Published on March 11, 2014
Writing for Online Media Professor Nicholas Leshi
Deadline Reminders “Guest Post” Project Email link to firstname.lastname@example.org Before midnight April 2. Final Paper Hardcopy due in class on April 30 OR Email electronic copy to email@example.com No later than end of day May 7 (Include a mailing address if you want the papers returned)
Final Paper Minimum Length Five Full Pages (Double Spaced, 12 point font size, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins) First Half Your experience blogging. What have you learned? What did you most enjoy about it? What was challenging about it? How has your blog changed since you started? Second Half Your thoughts on the future of online writing.
Web 1.0 The “read-only Web,” (as World Wide Web inventor Timothy Berners-Lee calls it) even though it had many interactive features (such as message boards, chat rooms, e-mail, instant messaging, etc.), still retained some of the broadcast traits of traditional media. Web sites were often static and companies used domain names as an online stake, similar to their brick- and-mortar spaces in the physical world.
Web 2.0 The “read-write Web” is dominated by user-generated content – interactive blogs, audio and video file sharing, more dynamic Web design, etc. Everyone can interact with each other and contribute content. Online shopping sites and professional media sites allow for commenting, sharing, etc.
Web 3.0 and Beyond? The “real-time Web,” made possible by mobile technology, the explosion of social media, and availability of enormous amounts of personal data, allows instantaneous text and video chatting over extensive social networking platforms as well as targeted information for “one-on-one” communication and transactions. Instant streaming video and audio, real-time status updates, in-the-moment commentary and feedback via Twitter and other micro-blogs, viral sharing on a mass scale to desired audiences, continuously updated syndication feeds, etc.
Implicit Participation When we talk about blogging, we usually think about the posts and comments that people write deliberately. But user- generated content is more than blog posts, images and videos. The most valuable information may be that which is implied rather than deliberately posted. Implicitly contributed information is data that can be mined for information that is more valuable than the individual contributions.
The Future of Implicit Participation Companies mine data you barely consider that you’ve contributed. Using this data is “harnessing collective intelligence.” In years to come, presumably the recommendations and understandings of what is valuable will be far more nuanced and sophisticated than they are today.
Personalized Media New Media are allowing for more personalization and customization through search engines, online commerce, social networking, news feeds, etc. Citizens are giving up a lot of privacy for these services.
The Benefits of Personalized Media The customization that you get in return for the lost privacy can be extremely useful – easier and quicker Web searches, more accurate and useful recommendations, more targeted news filters, etc.
The Perils of Personalized Media In terms of privacy, democracy, and communication, blogging and social networking sites are changing our culture. While we live in democracies, are not in opposition to the government and abide by the law, the loss of privacy doesn’t matter to many of us. It matters greatly in less democratic countries where there is a dangerous potential for increased surveillance and control.
“Acts of technologically assisted oppression were possible well before the Internet, Google, or blogging… Blogs, knives, and most other technologies can be used for good or for evil. If we’re aware of how to use them and of how they are being used, we can help to shape the future.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
Evolution of Online Writing Tools Desktop computers to laptops to netbooks to tablets to smaller mobile devices.
Searching for Effective Business Models Free culture vs. advertising, paywalls, premium subscriptions, sponsorships, etc.
“Will we still be blogging in twenty years’ time? What about in fifty years’ time, or a hundred?” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
“People like participating in the media. We like contributing and sharing our ideas, and we’re unlikely to stop now that we have the technology to allow it.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
“Participatory media that makes publishing available to everyone is like fire: once the cunning Prometheus had stolen the secret of fire from Zeus and given it to us mortals, there was no way for the gods to take it back.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
“With technology getting cheaper and easier to use, we’re likely to continue to see shared media of all kinds – text, audio, still images, and videos – and in more parts of the world between more groups of people.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
“Blogging may not remain a separate activity or genre, as it is today. In the last few years, we’ve seen blogging spread into social network sites, and in some cases merge with them.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
The Blogosphere and the Social Media Landscape How will blogs continue to evolve as more people engage in social networking? How will social networking change and what will the impact be for online writing?
“Perhaps blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and their ilk will simply take over and become the dominant media.” – Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging
Blogs vs. Traditional Media What will be the differences, if any, between blogs and mass media news Web sites?
“Every group of bloggers progresses through its own natural life cycle: childish excitement, teenage angst, midlife crisis, elderly fatigue.” – Scott Rosenberg, Say Everything
Media/Technology Life Cycle Historically, the succession of media forms and technologies follows a predictable pattern: every innovation arrives with a fanfare announcing that it will replace its predecessor. But when the dust settles, the newcomer almost always winds up having redefined that predecessor rather than eliminated it.
How Future Media Might Change Online Writing As people have flocked to Facebook and Twitter, they will not stop posting to or reading blogs – but their patterns of blogging will change. The social networks turn out to be an easier and more efficient channel for casual messages intended for a handful of friends. As a result, some unquantifiable portion of the world’s blogging has already started to change, to become a little more deliberate, a little less telephonic in nature.
“There is scant sign of mass abandonment of (blogging). There’s likely to be a long future in which a great number of people who wish to communicate online find the unique characteristics of a blog irresistible.” – Scott Rosenberg, Say Everything
Will Moore’s Law Continue? Moore's law (named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore) describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than half a century and is expected to continue until 2015 or 2020 or later.
The Future of Continued Exponential Growth The prospect of an exponential growth in the sharing of lives (through New Media) was a discouraging new twist on the by- now familiar problem of information overload. How could anyone possibly read more posts, view more photos, watch more videos, follow more friends? Might the Web face a crisis – a kind of die-off in sharing, where the oversupply of personal media caused people to quail and stop paying attention, removing any incentive to share in the first place?
Overload Crises in History Working forward from a historical baseline of the Renaissance and a sort of “big bang” with the Gutenberg press, we find our species experiencing an expanding universe of information as a consistent condition of its existence. Within our lifetimes, each new technical transformation of the media landscape has inspired its own diagnosis of an overload crisis.
Media Substitution The numbers show, pretty consistently, that much of the time Americans are spending blogging and posting comments and photos and videos is time taken away from watching television, not from reading books (print or now electronic) or otherwise enlightening ourselves. At the very worst, then, we’re trading in one species of mind-rot for another.
“More likely, this shift in attention and energy from broadcast to the Web represents a real change in behavior – a renaissance in personal literacy and social participation that sustains the democratic promise the Web’s pioneers first envisioned.” – Scott Rosenberg, Say Everything
The Future of Literacy For all the novelty surrounding it, the act of blogging is fundamentally literary. Will this continue?
The Fragility of Digital Data Most of us are intensely aware of the fragility of digital data. If not, a power outage will quickly remind us. A life’s savings of information can vanish with the theft of a laptop or the crash of an unbacked-up hard disk. But all information is fragile to some extent. Paper fades; bits get deleted. Libraries burn; disks crash. Whatever the medium, permanence is out of reach.
“Blogs are hastening changes in the media landscape with their informality, immediacy, and openness to all comers, and old-timers in musty newsrooms have been following suit.” – Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging
The Future of Journalism The traditional media models are changing to adapt to new technology and new habits. What’s emerging now is a fascinating hybrid of old-style news and blogging.
The Future of Print Publishing Plenty of us would mourn the total loss of the traditional newspaper form. But as more people have handheld devices for reading headlines, and as more people read the headlines on desktop or laptop or tablet computers, the rationale for massacring trees to produce a print edition seems less and less clear. Paper, ink, printing machines, and delivery costs are expensive. Without them, the newspaper industry would be a lot more profitable. And as more and more stories break online, the traditions of print and broadcast media will have to change.
“Critics complain that weblogs aren’t real writing…Detractors complain about incestuous linking. Webloggers emphasize the ability of grass-roots networks to organize and amplify individual voices on the Web.” – Rebecca Blood, The Weblog Handbook
A Blogosphere Worldview? By clustering too closely together, bloggers risk amplifying their own view of the world to an extent that distorts their perception of reality.
Benefits of the Blogosphere Community There is obvious value in conversing with others of like mind. Supportive communities reinforce and strengthen common values and provide a base of action for individual members.
Dangers of the Blogosphere Community The danger arises when ideological weblogs cluster so tightly that they entertain no other views.
“I would like to see more blogs that use their unique capabilities to illuminate the news, not just promote a familiar point of view.” – Rebecca Blood, The Weblog Handbook
“I would like to see a wave of truth seekers who ask hard questions and sort through available perspectives in an attempt to synthesize a truer, more accurate version of the facts than we can rely on from any one source.” – Rebecca Blood, The Weblog Handbook
“I would like to see more bloggers seek out opposing viewpoints in order to genuinely consider the different ways in which thoughtful people regard the world.” – Rebecca Blood, The Weblog Handbook
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton A provocative look at how new media models are shaping the future of cross- platform storytelling… An optimistic blueprint for where our digital universe is going.
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr “My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell— but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I feel it most strongly when I’m reading. I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or lengthy article… Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel like I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” -- Nicholas Carr
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers A toolkit of refreshing remedies for our chronically multitasking, digitally distracted selves, collected from historical figures that lived long before the digital age... Blends the advantages of constant connectivity with the caution we need to exercise as we engage with the world in these new ways, extending an invitation to subvert our media routines in a way that prioritizes happiness over blind efficiency.
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age by Ann Blair Explores the history of contemporary media concerns like the impact of the internet on publishing, information overload and remix culture, tracing their roots to uncannily similar practices and concepts from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages.
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! by Douglas Coupland Full of insights on the evolution of media that presage many of our modern concerns... Offers a fascinating lens not only on the technological revolution of the past century, but also on the complex shifts in social cognition that it continues to beget.
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net’s Impact on Our Minds and Future edited by John Brockman A fantastic compendium by iconic contemporary thinkers like Chris Anderson, Esther Dyson, Howard Gardner, Kevin Kelly, and Brian Eno.
7 Recommended Books About the Future of the Internet (courtesy of BrainPickings.org) Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky A fascinating look at how new media and technology are transforming us from consumers to collaborators, harnessing the vast amounts of free- floating human potential to build on humanity’s treasure trove of knowledge and bring about social change.
Assignments Due Next Class Post at least one new entry in your blog. Read your classmates’ blogs and comment where/when appropriate. Continue working on your “Guest Post” assignment. Start working on Final Paper.
Video Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsNcjya56v8
Video The Future of Screen Technology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7_mOdi3O5E&list=FL_DAG-yK7JThyUZ2LqqQ52g&index=5
Video The Future of Communication http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu0ztxdsFis&list=FL_DAG-yK7JThyUZ2LqqQ52g
Video Did You Know? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8W1WuxGniE&list=FL_DAG-yK7JThyUZ2LqqQ52g
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