Week 9: Recorded Unvisualised Content

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Week 8: I wish I could copy/paste an image into this headline ;-)

Visualisation. The literal meaning of that word could be arguably understood as being equal to what it means to publish. In essence making content public and publically available to an audience that wasn’t public before. The only condition that distinguishes visualisation from publishing is the requirement that the visualised/published content must be visually construable. In this instance printing a book is the visualisation of written words and/or the publishing of those. Does one determine the other? Are they really both the same or rather interdependent processes? Maybe visualisation is a pre-requisite for visual publishing. If something is not visually available, I can’t publish it to be seen by an audience.

The visualisation of cave paintings, stone circles, hieroglyphs up to the visualisation of letters, words and therefore books have always impacted massively on society and sociability. Referring back to one of my earlier examples in this blog, the protestant reformation is one great example how the publishing of the bible/the visualisation of christianity’s fundamental basis caused such an immense revolutionary social movement.

Today visualisation implies crazy graphs, digitally mediated content, dynamic tools and as Mr Arnell (2006) explains how it enables us to “express something three- or four dimensional in two dimensions” (Arnell, 2006). In a digital information age I believe that we can all agree that technological development influences our society through how we see, perceive and understand content that is visualised for us.

Infosthetic (2007) exemplifies a very basic but even more effective kind of visualisation. Two pictures showing one the one hand a whole load of paprikas, and on the other hand a small amount of chips. A very easy visualisation of what you can get for the same amount of calories, which leads me to my next point. So if visualisation helps us to communicate messages a lot easier, quicker and even more effective than a long written explanation (or visualised words I should say), is that the result of psychological and marketing research? Did the technological development of digital media force our brains to hyper react to images rather than to texts? Is that the reason why we study visual communications?-to apply psychological and social research to concepts that help us to improve our market influence and manipulation.

Bick (2014) argues that “complex data visualisation has grown in popularity over the past decade”(Bick, 2014). HD screens and retina displays belong in all our devices and support us even more to decode all the various kinds of visualisations that the producers of this world encoded for us. But still, on the one hand, technology only enables us to encode these new forms of visualisations/to make something invisible (our ideas/data/mindset) visible and on the other hand we can only decode them through this technology. So the technology is in the centre of it all? Again?

How this has impacted on society as a whole becomes clear when one regards the effectiveness of information delivery of a pie chart. 90% of people would memorise proportions better after seeing a pie chart compared to a table with only visualised letters, numbers, words and symbols. What does that tell us? Theory, that I also mentioned in previous blog posts displays how our brains and attention are more likely to focus on digital/pictorial delivered information, which is easier to consume than difficultly written texts.

Of course it is nice and beautiful to look at an amazingly composed graphic visualisation of data. Compact, easy, fast and effective! But does it push us more and more into a backwards regression? Will we soon be looking back in our children’s books without text? Will we develop away from literacy towards solely visual-literacy?

— Sorry that I could only visualise words here. I don’t quite know yet how to visualise such a post as an image.

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Week 7: I am me. I am you. We are me. Who am I?

  1. I am.
  2. I am a student.
  3. I am an ARTS2090 student.
  4. I am a smart phone owner.
  5. I am participating on social media.
  6. I am a Facebook user.
  7. I am sharing personal content on Facebook.
  8. I am tagged on party photos on Facebook.
  9. I am sharing current moods and emotions on Facebook.
  10. I am also a physiotherapist in Germany.
  11. I am and always have been aware of the need to distinguish my professional life from my personal life.
  12. I am therefore using a different name on Facebook.
  13. I am hiding my real identity from my Facebook appearance.
  14. I am aware that that’s against Mr Zuckerberg’s regulations.
  15. I am also aware that I am not the only one who is doing that.
  16. I am not sure if it is true that I am thus part of what Ben Grosser (2014) claims to be the increasingly homogenised Facebook community.
  17. I am thinking that there are still a lot of different profile types on Facebook, which are varying from business sites to overly transparent sites of some highly self-expressive individuals, to fake profiles and to people like me.
  18. I am asking myself if that’s really homogenised.
  19. I am not sure.
  20. I am afraid though that I become unconsciously a victim of Facebook news feed algorithm manipulation.
  21. I am hooked by Mr “Codingconduct’s” (tumblr name) (2014) thought about what happens if politician’s start to pay Facebook to manipulate our Facebook algorithms to favour them.
  22. I am uncertain if I should be afraid of such probable actions or if Mr “Codingconduct” has just emotionally manipulated me?
  23. I am sure that manipulation only works if the manipulator shares common worldviews and beliefs with the manipulated.
  24. I am sure that only then justificatory support for the manipulator’s central claim succeeds.
  25. I am thus aware that Mr “Codingconduct’s” concern only concerns me because we share the same worry and expectation of Facebook.
  26. I am aware that I only see a third of my actual Facebook news feed, as evaluated by Mr Herrera (2014).
  27. I am sure that someone else has thought about what to select of my Facebook news for me to be seen.
  28. I am a passive consumer of my own content.
  29. I am deciding which part of the news feed is interesting for me.
  30. I am informed that research puts much effort in finding out what my worldviews and beliefs are to aim to purposely lead my emotions into a certain direction to gain economic or even political benefits from it.
  31. I am nevertheless aware that I am an individual and have my own brain.
  32. I am able to defend myself against manipulation.
  33. I am agreeing with Mr Gillespie when he concludes with “I think these represent a deeper discomfort about an information environment where the content is ours but the selection is theirs.” (Gillespie, 2014)
  34. I am thus even more motivated to increase self-reflection to not become a victim of someone else’s decision to influence my emotions and thought.
  35. I am an individual.
  36. I am not passive.
  37. I am.

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Week 6: Can Commons Capitalise on their Concerns of Capitalism?

Correct me if I’m wrong but when reading Stefan Meretz’s Ten Theses About Global Commons Movement (2010) I understand the term ‘commons’ as a description of a global movement of diverse people who stand objectively in opposition to capitalism and want to find a new, non-material way of production. Or as Jay Walljasper (2010) says that the commoners see possibilities for large numbers of people of diverse ideological stripes coming together to chart a new, more cooperative direction for modern society. I prefer not to call it a movement that works against government controlled and corporate market economies, but rather a movement that wants to alter those characteristics away from materialism.

Walljasper (2010) states that “sweeping transformations that rearrange the workings of an entire culture begin imperceptibly, quietly but steadily entering people’s minds until one day it seems the ideas were there all along.” He explains how movements, government system alterations and societal changes have begun and succeeded in this way in the past to integrate corporate power and market fundamentalism on examples of Thatcher, Reagan or Mitterrand (Walljasper, 2010). I think we would all agree that there was never a more easy, wide reaching and fast method than using modern, mobile communication technology to cause such movements and implement controversial thinking into society. One of the most recent examples that spontaneously comes to mind is the Arab Spring. Knowing that this was not a movement that focused on the change away from corporate economies, this example clarifies that it was a social movement that started on Facebook and resulted in revolutions and civil wars to change political systems and authority.

Social media such as Facebook and its new forms of publishing make it easier to spread ideas. They make it easier for commons to communicate, exchange ideas, form groups, construct ideas and convert those into action. Another very recent example of social media’s capability to spread an idea across the world in very little time is the ALSIceBucketChallenge, which went viral. Thus social media such as Facebook is a medium that constructs, as Rheingold (2009) states, a combination of internal thoughts and ideas that can be generated and communicated through mobile communication technologies in a social cyberspace.

So, in very simple terms it could be argued that new communication technologies evens the playing field for commons to introduce their ideas and ideologies which oppose capitalist materialism in a more cost, time and quantity effective way. But hang on isn’t the whole construct based on governmental control of capitalist, western societies? Turkey’s president Erdogan’s banning of YouTube and Twitter after heavy protests against his government is a good example of the final power and control of these forms of origins of social movements, of publishing and creating collective power. Maybe Mr Zuckerberg would need to alter some of his regulations as well if there was a comparable situation in America. Who knows? So I’m asking will capitalist societies, governments, corporate markets and economies always alter publishing to cause an alteration of power, which in its final consequence might weaken their own authority?

My critical point is the assumption that as long as the interests align there won’t be an issue with the freedom of speech on social media. But keep in mind that it’s only a resource of someone you are opposed to. A whole other discussion at this point is the opportunity that lies in our and the internet’s most valuable good; attention. Maybe we have to find out more about sociological, physical and even evolutionary changes that have occurred due to the information age and that creates a whole new and multifarious set of non-material target markets.

 

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