Just the bare necessities of life(stream) – Week 5 summary

My lifestream this week is focused on community. This was partly in response to my reading of the chapter by Lister whom, I felt, took a fairly traditional stance on what we might understand by ‘community’. While Lister stopped short of othering online communities, and while he helpfully argued against the binary of ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ (p. 209), there was still a sense of assessing the new as part of the continuum of the old. Old wine in new wineskins, rather than the other way around.

This week I’ve looked at the make up of MOOC participants, and included a couple of screenshots based on the survey conducted on entry to the course. I started to explore the nature of the community, focusing on the stated motivations of participants to join this MOOC. The variety of explanations might be expected, but I found an interesting mix of fairly passive responses and some which strongly mirrored the expectation of socially constructed knowledge, to which Knox (2015) refers.

Following from this, but sticking with the theme of community, I had great fun attempting to bring a critical perspective to the use of gifs and memes. I even tried creating a few of my own, but found it much harder than expected; there’s a message there about the roles of consumer and producer. I wrote about the impact that memes and gifs might have on community development, and the implications of their ability to be both the object of a community and its vocabulary. There are critical considerations around their currency, their political influence (for example, see here), their relationship to text, the effects of their de/re-contextualisation, and – librarian hat on, sorry – their ownership.


Knox, J. (2015). Critical education and digital cultures. Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Singapore: Springer, 1–6.
Lister, M. (2009). Networks, users and economics. In M. Lister (Ed.), New media: a critical introduction (2nd ed, pp. 163–236). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, N.Y: Routledge.

2 Replies to “Just the bare necessities of life(stream) – Week 5 summary”

  1. ‘there was still a sense of assessing the new as part of the continuum of the old. ‘

    Interesting reflections on Lister et al. here. There is certainly something of an attempt to outline roughly chronological sequences, especially when one looks through the entire chapter, and I guess this is part of a ‘media studies approach’. Is there something qualitatively new in online communities, do you think?

    ‘This week I’ve looked at the make up of MOOC participants’

    interesting to approach ‘community’ by looking at ‘individuals’, as opposed to interactions? The survey results could be interesting – I thought the percentage from sub-Saharan Africa was of note. Your categorisation of motivations was really great, and ‘…but something is happening in my country and I want to know how to report it’ seemed like a fascinating response. It says something positive about the accessibility of MOOCs perhaps?

    Interesting reflection on animated gifs and memes. Were you perhaps thinking of this as a way to represent your ‘community’?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jeremy 🙂 I’m not sure there’s something necessarily /new/ about online communities; it’s rather that this chronological, historiographical approach seems to be ubiquitous, and I haven’t seen it challenged much…

Comments are closed.