The Finale

This extract by Mortensen and Walker, focuses around blogging and in particular the use and power of hyperlinks. I have critically evualated the extract by weighing up the pros and cons, and discussed how it will assist me for future tasks in Networked Media. To complete my ten blog entries I decided to discuss what I have learnt from not only this extract, but also from completing the annotated bibliography.

All in all, I believe that this extract and the project in general has made me a more confident and enthusiastic blogger.

1. Mortensen and Walker
2. The marriage of Networked Media and Mortensen and Walker
3. What’s it all saying?
4. What I like about you..
5. The vast and ever-growing field of social media
6. The important bits
7. The evaluation stage
8. Extract assists hypertext essay
9. The learning curve

REFERENCES:

- Thinking with my Fingers, Torill Mortensen, viewed on 22/8/11, http://torillsin.blogspot.com/
- Game Studies, volume 2: issue 1: July 2001, viewed on 22/8/11 http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/mortensen/

- Academia.edu: Jill Walker Rettberg, 2001, viewed on 22/8/11 http://uib.academia.edu/JillWalkerRettberg

- Mortensen, Torill, and Jill Walker. “Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool.” Researching Ict’s in Context. Ed. Andrew Morrison. Oslo: University of Oslo, 2002.

- Steh Godin’s Blog, Seth Godin, viewed 25/8/11 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

- Wikipedia: Hyperlink, last modified on 16/8/11, viewed on 22/8/11 href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink

- Wikipedia: Social Media, last modified 23/8/11, viewed on 25/8/11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

- Clean Cut Media, 2010, viewed on 25/8/11 http://www.cleancutmedia.com/internet/growth-of-social-media-statistics-video-socialnomics

- Networked Media 2011, Seth Keen, 2001, viewed 25/8/11 http://www.sethkeen.net/networkedmedia-2011/tasks/#hypertext

- DailyBlogTips, viewed 25/8/11 http://www.dailyblogtips.com/user-friendly-website/

The Learning Curve

The annotated bibliography is comprised of ten Blog posts, but the criteria only covers nine. Having had some leeway regarding this post I have decided to focus on what I’ve learnt whilst completing this assignment.

The first and the biggest, which once again I’ve already mentioned, is my new found appreciation for linking. I am proud to say that I have included a link in virtually every post of late, and I plan on continuing this in future posts.

The next thing that I have realized is that you don’t need a fancy theme to have a good blog. After researching many well known blogs I’ve realized that they all have a much higher regard for content as appose to aesthetics. Today I returned my blog theme back to the original, plain, WordPress theme. Hopefully the content of my blog is strong enough to stand on it’s own two feet.

During the assignment I also put my first video on to my blog. Even though it was unbelievably simple, it was quite a proud moment. Getting the video onto my desktop was the main issue. Thankfully keepvid is not only useful for sucking the mp3 file out of videos. The video that I first tried to upload was far too big for my blog. The second time I tried it however, I chose the smaller file. In this particular case I don’t think the poorer quality will make that much of a difference as the window for the clip is relatively small. Although a very small achievement, an achievement nevertheless. On my quest to become more technologically independent this seems to be a good start.

And, above all, I learnt how to write an annotated bibliography !

Extract Assists Hypertext Essay

Discusses the relevance of the text in relation to how it will inform the design and production of the hypertext essay

This extract is focused around hyperlinks. In tutes for the past few weeks we have been looking at using hyperlinks to direct traffic through our newly created web pages. I can say that although creating a web page has been very challenging for me, I can understand the importance of having correct links set up. When i go on to any web page, I immediately look towards the links. The provide the viewer with a way of reaching the information they are seeking, and they usually make the page clearer to understand and easier to navigate. In the world of blogging, linking “anchors blogs in the public arena, as part of a communal discourse.” Similar to webpages, links on blogs enable us to navigate around, and find the particular type of entry we are searching for.

In the hypertext essay we will be expected to provide a number of links throughout our pages. The assessment brief tells us that:

“The hypertext essay will need to have a minimum of five pages that are linked together in some way”

I believe that doing this assignment before the hypertext essay will allow us networked media students to produce more viable and friendly websites. According to “Daily Blog Tips,” there are four characteristics to creating a user friendly website and the third focuses on links.


All users want to be able to move through the website to find what they want. A huge factor in being user-friendly is providing simple and intuitive navigation. Major areas of navigation should be located consistently on all pages. Using common elements that users expect to find, like About pages and Contact pages will help as most internet users have come to expect them and will look for them at times.
A general rule of thumb is that any page on your site should be reachable with 2 clicks from your home page. For larger sites this probably isn’t realistic, but offering a sitemap and/or a sitewide search can really help.
Another important factor with navigation is that user’s shouldn’t have to guess where they will end up if they click on a link. Regardless of whether the link is part of a navigation menu, or if it is simply in the body of the text, visitors should understand where the link will lead them.

REFERENCES:
- http://www.sethkeen.net/networkedmedia-2011/tasks/#hypertext
- http://www.dailyblogtips.com/user-friendly-website/

The Evaluation Stage

Point out the strengths and weaknesses of the text.

Like all critical evalutions, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a text can help you weigh up the ideas, and better understand the meaning behind the text.

The main weakness with the text is that it was written in 2002. Although this was only nine years ago, when matters of technology are concerned that is a very long time ago. Social media, as discussed in a previous post, is expanding at an exponentially high rate, meaning that what was relevant in 2002 may not be in 2011. However, this specific extract may avoid this issue. Linking is at the heart of blogging, and i believe that its safe to say that it will always be that way. The extract is based around linking and fortunately for Mortensen and Walker, this is a feature of the blog that will never be out of date.

As I mentioned in another post, I believe that the structural integrity, the grammar and the composition of the extract is one of its strengths. For fear of sounding repetitive in my posts i wont mention anything more on this point, but for more information visit “what i like about you.”

The second, and most significant strength to the piece is the validity of the argument. Whilst anyone can publish information on the internet, it is only those with the credentials to back up their name that are really convincing. Although they appear to be lovely middle-aged women, they are true geniuses of their field. This provides a great deal of worth to the piece as readers do not have to second-guess the information, and they know that it has come from a viable and educated source.

The Important Bits

Draw attention to specific features in the text that proved to be useful in understanding the text.

There is one sentence in particular which I believe is at the core of the extract.

Someone links their site to the first post, comments on it, and a conversation grows forth.

I think that this statement is one crucial to the understanding of the extract. It compliments and explain their idea that “weblogs are densely interlinked”. It’s the idea that we are all sharing and regurgitating each others blog posts, ideas and thoughts. It also explains how one small idea can be developed into something that its explored and talked about. I immediately went on Google to try and find an exmample of this, it wasn’t very hard. The first blog link I clicked on was a perfect example, Seth Godin’s blog. the first post of his that i saw, had 675 comments and a link to see trackbacks. Through these comments, some of which included people re-posting his post, this idea of facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, expanded. Most importantly, here i am, a networked media student, now reposting his link on my blog.

References:
- http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

The Vast and Ever-growing Field of Social Media

Indicate what field the text is situated within

At first I was unsure as to what field my extract had come from. When I think about it now, I feel as if the answer could not be more obvious. The expanding galaxy of online communication, in particular social media, is definitely where this extract belongs.

The world of social media is a vast umbrella under which we can find things such as internet forums, weblogs, wikis, social bookmarking and pictures or videos. In an article published in 2010, there were six types of social media identified. They include: collaborative projects, social network sites, bogs and microblogs, content communities,virtue second worlds and virtual game worlds .

Social media now marks the number one activity on the web. It’s growth has been both unprecedented and rapid and it continues to grow at an exponentially high rate. Blogs in particular have not had a long history. In fact, they only gained popularity within the last five to ten years. This growth was almost simultaneous with the birth of the first hosted blogging tools, for example Blogger, in 1999. As of Febuary 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs on the internet.

Social media is unstoppable and a big part of today’s day and age. I think this makes blogging a very topical and appropriate topic for Mortenson and Walker to have written a book about, and it also adds to the list of reasons as to why i chose this extract.

References:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
- http://www.cleancutmedia.com/internet/growth-of-social-media-statistics-video-socialnomics

What i like about you..

Present a personal viewpoint on the text:

I have a number of thoughts surrounding this extract. The first that springs to mind is my list of reasons as to why I wanted to focus on the Mortenson and Walker extract, as oppose to the other two, for my annotated bibliography. The first reason is quite shameful. When I first looked at the three paragraphs this appeared to be the simplest. It seemed that once I realised “weblogs” meant “blogs” I was blitzing through this extract! Another reason as to why this appealed to me is because i’m very interested in blogging. I’ve had never had a blog before Networked Media and I have really come to love it. I thought what better way to immerse myself deeper into the world of blogging than to focus on it for an assignment.

Having always enjoyed writing, and English having been my favourite subject at school, I cant help but take note of how the paragraph is written. The short but precise sentences, I feel, give the piece a strong persona. I think that structurally it’s a very strong paragraph. The beginning and middle of it contains succinct sentences that provide information and provoke absolutely no emotion. I don’t think that this is at all a bad thing, in fact, I think it makes the piece! Whats even more exciting is that when I read the last line, the dynamic of the piece entirely changes. The last sentence is much longer in length and, unlike the rest of the extract, there is a large reliance on grammar in order to make sense of it.

Having had no previous experience blogging, and no knowledge of the practice of blogging, I learnt a lot from reading Mortensen and Walker. Before I read their piece, I had not put any hyperlinks on my blog. After reading it, however I have made an effort to include a link in every single blog post I have done since then. I know that this has helped me improve the quality of my blog immensely.

What’s it all Saying ?

Outline the main argument presented

The main argument presented by Mortensen and Walker in their piece about blogging refers to linking.

“In computing, a hyperlink (or link) is a reference to a document that the reader can directly follow, or that is followed automatically.A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document.”

They speak about the importance of linking. When I was reading the larger extract from which this smaller one came, I remember a specific part of it that is now at the back of my mind every time I write a blog post. Although I don’t remember word for word, I do remember that it emphasised that linking is one of the most crucial characteristics of a blog. Without links you dont have even have a blog, at best you have an online diary. Although that isn’t included in the smaller extract, i think it has helped me to grasp this important argument that they are making. They explain how the smallest of ideas can be expanded through a series of links whereby through each stage, each link, it is developed and perhaps commented on. The closing statement of the extract not only acts to further emphasise their argument, but also points out the best feature of a link: being able to make connections between pieces that seem to have no connection at all.

“Links are like roots, tendrils, reaching out between fragments, creating a context for bits and pieces that at first glance may seem to be unconnected fragments.”

References:
- Mortensen, Torill, and Jill Walker. “Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool.” Researching Ict’s in Context. Ed. Andrew Morrison. Oslo: University of Oslo, 2002.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink

The Marriage of Networked Media and Mortensen and Walker

Outline how the texts relates to themes in the course Networked Media- why was it chosen?

I think that the list of ways in which this extract relates to the course material studied in this program, Networked Media, is endless.

The first, most obvious, connection would be that the extract is based around weblogs which are a big part of the course. However I think that this extract relates to the course in a less obvious, more important, way. “Other times, the ideas grow.” This statement, which comes from the extract, is what i believe to be the main purpose for our blogs: to enable ideas to form, to develop and to be critiqued. The blog not only provides us with an arena to have our thoughts and ideas commented on and developed, it also enables us to show a portion of our headspace to the online community. The Networked Media course is all about getting our ideas into the online galaxy and its all about enabling these ideas to grow. Therefore, I believe that this is the strongest link between the course and the extract.

I think that not only was this text chosen to enable us to deepen our knowledge on blogs, but it also serves the important purpose of preparing us for the hypertext essay. This is discussed in a later blog entry, “extract assists hypertext essay”

Mortensen and Walker

Provide information on the authors

The extract that my group has chosen for the annotated bibliography was from “Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool,” which was written by Torill Mortenson and Jill Walker.

Torill Elvira Mortenson is an associate professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Bergen where she specialised in Media Theory in 1982-1990. In 2002 she set about completing a Doctorate in Humanistic Informants while also juggling the role of Assistant Professor at the department of Media Studies at Volda College in Norway. In 1997 Torill published her first piece of work, an analysis of a didactic single-user computer game. On her current blog, “Thinking With my Fingers,” she discusses a variety of topics from media studies to travel to what she calls “academic wierdness”. She also includes links to her many workings, her CV and her Publications.

Jill Walker Rettberg is an Associate Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Bergen. Her current research is based around the many ways in which people tell stories online. This is evident in her blog, jill/txt. An avid blogger, she began blogging in 2000. She believes that this dedication to her current blog contributed to her win of the 2006 Meltzer Award for Excellence in the Dissemination of Research. On her blog she lists her extensive lists of Publications, including “Blogging!” where the extract i have chosen has come from. She is also well know in the social media world for her book,“Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader,” which focuses on the very popular online game, World of Warcraft.

When you first look at the pictures of Torill Mortenson and Jill Walker, you cant help but say that they they don’t look tech savvy at all. However, reading their credentials, there is no question that these ladies know their facts. Between them they have a range of impressive publications and numerous detailed works.

References :
- http://torillsin.blogspot.com/
- http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/mortensen/
- http://uib.academia.edu/JillWalkerRettberg