week 5 summary

I’ve kind of run the gamut this week (or rather last week), from me-blog personal decompression to a bit of web silliness.

But an interesting thing happened when I decided to do a post on the phrase ‘hive mind’. It was just going to be a quick look at whether this term has generally positive or negative connotations–if it was short-hand for ‘collective intelligence’, ‘group knowledge production’ etc., or a euphamism for The Borg. As I started thinking about it more, and doing a bit of googling, I thought it could make a longer piece that drew on a few different ideas (e.g. the 1% rule and the other thing that I still can’t find anywhere about herd behaviour), maybe a few paragraphs questioning whether social media was about information or feelings, if the structure of some media was conducive to the positive hive and some to the negative, etc. But having collected a few links from different places as my thought processes progressed, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to treat this like a mini-essay; I could look at it like I had the digital artefact. Not the visual/interactive elements, of course, but (as our creative writing teachers used to say) showing, not telling. I felt like I was beginning to get an idea of what Fitzpatrick‘s post-structuralism might look like, whether multi-modal or not.


Online Shopping Offline

This has got a bit of a folksy ‘isn’t the internet crazy’ quality; the intended audience seems to be marketers, or maybe web developers, but I wonder if some of the practices that are criticised actually make customers feel safe and ‘looked after’?


Will Apple’s plans for an iWatch herald a new era of wearable tech?

i (like to) WatchThis is the Guardian’s third article on the as-yet-unseen, probably-might-exist-sometime iWatch. They’ve also published pictures of what it might look like.

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hive mind mini artefacts

Twitter, #edcmooc

‘Thrilled to be part of the hive-mind that is #edcmooc . Am in awe of the brainpower of 32,000 online educators!’ @lizcable 17 Jan 13

‘Social Media: hive mind, privacy apocalypse, mind control, and social revolution http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52Ml_zax4A0&t=7m3s some books there I will read #edcmooc’ @hopkinsdavid 4 Feb 13

Urban dictionary

hive mind: pod people? the internet? community?

FaceBorg: collective consciousness…’threaten to assimilate your individuality’


Wiktionary definitions: sci fi, sociology

‘hive mind’ disambiguation page: collective consciousness; swarm intelligence; universal mind; group mind; groupthink

but what about…

1% rule (Internet culture)

Google search

“social media” “hive mind” (first page):

  1. hive mind = increased business (4)
  2. hive mind = collective intelligence (2)
  3. hive mind = social nervous system
  4. hive mind = crowdsourcing
  5. hive mind = democracy
  6. hive mind = ideology

Facebook case study

  1. increased business: Hive Mind Social Media
  2. not collective intelligence?: Dark Social
  3. social nervous system: The Rise of the Social Nervous System
  4. not crowdsourcing?: 3 links to find friends on home page; no way to search posts
  5. democracy: Baby named ‘Facebook’…  or not democracy?: Your Facebook status really made me change my political views…
  6. ideology: Conservapedia! …or back to number 1? (e.g. Ideology Marketing)

New Sony Nose Buds Allow Users To Blast Different Smells Into Nostrils

I was thinking about the two senses that the digital can currently reach, and the other three that it can’t. Smell and taste are pretty much ignored, and touch, although made the most of in the naming of various tablet devices, is conspicuous only in how it relates to visuals and sound…the actual touch sensation is always the same. Even in the corporate videos last week, every digital surface is smooth, and there is no indication that texture is digitised. This is a departure from the VR ideals of 15 years ago, as is the abandonment of touch and taste.

This does reflect a good quantity of analogue art and communication generally; with notable exceptions, even more tactile art like sculpture is usually not meant to be touched, and certainly a dinner or scent may be praised and valued, but isn’t usually meant to signify meaning (prosaic or artistic).

What the Onion expertly demonstrates is that the strangeness of the nose buds is mostly subjective. Why shouldn’t popcorn be the punk of the smell world? Why shouldn’t pine signify the conformity of easy listening?


digital detox

I’m going to directly contradict my week 4 summary and write a bit of text…because I want to!

I am very grateful for a ‘taking stock/breathing’ week. My past fortnight has been ‘challenging’ and it’s really good to be able to look at everyone else’s artefacts in greater detail and have time to think and comment.

The challenges of the past two weeks actually exemplify one of the issues about that we’ve been discussing, so this isn’t a ‘digital detox’ in the sense that I’m removing all traces of digital (which would be rather counterproductive on WordPress); rather, I’m using a very simplistic digital medium (text) to tease out the places where I haven’t quite adjusted to the already-ubiquitous digital that is a part of my life.

So here is an outline of what I was up to:

Tuesday, 29 January: Working diligently on EDC at home; answering work emails as necessary
Wednesday, 30 January: Urgent updating, proofing, testing of VLE sites
Thursday, 31 January: Same as above
Friday, 1 February: Same as above; work from home in pm because of sick child; 1pm: start creating webinar presentation to give at 5pm
Saturday, 2 February: Update CV & cover letter, email both; Skype with family
Monday, 4 February: More VLE corrections; make webinar recording available
Tuesday, 5 February: Work on EDC, but mostly VLE updates; receive email about interview on Monday; request wine & chocolate via email (different correspondent)
Wednesday, 6 February: Final VLE updates; evening to myself used to start digital artefact
Thursday, 7 February: Demonstrate VLE & answer questions; evening to myself to finish digital artefact
Friday, 8 February: Arrange for people to produce e-tivities; plan Prezi talk
Saturday, 9 February: Skype
Sunday, 10 February: Use Google Drive to create presentation for interview on Monday
Monday, 11 February: Survey stat aggregation; more e-tivities; more Prezi; interview

And here is all the stuff I did that I didn’t immediately think of when trying to pick out the digital for the diary above: Facebook, Twitter, MyFitnessPal, email, texting, taking photos with iPod and phone, ordering groceries, checking bank balance, ordering presents, trialling Education City (under duress), helping find Horrid Henry on YouTube, sending emails with Maily, internet radio, music on the iPod, on-demand TV, editing videos, requesting links to journal articles, requesting book digitisation, backing up mySQL…

So why did the digital in my diary stand out? I think there are a couple reasons.

First, it was simply what was occupying most of my time, and perhaps causing stress because of deadlines or anticipation like a planned Skype session. None of this is about these things being digital really.

Secondly, however, I think I picked up on the blurring of work and home in the two corporate videos especially because of my recent experiences. There is a lot of technology in both of my lists that makes it a lot easier to be connected to everything all the time. In the past, I’ve usually been quite strict with myself in, for example, not checking work emails when I wasn’t at work, or resisting fixing ‘just one thing’ until I was back in the office. But when place becomes less important to the ability to do work–when it can be done from anywhere–and when there are emergency situations like a web space needing updated in time for an event, or a sick child needing to be looked after the same day as a synchronous event is running…the blurring is better than the alternative of things just not getting done.

In which case, I should be happy about all this and stop moaning. The problem is, though, that my use of these technologies has outpaced my expectations–perhaps my comfort zone. I perceive different spaces and times as ‘work’, ‘family’, ‘study’, ‘self’ etc. When one of these infringes on another’s time and/or space, this causes me discomfort, if not stress: the convergence of different technologies has led to the convergence of my life spaces. I guess it’s not so much the case of ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’ as ‘there aren’t enough hours in the time I’ve allotted to X, and its usurping time from Y’.

I’m not so much complaining (really!), as realising that I’ll need to adjust my perceptions of these spaces and times and perhaps adjust the way that I ring-fence them to keep myself sane while remaining in the 21st century.