Nuggets from Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009)

The amount and diversity of the information in this core reading defied my preferred method of deconstruction into a Mindmap format.  Instead I have cherry-picked paragraphs and sentences that I felt were key the community culture topic.

“Understanding the self as a networked presence has almost become a commonplace – consciousness is increasingly understood as an ‘assemblage’ in which technologically mediated communications systems are as much part of our consciousness as ‘nature’ or the body.”

“Williams identifies three forms of communication technology: the amplificatory, that allows the spread of speech over distance; the durative, that allows its storage; and the alternative which is made up of the use of signs – that is, methods alternative to the use of speech to convey meaning (e.g. writing, graphics etc.) (Williams 1980: 55–57)”

“Williams argued that the amplificatory and durative
aspects of media (the ability to broadcast and to store material) due to their dependence on capital investment, were much less readily available outside of the control of the state and industry (Williams 1974). In fact it has been these elements which have become more widely available.”

“…the expression of the ideology of neo-liberalism has been that you can do what you want with the networks available on condition that you can pay for access and use.”

“The idea of Web 2.0 is that a particular assemblage of software, hardware and sociality have brought about ‘the widespread sense
that there’s something qualitatively different about today’s web’ (O’Reilly 2005a). This shift is allegedly characterised by co creativity, participation and openness, represented by softwares that support, for example, wiki based ways of creating and accessing knowledge, social networking sites, blogging, tagging and ‘mash ups’. O’Reilly envisions the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 as a series of technological shifts and new practices in his influential article.”

The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. From Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction p204, London: Routledge
Quoting O’Reilly, T. (2005) “‘users add value’, we will enhance the service through the traces of ourselves that we leave behind when we add data to the service. These effects should be designed into the experience ‘by default’; most of us will not want to actively add data but just by using a site information can be collected, as a side effect of our use of the application.”

“Pierre Lévy’s influential Utopian writing on collective intelligence (1997), in which he asserts that ‘networks promote the construction of intelligent communities in which our social and
cognitive potential can be mutually developed and enhanced’ (1997: 17). This notion reflects the enthusiasms of early cybertheorists and can also be seen to be very influential in the work of Henry Jenkins (2002) and Jane McGonigal (2007).”

“Operations like Wikipedia, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Digg are the poster stars for the new media era of user generated content when we will all be enjoined to be creatives in order to have a voice, a place and space in the new knowledge based digital economies.”

“Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales forecasts ‘It’s going to be a part of everyday life – creating and sharing media will be a thing that normal people will do all the time, every day, and it doesn’t seem strange.’ Matt Mullenweg of blog engine WordPress observes ‘Now you see people with no technical ability creating really amazing sites reaching audiences they would never have imagined reaching’”

“Here the technology becomes invisible in the new era of technologically mediated self expression. Content will be delivered by us, by ‘people who don’t have technical skills’, ‘by people with no technical ability’. As usual technophilia strives to make techniques, technologies and interfaces invisible, that is to say the actual flesh/computer interface somehow becomes a transparent two-way membrane rather than an experience structured through scarce resources, economics and power.” [Bold added by me]

“John Perry Barlow, […] pointed out there are
many differences between such communications and belonging to a community. There was a lack of diversity of age, ethnicity and social class. The communication was disembodied, manufactured, inorganic. The group has no common bonds of shared adversity.”

“In thinking about the meaning of new forms of online communication scholars have used this analytic triad of common relationships, shared values and shared spaces through which to begin to define online community.”

“If it is assumed that discourse shapes social reality then particular discursive practices shared by a group may be said to construct a social reality and that reality, it can be argued, would constitute a community.”

“Within this model, it is therefore possible to argue that one indicator of community might be common discursive practices represented in textual norms and behaviours.” (e.g. abbreviations, use of emoticons etc.)

“Boyd and Ellison highlight the most significant and popular areas of research into SNS as:

  • Impression Management and Friendship Performance i.e. how we ‘manage’ our self presentation online
  • Bridging Online and Offline Social Networks i.e. investigating the relationships between IRL and online communities
  • Networks and Network Structure i.e. using data from SNS to map or visualise the dynamics of network based communications
  • Privacy i.e. availability of SNS data for other uses in marketing or consumer surveillance; linked to other research on trust, the reliability of SNS information and the safety of users.”

“…in the rhetoric of Web 2.0 public sphere participation via the web and self commodification through voluntary surveillance are one and the same thing.”

“As a ‘public’ communicative space the Internet does indeed appear to offer highly specific and limited engagements – whatever your politics, whatever your fetish, a corresponding website and ‘sense of community’ can be found online.”

“As audiences have become ‘users’ and user-generated content has started to become a real competitor to traditional media the impact of the Internet on traditional media institutions is stronger than even Poster and Kellner above might have predicted ten years ago.”

“This incursion of the ‘ordinary person’ into the bastions of media privilege is experienced as both opportunity and threat by the industries themselves and has been understood by academic researchers primarily through the history of active audience studies.”

“The new technologies broke down old barriers between media consumption and media production. The old rhetoric of opposition and cooptation assumed a world where consumers had little direct power to shape media content and where there were enormous barriers to entry into the marketplace, whereas the new digital environment expands their power to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media products.”
(Jenkins 2002)  [NP: Should we now add ‘disrupt’ and ‘subvert’ to this list]

TWEET: The role of social tags in web resource discovery: an evaluation of user-generated keywords

A great example of the way Twitter can bring people with a common interest together.

#folksonomy is not a frequently used tag on Twitter but using it linked me instantly to further reading, including this paper by Praveenkumar Vaidyaa and N. S. Harinarayanab, which casts more light on the topic.  The authors state that “library discovery systems with the facilities of social tagging and subsequent inclusion of those tags in retrieval system may be considered as an ideal mechanism to bridge the gap between user warrant and literary warrant. Therefore, it is obvious that social tags definitely complement to controlled vocabularies but may not replace them fully.”  However, they found that social tags  “could not replace the value of controlled vocabularies in the context of information retrieval (IR). The controlled indexing has greater IR value than social tags for efficient retrieval results.”


Vaidyaa P. and Harinarayanab N.S. (2016),  The role of social tags in web resource discovery: an evaluation of user-generated keywords. Annals of Library and Information Studies Vol. 63, December 2016, pp. 289-297

TWEET: I like the sound of ‘folksonomy’

Lister defines ‘folksonomy’ as  ‘a people-led practice of knowledge classification in contradistinction to the traditional expert led
taxonomy of knowledge.’    In effect people are acting as human algorithms, such that the ‘patterns of knowledge association and linkage are permanently re-forming on the basis of users’ tagging activities.

From an educational perspective this has allowed entities such as Wikipedia to grow and become what Lister refers to as a ‘trustworthy enough’ source.  In my own professional practice learner forums offer a similar opportunity, although I’m keen to explore the wiki format as a cleaner and more reliable way of facilitating this sort of knowledge sharing.


Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge

TWEET: “All communities have five dilemmas they have to cope with”

The set of unwritten norms of conduct that guide the behaviour of a group, expressing what is considered “right” and “wrong” Reznal Odnanref.

This final quote, which I have singled out above, is a good mantra for the ethnography exercise in the communities block.

Images inspired by the TED Talk  linked above and based on the work of Geert Hofstede

Fenando Lanzer makes some interesting points in this TED talk on the subject of the psychology of culture.

I found the section on hierarchy versus equality tricky.  Lanzer suggests that it is the people at the bottom of the social pyramid that determine whether there is a large ‘power distance’ i.e. whether or not a society is hierarchical.  He maintains that, in a dictatorship, the people at the bottom allow themselves to be dictated to.  To a certain extent I understand the point he is making, indeed we have seen the reverse of this in action when brutal dictatorships have been overthrown by popular uprising.  However, I doubt that many people living under such regimes would consider that they have any say in deciding whether the society they live in is hierarchical or not.

Considering Lanzer’s premise in the context of online communities though, I can see that the opposing options I’ve presented visually above do represent some of the types of ‘cultural norms’ that can become established as a community grows.

I also think the point he raises about the way an individual is treated in different cultures is very relevant to this digital cultures course.  We have multiple ‘selves’, our work self, family, social, academic and so on.  These might be selves where we are physically present (I’ve seen this referred to as our ‘meat self’) or our disembodied presence online.  In each of the ‘places’ we take these multiple selves there will be a prevailing culture and often a number of subcultures.  We have to adapt to a different set of cultural norms for each environment, choosing to comply with them or not.

From an educational perspective it seems sensible to consider that our students will  arrive, physically or virtually, with expectations of cultural norms based on their experiences elsewhere, or they may be presented with a situation, such as an empty discussion forum, where they will take part in developing new norms.



TWEET: Understanding the self as a networked presence….

This was a response to ‘Twitter chat’ on the reading for the current block but it’s also relevant to an earlier tweet / post on learners adapting to the locally prevalent culture, in that we are used to segueing  between multiple versions of our digital self.

As an aside today I witnessed an example of ‘cultural norms’ in action.  Distracted by eldest son while I was attempting to read one on this block’s papers I asked him whether he was on Snapchat.  He was he replied, but he then wanted to know how I knew.  “Because you’re doing that face” was my reply.  “Oh the ‘selfie face’, yeah well it just works” was his retort.

The selfie face is clearly a cultural norm and there’s supposedly research that theorises why it exists, which is attributed to Farhod P. Karimov at the University of Brussels.  I wasn’t able to authenticate the source but there’s some believable logic in the theories that are attributed to him.  For example selfies are often taken with the camera held above head height pointing down toward the face.  The theory here is that when someone is viewed from above they are seen as weaker and in need of protection, which sounds plausible.  My theory is that the explanation is probably much simpler, pointing the camera down in this way eliminates a lot of the distracting background, it also stretches the neck and face making the subject of the photo appear slimmer.

In the context of this course the interesting point here is not that the phenomenon of the selfie face exists, but that it is a norm within an online community’s culture.

Comments on Nigel’s EDC Lifestream Blog

This is absolutely stunning Nigel, can’t stop staring at it!

Very apocalyptic, “it’s the end of the world as we know it”-type situation 😉 It does a great job at conveying a number of things.

Profusion: the impressive number of screens and devices is a good reminder of the constant visual solicitation and exposure to tech. It also raises the question of attention.

Control: who is in control ? You occupy a central position (almost looks like a control tower of some sort from where we’re standing) however your apparent oblivion to what is going on outside (like the end of the world!!!) suggests detachment (perhaps we are so obsessed with tech that we become blind to the outside world or perhaps there is simply nothing we can do about it because we have lost control).

Your posture suggests tension, tiredness (is your bionic shoulder hurting?) as if somehow this is all very unnatural and unhealthy…

I would love to learn what you used to compose the image, it’s great quality!

from Comments for Nigel’s EDC blog