TWITTER VS LITERATURE

How can you condense an intense 300 page novel into 140 characters? Twitter naturally. Great works of literature are being shortened into tweets via the social media site. The Telegraph’s Matthew Moore discusses this trend here, saying, “the haiku-like brevity of the synopses will appeal to modern readers more accustomed to skimming their emails than working through a 600-word tome”. Writer, Tim Collins, believes “that while the compositions are intended to be tongue-in cheek, the platform opens up new possiblilties for art and education”. I wonder if Jane Austin is turning in her grave after someone summarised Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy’s complex relationship in less than 20 words?

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SYSTEMISING SURREALISM

The Independent’s Charles Darwent recently reviewed the new René Magritte exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool, England. The surrealism artist’s show was arranged thematically, along with the catalogue – A for Apple, B for Bowler Hat, C for Clouds –  systemising the artist and explaining him. In the end, Darwent felt the effect made Margitte seem arch – “a man who hit on a trick circa 1926 and went on performing it for 40 years”. However, he said curators suffer with Margritte, “their problem being how to rationalise visually the work of a man who spent his art being visually irrational.”

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DADA REDONE

“The media as we know them are only the latest in a long line of message systems” (Watson 2008, 13). If renvois is an 18th-century antecedant of hyperlinked text, then the unique DADA art movement of the early 20th-century has well and truly sunk its teeth into today’s online media. “Dada poked fun at the convention of high art and museum display collections” (Sturken & Cartwritght 2003, 34). They did this by presenting a urinal and a bicycle in an art show, much to the curator’s disappointment. In today’s society, the similar ideals are presented in numerous YouTube clips and mash-ups, which re-purpose material and text in a light and informal way, therefore creating a new meaning for the audience.

- Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. 2003. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford University Press, Great Britton.

- Watson, James. 2008. Media and Communication: An Introduction to Theory and Process. Palgrave McMillan, New York.

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CONNECTIVITY: ANYWHERE, ANYTIME

According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), they are “focusing on technologies to enable Web access anywhere, anytime, using any device. This includes Web access from mobile phones and other mobile devices as well as use of Web technology in consumer electronics, printers, interactive television, and even automobiles.” With the increasing popularity of smartphones, connectivity is available for those who can afford it. On March 9, 2011, Nielsen Company said “mobile internet penetration reached 50 per cent as smartphones penetration reached 35 per cent of online Australians.” The instantaneous Internet access means that I can use my Apple iPhone to logon to the Austar website and record an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on my set top box, despite the fact that I may be in New York at the time. Anywhere, anytime…

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SOCIAL MEDIA TAKES HOLD

The participatory nature of online social media and networking websites used for sharing information through user generated content (UGC) has risen in recent years. According to a Nielsen Company report, in 2009, about 75 per cent of Australian internet users logged onto Facebook, 70 per cent visited YouTube, and 65 per cent were accessing Wikipedia. The report said “Facebook was leading the way and Twitter activity was on the rise”. This is opening the door for corporations to market their products. On July 19, 2010, Social Media News Australian founder, David Cowling, said “the rise of social media had grown at record speed and Australia still held the number one spot of time spent on social media sites – with 22 per cent of time spent online linked to social media/networking sites.”

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WHAT IS THE SEMANTIC WEB?

“In 2001, Tim Berners-Lee described his vision for the ‘semantic web’, an extension of the world wide web in which the semantics of information and services on the web are defined and machine-readable, making it possible for web tools to understand and satisfy the requests of users, enhancing the ability to find, share and combined information” (Zimmer 2009, 108). The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) echo this point, defining semantic web as “a web of linked data where technologies enable people to create data stores on the web, build vocabularies, and write rules for handling data”. However, Dowd (2008) suggests “the potential functionality of the Semantic Web depends on logic and information structures that can be understood through analysis of the activities and thinking of the librarian, antiquarian and/or contemporary”.

- Dowd, Cate. 2008. The Antiquarian Librarian and the Pedantic Semantic Web Programmer: Trust, logic, knowledge and inference.

- Zimmer, Michael. 2009. “Renvois of the past, present and future: hyperlinks and the structuring of knowledge from the Encylopedie to Web 2.0” from New Media and Society. Sage Publications, London.

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FOLKSONOMY: A SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION

An emerging online trend is tagging, also known as folksonomy. “Tagging is the practice of collaborative categorization using independently chosen keywords. Typically it involves a loose-knit group of people cooperating spontaneously to organize information into categories” (Zimmer 2009, 109). An example of the folksonomy technique can be seen on Flickr, a photo sharing website where the users determine what the images relate to. “Tags represent a unique user-defined categorization schema, challenging and offering benefits over traditional hierachrical or structured methods of organizing information” (Zimmer 2009, 109). It is different to ontology, which is a carefully set out list of keywords.

- Zimmer, Michael. 2009. “Renvois of the past, present and future: hyperlinks and the structuring of knowledge from the Encylopedie to Web 2.0” from New Media and Society. Sage Publications, London.

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