So this is my working proposal, and I might adjust it a little bit. My project is based around the idea of authorship and new media, specifically focusing on blog content. What I’m going to do is choose different blog at random each day – there’s a feature on blogspot that let’s you do so – and write a blog post based on their most recent blog post. I’m going to mimic the form and style, and write commentary on the content of the blog. Doing so, I hope look at the different ways that amateur “publishing” is achieved, while considering how we define the “author,” and how what creates legitimacy in writing. Is it be published? Are blogs consider a valid form of publishing? etc
In essence, I’m making a blog about blogs; using the medium I’m analyzing as a tool of analysis itself. I recognize that I’m partially limited by my lack of computer code skills. However, this ties into what draws me to the blog. Limited computer knowledge is necessary beyond the basic computer skills. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or an academic to write a blog – it is accessible to anyone with a computer and the Internet. The Internet is flooded with blogs about everything and anything, written by people ranging from all ages. Through this I hope to gain a better understand of what compels people to write blogs, what they write about, and what makes us read specific blogs as well.
I’m probably going to expand on the form of my project over the next week, but as of now, this is my working idea.
So all of our discussions in class reminded me of this video I watched in my Digital Art Class last semester. It’s a talk Lawrence Lessig gave concerning free culture, authorship, commons, and copyright. The internet has changed the way in which discuss ownership, and although this isn’t something we’ve directly discussed in class, I feel like it’s extremely relevant to our discussion. I don’t really agree with everything Lessig argues, and I think a lot of his points are strongly rooted in a blatant sense of entitlement; however, he raises interesting arguments.
Here’s the link
Something that really struck me about Wednesday’s writing was the way the author’s discussed sound, and how easily it can be paralleled to our class. The connections between the development of the gramophone and the internet are endless. As the gramophone immortalized the voices of people, the internet does the same. It changes the way we think about authorship, and even now, this blog etches our thoughts into the web, just as the gramophone etched sound waves. I had never really considered the connections between sound and the written word, but the connections are endless. The gramophone is another form of transcription, as the words we speak become a part of culture at large. Overall, I enjoyed the reading and it sparked a lot of questions about the way we think about media.
I have to admit, it took me a while to break through the surface of this reading. At first I was intimidated and thrown off by Mcluhan’s overly verbose and semi-schizophrenic writing style. But there was point after his mantra “the medium is the message” was repeated for the nteenth time, that I finally began to understand.
I looked at his writing as a set of dichotomies, all of which can only truly make sense to the reader when set in opposition to one another. When he first introduced the concept of electric light and instantaneity, I didn’t quiet see where he was going, but once I saw it in contrast to idea of sequence, I was able to place his metaphor into my understanding of his work. Mcluhan challenges the reader to look at the whole instead of the process, the instant instead of the sequence. Looking at the significance of interrelated events in contrast to fragmented sequences.
While Mcluhan’s examples seem contradictory at times (I was initially confused by TV being “cold” and radio being “hot”), but his repetition and use of abstract examples helped me to conceptualize his concepts that were initially alien to me. I also couldn’t help but make the correlation between his own writing style, and one of his many examples stating, “the entire message is then traced and retraced, again and again, on the rounds of a concentric spiral with seeing redundancy. One can stop anywhere after the first few sentences have have the full message” (pg 26). It is obvious that if only the “first few sentences” of Understanding Media where read, not only one the reader miss the full message, they would not have much of a message at all. You would know that “the medium is the message,” but have no way to conceptualize or contextualize this statement.
I also tried to think about how Mcluhan’s choice of a hot media, a book, effects our reading of him. I’m still mulling over this, and not quiet sure what I think. Overall, I found Mcluhan engaging and extremely relevant despite the fact that this was published in the mid 60s. His ideas are easily transferable to the current age, and I do not think he would be surprised by the current state of media.