Thursday 29 March 2012

WEB206 - Week 4: Narrating the Self

Everything we publish on the Web says something about who we are. Whether it be the photograph we choose to represent us on a social networking site, the biography we include as a part of our blog, or the nature of our conversations with others through communities, message boards and comments, as we contribute to the Web we are establishing for ourselves an online identity.

The accumulated content of your contributions to the Web is known as your Internet footprint. As a publisher of Web content, this is something that you need to be in control of, so that when people search for your name, the results provided will give them an appropriate idea of who you are and what you do.

In this light it is worth considering whether you wish to have two established presences on the Internet, one that is public and another that is private. You need to consider whether you want your (professional) web publishing to be connected with your private social networks.

This week's readings:
Turkle, S. (1999). Looking Toward Cyberspace: Beyond Grounded Sociology. Contemporary Sociology, 28(6), 643-648.
Schau, H. J., & Gilly, M. (2003). We Are What We Post? Self-Presentation in Personal Web Space. The Journal of Consumer Research, 30(3), 385-404.
Walker, J. (2005). Mirrors and Shadows: The Digital Aestheticisation of Oneself. Paper presented at the Digital Arts and Culture Conference.

To what degree - if at all - do you see yourself playing different 'roles' on the Internet?
I've been using the Internet since 1993 and back then it was a lot more about being anonymous online. I had one of those scary personal homepages with flashing gifs and the entire thing referred only to "Nicky", with very few other identifying features.  I found the Schau & Gilly reading really interesting because it made me realise that although the links I put on that homepage were there because I liked them, they were also there because having them there portrayed the type of cool geekgirl online persona I was striving for at the time. :>

For that reason, I found MySpace and more particularly Facebook to be quite confronting, and I deliberately held off on participating for a long time.  I still struggle with the concept of privacy online and although I've opened up a lot more in recent times, I've still made a fairly conscious effort to draw a line between what can be public and what should stay private.  My Facebook is fairly locked down by some people's standards and is probably the most purely "me", bad jokes and all.  I also have a professional LinkedIn profile and a public Twitter account and anything that goes on those is usually with "big picture web presence" in mind, so while they do demonstrate my humour and interests, there's very little that would be offensive to anybody.  I've also set up a completely separate Facebook business page and Twitter business account so I can keep those things separated. Initially I did this so that I didn't bore my friends & family with professional stuff, but it's now worked well in the opposite way too, to keep my professional contacts separated without the family photos.  This is the area where I plan for my new blog to slot into.

How much do you find user avatars contribute to your perception of the people behind them?
How is your perception of people affected by avatars within different contexts (i.e. discussion forums, games, instant messaging, social networks etc.)?
I find avatars interesting from the perspective of how that person views themself.  But I tend to base my perceptions of people more on what they write, or how they play, or how they react to certain situations, because I think those observations give me a clearer view of the person.  I've always viewed avatars as more like a snapshot in time, of what a person WANTS to be, rather than what they really are.  It's possible that I think that way because when I first got online, almost nobody had a photo or an avatar and you had to learn to form views based on on other things.

How do you think the lack of recognisable avatars within the Blackboard environment affects your relationship with others in this course?
I personally don't have a need for avatars, as I tend to form my views based on what people say and how they go about things, rather than what they look like.  But for those who do like them, here's my current Facebook picture.  I only recently changed this, I'd had the previous photo for 2 years but after my husband took this a few weeks ago I changed it because I liked the idea of being public but hidden behind sunglasses!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

WEB206 - Week 3: Copy/Paste & Copyright

"The infinitely replicable nature of digital 'texts' has raised important questions about intellectual property, ownership and the nature of creativity within our culture. Where previously the technologies required to copy a text were relatively cumbersome, personal computers have made this task essentially trivial. Coupled with the enormous power of the Internet as a medium for distributing and sharing information, we have entered an era where established ideas of copyright increasingly need to be reconsidered and re-evaluated."

This week's readings:

Snapper, J. W. (1999). On the Web, plagiarism matters more than copyright piracy. Ethics and Information Technology, 1, 127-136.
Lessig, L. (2004). Creators. In Free Culture: How Big Media uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Strangle Creativity (pp. 21-30). New York: Penguin.
Berry, D., & Moss, G. (2005). On the “Creative Commons”: a critique of the commons without commonalty: Is the Creative Commons missing something? Retrieved September 4th, 2009, from

In the light of the information here and the readings you have done, what license do you anticipate using in your non-academic work? Why?
If I license content that I put online then I generally license it as Attribution Non-Commercial so that others can remix my work non-commercially, as long as they attribute it to me. However, as this is a business blog then I intend to license it as Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works, which means that others can copy and distribute my work non-commercially but are not allowed to alter or transform it.  My blog is something I've been thinking about doing for a while, to supplement my website development business and help to build my brand. As many of my clients are older, small business owners who have never had a website before, I'm hoping that existing clients will not only benefit from the information I present, but also pass it on to their own networks, which will hopefully result in additional work for me.

Do you agree with the assertions made by advocates of Creative Commons that copyright is restricting culture?
I think that today's copyright laws are not entirely applicable to the digital world. I really liked Lessig's example of the Causbys and the aeroplane problem - I thought it demonstrated exactly how the law and new technology don't always meet. While it is important for creators to be able to financially support themselves if they choose to - perhaps important work would never be created if individuals did not choose to devote their life to it - and copyright goes some way in protecting those people, I think the current "lifetime plus 70 years" concept of copyright is ridiculous and has gone way too far in support of the producers, not the creators - it is not benefitting any individual in their quest to create, 70 years after they've died.
I just finished watching a Keynote address by Lessig that discussed copyright, spectrum and broadband which I found quite interesting:

Lawrence, L. (2004). Creators. In Free culture: How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity (pp. 21-30). New York: Penguin.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Carlton FC Auskick Clinic

Carlton Football Club Auskick Clinic


Thursday 15 March 2012

WEB206 - Week 2: Sourcing Information on the Web

"Before the rise of the Internet as a publishing medium, sourcing accurate and reliable information was a far simpler matter than it is today. Indeed, it was often the case that the fact that something had actually been published was enough to ensure a certain degree of reliability. However, with the sheer volume of information published on the Web and the variety of topics covered, locating and tracking reliable sources is an important skill in today's media environment.

As you establish your public web presence, you will become an informal "gatekeeper" of information on a particular topic. Individuals and the networks they (and you) are a part of will use your authority as a measure of the credibility of information. In order to perform this role effectively, you will need to know how to locate and critically evaluate your sources. Your ability to do this well will be reflected in the quality of your writing.

Over the next two weeks we are going to look at a variety of ways of finding and tracking sources, establish some methods for evaluating their credibility and consider what you can and can't do with that information once you have it."

This week's readings:
Van House, N. Weblogs: Credibility and collaboration in an online world.
Warnick, B. (2004). Online ethos: Source credibility in an "authorless" environment. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(2), 256-265. Available through the Library Database

Discussion questions:
1. Warnick lays out six criteria cited by lay users as indexes of Web site credibility (Table One). Which of these criteria do you feel you have typically relied upon to determine the reliability of a site in the past? Why?
2. Do you agree with Warnick's suggestion that the emphasis on the author might be replaced by one based upon "skillful design, image quality, usability, information structure, comprehensiveness, absence of self-interest, [and] usefulness"?

TABLE 1: Criteria Cited by Lay Users as Indexes of Web Site Credibility
Criterion Percentage
1. Being able to trust the information on a site 80
2. Being able to easily navigate and find what you want 80
3. Being able to easily identify sources of information on the site 65
4. Knowing that the site is updated frequently with new information 65
5. Being able to find out important facts about the site 50
6. Knowing who owns the site 32
SOURCE: Princeton Survey Research Associates (2002).

I think the criteria for assessing a particular website is completely dependent on the topic of that site.  For instance, I sometimes read articles on the Mamamia blog, via links they post on Twitter. The blog is mostly opinion-based articles aimed at women, Mums, etc. and I personally find the navigation awful and many of the opinions very one-sided, but it has a large reader base who comment frequently, and the blog itself is updated frequently too. A lot of the time I'm more amused by the comments than the article, and I don't really care too much about the authors or who owns the site. But I also read several small-business based blogs, and with those I am more interested in the credibility of the authors and the information they are providing, and the sources of that information.

My blog is going to be primarily a small business blog, focussing on existing clients and also new clients that are in a similar situation. Often they are older, small business owners who are experts in their own field but have very little idea of where to start or what to do next when it comes to their web presence. One of the things that my existing clients like is that they find me approachable and I can explain things in a "non-geeky" way, which results in referrals, so my plan is to make my blog mostly about the first 3 criteria in the table, but customised to the environment I've already created for them and therefore with a bit of a personal touch.

Thursday 8 March 2012

WEB206 - Web Publishing

Back to studying this week, after 3 study periods off due to various personal challenges last year.  All a bit daunting but it looks like a fun subject - web publishing, basically, blogging.  I spent this week getting approval for and creating a new blog - it's still very much a work-in-progress but check it out at

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Make Kony Famous

Incredibly powerful.  Make Kony famous. (Now one of the most viral videos of all time).

Sunday 4 March 2012

Hawks Family Day, 4 March 2012