Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category
Ah. The power of social media.
Martha Payne’s very popular blog, Never Seconds where she posts about her daily school dinners – with photos – was banned. A popular blog – with over 2 million readers – her work shot to further popularity – 3 million readers – after the press caught the story.
Apparently catering staff feared for their jobs because of Martha’s regular updates about the meals. The ban has since been lifted … but it is certainly food for though (LOL) that a caterer automaticaly gets upset about publicity. What did they have to be ashamed about? Here is Martha’s report of the ban.
Lovely to see this little girl taking the power of the media so seriously and equally wonderful that she just concentrated on doing the job well. What a sweetheart.
Anyhow we all love U-turns, and in a popular trend, apparently someone at the top listened, and changed their mind. Hurrah. And it turns out that this all helped Martha’s original cause – raising money for a school kitchen in Malawi!!
Ah the blog. I am coming back to it – driven by a pact with Eve that we will write weekly because we think it will help our thinking. Maybe this will also pave the way back for me to Twitter. A long gap of not writing here, partly caused by the fear that things may get personal when I did not want to mix up thoughts about heart attacks, cancer and research into Web 2.0. But in fact they are inextricably mixed as they weave through my life and so I guess will all at some point emerge somehow here. Why? Because web 2.0 technologies somehow bring together the public and the private, and maybe that is because web 2.0 is so much a part of our personal lives. Perhaps this is what is scary to so many people and thrilling to others. The Internet (and especially social networking sites) weaves around us, mediates and constructs, pushes and pulls as we push and pull at it.
That’s all. I am being vague & mysterious this week as there is time later to be profound and clear.
So below is a mash up from the beach – whose relevance is vaguely that this blog will bring you all the stuff that has washed up during my week.
Kristen Purcell from Pew Internet Research has this today:
I wonder if the statistic about using the Internet more if you are a ‘wireless’ user indicates that having wireless facility MAKES you use the Internet more .. or if it is that you get wireless as you are already mad crazy about online stuff. Prob a bit of both. We ‘went wireless’ approx seven years ago … just as we had so many people in the house using the Internet and could not afford to put routers everywhere. then we gradually all got laptops and drag them round the house with us, room to room. We take our computers with us when we go away, storing all our vital stuff and our stuff that seems vital (but probably isn’t).
I am not surprised that the SNS usage is most popular amongst the young (73% se SNS); while those going into Virtual Worlds is just 8%. I would have liked to have seen stats on gamers too… we hear often in the popular press about the huge sales of video games and about the immersive activites of gamers. But I think the gamers get attention as they are SO immersed and that involvement in game is extra to Real Life stuff … as opposed to augmentive of, RL stuff. Gamers seem to use the computer to ESCAPE, while SNS people use it to KEEP IN TOUCH.
In the February 2010 report, Social Media and Young Adults, Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, Kathryn Zickuhr explain that:
Two Pew Internet Project surveys of teens and adults reveal a decline in blogging among teens and young adults and a modest rise among adults 30 and older. In 2006, 28% of teens ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-29 were bloggers, but by 2009 the numbers had dropped to 14% of teens and 15% of young adults. During the same period, the percentage of online adults over thirty who were bloggers rose from 7% blogging in 2006 to 11% in 2009.
Again, I am not surprised… when I was looking at young people’s uses of Diaryland and of personal websites on servers like Angelfire.com, Web 2.0 had not really arrived in the way it now has. We can produce bite size (byte size) chunks of text, that is ephemeral and possible to generate while on the move. The early versions of blogs were hard work and actually I think were used by those who already loved writing (or would have done if digital processing were not an option). Maybe they were for the ‘writerly’ type of young person. Now, with blogs being a bit more accepted, a bit more embedded in the culture, the oldies have taken them on and they are being used by them as ways of indulging their writing desires. But also those who blogged as teens in the early millenium years may now be in their twenties and some of them will be blogging still. SNS sites allow you to drop by, do something else and then drop by again. They allow for in and out attention, as opposed to blogs which tend to ask for sustained work.
looking forward to reading the report later.
I really enjoy reading Sheila Webber’s Information Literacy blog, but I must admit I enjoy her Second Life blog even more. In the SL blog, writing as Sheila Yokishawa, she writes as her alter ego – her second life avatar. I love the way the blogs are separate but that they work together in some way, sometimes referring to each other. Sheila weaves her way between the spaces and somehow this has an effect on a kind of distributed identity across the spaces. (More of Distributed Identity later; I want to explore this idea when on study Leave over the next few months). Other peoples web spaces also interact in interesting ways – e.g from blog, to Flickr, to professional sites.
As is quite customary on Sheila’ blog she begins with a series of ratings:
No of meetings attended: 2 (good); No. of trees felled: 8 (good); No of trees planted: 7 (good); No. of times have tagged a blog entry with the word “chocolate”: 0 until today (surprising: in RL would probably have to tag every day “chocolate”)
I am assuming that in Real Life Sheila is trying not to eat chocolate at the moment. This has made me think about the idea of stickiness…. . Here I am not talking about chocolate smears, but about the way there are certain aspects of our offline selves that show through our online selves. There are aspects that we decide to show and tell about; it is all about display (Guy and I wrote about this in our chapter on academic blogging). Then there is stuff which we betray about ourselves which comes through no matter what – aspects of our identity that stick like burrs. Maybe it is our anglo-centrism; maybe it is our love of chocolate.
Guy Merchant has written about identity in terms of anchored and transient identities – with the transient aspects appearing and disappearing at different times of our lives. But anchored aspects – perhaps gender – stay with most of us all our lives.
I think there are some choices we make about identity online, and what aspects we decide to ‘bring with us’. I am going to think about these aspects as ’sticky’; they stay with an individual across spaces. Other aspects, we might choose to disconnect ourselves from. This is why some people find the Internet liberating (the disabled, for example); others may find the Internet frustrating and so for example, things like learning difficulties may have a stickiness that limit our ability to participate online.
Finally … the snow took me by surprise when I came to walk home this evening. It was quite beautiful as massive flakes of snow fell and quickly created a carpet everywhere:
I have been interested to see that the British tv and radio have had quite a lot of stuff about diaries recently. Richad E Grant hosting something, ‘Dear Diary’ for example. This documentary features diaries kept by a number of people over many years… the iplayer info explains:
Richard E Grant, a diarist since childhood, uncovers the power of the diary. He considers the diaries of Joe Orton, Kenneth Williams, Erwin James, John Diamond and Rosemary Ackland and asks whether a diary should, or could, ever be totally honest, wholly accurate and absolutely true.
I was surprised to find the first in this treble episode series to be quite riveting; Richard is quite posh so I found it fun watching him amble about poshly and awkwardly asking nosey questions (pretending not to be famous and giggling like a kid) – there is this great part where his wife calls him while he is doing a webcam thing and he answers ‘I’m just doing the diary programme’ or some such. Anyhow this is all quite weird as we watch him question diarists about why they keep diaries all their lives. He asks whether people should be totally honest – and I thought that interesting as paper based diaries tend to be thought of as quintessentially private writings – unlike blogs, of course. So it is strange to ask whether people should be honest – when there seems to be moral outrage if blogs do not seem to be honest. Why would you be less than honest in a private diary? Today the radio mentioned that the Green Goddess has kept a diary since she was a kid (and is now 70) . Then (Lady) Antonia Fraser was on book of the week reading her diary about her life with Harold Pinter.
So all this stuff about writing in a private way and going public with it is totally age old and I just find it fascinating that there seems to be this widespread interest … also Dr Irving Finkel is assistant keeper in The Middle Eastern Department of the British Museum and his collection of private diaries, written by ‘ordinary people’ appears in the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition ‘Identity: Eight rooms, nine lives’ which runs until April. (I would like to go) It was funny as he was talking about how apparently boring diaries are interesting as they show us things about ourselves. On the radio he read excerpts which included things like ‘ I really hate Lindsay; I hate her hate her” etc…. showing that teenagers have always been the same! But I will be very interested to see if any critics slate this exhibition for being banal – in the same way as they often slate Twitter, or blogs for being so. Or will the fact that they are written on paper (and are a bit less than contemporary) save them this fiercesome criticism? I think that we love to see traces of people – and I like to see the lives of ORDINARY people. There is something that immediately makes things seem special if you put them in a museum – maybe it is the glass cabinet effect that CHANGES the meanings.
Fascinating also, is the stuff you find on Flickr that is so diary -ike. Check out this custom made diary from Traveliter
Interesting this desire to leave traces of ourselves everywhere; the web allows us to distribute the narrative across spaces and time and to share aspects of our lives and to provide a particular version (or brand) of ourselves.
The Guardian reported today on someone who one day, scarily, burned every photo he ever took …a professional photographer who had had ENOUGH. he said ‘Photography was dead by 1972′
I am so glad he is less right; i.e. wrong.
Here are some traces of people doing identity work:
I have not had as much time as I would like to keep track of stuff on Twitter lately. I really should try to look more often as there is always interesting stuff ..
take for example the link from @simfin
I just thought it was so great that at last we have someone speaking up for pupils and their teachers. (Even if it is Ed Balls)
Then there was also an interesting little snippety bit – an exchange I picked up between Josie Fraser and someone I don’t know, called awhitehouse. They were discussing stuff around the nettiquette of quoting people on Twitter. There seems to have been some discussion about whether it is OK to quote without permission, seeing as it is a public space – josiefraser mentions she would only ask for permission if people had originally sent a non public message (eg via the direct Message facility.) Otherwise she would assume she could share beyond Twitter.
For me this pretty much depends. The University ethics procedure has made me more cautious thn I used to be about some things. For example I used to quote from peole’s blogs wthout asking – but now I ask. Even though these are documents available publically, I somehow see them different from ‘public documents’ These would be things where it was clear that wide dissemination was the aim. There are some things online that anyone can read – but that it is clear that they are written for a smaller (usually known) audience. And I think that when some people are on Twitter, they assume only their friends are looking.
Finally we have this on Prezi:
How did I find it? …. on Twitter.
Hmm. Like, … whatever!!!
The Guardian ran a few reports here and here (one day after another in fact) …. and here. And yesterday Twitter went crazy with a new trending topic when news hit from Nielson that Teens were not tweeting. I guess it all makes a welcome change from people moaning about kids being online all the time and from hearing the wonderment about all our little digital natives who are born wireless and with inbuilt bluetooth (etc.) It is a new refrain that implies disappointment that kids are not obsessed with the latest fad – that it is the oldies who are doing it.
As Apophenia has pointed out many of the tweets on Twitter’s 3rd most trending topic at the moment are from teens protesting that they do tweet.
Le’s face it hardly anyone uses Twitter – a fact you will find confirmed if you announce that you do so, to a bunch of people down the pub (unless they are all your tweeting friends). So it is not a surprise that not many teens tweet – and despite their protests, the tweeting teens don’t seem to be typical – just like their tweeting oldie counterparts.
I think it is interesting as we have become so convinced that all kids are all online and up for technology for technology’s sake, that we are in a state of shock when we find this is the case. Facebook (and Bebo and Myspace etc) offer a space where you can do much more identity work than on Twitter. Facebook lets you play in lots of ways, Facebook is a fun thing to do. Kids seem to prefer it on there and frankly I think are glad if the adults migrate to twitter away from Facebook where they had made a brief and unwelcome appearance. Different online spaces have different affordances and I sense that as we are all maturing in our uses of online spaces, we are making decisions according to what we want from something. We know that teens migrate through the social networking sites as friendships change and develop – switching from Bebo to Myspace, to Facebook (etc.) Twitter may not serve ther purposes so well… for me I closed down Facebook when I realised that all my friends were mixing with colleagues and ex students, present students were all mingling in my space. I found it unnerving to have brothers in with post grads (for example) and could not manage to feel relaxed about writing on my wall in such a social mash-up! Maybe the young don’t have such diverse networks and anyhow worry less about saying things in front of the ‘wrong’ people. For me Twitter is a space where I can custom build my network and have it as a space where I mainly talk as if in work, in my academic comfort zone. It’s like a very select staff room.
So yes … I feel a comparative study coming on … luckily I already have the ethical review complete and can start work on this in September!! And as I said on the blog yesterday, this stuff needs researching from both ends … looking at the data online and the stats … but also TALKING to the people.
In the meantime New Media & Society has this.
Gosh. I wish I had known this before. Apparently going on Twitter and Facebook (etc) can lead to Cancer. It has got everybody all of a flutter (as well as twitter) commenting on articles and on blogs all over the place. (They should know better).
The National Health Service ran this summary of the report; it seems that the ’study’ upon which the report is based is largely data free. The report argues that social networking sites actually ISOLATE people. Gosh. So much for my little blog post yesterday. Even the infamous badscience blog gives the ’study’ a mention but does try to exert self control.
Gosh. Why oh why are people so scared of online social networking? They are funny. Honestly I sometimes think they are joking. But it’s not really funny that they are saying these things cause cancer. I am having enough trouble keeping off the red wine. (or on it).
Twitter can help save lives as well though – since it allows surgeons to communicate quickly and effectively, supporting each other across the network as they operate.
Just to show I am not a complete cynic, I like this website about science.
I would have imagined that anyone having three months off work would immediately take to incessant blogging; uploading zillions of back logged photos onto Flickr and even …. even …. starting to write the book she had been thinking about doing for a while.
But no, no no. This is not what has happened to me … so far. Just the opposite. I have been hiding under the keyboard and feeling strange and in a funny space of not being at work and not being able to think in joined up sentences. I have been off work now for about 7 weeks …. but look at this … I am blogging.
What has helped me feel brave enough to plunge in again? The culprit is Twitter …or specifically people I know Twittering me ….. allowing me to just dip my toe in and help remember how nice it is to get glimpses of your friends online… getting messages through of just a couple of lines has helped me back in somehow and maybe just maybe, when I get back to work I won’t feel so twitty having first been tweeting and blogging my way into digital literacies again.
So this is an interesting little use of social networking … a vehicle for helping people to make their way back into communities after absence.
What have I been doing meanwhile? Not a lot … but I have read this (yesterday) by mad old Janet Street Porter; this (REALLY hilarious); and this (not hilarious but totally not put downable) . I have over the last weeks been forced into reading articles about Jade Goody like this and it has driven me batty. How can anyone bear this stuff??
I have been eating healthily in extremis lately and so I have been reeling from looking at this blog which beautifully illlustrates the path to fattiness and obesitydom.
Have been looking at the new 21 classes blogging software. Looks like a great new package for the teacher who wants to use blogs but is nervous about keeping control of things. Looks easy to use and privacy settings are changeable very easily.
Here is what I have just set up.
You can embed what you do on voicethreads, into your blog or website:
(I know it’s a bit rubbish but I rushed this!)
Next up …. we all know the frustration of our pcs and software going wrong. Check this out.
And for easter … there’s this link. Enjoy!!