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Monthly Archives: January 2004

Blogging on Radio 4: The Two Tony’s

Thanks to my Dad (and the fantastic BBC online radio archives) I found out about MPs Tom Watson and Tony Benn chatting about blogging in politics on Radio 4 on Saturday.

My Notes from The Week in Westminster on Radio 4 – blogging bit kicks in at about 21 minutes in to the programme:

Tony Watson defines blogging as online diaries that are regularly updated and important to him, have retrievable archives (so that he can be held to account on statements he makes – [Wow!]).

Tony Benn apparently keeps a daily diary (paper-based) so that he can “see who said what” in the past, but understands that blogs are fundamentally different. He cites a few other media that provide vague blog-like abilities such as MPs having columns in local newspapers, but again understands that blogs are different than this. Benn has his own website and champions the “capacity for people to reach the MP”.

Tony Watson claims to have received 150,000 visits (unique?) since April last year. He talks about a particular case whereby a man from a village near Birmingham managed to attract Watson’s attention about a local supermarket (he doesn’t say what the supermarket is supposed to have done), and produce some responses on Watson’s weblog. This online force prompted the supermarket to “clean up it’s act”. Watson claims that blogging changed his state of awareness through other bloggers posting on his site.

Tony Benn gets the last word in when asked if blogging can fundamentally change the nature of our politics. He claims that he learns 90% of what he knows from his constituents – presumably this is suggesting that blogging can increase this level of knowledge, through greater contact with his constituents.

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New Course, New Media

With the start of the spring term, I’ve now started attending a lecture series run by my supervisor, Tiziana Terranova, about Media Theory. I’d been looking forward to the new course all over the holiday period, and after the introduction session today, it all looks like it’s living up to my expectations – the course includes readings on McLuhan, Castells, Baudrillard, as well as a wealth of other authors I’ve never heard of, but am keen on learning about! This really should inspire the theoretical side of my thesis.

Where are my thoughts taking me at the moment?

Here’s a window into the current state of my grey matter (which feels like it’s getting greyer and sploggier by the day)…

> Blogs and Knowledge Sharing across networks

> Semantic Blogging

> The power of blogs through weak ties

Digital Hoarding

The MIT Social Media Lab blog, Sociable Thinking, recently posted about digital hoarding, bringing into the fold some recent projects working on the huge digital mountain that most of us are constructing – that is things like digital photos, emails, e-books (PDF’s), music files, videos, etc.

One of the questions asked is how to order this data, and it seems to me that blogs could step into the arena in both a management and an interface capacity. After all, blogs are content management systems, and seem perfectly suited to this kind of problem. A few tweaks here and there could render the blog format into an ideal lifetime-content managment system. The social-supporting aspect of blogs makes this concept even more powerful by being able to link content from other lives, allowing people to see where their lives interconnect, where moments were shared, even when those connections were not apparent at the time. These shared moments would provide commonalities that could lead to lasting friendships, or simply enhance our weak ties.

Cross-modal Interaction Confusion

The above term is my description of something that happened to me about 5 minutes ago. I was sitting in front of my computer with my keyboard in front of me and my mouse to my left (yes, I’m a lefty). Now, I wasn’t using my computer, I was reading an article (rested on my keyboard), but was switching between using the computer and reading (something I do too much). As a reached the end of the page of the article, instead of turning the page, I moved my hand to my mouse and went to scroll down! This didn’t work (duh), which gave me about 2 seconds of confusion before realising the problem (if I was any slower, then someone at a computer helpdesk would have had a field day – “my wheel mouse isn’t working…”).

I wonder if this has happened to anyone else, or if it’s just me having difficulty switching to work mode from Christmas holidays mode…

p.s. belated Happy New Year!