Daily Archives: March 5, 2017

Comment on Liked on YouTube: Global Digital Culture: Cultural Differences and the Internet by chills

Hi Stuart

Thanks for posting this YouTube clip on your blog. I hadn’t considered the perspective of how growing numbers of internet users from all over the world would affect our experience of the web, exposing us to more and more ideas and worldviews or making us more insular and parochial.



from Comments for Stuart’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2mqiFb3

Week 7 Monsters, mammoths, mammals and mammon

Monsters, mammoths, mammals and mammon

Image: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/5244106245 J. Michael Lockhart, USFWS

Henry James (1921) called Tolstoy’s War and Peace a ‘loose baggy monster’, just the epithet I need to describe this week. It’s been a bit all over the place and I haven’t stuck to the point. To begin with, I finished my micro-netnography which, as I hinted to Eli, had me take a detour both from the need to focus narrowly on one aspect of the mooc, and from the role of documenter by getting embroiled in philosophical distinctions. To turn this to advantage, I learnt a little phenomenology, found a friendly connection with the course leader (limes!) and thought about the necessity, the value and the restriction of setting specific tasks, the first two seeming to outweigh the last.

I created a precarious soundtrack for my philosophical road clip which got mangled in the upload to YouTube, so, now short of time, I bolted on a happy tune and left it at that. This was, of course, a mistake, quickly picked up by Daniel, but which made another important lesson for me. In the same way that words matter (noun and verb), my dissonant soundtrack performed a different meaning to the one I intended to express (at least some of the time). This cinematic literacy, evident in all my coursemates’ netnographies, is something I’m not well versed in, leading to an imperfect understanding of digital (and analogue) cultures.

All over the place, too, because I picked up an interesting podcast and paper which probably look forward to the next block rather than summarising this, added some random infrastructure thoughts and threw in the conservation ecology of the black-footed ferret.

James, H. (1921). Preface to The Tragic Muse. London: Macmillan & Co.

Netty Mologies

Lister (2009) states,

to understand contemporary net based media one must spend time online, not reading books (p.164)

This could equally apply to online communities and we can begin to understand different online groups and their cultures by participating in moocs, spending time on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, belonging to special interest groups or playing online games (in other words, just being online).

Another way of beginning to understand online communities is to examine the lexicon and neologisms they develop. In his book Netymology, Tom Chatfield (2013) explores internet etymology which enables fascinating insight into how the digital both reflects and creates digital cultures.

The words we use say more about us than we usually realize. In a sense, they also use us – and never more so than when we’re speaking about what it feels like to be us

(Chatfield, 2013, p.22).

Here Chatfield is talking about  our memory and how past connotations of the word have been superseded by new, technological ones. He continues,

Just as steam-powered machinery left its metaphorical mark during the industrial revolution, the language we bring to bear on our own minds is increasingly shaped by computing: from talk of “processing” and “downloading” ideas to acts like “rebooting” our attitudes …


This seems to echo my thoughts on computing terminology and the performativity of language. Lister, talking about Wikipedia and Google, remarks how these names have become common parlance,

The enormous success of Wikipedia has prompted all kind of other “Wiki” based knowlege generating and sharing processes such that wiki has become a noun referring to a shared knowledge site as Google has become a verb meaning to find information


Chatfield informs us that the word “wiki” comes from the Hawaiian word for “fast” and the word “paideia” is Greek for “education”. The computing connotations of the word “wiki”, explains Chatfield, go back to 1995, when a programmer called Howard Cunningham used the word to describe his creation of a website that lots of people could edit quickly.

Etymologies give us an historical perspective as we note that even neologisms are built upon stems of words with long histories or are based on existing ideas. What we often describe as new technology is better understood when we know the past it drags behind.

To illustrate, I have taken just a few of the terms Chatfield presents and put them on a glog:

Etymology Glogblog

Chatfield, T. (2013). Netymology, Quercus, London.