Friday 27 April 2012

It's official...

Just formally accepted offer of admission into Bachelor of Arts (Internet Communications) degree #itsofficial #bigstep #netcomms

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Monday 23 April 2012

WEB206 - Week 8: The Attention Economy

The Web has brought with it a number of challenges for the professional writer. How do we present information in an age where there is an overabundance of it? How do we engage readers when another page is just a click away? And, of course, the big question of the moment - "What happens to news organisations and media institutions when everyone is potentially an author?".

As the media landscape has changed, so too have audience expectations and demands. Traditional media outlets can no longer rely on dedicated and restrictive channels that ensure a captive audience, but must instead contend with everybody else in what has been termed the 'attention economy'. Over the next two weeks we will be looking specifically at ways in which writers on the Web can tailor content and respond to changing audience expectations.

This week's readings:
Shirky, C. (2002). Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing. Retrieved October 13th, 2009, from
Anderson, C. (2004). The Long Tail. Retrieved September 9th, 2009, from
Kelly, K. (2008). Better Than Free. Retrieved October 24th, 2009, from

What is your reaction to Shirky's claim that the Web and Weblogs have made publishing a "financially worthless activity"?

How might the ideas Kelly proposes be relevant to your chosen topic/field? Can you think of examples of people working in this field who have used some of these ideas?

In what other ways do you think it might be possible to add value to information for your readers?

This is quite funny on reflection, but reading Shirky's article actually set me off thinking again about an idea I'd had last year that I'd abandoned due to lack of time. After spending the best part of last week nosing around looking into a whole bunch of stuff that had very little to do with "Web Publishing" - I'm now back on Blackboard! Sorry about falling behind (again). They say that study opens the mind - right?! :>

Anyway - after thinking about it and reading the other posts here, I'm now not so sure about Shirky and his "financially worthless" suggestion. While it's probably true that not many people are making much money today based on current models, the models themselves are changing too. Tying that in with Kelly's ideas about immediacy, personalisation, etc. - you only have to come up with a new way of doing or presenting something and everyone else will be off and running trying to catch up. Look at smartphone apps, for instance - I'm a recent adoptee of "Draw Something". Nobody says anything, nobody does anything spectacular, one of the silliest games I've ever played - but the creators of that game recently sold it for $200 million, after almost going broke! Imagine even five years ago, somebody suggesting that anybody could make $200 million out of a game on a phone. If you then add in Kelly's "1,000 true fans" ideas - well, I just think, never say never.

Writing Task. Available at:

Friday 20 April 2012

Mothers Day Classic

Pls sponsor my BFF in the Mother's Day Classic raising funds for breast cancer research

Monday 9 April 2012

WEB206 - Week 6: The Public Voice

If what we are seeking to do in online publishing is to establish a recognisable Web presence then two issues are of particular importance: Authority and Ethics. Authority is established in part by knowing your topic well, but you can also read over Topic 1.2: Sourcing Information on the Web to understand how authority is established by effective linking to other sites that cover the same ground. Ethics, on the other hand, is a matter of personal integrity - long-time blogger Rebecca Blood offers some advice in the readings about how you can maintain an ethical stance in your writing.

Over the last few years there has been a rise in what has been termed 'citizen journalism'; topics that in the past were written about by dedicated professionals have become the domain of amateur writers who establish their popularity through engagement with their audience and a sense that they know what they are writing about. This does not mean that 'anyone' can become a successful blogger (or online writer of any kind). The most successful of those amateurs, the bloggers who have managed to establish a reputation within their particular field of interest, are not in that position by chance. As much as the Web is a democratic medium, it rewards those who can utilise the platform effectively. Writing for a public audience is a skill that is learned through practice and observation. This week, we are looking at how you can develop your writing skills in the context of a blog post, but the advice offered here applies to most kinds of online writing.

This week's readings:
Lomborg, S. (2009). Navigating the Blogosphere: Towards a genre-based Typology of Weblogs. First Monday, 14(5).
Blood, R. (2002). Weblog Ethics. In The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. Perseus.
Rowse, D. (2008). Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post. Retrieved September 9th, 2009, from

Do you agree with the suggestion in Walker's article (last week's readings) that the blogosphere can be seen as a revitalising influence on the public sphere?
I found Walker's paper really interesting.  The idea that the cultural effects of print and the rise in literacy created a separation into private and public spheres in the last couple of hundred years, and that blogging is now collapsing that divide, is something I hadn't thought about before but it does make some sense.  So while I'm not convinced that "revitalising" is the right word, I can certainly agree with Walker that blogging is having a profound effect on the public sphere.

Setting aside the Internet, in what other areas of your life do you contribute to the public sphere?
Last year I became involved in a local community group that was created in response to the local council's draft redevelopment plan - although, my contribution to date has mostly been the Internet side of things - website, email lists, etc.!  I also get involved in my kid's school but again, I tend to get involved in ways that I can contribute via my computer.  What can I say, I'm a geek. :>

What blogs do you read for informational purposes? Why?
I've tried RSS feeds and never really got into it - my tool of choice is Twitter, which I use as a sort of pseudo-RSS feed to click off to a variety of different blog posts and articles from there.  I use a Twitter plugin for Firefox called Yoono which sits on the side of my browser, so I don't have to have any extra windows open.  I have a number of lists setup within Twitter and also have a few different Twitter accounts, which can be loosely broken down into work/web-related stuff, footy (go Hawks!), study-related, funny things and friends.

Writing Task:  Available at

Wednesday 4 April 2012

WEB206 - Week 5: The Personal Voice

As we move through this course we need to consider how online writing is influenced by the platform on which it is to be published and by the narrative mode/genre of the piece. Over this week and the next we are going to consider how blogs (the platform) can be used to write personal narratives and/or informative pieces created for broader public consumption. Each of these modes produces different effects for readers and consequently attracts different audiences. Thus, we need to think about the context in which we use them and where one is more suitable than the other.

Problematically however, in the context of the Internet, it quickly becomes apparent that any clear distinctions between personal and public writing are blurred. As we have seen, anything we write on the Web is effectively public. Given this, we need to consider how personal narratives and disclosure affect readers and work towards the creation of an online identity.

This week's readings:
Luders, M. (2008). Conceptualizing Personal Media. New Media & Society, 10(5).
Available through the library database.
Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available:
McCullagh, K. (2008). Blogging: self presentation and privacy. Information & Communications Technology Law, 17(1), 3-23. Available through the library database.

In what way do you see the function of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?

Traditional mass-media is one-way, broadcast media, which is very passive for users - all they need to do is read. The media do the filtering and present what is newsworthy. In contrast, personal media is two-way and invites the user to participate.

Today's blogging and other participatory media requires readers to be writers and writers to be readers simultaneously. While there is still a large element of solitude in reading and writing online, we see the conversational and social aspects of this literacy increasing steadily (Walker, 2008, p8).

Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available:

In what way do you see the form of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?
In some ways the form is similar - for example, Walker compares pamphlets and periodicals from the 17th century with today's blogs and notes that neither are published in episodic format (Walker, 2008, p4). However, the digital aspect of the presentation, and the readership base are very different.

Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available:

In what way do you see the reliability of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?
Because traditional mass-media is professionally produced, there has always been a sense that the information provided is reliable, just "reporting the news", without opinion. However, in recent times there has been a shift to making items more newsworthy, which has resulted in more sensationalism, opinions being presented as fact, and politically-skewed information. As well, traditional mass-media is filtered by those organisations, and the most newsworthy events are broadcast. Personal media, while not "professional", could in some ways be viewed as more "honest", and is generally more unfiltered. For example, McCullagh says that in a survey, over 60% of people said that their reason for blogging was "to document your personal experiences and share them with others", and less than 2% said it was "to make money" (McCullagh, 2008).

McCullagh, K. (2008). Blogging: self presentation and privacy. Information & Communications Technology Law, 17(1), 3-23. Available through the library database.