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ARTS2090 Final Essay. Tara Kohan

Tara Kohan

Tutorial: Thursday 10:30 (Andrew)

‘It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves—the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public—has stopped being a problem.’ Are digital and networked media dismantling the “publishing industry”? Is it being replaced? If so, what is replacing it? If not, what is the publishing industry becoming, and how is it doing so? Are there new difficulties and complexities or expenses involved?

The issue of “making something available to the public” has become a problem of the past. In a technologically savvy, modern society, traditional forms of publishing are undoubtedly being challenged by the overwhelming power of the internet. As Clay Shirky’s quote suggests, publishing and distribution of information is no longer an obstacle. In fact, one could argue that there is too much information on the internet today, which is why filtering services are so vital in shielding users from information that may be useless or offensive to the individual. In response to whether the publishing industry is being “dismantled” by digital media, it seems necessary to alter the term ‘dismantled’ and instead, consider digital media technologies as slowing down traditional printing publishing forms. The main reasons for this are based on technological advances, the popularity of social media, the revolutionary impact of the internet upon the media and technology world and the costs involved in the printing press.

One of the most important aspects here is the technological advances that the world is experiencing on a constant basis. The undefeated success of the Apple computers empire has lead the way for smartphones and other compact, portable devices. These include, IPhones, IPads, IPods and the Macbook laptops, all of which are regularly being updated and have almost become the latest must-have accessory to have in the younger generation. These devices have heavily impacted the dismantling of the newspaper publishing industry as it has given the public a new and more convenient way to access information. As opposed to going to the effort of purchasing a newspaper from the local store and then having to carry it around all day and do the same thing the next day, even older generations are becoming accustomed to saving that effort and scrolling through their touch screens, often for free.

In particular, IPads and ‘ereaders’ are quite relevant in terms of “contemporary publishing” forms. With the release of the IPad only last year, e-books have become a new technological trend only recently. This focuses more on the book publishing sector rather than the newspaper sector. The Observer’s (Guardian, 2010) John Naughton, says that publishers should not rely on the hope to survive through the idea that IPads and other similar devices will still need text. He argues that though this remains true, “The concept of a “book” will change under the pressure of iPad-type devices, just as concepts of what constitutes a magazine or a newspaper are already changing.” (Naughton, 2010)  This proves the idea that publishing must adapt and update their resources and skills in order to keep in the media race. Naughton adds, “If they don’t do it, then someone else will. There will always be “books”. The question now is: will there always be publishers?” (Naughton, 2010)

It is not uncommon to hear that newspaper journalism, as a career, is phasing out, especially with the rising trend of online news platforms. However in defence of journalism, Shirky suggests that quality journalism should not rely or be affected by the slow demise of the print press. Instead, he states, “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.” (Shirky). Educated, quality journalism can still be read but through other devices. However, one of the main complexities of the shift from print to digital is the need for older generations to become familiar with technology in general. Journalists would also have to learn to adapt to an online audience and the trivial demands that come with getting used to the online platform.

Considering the old phrase, ‘the youth are the future’, it has become evident that young people are more willing to read everything on a screen. In order for many information channels to communicate with teenagers, they will commonly utilise internet strategies to gain attention. This is because teenagers were born when the technological advances had already begun. They have grown up knowing more about computers than their parents and it is likely that they always will because their knowledge will continue to grow with technology. In relation to companies having to adapt to changes and interests of their society, Shirky argues, “When we shift our attention from ‘save newspapers’ to ‘save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works’. And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.” (Shirky). From this quote, Shirky has highlighted the underlying idea of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and this applies heavily to the forceful transformation book and newspaper publishers are having to make.

The publishing industry clearly illustrates the concept of distribution and aggregation in the most practical way and in this modern society, the fastest way to make a story viral is through the internet. In terms of the revolutionary era that was created by the conception of the internet, Shirky says that, “…people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.” (Shirky). He continues, “When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution.” (Shirky).

Traditionally, the process of publishing a piece in a newspaper or magazine would take up more time than it presently does today. For example, a journalist would have had to go and investigate the facts of a story idea pitched to their editor. Then this story would have to be written up on a typewriter and sent for editing. This would then have to be printed in masses and distributed to the door step of every resident in the area. Though this process has survived today, the online platform offers a much more compact and efficient way of communicating to the masses. In addition, technology goes hand in hand with internet. If any of the devices used today, such as a smartphone, worked without any network coverage from their internet supplier, it would not be as popular or useful as it is with internet. A comparative analogy made by Frank Cost captures this concept, “A production colour digital printing press without the internet is about as useful a Lamborghini in a wilderness rainforest.” (Cost, 2005. pg 224).

Another media that is dismantling the publishing industry is social media and online pieces written by amateur writers. Social media such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter has opened up an entirely new arena in making something public without hesitation or editing. Social media allows every day people to share with the world any thought in a single moment. Users of social media are also able to globally share their most private information such as their geographical whereabouts instantly and without much effort. The ability for these users to access these social network sites through their mobile phone also gives credibility to the fact that digital and networked media is not only overcoming the traditional media generation but it somehow attracts much more attention. Tweets and Facebook status updates are often used on television news programs or in celebrity gossip to support claims made against a person or group. “New media are those that enable a dialog between producer and consumer, and where content is determined as a result.” (Cost, 2005. pg 216). The most common forms of “open publishing”, in terms of the transparency of the editing and publishing process are Wikipedia and Wikispaces. The only difference between the two is that Wikipedia focuses more on the public contribution whilst Wikispace allows for individuals within a group to edit or contribute to a more exclusive page.

However, in contrast to the idea that the digital age is defeating the traditional publishing world, Sachin Kamdar in his blog, ‘Why Publishers are about to go Data Crazy’, argues that not only can publishing companies adapt well to change, but also that social networking websites including Twitter and Facebook can work to  publisher’s advantage. Global feedback from these networking channels can indicate to publishers what information will be most appealing to the public. He gives the example, “…emerging technologies, such as Infochimps Social API, are serving publishers by providing data about influence to inform which readers are likely to tip a potentially viral story.” (Kamdar, 2012). By this, Kamdar suggests that by knowing the “trending data” of the current moment, publishers have insight and inspiration to publish the most likely information to sell and considering that the media industry is ultimately still a business, this works very well for publishers. As opposed to the accepted idea that technologically savvy media outlets will have the upper-hand, Kamdar supports his argument that, “Data-driven publishers don’t have a competitive advantage because they’ve adopted new technology first. They have an advantage because they understand the unique nuances of their market better than the competition.” (Kamdar, 2012)

One of the most significant reasons for why digital media is taking over the publishing industry is related to economic dilemmas of publishing houses. “Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run.” (Shirky). Not only would a traditional newspaper publishing company have to spare the expenses of their employee salaries but also the mechanical expenses needed to run the mass printers, distribution costs, building costs which house the company and machinery and any extra costs that may have to be added to the annual budget such as law suits against certain journalists. Though some of these costs are still relevant to an online news site, the overall cost of running a newspaper publishing house is significantly higher than to run a newspaper website. In terms of books, it is not uncommon that publishers do not profit after spending thousands of dollars on production and distribution costs, which vary. In order for books to make a substantial amount of profit, there is usually marketing involved which can also demand more money.

Ultimately, digital and network media forms are slowing down the more traditional forms of publishing such as newspapers. Newspapers are being replaced by technological advances in society, especially Ipads, smartphones and other portable devices. The central reasons for this shift are based on the rise of social media sites, constant technological advances, the internet revolution and the costs involved with the printing press. Some of the difficulties involved with this shift involve journalists and writers having to adapt to a new way of publishing. This applies especially for senior journalists who are forced to learn about technology when they have become so accustom to the long-established ways of writing. The most important aspect of this gradual replacement in media, is the internet because it is the gateway into distributing information to the public which is the initial problem publishing was invented to solve. One conclusive statement by Shirky which strongly encapsulates this central notion reads, “…for many papers, the unthinkable future is already in the past.” (Shirky). Publishing will never cease to exist, it will simply exist elsewhere.

Reference list:

Shirky, Clay. Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable. WordPress. <http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/>

Drew, Michael (2010) ‘2012: The end of the publishing industry as we know it.’  Beneath the Cover. <http://www.beneaththecover.com/2010/09/02/2012-the-end-of-the-publishing-industry-as-we-know-it/>

‘It’s the end of publishing as we know it…and we feel fine, TPC. Oct 12 2011. <http://www.pantheoncollective.com/its-the-end-of-publishing-as-we-know-it-and-we-feel-fine>

The New Medium of Print: Material Communication in the Internet Age. 2005. by Frank Cost, Published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, New York USA.

Kamdar, Sachin (2012) ‘Why Publishers are about to go Data Crazy’, Mediashift: Your Guide to the Digital Revolution, January 17, <http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2012/01/why-publishers-are-about-to-go-data-crazy017.html>

Shatzkin, Mike (2012) ‘Some things that were true about publishing for decades aren’t true anymore’, The Idea Logical Company, January 12, <http://www.idealog.com/blog/some-things-that-were-trueaboutpublishing-for-decades-arent-true-anymore>

Naughton, John (2010) ‘Publishers take note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ The Guardian, December 19, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/19/ipad-publishing-kindle-books-apple>

National Public Radio (2010) ‘E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing’, December 21, <http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing

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BLOG ENTRY 8 Do visual media work differently to other media forms?

I will be conducting an analysis of visualisations in relation to the following three forms of visualisation: scientific research, communication of science within the “public sphere” and “real time” interactive visualisation. These images are mostly coming from scientific or visualisation blog sites which dedicate their entire site to a certain topic. These intricate images are created by talented graphic designers who passionately use their skills to depict an image that represents the scientific significance that defines it. The only one I found on a broad news site was the Polar Bear visualisation which was about climate change. These images are able to relate to the general publishing sphere by their use of global internet which is their means of entering the “public sphere”.  The most important process that occurs in creating a visualisation involves the collection of scientific data needed to arrange the visual objects within the resulting image created by the graphic designer.

VISUALISATION 1: Struggling Polar Bear (http://www.metro.co.uk/news/147937-struggling-polar-bears-put-on-endangered-list)

This visualisation is in a news site and compliments an article based on climate change. In this particular context, this image of the Polar Bear is functioning to gain emotional attention from the audience. Without the image, the article would lack a sense of connection and impact towards the concept of global warming. This perhaps is the largest function and effect of the images publication with the written article. This image assembles information and warnings about climate change which is assembled in a compact photograph that really does say 1000 words.

VISUALISATION 2: Mouse Eyeball Cells (http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/tag/science-visualization/)

This visualisation was found on a scientific blog site called Wired Science which I found to be a favourite and particularly interesting. On this same site I found a quote quite relevant to the concept of visualisations representing scientific data by Thomas Wagner, a cryosphere scientist at NASA who states,  “I think because information technology tools and visualization tools have advanced, people have found ever-increasingly clever ways to display difficult scientific concepts”. I believe this sums up the function of using visualisations in this scientific context.

What is happening to this image in this context is it is attracting the human eye through its aesthetics and therefore, simplifying the daunting biological data of the mouse eyeball cell. This image won first place in the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualisation Challenge by its strategic use of colour and it states on the Wired Science site that judges chose their winners based on, “visual impact, originality and clarity” (Dave Mosher). It assembles the cell data by assigning red, blue and green to antibodies which resulted in the revelation of “70 different cell types in the organ” (Dave Mosher).

VISUALISATION 3: Climate Change Deniers vs The consensus (http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/)

Although I did like the site name, “Information is Beautiful”, I did not particularly consider this one the best example of visualisation. This is mainly because the graphs are quite complex and the only thing that gives these graphs any kind of visual appeal is their use of colour in contrast to the black background. There is also a large use of words surrounding the visualisations which takes away from the whole effect of using visualisations. The context is global warming and carbon dioxide levels and the form of assembly of data is graphs which act as a way of presenting the data in a professional and prepared manner.

However, on the other hand, I do think that it serves its function to represent the written information in a visual form. The graphs assemble data of carbon dioxide in a more calculated way than the other visualisations as it does not focus necessarily on aesthetics but rather on information publication. The most important effect of the graphs is that it indicates a thorough amount of time and effort that the site has spent on constructing the data. It gives readers a chance to choose between words and pictures to learn more about the topic.

VISUALISATION 4: Global Carbon Emissions on the CO2 now site (http://co2now.org/)

I think this particular visualisation was really effective in the sense that it captures attention by use of photography. The images in the context of carbon emissions and humanity’s role in terms of causing carbon pollution is demonstrated fairly well through the juxtaposition of the natural scenes and the industrial settings depicted through the photos used. The images somehow tell a simple story teaching those who do not study science  about how our actions affect our natural world in every aspect: air, land and sea. This is the function of the photos– to portray a deeply concerning and relatively complex idea through a simple and eye capturing photos which is something that everyone can understand.

In turn, this effectively publishes an urgent cause which is carbon gases and its effect on the natural world. Each of the photographs assemble a message for everyone in the world that humans must stop polluting the environment in order to save it and the designer of the visualisation does this through the use of the words, “come from” and “goes” to establish something similar to a flow chart.

How do they fold into both the general social body, and individual bodily interaction with media?

Scientific visualisations affect the media and society by teaching us something that cannot be entirely explained through traditional reading of words on a page. Through employment and creations of visualisations, people who are not fully aware of the context of a concept are more able to grasp its defining idea through an immediate glance at an image. It simplifies information that would be otherwise very difficult to digest and perhaps take a long time to learn. In the media, visualisations work very well because the media must simplify everything to the audience and make information as easy as possible.

How do visual modes of publishing relate to the issues we are concerned with in ARTS2090?

In terms of assemblages, these image assemble complex data systems and compress them into simplified pictures that every day people would find easier to understand especially in the context of science. It also relates to attention as these images capture our attention through colour and other visual techniques. Lastly, it relates to archiving as it somewhat archives scientific data through its compression of information in the image or visualisation used to represent that data.

BLOG ENTRY 7 information graphics

The most appealing concept behind information graphics is that they hold important information for the world, however they hide behind a guise of aesthetics.For example, lets view the below image:qeoloqi_map.jpg

http://infosthetics.com/archives/2012/03/everywhere_ive_been_mapping_3_years_worth_of_location_tracking.html

To the average person, this image may seem like just a unique art form. However, it is in fact, ” showing of the core services of this mobile platform for tracking and sharing location data” (Aaron Parecki, infosthetics, 2012). This therefore, is a great example of how visualisation techniques as a form of communication, not only act as a way of grabbing viewer attention, but also help us to engage deeper within the material.

As human beings, there is a select group among us that is able to sit for hours in front of a board of numbers or black and white words. Information graphics act as a tool to ‘beautify’ these numbers and words and as we dig deeper into this concept we can then acknowledge the graphics that form before us in our every day life. This includes, the images and sounds that we see and hear from our television screens, computer screens, mobile phones, Ipods and Ipads. If we were restricted from access to visual and auditory forms we would go crazy! Imagine if we had to view our favourite television show through reading its script or its book form. We would not watch it. In the readings, Carrie Gates agrees, “However, live video mixing performances certainly address a hunger for immersive and synaesthetic sensory experiences where aural and visual elements work together to create a whole that is something beyond the sum of the parts” (Gates, 2008). Gates then continues by briefly explaining the term, “synaesthetic experience” in relation to auditory and visual performances, which is written about in Ryan Stec’s article. “Connected to this is Michael Betancourt’s examination of the fine line between consumption and engagement on the part of audience members and how it relates to the problem of “wallpaper” visualizations vs. fine art practice.” (Gates, 2008).

This then extends to questioning ourselves on what the symbolic meanings are behind the graphic forms we see. I see this most often through advertisements. For example, the current American Express advertisement that currently shows regularly on television (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prs9dx_kEmI). It is a continuous slide of rolling images that portray the abilities of American Express in a very interesting and engaging way. When I first saw this ad I was quite intrigued to think about what each of the images were about. The mental position that we come to when we see a graphic form is perhaps due to the image’s power to awaken our senses, or as Gates puts it, the “intense bombardment of the senses” (Gates, 2008). For information graphics to be able to flick the metaphorical switch in our minds, many would say that is somewhat a more successful tool of communication as opposed to mere black and white symbols on a page.

Of course, these information graphics may come in the simplest of forms or the most complex, for example the very interesting image of the French fries containing 200 calories in the readings. As people of the 20th century, we have all tried French fries and most of us are consumed with guilt afterwards. By showing a simple photo of an equivalent 200 calories amount of fries, this works better than to simply state it or write it. This graphic information mentally brings us back to that moment of guilt and that message sticks with us longer than simple words.

BLOG ENTRY 6 piracy

The concept of attention in the world of media is usually captured by physical alerts to the world around us–whether it may be the loud volume at the cinemas or the personalised ringtone on our mobile phones of our favourite song. In today’s constant race to the best campaign or highest website hits, grabbing the attention of our audience is vital in order for the survival of the media industry. However, in saying that, it is slowly becoming a reality that although it is true that the media needs its audiences, its audiences need the media as well. More and more everyday, humans of all ages are attached to their own devices. If we were to imagine a world without television, radio, mobile phones, computers, iPads and video games, the entire population would enter a trance of absolute insanity.

The simplicity of nature and communion with other people without media interference has become a historical activity and is no longer enough to satisfy our shortening attention span. Humans have always had an attention span, however, in modern times where money and technology is everything, companies and devices are always fighting each other for the attention of the greater public. This heavily relates to the point made in the week six lecture about ‘attention and distraction’– when our minds are focused on one thing we become distracted from other channels that are simultaneously begging for our attention. I find that between this idea of attention and distraction, there is some sort of correlation with Sam Kinsley’s quote inTechnics of Attention,  where he states, “Attention, therefore, is ‘the process by which value is produced as insperable from the production of subjectivity – that is from the invention and diffusion of common desires, beliefs and affects’”. I found that invention and diffusion goes hand in hand with attention and distraction– as in it is the invention and diffusion of our attention that defines the ever changing diversions of our attentions.

Kinsley also mentions the concept of “Technicity” and describes it as “…the capacities of a body which are indivisible from technologies.”

He continues, “Accordingly, and following Steigler and Derrida, we can understand technology not as a ‘supplement’ to bodies (or to cultures for that matter)-for neither body or technology comes ‘first’-but as the tools and equipment that necessarily co-develop with human beings.” (Kinsley)

What I found particularly interesting in the readings is the article by Emily Yoffe, Seeking,  which suggests the reason for why humans find it so enticing to aimlessly surf the internet. Dopamine. She mentions the term “Crackberry” in reference to BlackBerrys and their addictiveness. It proves itself correct though considering that almost all celebrities are caught tweeting on their BlackBerrys non stop. What I thought when reading the article was that there is actually a chemical in our brains that actually makes us feel good when we are using technology. Even when we are exhausted after a day of work and our eyes are slowing shutting because they are so heavy, we are still forcing ourselves to play one more game of Temple Run on our IPhones or browse through Google without any real purpose. Finally, we now have an excuse for doing so and as personally stated by Yoffe, “Our internal sense of time is believed to be controlled by the dopamine system.”

What I found especially disturbing about the piece was not only the comparison between Lab Rats and Humans in Yoffe’s piece but also her statement, “Like the lab rats, we keep hitting “enter” to get our next fix.”

BLOG ENTRY 5 infotention

The concept of decreasing attention in response to increasing information is very much a reality in the world of media and marketing. As journalism, PR and advertising students we are constantly taught to summarise information to the very core and only publish the most engaging information. If we fail to do so, we are penalised and this results in a poor mark for our submitted assignment. The reason that markers do this is because we as media students must learn the harsh realities of our audiences. Our audiences are human beings. Human beings have the natural tendency to reduce levels of attention when they are forced to pay attention to information or when they are overwhelmed with an overload of information.  When it comes to media and especially advertising in the media, almost all types of publics prefer to be presented with a clear and concise form of information. This is why television commercials work so well, all the information is presented in hearing and visual form. In advertising, the information being marketed must be presented or even manipulated in such a way that will somehow reach out to what the broad public would find interesting and at the same time market the product in a nutshell.

The most relatable example I can find for this is a student sitting in front of a television screen on the couch, whilst also attempting to do their assignment on their laptop which sits on their lap. The television is set on ‘V’ a music channel which is endlessly playing the top 100 hot hits. In contrast, their laptop displays pages and pages of readings required for next week’s class. Naturally, if the student is interested in music their attention is more likely to focus or be distracted by the music video playing in the background. The pages of size 10 font on their laptop screen are likely to lose the battle that fights for his/her attention. This is because music as opposed to academic writing takes no effort to think about and concentrate.

On another note, the key to using our time wisely and paying attention to the right things is put quite interestingly by Erard as he says, “savvy allocator of your attentional resources”. This phrase is quite appropriate for the technologically savvy generation Y as we live in the information technology age and must learn to keep up with the intricacies of technology in order to keep up with the rat race. In contrast with short attention spans and laziness to acquire mass amounts of information, the technology generation has found numerous sources for their limited attention before they hit the sack. Multi-tasking or “Continuous partial attention” as Linda Stone puts it, is one of the generations most recognised traits. As she observes a student she describes, “[…] asking their brains to attend to four I.M. conversations, a partially completed paper, a news website, a text message coming in on the cell phone and a conversation with the person sitting next to them.” From this we can see that human attention especially of the more recent generations are willing to listen and pay attention but only to the things that matter to them. By recognising this, we have a major lead on how to approach our publics.

BLOG ENTRY 4 Fever

I quite enjoyed reading Matthew Ogle’s ‘Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real time web’, as I felt it deeply captivated the essence of personal archiving in the most modern and understandable way. He brought out a modern definition to a concept that has historic undertones due to its purpose of recording data. Ogle referred to the “real-time web” as not only a personal archive but also a window to potential growth for the technical engineers behind online media. What I was left with after reading Ogle’s piece, was the idea that because the “real-time web” acts as our personal archive and as a memory device, constantly recording our every published thought and never seeming to forget the past, I felt that this was a clue into the different ways that online technology and even, technology in general is starting to take over human capacity.

As Ogle mentions himself,

“What were you thinking about on November 23rd, 2009? You probably have no idea, but Twitter might. What was your personal soundtrack to the summer of ’07? Ask Last.fm. Hit up Dopplr to find out how many miles you travelled last year, Foursquare for the Berlin bar that people you know check in to more than any other, or Facebook to see the photos of the last time you hung out with your best friend on the other side of the world.”

I’m unsure as to how to react to such a thought, whether to be somewhat worried or excited for the future. Online archiving through these social media platforms, restricts us from escaping the past and how we felt during adversities we have struggled. On the other hand, humans have created this and I dare ask, have we blindly created a monster? Ogle seems to be quite optimistic about the opportunities and even, strives to strengthen and improve the already existing archives, ” The real-time web might just be the most elaborate and widely-adopted architecture for self-archival ever created” (Ogle, 2010).

As I then read Acara, My School Home,  I found that when archiving is used in restricted ways such as this student effectiveness tracking tool, that it is useful and beneficial for the community. In contrast to My School Home for example, sites such as Twitter and Facebook are used so liberally and have given access to inappropriate, regretful and unforgiving statements and actions. From this we see a definite pro and con to archiving. Thus, this may give technical online engineers an idea of how to navigate the direction of archiving in terms of social media and online tools. Personal archiving is instituting irreversible, permanent and public records of our intimate lives and sells it to the world. Though these adjectives attain a negative connotation we must also remember that archives do serve optimistic and useful purposes such as remembering those positive moments that the human conciousness cannot remember. On a positive note archiving is a mnemonic institution, remembering important facts that the society needs to keep track of. On a more negative note, I believe that any advances in “real-time web” and personal archiving may destroy the human right to control their memory and forget unwanted memories. Although in some cases such as the Apartheid Archive Project, unpleasant memories can serve to make us stronger.

BLOG ENTRY 3 assemblage

After researching the assemblage theory in more detail, I have come to personally understand it as the relationship between material and concepts- or between the physical and non-physical. In attempting to create a connection between this theory and the world of publishing, it has become apparent to myself that perhaps  the assemblage theory and the actor-network theory mirror the image of a writer to his/her computer. The ideas that stream from the mind of the writer take the role of the “semiotic” or conceptual, whilst the keyboard and the computer itself take the role of the material. Even in a more traditional context, a writer to his pen or his ink, this theory would still apply. This notion has indicated that perhaps without either of the two, the entire occupation of publishing one’s ideas or one’s opinion would cease to exist. This is confirmed by this week’s reading in Wikipedia about “ANT”, where is states that the “… material–semiotic networks come together to act as a whole”- the “whole” being writing, publishing, journalism and media.

Keeping with the Wikipedia reference reading, it also states that “…actor-networks are potentially transient, existing in a constant making and re-making” which makes sense with the idea that it reflects the process of publishing media as without the work of journalists or writers and their stories, the entire media industry would collapse. Equally, especially in this technological era, if communicative devices such as smart phones, laptops or computers, which hold access to speaking to the world through the internet, were to shut down, the industry would then also collapse as well. One does not work without the other. Computers or anything digital, would not be needed or used without the thoughts and actions of its user, humans. In terms of complications that arise with this application to the theory, we can imagine a senior journalist or writer that cannot use computers and from here we see a incompatibility between the concept and material. We may also see conflicting ideas between writers and their opinions.