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Texting, Twitter, and the Student 2.0 [...]

As a way of unlinking digital writng from grammatical and moral decline, jesse stommel makes his case by way of a scholarly exercise in concision.

I’ve recently experimented in my composition classes with an assignment I call a Twitter-essay, in which students condense an argument with evidential support into 140 characters, which they unleash upon a hashtag (or trending topic) in the Twitter-verse. Tweets often attempt to convey as much information in as few words as possible. A tweet could be seen, then, not as a paragon of the many potential horrors of student writing, but as a model of writerly concision. In composing their Twitter-essay, I have students proceed through all the steps I would have them do in writing a traditional academic essay, including brainstorming, composing, workshopping, and revising. I also have them consider and research their audience, the Twitter members engaged in discussion around a particular hashtag. Finally, I have them work dynamically with the Tweets of their peers, responding to them on Twitter and close-analyzing them at length in class. I ask the students to consider their word-choice, use of abbreviation, punctuation, etc. To model the activity for them and to give them a sense for the shape of a Twitter-essay, I compose my instructions for the assignment in exactly 140 characters and post them to Twitter. (Source)

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MN Model: Lower Cost of Attendance by One Percent Through OER [...]

> The recently passed higher education bill orders the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system to find a way to use free and low-cost teaching materials to lower students’ overall college expenses by one percent.

Those materials, known as “open educational resources,” are essentially electronic versions of textbooks, study guides, academic journals, and even lectures.

The aim is to give students relief from rising higher-ed costs, especially those tied to textbooks. It’s an area that has generated a lot of discussion in the last few years — but little concrete relief. (Source)

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All original content licensed CC BY-SA. Articles may contain material under different licenses: Check the links. By copying and editing this content using Wikity and a CC license, you are licensing your own contributions as CC BY-SA. Share and share alike.

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Face to face is mediated [...]

Face to face and mediated may be a distinction that conceals too much. F2F is mediated communication, framed by semiotic codes of pleasure, closeness, et al. Perhaps the salient difference is that mediated communication creates (semiotic) artifacts that can be further worked with.

One way to think about this is that Language is the Unmediated System and mode (writing, voice, print) is the medium. This means that any specific occasion of language will be mediated.

Here’s Nathan Jurgenson on the quality of screens

Digital dualism allows Turkle to write as though she is championing humanity, conversation, and empathy when ultimately she is merely privileging geography. Again, this can feel intuitive, because this fetishization of contiguity has a long tradition and is echoed in our everyday language: Each time we say “IRL,” “face-to-face,” or “in person” to mean connection without screens, we frame what is “real” or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness — variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. “Face to face” should mean more than breathing the same air. (Source)

skype dual portrait

The significant difference here is is not distance but the presence of mediation by interface. Our sense of face to face tends to set aside mediation. Mediation is still there in the interfaces of spoken words, touch, the semiotics of gesture and pose, but we set it aside for a sense of the real.  The mediation comes to the surface when we encounter a glitch: the CD jams, the lights go out, the conversation is interrupted with a phone call or the man from Porlock.

Digital mediation creates artifacts, so that the interaction means reading artifacts (blog post, image) created by the real interaction and working in a different semiotic frame than that of face to face.  Those artifacts are created on the fly and so can be further mediated and worked with on the fly.  Imagine a Skype connection tinkered with by filters on both sending and receiving ends. Imagine how receiving a text message might translate similes into emoticons.


A review / critique of Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turkle – Fear of Screens NATHAN JURGENSON

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Historicizing the Memex [...]

Daniel Punday (Computing as Writing, 2015) argues that V Bush conceptualized the Memex in a frame of scholarly work – as opposed to, say, the work of computing ballistic tables. Fine so far. But he also points out that the work the scholar took on with a Memex is not of writing new documents but of annotating and connecting existing documents. Annotations could be added to the Memex, as could trails. But not new work.

The work of annotating and gathering sources is a way to start a new document that would be then (later? by peer review? by federation?) added to the library of the Memex.

Which is to say that the cultural system that the Memex works in is similar to Englebart’s “trained operator”. The Memex is seen as a recording and memory device rather than a calculating device. But it also engages in the institutional systems of distribution that were in use at the time.

As Bush envisions it, distribution is handled outside the Memex. The worker created trails that were physically distributed to others. Distibution was handled as part of the Englebart’s NLS.

NLS doesn’t seem to distinguish between documents and annotations or notes (check this). Handwritten work is a mark of notes in the Memex.

The main form of work done with Memex materials were handwritten notes. Printing indicated that the materials had been vetted, edited, and published for large-scale distribution.

There are other implications to be explored.

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Streams Don’t Merge [...]

Network map showing two widely disconnected groups

Emma Pierson writing about tweets and Ferguson notes that red and blue tweeters live in discourse environments that are nearly fully separated. The graphic produced by her demonstrates the severity of this division.

So we have two groups of people who rarely communicate, have very different backgrounds, think drastically different things, and often spray vitriol at each other when they do talk. Previous studies of Twitter have found similar echo chambers, the Israel-Palestine conflict offering one representative example. It is unclear to what extent Twitter merely reflects social divisions as opposed to causing them; I find it unlikely that Mckesson and the red tweeters would be friends if they met over beers. But even this preliminary analysis does not bode well for the possibility of reconciliation.– from Quartz (post)

That said, it’s not clear that the intent here is to communicate to each other. As Bonnie Stewart and others have noted, these events are used by activists tactically, and the goal is not persuasion of enemies but often the much more narrow aim of shaming the press into covering an undercovered story, alerting other activists of an event or issue, or mobilizing moderates into to more radical action.


Bonnie Stewart talks about the activist uses of Twitter. See Tactical Twitter

Related to polarization: in social media, Anger Spreads Fastest

Our world now is a result of the lifestream concept. See Lifestream History

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Analyzing the Presentation is Analyzing the Frame [...]

Given a selfie as an example to work with, we can create (at least) two ways of reading it: as self-re-presentation and self-presentation. But reading the image as self-presentation means turing away from the semiotics of the image and towards a semiotics of the frame.


Here’s Jill Walker Rettberg on representation in selfies. Selfies, as digital artifacts, are semiotic objects, ripe for reading.

Being so clearly staged, Jenner’s image provides us with plenty of signs to analyse, and the most interesting semotic analysis is not with the descriptive analysis of the denotation of the signs, but of their connotations. Connotations are common associations connected to a sign, not private associations that only one individual might have, but associations and references that are shared by larger cultures or groups. Jenner’s image has some very obvious signs with well-established meanings or connotations in our culture.The hearts that her hair has been shaped into connote love. Her white lacy dress signifies a bride, which again signifies love, and, in a traditional sense, new, virginal but soon-to-be-consummated love in particular. The traditional wedding dress is white because white stands for innocence in Western culture. Jenner is laid out like a corpse, with her hands folded as is traditional in Western funerals, and her eyes are closed. The floor is white with a black graphic pattern and could be interpreted as suggesting a river, although this is not an interpretation I would have arrived at had not the dead maiden with her outswept hair made me think of Ophelia, the girl who loved Hamlet and drowned herself.

On the other hand, selfies as presentations become ethnographic artifacts:

If we were to analyse Jenner’s image as a presentation, rather than as a representation, we would focus less on its status as a set of signs, and more on the role Jenner was performing by posting this image, perhaps considering questions such as who the image was intended for, where and when it was posted, what responses it was met with and Jenner’s motivations for creating and sharing the image.

There is less a difference here than we might suspect. We could see this as figure-ground, figure-context. We could consider the presentation as a frame within which we consider the re-presentation. The terms change – and so the concepts change – but I wonder if the mediation does.

As Walker Rettberg tell us,

A presentation is an act, something that a person does, so talking about presentations allows us to analyse the way that the person acts to present themselves.

But that analysis must still rely on mediation. Here’s the ethnographic procedure:

One approach would be to interview Jenner herself and perhaps also people who had seen, commented on or reposted the image, but it would also be possible to learn a lot from the image itself, from studying Jenner’s other posts and from examining the comments and the contexts in which the image was republished or discussed. We might compare the image to other images posted by non-celebrities, or perhaps we might find a surge of homage images copying or playing upon the Jenner image. Often ethnographers and sociologists want to learn about practice across a group of people, and so a study of self-presentation rather than self-representation on Instagram might explore how users typically create and share images rather than focusing on individual examples like Jenner’s image.

What we’re doing here is swapping the openly semiotic consideration of the re-presentation for a semiotic consideration in an ethnographic context. Swapping the image for the frame. The aim in the second is to consider how Jenner reads her own semiosis, how others read it, how ethnographers read it, but they are not reading the flesh and blood of Jenner. They are reading the frame.


Jill Walker Rettberg at jill/txt.

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Face to face is mediated [...]

Face to face and mediated may be a distinction that conceals too much. F2F is mediated communication, framed by semiotic codes of pleasure, closeness, et al. Perhaps the salient difference is that mediated communication creates (semiotic) artifacts that can be further worked with.


Here’s Nathan Jurgenson on the quality of screens

Digital dualism allows Turkle to write as though she is championing humanity, conversation, and empathy when ultimately she is merely privileging geography. Again, this can feel intuitive, because this fetishization of contiguity has a long tradition and is echoed in our everyday language: Each time we say “IRL,” “face-to-face,” or “in person” to mean connection without screens, we frame what is “real” or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness — variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. “Face to face” should mean more than breathing the same air. (Source)

skype dual portrait

The significant difference here is is not distance but the presence of mediation by interface. Our sense of face to face tends to set aside mediation. Mediation is still there in the interfaces of spoken words, touch, the semiotics of gesture and pose, but we set it aside for a sense of the real.  The mediation comes to the surface when we encounter a glitch: the CD jams, the lights go out, the conversation is interrupted with a phone call or the man from Porlock.

Digital mediation creates artifacts, so that the interaction means reading artifacts (blog post, image) created by the real interaction and working in a different semiotic frame than that of face to face.  Those artifacts are created on the fly and so can be further mediated and worked with on the fly.  Imagine a Skype connection tinkered with by filters on both sending and receiving ends. Imagine how receiving a text message might translate smilies into emoticons.


A review / critique of Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turkle – Fear of Screens NATHAN JURGENSON

 

Narrative as Artifact, aka Why History is Narrative (& Messy) [...]

As an example of an artifact in a Cabinet of Curiosity, consider this narrative of Trevor Horn and Video Killed the Radio Star. Think of it for a moment as a slip of paper on a shelf in a cabinet that you take down and read, consider, make a note on, then replace – either in the same place in the cabinet, or elsewhere.

Why History is Narrative (& Messy)

On August 1, 1981, The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star became a staple of popular culture history when it was the first music video to be played on the MTV cable network.  The song had been a hit when released in 1979, but its status as the maiden voyage has elevated the song beyond the ebb and flow of popular music, allowing a narrative to be built around the song, the band and their importance on the history of popular music.

apollo-11-thumb
The public domain image from NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, modified (and copyrighted) by MTV for their August 1, 1981 launch.

In this narrative, two young musicians (Trevor Horn & Geoff Downes) form to create The Buggles, put out a synth-driven album, see the time-stamped success of a Top 40 album from 1979, and by the time the song adorns MTV the musicians have disbanded The Buggles, forever to be one-hit wonders.  MTV’s emergence allow The Buggles to live forever, their premonition of video killing the radio star ringing true for the cable media giant.

This concise history is not untrue, but it is told from the perspective of technological progression in media and popular culture.   It ignores several events and reorders timelines, which when put together cast a very different light on The Buggles and their supposed one claim to fame.

Video Killed the Radio Star was written by Horn and Downes, as well as a musician named Bruce Woolley.  The song was first recorded by these three, as well as famed music and technology pioneer Thomas Dolby.  Woolley was on lead vocals for this version, recoded under the band Bruce Woolley & the Camera Club.  This version is much more up-tempo and driven by the punk and social influences of British music at the time, rather than the more languid and synthetic pacing of the Buggles version.

Dolby and Woolley continued on with The Camera Club, and Horn & Downes, who had a 50% stake in the song, recorded their own version under The Buggles, which folded into the technological concept album looking at the virtues and obstacles of technology in society.  Both versions charted; Woolley’s won more critical acclaim while The Buggles had more commercial success both in Great Britain and internationally (oddly, the album The Age of Plastic was the #1 selling album in Australia for 27 years).  Then 1979 morphed into 1980, The Buggles had moved on to work with Yes (and would later split, with Horn joining Art of Noise while Downes joined Asia, a progressive rock supergroup). Thomas Dolby went on to have a significant impact on synthesizer music under his name (his album The Age of Wireless considered a touchstone in 1980s popular music), as well as a entrepreneurial career in computers and mobile technology.  Bruce Woolley has become a well-respected conductor and composer, and a world-renowned theremin player.

The cultural history of Video Killed the Radio Star might fit the narrative of musical progress as seen by MTV, but it misses the rich histories of those who created the song, which was for them but one of many successes. [(Source)] (rmoejo.wikity.cc)


Narrative is not only messy history, but also narrative-is-our-memory-storage

The dominant paradigm about Video Killed the Radio Star [html]

Three versions of the Bruce Woolley-led Video Killed the Radio Star [html]

How did The Age of Plastic become the #1 album in Australia for 27 years? [html]


 

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Cabinet of Curiosity [...]

When it comes to gathering notes, we can start with curiosity cabinets, like this one

Cabinet of Curiosity Domenico Remps, A Cabinet of Curiosity, 1690s. Source: Res Obscura

What’s interesting is not the long tradition but the mixture of objects and their organization. This is not a simple organization of stuff but a well-curated collection for consideration, exploration, and re-organization.

We can think of this cabinet as a 17th century version of a Pinterest site, or an Evernote site, or a blog, or a federated wiki. The last may be best because the cabinet is built to be explored, handled, each object taken out and inspected closely, and placed in a changing position in relation to other objects.

Don’t confuse the aesthetic with the epistemic. Or, go ahead and confuse them, but we’re going to focus on the epistemic. This cabinet of curiosity is knowledge management.

Categories are Projects [...]

Like all WordPress based sites, Wikity has both “categories” and “tags”. On Wikity we use tags to make things findable and categories to collect resources associated with a particular project.

What’s a project? It’s any sustained investigation for which you plan to create a significant body of linked work.

Mostly, it’s things you work on with other people, where you’ve defined a community goal. So Kate Bowles and Rolin Moe put together a study group on innovation which categorizes their work as Innovation criticism. If you were working with a class on the politics of water, you might have your class categorize their work “Politics of water”.

You might also categorize your own solo projects this way. If you are working on creating resources for a workshop or a class, or if you just want to do your own sustained investigation of a subject, a category can help others find your body of work and invite others to join your effort.

Because categories will be used in this way we ask that you create them sparingly. Don’t use them as simple descriptors of content. Before you apply a category, ask yourself “Is this a description of the content of the post, or an indicator of the project it was created for?”

If it’s the former, it’s a tag. If it’s the latter it’s a category. Keeping to this norm will help people on the site easily identify projects they might enjoy joining, leading to a better overall Wikity experience.

One other note — to make the menu on the bottom of the front page look consistent we ask that you write category names out with spaces, capitalizing the first letter of the category phrase. Again, “Innovation criticism”  and “Politics of water” provide the model here.

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