Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Information and the Web

cara's picture


Our discussions and readings this week reminded me of a video that came up in another class and that I thought was relevant to our interests. It's "The Machine is Us/ing Us" by Michael Wesch to describe the concept of Web 2.0, in his description of the video and why he made it he said: "Web 2.0" in just under 5 minutes. I was inspired to make this video while writing a paper about web 2.0. Struggling to find a way to put it into words, I decided to make this video to show it rather than tell it. For more information on my goals and ideas behind this video, check out my interview with John Battelle."

As to the question that came up in class, of whether we are in a crisis due to the decline in 'close reading', I would say no. Someone mentioned in class, and I would agree, that different methods of obtaining information, close vs distant vs hyper, serve different purposes. The contexts in which we employ them are different, and we don't always exclusively stick to one method at a time. For instance, if I'm trying to pick apart themes and motif in a novel/movie/whatever then 'close reading' is very important. But, in many cases your time may be better spent sampling many pieces than to closely read one. For instance, when I'm trying to form an opinion on an issue, I could pick and read a book about it, but my tendency is to read articles/blogs, which will probably link to other related articles/blogs, and I'll read those, maybe go back to the original and read the comment threads there, and so on and so forth. I don't think that the migration to the internet away from books and close reading has necessarily sacrificed understanding and innovation, it more so indicates a shift from learning by yourself, and learning together as a community and from others.

For instance, I learn about 'world events' through many different outlets: reading web articles/headlines, facebook, twitter, blogs. I do the majority of my reading online/digitally, but I still have the ability to read (linearly) books. I would also say that reading online is not necessarily indicate a lack of linear reading, I find that often times I do the 'F' scan that Hayles mentioned in her essay, but that's usually a pre-reading habit. If what I saw seems interesting/like new information then, I'll go through and read the piece start to finish, opening new links in other tabs to read at the end. My thoughts are kind of jumbled this week, so sorry if none of that was really cohesive...



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
12 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.