Overheard

I am at this year’s AoIR annual conference, in sub tropical Brisbane. It’s actually my first time in Brisbane, tho

Writing Templates

Well, the effort of writing continues. Getting there, and as ever for me the pleasure of finishing is rich. I developed a temp

Instrumental Writing

Continuing on from my earlier post about writing I’ve realised I’ve been stuck in a rut because my writing has bee

On Writing

I’ve been struggling with my writing recently. Just my usual prevarication when deadlines loom, but also the battle with the noise of the ideas bouncing around inside and the strictures and quietness of scholarly writing. Not so much the quietness of the library as a place within which to write, but the soberness of academic writing in itself. In earlier times I wrote more hypertext essays, and happily wrote tiny little nodes that linked to the other (Other) ideas that related, were suggested by, or just introduced themselves. A writing in the noise of thought. I think I need to return to that, I’ve got ideas bursting all over the shop, most are nonsense, but rather than getting writing out I get bogged down in trying to structure me to the form. Bugger that. It’s time to return to the trenches and write in a way appropriate to a networked, fluid, rhizomatic media century.

Being on the Television

There seems to be quite a bit of difficulty, certainly hand wringing, in defining just what is videoblogging (just read the thread here for a sampler of how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing). One of those moments when it seems reasonably easy to know it when we do it, but quite hard if we look closely and try to develop a clear, empirical definition. Some of the terminology is just plain sloppy, for example in the way that the term ‘television’ gets bandied around. Hence videoblogging is sometimes described as what you don’t see on tv, or some sort of alternative practice to television and so on. Not interested in pursuing that particular question right now. But I do think we need to be reminded just what television as a term means. Television in this sense is the combination of a production practice (professional, amateur, generally guild based, often relies on commissions and co-productions, etc), broadcasting via institutions known as television stations or channels (which regularly form networks), and reception into generally domestic spaces via a television set (which is a receiver). This is television.

In these terms, when I watch a DVD on my television I’m not watching ‘television’, I’m watching a DVD (which might be home movie, a tv show, or a movie). Similarly I can now use my television to play console games, interactive DVD games, or even watch an interactive DEV. Same when I’m watching a video. It gets grey when I record a show to timeshift it, where it would seem to be a bit of television and a bit of something else. But the very simple point is that just because something appears on your television it doesn’t make it television. Television is the complex assemblage of production, distribution and consumption.

Now, if a video blog (specifically its video content) is broadcast through this apparatus, it is television. There’s no ifs or buts about that. Which is why content based definitions of what a videoblog is don’t work since it is the fact of broadcast and reception that constitutes television, not what is chosen to be broadcast and received.

(That doesn’t quite work does it? That should be more like, if you could take your videoblog content and broadcast it via television, and nothing, qualitatively has changed, then I’d suggest you’re not videoblogging, it is television. For just as not all that appears on TV is TV, it also follows that the televisual can appear elsewhere to the domestic television receiver.

Which also means that trying to define videoblogging on the basis of content is similarly problematic. Blogging (as an obvious relative) is less defined by content than by a particular style, and a series of technical (formal) requirements. This is good. A book is similarly defined (serial pages, bound and contained within a cover), as is film (serial sound/image on a linear substrate that is played through a projection device).

Remembering Why

Sometimes when you’re down in the trenches teaching a range of practices (and theories) around networked literacies and

A Different Album

As part of a presentation I’m giving on Thursday to cartography students (sort of mashups and blogs meets GIS) I’v