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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series’

A look at Participatory Culture

November 6th, 2009 No comments

With advances in the internet and the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, individuals can better utilize digital recourses.   The features of this evolution according to Tim O’Reilly include; “Services… with cost-effective scalability, control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them, trusting users as co-developers, harnessing collective intelligence, leveraging the long tail through customer self-service, software above the level of a single device, and lightweight user interfaces, development models, and business models.” Users of Web 2.0 have greater ability to interact with content.  Thus, they have moved from a consumer driven culture to a participatory one where users actually produce content and inform others.

A participatory culture according to Henry Jenkins and the other contributors of Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture is “a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices… [a culture] in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection” (p. 3).  In this text Jenkins, provides an in depth look at how technology is impacting our culture. I was particularly interested in the idea that individuals that have moved from consumers of information to producers of information may have done so primarily because of popular culture and to some degree societal pressures not as much because of their education.

Jill Walker Rettberg also pointed to these changes in Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series. From the title of the text we can guess that Rettberg is talking mostly about blogs and their functions as a means of self exploration, citizen journalism, creating a dialog between the author of the post and those who wish to comment, etc.  However, these same ideas are relevant to other aspects of digital literacy.

Such is the case with Jenkins discussion of video games and their possibility to communicate valuable information to players. Jenkins states that “contemporary video games allow youth to play with sophisticated simulations and, in the process, to develop an intuitive understanding of how we might use simulations to test our assumptions about the way the world works” (p. 23).  Jenkins continues on to highlight a conversation between a boy and his father that shows that the game provided valuable historical and political information.  We can see this sort of participation in an ever growing number of spaces including but certainly not limited to music such as with youtube and sampling as is described in Copyrights and Copywrongs; The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity by Siva Vaidhyanathan.

Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series

September 9th, 2009 No comments

Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series by Jill Walker Rettberg successfully attempts to provide readers with an understanding of blogs and bloggers and how this medium, and/or genre, has and continues to change and impact the way meaningful communication is viewed in forms beyond traditional media.  Rettberg offers a brief but comprehensive overview of the history, meaning, styles, exploitations, adaptations, and future of blogging.  As the line between journalists and bloggers blurred yet legal implications did not, defining the term “blog”, which was coined in 1999 by Peter Merholz, and “blogger” has become a more pressing issue. None the less, it is a daunting task because of their ever adapting nature and various participants opinions.

Through Rettberg’s work we gain a greater understanding of the purpose of blogs; as participatory forms of media that can function as a social network, a forum for self exploration, a type of journalism that may give firsthand experience, insight, or opinions, or a means of advertising and marketing, to name a few.  Blogs are created to be read by others even if those others are just a small group, fifteen perhaps, of family, friends, and acquaintances.   However, unlike diaries that can be burned or shredded blogs may leave a more lasting trace which can be problematic when usually separate networks, such as conservative in-laws and a wild social life, collide.

Unlike traditional media, blogs encourage direct participation by viewers through comments made to the page creating a sort of dialogue between producer and consumer and perhaps skewing the definition of each.  The blog’s creator can respond to the comments depending on their whim. The information covered on the blog is also entirely up to the creator there are no fact checkers or editors as in traditional media. Interestingly, many people say that they read blogs because they think that they are more credible perhaps this is due to the blogger’s obviously stated opinion or because most blogs are not meant to provide journalistic style information but a subjective personal view of that information.  However reader’s supposed acceptance of little “t” truth does not extend to fake blogs that attempt to trick the reader into becoming emotionally invested in an online personae only to find out that they were not real.  Rettberg concludes with a look at the future of blogging which she states will continue to evolve and change our understanding of media participation and communication.