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In this lesson we looked at Podcasting and were asked to open an account with Odeo or Switchpod , 2 podcast hosting sites. A podcast is a media file that can be searched and downloaded, the contents of which can vary from informative news stories to fictional or autobiographical podcasts or music.

As an example, i have uploaded a song available at Odeo


For information on embedding flash players in WordPress go to this blog post


Thinking about possible project ideas focusing around the ways in which people socialise and network using the features synonomous with Web 2.0, I was taken with the idea of looking at The social phenomenon that is MySpace combines a wide range of social computing and networking tools. Primarily, as their slogan suggests, MySpace is “A place for friends” and utilises the networking features of interlinked, searchable profiles. As well as this the profiles can include blogs, photos, videos and music, all hyperlinked and connected to outside, associated websites.

I think it would be interesting, as a user of MySpace, to research how others use this site for their own personal or professional motives, possibly focusing on the way in which bands can use it as a promotional tool and how some, such as The Arctic Monkeys, achieved mainstream success from an intial cult following from a MySpace profile created by fans.

I will begin by finding other peoples research into myspace and social networking sites, gathering statistics and trying to find a specific angle or question that interests me.

Aside from simple text, blogs can include sound, photographs and video. Stairwell Anyone from the amatuer presenting their holiday pictures, to the professional artist getting their work to the masses, the inclusion of media in a blog allows greater expression of your thoughts. Sites such as Flickr and Photobucket allow us to easy store and share our photographs.

Sites such as YouTube allow us to upload and share our videos, animations and tutorials with the world. Here is an example aiming to teach us about Web 2.0

Taking the Wikipedia definition “RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.”

Using an aggregator system such as Bloglines, a free service, a user can chose the blogs, news sites or publishers of podcasts that are of interest, save the URL and receive regular upadate when the contents of the site is updated.

RSS feeds encourage the flow of information, and as opposed to hyperlinks, the information is delivered to us, rather than us having to click the link to take us to the information. RSS feeds are particulary useful for subscribing to a blog or special interest, as you recieve the new updates as and when the author posts.

Blogs are a way of making your personal thoughts and opinions private, for all the world to see and comment on. You can start your own blog for free from a range of websites, for example:

Once you’ve chosen your site, follow the simple instructions to create your own blog. From there you can customise and personalise your blogging space, create and publish your own posts as well as start looking at other peoples blogs, leaving comments and maybe creating an online social network. As well as text, blogs can also contain images, videos and sounds.

There are now thought to be an estimated 60 million blog owners across the world each offering individual thoughts and views on a vast range of subjects. While a blog can be a personal account of ones life, they can also be group owned and edited, maximising the collaborative potential. Corporations and proffesionals alike will use blogs to promote their businesses or ideas, and artists and designers can benefit from the feedback and criticisms available. Paquet (2003) highlights 5 main features of the blog:

1) The personal editorship and personal censorship
2) The Hyperlinked structure allowing for maximum interactivity
3) Frequent updates
4) Free and public access, making it available all
5) The chronological ordering process

Aside from being an online journal of your own thoughts, blogs can be used in an educational way and much research had been done in this area, looking at the effect the inclusion of blogging has on the teaching evironment. In Anne Bartlett-Bragg’s article Blogging to Learn she talk of the benefits that blogging can have for both students and teachers. She suggests that the inclusion of blogging encourages ‘deep learning’ whereby a student activley explores the material and seeks out further links and areas of interest, seeking out connections between concepts and ideas. She also points out that it allows student to collaborate and publish their thoughts and ideas, receiving feedback and criticisms from a wider, diverse audience.

This is my Practice in Context blog for my Digital Media Arts degree. Over the next 12 weeks I will use it to compile my research into social computing and new media practices. For more information on this see the Research Aim page in the right-hand column

February 2007
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