Digital Media: Here Comes Everybody

On Monday 3rd February 2014, I had a standard day of lectures revolving around my Digital Media Module. To start off the day, I had an hour long lecture untitled “Here Comes Everybody” taken by Mez Packer, before having an hour-long seminar about Presentation Preparation. At the end of the day, I also had a short Dreamweaver and WordPress workshop followed by an individual tutorial with both Alex and Mez in order to go over my Digital Media coursework questions. All of the notes from this day can be found below:

HERE COMES EVERYBODY LECTURE: 

Clay Shirky

  • The title of this lecture is actually the title of a book by Clay Shirky
  • http://www.shirky.com
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Shirky
  • The core of what Shirky is saying is that through the Internet and interactive forms of digital media now is the time that EVERYONE has a say
  • Shirky acknowledges that great changes have happened in media before this point – the printing press, photography, radio, film with sound, TV – but as a contemporary media commentator (and a political one at that) he proposes that the Internet has created the possibility of active participation and the erosion of traditional gatekeepers in a way that was unimaginable even 20 years ago
  • Here Comes Everybody
    • It has consequences for all of you in this room as photographers, artists, businesspeople and human beings

Michael Wesch

  • Also concerned with how the Internet has allowed participation to become a dominant – if not THE dominant cultural form
  • Wesch isn’t as preoccupied with the political forms of participation that Shirky talks about (Shirky has very interesting things to say about governments’ interactions with citizens and the authenticity of political participation in the 21st Century)
  • Wesch’s examination of participation is more anthropological – his research area is Digital Ethnography
  • http://mediatedcultures.net/about.htm
  • In the past participation was something you did in real life, with real friends and family. It was football, or board games or, at its most fantastical, it was games of make-believe in the street with proper children
  • Now much of that has migrated online
  • We now play cards with our friends online. We play fantasy games with strangers online. We play Scrabble online. We play football games and soldier games
  • We even mediate our experiences when we are with friends via our handheld devices (some of the time)
  • But despite all the sensationalism about erosion of community and the scaremongering about losing touch with the real physical environment Wesch celebrates the new possibilities and communities that Digital Media affords
  • For you, as Photography students there are several competing strands to these developments
    • Participatory digital media – Positives
      • The internet/social media allows you to communicate directly with peers
      • Ideas can be shared/developed
      • You can create a professional profile and brand your practice so that creating connections with communities of practice around the world is a click (or two) away
      • You can receive feedback on your work even if you don’t have an established ‘name’
      • Creating and maintaining a profile is feasible and simple using dedicated sites
      • You can create your own social networks using tools such as Ning – http://www.ning.com
  • Participatory digital media – Negatives
    • Your ideas can be appropriated
    • Everyone can get online and ‘present’ themselves as professional
    • Here comes everybody!
  • The above lists present opportunities and issues especially for artists who find themselves competing in an unscrupulous digital marketplace
  • Audiences are increasingly having to identify the authentic from the inauthentic
  • This blurring of real and virtual, authentic and inauthentic is not constrained to the artefacts themselves (e.g. it’s often difficult to tell advertising from other forms of media content)
  • But individual artists can exploit this blurring too
  • UK singer Jessie J for example, had a huge viral boost with her singing-to-camera-undiscovered-talent style YouTube video when in fact she already had a recording contract and an international profile
  • Only later was she tipped by pundits as ‘the next big thing’ and so her meteoric rise to fame began
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TswOLHUQFPk
  • Meanwhile stars ‘talk’ to their fans via their Facebook/Twitter feeds and post comments and personal videos on their websites and blogs giving the impression of intimacy and immediacy when in fact the gulf between them and their fans is as wide as ever
  • Nevertheless companies are vaulting onto the bandwagon – talking to their customers, interacting with them in ways never seen before
  • There are now huge online ad spends (rather than the traditional TV/press) in a desperate attempt to create content that ‘goes global’ sometimes by making things that appear amateur and/or leftfield
  • The ad below however is very slick – and an interesting example of what can happen when it works
  • Old Spice sales increased by 168% after The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, and the advertising budget they had earmarked to promote the video was sent round by the audience
  • Some of the most exciting projects, however, are in crowdsourcing
  • Whether we like it or not we are all contributing (and participating in) the creation of the Giant Global Graph (an expression coined by the inventor of the WWW – Mr Tim Berners-Lee)
  • Some of the most exciting developments in participation have been crowdsourced
  • Here’s how we’re doing it:
    • Facebook or Twitter update
    • Have a look at Vinepeek – http://www.vpeeker.com
    • Online comments (blogs or retail)
    • Amazon reviews/ratings
    • Forum posts
    • YouTube uploads
    • Foursquare check-ins
    • Quora questions/answers
    • Flickr (Picassa, Photobucket) uploads
    • Blog posts
  • With the new semantic technologies now underpinning many web pages and DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) software running in the background we are feeding the databases of the world at a rate of knots that’s almost incomprehensible

 

My Response to the Lecture:

Is the Internet rotting our brains? A common, and what seems to be constant, debate surrounding the Internet came into mind when attending this lecture. 

Although, as discussed previously in lectures, the digital era has paved the way for citizen journalists and bloggers, this lecture made a good point in the fact that the audience have actually had to adapt in order to be able to successfully identify the authentic from the inauthentic. Now to me, this doesn’t necessarily suggest that the Internet is rotting our brains, but actually provides an argument against this claim by saying that the new digital natives have had to become a more aware species.

Another aspect that caught my attention during this lecture was the word “Advertising”. Although I haven’t recorded this in my notes, I distinctly remember discussing future plans for garages to install tailored advertising techniques in order to show you item or deal suggestions based on previous purchases (much like the famous scene in the Hollywood film “Minority Report”, starring Tom Cruise). Even though this hasn’t occurred yet, I am fearful of this change in technology as I feel that it will take away from the individuality of people. By suggesting items that the individual may have already bought means that they will be less likely to experiment with new trends and changes even though one of the main acts of the digital media is about facilitating change.

 

PRESENTATION PREPARATION SEMINAR:

  • Leaning outcomes:
    • Analyze the language of digital media by placing it in a wider context of information cultures – your blog post/responses to material
    • Integrate and apply formal research methods and idea development – blog posts regarding process, image sets, 3rd party plugins and other functions such as rewriting the CSS and also research regarding your mages
    • Demonstrate creativity and the ability to construct a narrative appropriate to the production of a range of integrated new media forms – your images sets/video
    • Demonstrate technical proficiency in the manipulation of Internet based information to produce a considered piece of networked digital media – the whole blog artifact/static page design/ presentation of images
    • Evidence their engagement with the creative-critical process through details analyses, evaluation and reflection upon their own work and the work of others – blog posts, other students in your group, and feeding back to your group
  • Does the idea pose a question?
  • Does that question examine something about our digital lives?
  • Will that question be clear in your final pieces?
  • Could the final pieces be ambiguous? (Some of you intend to use digital devices in a kind of ‘surveillance’ style but the images themselves might end up being prosaic and technology will be the subtext not the subject. How can you make sure that technology is the subject?)
  • You might be using found/archive images/footage. I usually say this is OK if the work is CC, or copyright free, or if you have permission, or if you augment the original sufficiently…
  • Yes, you can use Photoshop, make montages, composites, mash-ups
  • You are allowed to make one set as a video. This could be a slideshow, animation (gif or otherwise), Vlog etc.

I Forgot My Phone example – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8

 

DREAMWEAVER/WORDPRESS WORKSHOP and INDIVIDUAL TUTORIAL:

  • How do you get rid of the bullet points?
    • Got to index.html file and click on source code
    • Find the <ul> in the code and type in <ul id=”menu”>
    • Add a new CSS rule for menu – make a compound and call it #menu – in the new CSS rule definition window, go to list – list-style-type – none
    • Ad another new CSS rule for menu – make a compound and call it #menu li – in the new CSS rule definition window, go to box – unclick same for all under margin – and type in 50px into right
  • How do you make the box appear in the centre of the page?
    • Go to the CSS rule definition window for body
    • Chose box and change width and height to 80%
    • Under the margin section, unclick same for all, and type auto under right and left, and 10% under top and bottom (box is 80%, what’s leftover is 20% divide this by two equals 10%)
  • How do you add another page other than an index page?
    • Just remember to rename the Under Construction file to Under Construction Index once uploading the new index.html file
    • Make a new site
  • How do you fade text in and out?
    • NO – don’t fade it in and out because it is advanced aesthetics; we want the webpage to be as accessible as possible and so it is awkward for the audience
    • How accessible and easy is it for the audience
    • Go straight into website – splash page is optional
  • How do you add a gallery?
    • Can either use a plug in or write it ourself
    • Vertical is the way forward
    • Use lists
    • <ul>
      • <li><img src=”here-is-img.jpg” /></li>
      • <li><img src=”” /></</li>

</ul>

  • How do I download Twitter on to my WordPress blog?
    • Sign in to Digital Media WordPress account
    • Go to plugins – add new – type in jetpack
    • Choose Jetpack by WordPress.com and click on install now
    • After it loads, click activate plugin
    • Go to the jetpack plugin found at the top left of the interface and click connect to wordpress.com
    • This will bring up a separate tab where you will need to click Authorize jetpack
    • Then go to Appearance – Widgets – the Twitter Widget can be found at the bottom of the page, we need to drag this back up to the top
    • Once this has been completed, you will see the Widget ID section under all of the Widget’s settings
    • You then need to go to Twitter and log in before going to Settings – Widgets – Create new – change settings if desired – then click create widget
    • You then need to copy and paste the long number found in the URL of the newly created widget into the Widget ID found on the WordPress page
    • Once this has been pasted, you can then change the appropriate settings before clicking save
    • If I then go onto my main blog page, I can see that Twitter is found right at the bottom of the list of posts
    • Although this is not ideal, this position can’t be changed unless I change the theme and the reading settings (I did experiment with both); I have therefore decided to keep it like this as this not only represents my original idea, but it also makes my WordPress page more user friendly
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