Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Internet is a Fine Place for Women

"The electronic utopia will not be coming to a website near you," warns the author of this short article, Chuck Huff. This "electronic utopia" he speaks of is the idea (not an actual place or thing) that the Internet offers users a discrimination-free environment. He begins by describing the positive woman-to-woman interaction that is increasingly taking place in online communities. However, he admits that online discussion forums are dominated by males, who 'maliciously sexually harass' women who try to join in on the 'fun' (as compared to the 'dry and slightly boring corporate sites' that show no such discrimination). There are, as he mentions, though many different women and many different webs, so on the question of the webs hospitality, or lack thereof, to women, he says "the answer will depend on the particularities." I found it striking that he has heard from some women only positive feedback of the web; I wonder if these women have grown so accustomed to sexual harassment that is simply invisible to them when it comes to the web. I can undoubtedly admit that I would give a plethora of positive feedback if asked about my experiences with the Internet, but would be denying the truth if I said I had never experienced the harassment that Huff claims makes the Internet 'inhospitable' to women. I disagree on some planes with this idea though. While I don't condone, or like, advances made by men, they nonetheless are a part of life, cyber or otherwise, so to say that life is inhospitable to women as an absolute is a bit of a stretch.

Huff, Chuck. "The Internet in a Fine Place for Women." A Virtual Commonplace. Dec. 2007. Computers and Society. 5 Apr. 2007 - r3.html-.

"Gender Gap in Cyberspace"

In her short article, "Gender Gap in Cyberspace," originally published in Newsweek in 1994, Deborah Tannen explains "how [she] managed to be a [computer] pioneer without becoming an expert." She describes the purchase of her first computer, aided by a co-worker, in 1980, and the why and how she used, and has used computers since then. Juxtaposing her use to his (her co-worker, Ralph) she hammered out gender differences, that, of course, she has drawn with many shades of grey. She noticed within her own use of computers she left technical know-how to her male counterparts, like Ralph, enjoying for herself the communicative and usability aspects, like emails and word processing. Through her relationship with Ralph, she found that he, and other male users, devoted much of their free time to being tech-savvy, mostly by means of self education. Interesting, as well, was the ability of men to open up more in emails as compared to face-to-face situations. I think that Tannen's observations and conclusions are very up to par, however, I also think it is important that she avoids absolutes, which, especially with gender as the only variable, are hard to claim.

Tannen, Deborah. "Gender Gap in Cyberspace." A Virtual Commonplace. 16 May 1994. Newsweek. 5 Apr. 2007 -

CSCL: Computer Stpported Collaborative Learning

When I started doing preliminary research for my research paper, I came across a website devoted to CSCL. This concept seemed to be exactly what I was looking to write my paper on. The site contains information not only on technology in education, but also the theories of learning that are acted out through technological education. Naturally, from there, I looked for text on this subject and was pleased to find two books, a series actually, on the very subject. Each are a compilation of essays from a wide spectrum of professionals. In the first book, published in 1996, contains one article of particular interest to me. It is by the editor of the book, Timothy Koschmann, and offers a general introduction to instructional technologies (IT). It begins by defining paradigms, according to psychologist Thomas Khun, then outlines the history of the paradigmatic shift that has taken place within IT. Next Koschmann discusses CSCL as "an emerging paradigm in instructional technology." Within this section he describes learning theories that technological education functions within. By coupling this information with that from "Toys, Tools, and Teachers" about why and how games or 'toys' can help us learn, I will form a concept for my paper. The second book "CSCL 2: carrying forward the conversation," seems to be a more valuable source for my paper. It is broken down into three sections; the first of which contains four case studies, each with commentary and responses in the form of full essays by separate authors. This same pattern (of commentary and responses) carries on through the next two sections as well. The second section takes a look at learning in collaborative settings, and the third at technologies for collaboration and learning. I especially like this approach, because it gives the reader a basis for analysis. These two books, and the concept of CSCL, has prompted me to take a look at learning theories that involve collaboration, and important aspect of learning and technologies.

"Some would argue that what learners do in computer-supported instructional settings is not collaborative; further, as the field develops, the technology used to support collaboration may not always involve computers, at least not in the ways they have been used in the past. Thus CSCL is used as a designation in its own right to leave open to interpretation precisely what the ambiguous words stand for."

Timothy, Koschmann, ed. CSCL: Theory and Practice of an Emerging Paradigm. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996.

Timothy, Koschmann, Hall Rogers, and Naomi Miyake, eds. CSCL 2: Carrying Forward the Conversation. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Toys, Tools, and Teachers: The Challenges of Technology

The book "Toys, Tools, and Teachers," by Marge Cambre and Mark Hawkes, "offers a framework for thinking about technology as it impacts teaching and learning today." Split into three sections, each containing three or four chapters, "TTT" begins by explaining the role that toys and tools have in education. This first section is much like the chapter we read from James Paul Gee book on games and learning. The second section outline the impact and issues of integrating technology into learning and education. It also talks about preparing teachers to use these technologies, something I will be focusing on in my paper. I more so want to talk about the theories of learning that are applied when technologies are used for learning, and teachers roles within those theories. The last chapter in this section deals with using technology to test students, as I mentioned in class, as we were talking about the use of this concept within our own University, I think that the possibilities technological testing offers are immense. Getting immediate test results allows teachers to focus their lectures and discussions during that class period, when they'll most likely be explaining the material the students were tested on. The third and final section talks about some of the general uses of technology in education. First "Distance Education," like online courses and homeschooling, then networking and wireless capabilities the Internet offers. This book gives a fairly objective view of the integrations of technology into learning, offering praise and outlining the issues. Each chapter has a little something to offer to my paper. Although, it seems to be a very general book, that I will probably use to assert a lot of the things we have covered in class, for instance, why games, tools, and technology are helpful to the learning process.

Cambre, Marge, and Mark Hawkes. Toys, Tools, and Teachers: the Challenges of Technology. Lamham, Maryland: Scarecrow Education, 2004.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A librarians point of view

Librarian K.G. Schneider blogs on Wikipedia after doing an Open Source radio interview on the subject. As a librarian she in no way objects the site as a place for information transfer, and is actually excited about it's extreme popularity. She speaks of her hopes to funnel peoples complaining efforts into positive efforts to make Wikipedia more useful. Schneider goes on to outline a few objections she holds with the online encyclopedia, like technical points about their tagline, and the "mystical "Neutral Point Of View'" wikipedia "offers." She defends this point a little bit by draw to consciousness the idea that nothing is without a perceived NPOV. In the end she enjoys the efforts and the direction Wikipedia is taking information use, but still has no problem being called "anti-wiki," for her objections are still too big to look past for the greater cause.
I think that this is the grey shade needed to add dimension to the Wiki-debate (I spoke of its lacking in my last blog entry "Wikipedia vs. Encyclopaedia Brittanica"). This is someone who is objectively defining the strong and weak points of a resource, and seems to be actively promoting its revision to the point of approvability.

Schneider, K. G. "Free Range Librarian." 22 Mar. 2007 -

Wikipedia vs. Encyclopaedia Brittanica

This short timeline proves to be a useful source in understanding the Wikipedia debate. It begins by introducing the dates Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia, respectively, were founded, and giving a brief description of each. Then in 2004, three years after the release of Wikipedia, the former Editor in Chief of E.B. publishes an article, concluding that the online encyclopedia is dirty like a public restroom and users must exercise caution. Over a year later Jim Giles publishes a rebuttal piece in the journal Nature summarizing an investigation that proves Wikipedia's accuracy compared to that of E.B. Giles also speaks of the founder of Wiki, Jimmy Wales, and his plans for positive revisions. Things really get heated in March of 2006 when E.B. publishes a 20 page document in direct response to Nature's claims. The through document systematically discredits Nature's arguments and even claims the journal participated in immoral acts. Over ten pages of the paper recalls (all of the?) specific claims made against the correctness of E.B. articles, responding to each by falsifying the claims. The document is very well written and cited. A much shorter rebuttal is issued by Nature just days later denying the claims as well as the request made by E.B. to withdraw their previous statements. A full page ad is then published in Time magazine by E.B. outlining the points made in their last document, this is speculated upon by bloggers as being a symbolic act. Another short response in made by Nature point-by-point refuting the ad. You'll notice the end of the URL of this last paper is "response_final," and it seems at though E.B. is finished with this cat-fight as well. Coverage of this controversy continued in public eye on television programs such as The Colbert Report.
In my Discovering the Past course we learned about how political cartoons paint a black and white picture of the positions of politicians to produce a good and evil. However, upon closer consideration it is easy to see how stances on heavy issues have many shades of grey. I think it would be beneficial for the parties involved in the Wiki-debate to look closer at these grey areas. Nature must understand that their comparison undercut the accreditation of E.B., and while other aspects of the two can be compared in valid ways, the academic perfection E.B. strives for is not one of them. On the other hand E.B. cannot deny the positive aspects of a popular communal source like Wikipedia, and they don't seem to be. I think the two sides are fighting a different battle with a common goal: to preserve their reputation.

Strenski, Ellen, comp. "The Wikipedia/Encyclopaedia Britannica Controversy." University of California, Irvine. 22 Mar. 2007 -

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Bellagio Conference

The Bellagio Declaration, from the 1993 Rockefeller Conference "Cultural Agency/Cultural Authority: Politics and Poetics of Intellectual Property in the Post-Colonial Era," begins by introducing its signatories, explaining their diverse nature and common faith "to the central themes and spirit of this Declaration." The central theme, as revealed by the next section, is intellectual property law. Once again they reiterate the geographical, cultural, and professional differences of the conference members, proving the scope of this issue. Next is a set of five declarations that state the problem, how and why it came to be, who the victim is, and finally their regrettable disapproval of the current common perspective. The following few paragraphs offer suggested areas in need of reconsideration, and possible solutions to not only give some justice to intellectual property rights, but also implement a systematic way to maintain said justice. "intellectual property rights cannot be framed by the few to be applied to the many...we must re-imagine the international regime of intellectual property" Following is a "discussion" explaining the focus and flaws of the "contemporary intellectual property law(s)." The conference describes the importance of the currently neglected public domain, audiences, and even some authors and the need for reform in these areas.
I think this declaration says a lot. They stress the scope of the issue of intellectual property law, as well as logically induce the victims systematic helplessness. I can relate this to minority struggles to end segregation, in each scenario the big guy has to stick up for the little guy before equality can be reached, also in each case such behavior goes against the grain of immediate self interests, thus can be hard to initiate. Being so, this conference and its declaration is a big step in the (morally?) "right" direction. One thing a bit discouraging is the year this conference was held and this declaration was made was 1993. It has been almost a decade and a half, in the technology terms a near lifetime, and we've seen little change for the better as far as the little guy's concerned.

"The Bellagio Declaration." Mar. 1993. The Society for Critical Exchange. 8 Mar. 2007 .-

The Electronic Disturbance

The fifth chapter of "The Electronic Disturbance" by the Critical Art Ensemble begins by considering "the classical aesthetic of art as imitation," a concept I learned about in my Italian culture course whose "the real value" at the time was "the distribution of work to areas where otherwise it probably would not have appeared." The article goes on to explain the importance of "recombinant" who use plagiarism to aid human development and invention. "In a recombinant culture, plagiarism is productive." Next is a "quotation" that simply summarizes the chapter thus far with an ingenious footnote explaining the fault of the "surveillance function" of the footnote, readers tendencies to look to the footnote to legitimize the authors authenticity. But this function "implies ownership of language," a realm in which paying due credit becomes nearly impossible. The chapter goes on to explain in philosophical terms how nothing can exist itself only relation to something else, which implies plagiarism is necessary. "The repressive costs to the individual...are to high" when plagiarism is denied. Going on to explain the origin of our recombinant culture as the "need" for transfer information faster, which has deep roots in western history. In the end the chapter urges us to "rethink and re-present the notion of plagiarism...[because] information is most useful when it interacts with other information."
Throughout many publications considering intellectual property law and the Internet a common theme and conclusion ring through; laws dealing with ownership are necessary, but ancient, and need to be reconsidered in terms of technology and human development and invention. From so many disciplines and professions concerns on the matter are deeply rooted and are increasingly (as in the case of the three links in the sentence) being made public. After studying this issue in depth all I am left wondering is why their suggestion hasn't been taken yet?

Critical Art Ensemble. "Utopian Plagiarism, Hypertexuality and Electronic Cultural Production." Node London. 8 Mar. 2007 -

New Mediaeval Aesthetic

The article New Mediaeval Aesthetic compares the Internet to the medieval monastery system, advising "we might do well to look to the past for clues to our future." "This system of monasteries was the original Internet...connected to a greater consciousness...real and powerful." To further the connection author Rebecca Zorach compares the "mystical intelligence...between god and man" that medieval Christians claim to have held to the "collective wired consciousness" of today's society. She goes on to correlate the introduction of the printing press around 1450 with the new idea of authorship as ownership, of intellectual property. The problem is created with the concept of fair use. She speaks of all the ways in which a writer in medieval times would copy, modify, and use other authors works, that mimic many of the ways people are restricted from using works today. This isn't because it's not written into the law, because it is, in terms of fair use, but with the introduction of the Internet the terms of fair use need to be seriously reconsidered. However, Zorach finds a aesthetic quality in the new definition of publishing that has been made available by the Internet, but warns "The power of information technology is obvious; let us see that it does not, be excluding some from its communion, invent serfdom anew." The author of this article is a medieval art history graduate and so another example, like the Bellagio Declaration, proving the scope of the issue of intellectual properly law and the Internet.

Zorach, Rebecca E. "New Mediaeval Asethetic." Jan. 1994. Wired Magizine. 8 Mar. 2007 -

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lessig "Google Book Search" Video

Laurence Lessig argues in 'Google Book Search: The Argument' against the claims of piracy made by publishers in their attempts to sue Google. Lessig falsifies these claims through written law. He showed what the claim actually argued was that the copied material was not done so in 'fair use,' He described the parameters of 'fair use,' as explained by written laws, and how what Google is doing fell within the boundaries. He made the stark point that what Google is doing with books is what they have already done for the Internet and all the markets involved.
After Lessig proved the what Google was doing was within the law he made the argument that the publishers rebellion was due to advances in technology at the expense of their profit margin. Just like the farmers trying to claim their rights over the airways above their houses after the invention of the aircraft, in the case of the publishers arguments; "Common sense revolts at the idea" (Lessig, 2).
The foundation for his opinion lies within the common good of the people, which is being overlooked in our capitalist society. The heart of invention is to increase the efficiency of man-kind as a whole, a motive that is ignored in today's world. Drawing from Lessig's argument in his latest blog (Feb. 14, 2007) we can say that a person can capitalize on anything is this world that could be considered a scarce resource, which is almost everything. Resources like wood can be sold for cheaper because they are less scarce then say gold. The Internet, more so its volume, is one thing we can label as infinite, why shouldn't this tool we've invented be given to everyone?
This for me raises larger questions, have humans stopped evolving as a whole? yes, look at the gaps between societies of the world, those which globalization arguably aims to close, in terms of technological, and otherwise, development. If this is so, how far could these gaps get? how far can we leave people without money behind? is a collapse, a crash, inevitable?

Lessig, Lawrence, comp. Google Book Search: the Argument. 14 Jan. 2006. Stanford Center for Internet and Society. 14 Feb. 2007 .

Thursday, February 8, 2007

What Video Games Have to Teach us: Learning and Identity

In the third chapter of his book James Paul Gee demonstrates, using a role playing video game as the contextual setting, how learning can best be done if the learner creates an identity with which to pursue the material. In real life he uses the example of a school-child learning science who should take on the role of the scientist. Within this imaginary role when the child make mistakes the consequences they suffer will be smaller-than-life, while the experience they gain larger. On page 65 he suggests three requirements to learning, the learner "must be enticed to try [and] to put in lots of effort [which] must issue in success at the appropriate level." They must give "values, desires, choices, goals, and actions" to their 'virtual' identity, for "this is what creates ownership."
I think Gee's ideas are profound, learning is my favorite thing to do, as such I am, and always will be, an avid supporter. The point he made about video game creators being more equipped to entice players than teachers to students is astounding, but sadly very true. They have to sell a product, they have to entice, they research means to get the job done. In the case of educators none of these things are true, and may educators have merely given up, claiming, in Gee's words, "It's too bad, but that's just the way school is and, indeed, life is." It's too bad that administrators and teachers don't look for ways of innovation, to me it seems the only field left that isn't taking such a path, creativity and innovation are the present as well as the future. Education seems to be stuck in the past.

Gee, James Paul. "Learning and Identity." What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy. 2003. Palgrave Macmillan: New York, NY.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

GAM3R 7H30RY 1.1

The book/website GAM3R 7H30RY 1.1 is an innovative approach to studying the interdisciplinary nature of gaming in a multimedia setting. The "About this Project" section sets you up for something that you can't imagine, this interactive, user friendly display of information. Here the concept of the chapters pales in comparison to the concept of the presentation. The Book (and its online presentation) are broken down into a large number of chapters, each broken down into 25 sections, each of which are only a paragraph long. I found the reading to be very wordy and abstract, almost too much so, considering they are trying to present profound ideas to the public. Even I, a college student, had to go back and reread, another reader might not be inclined to do so. The content of the sections, the few I read at least (Ch1, sect. 1-10), seemed to be about the parallel relation of gaming to real life. It presented examples of each that supported this claim. I found section 10 of chapter one particularly interesting, it makes a miraculous connection;

"...each agonizes over their worth against others in the price of their house, the size of their vehicle and where, perversely, working longer and longer hours is a sign of winning the game. Work becomes play. Work demands not just one’s mind and body but also one’s soul. You have to be a team player. Your work has to be creative, inventive, playful – ludic, but not ludicrous. Work becomes a gamespace...Play becomes everything to which it was once opposed. It is work, it is serious, it is morality, it is necessity."

This seems to contrast the quote I used in a previous post, whose conclusion was humans who don't play are just pigs that work. If work and play are now interchangeable (in the 'major leagues' of work at least) then which author is right? I think they both are.

Wark, McKenzie. "About This Project." GAM3R 7H3ORY. 22 May 2006. The Institute for the Future of the Book. 2 Feb. 2007- .

Wark, McKenzie. "Agony." GAM3ER 7H3ORY. 22 May 2006. The Instuite for the Future of the Book. 6 Feb. 2007 -

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Where is There?

In this article author John Perry Barlow gives a testimony of his experience within online communities. As an early supporter of the Internet, Barlow suspected that everything this new community he belonged to was missing would eventually develop due to technological advances. He was soenthused by what he had discovered, he took it upon himself to co-found and organization whose goal was "protecting [the] interests...of virtual communities [the] physical government." Since then some time has passed, a lifetime for the technological world, and "many of the near-term benefits I anticipated from it seem to remain as far in the future as they did when I first logged in. Perhaps they always will." He blames his loss of enthusiasm on the lack of things "that make life real to [him]" within an online community; diversity, weather, violence, and sex to name a few. I agree with these claims, but their relevance in deciding whether or not to participate within online communities is only partial. Everything we do in life can only do so much for us. It is the balance of all the things in our life that gives us everything we need. This mirrors the idea presented in the gaming debate we read. Being so, the fact that online communities can provide everything we might want out of them doesn't necessarily mean they aren't worth our time. It may be useful, however, to understand what they, and other parts of your life have to offer. Bringing this information to your consciousness may help you maintain that healthy balance.

Barlow, John P. "Is There a There in Cyberspace." 1997. Utne Reader. 29 Jan. 2007 .

WoW 'Debate'

"Humans = Eat + Sleep + Play + Work
Pigs = Eat + Sleep

Substitute and you get:
Humans = Pigs + Play + Work

Now subtract Play from both sides
Humans - Play = Pigs + Work

Conclusion: Humans who don't understand how to play are just pigs that know how to work."

The quote (from and anonymous 'commenter') above, I think, is the most important thing to keep in mind when considering this 'debate.' I've used the quotations around the word debate, because I hardly think its such. After reading both posts, the negative and positive effects of gaming, it seems they are more so advocating the same thing; a healthy lifestyle,the exact point of the quote above. So what do these posts discuss? The first (chronologically, as well as in my order of reading), 'negative', perspective is the testimony of someone who let online gaming take an unhealthy hold of his life. For him, gaming occupied more time than a full time job, and took the place of many other healthy parts of his life; hobbies, relationships, the works. All of this time he spent achieving success online meant nothing for his life in the real world. Once I was done with this article my previous notions of role playing games were simply reinforced by this active user, who offered a less biased opinion than my own, since he had experienced this addictive virtual world first hand. Reading on through the comments to this first post only supported my opinion, that role playing games were wasteful occupants of useful time, more. I was so fueled with opinions, ideas, and related experiences I almost began this post before reading the second article. Thankfully I read the 'positive side,' or else I would have sounded as unthoughtful as the comment that spurred the posting of the quote I used above. The second post was that of an experienced RPGer as well. He recognized the first authors problem with gaming, and its prevalence with in the online gaming community “I don't want people in my guild who have the attitude 'screw this guild I'm sticking by my friends' You are NOT welcome in our guild,” he remembers one guild leader claiming. He, however, was opposed to this belief and maintained a healthy balance of the things he enjoyed in life, including gaming. He actually proved that WoW, the gaming community in question, and other, more simple, online games worked interactively to sharpen the skills he was already developing in his real life. After reading this post, along with its comments, I came to realize that online gaming, like any other hobby, or thing for that matter, can be lethal in large doses. As a life lesson, that I, and probably all of us, have struggled with, is maintaining a balance of the different facets of your life is key to living a healthy one. Furthermore, as demonstrated in the second article as well as this course (and other interdisciplinary classes), finding interconnectedness within those facets can only work to your benefit.

"A View From the Top." 17 Oct. 2006. 1 Feb. 2007 .

"Warcraft: Another Point of View." 19 Oct. 2006. 1 Feb. 2007 .

Monday, January 29, 2007

NPR "Second Life"

This radio clip summarizes the relatively new online community of Second Life, a website where users log into a free downloaded program, create an avatar, and live a cyber-life. Weary are the creators and users of others viewing SL as a game, that it is not. User of SL use 'little building blocks' to create everything they see in the virtual world, and can interact with other users by way of instant messaging. Second Life includes virtual real estate, which can be bought using Linden dollars, a form of currency that can be freely exchanged with the US dollar! If I'm not mistaken Adam Pasick, the chief of Reuters Second Life bureau, claimed the Second Life economy is circulating a half a million Linden dollars a day. This virtual reality offers a social as well as professional community that people are "able to actually experience," explains President of Lichtenstien Creative Media, Bill Lichtenstien. "Up until now," he continues, "[these feelings of experience] couldn't be conveyed through film, television, or the Internet." One caller during the segment, Cami, holder of a communications weblog and SL user, told of the opportunity this program offered her to communicate with others around the world. She thinks its a great tool for collaboration, and believes similar technologies will eventually be incorporated into other web technologies to make them more effective. Another caller Connie thought this was a disgusting waste of time, when users could be putting the creative energy they use there into the real world. Mr. Lichtenstien protested by explaining that this was simply a form of media, and better at that than most other forms. At first I agrees with Connie, but after hearing what Mr. Lichtenstien had to say I'd tell her, protest Second Life, and you must protest all media as being a waste of time. Personally I think that this and similar programs could take the academic and professional world to a new level, though I think that some parts, such as buying yourself a cyber-ride might be a bit worthless. The fact that it offers instant collaboration and interactivity around the globe, coupled with these feelings of experience that are all new to media, the usability of this program I believe could grow exponentially. An interesting thing I just heard about last night, that was briefly mentioned in the radio segment, is a similarly interactive web browser. A friend was telling me he was having this all new program for windows installed on his PC that included something like this. I can't wait until I can check this browser out first hand, for me it offers the usefulness of SL, with out the 'wasted time.'

Pasick, Adam, and Bill Lichtenstien. "A Second Life to Live." NPR 24 Oct. 2006. 29 Jan. 2007 -

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Psychology of Cyberspace

In this article author John Suler takes a very scientific approach to online identities and what they can tell us about their creators true identity. He begins by talking about each persons different roles within their life and how "cyberspace offers a niche for each of these specific facets of self hood."(1) This concept was like an alarm clock for me; it's quite simple, but a profound observation that will help me get started on the concept for my personal web page. He moves on to talk about the negative and positive points of one's identity, either cyber or real, and how having a cyber-identity can effect each of them in a positive way. In the next section he relates back to the Wikipedia reading by discussing the degree at which one's real identity could be revealed through an online identity. However, "how we decide to present ourselves...isn't always a purely conscious choice," (4) he warns, and there is a large degree of variance. Lastly Suler talks about how the medium in which one chooses to create an online identity says a lot about that persons true identity. As I mentioned before, this article has really helped ground me in the beginning of my web page. I am going to start my outline by laying out my different roles, then I'll choose which ones I want my site to appeal to. From there I will further develop my original outline to encompass subcategories of the roles I have chosen, and that will give me the layout of my site!

Suler, John. "Identity Management in Cyberspace." The Psychology of Cyberspace." April 2000. 24 Jan. 2007. -

"Online Idenity" Wikipedia

This article provides an obviously very encyclopedic approach to the topic of online identities, but I think it's important to mention that it does not meet Wikipedia quality standards. Upon my further exploration, it seems that the article fails to meet the requirements solely based on citation, linking, and footnote standards, which however important, I don't believe take away from the content of the article. After briefly defining online identity, and its subcategories, such as reputation management, laws and rights, markets, and various uses, the article goes on to describe complications that may arise due to the autonomy of online identities. Particularly applicable here was the section about 'Online Office Hours,' which 'provided a list of purposed problems with such education processes.' I found it interesting that many of the problems we discussed in class about our portion on online courses, were talked about within this section. I am therefore particularly grateful that our professors chose some more reasonable solutions than, fore say using a web cam to provide the lacking visual communication. Another example of a complication I found interesting was that of the Dateline special that targeted online sexual predators. I actually saw two episodes of this special, which I found very compelling. Most of the men apprehended were in a position that, upon being arrested for their actions, caused serious personal complications. For example, many were married or in serious relationships, and one man even held an authoritative position within a religious group. As far as this articles relation to my designing a web page of my own, it offered a black and white view as to what I can create using an online identity.

"Online Identity." Wikipedia. 2007. 24 Jan. 2007. -

"My Website, My Self"

Author Meghan Daum uses this article to explain her purpose in creating this website. She discuses the apprehensions she held in the design process, "if I were a wallpaper pattern, what kind would I be," as well as in the use of her website. It "is a necessary evil," she says, explaining "it is no longer enough for us to present our work; we must now tell people how to read, see, or hear it." In the end Daum offers two witty lessons that designing a web page has taught her; "if I were a wallpaper pattern it would probably not be the patter you see on my site... [and] sometimes you just have to live with the wallpaper you have." More than the actual learning of life lessons, I think Meghan used this format to give light to how people should look at her (and likewise any personal) website. Her real lesson was that her website won't and can't be a tell all end all, and as a writer she used her skills to make the reader take the same lesson away. Although she was a bit deceiving, I appreciate the advice, especially as I prepare to create a website for myself, for which I have admittedly less direction than Ms. Daum. Her article has cued me into not only what I should accomplish with my web page, but also what I should be weary of accomplishing.

Daum, Meghan. "Meghan Daum, Author." 27 July 2004. 24 Jan. 2007. -

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The Web and The Future of Writing" by Chip Scanlan

This article begins by exploring the wonders, as well as the downside, of interactive multimedia, specifically focusing on Internet journalism. Author Chip Scanlan warns that news stories might loose their personal edge, "too many stories today are written by the telephone,"(1*) and as technologies advance, this problem could get worse. He goes on to talk about the inverted pyramid style of writing that now reigns a total monopoly on journalism, something I learned when I wrote for my High School's newspaper. This concept has become even more important when writing on the web, "we know from several studies that users don't scroll,"(1) Jakob Nielsen reminds us. Scanlan then explains the challenge of using multiple forms of media to write effectively, such a writer must know what will be assumed from the other forms of media they use to supplements to their writing. Online news pioneer Bill Mitchell claims while its "not impossible," such writing "will require extraordinary focus as well as skill."(3) I appreciate Scanlan's skeptical approach to multimedia journalism, as with anything we must look at what will be lost with the development of new technologies. This directly relates to the first chapter of out textbook, "Writing for Multimedia and the Web," which also warns of all the things that can go wrong when doing this sort of writing.

*For this article I have used the three sections separated by boldface titles as separate pages

Scanlan, Chip. "The Web and the Future of Writing." 18 Dec. 2002. 18 Jan. 2007. -

"Bards of the Internet" by Philip Elmer-Dewitt

Author Philip Elmer-Dewitt begins by comparing Internet writing to the letter writing we see in our history, before the invention of the telephone, whose wide-spread use over the century or so before the Internet retarded most people's ability to write. He goes on to talk about the ease of 'publishing' writing (in this Internet era) and the "Darwinian survival principle [that] has started to prevail"(2) because of it, explaining that to make any sort of impact what you write has to be good, but how you write it must be just as good. "Crawford Kilian, a writing teacher at Capilano College in Vancouver, British Columbia [adds] 'Short paragraphs, bulleted lists and one-liners are the units of thought here.'"(2) In the end, he makes mention of the opportunity technology has presented us with, and warns readers to not dismiss "or to underestimate the effect a lifetime of dashing off E-mail will have on a generation of young writers."(3) I like how Elmer-Dewitt begins by outlining the development of communication, therefore explaining why it is how it is today. Instead of telling us (like in the two articles I've posted on previous to this one), the readers, how and what to write on the Internet, he tells us how we came to, and why we write on the Internet. Based on that we can build our own ideas of how and what to write.

Elmer-Dewitt, Philip. "Bards of the Internet." Time Magazine. 4 July 1994. 18 Jan. 2007. -,9171,981013,00.html-

NYT Article, "Yours Truly, the E-variations"

In this article author Lola Ogunnaike compiles the educated opinion of professionals from a wide range of professions on matters of e-mail etiquette, more specifically sign-off etiquette. The overall advice is keep it professional, but make sure its warm and appropriate to your relationship with the receiver. To keep it on the safe side, Judith Kallos says you can "let the other side set the level of familiarity,"(3) something she calls 'mirroring.' I think Mary Mitchell, author of a well-known etiquette book, sums up the reason this article needed to be written; "While on the one hand e-mail encourages people to write, on the other hand it discourages people to write thoughtfully."(3) I think this article should be a memo in every office. Not only does it inform readers of the proper ways to sign-off an email, but it does so by outlining case examples, which for this purpose is a perfect means. This article is directly linked to the theme of our course, Internet writing, it is merely a narrower perspective (by focusing on email sign-offs) of what we are learning to do effectively.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"A Primer on Electronic Education" by Eszter Hargittai

Author Eszter Hargittai begins by explaining the usefulness and efficiency of using the Internet as a means of communication, and goes on to lay out a digital communication format containing a sort of ethical code. He places emphasis professional etiquette, as well as content needing to be clear and concise. He concentrates on email, but his thesis, and the need for it is echoed throughout all forms of electronic communication. I think this article is great, especially for college students, who like he mentions, must make professional digital inquires with little or no experience at all. However, I wouldn't dub his precise format standard. As a college student I understand the development of professor/student relationships; by the end of a semester, while email to/from professors are still worthy of this etiquette, all of what he mentions including into a message maybe bulk, even according to his code. My Professional Ethics professor, John Corvino, actually sent out emails near the beginning of the semester containing a similar, but somewhat more condensed message. I'm sure, being a professor and an active publisher and member of papers and respectively organizations, he experienced the same problem a Hargittai, masses of email and no easy way to sort for importance.
"The upside of the Internet is we can quickly contact folks without much effort. The downside of the Internet is people can contact us without much effort." (First paragraph)
I think this summarizes the need for an article like his, guidelines for effectively using an effective tool.

Hargittai, Eszter. "Workplace." Inside Higher Ed. 28 Nov. 2006. 14 Jan. 2007. -