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Media in (Continuing, Accelerating?) Transition

We're now in the last plenary here at MiT5 - a summary session drawing together the many threads of research and practice explored at this conference. Suzanne de Castell is the first contributor to this panel, and she notes the increasing fluidity of previously more solid cultural forms. We have moved beyond text as our primary mode of representation in multiple ways, and have left behind the cultural logics of print; this is challenging especially for the educational environment. Remix, in particular, with its various aspects of plagiarism, reappropriation, adaptation, and inspiration, is a particularly important issue for education to address; we must move far beyond cut'n'paste in our embrace of remix approaches, and education is going to be instrumental in this context. We must also pay particular attention to what is being held on to, and what is being left behind - Suzanne notes that much of the input into what are seen as valuable remix projects is still highly gendered and canonical, ignoring a significant number of other sources. The concept of remix itself must be adjusted by looking at the remixing practices and approaches in cultures other than the male-dominated Anglo 'high' culture. Knowledge is always situated, always accountable to its communities, and always under ongoing construction.

Web2.0 Critiques

(I'm afraid I accidentally deleted a couple of comments here last night - please repost them if you can!)

It's the last day of MiT5, and we're in the first session of the day. Mary Madden from the Pew Center is the first speaker, on Socially-Driven Music Sharing and the Adoption of Participatory Media Applications. She notes that the term Web2.0 is imperfect but convenient for summarising many of the current developments in the online world. Tom O'Reilly defines Web2.0 as harnessing social effects; it may not be a revolution, but there have been important changes. We now need to think critically about how and why it emerged as a major force in the first place.

Produsing Culture: Implications of User-Led Content Creation

My colleague Jean Burgess is the first presenter this morning at MiT5 - we have an all-QUT panel going this morning. She begins with a nod towards Andrew Keen's recent book The Cult of the Amateur, which provides an argument not based on a deep understanding of Web2.0, but is mainly a response to the increasing hype around Web2.0 (providing a kind of hysterical anti-hype which in itself still adds to the hype, though). Jean's own work on vernacular photography provides a more intelligent, nuanced look at some of the Web2.0 phenomena.

Some More Eyecandy from IssueCrawler

Hot on the heals of my research into blog coverage of the David Hicks case, some more of my IssueCrawler crawls have completed recently. Eventually (when a number of followp-up crawls I'm planning for the coming weeks also complete), I'll analyse them in some more detail, but for now, here are a few preliminary observations. Larger images of the network graphs are on Flickr; click the respective images to see them. I've also uploaded the interactive SVG graphs; you'll need the Adobe SVG viewer plugin in Internet Explorer to display them correctly...

Teaching Global Citizenship

Ross Priory, Scotland.
The next speakers here at ICE 3 are Leah Macfadyen and Anne Hewling, presenting on their experiences with a University of British Columbia online course in global citizenship, which they developed from scratch. Aims of the course were for students to develop an understanding of the concept of global citizenship, as well as ultimately to consider the impact they might have as global citizens within local, national, and international communities. Students within this (elective) course come from a very brad range of disciplinary backgrounds (and in fact also from the universities of Hong Kong and Melbourne, who were remote partners in the project).

IssueCrawling the Australian Blogosphere: Mapping Discussions about David Hicks

2007-03-02 David Hicks (some authority; node size by centrality)
I'm really quite happy with the way that my first real attempts to use the IssueCrawler tool to map the Australian blogosphere have turned out. As I've mentioned here previously, I'm currently exploring this tool as a means of tracing how particularly topics are discussed across the distributed and ad hoc networks of blog-based conversation, and I used the case of Australian-born Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks as a case study - with renewed calls for the Australian federal government to urge the Bush administration to finally bring Hicks to trial or release him (he was captured in December 2001, but has not been charged yet), there was increased discussion about Hicks's fate over the last couple of months, and I've been interested to see how this has played out in the blogosphere.

So, my work on this was meant both as an exploration of the methodology for and proof of concept of using IssueCrawler in this context. Overall, I think this has worked pretty well, and I've begun drafting a paper to discuss my approach in detail (most of this was written while waiting around airport lounges during my rather circuitous trip to Ibiza and back last week, incidentally). This first research project is part of my wider work with the Citizen Journalism ARC Linkage project at QUT (for which Terry Flew, Stuart Cunningham, and I are chief investigators), and will also feed into a chapter which QUT PhD student Debra Adams and I have just successfully proposed for the upcoming collection Accented Blogging. I'm not going to post all of my current thoughts on this research work right now, but here's a first overview of what I've found, with a few graphs of the resultant networks:

IssueCrawler Results: David Hicks-Related Blog Posts, March 2007

The network maps below show the results of IssueCrawler crawls of blog posts containing the phrase "David Hicks" and relating to the case of Australian-born Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, in March 2007. Authority levels relate to the choice of seeds for the network crawl - using the Technorati authority settings "a lot of", "some", and "a little authority" as a filter for recent blog posts. For more detail, see IssueCrawling the Australian Blogosphere: Mapping Discussions about David Hicks.

Each map image is also available as an interactive SVG graph (around 900kB each) - available through the links below the images. The Adobe SVG viewer browser plugin is required, and maps will display best in Internet Explorer. Full-size map images are available on Flickr - please click on the map images below.

Where's Tony?

(I realise I've started the last few posts with 'well' - so let's try to avoid this for a while.) As a long-time news junkie, since I've arrived in the UK, of course I've been looking to BBC television news for my daily fix. As television news goes, BBC World is usually held up as an alternative preferable to CNN - which like most U.S.-based TV news channels has lost a great deal of credibility in recent years, due to their insufficient ability to maintain a critical stance towards administration rhetoric. Similarly, BBC News Online is of course one of the most respected online news sources, and indeed has also shown some interesting and innovative tendencies to incorporate user contributions and external content in an effort to embrace citizen journalism within the confines of the BBC Charter.

Grave Matters

Here comes the snow...Well, the inevitable has happened, and it's begun to snow in Leeds. So far, there's been little more than a light flurry, which I understand is less than what they've had further down in England's south - but we'll see how things go as we approach the evening. At any rate, the weather has put a dampener on any idea of further exploring the Leeds University and the city itself - I think I might wait until it turns a little more pedestrian-friendly again.

Why Citizen Journalism Doesn't Suck

In the Australian context, the debate about citizen journalism has been rekindled by a recent piece by James Farmer in The Age's 'blogs' section, provocatively titled "Citizen Journalism Sucks". Unfortunately, though, the piece regurgitates a number of the 'home truths' which industrial journalists have been trying to spread about their citizen cousins - yet at the same time, the sharply critical debate which took place in the commentaries attached to the article also demonstrated clearly how effective citizen journalism (properly understood as a discursive, dialogic form of journalism) can be. Here's my response to the article.


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