Digital Media, George Orwell, Internet, Mass Media, Media, Media distribution, Newspeak (Orwell), Online News, Participatory Media, Personal Media, Propaganda, Remix, Social Networks, Thought Police (Orwell), Traditional Mass Media (Function), Twitter, Web Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment