Monthly Archives: February 2013

The top four: time to pick favorites.

Let’s start off with Rachel’s reaction to blogs and their freedom of speech:

She addresses the different types of blog posts as well as the strong stereotypes that accompany them. I completely agree with her here:

In some situations people may have taken their “freedom of speech” a little too far.

I think this is a huge issue with the internet, especially with this “BSU Confessions” fad hitting Facebook. For right now, the negativity is minimal however, once it turns into a Burn Book it’ll lose its credibility. The same goes for anyone anywhere. Another reason why I feel Rachel did a good job covering this topic. You see, it’s not just where blogging is going popularity-wise but also how people are going to incorporate it into their day to day lives. Will this be a negative or a positive? We can only wait and see.

Next we have Jack’s Tiki-Toki timeline of the future:

I really loved how he incorporated Axel Bruns at the very end and how we will write a new book. Very clever. Also, I thought it was very interesting how freelance blogging from home. More and more people are declaring they’re self-employed so I think this is a real possibility. One of the creepiest ideas to me was the YouTube bit about identifying everyday citizens from their videos. I picture the Facebook face finder but for videos… chills. Apparently I’m a little behind because I had no idea what Twitter Bootstrap was so I had to Google it. Hmm, learn something new everyday.

Third on the list would be Joe’s interesting link-jobs in his digital artifact:

I was never familiar with the phrase “digital goldfish” so that was something new I learned. There is also the point of the evolution of technology and how blogging is so closely linked with technological innovations. As long as blogging continues to evolve to suit the online tools of the times, it’s here to stay.

Fourthly we have Matt’s timeline, also on Tiki-Toki:

Unlike Jack’s approach, where Google began filtering out the blogs with shorter posts, Matt looked at the future as Facebook turns blogging obsolete with its longer posts. The government getting involved was definitely a radical approach but, hey, it’s the future! Who knows? Maybe the next big thing will be the internet Civil Rights movement. And the part about the freelance writers turning to blogging, I can totally see that happening and its kind of scary.

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The Sunday post: (Week 6)

Alright people, let’s do this thing. I’m running a little late tonight and my excuses are worthless anyway so I won’t waste your time. I didn’t get to post a lot this week but I at least got the assignments completed!

As usual, I tried the whole lecture note approach as well as mentioning all the things that popped into my head whilst reading. My Tuesday and Wednesday posts were on chapter 18 and 19 in Uses of Blogs. The first one, titled Penguins, meth and vampires. Oh my! focused primarily on fictional blogging and throughout the post I used a lot more links than I have in my past posts.Oh, and I actually used some things I’ve experienced through Twitter… Which is weird. Maybe Prof. Morgan was right: academia now owns Twitter. Isn’t that a scary thought? As much as I’d like Twitter to go academic, I think I’ve experienced too many negative things with Twitter. To me, Twitter = workings of the devil, whatever you feel correlates with a horrible thing that should be exorcised from the internet.

Sorry, Morgan. I know I’m going off topic. So Wednesday’s post was appropriately titled How  things have changed since 2007 plus a goat. This chapter was mainly about the different genres of blogging as well as the different mediums. For instance, podcasting and videocasting. I went head to head with the author here. I had quite a few things to say about his claims that videocasting was incapable of hyperlinking. I respectfully disagreed. Personally, I really enjoyed having a valid point for once. It was a great feeling. People should do that more often.

I perused  the posts of others in the class, such as Matt’s annoyance with the amount of links on a video (I told you there were links in videos!) and Jake’s views of blogging used as a notebook.

Finally we have my own digital artifact of sorts about what I see as the future of blogging. I tried something new this week. Joe suggested I make it into a picture book. I wouldn’t mind doing this all the time. There is nothing better than writing with scented markers. It was fun tracking the history of blogs and then accelerating the now periodic use to a more extreme measure. I have very mixed views of social networking so I got to let some of that shine through.

My life is a pile of busy from now on so I just have to keep holding on by this thread. Maybe next time I’ll try these super cool 3D pens instead of scented markers.

Cheers.

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What’s next for blogging: I try to predict the future.

In The Beginning: [1980]

THERE WAS USENET! What’s that? Well, basically some guys made a world wide discussion board.

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Then we can journey through 1994-2001:

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In addition to just an “online diary,” blogs introduced entirely new tools only available through the web: permalinks, blogrolls, and trackbacks.

Then comes the politics: [2001-2004]

Now people can give live/public commentary on their favorite political happenings!

Keying up to the present: [2004-now]

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WHAT DO WE DO NOW?! WHAT’S NEXT?!

Certain questions will be answered: what makes “the perfect” blog?

Blogging will become a way to portray your personality. If you seem to be a generally likable person in your posts, more people will support you.

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Instead of petty judgments being thrown out face-to-face in direct confrontations, they will be thrown out blog-to-blog.

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Everything will be considered an experiment.

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Soon, all forms of communication will be done through the blogosphere. Instead of langage barriers, there will be coding errors. “HTML” will be used in everyday web conversation. People will be more afraid of the network crashing than the market crashing. Even worse, hashtags will be everywhere. #SpringBreak2003

Or…

Blogging will fade away like the tamagotchi you never fed.

*All information from sections In The Beginning through Keying up to the present (a.k.a. the historical sections) came from here. Thank you Wikipedia! This is why I give you money every once in a while.

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How things have changed since 2007 plus a goat.

Chapter Nineteen: A Vision for Genuine Rich Media Blogging

Blogging is not just about text and the written word. There are different mediums out there for everyone to try. For instance, podcasting: basically blogger radio. They can cover they news just like any other radio station but they can be a little more specific in their topic choices. Just like any other blog, you can subscribe to receive any updated episodes. You’ll get all the sass, all the bias, all the technology, with none of the reading… or the linking. Personally, I’m not the largest fan of podcasting but I can respect the art nonetheless.

Then there is what the book calls “videocasting” which, I have also heard, can be called “vlogging.” Actually there are a lot of things me and this book do not agree on. Maybe because it was written in 2007. Who knows? Maybe I’m just wrong. Anyway, the book describes videocasting as a lot like podcasting: there are people and they are talking in a blog-like manner. On the other hand, the author (this chapter is by Adrian Miles) claims there is no way for videos and podcasts to hyperlink, no way for them to cite their sources, so to speak. At least, there is no easy way to do it. Thus we are left with the comparison that videocasting and podcasting are like those book-on-tapes you’d listen to on road trips with your parents or old ski coaches. You know, with podcasting I could actually agree with that comparison. You’re listening to an mp3 file and that is pretty much all there is to it.

HOWEVER, with videocasting/vlogging there have been quite the innovations. If you have uploaded any YouTube videos at all lately you might have noticed the options to… (drum roll, please)… ADD LINKS.  That’s right, everyone, TECHNOLOGY IS POWER. And it’s relatively easy, too.

Like always, there’s a catch. You can’t put external links on your video itself unless you’re a YouTube partner. There are loopholes for this, though. In the “About” section of your video (usually found beneath the video itself) you can link wherever you want. For instance, SourceFed has a link to their other videos embedded in their video at the very end however, they have to link to their external sources below in the “About” section.

BOOM. If that isn’t technological innovation at its finest, I don’t know what is.

I know… there are probably better examples out there. Just accept me. Please. Or not. You know. Whatever floats your goat.

whatever floats your goat

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Penguins, meth and vampires. Oh my!

Chapter Eighteen: Fictional Blogs

In past chapters we’ve read a lot about blogs and publishing and all that jazz. Every time we begin delving into this kind of topic I also think back to the Julie/Julia project and how Julie Powell‘s blog was eventually made into a book and then a movie. There have been numerous other examples of these happenstances (blogs turned to books) which get me thinking: can any blog be turned into a book? What makes them more appealing than other blogs? The first example was a log of cooking experiences whereas the second was a man swearing down cute animals at every turn. A bit of a difference? Quite.

And then there is what we’re doing or, at least, what I think we’re doing. You see, for this class I feel the blog is being used more as an alternative writing tool. Not only is there a required “text” portion but also image/video embedding, hyperlinking, and blog-to-blog networking must be considered. Some of us are sticking to what we know, meaning the basics of everyday word-processing (Hey, it get’s the job done!)  while others are playing around with the software available to them.

Their innovative play with the medium is creating a narrative, which at its best is multimodal, hypertextual, episodic, serialized, and interactive.

Interactive? Like those 3D games at Downtown Disney? Maybe not that interactive.

The interactivity of fiction blogging versus fiction-sans-internet creates this sort of digital pat-on-the-back atmosphere where authors can receive feedback (good and bad) from viewers during the process of writing their piece of prose instead of finding out later after publishing that their tale of ninja tacos rampaging the lowly city of New York was not a good idea. Audience feedback, people.

Now using a blog as a drawing board can go a few ways, one of which involves intertwining the blog and the fictional world completely. The book and I agree that this would be the best example of such. Although Glass House hasn’t been updated since 2005, it is a brilliant example of taking a world created in fiction and making it real. One author, one unending story, one piece of great online literature.

Then there is the less-intensive version:

It’s part creative writing, part blogging, part role-playing. (203)

This is popular in fan fiction, where you take on the role of a character and when you are placed in certain situations you react how you believe they would. For those who have ever played Dungeons and Dragons, it’s like that but real life.I can relate most to this through my Twitter feed. (I never thought I’d say that.)

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I follow a Walter White as well as a Walter White Jr. through Twitter. However, there’s a catch. You see, these two individuals don’t actually exist. Well, they’re not figments of my imagination either. They’re two characters from the show Breaking Bad and yet they both have Twitter accounts.

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This leads us into fan fiction blogging, like on Muggle Net. For those Harry Potter lovers who ship Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy, fan fiction is the place for you. For those who believe in their heart of hearts that Buffy The Vampire Slayer should have never ended, fan fiction is where you belong.

 

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The Sunday Post (Part whatever week number we’re on)

So this week was interesting to say the least. Monday started me off blogging about something I cared about. Some friends and I started a tag project so that was pretty neat, if I must say so myself. It wasn’t a required task but I actually blogged for me and not a grade this time. It was a breath of fresh air. I tried to incorporate some of the things I’ve been learning in the class: embedding images, linking to sources, quoting outside articles, considering everything an experiment waiting to happen. Strangers really seemed to like it.

Then we got our book assignments to read through chapters 11-14 and type up a few posts. I made my first post how I would take lecture notes. I went through the text making comments here and there and highlighting important quotes i would find helpful later one. In then typed it all up in my own words. That was on chapter 11. Chapters 12 and 13 didn’t really trigger any responses from me. However, after reading chapter 14, something snapped. I’m a raging feminist at heart (maybe it’s because I have ovaries) as well as hater of those who feel dealing out judgement is entertaining. Call me a hypocrite if you want. That chapter gave me my idea for this week’s digital artifact which I worked on with Joe and Matt. Instead of making one giant post, we all found parts of chapter fourteen that interested us and then elaborated in our own ways. I touched on sexism and the blogging bourgeoisie that find it their duty to patrol our pingbacks. I talk about manhandling. You should read it.

Joe’s post was about pseudonyms. Did you know that J.K. Rowling specifically chose to have her name initialed to make her name more gender neutral? What twelve year-old boy is going to pick up a book by a Joanne Rowling?

Matt addressed the issue of ageism, however it wasn’t from the end of a young person but from the older generations. Interesting stuff. Make sure you check it out!

Also, check out this awesome work of online literature. It does a fantastic job of taking into consideration the future of blogging as well as the day to day worries of the prepubescent  learner or, in this case, lurker.

Next week is supposed to mark a change in pace so it will be interesting to see just which direction this class goes. I’ve learned how to keep up in my own way and now it’s going to mixed up all over again.

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Because I’m a woman this post will be about knitting, cooking, children, and the joys of domesticity.

Oh, wait. No it won’t. I apologize if the title deceived you but I can’t knit, I don’t have children, I’m an average cook, and I find very little joy in the domestic world. However, because I am of the female variety my blog is immediately pegged as “that” genre.

“But Devan, this is the modern age where women shouldn’t have to fall into the stereotypes of which they have been entrapped since the fall of hunting and gathering.” You’d be right. Blogging should stand as an escape from the throws of everyday archetypes, not just another foothold for patriarchy. And yet, there is still this uphill battle for female efficacy.

Let’s try and figure out what draws people to a blog. Cool formatting? Concise workflow? Pretty pictures? Debate? As Uses of Blogs puts it,

The debate about gender and blogging has therefore suffered from lack of clarity in three main areas: what counts as a blog, what counts as an online journal, and what counts as political. (155)

Apparently, us bottom-of-the-food-chain bloggers must rely on the unending wisdom of the “pundit” blog. We give them the power to look at our blogs with their ex-ray eyes and judge whether or not we deserve to be read, published, linked to, or whatever else suits their fancy. They take the phrase “It’s all about who you know” to an entirely new level. Heck, we may have never met these particular individuals and yet they hold the unyielding power to manhandle our internet private parts. They can capitalize on both our successes and failures.

by privileging filter blogs and thereby implicitly evaluating the activities of adult males as more interesting, important and/or newsworthy than those of other blog authors, public discourses about weblogs marginalize the activities of women and teen bloggers, thereby indirectly reproducing societal sexism and ageism, and misrepresenting the fundamental nature of the weblog phenomenon. (155)

I can understand that sometimes, us female-folk tend to go off on random tangents about the most mundane things. Honestly, an hour into a rant to my boyfriend about my mother I realize how much time I’ve wasted on such a completely pointless task. Yes. We drone on and on with usually no point in site, no concise argument, no bathroom breaks. However, there are times when I have some alright things to say and this is where my distaste for stereotyping “filter” blogs place women as a whole into this pit. This pit of despair.

Only the pundit overlords know where the knot in the tree is to open the secret door.

To bypass these filters, many women, in search of a more neutral pen name, have turned to pseudonyms. For more information, check out Joe’s post here.

For more information on how ageism is affected by these manhandling meanies, check out Matt’s post here.

I’m not going to pretend to enjoy politics in order to get views or garner popularity. I’m just going to blog for the sake of blogging and maybe I’ll get my own kind of viewers. It’s the internet. Who knows?

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-Isms fighting the bombastic blogger with pseudonyms.

Joe, Matt and I joined forces for this weeks digital artifact. Tomorrow we’re going to combine ideas to make the finished product. Today we’re just gathering ingredients. Here is what I’ve got so far for sources:

We were initially going to discuss some of the basics for this chapter (sexism vs. ageism) but then after we began researching, our ideas evolved. Matt strayed toward ageism, Joe took the pseudonym route, and I decided to explore “filter” blogs. Maybe it’s my deep-down dislike for those who believe themselves to be better than everyone else. Most of the time, it’s because they are, but hey, you don’t need to go rubbing it in all the time.

One quote in particular from Uses of Blogs got me started down this road.

As other researchers have argued, however, these perceptions create a hierarchy whereby the group or pundit blog– sometimes called the “filter” blog–is the authentic form against which other styles of blogging must be judged” (155)

The author then goes on to explain how none of these pundit blogs have really addressed the basis of which they go around “judging” blogs.

What these debates also typically avoid is any significant debate about what makes atopic “political,” “newsworthy,” or “important” in the first place (155)

This reminds me of something Prof. Morgan told me about my first couple of blog posts. He said I was “snarky” but there wasn’t any basis for me being “snarky” other than my own personal opinion. I didn’t have and facts to back myself up. Isn’t this a similar situation? The filter blogs are sitting there being snarky about other people’s blogs, judging them with criteria they don’t understand fully.

If you’re going to label someone’s blog as worthless you better have a rubric or something. Maybe then we can really call them “A-List” bloggers.

 

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What my pink highlighter taught me.

Chapter Eleven

Scholarly Blogging: Moving toward the Visible College

Blogging boils down to three major settings: the notebook, the coffee house, and the editorial page. The phrases themselves are rather self-explanatory; however there is one more type that seems to be a hybrid division: the scholarly blog.

A decade ago Harrison and Stephen explained why computer networking was of such interest to academics. It played to long-held ideals among scholars that had yet to be realized: “unending and inclusive scholarly conversation; collaborative inquiry limited only by mutual interests; unrestrained access to scholarly resources; independent, decentralized learning; and a timely and universally accessible system for representing, distributing, and archiving knowledge.” (118)

Scholarly blogs provide most, if not all, of these opportunities. If anything they follow the four major themes of blogging practices:

  • They rely on networked audiences.
  • They encourage conversation between readers.
  • They are generally a low-intensity activity.
  • Depending on the blog, they can portray a transparent thinking-in-process style.

Let’s talk about the three bog settings, first being “The Notebook.” Like any other diary of sorts, this type of blog allows you to jot down any ideas, quotes, dreams, ice cream flavors, or whatever else suits your fancy. It’s a way of thinking out loud without really verbalizing anything (Unless you’re like me, where you type and talk at the same time). Taken to a more professional level:

The notebooks of many scholars, from Faraday to da Vinci to Gramsci to Darwin, have opened up new realms to later researchers. While the use of such a notebook differs from field to field, in sciences  it might be argued that the ab notebook represents a clear expression of everything the scientist does. (119)

As Cory Doctorow put it, the notebook blog is like his “outboard brain.” Through links he is able to draw lines to relevancy thus making his simple lecture notes even more interesting and interactive.

Nest, we have “The Coffee House.” Although not very common in the large-scale blogosphere, The Coffee House community can still be traced through the hyperlinks recorded back and forth between them.

Many have suggested that blogging in the modern recapitulation of pamphleteering, but like blogs, the coffee houe thrived on mixing and exchanging the opinions and ideas of those from a variety of backgrounds. Like blogs, however, those with particular interests or political leanings were likely to flock to the same coffeehouse. (120)

Like interests are attracted to like interests. Hmm, seems legit.

Lastly, we have “The Opinions Page,” which, like any other Op. Ed. page in a newspaper, represents an opinion not necessarily expressed by a journalist. It represents information provided by those who wish to educate the public and “engage in public issues.” Scholarly blogging finds its foothold here. Blogs provide a forum where those communication barriers aren’t so prominent.

However, some scholars are finding it tough to distinguish work versus play, what’s personal versus what’s professional, what is appropriate versus what is way too much information.

In the end, though blogging is here to stay. At least, for a little while. It provides that bit of communication other forums may be lacking.

Exhausted Devan commentary.

Exhausted Devan commentary.

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The Tag project.

When many people think back to high school fond memories usually aren’t the first things that come to mind. This is where I’m thankful. You see, for some reason my grade in high school consisted of just a ton of really awesome people. My specific group of awesome people consisted of about 30-80 people at any given time. Parties were fantastic. For some reason, unlike any other conglomeration of hormonal teenagers, we didn’t “clique” up. We had the varsity football players, the green team founders, the theatre kids, the band kids, the orchestra kids, the we-don’t-do-anything kids, the smartest people in the school, the dumbest people in the school, the alcoholics, the longboarders, the Magic maniacs, the C.O.D. guys and the religious bunch that weren’t allowed to read Harry Potter. We were The Breakfast Club on steroids; we had a little bit of everyone. And we only had one rule: be yourself. If you were anything else, we would know; I don’t how but we knew. If that makes us a clique then so be it. I still do not know how we all got along, but we did.

After high school it was like the breaking of the fellowship. We all spread out across the country and I lost touch with quite a few people. Yeah, it sucks but people move on with their lives. If I see you again, great! If not, oh well, it was nice knowing you! Then my friend Walker created a page appropriately titled “Keeping in Touch.” Ever since the creation of that I’ve felt that we’ve been able to at least keep some ties intact.

Recently, there was an article posted about a group of four guys who had been playing the game of “Tag” for 23 years. 23 YEARS. Yeah, talk about commitment.

The game they play is fundamentally the same as the schoolyard version: One player is “It” until he tags someone else. But men in their 40s can’t easily chase each other around the playground, at least not without making people nervous, so this tag has a twist. There are no geographic restrictions and the game is live for the entire month of February. The last guy tagged stays “It” for the year.

How did they manage this? Well, by flying across the country and hiding in one another’s car trunks, breaking and entering, steaking out in bushes, whatever they had to do to get their tag. Although the four men have all gone their separate ways, some to priesthood, some to criminal law practices, this game has allowed their friendship to stay strong throughout the years.

Mr. Konesky, a tech-company manager, is now “It” again and has had 11 months to stew. With February approaching, he has been batting around a few plans of attack. He says he likes to go after people who haven’t been “It” for a while. That includes Father Raftis, who has been harder to reach since he moved to Montana but who, as several players pointed out, is a sitting duck on Sundays.

Well, my friends and I also have no desire to lose each other so we decided to come up with our own version. There are seven of us, all at our respected universities: Alec, Alex, Walker, Kristi, Taylor, Joseph, and me. Organized through Facebook, we tried the whole “NOT IT” approach to see who would be “It” first. I had no desire to be”it” first so I changed the rules a bit and introduced the “nose goes” approach. If you’re not familiar with “nose goes” the rules are simple: don’t be the last person to put your finger on your nose otherwise you’re it. If you want some advice, the key to never losing is to start the process. 

So I switched it up. I posted a picture of me with my finger on my nose and my idea actually caught on. I love these guys.

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Joseph was the last one to participate thus he didn’t make it on to the collage. Out of everyone, though, he probably has the best placement to start us off. Taylor and I mapped it out so we know. Kristi is probably the safest over in Boston whereas Walker should watch his back. These guys are the kind of people who are not above driving ten hours and hiding in your closet, bribing people to achieve victory or ambushing you in the shower. They’re horrible and I love them dearly.

We begin in March.

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