The Rest is History…

“We’ve all been so distracted by The Now that we’ve hardly noticed the beautiful comet tails of personal history trailing in our wake. We’ve all become accidental archivists; our burgeoning digital archives open out of the future”

“The current philosophy underlying most of the real-time web is that if it’s not recent, it’s not important. This is what we need to change”

The above quotes were taken from the reading, Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real-time web, by Matthew Ogle. Ogle talks about popular social networking sites as tools for remembering, or as self-archival.

On the down side, he claims that memory retrieval is not so easy, suggesting faster infrastructures for retrieving historical data. “The reason Twitter doesn’t let you get pull down your 3,201st tweet is because it’s technically hard; real-time speed comes at the expense of deprioritising the past”.

I decided to look into this and found a new application on Facebook called My Status History. You can choose to display your posts from newest to oldest, or oldest to newest.

Arrr Mike Zuckerberg, you’ve done it again!

Rather than go with my original idea of making my own archive on Omeka-archiving random dreams of whoever is happy enough to share them, I’ve decided to access an archive I’ve been working on since June 2009.

The Life of Nikita Jacka 2009-Present Day

Nikita Farewell Meg-geg-gan xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Sun, 14 Jun 2009 17:58:50 GMT)

Nikita Olive Juice (Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:12:45 GMT)

Nikita feels like halloumi – yes, i know, i don’t look like hallomi – but i still feel like it. (Wed, 17 Jun 2009 17:58:16 GMT)

Nikita snap… crackle… (Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:39:01 GMT)

Nikita State of Oregon? Go NSW (Wed, 24 Jun 2009 12:56:03 GMT)

Nikita I just got a free ticket to Glastonbury – wooooooooooo (Fri, 26 Jun 2009 11:47:25 GMT)

Nikita Holiday…………Celebrate 😀 (Thu, 02 Jul 2009 16:33:59 GMT)

Nikita I left my sim in Ireland i think – my number for the next 8 weeks will be 07503146806. Best to use this medium for conversing. (Sun, 26 Jul 2009 10:56:02 GMT)

Nikita Greece is grand (Wed, 29 Jul 2009 14:38:46 GMT)

Nikita is in Santorini – very snap happy (Mon, 03 Aug 2009 13:59:34 GMT)

Nikita is in ios. yet to see a Greek, but enjoying there island all the same. Yamus. (Fri, 07 Aug 2009 13:07:15 GMT)

Nikita Has had the best week ev – words cannot express. Amazing/Brilliant etc perhaps (Sun, 09 Aug 2009 07:30:52 GMT)

Nikita Is slowing down to a snails pace – enjoying the contrast – enjoying water over wine! (Tue, 11 Aug 2009 11:57:24 GMT)

Nikita So um yeah… climbed a volcano today! (Thu, 13 Aug 2009 17:08:42 GMT)

Nikita My ferry has just been delayed 6 hours. I have two arms, two legs and a passport… Nope, not helping. (Fri, 14 Aug 2009 08:05:09 GMT)

Nikita ONE FOR THE DIARY – August 15 – Dekapentavgoustos Day – Greeks celebrate this holiday by shutting shops, boring tourists and lighting a candle for Mary. (Sat, 15 Aug 2009 11:52:37 GMT)

And so on and so forth…

Something worth noting though, is that I’m older than 2-years-old and my first words weren’t in fact, Farewell Meg-geg-gan.

Derrada explains oh so eloquently that, “nothing starts in the Archive, nothing, ever at all, though things certainly end up there. You find nothing in the Archive but stories caught half way through: the middle of things; discontinuities. (p.45)

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Publishing as an Actor-Network-Theory

This clip shows part of a single network according to Latour’s Action-Network-Theory (ANT). As you can see there are many non-human actors, i.e. the machinery involved in making the newspaper and the paper itself, and a number of human actors involved in the process. Of course there is much missing at the beginning of the process, e.g. the journalists, editors, sub-editors- and also at the end, which would be the reader. In addition, all of the machinery used is made up of it’s own components too. All of these interactions would make up a single network.

According to ANT, actor-networks are potentially transient, existing in a constant making and re-making. In terms of publishing, non-human actors become extremely important in publishing as a practice. Since the invention of the printing press, publishing has changed drastically. The most recent changes have occurred due to the advent of digital technologies, such as the laptop and I-pad. These non-human actors, as well as the human actors who are creating them, are shifting the very concept of publishing (Shaviro, S. 2007).

On looking at publishing as an ANT Manuel Delanda suggests that, “No entity can be absolutely isolated, because it is always involved in multiple relations of one sort or another, and these relations affect the entity, cause it to change. But this is not to say that the entity is entirely determined by these relations”(Shaviro, S. 2007).

In short, to look at publishing as an ANT would be a lengthy task… and I’m sure we are about to find out how long.

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Is it fair to charge for news online?

A Graphic History of Newspapers over the Past Two Decades shows the rapid decrease of some of the most popular newspapers in circulation. The Wall Street Journal is the only newspaper to maintain it’s readership, however, we can see that since 2003 it hasn’t experienced any growth.

This shows to what extent, the Interent has exploded in a number of countries. This image focuses on how Australia interacts with different media forms, the Internet being the clear favourite.

This image shows an increasing number of people are finding news online, rather than in newspapers in Australia and the UK. With the increase in digital technology, it is becoming more convenient to read what we want, when we want it… for free. But what does this mean for the print publishing?

Billionaire media mogul, Rupert Murdoch has reported huge financial loss over the past few years. In 2009, profits across News Corp’s global newspaper division fell from $786m to $466m. In an effort to prevent further loss, Murdoch is about to start charging for access to all his news websites, including the Times, Sunday Times, the News of the World and The New York Times. These paywalls will be introduced by 2011 and have been met with mixed reviews.

Personally, I’m in two minds. At first I think that it’s a greedy business decision. All of a sudden we are forced to pay for what seems like a right, not a product. Information should be free – or free after paying the broadband supplier at least.

On the other hand, we pay a couple of dollars for the newspaper and we don’t complain, because that’s the way it’s always been. The online version is interactive and generally more convenient, so perhaps paying a small fee to access online content isn’t such a crazy idea after all.

I’m more concerned that if the circulation of newspapers continues to plummet and we continue accessing online news for free, what then for print journalists? They can’t work for free. Currently newspapers still receive a lot of money from advertising, but advertising too will ditch print eventually.

Murdoch claims that, “quality journalism is not cheap. The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free”.

Many journalists, or budding journalists like myself, opt for a career in PR or television, due to the lack of jobs and financial security in print. To sustain the quality of journalism, people may need to pay to read the journalists work.

The issue for Murdoch is that there will always be companies willing to make their online content available for free. It will be interesting to see how Murdoch’s decision will impact News Corp’s 2011 annual report.

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The Book vs. the e-Book

Perhaps I’m afraid of change, or perhaps I’m old school, but I like the physical nature of selecting a book from the bookshelf, flipping it over to read the blurb, lifting it’s cover and turning the first page. When e-books came out I didn’t think they’d catch on. I was wrong; they caught on, but they didn’t take over. The early adapters snapped them up, but people like me still had their reservations.

In the sixth reading, John Naughton highlights some of his own concerns about the shift from print to electronic books. He raises an interesting point, in that ‘technology enables content owners to assert a level of control over the reader that would be deemed unconscionable – and unacceptable – in the world of print (Naughton, J. 2009).

This is something I hadn’t even thought about, but it’s very true. As an example, he refers to the Amazon Kindle’s terms and conditions, which state that, ‘you cannot sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the digital content or any portion of it to any third party’. In other words, you are forbidden to lend any of your friends a book, no matter how life changing it is.

In the ‘Talk of the Nation’ transcript, Lynn Neary, the NPR correspondent covering books and publishing, admits that since preaching that printed books will always be around, she is no longer so sure. She said, “We are now seeing that with the advent of the iPad and other kind of tablet devices, you can have what they call now enhanced e-books. And that is, you can have e-books that can embed pictures, can embed video” (National Public Radio, 2010).

I’m not about to rush out and buy an iPad, but I understand why people are switching from books to the iPad. It’s interactive, it’s convenient and with applications like ‘Social Books’, it attempts to make reading communal and essentially cool. But, that’s Mac for you.

The reading, ‘Publishers take Note: The iPad is altering the very concept of ‘book’, is interesting in highlighting the shift that must take place in print publishing for the practice to survive. In short, the article warns that print publishers need to ‘tool up’ by adding ‘technological competencies to their publishing skills’. The writer asks, “If they don’t do it, then someone else will. There will always be ‘books’. The question now is: will there always be publishers?” (Naughton, J. 2010)

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