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.

One thought on “Week 7 Monsters, mammoths, mammals and mammon

  1. jknox

    Looks like another productive week Cathy, and some fascinating connections! I certainly was’t expecting to be thinking about the black-footed ferret this afternoon, but glad I am now. Nishant Shah is an associate of our research centre – I really like his writing, and this paper is no exception. I think it’s potentially a good way to think about links between blocks 2 and 3: what Shah shows and discusses is the way the individual is encoded in the very structure of the web and its databases, and this might be a considerable contrast to the idea of ‘community’ that seems to ground more enthusiastic accounts. We wouldn’t be able to create any of the lifestream feeds in this course, for example, without signing up with ‘identifying’ data – data that establishes us as an individual user. Perhaps this is to make things easier for algorithmic processing?

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