And so I begin my last blog post. My foray into blogging has been a short but insightful one. Though the blog has only taken shape over the past few weeks, the last 12 as a student of Net Communications have taught me a lot. As a fifth year at uni, it feels like I have been taking media subjects forever and I shudder at phrases such as ‘the public sphere‘ or ‘death of the newspaper.’
Net Communications has provided ‘a breath of fresh air‘ and in many ways seems more relevant than everything I have studied before. There is quite literally another world out there of bloggers connecting with each other, and the power of the internet for social fulfillment is only going to grow. I was completely ignorant.
My favourite lecture was the round table with Clem Bastow, Jess McGuire and Rachael Kendrick put everything into perspective. Before this course I knew that I didn’t want to be a journalist after my degree, and now I’ve crossed ‘professional blogger’ off that list too. (With how much I’ve enjoyed putting the content together for this blog I’m wondering if kindergarten teacher might be the best option?)
You are either born a blogger or you are not. I am not.
I have checked out the blogs of my fellow students and there are some absolute blogging masters amongst us. The wit required to be entertaining is not something you can acquire, and it troubles me slightly that we are assessed on something you’ve either got or not. As Rachael said, you can’t try hard on your blog. Jess told us to ignore sites such as problogger because it will scream ‘try hard’.
Well, I tried hard. I added widgets, designed my own custom header, embedded videos and posted as regularly as I could (even if it was just finding a YouTube video). I even had 151 site views today. Give me more time, no more lengthy assessment posts and I might find my voice.
But for now this is the end of my blogging journey. I now know how easy it is to create a blog so might be tempted back to the blogosphere in the future…… like in 3 weeks when I go backpacking overseas.
My life isn’t the same since I started a blog. As I rest my head on my pillow I think “oh that would be a good idea for my blog” and type it into my phone for the next morning. I check my WordPress ‘pending comments’ before I check my Facebook page. In broader terms, I think about how much technology is affecting us. If so many changes have happened in the past ten years, how reliant will we be upon the net in the next ten? What will web 3.0 look like? How much more can our privacy be sliced away? Will I one day be an unwilling YouTube viral hit? Please no.
Anything can be posted online and the potential for reputation damage online is something that really shocked me in one of our lectures. It’ is obvious, I just had never thought of it. With mobile phones anyone can be caught doing something or saying something that they would rather not be exposed to the world. Especially with iphones, it doesn’t take long for that embarassing snippet to make it into public.
The danger of online humiliation, as written by Daniel Solove in ‘The Future of Reputation’ is that it leaves a “permanent reputation stain, one that never fades. It is available around the world, and with Google it can be readily found in less than a second.” That is scary.
A story that has troubled me since the first lecture is that of the Star Wars Kid whose cringe-worthy 48 second clip has now probably been viewed over a billion times. I’m not going to imbed the video because I still feel sorry for the kid. So it was with relief that two days ago a story surfaced on the Age website called “The Star Wars Kid: Where is he now?” (read here)
It seems like he’s doing well- a law student who is President of a Canadian nonprofit organisation. He is unrecognisable from that chubby kid swinging a golf ball retriever around. So he is blessed to be able to live as someone other than the “Star Wars Kid”… So with that happy news, this subject comes full circle.
With a sigh of relief, over and out.
Fairy bread- nice and simple. Who said you had to be a kid to eat it?
Image courtesy of Nettsu
#1. Melbourne Museum →
Take yourself back to primary school excursions. This time without the boring educational tour you can look at what you want to see and hover in the most interesting parts (I’m guessing that’ll be the dinosaur section). Open daily 10am to 5pm and it’s free for students. Bonus.
#2. Glow Golf →
“….back in my day we played minigolf outdoors”. For a hole new take on putt putt, don white and head to Docklands for a round of UV-lighted minigolf. Open 7 days a week and until 11pm Friday and Saturday nights. Entry cost: $13.
#3. Collingwood Children’s Farm →
The farm for inner-city (big) kids. What’s not to enjoy about bottle feeding young lambs, waddling with ducks or cuddling a cute guinea pig?
Open every day of the year, cow milking at 10am and 4pm. $8 adults/$5 concessions.
#4. IMAX →
Melbourne’s biggest screen and you don’t have to wait for the next 3D blockbuster to come out. How about Bugs 3D or Dinosaurs Alive 3D? Being a big kid, it is essential you buy popcorn. $17.50 for a regular film, or $14 for concession.
#5. Luna Park →
It’s time to forget adult activities like sipping coffee or eating a panini- next time you are in St Kilda take a walk through Luna Park (it’s free to get in). Unleash with an unlimited ride pass for $39.95…. that’s only the price of two cocktails. You won’t regret it.
#6. Galactic Circus →
It’s in a casino, so that takes away from the ‘kid’ aspect slightly, but Galactic Circus is definitely up there for harmless fun. It’s Australia’s largest indoor interactive themepark and they sell fairy floss. Open 10am to 2 am weekdays, 9am to 2am weekends. Entry is free.
#7. Haighs →
In the poshest of Melbourne’s malls lies a chocolate-lover’s paradise. You absolutely must buy a chocolate frog (available at the counter for $1.05), loved by adults and kids alike. Open from 8.30 weekdays and until 5pm weekends.
#8. Kingpin Bowling Lounge →
It’s an adult take on bowling with bars and 20 giant screens screening sporting events and music videos. Be bowled over by how much tenpin has changed since you were little. Night bowling from 6pm: $16 first game, $12 each additional game.
#9. The Walrus and the Carpenter →
My absolute favourite children’s shop, located in Carlton. Get lost in childhood memories. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm. Sunday 10-2pm.
#10. Myer Christmas Windows →
A Melbourne tradition since 1856, you can’t miss Myer’s Christmas windows. They’re worth a squiz, even if it just for five minutes while waiting for the #96 tram. It’s best to go late at night when all the real kiddies are tucked up in bed.
It is three days until this blog is up for assessment, and I realise that I’m still alone in this blogosphere. No comments, no visitors….. I am blogging loner balancing out there on the tip of the long tail. It didn’t help that I was way for the class where everyone submitted their blog names so that everyone doing the subject could view them via the blogroll on the net comms page. It’s like missing O-week when you’re living at college, I’m behind from the start. I guess that even before then my abstract blog name wasn’t doing me any favours. But now in one last ditch effort I’m adding tags, and shouting out to my friends on Facebook. It is the time when everyone is looking for a little procratinatory goodness anyhow.
So please please please, may I have at least one comment by Monday. That would make my day.
This clip had me in tears. Enjoy!
Is it just me, or has the internet spawned a bunch of know-it-alls?
In research for this blog, I found another blog from the Guardian, entitled rather harmlessly ‘The best way to exercise with kids’. The first comment was rather callous:
I’d go so far to say that that was a truly uninspired, boring comment with little to say. Now for my niche of ‘finding ways to bring out the inner-kid’, I don’t expect a huge community of adults partaking in lively politically engaged discussion around the issue. But the post above is not uncommon, and I would be offended though not altogether surprised if one of these popped up in response to one of my posts.
Geert Lovink once wrote:
Blogs create communities of like-minded people. Debates happen within homogeneous webclouds … Most bloggers would admit that it is not their aim to foster public debate. If you disagree with a fellow blogger, it is even unwise to write a comment. Instead, it is much safer to post the remark on your own blog. “I blogged you”. The chance that someone will respond to it is almost zero. Herein is the limit of blogging
Firstly, I would argue that for most bloggers the purpose is to get the blog out there. I’m sure I’m not the only one happy to see a spike in visitor numbers on my WordPress dashboard. Visitors and ‘hits’ are what brings in the advertising dollars. It is what tags and sites such as ProBlogger were made for.
Indeed, in a post entitled The John Dvorakification of the blogosphere (see full article here), Robert Scoble gives a reason for this pervasive disagreement in blogs:
Why is all the snark going on? Cause everyone wants traffic. Why did I call this the John Dvorakification? Cause he figured out in the 1980s that if you attack a community that everyone will get all up in arms and will start talking about the attack. That translates into traffic. Traffic = advertising dollars.
The second part of Lovink’s quote, that “most bloggers would admit that it is not their aim to foster public debate” also seems sketchy to me. For debate means more people commenting, and that drives traffic to your blog. And I do believe that many online citizens are more than happy to post their disagreement. Which brings me back to where I started: the internet is filled with know-it-alls, commenting when no comment needs to be left, and using harsh language that need not be used. (Oops, it was not my intention to sound like a know-it-all just then).
Take this post as an example of ‘know-it-all-ism’: it is a delightful article about the best playgrounds around the world. It’s a happy topic, no? It’s a hard list to create and I am sure the author never intended for it to be definitive. Unless he was spoilt as a child and has slid down every slide in the world and is an expert on the matter, it is open for interpretation (and sadly, attack by the know-it-alls).
This is where the Jenkins’ idea of ‘participatory culture’ comes in. Audiences are no longer restricted to the position of critical reader anymore, but can rely on new worldwide connected social structures, communication, and distribution channels, facilitated by the Internet to express their own viewpoint. Terminology such as ‘prosumer’ (Toffler) and ‘produser’ (Bruns) have emerged to describe the phenomenon. (For a comprehensive overview of online participatory culture, Mirko Tobias Schäfer’s 336-page book ‘Bastard Culture!’ can be read online for free here).
“No blog is an island.” They float up in the sky in Lovink’s homogenous webclouds allowing social interaction and large-scale collaboration. But darting between the webclouds are vultures, determined to pick holes.
Take the second comment below.
I particularly like the following know-it-all that feels compelled to tell the world how good he is at Japanese.
And some other nitpickers:
Of course this is all harmless and more brutal posts can be comments at the host’s discretion.
But what does all this ‘snark’ mean for the public sphere? The comments on blogs are often so frivolous or self-indulgent that in my opinion they do little to further public debate. Blogs themselves though a means of expression in the media not regulated by the elite, and this can only be positive.
….How else would I have known about the scented playground in Sweden with a banana slide, strawberry spinners, a pair of cherry swings, an orange see-saw and a watermelon jungle gym ?
It suprises me that very few of my friends have heard of a ‘Frog in a Pond’. Could it be a Tasmanian thing? Well then, today I share my wisdom from across the ‘pond’. They are incredibly easy to make, and fun to serve and eat. Enjoy.
1. Mix Jelly according to packet directions.
3. Remove from fridge and pile a mountain (or lily pad) of whipped cream on top. (If using from a can make sure that you shake it really well. Not only does it give a more satisfying sound as it comes out, but the end product is much fluffier).
4. Place a freddo frog in each ‘pond’ and voila.