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George's semantic network of photo tags by ciro@tokyo, on Flickr

Weblogs and Wikis Week Three

Blogging, Communities, and Networks

It's now common knowledge that blogging has changed literacy, publishing, participation, and the acquisition and distribution of knowledge. There were social network antecedents to blogging, but blogging made it into the world-wide public sphere and set the stage for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. This week's readings start a focus on the changes social network communications have created and what they might mean for us as students, teachers, writers, technologists, professionals, citizens.

Levinson, in chap 2, gave us an overview of blogs and blogging from a journalistic media perspective. Rettberg, in chap 1, ditto, but from a broader, more historical perspective. For this week, we'll start with Rettberg to get a better sense of the blog genre (chap 2), and then move towards network theory (chap 3) to consider how people connect in new (new) media. Hang on to the ideas of network theory in chapter 3 because they will re-surface in Levinson's chapter on Facebook. (See what I did there? These ideas link, connect, intertwingle.) (Or, better, I linked them. The potential was there, but until the link is made, it remains only a potential.)

Your job this week is to learn as much as you can learn about the genre of blogs, the acts of blogging, and the inter-c0nnectedness of networked social publishing. The more you work with materials (read, aggregate, annotate, repurpose - comment on the work of others), the more you'll learn.

Start by reading and annotating / reacting to / reflecting on / the readings: do something to what you're looking at. From there, move to repurposing: doing something with what you've read.

Required reading


Required Activities

Generate at least one post on each chapter in which you aggregate, annotate, and start to repurpose materials on topics from the chapter. Find examples, link to them. Follow a path Rettberg opens (Read Ong, for instance, read others on literacy and orality, on commodification). Find counter-postions and examples to set in relation to Rettberg (Search for The Shallows, for instance. Or read Clay Shirky on matters of genre, commodification, networks).

Suggested Activities

Google some of the ideas and issues Rettberg raises. Search on Google and Google Scholar for The Phaedrus by Plato, readings and notes on Eisenstein, Vanavar Bush, Ted Nelson, Walter Ong, Doug Englebart. Wikipedia is a good place to start. Check the resources list at the end of the Wikipedia articles. Locate stuff, read and annotate it, tag it so everyone can see it, draft more extended comments on your blog.

Find and link to a set of blogs that enact some of the features that Rettberg and others point out: how a community is formed, how comments appear and develop. Or develop a brief project to test some of Rettberg's assertions about blogs and blogging by looking at some blogs.

Do all this on your blog, using annotated bookmarks and twitter when useful, when you want to get something out there, and to manage your learning. Or create a presentation, a PPT, a podcast or video cast ...

Suggested Readings

You're not expected to read everything below. Skim until you find a way into the subject. Find your own readings and videos and blogs to add. There are other readings on the web, but there are also be videos, slide shows, podcasts, or maps and images on Flickr or Wikipedia that you can draw into your circle of resources.

Finding weblogs
Preface a google search with blog: - as in blog:diary

Changes in Literacy
Networks and Communities

Issues and topics I've spotted in Chapters 2 - 3





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