Web 2.0 Storytelling Reflection

Essentially I think the digital in “digital storytelling” simply provides a certain flexibility of structure.  The nature of stories remains the same.  It requires characters, a plot structure, themes, events, etc.  But it is the way in which these stories can be presented that has changed.  Writers can encourage their audience to not only comment on, but directly interact and participate in the story itself.  Content can be limited to 140 characters to encourage creativity.  First person narratives can be encouraged by blogs with their diary-like format, encouraging the formation of more character-centric stories.  It is these approaches that are new, not necessarily the art of storytelling (which is as old as history itself).  However, this is not to downplay the importance of the digital in “digital storytelling”.  The flexibility associated with these advancements allows for newfound avenues of creativity.  Perhaps those who otherwise might not have participated in the storytelling process are now being drawn to it.  New platforms with their unique limitations helps push authors to adapt creatively.  This ultimately adds another layer of richness to the type of content that is available to us.

Week 1 Summary

I was very lucky in that I already had my domain set-up, which made preparing a site for ds106 much easier.  I will say I wasn’t entirely sure whether to consider my digital studies blog a fully devoted ds106 blog or not, but was able to successfully link to the ds106 course feed (which is what matters!).  I enjoyed setting up some new social media accounts, and was particularly impressed by how smart Twitter was.  As I was choosing accounts to follow, Twitter immediately began suggesting sites related to interests I’m particularly passionate about.  While I found this exceedingly cool, perhaps I should be a bit more perturbed that Twitter seems to have access to my Internet searches…

I really enjoyed the introductions!  It was a quick way to experiment some with all of these different platforms.  I also thought Austin Kleon’s post was pretty thought-provoking.  I believe the Internet has evolved to a point where creator-fan interactions are increasingly being facilitated, and this ultimately should be embraced and leveraged by the creator.  On a technical note, my usage of hypothesis went well.  I’m a little undecided as to whether I should just annotate or also highlight (I ultimately decided the more the merrier).  All of the tagging also took a little bit of getting used to, but was ultimately successful.  In regards to our Internet post, I appreciated its philosophical nature.  The Internet has profound implications, but we often overlook these due to its omnipresence in our everyday lives.  I also welcomed the opportunity to pick and choose an article that particularly interested us.  Generally I feel that more options makes assignments more easily embraced as opposed to being viewed as a chore.

Overall it seems pretty clear that working on these assignments in small doses over the course of the week is key!  ds106 seems like it will require a lot of effort, but luckily many of the topics seem to be ones I’m passionate about (so hopefully I won’t really view those assignments as work).

Below are my media creations for the week!


ds106 Introduction

The Internet

Reading Response

The idea of the Internet being a way to harness our collective IQ is incredible, and has been discussed in varying ways for a long period of time.  I’ve often heard a similar principle described as the ability to harness the collective knowledge of humanity on an iphone.  But the author argues that ultimately that quantity of information lacks meaning without quality interactions.  It doesn’t really matter if information exists unless you are able to successfully find and access it.  She takes this argument further by positing that we should be able to preview and skim this information more effectively.  Essentially by improving Internet navigation and document interaction, information can be absorbed more efficiently.  This can ultimately open up the Internet in order to bring more quality interaction to the masses, which can help successfully realize the goal of leveraging our collective IQ.  This sort of democratization immediately made me think of Wikipedia, which allows users to contribute their knowledge and expertise to a larger whole, while easily allowing readers to jump to related articles.  The author specifically mentioned Hypothesis as a successful tool for tagging documents for better efficiency and allowing for group annotations (which is certainly another reason to encourage us to take advantage of Hypothesis). Read More

Show Your Work

The post really seemed to focus an an intriguing premise, namely that documenting the creative process has a certain innate value that is often overlooked.  This makes a great deal of sense, as sharing this information is beneficial for everyone (as long as you adhere to certain courtesy guidelines).  It can serve as a motivator and fan-base builder for the creator, and can satisfy the curiosity of fans while facilitating their own learning.  It essentially makes your work more accessible.  Within my own realm of video-editing, you often see YouTube channels posting tutorials or how-to posts that can help guide fans into becoming creators themselves.  So the act of sharing the process also serves to disseminate knowledge, an awesome act in and of itself.  Honestly documenting one’s process can almost serve as a sort of creative democratization.  The creative process becomes more of a dialogue between the creator and fans, potentially allowing for more fan interaction and input that can also positively influence the development of a project.  Ultimately I felt that it was this emphasis on the process as opposed to the product that was the most important take-away from this post.

Using Hypothesis was a positive experience.  I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with it some last semester, and it seems like a good way to essentially digest a text online as a group.  Everyone can add their input without fear of being talked over or overlooked, and the annotations can be completed whenever your schedule permits (within the designated timeline of course).  That sort of flexibility should hopefully allow more people to participate than they otherwise would have if the format was simply a verbal discussion of the text.

Digital Identity Analysis

My most prevalent presence online is probably on Facebook, which is one of the few social media accounts that is directly linked to my name.  I also contribute content to YouTube under the username UvaSEP (I currently have 78 videos uploaded and almost 80,000 views).  My UvaSEP profile is also connected to a Xena fan forum where I contribute some memes (new as of this semester).  Most of my interactions involve uploads and posts (rarely do I comment on items).

Conducting a Google search of my name yields a YouTube presentation covering my senior culminating project from last year, followed by a scholarship profile and another link to my culminating project (uploaded by Jim Groom).  Also on the first page of search results is my History of Genocide subdomain and main domain.  The presence of my main domain is new (as I had not developed it at the beginning of the semester).  A google image search presents two pictures of me from the World Boardgaming Championships, and an image from my Great Minds article.  Interestingly, a search on Bing yields my domain and subdomain as the first results, while an image search brings up one picture from WBC.

The most noticeable change over this semester is probably the development of my main domain.  Being able to shape this platform to convey the polished image I want to present digitally is important, and furthermore, appears to be working.  It is most telling that a search of my name on bing immediately brings up my main domain.  Essentially over the course of the semester, I have been better able to shape my presence online.  Rather than the top search results being information other people have written about me, some of the top results are platforms that I have created and have direct control over.  Hopefully this will continue to evolve as my professional career develops, allowing me to adjust my presence as necessary (uploading resumes, etc.).  Learning more about my ability to directly shape this digital identity has been the most valuable lesson I have taken from this semester.

Xena Fandom

Xena: Warrior Princess quickly introduces a strong rapport between its two leads.

eye contact

The LGBT community quickly found the show

by the gods

And embraced it.

reverent kiss

The fandom quickly created websites, fanart, and fanfiction.

I have many skills

The fandom was especially revolutionary in the area of fanfiction, helping to establish terms such as femslash, and genres such as uber and altfic.

eyebrow raise

Though be careful.  Stumbling upon fanfiction you’re not prepared for…


While Xena/Gabrielle was the most popular ship, others existed.  The community’s general response to Xena/Ares shippers…

looking around

After all, the community is very protective of their ship


And intense shipping wars can ensue.

throwing chakram

15 years after the show ended, development plans for a reboot were announced.  Xena/Gabrielle shippers upon finding out that the new show will fully acknowledge the relationship.

I win


Adaptations, Remixes, and Mashups Module Reflection

This particular module was very product-oriented, and as such my primary goal was to create some form of mashup.  I was able to successfully combine House of Cards with Donald Trump’s campaign (which can be found here).  My goal was essentially to parody the rise of Trump while also comparing him to a fictional individual who perhaps shouldn’t be in power.  The video was immediately flagged for copyright.  While still available, it was blocked in one country and on some platforms.  This is largely consistent with my previous experience with YouTube.  Usually some aspect of my videos will be flagged (often for music content).  The end result is that the company in question usually has the right to place ads on my video, and occasionally blocks my video in certain areas (such as Germany, which apparently has very strict copyright laws).

I researched some of the mechanics of this process by examining YouTube’s copyright policies (they provide some very detailed pages explaining this).  The “Content ID” alerts that I often receive are issued to YouTube by the company that owns the copyrighted material.  YouTube gives great freedom to the copyright holder, who gets to decide whether or not the material can be used by others.  Generally a nice win-win situation occurs, where the copyright holder opts to let the video remain live, but takes in some revenue from ads.  The copyright holder thus gets  financial compensation, and my creative product remains public.  But what particularly interested me was the process of disputing a claim.  If a claim is disputed without a “valid reason” the content owner can take down your video, and you receive a copyright strike against your account.  This seems like harsh retaliation, and an easy way to dissuade people from appealing a Content ID label that may be questionable.  Overall, I think YouTube tries to keep a good balance between encouraging creativity and honoring the rights of copyright holders.  But the harshness of disputing a claim concerns me, and seems unreasonably weighted in favor of the copyright holder.