“There is Only Software”: 

 

Excerpts:

  • “Academics, media artists, and journalists have been writing extensively about “new media” since the early 1990s. In many of these discussions, a single term came to stand for the whole set of new technologies, new expressive and communicative possibilities, and new forms of community and sociality which were developing around computers and internet. The term was “digital” (Manovich 1).
  • “I don’t need to convince anybody today about the transformative effects internet, participatory media, mobile computing already had on human culture and society, including creation, sharing, and access to media artifacts. What I do want to point out is the centrality of another element of IT which until recently received less theoretical attention in defining what “media” is. This element is software” (Manovich 2).
  • “In the analog era, once a photograph was printed, whatever this photograph represented/expressed was contained in this print. Looking at this photograph at home or in an exhibition did not make any difference. Certainly, a photographer could produce a different print with a higher contrast and in this way change the content of the origina image – but this required creating a whole new physical object (i.e., a new photographic print). Now, lets consider a digital photograph. We can capture a photo with a dedicated digital camera or a mobile phone, we scan it from an old magazine, we download it from an online archive, etc. – this part does not matter. In all cases we will end with a digital file which contains an array of pixel color values, and a file header which may typically specify image dimensions, information about the camera and shot conditions (such as exposure) and other metadata. In other words, we end up with what is normally called “digital media” – a file containing numbers which mean something to us” (Manovich 3).

Notes:

  • There is no such thing as digital media. There is only software.
  • Depending on the software you are using, the “properties” of a media object can change dramatically.

Thoughts: The quote about the difference between printed and digital photographs is unique and something that I have never thought about before. I take digital photographs almost every day on a phone of camera, but I had never before considered what this meant in relation to print photographs.

Questions to Consider:

  • Why is it so significant to differentiate the terms “software” and “media”?

Citations:

Manovich, Lev. There Is Only Software (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.

 

“Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of Youtube”:

Excerpts:

  • “Youtube represents [a] kind of hybrid media space… a space where commercial, amateur, nonprofit, governmental, educational, and activist content co-exists and interacts in ever more complex ways. As such, it potentially represents a site of conflict and renegotiation between different forms of power” (Jenkins).
  • “Youtube operates, alongside Flickr, as an important site for citizen journalists, taking advantage of a world where most people have cameras embedded in their cellphones which they carry with them everywhere they go” (Jenkins).
  • “Youtube may embody a particular opportunity for translating a participatory culture into civic engagement. The ways that Apple’s ‘1984’ advertisement was appropriated and deployed by supporters of Obama and Clinton as part of the political debate suggests how central Youtube may become in the next presidential campaign” (Jenkins).

Notes:

  • Youtube has enabled the growth of participatory cultures
  • Youtube’s value depends heavily upon its deployment via other social networking sites (i.e. it might become more popular because it’s share all over Facebook)
  • Social networking emerges as one of the important social skills and cultural competencies that young people need to acquire if they are going to become meaningful participants in the culture around them.
  • Participatory culture is not necessarily a diverse culture.

Thoughts: With smartphones growing more and more common, it is interesting to see how this affects the role of videos on social media. We are able to quickly capture moments in our everyday lives by taking simple videos on a phone, and we can use these videos to support our social and political beliefs.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are some examples of how politicians have used Youtube, turning participatory culture into civic engagement?
  • Why is it that a “participatory culture is not necessarily a diverse culture”?

Citations:                        

“Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of YouTube.” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

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