Social writing and reading combined… very similar to the social film experiment ‘The Inside Experience’.Source: theamandaproject.com
A promotion video for SoundCloud.
Here is a transcript of the opening lines…
The Internet wasn’t always an ideal place for music. Sites - namely social media platforms and blogs - would feature music, but there weren’t many sites rightly designed for the publishing, promotion and discussion of music. SoundCloud helped to find this niche just a few years ago, and since its birth in 2007 it’s become a go-to platform through which artists and record labels alike can publish, discover, distribute and receive music.
In general, the following definition of social media is used:
A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.
Source: A. M. Kaplan & M. Haenlein (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media, Business Horizons, 53(1)
This is a very broad and rather vague definition of social media. I’m not satisfied with this definition for a number reasons:
Web 2.0 is term that was introduced in 2004 and refers to the second generation of the World Wide Web. The term “2.0” comes from the software industry, where new versions of software programs are labeled with an incremental version number. Like software, the new generation of the Web includes new features and functionality that was not available in the past. However, Web 2.0 does not refer to a specific version of the Web, but rather a series of technological improvements.Web 2.0 technologies provide a level of user interaction that was not available before. Websites have become much more dynamic and interconnected, producing “online communities” and making it even easier to share information on the Web. Because most Web 2.0 features are offered as free services, sites like Wikipedia and Facebook have grown at amazingly fast rates. As the sites continue to grow, more features are added, building off the technologies in place. So, while Web 2.0 may be a static label given to the new era of the Web, the actual technology continues to evolve and change.
It appears that the definition of Kaplan and Haenlein is actually repeating itself. In fact, it could it could easily be reduced to:
”A group of Internet-based applications that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.”
User generated content refers to material on media sources that is produced by the users of [these media sources].
The question remains: what exactly are users? If users are all persons who use a medium to send or receive a message, than any website on the Internet can be seen as a form of User Generated Content.
This is different [from], for example, a website designed by a company which puts forth material produced by professionals. In user generated content, it is the amateur, in most cases, who contributes the content.
Perhaps the term ‘users’ is not really appropriate. I believe a less ambiguous term is needed that can be used as a label for: “Content produced by groups or individuals as part of a non-corporate endeavour”. As of now, I do not have any reasonable suggestions…
Based on these consideration (and theoretically issues related to studies of social media addressed in my earlier blogposts) I suggest a new definition of social media:
”A range of Internet applications that operate as platforms for mediated (semi)public interaction between individuals and groups that allows them to partake in a non-corporate endeavour. The interaction typically envolves varying combinations of the following activities: creating, exchanging, aggregating and criticising.”
 This definition seems to concur with the idea and understanding of the concept of ‘creative commons‘… the term ‘commons’ seems to refer to the the non-professional users or amateurs.
The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. That someone is Creative Commons.
For those creators wishing to opt out of copyright altogether, and to maximize the interoperability of data, Creative Commons provides tools that allow work to be placed as squarely as possible in the public domain.
 Based on the ideas of action research, the terms ‘creation’ and ‘exchange’ could also be replaced by less ambiguous terms. In terms of social media practices, creation, on the one hand, involves the ‘production (and first distribution) of a meaningful message’. Exchange, on the other hand, involves the ‘(further) distribution of a message’. As such, the term ‘creation’ could be replaced by ‘casting’, while the term ‘exchange’ could be replaced by ‘curation’.Source: google.com
- Art and art criticism as “products of specific historical practices, by identifiable groups, in specific conditions”. (Wolff, 1986; in GW, p.131)
- Art education should also focus on art criticism, “examining why, how, an in reference to what, judgments are being made”. (GW, p.132)
- verbal commentary about an art object (visual, literary, auditory, digital, etc.)
> Remark: “This commentary could be as simple as [children expressing appraisal or] as complex as [academics having a discussion]”. (GW, p.130)
> Crucial issues:
* What constitutes legitimate art criticism?
* Who is capable of delivering such commentary?
* What objects are designated art, the subject of criticism?
* And by whose standards will these objects be judged?
» “(…) the relationship among viewer, art form, artist, and culture, at specific points in time”. (Ibid.)
* What is art and who determines this: the artist, the viewer, and/or society?
* What part does the viewer, artist, and culture play in the interpretation of art?
* What is the role of art criticism in society?
* Does criticism vary between cultures and/or over time?
- “the skills required to experience, analyze, interpret, and describe the expressive qualities of visual form”. (Getty, 1985, p.17; in GW, p.133)
> Art criticism in art education as a tool “(…) to develop the critical attitudes that would enable them to become discriminating viewers and listeners”. (GW, p.133)
» “(…) considered essential to the acquisition of skills and abilities, to the development of taste, and to enlightened participation in one’s culture”. (Kauffeld,1989; in GW, p.132)
- “Art is intricately tied to life; its understanding is always in reference to experience”. (Dewey, 1934; in GW, p.131)
- Art as a category and criticism as judgment are social constructions, evolving over time (GW, p.131)
> “I believe that only through the lens of culture do the concepts of art form, artist and viewer, possess meaning. (…) It seems to me that convictions of correct, more, or better are all relative terms; terms dependent upon a judgment base. Unless this base is known, one cannot determine correct, more, or better”. (Ibid.)
»> “All critiques in real life are bound to a judgment base which is dependent upon a cultural orientation. One’s cultural orientation renders some judgment bases better than others. (…) Unless these social constructions are known and shared, with individual differences accounted for, consensus in art is mere chance or totalitarian imposition (…)”. (Ibid.)
»> “Thus art criticism, to be truly understood, must be viewed from a contextual perspective”. (Ibid)
- Much art criticism is orientated towards formalism
> Formalism = aimed at certainty and neutrality, control and accountability (GW, p.135)
> “Formalism judges art by the quality of its formal organization (…) inherent in the art object. In its purest sense, formalism does not consider any information that is not inherent in the art object. (…) In formalism, the reference point for judgment comes from the professional art critic, she or he has developed the necessary skills and breadth of knowledge from years of experience and proper education”. (GW, p.134)
> Problem: “It ignores all relative information such as cultural context and personal circumstances of the viewer (Carpentier, 1987). (…) the prices for the apparent neutrality is the exclusion of what constitutes as meaningful criticism – the viewer’s emotions and the cultural references. (…) The supposed neutral perspective of formalism obfuscates the reference point from which judgment is made. (…) it locates the standards for judgment outside the individual viewer”. (GW, p.134)
» Traditional (formalist) criticism as elitist
A hierarchical power structure is created in which experts determine:
- good taste: “(…) makes the average students feel inadequate in rendering aesthetic judgments (…)”. (Ibid.)
- legitimate arts: “The art object is controlled through the experts, the professional art critics, who define and select what constitutes ‘art’ [while] (…) disregarding the majority of aesthetic objects which lie outside this domain of the fine arts”. (GW, p.136+134)
The power structure is fiercely maintained:
“Through formalism, it creates a technical language representing internal relations of art forms in abstract, transposable terms (Geertz, 1976). This language represents itself as value-free, impartial (…).” (GW, p.135)
> “(…) the critic speaks as though the criteria applied are self-evident, timeless, laws of nature”. (Burgin, 1973; in GW, p.135)
“The major purpose of schooling in a democratic society lies somewhere between the divergent goals of perpetuating the status quo (…) and fostering social change (…)” . (Kleibard, 1986; in GW, p.135)
“Traditional art criticism employs an approach to curriculum which mainly pursues the goal of status quo”. (GW, p.135)
> “These concerns are now being addressed as the curriculum pendulum swings in the opposite direction toward education for social change and individualism. (…) It challenges the claim that school knowledge is objective, analyzes the role of schools in society, and attempts to understand the relationship between cultural forms and structural limitations.” (GW, p.136)
Identity and identification:
Arts education should consider arts criticism, not by “(…) evaluating good art, but rather examining why, how, and in reference to what, judgments are being made”. (GW, p.132)
> “How we answer these questions reveals who we are, where we have been, and how we can affect the future”. (Ibid.)
> Importance of referencing: “Typically art talk consists of formal comments made in reference to a famous work of art (…)”. (Ibid.)
Conclusion: “An alternative approach to traditional classroom art criticism must address the issues of: defining art, providing a cultural context, allowing a panoramic response, respecting and considering the inherent qualities of the art form, and being democratic and dialectic in nature.” (GW, p.137)
> suggestion: Dramatist Pentad of Kenneth Burke
Dramatism = “(…) a method of analysis and a corresponding critique of terminology designed to show that the most direct route to the study of human relations and human motives is via a methodical inquiry into cycles or clusters of terms and their functions”. (Burke, 1968, p.9; in GW, p.137)
Pentad = 5 elements/terms that “are necessarily ambiguous, because they overlap into one another (…) [thus] providing access (without a leap) to any other term”. (GW, p.138)
- Act: art object
- Agent: viewer
- Agency: artist(s)
- Scene: culture
- Purpose: intent
» “The superiority of Burke’s Dramatist Pentad is that it provides a framework which includes all the elements and incorporates other approaches while point out their biases”. (GW, p.137)
» “The power of this method is its flexibility, scope, and complexity/simplicity. (…) One could analyze a specific pentad, or compare one’s pentad with anothers’ viewing the same object, or examine one or more of the ratios in any one pentad, or alter one or more of the erms in the pentad to reveal other perspectives, or use the pentad to deconstruct criticism in periodicals, textbooks, etc.” (GW, p. 139+138)
 Remark: This becomes even more important in a multicultural environment, especially on social media platforms where individuals from distant cultures can easily interact with each other while physically remaining within the ‘safe’ boundaries of their own local culture.
 Process of criticism:
“Description consists of taking an inventory – listing compositional ‘facts about the art work while avoiding the drawing of inferences”. (GW, p.133)
“Analysis consists of describing how the ‘compositional facts’ relate to one another to form a composition, making assertions that would not be subject to disagreement”. (Ibid.)
“Interpretation consists of expressing the meaning of the art form, based upon evidence in the work”. (Ibid.)
“(…) evaluation consist of ranking the art form in relation to other works in its class”. (Ibid.)Source: ir.uiowa.edu
Central issue: Defining media literacy and it’s purposes/affordances.
“I argue that media literacy, like print literacy before it, should be recognised as a key means, even a right, by which citizens participate in society and by which the state regulates the manner and purposes of citizens’ participation. Media literacy therefore concerns the relationship among textuality, competence and power. Indeed, literacy is a concept grounded in a centuries-old struggle between enlightenment and critical scholarship, setting those who see literacy as democratising, empowering of ordinary people against those who see it as elitist, divisive, a source of inequality. Debates over literacy are, in short, debates about the manner and purposes of public participation in society. Without a democratic and critical approach to media literacy, the public will be positioned merely as selective receivers, consumers of online information and communication. The promise of media literacy, surely, is that it can form part of a strategy to reposition the media.” (SL, p.4)
Media Literacy = “the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts” (SL, The Changing Nature and Uses of Media Literacy, in SL, p.2)
1. Access: “(…)rests on a dynamic and social process, not a one-off act of provision. (…) Problematically, given socio-demographic inequalities in material, social and symbolic resources, inequalities in access to online knowledge, communication and participation will continue.” (SL, p.2)
2. Analysis: “People’s engagement with both print and audiovisual media has been shown to rely on a range of analytic competencies. In the audiovisual domain these include an understanding of the agency, categories, technologies, languages, representations and audiences for media.” (Ibid.)
3. Evaluation: “(…) raises (…) some difficult policy questions when specifying and legitimating appropriate bases of critical literacy – aesthetic, political, ideological and/or economic. The scope and purpose of evaluation is also disputed (…).” (SL, p.3)
4. Content creation: “Although not all definitions of media literacy include the requirement to create, to produce symbolic texts, it is argued first, that people attain a deeper understanding of the conventions and merits of professionally produced material if they have direct experience of content production and second, that the internet par excellence is a medium which offers hitherto unimagined opportunities for ordinary people to create online content.” (Ibid.)
Remark: “This four-component model has the advantage of applying equally well to print, broadcasting and the internet.” (SL, p.2)
»> Thus, media literacy builds upon other literacies (symbolic resources) and experiences (participation in content production). Both help to foster understanding, evaluation (critical assessment) and creation (future participation) of media content.
Literacies are socio-cultural constructions which both permit and direct (restrain) participation.