Thursday, May 13, 2010

Re-blogging, like re-tweeting, only bloggier

Here is what I call a "conversation starter" I wrote that was published today on EatTheOther - which is a blog built around the intersection of digital literacy, education and the hypertext mash-up.

The argument for new media in education - how the digital literacy movement is changing the way we think about things.

With the explosion of new methods of distribution for both static and moving images as well as hypertexts, a significant paradigm shift has occurred in communication. Anyone with access to the internet can create , report, comment, remix, distribute and culture jam a variety of texts and discourses in an eclectic mix creating complicated notions of culture, tradition, value, gender and political views. These views challenge the traditional canon by allowing practitioners of these methodologies to become skilled curators of a digital world. Participatory and collaborative engagement in non-linear or chronological fashion allows content creator s to construct narrative threads, provide context and therefore create meaning for human expression in our personal lives, business communications and creative endeavors.

Humans are natural born storytellers. We create mythologies, our narratives to make sense of our world. Narrative forms are determined by the technology available at hand. From Homer the blind poet, to the medieval minstrel, to the craftsman working over his Gutenberg press to the teenager in her bedroom remixing Twilight clips for friends on her laptop – we are compelled to make sense and meaning in our lives. The message is the same, it is merely the scope that has expanded concentrically. Books made it far easier to transport ideas, film and television allowed us to express these ideas globally and the internet is taking that further still with the hypertext – allowing the content creator to utilize multiple media to explode narrative and expand understanding. Never before have we been able to present differing views on the same subject in a simple way at the same time. The vector of new media rejects the hierarchical structure model for a changeable, open and idea infused units of information transmitted from one party to another in an interactive currency of ideas.

This commodification is in direct challenge to the old, closed model wherein the currency of ideas is based on scarcity. The commodification of these ideas has contributed to the current clash between those in power seeking to sustain the commodity paradigm versus those who subscribe to the open source modality of representing and understanding the world. The topography of this open sourced contemporary discourse is a richly diverse one, creating deeper complexity in each iteration. This is the crux of the open source movement. If the user group decides that the idea is owned and utilized by the group in a participatory way, then the idea cannot become monetized.

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At the intersection of art and new media, a place where the convergence emerges.