2/19: Networks/Decentralization

Please post a question as a comment below. Be sure to make it a question of substance and articulation. See you in class.




  1. What is the impact of digital media designs such as these as soon as they enter Cyberspace? As soon as it enters cyber space does it become part of a specific cultural practice? In addition, if this design is created by an individual, does it also say and reveal something about that person in the virtual world? Often times people and their ‘virtual selves’ may differ from the real person they are in a real world setting. Think of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We create our selves on those sites in a way of how we want others to perceive us as. However, the perception we have of ourselves may differ completely than how others actually perceive us.

  2. Is facebook still considered “new media?” Or have pinterest, instagram and twitter become the new outlets for social media and self-disclosure?

  3. Do you believe breaking down huge corporations into smaller, more intimate and immediate business as revolutionary? (i.e. IBM) Also, have you seen any examples referring to the broadening of knowledge though multiple voice? Do you think that with the reorganization of businesses and the awareness of different “voices” make the public more accepting to different points of view?

  4. What is the fascination with social media and making it such a huge part of our culture today? Different features are added to each new social media site (Facebook and Instagram) to positively affect an individual however how do we find our identity if we are creating sites in order to be perceived how we want rather than who we can inherently be. Has media taken a step in the right direction or is it digressing?

  5. The introduction to the Digital Media Handbook states that “defining how the experimental fringe works and organising for its growth in education and training is a much harder thing to achieve than training for existing needs using tested approaches” (14). My question focuses less on the definition of experimental fringe works, and more of their prediction. If these fringe works are indeed hard to define, is it even possible to predict them with enough certainty to train for them proactively?
    My attempt at answering such a question lies with the familiarization with these fringe areas by means of collaboration and synnergy with others’ point of views. As Bill Nye said, “Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t.” Expanding the parameters and frameworks of our ideas and questions (or “contexts”) might lead to an imagination that allows us to anticipate innovation. In other words, we might be able to predict the future by working with a diverse group of people.

  6. In the beginning of Chapter 3, Dewdney and Ride talk about how networks are threefold: technical, social and medial. The authors describe the concept of network as “the presence of the network, especially in informal networks, is only made present by the continuous actions those involved. Networks abound and are interwoven through working and social life, such that it is common to refer to much of what people do as networking” (p. 47). What are informal networks? How can we see what a technical network looks like in this concept? How do we see networks play out in our world of technology today?

  7. Supposing that digital media trends in style and purpose, are the trends a response to a need of the users? Has digital media become our new art form to express our problems in the Western world? Or can we “dumbify” productions of media as entertainment aimed to exploit and distract us?

  8. To what extent has social media changed how we portray and perceive ourselves? Do these social media websites help us in the sense that we can easily connect with other people or are they solely there to act as channels through which we can express ourselves and disclose information about our everyday lives? Has the purpose of social media changed at all over the years?

  9. Resnick argues that the decentralization trend in computers “continues today with the proliferation of notebook computers and even palmtop computers” (12). He states the computers are becoming a part of every aspect of everyday life. This text was published in 1997. Since that point in time, I think it is safe to say that we have reached the point of total proliferation. My question is, with the cultural adaptation to technology, has technology reached his described point of decentralization?

  10. In thinking about digital media consider the following definition from the authors of The Digital Media Handbook, which they state, “Cultural conception refers to an active and shaping set of ideas and the underlying theories or wider discourses to which they belong that informs what the practitioner does.” Why is this this this definite crucial in understanding media studies? How might it inform our perception of cultural constructs to the given nature of technology? To what extent does context and purpose gives us a wider understanding for the purpose of something and how might that inform our thinking?

  11. In The Digital Media Handbook, authors Andrew Dewdney and Petter Ride talk about how creativity is not about how creative the maker is but it is how people who use the product and how they interact with it such as Facebook or Snapchat. The author’s state, “The approach we explore in this book is to think of creativity not as an inherent property of either an object/artifact, nor as an exclusive quality of the producer/artist. Instead we define creativity as a given set of common values in a process of communication which involves not only the artist and their project, but also those who listen, see, read and appreciate what has been created” (Kindle Edition, pg. 464). With this quote in mind, how has Facebook, Twitter, or whatever networks or projects you may use differ in creativity and how are they beneficial?

  12. Dewdney and Ride write, “Something that I now find less prevalent in students is the search for new breakthroughs in design or new ‘killer applications’ but they are much wiser about the ways that technology lets us think ‘outside the corporate box’ (53).

    Do you agree with this statement? Are students today searching for technology that allows them to think outside ‘the corporate box’? and in what ways specifically?

  13. “Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams” by Mitchell Resnick, talks about the idea that we are in an age that is turning from centralization to decentralization. Everything from businesses to governments and schools are creating a more equal ruling system opposed to the classical hierarchical system. On page 18, Resnick says that one idea of feminism, when looking at decentralization, is that no one is better or worse than anyone else, just different. How do you feel about this idea? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

  14. As Ch. 3 in The Digital Media Handbook explains, the “rules” of exchange and use when applying oneself to the network are somewhat unspoken, yet “are nevertheless the basis upon which ‘common agreement’ and ‘shared practice’ on how things take place” (45). This sort of convergence in culture marks an altered form of communication in the digital world today. If the digital media culture is a prevalent presence among our society today, how might this sort of unspoken communication and unwritten common understanding molded the way in which we choose to communicate verbally and/or throughout the digital world today? Has this sort of anticipated and expected form of communication benefitted our society, in terms of communication, or more so created a lack of communication among our culture?

  15. The opening chapter in Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams is a good read. So if decentralization is so evident in our world today and seems to be a negative thing, why does his example of IBM have to be a bad thing in terms of them decentralizing. “The goal was to make IBM more flexible and responsive to the needs of rapidly changing markets. As Buisness week magazine put it, The reorganization could amount to no less then a revolution in the way IBM does business.” (page 7) i guess i am confused with how it is so negative, because IBM can bee seen as simply setting the trend for other organizations

  16. What can be considered “new” anymore in the world of digital media? I feel like it is such a quickly evolving medium and technology that right as something comes out, there is something to counter it or make the previous better. What do you think the shelf life is for “new media”?

  17. Can social media be considered new technology in a generation that is constantly changing in terms of modern technology? Also, is this new technology of digitial media helping our generation grown in areas such as art and ones personal identity or is this new era of “digital meida” a distraction to western culutre?

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