Two articles, academic

Just quickly read 2 articles that seemed interesting.

“Structure of Self-Organized Blogosphere” — (language: international english of the Chinese variety) — pdf here: Which is ‘one of those’ statistical analyses of linking in the blogosphere. Conclusions: ‘the blogging network has small-world property’ and the distribution of links-in and links-out follows a power-law. In other words: here’s a sort of statistical ‘proof’ of the common knowledge that a few celebrity blogs receive lots of incoming links, and most blogs hardly receive links. I’m not so interested in this kind of network-research, it seems to be more about (statistical/mathematical) network-theory, than about communication, flow of information &c. tho’ it’s possible that I miss the point.

“Copy and Paste Literacy: Literacy Practices in the Production of a MySpace Profile – An Overview” by Dan Perkel strikes me as more interesting: a simple and to the point analysis of how MySpace is used. He argues that one could see MySpace as an “informal learning environment that fosters the development of new literacies”. One could state that of a lot of similar enviroments and softwares, I’d say, yet this overview, accompanied by different theories about ‘literacy’ I found worthwhile reading. It is clear and straightforward in its approach — looking at how copy & pasting of code, links, images, music and video is used in MySpace. Although, again it does not go further than confirming what one (well, I) already believe(s). But that’s no so bad… Text is online here:

Found these papers thanks to

Perkel points to the ‘problem’, for theories of literacy, that copy&paste and remixing is generally not seen as ‘writing’. (Well, he writes: “However, the importance of copying and pasting code does not easily fit in the common conventions of reading and writing, consumption and production.”) But what if we’d go back to antique rhetorics, where learning to deal with the tropes and commonplaces, is part of learning to write & construct an argument. To really make that analogy would be stretching the point — yet I’d say that ‘writing’ is also learning to use “pre-fab elements” in a good way. (And then the question is: what is that good way?)

Nice (well, useful, quotable) quotes:

“Genre is the conceptual glue that binds social activity to technical activity. In order to understand what literacy might be, one must pay attention to the particularities of social activity, to the particularities of media, and also to the generic forms and competencies that groups share in their use of a media.” (p. 3)

“Bakhtin argues that, “genres must be fully mastered in order to be manipulated freely,” implying both a mastery of both recognizing generic forms and using them, or generic competencies (80).” (p. 6)

“HTML and CSS, like other programming languages, encourage a particular way of thinking about problems. For example, learning to use them requires learning how to think modularly. The rhetoric concerning the separation of content and style, however useful, embodies a certain way of understanding communication.” (p. 8)

“The idea that same message in different form is still the same message implies that social context of use, the specifics of the activity, and the specifics of the medium have little importance in determining meaning. Regardless of how one feels about this rhetoric, learning to think this way, uncritically, may have important consequences.” (p. 8)

“[H]ow good of a learning environment is MySpace for mastering the representational form and technical competency of web programming? Certainly, it provides an introduction to the medium, and some even may learn more about HTML and CSS as a part of trying to customize their profiles. However, the way in which the MySpace designers use CSS works completely against the point of style sheets.” (p. 8) (Hear me say: “right you are!”)

Now go on to read: Henry Jenkins, “Learning by Remixing”:

blogging,en,quotations,research,software,ubiscribe,writing | September 20, 2006 | 15:06 | Comments Off on Two articles, academic |


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