Academic Cypher

In hip hop culture, the cypher is a circle of MCs, B-boys/B-girls, beatboxers, etc who freestyle and/or battle one after the other without interruption, exchanging rhymes and flows back and forth or around. The cypher is where training takes place and skills are tested, where people collaborate, and where people create "off the top" or written/choreographed, tapping into the place where thought and action come together to share energy and advance the craft...the Academy should aim to do the same.

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Reading Notes #9: Ecology Systems

This week’s readings on ecologies was a bit overwhelming. Guattari’s argument is an advancement of Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind. I was delighted to find that Guattari’s The Three Ecologies was much shorter than I thought. However, this delight shifted to sadness upon realizing that Guattari’s work centered on the deterioration of human life and society.  He states that the “techno-scientific transformation” has led to “ecological disequilibrium.” Guattari points out social and political issues, oppositions between East-West, and tensions between men and women.  He argues for ecosophy (ecology and philosophy). Ecosophy would examine and complex interactions between the three ecologies of mind, society, and the environment. The three ecologies are interconnected. So, there is not one approach to tackle world issues. The ecosophy aims to provide a new way of examining the world in hopes of creating a balanced society and protected environment. .

This quote captured Guattari’s argument:

“Rather than remaining subject, in periphery, to the seductive efficiency of economy competition, we must reappropriate Universes of value, so that processes of singularisation can rediscover their consistency. We need new social and aesthetic  practices, new practices of the Self in relation to the other, to the foreign, the strange – a whole programme that seems far removed from current concerns. And yet, ultimately, we will only escape from the major crises of our era through the articulation of a nascent subjectivity, a constantly mutating socius, [and] an environment in the process of being reinvented” (45).

Guattari’s work was illuminated by the definition of ecology provided by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Ecology is defined as “[t]he scientific study of the processes influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter.”  What stood out to me most about this definition, and connected to Guattari, are the focus on ecology as a process, and the focus on the interactions and relations among the organisms.  This is not focused on a linear/structured view of ecology.  This is a dynamic view the includes the organisms and the environment.

This was a nice build up to Margaret Syverson’s “Introduction: What is an Ecology of Composition” in The Wealth of Reality: An Ecology of Composition. This is my favorite thing so far this semester. I wish I had read this earlier in the term to gain a clearer sense of applying a theory of network to an object not traditionally seen as a network. This also helped me to understand Frakentheory.

Syverson defines ecology as a “set of interrelated and interdependent complex systems” (5).  The ecology of complex system is “a network of independent agents—people, atoms, neurons, or molecules,” that “act and interact with each other, simultaneously reacting to and co-constructing their own environment” (3).  Syverson identifies four attributes of the ecological systems: distribution, emergence, embodiment, and enact ion.

What I liked most about Syverson’s work is that she aimed to push composition beyond the rhetorical triangle (writer, text, and audience). She argues, “[T]hese traditions often ignore the psychological, social, temporal or physical dimensions of writing.” This approach illuminated the limitations of the traditional conceptions of the rhetorical situation presented by Bitzer and Vatz.

Application

This examination of ecology system is pushing me to examine Snapchat from a different perspective. I have been looking at rhetorical activity and then levels of activity. Most of the conversation focuses on Snapchat as a social network rather than a messaging application. After this week’s readings, I am thinking that maybe I could return to the composition aspect of Snapchat but in terms of ecology system instead of rhetorical activity system. Snapchats role in social media also plays apart in the ecology system. This could work in regards to how Snapchat fits within the social, temporal, and physical dimensions of composing a snap.

Stages of Social Network Adoption by marketoonist.com

MindMap #9: Affordance and Ecology

This week’s MindMap was difficult for me because I spent the week at CCCC, which means that productivity was out the window. I attempted to do work every night, but usually I was mentally and physically exhausted. So, I was thrilled to read Norman’s work on affordances. It was clear cut and straight to the point (and I understood every word). This is the first time that has occurred since reading about the rhetorical situation (Week 1). This excitement faded, however, when I read Bateson and realized that I, once again, was not making connections. I have yet to see how affordances connect to Bateson’s ecology of the mind. The focus on environment jumped out to me. I thought that could possibly be looked at in the sense of what the environment affords us (?).

For my mindmap, I added nodes about systems because I saw the ecology as a system/network in the same sense of genre systems, activity systems, and network/hardware systems (from HowStuffWorks?). I made affordances a separate primary node because it functions differently for me, right now. I added the nodes user, designer, qualities/characteristics versus affordances. I focused on the user and designer because of the focus on interface and design in Norman’s article. I also thought about this being a network in the sense that the user, designer, and the affordances are connected and impact one another. I haven’t thought that through just yet. I also focused on the difference between affordances and qualities/characteristics. I was one of those people guilty of conflating the definition of affordances. These nodes will remind me that what a thing affords and it qualities/characteristics are not the same thing.

Ecology of CCCC

I approached this assignment with what I call the “huh face.” The major issue was the phrase “distributed consciousness.” After completing the readings and annotating, I still did not remember reading this phrase. So, I was a little disheartened when I saw that it was something that was “outlined in various ways by readings from this week.” Did I read the wrong readings?  One thing that I did connect with from the readings was affordances. So, I will begin there.

Gibson’s presented affordances as possibilities available in an environment. Via Gibson, the affordances are there even if one does not realize. Norman, however, presents affordances in terms of both actual and perceived. So, affordances are connected with the design of an object. This allows the user to identify what an object allows them; it serves as a clue, in a sense. Based off of these two definitions, Gibson’s definition of affordances is connected to possibilities, and Norman’s definition is connected to culture.

Through this lens, CCCC conference provided several affordances, such as networking, learning, partying, playing, reuniting, exploring, purchasing, and stalking (I’ll explain). Some of these things were related to possibilities and capability. For example, the massive space of the wholesale district in Indianapolis and free time on the last day afforded me “walkability”.  I was able to walk and explore much of that area; I was willing and capable. On the other hand, clues designed into the conference, experience, knowledge, and culture also impacted my conference experience. There aren’t official announcements for some of the parties, so if you are not aware or invited in, these things can occur without conference attendees knowing. For example, my first CCCC, I did not attend the Bedford party because I had no idea that it was taking place. In addition, I was shocked by the idea of drinking and partying at a professional conference.

As for as the ecology or network of the conference there were several spaces that connected together to create the conference experience. There was the physical space of the JW Marriott, the hotels of my colleagues, the spaces used for the publisher parties, There were spaces within these spaces that connected to the conference experience, such as the Black Caucus suite in the JW and the Lobby of the JW, which became a central meeting space. Other than the physical there were several virtual spaces that I used everyday. I used the physical conference book in conjunction with the CCCC app. I also used Twitter, Facebook, text message, snapchat (limited), and Instagram.

All of these things impacted the conference. The conference wouldn’t have been the same without them. I did not mention my traveling companions. I also did not mention the friends that I met/made at the conference. They were a significant part of the conference experience for me because I only see these people once a year. However, this year I did not see most of them because unlike previous years, I attended the conference with a group. I was usually with the group, so I did not see many of the people that help make the conference experience meaningful for me. Whereas others may focus on the sessions, stalking the academic celebrities, or attending the parties, I enjoy connecting with my “conference friends” every year, catching up on each others research and lives.

 

 

Case Study #2: SnapCHAT and ANT

Literature Review

Snapchat  is a photo messaging application that is often discussed as a social network. Many of the conversations about Snapchat are taking place on blogs, news organizations, magazines, and other mainstream/popular media outlets. However, there is little scholarship about Snapchat. As much has not been written, this review will examine emerging scholarship on Snapchat, which has focused on two areas: ephemerality and sexting (both rooted in privacy)

Ephemerality

Photo messaging is nothing new. What makes Snapchat so significant is that the messages disappear.  Kotfila argues that Snapchat, and other self-destructing applications, are the “solution, shifting control over digital communication back to owners” (12).  People have traditionally trusted that their private communications were beyond the reach of the public, until technology enabled massive data aggregation. Some information, even if it has been publicly available, is shrouded in “practical obscurity,” because the cost of retrieving it is excessive. But practical obscurity has been diluted by data recording, copying and easy dissemination. The tide is turning with emerging technologies incorporating self-destruct functionalities that obliterate images, texts, videos and pdfs in a time period specified by the owner. Similarly, Shein explores the societal desire for and implications of these new technologies. Shein argues that ephemeral data is the wave of the future because people are more concerned about the traces that they leave online and the potential for the data generated to harm them in the future. Social media was designed to store data. However, people are moving toward replicating the ephemerality of real world conversation in the digital world. Shein goes on to examine the motivations behind the desire for ephemeral data. Shein concludes by discussing the fact that the data is not in fact ephemeral. There are ways to circumvent the software via screenshots, hacking, and using other devices. Because of the advances in technology, software and hardware are designed to store information, so the applications are in a sense faking the ephemerality.

Sexting

Snapchat and sexting have become synonymous since reports of teens using Snapchat for sexting and cyberbullying surfaced in 2013. Poltash presents that personal pictures have been a very common part of social media for years. It often happens that photos are usurped and used for ulterior motives, which has brought about privacy concerns. This issue of privacy is exacerbated by Snapchat and further complicated by sexting. Poltash notes, “the company’s deletion of messages from its serves has led to a widespread alternative use for Snapchat: sexting” (11). The idea that snaps self-destruct, giving users (especially teens) a sense of security because their discretions, supposedly, will not come back to haunt them.  Poltash also notes that Snapchat is being used to share explicit drawings, to share underage drinking, and to cheat on tests. From the a legal standpoint, sexting is a dangerous endeavor for teens. If these explicit snaps are revealed, through screen capture, secondary photo, or technological infiltration, teens risk damaging their reputation, hindering job opportunities, and being bullied.

Trust and Snapchat

Jenny Davis complicates the discussions of ephemerality and sexting by adding the concept of trust to the conversation. Davis argues that although Snapchat solves the problem of sharing sensitive (erotic) communications via a network, it has “unique” and “possibly problematic” implications. Davis presents that within the network limited agency resides with the person who produces an image. However, once the image is put out into the network “it belongs–rightly or wrongly–to The Internet.” The image can either be unseen or spread quickly through the network. Snapchat can prevent this spread from occurring. Davis states, “Snapchat ostensibly helps users circumvent privacy concerns within networked publics. Or, more specifically, Snapchat should alleviate the worry inherent in digitally mediated intimate contact.” However, there is a major issue with Snapchat. Through the lens of technology as mediated action, Davis argues that Snapchat causes the “displacement of trust from a message recipient, to the technology itself”. Sexting is an intimate act, which means there is a certain level of trust between the sender and the receiver. Davis argues that Snapchat changes this trust. It provides users a sense of safety and privacy, but “the technology now–not the recipient—is the trusted object”. The unstated code of Snapchat users (not taking a screenshot or picture of the snap) and even more so, the application, itself, prevents the information from reaching the networked public.

This is significant in regards to thinking about Snapchat as a network. Explorations of Snapchat have not moved much beyond disappearing snaps and privacy/security issues. As Davis identified, trust and agency are significant elements of the conversation. Looking at Snapchat through the lens of the network will allow examination of agency. So, for this case study, I will use Prior et. al and Latour’s discussions of activity to analyze Snapchat as a  network. These theories offer a way to explore activity and agency.

Source KPCB estimates based on company data retrieved from NoraBella

What is the network?

CHAT could possibly define Snapchat as a combination of production, representation, distribution, and reception of practices within a laminated chronotope. The communications within Snapchat are produced by users within a particular context or moment. These communications are “entextualized in talk, text, and mind” by users through the addition of  text or drawing to the snaps, which are then disseminated to other users via the application. The user modifies this distribution by deciding how long the recipient has to view the communication. The last part of the activity centers on the “actual reading/viewing/hearing and response” to the communication. As a tool that sends interactive messages between users, activity within Snapchat is “situated in concrete interactions that are simultaneously improvised locally and mediated by historically-provided tools and practices” (Prior et. al). The snaps or communications are made concrete (although temporarily) with smartphone cameras by users, who wish to capture a fleeting moment using a mediation of SMS.

ANT could possibly define Snapchat as a network of actors circulating intermediaries or traces of connections between actors. Actors in Snapchat would include the application, users, service providers (and their hardware–cell towers), and the server on which the data is stored. Additional actors could be added depending on the number of people who receive the snap and their individual service providers (and their hardware). ANT would probably include all aspects of the system which enable the communication between users to take place. If networks are formed by actors sending intermediaries among themselves, then Snapchat is a network, as users send snaps among themselves. These specific data transmitted between users disappears (is hidden). However, the interactions themselves are not. The application creates a best friend list for users that shows which users interact more with one another. For example, if user A sends the majority of their snaps to user Z, user Z will be listed as user A’s best friend. The interactions between users are recorded and the level of activity described.

What are Nodes?

Nodes within CHAT are literate activity. Literate activity is “action and cognition[…] distributed over time and space and among people, artifacts, and environments […]” (Prior et. al). Therefore, nodes within Snapchat would include the users, who send communications to one another. The software would also be a node within the network because it facilitates the activity. In addition, the hardware would be a node. The smartphones, on which the application functions, facilitate distribution. Furthermore, the service providers and the servers are apart of the network due to their control over access and data. Within the ongoing conversations about Snapchat, these nodes would create the literate activity within the social network.

ANT defines nodes as actors. As mentioned above, the actors are numerous. Every aspect of the network—both human and nonhuman—can have agency. This means that the hardware and the software involved in making communications in Snapchat possible are apart of the network. Latour presents that “anything that does modify a state of affairs by making a difference is an actor” (71). He presents that when deciding about actors one should ask: “Does it make a difference in the course of some other agent’s action or not? Is there some trial that allows someone to detect this difference?” (71). I would argue that because the application is designed to hide the data from users, stored on the servers, and can be hacked by others (users and non-users of Snapchat) that the hardware and software are actors in the network.

Agency of Nodes

Through CHAT the agency would shift between hardware and the software. The users of Snapchat are responsible for the production, representation, and reception of the communications. They have primary agency as creators of the data that moves through the network. The service providers can be said to have greater agency as they control access to the network and allow the data to travel through the network. Also, once the time for the snap has lapsed, the technology and its creators (service providers and servers) would have primary agency. They alone would have access to and control over the communication. The user would be unable to access the communications without technological know how. It seems that primary agency is with the users; however, after the snap disappears the users have no agency. The agency shifts to the company, itself. Technically, the agency lies with the technology; it is with the server on which the snap is saved.

Within ANT, the temporary connectivity that the snaps provide and the “disappearing” of the snaps are enabled by the hardware and software. The users would not be able to utilize the network without these technologies. However, these technologies would lie dormant if users were not creating and sending snaps. So, the object actors and the human actors both have agency. There is no primary agency in this instance, as all parties are needed for the network to function

Location of Nodes

Although the agency shifts within the network, Snapchat’s nodes would be located within different categories in the Remapping Rhetorical Activity: Take 2. There is a hierarchy with the network. The users operate within the literate activity part of the system; they are a part of “individual and collective invention,” “style and arrangement,” “the way particular media, technologies, and social practices are disseminated,” and “how meaning is made under what conditions and for what ends.” (Prior et. al). The application developers, service providers, and the actual technology operate on the literate activity and the functional level of the system. This aspect of the network is responsible for the distribution of the data within the network. Those who control the hardware “tie together people, artifacts, practices, institutions, communities, and ecologies” (Prior et. al). Snapchat facilitates literate activity (snaps within the application space) within the functional system of the social network for a specified period of time.

As there is no primary agent in ANT, the nodes are not situated in categories or hierarchies. Latour argues for “keep[ing] the social domain completely flat” (171; original emphasis). I interpreted this as avoiding hierarchies. This is important as hierarchies would situate human actors higher than nonhuman actors. The lack of hierarchies make the relationship between the hardware, software, and the users both necessary and interrelated.

Relationships between Nodes

CHAT and ANT would present the relationship between nodes as centered on interaction.  It functions as an “interlocking system within which rhetors are formed, act, and navigate” (Prior et. al). CHAT emphasizes ecologies, which operate within literate activity and function systems; ecologies “point to the biotic and natural world, which enables and constrains all the previous functions and which may also be a domain of rhetorical action” (Prior et. al). In this context, the users of Snapchat enter the application, which the developers created, create their snaps and send them, utilizing the technology and data of the service providers. Once the snap has been viewed by the recipient, the snap disappears from all users. In actuality, the snaps are only hidden from users and stored by providers. Snapchat’s function is a system in which users, creators, and hardware work together to mediate activity. The relations have to remain active in order for the network to continue. The users of Snapchat must continue to send snaps in order for their connections and the network to remain active. There is an emphasis on the and information flow among the nodes (Latour 217).

Movement within the Network

In Snapchat, data (in the form of photo messages) moves within the network from one user through the application and the service provider to the recipient and then to hide on the server after the user designated time has lapsed. Through the lens of CHAT the movement of data would be distribution. Distribution is “the way particular media, technologies, and social practices disseminate a text and what a particular network signifies.” Distribution takes place on the part of the users and the controllers’ of technology. The users decide on when to deliver the communication and how long recipient(s) will have to view the communication. The controllers’ of the technology also control distribution by facilitating (and to some extent controlling) the movement of the data through the network from one user to the other.

Snapchat’s Best Friends List retrieved from www.forbes.com

ANT may describe the movement within Snapchat as traces or assemblages of connections within the social network. The network part of this is clear. The social part is defined, by Latour, as “made to circulate inside tiny conduits that can expand only through more instruments, spending, and channels” (241). Moreover,  Snapchat would be a part of society; it is “what travels through everything.” (241). The interactions on Snapchat are connections among users within the network. These interactions are traced by the software and stored on the hardware. These relations are a process that must continuously performed for the connections to persist and for the data to move through the network.

Meaning within the Network

Within CHAT meaning is literate activity, specifically reception and socialization, in the functional system. Reception is defined as “actual reading/viewing/hearing and responses, how meaning is made under what conditions and for what ends. It is a mental and social activity. Reception can be, and often is, actively shaped by writers or distributors” (Prior et. al). The activity of creating and sending a snap is the literate activity. The meaning resides with the writer upon the production/creation of the snap.  However, control of meaning shifts to the receiver upon viewing the snap. It is up to the recipient to make meaning of the snap and/or respond to the snap.  Socialization is defined as “the making of people and the making of society in concrete history. As individuals engage in cultural practices, they are involved in apprenticeship, learning, and development. As situated engagement in cultural practices, unfolds, society is (re)produced, that is, transmitted and transformed in activity” (Prior et. al). Through this lens, Snapchat could be read as literate activity of socialization within the functional system of the social network. Snapchat was created as a response to current social media and as a need to provide privacy for social network users. Since its inception, Snapchat has, as shown in the literature, impacted the way that people utilize messaging applications. The activity of photo messaging has been transformed because of Snapchat.

Meaning within ANT is a confusing aspect of the theory. In the beginning of his discussion of ANT, Latour emphasizes “the social cannot be construed as a kind of material or domain” (1). Thus, the focus is not on meaning. The social is defined a “trail of associations” that ANT aims to map. Since ANT aims to avoid the essentialist notions of the social, there isn’t a focus on meaning. This works for an application like Snapchat because the communications that move through the network are not readily available for analysis or interpretation. However, the functions of the network and the traces of the connections are available.

Emergence, Growth, and Dissolution of the Network

Through CHAT and ANT the network emerges, grows and dissolves based on the actions of the actors. The actions of the actors cause the network to be active and emerge. On the other hand, the emergence of the network could be the literate activity of the application creators, who made it possible for the network to exist by creating the software to connect and distribute the data of the users.  However, the users of Snapchat must continue to utilize the application and make connections with other users in order for the network to grow. If the users do not send data in the form of snaps then the network will be static or dissolve. The application creators and service providers also have some stake in the dissolution in the network due to their control over and access to the data that moves through the network.

Conclusion

CHAT and ANT, unlike Rhetorical Situation theory, allowed me to discuss Snapchat as a more complex network. Through these theories, I was able to examine the activity of the network in general terms rather than being caught in the binary of exigence or author. Snapchat is a limited network in that much of the network is dependent on connections already held by the user, and the users continued utilization of these connections. Using CHAT and ANT, I expanded my analysis to include those who create and control the technology and the technology (smartphone and application). Before, I was hesitant to label Snapchat as a network.  It is a network in a sense that the application is networked and that technology is required for the application to work. However, it is not a social network in the traditional sense, which is the goal of its creators. Because I was able to include human and non-human aspects of the network, there were few limitations.  I feel that CHAT and ANT would have allowed me to say more about the hardware and software as actors in the Snapchat network. I limited this aspect of the discussion due to personal limits on time and space limit on the assignment.  Moving forward, I would like to look more at Davis’ argument that users trust is in the application rather than other users. In terms of networks, this is significant because the application (ultimately, the servers) is then a part of the network that holds on the information that is said to have disappeared. CHAT and ANT provided a space for me to discuss the “disappearing” aspect of Snapchat as a part of the network, which is important as Snapchat’s popularity and controversy centers on this feature.

Works Cited

Davis, Jenny. “In Snapchat We Trust.” Cyborgology. The Society Pages. 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 March 2014.

Kotfila, Christopher. “This Message Will Self-Destruct: The Growing Role of Obscurity and Self-Destructing Data in Digital Communication.” Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 40.2 (2014): 12-16. Web. 22 March 2014.

Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

Poltash, Nicole A. “Snapchat and Sexting: A Snapshot of Baring Your Bare Essentials.” Richard Journal of Law and Technology. 19.4 (2013): 1-10. Web. 21 March 2014.

Prior, Paul, et. al. “Re-situating and Re-mediating the Canons: A Cultural-Historical Remapping of Rhetorical Activity: A Collaborative Core Text. Kairos, 11.3 (Summer 2007). Web. 31 March 2014.

Shein, Esther. “ Ephemeral Data” Communications of the ACM. 56.9 (2013): 20-22. Web. 22 March 2014.

Read Notes #8: Ecologies of the Mind

This week’s readings on ecology had me thinking about the kinds of ecologies  (networks) that I have grown from, the ones I am connected to, and the ones to which I am apart. This view of organisms, peoples, and objects game me the sense that everything is connected to everything in some way (big or small). This was probably reinforced because I was watching Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s Cosmos: A Space Odyssey. In the most recent episode, he made a comment about how we are each our own little universe. However, we are all connected. We are all made of star dust. He discusses evolution and how closely related humans are to chimpanzees and (most shocking to me) trees. The cosmos (and human life, specifically) is presented as being a massive network in which energy shifts and things transform. In this week’s episode, he stated that we are interconnected with the environment. We shape the environment. However, the cosmos (environment) ultimately exists and continues on without us.

Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind “Form, Substance, and Difference”

Bateson presents evolution as an interactive process that centers on evolution occurring through differences. The world is built through and between differences. He uses the ideas of map and territory. Territory doesn’t go onto a map, but difference does.

He begins by discussing cybernetics and information theory has caused a change in epistemology. The answer is not lie hard sciences but in understanding the relations among actors (human, animal, objects).

A key statement from this chapter is:

“The unit of survival is a flexible organism-in-its-environment“(457).

This statement jumped out to me because Bateson is arguing for an examination and understanding of the connections among individuals, society, and the environment. These systems are interrelated and impact one another. This system is a way to examine human behavior.

Gibson, “The Theory of Affordances”

Gibson’s article, the foundational text, on affordances, presents that everything has afordances. They can be be negative or positive (benefit/injury or life/death). The environment and the animal are connected “inseparably.” The environment acts as a constraint on the animal. The animal can alter affordances of the environment. However,  the animal is still controlled by the environment and a product of it.

What stood out the most to me in this article was Gibson’s discussion of the conflation of affordances and qualities. We name qualities, but in actuality we are referring to what the object afford us.  I know that I need to tease this out more to understand why I felt it was so significant to Gibson’s argument.

Norman, “Affordances and Design”

This was my favorite article this week for two reasons. First, it was short and to the point. Second, it unpacked the term affordances. I appreciated the differentiation between affordances and perceived affordances. Norman argues for a return to the original definition of affordances. The term has become convoluted and is being used to refer to things beyond its reach.

J.J. Gibson invented the term to refer to “actionable properties between the world and an action (a person or animal)” (Norman).

Affordances are a relationship. This is significant in regards to thinking of affordances in terms of networks and connections between the world and actors.  Norman clarifies the term by discussing “perceived affordances.” He presents that the design world is more concerned with “what the user perceives than what is actually true”

He goes on to discuss cultural constraints and cultural conventions. Physical constraints are related to real affordances. However, cultural constraints are linked to cultural conventions, as cultural constraints are “learned conventions.”

Norman provides four principles for screen interfaces:

1. Follow conventional usage, both in the choice of images and the allowable interactions

2. Use words to describe the desired action

3. Use metaphor

4. Follow a coherent conceptual model so that once part of the interface is learned, the same principles apply to other parts.

Norman’s article reminded me of Snapchat the most because of the idea of perceived affordances. I have not framed this in terms of networks. However, there are clear connections in regards to the design of Snapchat and the idea of perceived affordances. This connects to the perception versus the reality of Snapchat’s function.

 

Responses: Outlines for Case Study #2

In my excitement about Spring Break, I forgot about this assignment. I responded/replied to Daniel’s Case Study using CHAT and ANT and Leslie’s Case Study using Genre Tracing and CHAT.

Daniel’s outline for case study #2 was organized utilizing the questions. It made the outline very easy to follow. It also emphasized the comparative nature of the assignment. I wasn’t confused in any areas. I’m still not 100% sure what Google Analytics is or does. I thought it was a well developed outline (much more so than mine). I did not have anything to add in regards to areas where I was confused or wanted to see more.

Leslie’s outline for case study #2 was organized very similar to my outline. She plans to apply Spinuzzi’s genre tracing and CHAT to the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. Leslie’s outline, like mine was not very detailed. I had a question about how CHAT addresses what serves as a node. How are the different levels of activity nodes? It seems that a bit more explanation was to be provided, but it was not included. I am interested in this because I am also using CHAT and had difficulty expanding on how I saw the activity levels as nodes.

CHAT seems to be a popular theory for this assignment. I am interested in how each of use utilizes the theory in different ways. I hope this provides more insight into CHAT and possibly an article to expand on what was already done by Prior et al.

MindMap #8: Latour

Latour has been added to the list of people I plan to avoid forever (along with Foucault). I did not enjoy reading about ANT. I have read about and used ANT before in digital humanities; however, I did not read Latour. I cannot remember who I read, but I remember enjoying it. This was not as mentally exhausting as Foucault, but it wasn’t a walk in the park.

As for my mindmap, I added redefining social, actor, and social. I presented these in the sense that the entire first section was focused on redefining social. There was also a focus on expanding on what social sciences can now do. I like the idea of moving away from social being presented in the same way as “wooden.” There is much more to social than a position as a descriptor. Actor was connected to everything (because inanimate things also work as actors). This made me think of the saying: everything is rhetoric and everything’s an argument. I interpreted this more as everything is connected/interrelated than everything is actually an argument/actor/rhetoric.