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Tag Archives: 2-travelogue

Is Google Making Us Stupid?: Who Cares?

In my posts for the past two weeks, I’ve been discussing the question of whether new media technologies affect attention span. The answer so far appears to be a pretty clear yes: the internet affects how we think, making us take in small amounts of information quickly, rather than sustained, deep thinking. However, this isn’t the only question we should be asking. More importantly, we should be asking ourselves: who cares?

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Alternate Reality Games As Education Tools

Imagine for a second you’re back in the fourth grade, faced with the prospect of reading ten books alone over your summer vacation. We are in grad school, so I do understand that some of you out there are thrilled at that idea, but as a whole most kids aren’t so interested in giving up playtime for reading.

Cue the “39 Clues”, a multimedia experience centered around a series of ten books written by a collection of authors. These books blend books, websites, online video, and a card game to envelop students in an alternate world which draws upon current events, as well as tie-ins to lesson plans found in class.

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Will anyone read a post with sciencey words and no pictures?: Attention Span and the Digital Age

In my last post I talked about how the public perception is that the internet is affecting attention spans.  While the anecdotal information seems pretty clear, I thought it would be interesting to look at some scientific reporting to see if things are in fact changing (and by scientific reporting I mean reports on science in the popular media.  I’m in a media studies grad program–if I want to learn about science I need people to explain it to me using small words and pictures).

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Twitter Social Games: Can 140 characters provide a rich gaming experience?

In the past year, Twitter’s popularity has definitely risen as is evidenced by articles in major newspapers, celebrity twitter follower challenges and social or political movements.
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Games are another popular pastime on Twitter – some are straight-forward trivia quizzes and some more involved and innovative. These social games take place on twitter and are constrained by the 140 character limit. I’m interested in looking at the dynamics of these social twitter games; some of the questions I plan on look at are:

  • Is the 140 character constraint a limitation or is that what makes it more compelling?
  • Why do people play these games?
  • What is so addictive about them? Is it because they require so little ‘investment’?
  • How long do they last?
  • Do they have an impact?
  • Is there a connection between a micro-blogging service like Twitter and the notion of ‘casual’ gaming?

I have started playing a few of these games and I plan to talk to other users who play these games and if possible, some of the creators of these games. I expect to have an interesting journey!


What Are the Major Issues Surrounding Pitchfork Media’s Power?

Known to many as the authorities on all things music related, Pitchfork Media has garnered a definite influence on trends in music over the last decade. I want to know why and how. Here are a few questions I’ll attempt to find the answers to:

How does Pitchfork’s content spread across the internet? I plan on researching how the website’s content is disseminated through both smaller blogs and twitter posts, and how much of an effect a positive review can have on the number Youtube views, Myspace views, and bittorrent downloads (through waffles.fm).

Why is Pitchfork so controversial? To many, the mention of the site immediately elicits a gag reflex, yet it is difficult to argue that it’s become one of the definitive sources for music. What about the site makes readers so reactionary?

Does Pitchfork have an agenda in securing its status as a dominating taste-maker? Like any brand, there are a few instances in the website’s history where it may have been aware that confrontation and controversy is good for business.

In this Web 2.0 era, why is there no space for a dialogue among the readers? Or do readers simply want to be told what the Best New Music is (even better, in the format of clickable lists and quick 1-10 scale ratings) without having to seek it out for themselves?

Pitchfork serves as a concise guide and filter among the thousands upon thousands of music blogs out there. Is there harm in having a single go-to publication as an information source for all things music related?

And who are these writers who, under the Pitchfork brand, have the power to steer the direction of musical trends?


Travelogue 2 – a social marketing network

I’ve chosen Adbusters as the new media environment for which I’ll base my Travelogue. Adbusters is simply a broad network/organization seeking to advance what they bill as “the new social activist movement of the information age.” To spread their message(s), they’ve mobilized through various media including a not-for-profit print magazine, various blogs, news, spoof ads, “ABTV” [an internet TV channel], and a weekly e-newsletter. They push an extremely broad agenda, seeking to educate consumers on any number of social issues from food to corporatism. Their target is “any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons.” Read More »