Finally upgraded the WordPress Installation and am now tinkering with the theme. More soon. 🙂 Some of the things that look like they can be edited in the Theme Options page seem not to be changeable. Time to mess with the templates… Wheee!
Ok, I have now mastered just enough knowledge of the WP templates to be disatisfied with how this blog is working. Sometime very soon I’ll be doing a major redesign, as well as expanding the content, though the latter will probably wait until summer.
My other projects have slowed down because funding at my school has really dried up. Now I’m having to back up and redesign several of them, at least for now.
The main difference will be focusing more attention on the Bay Area in comparison to NL. I had planned to wait another year or so before getting into this angle, but since travel abroad is tough right now, I’ll focus closer to home. Happily for me I’ve ended up in the last nine months or so meeting a lot of artists, hackers, scholars and others who occupy a similar “space” to those I’ve been working with in the Netherlands.
More on all of this soon, but untill the end of term next month, updates will be sporadic.
I got to hang out with people I know mainly through the Twitterverse, which was really great. When I was there last October for Arse Elektronika (an entry I have yet to post, come to think of it) I had the pleasure of not only meeting some of the people from Monochrom, (who are Austrian) but also some people who are part of the arts/culture/tech scene in SF, including Richard Kadrey and Aaron Muszalski, better known to many as sfslim. This time when I went back, I was lucky enough to meet up with Aaron again at the LaughingSquid Unholiday Party II. This was a great party. Good music, cool space, ample, good, food and drinks. Best of all, good conversation.
I talked for quite awhile with Jonathan Foote, Neil Girling, and Abie Hadjitarkhani and it was breath of fresh air to speak with people to whom I didn’t have to justify and interest in tech, media, culture, whatever. Also, all dripping smarts and talent (look at their sites if you don’t believe me). I was listening to a livestream of Howard Rheingold speaking this morning and one point he made about social media is that it allows not just like-minded people to connect–there are obvious pros and cons to that. But, it allows people who like to create and share and cooperate to connect, which immediately gives all of them more leverage to do whatever it is they want to do. This was really clear to me at the party. From what I could tell, many people there had met online or stayed connected and coordinated online, most of them were “makers” and having connected, many work together on all kinds of projects. I’m not sure how far that extends into their professional lives, but certainly all kinds of fun activities are organized with help from these applications.
So anyway, eventually I finally actually started talking to Aaron and that was one of the best conversations I’ve had in ages–lasted from probably midnight or so till around 4am. With all of these people, I think everything that does not fit into 140 character tweets just overflowed. In fact being able to talk in this extended focused way felt like a luxury, even decadent. I think this is an upside of the fragmented and distracted nature of communication on the network.
Aaron and I ended up hanging out a bit more the next evening; Chris brought the grrrls in to see the new Academy of Sciences and then we had dinner with friends from gradschool that were in for MLA–again peopel I almost only get to talk with online now–and then Aaron met up with us toward the end. He had really wanted to meet the grrrls; unfortunately by then they were really tired and clingy (both are just a bit over 5) so it wasn’t the best time for them. Then I saw them all off and talked to Aaron some more. Of course with some people you just feel like the conversation could go on forever, but Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other applications like that encourage this feeling, maybe because you get the moment by moment flow and it’s easy to pick up some little crumb that becomes another possible conversational trail to follow.
I think conversational threads are going to be a big thing soon–just came across Tweetree which shows threaded conversations on Twitter; it’s interesting, but would be better if it really looked like a tree. Now I’m thinking about personal archives, in part because I’m trying to get an abstract together, and in part because so many people, especial technophiles, are accumulating them online. Not just those they create, but those created through Google searches, on technorati, on del.icio.us, etc. So there it is. Now I have to finish cleaning the house for a party.
Here is our panel, by the way:
Web 2.0 sites are praised for promoting sharing and collaboration; at the same time, they are criticized for violating user privacy and profiting from the free labor of users. This panel considers the complexity of relationships among users, and between users and system designers. In particular, each paper explores what motivates user behavior, whether website loyalty, desire for sociality, indoctrination in networked behavior, or the power relations among owners/designers, consumers, and prosumers.
Elfi Ettinger presents in-depth interview results from users of an e-recruiting platform and interviews with system designers of the same platform, conducted in order to determine which design would insure long-term participation of its users.
Anders Fagerjord relates a study of what Norwegian Facebook users publish about themselves in their profiles and the way they represent themselves through “prescripts” provided by popular applications and publishing tools.
Christian Ulrik Andersen analyzes the Facebook software interface, in particular the Vampires game, to explore its discursive and semantic properties and reveal the political aspects of the software.
Kim De Vries combines a rhetorical analysis with an auto-ethnographic study of academic and scholarly Facebook users to explore how we interpret the social connections made through social networking applications.
Mirko Tobias Schaefer explores user participation that in the last 10 years has developed on a global scale and now contributes to the development of software as well as changing, commenting, creating and distributing media content.
A collection of all the papers is posted on the IR 9.0 conference site, but only members can see it and some papers are slightly abridged, besides it being one giant file. You can see full, individual papers here:
Participation Inside? User activities between design and appropriation. by Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Networking Vampires — Life in a social network seen through a game. by Christian Ulrik Andersen
Anders is missing ”is”: Posting and Prescripts on Facebook. by Anders Fagerjord
And I will add mine later today… Ok, I didn’t, but it’s finished and out for feedback, so probably by tomorrow night… damn, good feedback means revision…
Ok, here is mine though I am probably going to revise further; at least I feel this draft is not too embarrassing. Your Friend has just tackled you. Bite, lick, or tackle them back, or click here to theorize about what this all means.
So seems like everyone is doing really cool stuff lately.
Lokman’s research was actually mentioned in the Huffington Post, and even better (much better) it’s now official that he will a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard next year while he finishes his dissertation. And I knew him when he was a lowly student of computer science at the University of Utrecht. 🙂 Back then he was not so professional and only had a personal blog (though even that looks rather pro these days) and the Wong Kar Wai site. Sigh–they grow up so fast. Ok, I was a lowly student then too, but still…
Next, Mirko, while finishing his dissertation, teaching, writing an article for a book he’s helping to organize, has also put together a kickass presentation for this event at Utrecht U. where he teaches and is doing his PhD in the New Media and Digital Culture program. I am gnashing my teeth with admiration and envy. Anyway, I think he’ll post the presentation somewhere soon or it will be archived and then I’ll add the link here.
I, on the other hand, am just waiting to find out whether the rejection email, or the “dear author” email I received is the accurate reflection of reality. More on that later. Or not. 😉