“One of the structuring principles of this course – the tumblog and the learning environment itself – is about disaggregation and reaggregation – taking things apart, scattering them across the network, and then having them put back together by the machine.” ededc tumblog
One of the tools I have used for this is Google Reader, and this was my first foray into using an aggregator (from which I was hoping to begin the process of disaggregation). But apparently Google are now pulling the service hoping, it’s rumoured, that people will use Google + more. Unlike my partner who has RSS links to over a hundred musical and technical feedsI have no allegiance to this service, ; but I’m finding it interesting to see opposition in action via the various blogs, petitions, and tweets (examples here, and here and check out #savegooglereader) .
To me, one of the best examples of this opposition is its addition to the Downfall meme which is embedded in this post. This origins of this meme trace back four or five years with its heyday, or certainly its entrance into the mainstream, in 2009/10 as recorded by various non-tech articles in the popular press such as the BBC and the Guardian. Although this meme has been around for a long time and is arguably largely passé, there remains at least one ‘community’ surrounding it, the Untergangers, which I seriously considered studying for my ethnography. I eventually decided against it because, clearly, there are many areas of potential sensitivities and I felt I could not fully understand or describe them or how the community handled them within the tight timeline. That said, I think that this meme displays some of the affordances of Web 2.0 to a high degree. Not only do we have a democratising effect of *ordinary* people able to reframe and redirect *higher* art forms, which we must not forget are also commercial products; we also have continual versioning which adds layers of creativity and further questions the notion of ‘author’ and ownership. But I think the greatest affordance of this particular meme is that, as the BBC article says “…some may draw positive conclusions from the idea of young people now feeling comfortable lampooning Hitler.” I think this is perhaps understating a very powerful tool indeed. That people in their bedrooms can create such an overt and public challenge to the narrative of such a heinous, yet arguably mythologised, individual by trivialising a portrayal of his ‘humanness’, for me, creates a degree of optimism about the potential power and influence of information flows which can be questioning, provocative and anarchic.