Friday, 8 January 2010

WEEK 9: I was in Paris however.......

I was absent for WEEK 9, having a smashing time in Paris working and playing and blah blah. What I can gather took place using the WIKI concerning week 9  is that there were more interesting discussions. The WIKI states the following:

This week we watched 2 talks by Clay Shirky. The first was in 2005 when tags was a new feature in Flickr, the 2nd talk was from 2009 and in some ways show how quickly things have developed.

The session started with the following statement:

digital environments create the possibility for . . .

everyone was asked to consider what they might add to this statement and we looked at in again after watching each talk.

talk 1:

talk 2:

Further notes and video: 

These are very interesting and relevant to my post: Who or WHAT is Rupert Murdoch

These are the responses people in the group came up with concerning the following statement:
digital environments create the possibility for . . .

1) Increasing the impact of the individual voice
2) Mass action
3) Less institutionalised, professionaly driven world moving towards one that is more socially driven.
4) Breakdown of institutional hierarchy.
5) The human archetype.
6) Equality for expression, instability of information access (loss of history).
7) Having a choice to find the right answer.
8) Freedom of expression.
9) Powerful, global group influence.
10) Mass collaboration of individuals.
11) Access to hi-technology (rejection?)
12) Bitesize media consumption. 
13) Less linear and geographic based communication/societies/communities.
14) A more level playing field, producers and consumers are one. 
15) Complete exposure.
16) Diluted power structures.
17) Positive and negative.
18) Ease?
19) Escape from reality?
20) Triangular to circular (reference to 4. Breakdown of institutional hierarchy.)

It is difficult to understand the precise meaning of these points. From what I can make out they all hold validity. The individual is certainly able to make an impact (in support of 1) although not often on their own. Amidst the immense noise that constitutes the internet or perhaps the "the vast ocean of trivial musings and mind-scat wedged in the intellectual sewage pipe" (To quote from Jack Sharp 's interesting commentary again) it is not all that clear how to filter the voice of an individual or how to understand their message or their needs. Referring to the comments about mass collaboration and action (2 and 10) it is these that enable the exposure of a powerful, global group influence (9). Weather the influence is conscious (e.g. planned group action) or not is not always clear however it is not always necessary to clarify this. In the example of the 2009 earthquake in China, the masses of people who were uploading information about it  said something very clear about it because it was such a dramatic event. The nature of the event was violent, unexpected and was effecting real life instantly. It was worth talking about it, it effected so many people who all had the means to share information concerning how it effected them at the same instant that it was happening, be it a photo up load or on twitter etc. Similarly it was something people outside China were very interested in. The so called great firewall of China could not predict such a surge of information, similarly it could not predict an earthquake. This indicates none other than the obvious; that massive Earthquakes, events and dramatic events are a big deal when they happen, of great public interest for the clear fact that they effect people so much and that such things are definitely worth preparing for.

The internet leads us to assume it encourages freedom of expression (8) because with out the additions by people the internet would not be as immense, far reaching or as diverse as it is.  Also, almost anyone and every one can and could start some kind of blog or join some kind of network from which they can  personally express some kind of opinion and/or add some kind of information (no matter how trivial, meaning full or relevant that information might be). Which is the opportunity digital software's use to be made user friendly- and democratic in reference to 4.
Take two examples of 3D software as an example: MAYA- A 'professional' 3D software which is quite expensive, complicated to learn and immensely capable of highly meticulous operations Vs. Google 3D, which is free for everyone, fairly self explanatory and still yields some of the greatness achievable with MAYA but never to such  degrees of accuracy. If I wanted to make something simple, like a ball with in a ball, I may as well use the free-ware.
The internet almost teases  out new technologies from individuals and demands they be democratised. Probably a result of the high volume of internet users and their human desire and nature to respond, e.g with the creation of interactive websites, animations and games etc and how people in-turn create a reply to these ideas.
The digital environment it one that is generative and so simplistic in its most basic form, which in  principal is packet switching. This is an idea as clear as day yet it's applications are potentially infinitely complicated. The fact that this form of communication is based on sharing a circuit is as symbolic as it is practical. 

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