The Writing and Communication Process in Facebook and Twitter

Thanks to cmduke, my twittering pal, I have now discovered the perfect word to describe the communicative event: ambi-synchronous.  My genre colleagues will love this :)

I’m still learning what I can and cannot say on twitter.  I love the economy of signs/text, I love the interaction, I am fascinated with the different identity styles being played out in progressive 140 character tweets over time.

Next stop: twittervision

And Facebook is still feeling like a space to play.  My niece makes family jokes to me on my wall. My cats (which haven’t even arrived yet into my rl home for another couple of weeks) already have their own catbooks and are friends with the cat belonging to Kate in the US.  Its all making me LAUGH a lot and because I am enjoying it I am getting into the spirit of it by adding all sorts of weird and wonderful applications to share.  I am receiving the most thoughtful fabulous virtual gifts from friends (who clearly know me well given the nature of the gifts), and generally discovering new layers to people’s identities – in turn bringing communities closer together.

Its difficult to find time to really play as much as I liked – I wanted to develop a gorgeous habitat for my adopted pet, but that means running about petting other people’s pets before the kharma returns in the form of munney.

Please, dear readers, be patient with the ramblings of a newbie here as I get into both and then analyse them to death :)

But those who are expert twitters, was it “wrong” or a bit too “out there” for me to report news of absolutely no interest to my followers?  Where do I go to get more followers? What is the art of the 140 character solicitation? All these questions and more….

Am beginning to collect links about facebook by bloggers, anybody recommend any?

Twittering too

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I’ve been on twitter since March but went through the – What’s all the fuss about? – stage… I’m giving it another try though because it’s actually very useful at conferences so I discovered yesterday.  I am also following some people who are using it to write stylised poetry, which is wonderful and surprisingly powerful.  Let me know if you are on twitter so I can follow you too!

Facebook: A Space to Play

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I’m now on facebook!  Thanks to my friend Kate who I bumped into at the BlogHer Conference in Second Life, and who told me that you can play scrabble through facebook, I stopped resisting and joined up, and yes… now I am addicted! And enjoying a long distance one word a day game of scrabble.  I can’t believe how many widgets and STUFF you can do/add – and unlike my blog which I try to keep at least semi professional, it feels like a much more playful space.  Or maybe its just because it is new and the personal/professional boundary is still distinct.  Anybody else want to play (a slowish game of) scrabble?

Scary Mary

I love this recut trailer of Mary Poppins so much I used it in my lecture about genre today.  We were just talking about the meaning of genre and predictable patterns in genres, but the whole notion of parody is something we’ll also be doing soon, so this is a useful start.

I didn’t realise how many hundreds of these recut parodies were floating around, but thanks to wikipedia, here’s a huge list and associated links.

Lolcats Literacies: oh hai… pass me teh towel?

(note: The lolcat image above is from I can Has Cheezburger which has a “share to your hearts content policy”)

This is one of favourite images and captions ever – it really and truly made me laugh out loud.  If you haven’t heard of lolcats before, check out the wiki entry and the associated links, which explain the phenomenon in detail.  What I originally found most interesting about the practices in general was the complex linguistic rules that had developed for the captioning of the images.

But more recently these practices have spread to the commenting on the images as well.  And in a wonderful blend of old and new literacies, people are writing fictional stories, limericks, and even haiku in lolcat language as a response to each image.  There are some wonderful examples to accompany the above image for example.  Here are a couple of poems by a commenter named “Jack Deth”:

Jack Deth’s lolcat poem

Kitteh awl strettcht aowt in t3h Bath
Eckskayping t3h Summer Sun’s rath
Wen t3h door suddenlee oapennd
Kitteh starrted 2 hoapin
2 eckskayp daown a well beeten path -)

Jack.

 

Jack Deth’s Lolcat Haiku

Kitteh in Baff Tubb
Wuntz to haowl lyke Hewminz do
Wen it raynz Inside

Klawz an Serrammick
Du nawt wurk well 4 Kitteh
No kan haz trackshun

Diss nawt lyke Baff Tyme
Tubb dry. Kitteh in kontrol
Lykes it much dat way -)

Jack.

And here is a story from B!

B!’s recount/story:

OMG!! REminded me of da tiem we had BIG GINORMUS erfkwayk, in NOrfridge. We wuz helpin our nayberrs, make sure eveyone okay. One naybor sez, I can’t fin ma kitteh, kin U halp?

I sez yeah, sure I halp fin kitteh. Der no power, iz dark, stranj apartmint, all twisted furnishoors. I crawlin, callin for da kitteh, not find him, not find him. Den I tink, if I skeerded lil kitteh, where I go? I go bocks! So I go in bafroom, an iz all wet everywhere, ecksept in da tub! Guess where lil kitteh wuz? LOL he finded de onlee dry spot in de world to wait for his hoomin to come get him!. I scoopt up da lil guy, he was skeered and floofy, but glad to not be alone! Den I give him to hims daddee, an he feel much better!!

But I always remember kitteh in da dry tub….

 

There’s also some fun threads about Hitchcock, a lot of alternative captions which are equally as hysterical, and repeated questions about where to get the shower curtain.

Does it make me a bad person to be planning photoshoots with my kittens when they arrive for the sole purpose of adding to lolcats?

Harry Potter and the Spoiling Phenomenon

By 9:01 am tomorrow Australian time we’ll all know the answers to the following:

- Did Harry’s scar really contain a Horcrux that carried a bit of Voldemort and ultimately mean Harry has to kill himself to kill Voldemort?

- Does Hermione sacrifice herself to save Ron?

- Does Harry sacrifice his wizardry skills and become a Muggle?

- Is Dumbledore really dead?

- Which half a dozen or more people die?

The latest lot of spoilers about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – some fake and some real – to be unleashed on the internet have caused an uproar with fans, and a media splash which is almost suspicious because of the additional hype it is creating 24 hours before the books release.

I’ve blogged about this before but its worth mentioning because once again it highlights the phenomenon of spoiling and the difference between “acceptable” fan culture of spoiling and the “unacceptable” act of hacks or media unfairly spoiling.

In Harry Potter fan forums everywhere, fans have spent countless hours debating the possible outcomes for the final HP book.  They have dissected plotlines from every book to date, and analysed transcripts of every single interview ever done with JK Rowling.  They have examined JK Rowling’s literary devices to explore any foreshadowing she might have done (i.e. Ron sacrifices himself for Harry in the Chess game in an earlier book, therefore….), to explore every nuance of every character (Professor McGonnigal came close to sacrificing herself for Hagrid, therefore…), and are studying Greek mythology (What parallels might exist between the Greek Hermione and the HP Hermione?) to find out clues.  They’ve compared UK editions with US editions and found that some edits weren’t included in one but were in the other. They’ve analysed patterns across books to make new predictions.  They have explored every spell ever used to predict how it could make a come-back in the final battle scene (the time turner is a popular theory). They have analysed the cover art of all editions and all countries where the cover is known for cover spoliers.

So when somebody comes along and just tells them the answers – whether true or false – it makes fans angry for two main reasons:

1) it spoils the pleasure of the reading experience, and this is the one most people can relate to – we enjoy the pleasure of predicting, picking up the clues as we read, and either having our ideas confirmed or being shocked and surprised by clever plot twists

2) the person doing the telling didn’t do any of the hard work to piece together the puzzle, and it feels like they cheated.

Some forums (like Chamber of Secrets) are so concerned about the possibility of unsanctioned spoiling, that they have closed now until AFTER the book has been released, to prevent it!

The only trouble with all of this predicting and piecing together of clues is that some fans will be disappointed if their predictions don’t come to pass.  Of course, that is why I predict that HP fan fiction will live on for some years to come.

Australian Politicians Catching Up to the YouTube Campaigning Practices of their US Counterparts

“John Howard pops up in cyberspace to prove that he has caught up the the 21st century” explains some news reporter on the News today.

Malcom Turnbull has a Facebook site and his friends seem to love this photo he posted:

Meanwhile Peter Garret from the Labour party argued back against the PM’s climate change policy with this:

and the party called him out with this:

I think we’re all waiting to see this though – when are our politicians going to really become twisted, repurposed, and memed all over the internet?

As said on one news report this evening, “we’ve got a long way to go if we want to use the same political tactics as the Americans!” – the Obama Girls:

dLux Media Second Life Art Tours (aka the Magic Pony Ride!)

ArtTour6

What fun! I managed to get to some of the special dLux Media rl/sl mixed realities event today that I blogged about here. This is me on my magic pony ride tour of SL art hot spots. In a very clever pop culture / high culture hybridisation, the tour incorporated visits to some wonderful art spaces – entire sims that are works of art, exhibits and all sorts of alternative types of art spaces as well as some traditional ones. The ponies had a follow the leader script so the tour guide could fly us all over Second Life, but there was lots of discussion and all participants had the opportunity to share and comment. Tours are being held weekly.

Resonating with Second Life Wind: A wonderful sound installation

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windsoundinstallation_008

Thanks to Prok for showing me this amazing sound installation in Second Life during the week. Here’s the description from the artist:

“Resonating-With-secondlifeWind” by Edo Autopoiesis.

Resonating-With-secondlifeWind is a permanent, large scale, generative sound-installation in Second Life.

One might not immediately be aware of it but everywhere in Second Life there is wind, constantly changing and twisting air streams. Resonating-With-secondlifeWind works and responds to this wind. Above the clouds there are floating 100 windmills, ordered in a grid. Each windmill shows us the direction and speed of the wind at that specific position. Together, they give a visual representation of how the wind behaves on a larger scale, through the whole sim.

Each windmill uses the available wind-energy to lift a red object: More wind and the object is lifted faster. Once the red object is at its top it’s ready to drop down again so it will hit the acoustic resonator at the bottom, and thus making a sound. The red object will only drop down though, when there is another windmill nearby also making a sound. So, the rhythm with which the sound will be played depends on the wind as well as on the sounds from the neighboring windmills. Since the wind in Second Life is always changing and never the same, the musical result will always be different: Infinite variations on rhythm and melody.

Edo Autopoiesis (in rl Edo Paulus) is an Amsterdam based sound-artist who uses generative processes to create sound-compositions. This results mostly in real-life sound-installations and sometimes software based works or performances.
more info: http://www.eude.nl

I loved this – there are so few artists experimenting with sound in SL and yet all the capabilities are there. There is something about floating above the clouds among 100 windmills with bell like sounds echoing all around you that is quite magical.

Location: Harmonia, Harmonia (110, 94, 22)

Nudes Descending- Interactive SL Art

OdysseyGallery_008

Gaza does it again – you might remember Gaza Stripped, an article from Slatenight magazine (now sadly on hiatus for the time being), where Gaza, pictured below, discussed her philosophy about real/virtual/pop art.

Gaza Stripped - photo by Dell Wilberg

Nude Descending is another play on an artistic icon, in which falling nude art pieces topple down a staircase, and if you want to really interact and become art you allow your naked avatar to topple down too.

This exhibition is being shown at the Odyssey Gallery, and also includes all sorts of other interactive and thought provoking pieces. Just DO NOT say a certain phrase or term, or you will be attacked by a tornado and catapulted across to another sim! (I haven’t seen one person not test this, despite the warnings :)

All art has notecards with commentary and questions for you to ponder about the art work, which helps you understand what intention was had by the artist. How you interpret it though is still dependent upon your own experiences, expectations and belief systems about art and virtuality, so if you visit the exhibition with friends it can raise some very interesting discussions.

BlogHer 2007 Conference in Second Life

BlogHer '07 I'm Going in Second Life

How wonderful! The 2007 BlogHer conference is being streamed into Second Life!!!

Look at some of the amazing speakers.

… and doesn’t this panel sound fascinating:

Digital Exhibitionists or Chroniclers of their Time: Will Naked Bloggers Make History?

Hopefully I will be able to stay awake into the wee hours for this one :)

I can’t find a SLURL for this yet but you have to register (it is free) and join a group so I guess more information will be forthcoming once you join. What a wonderful opportunity to be part of this conference that I’ve been reading about every year with envy on my US colleague’s blogs.

Kitten Puzzler – reward offered!

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Here is the litter of kittens I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time :)   I have been on a waiting list to adopt two Tonkinese kittens and I am delighted to say that the kittens will be coming from this litter and in a few weeks time I will finally be the proud mother of two males.  Aren’t they cuuuuuuuute!!!   So a warning: if you are getting my flickr photos and blog posts by RSS feed and you aren’t into cats… you might want to rethink that :)

Now – a special KITTEN PUZZLE for you!

I need help with two very masculine but also slightly naughty sounding male names suitable for my new babies.  All suggestions welcomed.  And if I choose any names you suggest to me, I will offer a reward of a free copy of my forthcoming book, signed by me and a paw print from each kitten!!  My book is actually out in the US, but I am still waiting for it to reach Australian shores, so any day now I can show you what you’re playing for :)

I’ll give hints as to which types of names I like and dislike as we go along, and make a tally of popular names for discussion (but the final vote is mine!)  So let’s start the ball rolling…. 2 masculine but playful names for my Tonkinese kittens please :)

Mixed Reality SL/RL Media Arts Event

As part of the d/Art/07 festival being run by dLux Media Arts there will be a mixed reality event showcasing the Arts in Second Life. Here are the details:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

1:00 PM

Australian Centre for Photography

257 Oxford Street
Paddington, New South Wales 2021

Description

Some call it a better life while others say ‘Get a life’. Second Life is a 3D social networking site where participants can not only meet with each other but could also contribute to the design, coding and construction of their new world. When the laws of physics have no meaning, when people can fly and when a large number of the women you meet are actually men, it is inevitable that this new world has evolved in …er… unconventional directions that no longer simply mirror real life.

As part of the d/Art/07 festival, d/Lux/MediaArts will present a series of in-world guided tours of Second Life where we will explore the work of artists practising in SL and some of the interesting communities that are emerging there. You can join in the real world at the ACP or online in SL. The tours are free but booking is required for those joining us at the gallery. See our website below for details.

Homepage: http://dlux.org.au/dArt07/slife.html

It should be fabulous as Christy Dena has been advising the dLux team about the range of art spaces and practices in SL.

The question is – since the event is about experiencing art in SL, do I actually want to attend in person at the live venue?

A Child’s War

Fom my SLED list (Second Life Educators) came this announcement today:

The video “A Child’s War” was the year-end project for the Global Kids youth leaders in Queens, New York who spent the year working in Global Kids’ Virtual Video Project, at the Museum of the Moving Image, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The video is based on research done by the youth about the situation of child soldiers in Uganda and the upcoming trial at the International Criminal Court.

Here is the video, but be warned, it’s pretty horrific:

Read the youth leaders blogs here : http://www.holymeatballs.org/machinima/

Ego-Maniacs, Griefers and Attention Seekers at Conferences

‘media should help communicate a message, not interfere with it for the sake of the media’

I’ve waited a while to write this because I thought time might temper my opinion but it hasn’t and so here it is. How do you cope when you are a presenter at a professional conference and some ego-maniac in the audience persistently interrupts, offers his own opinion and criticises the speaker’s comments?

Without naming names, here is what happened. Continue reading

We Are The Strange

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We Are The Strange is a new indie movie being featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Described as “Mosters Inc. meets The Nightmare Before Christmas inside of a retro Japanese video game”, the film is sure to be a cult hit because it is truly… strange… from the snippets I have seen and the teasers on youtube. Here’s one of them:

Here is a review from one of the gaming bloggers, Onder Skall, who saw the movie in Second Life. There’s also some excellent critique of the movie at this site as well.

Here’s the official website.

Here’s the blog.

Here’s the myspace.

Here’s a review in Wired.

What I think is interesting is the mixed media filming techniques, described in Wired as:

a combination of 8-bit animation (think early Nintendo), Brothers Quay-style filmmaking (creepy, expressionless dolls) and the kind of 3-D landscapes gamers inhabit. Strange combined stop-motion techniques (working with dolls, clay and paper cutouts) with 3-D computer animation. He built 15 virtual sets in Cinema 4-D, using Adobe’s After Effects.

I don’t know if I could watch 88 minutes of it but I think the film making is very cool.

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