MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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You’re not intelligent, but your pen is smart!

This social media thing gets a little redundant from time to time. I find myself knowing the same information, learning new tools, asking and answering similar questions, but mainly I find myself losing and gaining interest almost as much as I shower. Okay maybe that was a bit much, but seriously—every time I begin to write my blog I switch from losing interest in social media to becoming completely fascinated by it.
Five minutes ago that exact thing just happened. But then I read this post on the blog I’m monitoring (mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg).  This was a post from Prof Wesch on Mar 11, 2009 titled “SmartPen as Digital Ethnography Tool”.  This is the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, have you ever seen something online or on YouTube and said “this can’t be real?” I.e. the YouTube video, “Microsoft Surface” that received over two million views.
But this SmartPen is real. Prof Wesch describes the pen by saying “In short, it records audio as you write and links what you are writing to the audio (by recording what you write through a small infrared camera near the tip of the pen).  When you are done recording you can actually tap the pen anywhere on your page and the pen will play the audio that was recorded at the time you were making that specific pen stroke.  Students are already sharing lecture notes in the community section of livescribe.com.  As recording devices become increasingly embedded into everyday objects the days of protecting lectures from being recorded seem numbered.”
He includes his first use of the pen during his midterm research updates by his assistants. You can enlarge the image and actually click anywhere on his notes and you can here the discussion that took place while he wrote his own notes. The interesting, and I hate to say it but –ironic- part is; when I clicked on his notes, the discussion happened to be centered around “ownership” and “authorship” in the context of code, and developing websites.
He uses the example of a painting belonging to the artist who painted it, but if he used Photoshop, would his image belong to the creator of that software, where the image now belongs to the paintbrush and not the person using the paintbrush. I say this is “ironic” and I say that lightly, because if a student uses a tool like this to share lectures and lecture notes isn’t it the same idea of ownership? Who will own that knowledge or lecture? Will it still be the professor who originally wrote the lecture and taught it to his students? Or the student who wrote her notes and recorded it with her pen? Or the makers of the software that allowed that pen to copy the lecture? Or even still would it be the person who coded the site that allowed that student to upload his/her professor’s lecture with the Livescibe pen and share it with the world?
Ahhh this is so exhausting…but so fascinating.
Chew on that for a while ☺

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June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The apple fell and landed on a “big fat gay collab”

I am following http://mediatedcultures.net.ksudigg , a very interesting blog developed by a Kansas State University working group led by Dr. Michael Wesch. Their blog is “dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.”
My first response post must be dedicated to their most recent blog post. The post features two videos – the first an old Apple advertisement about the Internet and what possibilities it would bring (at a time when very few were actually on the Internet).  The ad posed a question, “What would you do?” if you had the Internet, and many comments spilling all over YouTube were disgusting and hateful towards many groups.
Wesch continues his post speaking about the considerable amount of GLBT hatred on YouTube and other social sites. He ends his post with an inspiring video flying around YouTube at lightning speed. It is called The Big Fat Gay Collab! and it did make me emotional. For one, I love the song – Lily Allan rocks. And two, it’s just so true – real people being true to themselves and saying Fuck You to all the haters that are too small minded to think outside of their own lives. Personally, I think this is a brilliant video, and an opportunity to eff up the saying ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. I assume the people who participated in this video feel that they have been burned enough times by people who also ignore the ‘nice rule’ that a backlash was necessary. And I can’t disagree.
This blog has many other great posts. I hope you all find it as interesting as I do. Stay tuned for what I expect to be more posts that push some boundaries. P.S. Prof. Wesch uses a lot of embedded YouTube videos in his blog. I like it.
Cheers,
Kim Bottomley
May 14, 2009

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

iTube, WeTube, we all scream for YouTube

Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University has yet to update their blog, so I went back in time, to my birth month and found another YouTube related blog post from one of Prof. Wesch’s students, Becky.

Becky posted a blog titled “The Internet has a Face”. The blog post discussed her interest in vlogging as “meaningful interaction (with others) beyond the limits of text”. She produced a video compiled of some vlog videos that were posted to YouTube. She says her video was “created to explore the content and purpose of vlogs, as well as the networking and interconnectivity as users respond and reach out to each other within and beyond the YouTube website.”

Once upon a time people wrote in a diary, kept a journal, wrote a letter or phoned a friend. Today people are text messaging, video calling, blogging, tweeting , poking, writing on walls, nudging and emoticoning.

 Oh, and vlogging.

People are vlogging about very personal and private things and posting it to the Internet for the world to see. This at first might seem odd, but it’s working for them.

In class we regularly discuss the pros and cons of social media vs. face to face communication; a very worthy discussion. Becky takes our conversation a bit further; beyond the boardroom and rows of cubicles we will all eventually come to despise and focuses on the “YouTubers” themselves. She argues that the Internet is “no longer just text to text, the Internet has a face. The Internet has a heart. The internet has humanity. …with YouTube.”

The video is actually quite moving. I think that YouTube allows people to connect more than any other social media tool. It allows people to be real and express whatever it is they want, whether it’s humility, honesty, humor, compassion or love. And people are connecting. People are just being themselves, telling a story and other people are coming to support them and share with them. It’s actually quite powerful.

Becky says “if there was a fear that the internet was making society antisocial, vlogging would seek to prove otherwise.”

And I think she’s right.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments