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Too Much, Too Fast

I'm taking a class called “Digital Storytelling & Cultural Production”. I have to say that it looks like a very promising (but busy) upcoming couple of weeks.

For the sake of exposition, let me tell you a little about my major. Digital Media at Drexel University is basically a hybrid program. The majority of students in this major usually choose one of 2 tracks, interactive design or 3-D animation. Actually, it's more of an unofficial preference, as there's really no way to declare what you're more interested in. There are others still that choose special effects, digital audio, or motion graphics concentrations, but most stay within the interactivity or animation realm.

Back to the topic at hand, all students in their senior—or fourth—year are required to take this Storytelling class. It's taught in a lecture format with about 30 students in one section. The foundation of the class attempts to explore communication throughout history, specifically the transition from analog to digital methods and the impact on society. Referencing information ranging from the history of cinema to Marshall McLuhan to Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media, it's interesting to be encouraged to explore the creation of your field.

Even more enticing is the fact that, early into the term, students present abstracts, expressing interest in researching a certain aspect of the overall theme of the class. Topics range everywhere from moral standards in cartoons to the evolution of letterforms for communication and everything in between. Based on the abstracts, the professor divides the students into groups of 4 or 5, and each group presents their findings to the class as a final project. Accompanying the presentation is a web site that will be the equivalent of 60 written pages, 15 “pages” from each person in the group.

The topic that my group has chosen is entitled Too Much, Too Fast? How the Web is Changing the Way We Communicate. Of the four of us involved, we've split the general theme into these subsets:

  1. RSS Feeds/XML: Weblogs Are Just the Beginning…
  2. Bandwidth: Going, going… where?
  3. Goodbye Gutenburg Galaxy?
  4. I'll Never Miss You!: Email, IMing, and Telepresence

My specific topic (Goodbye Gutenberg Galaxy?) will analyze the web as the latest greatest communication medium, address the technology that the web enables that other media could never before offer (i.e. web apps, etc.), and discuss the theory that the distribution of information could change forever.

Because of the nature of the topic and its direct correlation, it seemed only obvious to open this discussion up to the web community, as blogging in general is perfectly relative to the arguments of my thesis. Depending on the responses to this post, this article and the ensuing discussion may even be a relevant source. Strong references will be made to established blogs and other credible online sources. Of course, I'll share the end result (web site) with the public, as I'm sure this volume of research will be useful to someone, even if only to serve as a history lesson. Anyone who contributes will be cited and linked to from the final site.

Any material is helpful, whether it be from books, magazines, online publications, etc. So, have you come across any sources or personally written anything that would be of interest to this topic?


27 said:

You may already know about Clay Shirky, who has made a career writing about these very topics. You might do well to start here.

Posted on October 22, 2005 07:28 AM

Dan Mall said:

@27: I didn't know about Clay Shirky, so thanks for the great resource!

Posted on October 23, 2005 04:40 PM

Juergen said:

I'm writing my diploma thesis on more or less the same topic!

here are some links that might be helpful:
Google Epic
We Media
We the Media

Posted on April 8, 2006 05:26 AM

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