After completing (maybe skimming a bit) this weeks readings for ds106, one of the things that popped out to me most in terms of what defines web 2.0 is the idea of microcontent. The matter and substance of web 2.0 is small chunks of information, that we knowingly scatter across the web in the form of tweets, posts, comments, blogs, new blogs, (and in my case) even more blogs. It allows us to continually make our presence known with little effort on the part of the creator.
A few summers ago, I took a class in HTML. At the end of the class, I had to create my own, handcoded and styled website. It was such a laborious process and in the end, it will need to be updated (by hand) in a few short weeks. The web 2.0 allows that content to be fresh and easily changeable, customizable, and (hopefully) not static. That’s one of the problems I see with some of the content that was created a few years ago. A great open textbook I use for one of my Video Production classes is Ron Whittaker’s Television Production Class. The content of the class is great and helpful to my students, but the fact remains that it looks like it was created by the programmers at America Online. The content does get updated, but I am sure that it is at a laborious cost to Dr. Whittaker. One of my goals for starting a blog is to be able to aggregate content for video instructors to assist in lesson preparation, and while I may not know how to properly leverage the web 2.0 tools right now, the fact is that I know they are available and that they will be easy (or easier) for me to continually update. Through small moves. The social aspect of web 2.0 also assists me in creating this project as I know that it will make the load easier on my part — hopefully this site will be a place where other instructors can submit their content and make it into a truly shared resource for everyone.
One of the things that impressed me the most about Alexander and Levine’s article was the idea that digital storytelling creates open texts that are readable in many varieties. When I think of storytelling, I tend to think of it in the linear and defined sense (the story either makes sense or it doesn’t). But I love the idea of the blog as storytelling — the reader can progress anyway they like into the text — reading it chronologically, following a stream of tags, or a series of comments. In this way they can enter the story at any point and gather the information that they need. This form of storytelling is also interesting because the reader can look outside of the text for exposition. No longer is the viewer a slave to the didactic speeches of a movie: “I’m messed up because my cat died when I was a little child”. They can instead look outside of the text, through Google or similar to find the necessary information to make the story make sense to them.
Overall, there is a ton more that I would love to say about the readings, so hopefully they will come up later in the course. But these have been great for sending my mind spinning.