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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Distribution, Aggregation and the Social; Open and Closed

How “Making” Is “Connecting” In The Publishing World – Creators, Rather Than Just Consumers

Perhaps the most significant advancement in publishing since the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, boosted by the introduction of new technologies, new-media platforms and the expanding internet, is allowing publics to be more “Social” and “Open” through Distribution. As David Gauntlett puts it, “Making Is Connecting”. By people creating their own content and publishing it on the internet, like posting videos on YouTube, blogging, or twittering, they can “express themselves, have a voice, and say something in the world”. Creating and sharing content has become much more easier that we’re not only putting ideas together, but we’re socialising and engaging with the world. As such, “making” is at the basis of “connecting”.

The way in which content – whether information or data – can be created and distibuted has increased rapidly. The internet provides various platforms for content to be distributed, such as on blogs, social media, websites. Creations such as videos, music, articles, visualisations, VJ productions and more is able to be distributed at a greater speed, to a wider audience, and over greater proximity – crossing space and time boundaries. The publishing industry has changed, most notably through eBook publishing and online distribution. New publishing jobs are being created to create digital content, new publics are created such as eBook readers, iPad users or Kindle users, and new networks develop. It’s not a bad thing – books aren’t going to die out. What this means is that new forms of publishing allows for greater engagement, diverse distribution channels, and a greater drive to continue enhancing.

We’re continuing to see before our eyes a  publishing revolution that began with the developement of Web 2.0. As Gauntlett explains, there’s a stark contrast between now and the 20th century where “people had to have what they were given, made by media professionals” through technologies such as the TV and Radio (Gauntlett 2011). Now, we’re making things in the world, not just consuming them.

In explaining concepts in his book “Making Is Connecting”, Gauntlett goes on to express the significance of publishing publics:

As David Gauntlett explains through his graphic of the tree, the soil that a vibrant publishing society grows from is filled with opportunites for us to publish. Creativity is the fuel for growth. Essentially, when you have enough individuals deciding to create rather than just consume things, it amplifies activity, and can amplify political activity.

In the next short video, he goes onto explain the impact and effects of Web 2.0 on publishing through lego-made garden visualisations:

 “People were making their own individual gardens” in the Web 1.0 age, but now the garden (websites) comprises of every individual creation, and allows connectivity to happen. So when more people use the new-media and distribution platforms, they get better at it, and this enhances our engagement and connectivity with the world through publishing. YouTube is of course one primary example of how connectivity is created, in which videos made by an individual can go viral and attain mass attention. Not only does a viral video garner attention for the individual, it creates new publics of fans, and encourages more publishing by the video’s creator, as well as fans by linking to it on their blogs or social media profiles, or leaving comments under the video.

Take for instance the first ever “Annoying Orange” video created by Daneboe, which went viral and has now resulted in countless more videos being created since:

 

I guess what hasn’t been considered as opposed to Gauntlett’s optimistic approach to publishing in the Web 2.0 era, are the barriers to connecting with the world and sharing. For example, social media sites such as Facebook are rarely used in countries such as China and Vietnam because of political regulations. In Middle Eastern countries, content such as videos on YouTube that argue against the dominant political and social ideals are targeted negatively in order for them to be removed off the site. Not only does that prevent those people in the country seeing it, but others around the world too. So there are effects to the democracy of publishing and distributing content, but more so hinderances to the democratic effects that these created content can have.

*Update: In our ARTS2090 tutorial on Monday, our class went through some of the Pros & Cons of the rise of self-publishing and connecting:

List Of Pros & Cons made by the ARTS2090 Monday 11pm Tutorial Students and tutor Caroline Wake

 

What the next challenge is, is to develop regulations for these rapidly growing new-forms of media and self-publishing in the Web 2.0 world.

So whilst there are some issues towards democratically being allowed to share in published content, ultimately the advent of Web 2.0 continues to allow individuals to creatively engage with the world, and distribute their own content. In creating rather than just consuming, they are “connecting” by “making”.

References

  1. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘Making Is Connecting’, posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/TIyXZoz0aLY, last accessed 15 May 2011
  2. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains key reason why he wanted to write Making is Connecting’ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/C0erC5Z3qto, last accessed 15 May 2011
  3. Gauntlett, D, 2011, ‘David Gauntlett explains Web 2.0′ , posted on Youtube by davidgauntlett01, http://youtu.be/PFIXcDyKUOk, last accessed 15 May 2011
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Visualising The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual

What Is The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual? What’s A Simple Way To Collect Data On This Topic? How Do We Then Visualise That Data?

Social media plays a big role in our daily lives – keeping us connected with friends and family, formulating into our everyday routine, providing a platform to be mentally and socially active, and allowing us to create and maintain our online identity and online citizenship. But how much is Facebook really worth in the eyes of users?

For my ARTS2090 Visualisation project, my group and I decided to visualise ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. In particular, I wanted to see what the affects on usage of the social networking site would be if the whole site itself, or several of its features, were hidden behind paywalls. We know that the Times now implements an online paywall for its articles and content, but what if social networking sites were to adopt this practice? Would YOU boycott Facebook if it hid behind a paywall? How much do YOU value Facebook?Paywalls are seen as a boundary to publishing, especially when the nature of the internet is to share information. In one of my earlier blog posts The Affects On Paywalls On Digital Publishing And What It Could Mean For My Own Publishing’, I looked at how paywalls would affect the way we publish information, in particular in regards to news content and social networking. A “voluntary sharing and exchange of information for the purpose of connectivity” (Ibrahim 2008, Nardi 2005). Also, as Facebook plays such an important role in the lives of many, how much do they value it? Are they dependant on it. Using new-media has become a ‘Media Ritual’ (Couldry 2003).

Sample of the design of our survey

So, my group, consisting of Kady Holt, Jana Malos & I, set off to collect data in order to visualise the worth of Facebook to individuals. How did we go about collecting the data? The easiest data collecting tool that we found, and that a few of the other assignment groups used was the simple question survey. We created a survey on surveymonkey.com, consisting of 9 simple questions, each with different answering methods such as as ratings, choosing one answer, choosing more than one answer, written responses, etc.After creating our survey, we published the links to it via Facebook so that we could get Facebook users particularly around the same demographic as ourselves in order to obtain the data. Once we had gotten 100 responses, we closed the collection links, and then Survey Monkey analysed our data for us.

Sample of how our data was analysed after collection by Survey Monkey. (Click On Image To Enlarge)

The next step was to visualise this data, and compile the visualisations together in one format. So here are the slides containing the visualisations of the data received from our 9 questions:

I’ll quickly explain 2 of the visualisations I created:

The question we asked our respondents was ‘Which Facebook Feature Do You Most Value?’. As respondents could only choose one answer, the results were easy to visualise. So, sticking to our Facebook theme, I decided to emulate the act of “liking” a certain status or page on Facebook, and visualised the data this way. As such, “Wall Post – 41 people like this” = 41 people said that this is the feature they most value. For the “Other” response, created my version of “commenting” on a status. Respondents could fill in an answer box what they value that wasn’t part of the initial options, hence the “commenting” visualisation.

We asked users what their intentntions were when posting information on Facebook, and they could choose more than 1 answer, hence the numbers. Using paint, which I did for all each of my 3 visualisations, I created this little men with different expressions that correspond to the intention, and then one added to the powerpoint, I then made the speech bubbles. It’s a unique way to publish and visualise data, but one that I thought suited this question.

Overall, we visualised data about an important topic in social network and publishing, and looked at a new way of publishing data through visualisations. Every aspect of this visualisations – the colours, images, texts, variables, etc – are important, like the Actor Network Theory suggests. All these elements combine to best represent the data and emerging patterns in ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. Furthermore, the publics that would find this information useful, Facebook users, non-users, and the Facebook/Social Networking companies have here some basic models to understand just how much individuals value Facebook.

References

  1. Couldry, Nick. “Media Rituals: The Short and the Long Route.” Media Rituals: A Critical Approach, London, Routledge, 2003, pg 1-20
  2. Ibrahim, Y 2008, ‘The new risk communities: Social networking sites and risk’, International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 245-253.
  3. Nardi, B.A. 2005, ‘Beyond Bandwidth: Dimensions of Connection in Interpersonal Communitation,’ Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 14: pp. 91–130.
 
 

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