Information chaos: from chaos to realities twitting from Egypt

“Undemocratic governments” are becoming aware that press is not longer the fourth estate or it just doesn’t have the same interest we once though. They have found ways to control it, team-up and even make a profit together. Public and private media do not have fulfill the role of the forth estate anymore, just take a look at Italian media…or read a bit more about Rupert Murdoch.

Even though social media still a weak and no lasting source of information it is changing the media landscape and flow of information. True, not all of us are citizen journalists but there are a bunch of them out there, so let them do their job.

Mark Glaser has an interesting and positive approach to citizen journalism: “the idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others. For example, you might write about a city council meeting on your blog or in an online forum. Or you could fact-check a newspaper article from the mainstream media and point out factual errors or bias on your blog. Or you might snap a digital photo of a newsworthy event happening in your town and post it online. Or you might videotape a similar event and post it on a site such as YouTube”.

Yet people like Mark and others (including me) we tend to be very utopian and like to think more about what we would like the Internet to be than the realities we live in. People like Mark are very inspiring and their perception and ideas are changing media but not everything is that good or easy here. There a number of interesting points to analyze such a new power structures, discrimination, reality and chaos. But why I wanted to write this today is because there are thousands of people in the streets of Egypt right now.  Lots of them are savvy people with access to expensive technology yet the government has managed to crack down down Internet access and mobile phones to avoid mass public demostrations . In 24 hours the country lost 97% of its Internet traffic, so what will citizen journalists do?

By now I am guessing that there might be more people twitting about Egypt from outside than from the accident land. Yet there is a good size in this story, citizen journalism are not just groups of people that like to write about what they see.  It embodies a large and wide range of people with common interests and backgrounds from around the world. A group of engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have created a “speak-to-tweet” service that allows people to dial a telephone number and leave a voicemail. The voicemail is automatically translated into a message that is sent on Twitter using the identifying tag #egypt.

If you have access to a phone now you can tweet, call and leave a voice message on one of three international phone numbers: +16504194196, +39066207294 or +9731619985.

Keep sharing!

Airport

I don’t really know what to say about this video or perhaps there is too much to say and it is too hard to put it all down. I think all my media classes are confusing me! I am becoming aware how my subconscious is trying, or feels is obligated, to analyze different media texts now. I am thinking about how to analyze this text wondering how representation, interaction, rhythm or organization might be constructed in this text.

I wonder what the heck is this and why do I like it so much?  Is this the language of new media and the effects of technology in culture?  I should sit down with Manovich and demand a full explanation. Actually, I just visited his site and is worth having a look: www.manovich.net Hey Manovich welcome to my blog!

I know I wasn’t talking about this but check out the myth of user-generated content, a bit sad for all of us who we support user generated communities. Jenkins might have to revise this data uffff…Sorry if I am a bit all over the place now but I am a heavy consumer of new media and when I am watching this airport video I am also writing to you (and me) while I have more than 20 tabs open in my browser and 9 software running at the same time. So I wonder how this might change the way we consume and read new media? But I might feel this is a dual effect and that it might affect the way media is produced as well…what do you think? I might post a link about this soon. I mean is not where knowledge is in links, websites, blogs and social networks….

Videos and photos coming up

Hi all,

I just wanted to let people know that I added a page called videos on the top menu. I though I will start posting some interesting videos and some reflections hopefully. The reason for the menu tab is because I am trying to keep the blogging space clean and tidy and focus more on the writing. The video tab will work as some sort of video archive where only videos will posted there. Please feel free to leave your comments on the videos and share  links to other videos. In this process of collaboration and sharing I will add a tab for pictures and podcast soon.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein

My facebook friend is waiting for me

Exactly 4:40 am…I finished a 5000-word paper about two hours ago and I can still not fall asleep. Truly I don’t know I why I am typing this now, I should really try to sleep but the person who sold me by brain on ebay forgot to send me the manuals and now I don’t know how to turn it off…while in bed I was wondering how are the relationships we build in the virtual world different from those we build in real life. What do we expect from the virtual world? We build and deconstruct online relationships without much thinking, at least I do I think.  So, are bloggers faithful to their audiences? Do they feel a moral obligation to keep their relationships alive or simply one day and without questioning so much they stop writing. I was reading some statistics where 60 to 80% of the blogs die within a month, most likely because those blogs don’t become very popular but if you have 2 o 3 friends in “real life” wouldn’t you want to keep those alive? Or yet you would prefer to move to another city or high school hoping to become person of the year?

Now, let’s say you belong to a group of friends where not all are really your friends, some are friends of you friends and so on but you meet every Tuesday for drinks after work. If one day you decide to stop going – does that decision require the same type of thinking and moral procedures as shutting your twitter account for example?

We often think about the web from an outside perspective like thinking of technology as something external to culture. Well, I think technology is part of our culture as much as we are part of the web 2.0. So, perhaps we might have to redefine our roles inside the virtual role, there might be people waiting for.

A Collective thesis

I am seating in a media class in an MA program thinking what I should write in here and how do you start a blog when really I am falling asleep thinking about people at home (Uruguay). I know I will need to take a nap as soon as I get home in order to understand, digest and process Etienne Wenger’s book Communities of Practice which together with Henry Jenkins’ Participatory Culture theory had inspired me to start this blog without much idea where I am going yet.

A bit of blogging and bit of a personal diary…I started to think how I can turn this blog into a space that would help me to write my MA thesis on the two theories I mentioned above in formal and informal education. By no means I hoping that people will write my thesis though that would take a lot of stress off my shoulders (any volunteers?).

If you have any interesting examples of these theories  (I will soon write more about or what I understand of them), similar theories, authors, books, bloggers, or simply your ideas and comments please leave a comment, a link, an essay or just some characters.  I will post hopefully some interesting multimedia examples and case studies of Communities of Practice and Participatory Culture and I will explain more about my thesis as it becomes clearer to me and takes more of a form of something.

For now cheers,

Mauro

Walking through boundaries

I believe in the power of still and moving pictures to inspire and spark individuals and communities beyond physical, cultural and language boundaries. I am  adding part of one my oldest set of pics from the highlands of Ecuador (2002) from when I used to work with black and white film. I am not so sure what I will  be blogging here (hopefully – we will – since this is a collective activity) but I am hoping create yet another virtual space to exchange and connect transnational experiences, news, wishes, dreams, or whatever is in your mind or heart.  For now, this is no mare than a virtual space where words and characters connect with images, html coding and you.

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