Angela A Thomas

Entries Tagged as 'cyberculture'

My Digital Fiction Presentation for Futures in Literacy Conference

September 4th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Tags: Virtual Worlds · role-playing · facebook · academic life · fans · presentations · literacy · cyberculture · adolescents · children's literature · conference talks · digital fiction · cross-media storytelling · twitter · new literacies · visual literacy · new video · machinima · ARG · gaming · education · children · linguistics · photography · blogging · media · popular culture · Second Life · identity · fanfiction · avatars · arts · semiotics · publications · youtube · personal

My Students on Facebook

August 31st, 2007 · 3 Comments

Just like a lot of other social networking spots before it (youtube, myspace, and even way back in the days where IRC was all the rage), facebook is beginning to get some negative press and there are calls to ban it in the workplace and to ban it in educational institutions.

Some of my undergrad English students have facebook (not all of them) and even smaller number of students friended me when I mentioned I’d use it as another space to deposit lecture notes for them.  It’s not really a course management space though I will trial a few features and see whether there’s any interest from the students.

What is most interesting to me though in light of all the sudden bad press about facebook is to see what sort of interactions the students are having with each other.  I am not spying on them by the way! And I do not have ethical approval to use anything.  But as a friend I am getting notifications and see a little of what they are doing and saying, and which groups they are joining through my own feed.  So its impossible not to see some stuff!

Here’s what I see:

A lot of discussion about assignments, clarification about criteria, support of each other prior to presentations, support and feedback to each other after presentations, and general discussion of their various units

Comments which are fair though perhaps bordering on harsh about their lecturers (x is such a hard marker, I had lecturer y and she is much easier). These comments are ones I often overhear as I walk into a class before it begins though so they do not surprise me

Some of the groups they join are kind of funny:

“If you can’t differentiate between your and you’re, you deserve to die” - oh yeah I approve of that one;

“Keep your f****** hand down in lecture and shut up. No one cares.” - well hmmm… it depends on the question. Once I had just finished explaining something in a lecture and then a student raised her hand and asked the very question I had answered, so I said “well this is a good test of who has been listening and paying attention, who can answer her?” and had another student answer her;

and “If a ginger kid bites me, what should I do” - I know this is a joke but hey, when you teach young kids and this really happens it is no laughing matter I can assure you!

I see some of the students talking and worrying about how much time they are spending on facebook, so they are conscious of balance and fitting things in.

I would never support banning of any form of social networking in an educational or work environment because so much of the talk and interactions are based on sharing, support and community building.  The jokes and silliness and play that goes on are pretty crucial to the sense of community and to developing trust.  As they trust each other more, they support one another more.

What I worry about more is the groups of students are not on facebook and who aren’t getting that same level of support and rapport developing with their peers. Facebook should become compulsory!  Oh wait… then it wouldn’t be fun…

Tags: facebook · cyberculture

Creativity in Second Life: Educator’s Panel

August 22nd, 2007 · 4 Comments

Educators Panel Closing Plenary

The final panel session for the NMC’s Symposium on Creativity in Second Life was wonderful!  Chaired by Alan Levine (CDB Barkley), it involved a diverse range of educators involved in Second Life, reflecting about the week’s sessions and creativity in SL in general.  Educators included:

  • Lori Bell (aka Lorelei Junot), Alliance Library System
  • Jo Kay (aka Jokay Wollongong), Illawarra Institute TAFE, New South Wales
  • Hilary Mason (aka Ann Enigma), Johnson & Wales University
  • Troy McConaghy (aka Troy McLuhan), ISM Corporation
  • Nick Noakes (aka Corwin Carillon), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
  • Beth Ritter-Guth (aka Desideria Stockton), Lehigh Carbon Community College
  • Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney

Despite issues with sound, we managed to combine both text and sound to do this reflection.  Alan blogged details of the session here, including a podcast and a chat transcript.  I had to do my bit by text instead of voice (luckily I was last so I hastily converted the speaking notes I had into close to proper sentences while other people were talking).  Some of the comments seem to have been truncated in the transcript though, so, for anybody interested, I am including my notes (and they’re a bit messy!) under the fold.
Educators Panel (more…)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · NMC · conference talks · slcreativity · cyberculture · presentations · Second Life · identity · avatars · education

NMC Session: Creative Identity Play

August 20th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Creative Identity Play Session

Yesterday I presented my session about avatars and identity play in Second Life. It was more of a workshop than a presentation, and there were some wonderfully fascinating stories people shared about their avatars: why they created them and crafted them the way they did; what decisions they made about identity markers to include; how other people perceived their avatars; and any identity experiments (gender, fashion, race and so on) that they had explored. I really enjoyed hearing people’s stories, and wish I had had the foresight to log a transcript of the chat!! I managed to crash out 5 times during the session :/ This meant I didn’t have time in the end to really recap some of the central points I wanted to make!! Here are some shots from the session of people sharing and participating:

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play

Creative Identity Play

… and a few resources, links, landmarks, copies of slides, free clothes and avatars and so on were given out at the end. If you didn’t get to go to the session (or you missed out because you had to leave early) and would like a gift bag, just send me an im in world!

(My thanks to CDB Barkley, Joanna Trailblazer, Jokay Wollongong, Heidi Trotta, Nick Noakes, Stephanie Misfit, Tasrill Sieyes, Desideria Stockton, Thinkerer Melville, Anne Enigma, Larry Pixel and many many others who contributed in various ways to the session - by sharing stories, posing for photos, letting me use their photos, contributing avatars and giving me freebies to add to the resources kit!)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · the body · NMC · slcreativity · visual literacy · presentations · avatars · beauty · education · Second Life · fashion · identity · feminism

Transmedia Puzzle Solving Game/Story/Prize

August 19th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Wow! A jigsaw puzzle with emailed anagrams, clues all over the web, and a 1 million pound prize for the first person who solves it.  How exciting!

But if you want to be amused, read the part in the comments section where one person complained about not being able to get to the site to register for the emailed puzzle bits.  Another commenter remarked  - “If you can’t find how to sign up, you’re not going to have very much success trying to find the 1000 pieces of this jigsaw”. *laughs*

Tags: cross-media storytelling · cyberculture · ARG

Our NMC Session - Teaching On the Second Life Stage: Playful Educational Strategies for Serious Purposes

August 18th, 2007 · 3 Comments

(Note: Thanks to Jokay for taking these snapshots!)

Kim and I doing our roleplaying session for NMC

Kim Flintoff and I did our NMC Symposium on Creativity in Second Life session this morning. Our session introduced the concept of educational drama and involved setting up a context and doing some role-playing. Here is the abstract again for anybody who missed it:

Teaching On the Second Life Stage: Playful Educational Strategies for Serious Purposes


Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney

Kim Flintoff (Kim Pasternak), Edith Cowan University

Theatrical spaces have historically been places used to teach, purge and shape culture. For over a decade, virtual reality has offered a new kind of theatrical space; now, with the rise of social networking spaces, many more people are using the potential of the web to perform, critique and comment on cultural issues. Second Life provides a new and exciting space where students can explore issues that are both personal and global in significance. Teaching strategies which incorporate dramatic and theatrical components are perfectly suited in the Second Life environment for engaging students in playful but meaningful reflection on such issues. This session will involve participants in role-playing, reflection and discussion. Participants will also be encouraged to brainstorm the possibilities of incorporating such strategies into their own educational programs.

We set the drama in a fictional Second Life future, one in which the company of Linden Lab had outlawed anything M rated and above. Setting the drama in a fictional place, space or time allows people to reflect on significant cultural issues from the safety of that fictional distance. Learning can take place somewhere in the space between the fictional and the real.

We provided an open letter to the Lindens set in 2009 for participants to read. Here’s a copy of our letter:

Open Letter to Linden Lab Staff

February 20, 2009

We, the undersigned, are concerned about way Second Life has moved away from its grassroots principles of freedom of expression and participatory culture into a sanitized Disneyland state. We recall in 2004 when Phillip Linden proudly, enthusiastically and energetically espoused his philosophical stance about Second Life:

“So SL poses a new question… what if the online environment offered you MORE freedoms than the real world, in just about every way. I assert … that we might therefore actually behave better in such a place. We might learn faster, interact more deeply, and therefore become better people, at least on some levels. Little has been written about this. I am asserting that this will only occur in an environment in which the freedoms are not a laundry list of experiences, a-la-Disneyland, but instead a fundamental ability to express yourself; these are the real freedoms. I am saying that if you have more freedoms, in an expressive sense, you might have better or at least more complex behavior.” (Philip Linden, Second Life Herald Interview, June 21, 2004)

Indeed, during the first three to four years of Second Life, citizenship grew to several million users precisely because of the liberties and creativities found in such an “infinite possibilities” standpoint. People entered Second Life for a multiplicity of purposes, and its success today is directly related to the opportunities provided by user created content. Collaborative creativity on a global scale was never so exciting and exhilarating, and you might even recall that in 2007, the ground-breaking educational innovators at the New Media Consortium held a symposium on creativity in Second Life.

Yet since early 2007, there has been a steady decline in the freedoms enjoyed by and afforded to our citizens. First of all, advertising and signage related to certain sexual practices was outlawed. Soon thereafter, all casinos and houses of gambling were removed. In early 2008, there was crackdown on all explicit sexual practices – the furry avatar was removed as an option at log-in, and all Gorean sims were shut down. By the end of 2008, all known sims and clubs that offered simulated sexual practices were removed without warning.

But by far we, the undersigned, believe that the most debilitating move on Linden Lab’s part is the new TOS policy issued in January of this year, 2009, to remove all M rated sims and M rated content, even in citizen’s private homes. With 30 million users, all over 18 and adult, we cannot understand this move to reduce Second Life to Disneyland, which serves only to stifle the creativity and personal freedom of expression out of each and very one of us. Second Life is no longer a deeply compelling place for us to live, to work, and to do our business. We therefore call for an immediate return to the terms of service as set out at the beginning of 2007.


Then we gave out role badges (student, teacher, parent, admin) and participants worked in small groups to research a position they would take in response to the letter.

Roleplaying session for NMC

Roleplaying session for NMC

Then we held a TV press conference - the poster advertising the TV press conference had the title: “Disneyland or Jurassic Park: What kind of Second Life do YOU want?” This involved the presenter (Kim) speaking to representatives of each group, while the roving reporter (me!) took commentary from the streets and questions from our studio audience.

Roleplaying session for NMC

Roleplaying session for NMC

At the end people had to submit votes for whether or not they would also sign the open letter to the Lindens.

These are the strategies we used:

  • Text as starting point
  • Group in-role research and discussion
  • Role-play (teacher in role, questioning, mantle of the expert)
  • Decision / Conscience alley

If we had time, we could have also done the following:

  • Teacher in role as the “expert” – the teacher could hold a town hall meeting where Philip Linden (the teacher or a brave student) comes to hear what people have said and talk to their concerns
  • Writing in role / photography in role – students could write a fictional blog post about the press conference – either collectively, or individually, and include a snapshot they took
  • In groups, students create a still image of themselves in the future, to depict what the outcome of their letter was by 2010

The 50 minutes to an hour was nowhere enough to do the subject justice, but hopefully it was sufficient for people to get a taste of how easily and effectively drama and role-playing can be employed to stimulate research, discussion and enthusiasm about a topic. And it was fun - I was laughing a lot and had to toggle my voice off, especially when Corwin Carillon, that rebellious chain smoking anarchist, came to do his “vox pop” soundbyte :) Thanks to everybody who made this session such a pleasure!

Tags: conference talks · slcreativity · new literacies · NMC · cyberculture · role-playing · secondlife

My NMC Symposium on “Creativity in Second Life” Presentations Next Week

August 9th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Creative Identity Play

Next week the NMC is running an entire weeks symposium on “Creativity in Second Life” There are a number of strands: Machinima, Fashion, Sculpture and Modeling, Virtual Photography, and Teaching Environments, social / arts events, and lots of practical and interactive sessions. I am involved in three sessions, all at (sort of) Australian friendly times. Here are the details of these sessions (in Second Life time):

Fri Aug 17 7pm - Fri Aug 17 8pm

Teaching On the Second Life Stage: Playful Educational Strategies for Serious Purposes


Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney

Kim Flintoff (Kim Pasternak), Edith Cowan University

Theatrical spaces have historically been places used to teach, purge and shape culture. For over a decade, virtual reality has offered a new kind of theatrical space; now, with the rise of social networking spaces, many more people are using the potential of the web to perform, critique and comment on cultural issues. Second Life provides a new and exciting space where students can explore issues that are both personal and global in significance. Teaching strategies which incorporate dramatic and theatrical components are perfectly suited in the Second Life environment for engaging students in playful but meaningful reflection on such issues. This session will involve participants in role-playing, reflection and discussion. Participants will also be encouraged to brainstorm the possibilities of incorporating such strategies into their own educational programs.

Sat Aug 18 4pm - Sat Aug 18 5pm

No More Business Suits Please: Creative Identity Play in SL


Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney, Australia

Second Life offers a unique opportunity to refashion one’s self and to play with fictional identities. Yet many of us who work inside Second Life feel trapped in our offline identity roles and conform to traditional discourses of femininity, masculinity, appearance, beauty and fashion. Professionals wear business suits, educators cry out for more modest clothing, and artists wear funky coloured skins. In some contexts, people who resist these discourses are discriminated against. This session explores how we might be able to leverage one of the greatest affordances of Second Life—the avatar—for personal, community and professional agendas.



Sat Aug 18 5pm - Sat Aug 18 6pm

Panel Session: Reflections on Creativity in Second Life


Moderator: Alan Levine (aka CDB Barkley), The New Media Consortium
Lori Bell (aka Lorelei Junot), Alliance Library System
Jo Kay (aka Jokay Wollongong), Illawarra Institute TAFE, New South Wales
Hilary Mason (aka Ann Enigma), Johnson & Wales University
Troy McConaghy (aka Troy McLuhan), ISM Corporation
Nick Noakes (aka Corwin Carillon), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Beth Ritter-Guth (aka Desideria Stockton), Lehigh Carbon Community College
Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney


Tags: the body · role-playing · Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · NMC · new literacies · slcreativity · cross-media storytelling · digital fiction · presentations · ARG · beauty · education · gaming · Second Life · fashion · avatars · identity · semiotics · feminism

William Gibson in SL

August 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life

The Cross-Media Self

August 3rd, 2007 · 4 Comments


Yesterday when I added Andy Piper as a friend on Facebook, I flippantly said “now we’re friends everywhere” - since I knew him on Second Life, on Facebook, on twitter, on flickr, on his blog, and through his comments on my blog.

He paused for a while, then replied with a wide ASCII grin:

“friends *everywhere*? 8-) see“ 

I clicked the link, and my jaw literally dropped in astonishment at the number of tracks Andy makes across the web.  How the HECK can any one person do so much?!?!

Right now I feel pretty overwhelmed by the number of social media spaces I seem to exist in: 3 blogs, 3 or 4 roleplaying forums, a fan forum, a zine, flickr, linkedin, twitter, facebook, Second Life (plus an alt), 2 youtube accounts, gmail, work mail, skype, google chat. People keep inviting me to new things but I just don’t have the time!  And each one of these has channels or groups or threads - I am in 63 flickr groups, 19 facebook groups, subscribe to numerous blog feeds, several podcasts and a number of youtube channels.  I’m part of 2 high traffic email lists (Association of Internet Researchers and Second Life Education), and about 10 low to medium traffic ones.

My solution at handling them all is to concentrate on two or three at a time.  The amount of reading and writing and uploading and downloading and viewing and clicking I do every day is becoming ridiculous.  I am a terrible commenter on friend’s blogs, I only blog once every day or two, I barely post to email groups, and I only keep up with urgent emails.  If I tried to fully engage in everything I wouldn’t ever get any work done!
Andy wrote a post about his experiences called The Quicksand of Web 2.0, in which he debates some of the pros and cons of different applications and talks about addiction and his “off switch”.

Its all left me wondering about the kind of identity play we engage in across all of these different spaces we inhabit, and the type of narrative constructions other people are making about us as they make connections between our multiple cross-media selves.

And is it possible for people who read your work across these spaces to suddenly get turned off by a bad case of TMI (too much information)?  Or as one of my literary colleagues is wont to say, “that person just has too much narrative going on.”

But not you Andy :)

Tags: facebook · Virtual Worlds · new video · new literacies · cross-media storytelling · twitter · cyberculture · literacy · Second Life · media · youtube · semiotics · identity · blogging

PodTech:Inspirational teenager

August 3rd, 2007 · 2 Comments

From Robert Scoble comes this story about 14 year old Daniel.

Tags: new literacies · adolescents · cyberculture

Living on Cybermind

August 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments


I am so excited for my friend Jon whose book Living on Cybermind is due for release soon. We are planning a joint book launch later in the year.  I met Jon through, of course, the email list Cybermind, which is the subject of his book.  He talks about issues of identity, gender, community, ethics and truth in online spaces. He and Jerry were both stalwarts of the list who inspired me tremendously in my research into digital culture. Both of our books are in the same New Literacies series, edited by Colin Lankshear, Michele Knobel, Michael Peters and Chris Bigum.

Tags: new literacies · cyberculture

On Facebook and Twitter: more from me and my new friends

August 2nd, 2007 · 1 Comment


On Facebook:

Here are two fantastic podcasts to listen to about Facebook:

Tama Leaver discusses the recent MySpace / Facebook class meme that has generated a lot of International media attention, on Australian radio

Robert Scoble (and Calacanis and Felder) debate the value of facebook, particularly for the business community and its potential for viral marketing

I am totally hooked on Facebook, well at least for now *laugh*. I think the chance to play asynchronous games of scrabble has a lot to do with it!! But there are a couple of key reasons I find it culturally intriguing:

1. I’m really interested in the way it seems to conflate all my different life groups together and what that might mean. In Second Life there has been some blurring of boundaries between work and play, but there are some pretty clean demarcations of space which construct different areas as one or the other. Facebook on the other hand is much more like one single space, and so everybody you invite in will kind of co-exist. Right now for example, I have family, colleagues, friends and strangers all seeing me interact within and around all these various groups. Now although I have quite an extensive social presence online with my blog, flickr, podcasts, slideshares and so on, I am still quite a private, reserved person in general. So to have people seeing a much wider picture of who I am - like seeing me joke around with my niece, or dedicate a soppy song to a guy I like - is somewhat confronting to my sense of public vs private persona.

Australia has been late to come to Facebook. FB only became international in September of last year (I think) and our Universities have been slow to adopt. Right now there are only a few faculty members in all of my University using it, and none of my immediate Education colleagues have it. I’ve asked some of my students if they have it and have been met by blank stares. So although I don’t really mind for now that all my friends see so many aspects of my identity, I suspect I might come to censor it down the road a bit if it becomes widely used amongst my students.

2. The whole “friending” thing has been theorised really well by others who write about MySpace, and some people have called it a performance of identity that is contrived and fake. It’s also similar to the whole linking on blogs thing - as if who you link to might make you somehow better perceived by others just by association. But Facebook feels a bit different because its a reciprocal thing, so people are only listed as my friends if they choose to be. I have to confess that when Howard Rheingold became my friend I was thrilled, because it opened up a dialogue and we’re now also friends in Second Life. But I am equally thrilled when somebody I don’t know so well becomes my friend because I feel as though I have been invited into their personal domain - the flip side of the concern I had in point 1! People I didn’t know very well before, I now feel a lot closer to. I am exchanging messages with blog friends whose blogs I (shamefully) barely comment on (Scoble and his friends talk about this phenomenon in the podcast I linked to above). I am playing scrabble with people I might only have exchanged 2 emails a year with before! (I get hundreds of emails a day and am terrible at keeping up). Perhaps this is a false sense of friendship or community or relationship because I am just projecting here, but for now I am all wide eyed about it all.

On Twitter:

Here are some great posts about twitter I have noticed in the past two days:

Chris Duke talks about the uniqueness of twitter, what makes it special to him, and further elaborates on ambi-synchronicity

Alja writes a detailed and fascinating blog post titled “What makes Twitters Tweet?”

Cogdog and Andy made some great comments here on my last post in case you haven’t seen them, about economy of words and the multiple ways that people use twitter.

Personally I can’t seem to quite get the right feel for twitter yet, and I think that is entirely because of my time zone. I’ve taken some time each working day from the office to have twitter running - at lunch or in the background while preparing lectures, and its been very active and noisy and would be GREAT if I wasn’t trying to work. But with the new semester and hundreds of students (well ok I have 200 students) and lectures and workshops and everything, I just haven’t had time to join in during the busy times. And in the evening when I do have some time to join in, nobody is there until quite late. I’ve really wanted to explore and enjoy and participate, so its meant staying up a lot later than usual, and I won’t be able to sustain that for very long :) I guess that means I need to expand my twittering network.

The other embarrassing thing that happened to me is that I added lots of people to “follow” (i.e. I see everything they say) - and started twittering back in response to the things they were saying because I wanted to join in… and then discovered that they hadn’t added me so they couldn’t see anything I said to them! So it was like I was chatting away to an empty space and… you know what they say when you start talking to yourself, right?

So the synchronous side of things isn’t quite working for me, but its still been amazing from the asynchronous perspective. I found out about the first four links above to podcasts and blog posts from twitter, for example.

And more on the economy of text - the 140 characters you are permitted to use allows people to really play with their language creatively to get their ideas across. This is not new - sms and texting “language” has been around, debated and discussed for some time now. But I have found that with phones extending the number of characters allowed (and adding email functionality to them) that the creativity of language has become less essential in recent times. I’ve found it very refreshing to see this being rediscovered now with twitter, and I really hope they do NOT extend the character limit. I’m so tempted to give my students an assignment in which they have to respond to an essay question in one tweet, so that they learn how to be succinct and clever with their language, instead of some of the long-winded drudgery I get handed up to me :)

OK, midnight scrabble beckons.

Tags: twittering · facebook · cyberculture

The Writing and Communication Process in Facebook and Twitter

July 31st, 2007 · 3 Comments

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?

Tags: new literacies · twittering · facebook · cyberculture · semiotics · linguistics

ARG Style marketing for “The Dark Knight”

July 29th, 2007 · 5 Comments

I thought the new Simpsons movie had done some great pre-release marketing but The Dark Knight (thanks Andy for the correct title!) tops all, complete with all sorts of teasers and even an ARG style game that occurred via

Tags: new literacies · digital fiction · cross-media storytelling · fans · cyberculture · gaming · ARG · media

Twittering too

July 28th, 2007 · 2 Comments


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!

Tags: new literacies · cyberculture

Facebook: A Space to Play

July 27th, 2007 · No Comments


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?

Tags: facebook · cyberculture · identity

Scary Mary

July 25th, 2007 · 3 Comments

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.

Tags: new literacies · cyberculture · linguistics

Lolcats Literacies: oh hai… pass me teh towel?

July 23rd, 2007 · 1 Comment

(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 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 -)


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?

Tags: new literacies · cyberculture · semiotics · popular culture

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

July 18th, 2007 · 1 Comment

“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:

Tags: youtube · cyberculture · popular culture · politics · memes · media

Robbie Dingo’s “Watch the World” machinima

July 17th, 2007 · No Comments

Wow!  Robbie Dingo created the most amazing 3D version of Van Gogh’s painting, and it is shown in this time lapse machinima.  Robbie’s blog post about here.

Tags: cyberculture · Virtual Worlds · new video · cross-media storytelling · machinima · arts · art · Second Life · youtube · music