Saturday, April 14, 2012

Right Content, Right Medium

Throughout the term, we have been discussing literacy and transliteracy revolving around the question of how we have changed the way we consume and produce content in an era of advancing communications technology. A significant underlying tension in our readings and discussion has been the use of print media versus digital media.

Through focusing on transliteracy and examining new media narratives, it has become clear that those who use new media effectively have moved beyond the format of text to communicate ideas using a variety of formats: text, visual, audio, animation, video and interactive content. But perhaps in retrospect it is a good idea to look back at the format of text and how new media is changing the way we explicitly interact with it in the new digital age.

In the article, A Book Club of Billions: 52 Ways to Die in a Cave and Other Lessons in Social Media Marketing, Tammy Nam discusses how two book publishers have used social media to promote their works. In the case of James Tabor’s book Blind Descent, the publishers produced a two page Scribd document that was distributed virally to help push book sales. The book Marijuana is Safer by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert, was actually released in full and for free on Sribd. In two days, “the book was read more than 100,000 times and downloaded more than 11,000 times” (Nam, 2010). According to Nam, these publishers, “are using Scribd to take advantage of what's so great about the web for book marketing” (2010).

In the article Google puts $1m into academic research projects for digitised books, Jemima Kiss shows how Google is working to digitize older print content and to add relevant geographic content to the files. “Researchers say the project will help to open up interested in history, classics and archaeology, but will also help develop new tools and research methods as well as expertise in using data in this way” (Kiss, 2010).

It is well recorded that people read differently with digital text than they do with printed text. There is a higher propensity to scanning material and there is a bias toward shorter pieces. For me, in an attempt to sum up the term, there needs to be a recognition for the benefits and limitations of each media. It would be ineffective to simply publish a book or long academic article that is meant for attentive sustained reading in a digital form that looks identical to its published form. The use of new media should take advantage of all of the strengths that the media offers – in integrating video, sound, animation and interactivity. The richness of the content will come not from the length of the text but instead from the accompanying media. The corollary is also true, formats that require and work well with long text are best served in traditional print. Academic pieces that require in depth consideration and attention as well as vivid fiction for which the imagination on the reader is vital should remain in print formats.

To Jessica, the authors that we spoke with and my classmates, thanks for this course.


Nam, Tammy H. (2010, July). “A Book Club of Billions: 52 Ways to Die in a Cave and Other Lessons in Social Media Marketing.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

Kiss, Jemima. (2010, July). “GooglePuts $1m into Academic Research Projects for Digitised Books.” The Guardian. Retreived from:


I usually like to take some time at the end of a course and attempt some synthesis for my own purposes - to aid retention, and so that I have a hope of answering the "So, what was that thing you were working on for 3 months about, anyway?" kind of questions.
As I re-read this blog (well ok, skimmed some parts - c'mon, it's huge) I realized that synthesis would be a formidable task. I've taken a whack via Prezi, because it lends itself really well to mind-mapping and grouping seemingly random things. Because there was so much great material, I've drawn extensively from the words of my classmates in the blog. Hope this is ok with everyone. File is "Private" right now - not sure if everyone would be ok with going public on it given that I'm direct quoting. Thoughts on this are welcome. I've given attribution by blog user name only - so in any event, there's no additional info beyond what can already be viewed in the blog.
The Prezi is editable for one week by up to 10 editors via this link (not sure if I have the option of extending that time frame or not):
I hope that if you have time you'll add/edit/remix - I know that what I've started isn't comprehensive, and would appreciate contribution!
Thanks, everyone, for some great discussion. It has made my understanding so much deeper. And thanks, Jess, for a really enjoyable and valuable course. I hope that for future cohorts this becomes a core MACT course.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 13: Review and Conclusions

Week 13: Review and Conclusions
Narratives can be published in various online ways: 
  • Voicethreads
  • Skype
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Social Bookmarks/Folksonomy
  • Diigo
  • Evernote
  • Flickr
  • Netvibes
  • Twitter
  • E-mail
  • Google Pages
  • Facebook
Anyone Can Publish
A timely example of how even the youngest learners can demonstrate transliteracy ( Henry Dewey created his own illustrations to interpret “The Three Little Pigs” and then with the assistance of his father, created an iPhone app for people to read his version of the story, which includes Henry’s narration of the tale.
Henry Dewey is a typical 8-year-old. He loves to build with Legos and annoy his little sister, hoping to someday own a reptile to terrorize her with.
The first-grader at Trinity Episcopal School in Rollingwood is also doing some nontraditional things: Henry just released his first iPhone application, an e-book version of the folk tale “The Three Little Pigs.”
Using pen and ink, Henry spent the entire fall semester creating the illustrations for his book during an after-school art program at Trinity.
“I like being creative, making bobbleheads on paper,” Henry said.
Early in the process, he decided he wanted to transform his project into an iPhone application to provide more options on the gadget for children.
He told his father, Mark Dewey — himself an iPhone application developer — about his idea. When Henry finished the illustrations, the drawings were converted into a digital format. Then his dad helped turn the project into the application, rewriting the story and having Henry narrate it.
“At a young age to know you can be a creator, in the mainstream of American culture, that can be powerful,” said Mark Dewey, whose digital media company, Geoki, published the app. “We hope that carries on through his growing and his life.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Research on texting

Just saw this report - three Canadian Universities, including Simon Fraser, Ottawa and Montreal think texting is making us more creative.

Values of a Networked World

In last spring’s 502 Group Transactions course, one of the assignments was to write a book review of Scott Klosofsky’s 2011 text, A Manager’s Guide to Social Media. It was one of three books that Klosofsky had published within a couple months late 2010 and early 2011. All three covered much the same ground from different perspectives and degrees of complexity, depending on the audience at which they were aimed. One of the books appears to have been the feedstock for the other two, and that book, Enterprise Social Technology was written using a crowd sourcing model.  According to information in publicity material for the book, Klososky outlined each chapter, then crowdsourced the actual writing, along with the cover design and publicity (The Crowdsourcing of the Book, 2011).  Given the interconnectedness of the material and use of social networks in its creation, it feels inauthentic and misleading that the crowdsourced origins of the material are not acknowledged in the three books.
Klosofsky probably would use the same arguments as Helene Hegemann ( in Theresa Wang’s April 6 posting) to defend the lack of transparency, but this doesn’t pass the ethical smell test for me. It would seem always better to pay homage to our inspirations, inasmuch as possible. True, some notions are so embedded in our culture that they have become invisible, as McLuhan pointed out about the fish not realizing it was surrounded by water. But particularly when origins are obvious, ‘fess up and defend it as fair use. Being silent is counter to what I see as the values of a networked and crowd-sourced economy:  respect, inclusion and acknowledgement.
Not surprisingly, Klosofsky’s book offers little in the way of advice on ethical use of social media in the workplace. As my beloved mother-in-law might say, he might not have been a liar, but he seems a stranger to the truth.

Klososky, S. (2011).  Enterprise social technology: Helping organizations harness the power of social media, social networking, social relevance. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group.
Klososky, S. (2011).  The Manager’s Guide to Social Media. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Klososky, S. (2011).  The Velocity Manifesto: Harnessing Technology, Vision, and Culture to Future-Proof Your Organization. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group.
The Crowdsourcing of the Book. (2011). Retrieved from