Friday Assignment

The Great Web 1.0 Revival

 

Gizmodo.com

Gizmodo.com

 

Kyle Chayka, writing for Gizmodo, discusses nostalgia for the early Web in his article “The Great Web 1.o Revival.” He describes different kinds of early online communities, how they used anonymity to their advantage to create a safe and intimate space to interact and play with identity.

“When it first got popular, Facebook was like the back room at a club: A cozy space filled with just your friends, everyone clearly connected to everyone else. Now, it’s more like a stadium, with thousands of voices competing to be heard on every activity feed. Brands and strangers clamor for attention alongside people you might actually know, and it’s getting harder to connect with the people you really want to reach. But the web doesn’t have to be so big.”

In today’s Web, he writes, online communities can feel too large, overwhelming, and too vulnerable to outsiders. There’s a new batch of online communities that are modeling some of their core design features after early Web communities in an effort to create more intimate communities.

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“Compose new Tweet”: Literacy in the Digital Era

Twitter's iconic "blue bird" logo.

Twitter’s iconic “blue bird” logo.

Twitter is a multinational, powerful social networking platform with hundreds of millions of dedicated users. Everyone from firefighters to celebrities, and corporations to your grandmother uses Twitter for news, venting, and even promotions. But in order to join this community of tweeters, a certain amount of literacy is required – and this is no where stated on Twitter’s website. Reading and writing tweets is a digital literacy skill, or the ability to compose thoughts in 140 characters or less in an attempt to communicate information, and absorb the information present to achieve one’s goals in society. 

Reading and writing requires skills such as, but not limited to:

  1. Searching, comprehending and using non-continuous texts or images.
  2. Composing thoughts in 140 characters or less
  3. Basic knowledge of web browsing and site mapping
  4. Shortening links to include in tweets
  5. Adding images from a location on your computer
  6. Understanding the vernacular of Twitter

These are some of the basic necessities Twitter – and basically any social networking platform – (unofficially) requires in order to read and write Tweets.

In order to test your ability to compose a meaningful tweet in 140 characters or less, you should be able to comment on this post, comprehend this post, and shorten the following paragraph to 140 characters or less using your reactions or thoughts.

“California is the most wonderful place to visit because of its variety of weather and its beautiful nature. (subject development) Visitors to California can find any weather they like. They can find cool temperatures in the summer; also they can find warm weather in the winter. They can find places that are difficult for humans to live in the summer because they are so hot. Or they can find places closed in the winter because of the snow. On the other hand, visitors can find the nature they like. They can find high mountains and low valleys. Visitors can find a huge forest, a dead desert, and a beautiful coast.(summary sentence) So California is the most wonderful place to visit because of its weather and nature.

Test out reading tweets and composing them on twitter.com, and explore the world of a truly networked social platform.

Digital Literacy Test: Can I Find You?

One of the most basic literacy skills is categorization. Without this element, whatever you’ve created will go to the dreaded “Uncategorized” section of the Internet, the library, and never access the reader’s mind. Being able to accurately and descriptively categorize what you have created is one of the most essential skills a human being in the 21st century must know.

Categorization is the act of sorting and organizing things according to group, class, or, as you might expect, category. This noun is very similar in meaning to “assortment,” “classification,” and “compartmentalization.” This is from the first result Google shows. They have categorized definitions, posts, and other relevant areas, and this was the best example of the category “categorization.”

To successfully categorize something, you must know what it is. For example, a blog post should be categorized for its content, author, date, and all of the relevant tags that the content mentions, explains, or discusses in any detail. However, these tags must be relevant. Tagging every single thing that you discuss means you will have a string of words, instead of a clear description of what your content actually is.

The easiest way to test someone’s categorization skills would be via a blog post. If the reader can blog about something, anything, tag/categorize it, and then find the post using an organic Google search (it may have to be a little more targeted than just a random search), the reader would have the basic idea of categorization down.

The next step would be a discussion about SEO, but that comes in a more detailed discussion. Basic understanding of how to tag content is an incredibly important digital literacy skill, and should be honed through practice and more practice.

Aesthetic Revolution

At first I wanted to track Facebook’s website history. I thought what better website to visit than the one I’ve been familiar with since high school? However, I gave up when it continuously led me to this page after multiple attempts to browse the website’s history. I guess that’s first hand evidence that I don’t know as much about the Internet as I thought I did (or as most people think). When it displayed “Page cannot be crawled or displayed due to robots.txt.” (I have no idea what this sentence means) in bold, red letters, I felt as lost as my parents probably do when it comes to simple Internet navigation.

But in the midst of trial and error I decided to switch gears and visit Disney Channel’s website instead – aka my personal online Bible when I was in elementary school. I remember spending most of my online time playing games, taking personality quizzes, and reading more about my favorite Disney Channel show characters. Since I haven’t visited the website in years, I began with the most recent screen shot from September 9, 2014.

9:9:14

 

Not only has the website changed completely since my last viewing, but it displayed a spinoff of one of my favorite childhood shows, Boy Meets World (such a throwback!). I’m surprised to see how modern a children’s website can be. Even within seven months Disney altered its navigation bar, which seemed to revolutionize the website’s vibe. It’s interesting to observe the small aesthetic transformations Disney utilizes to maintain its contemporary theme. The screen shot below was taken on February 21, 2014.

2:21:14

As I continued to browse Disney’s history and compare its changes to The Evolution of the Web I noticed that as browsers developed, so did Disney’s website. From April 2011 to just two months later, browsers’ visual appearance changed dramatically.

4:2011

6:2011

It’s interesting to note how the visual effects of browsers and websites change (more or less) simultaneously and how these visuals are beginning to emulate clean, sleek, and simple aesthetics.

 

Christine Chu