Welcome to Learning to Read the Internet. This is the first post in a course blog. If you want to know more about me and what to expect of this blog, check out the About page; for the time being, it might help you to know that I have a BA and an MA in English Literature, and that on this blog I intend to think about how I can read social media: what does Facebook mean? Can users make it mean something different depending on how they use it? What is the relationship between user and program? If my past behaviour is any indication, expect a lot of theoretical questions.
But for the moment, I’m going to offer a different kind of C.V.: my past use of social media.
In my personal practice, I have been using Facebook since autumn 2005, back when you still had to be a university student to have an account. I started a Blogspot blog back in 2007, which I still update sporadically: I think I’ll decline to share the title or address, however, because back in 2007 my thinking was sloppier than it is now. What I will share is one of my Tumblr accounts. I only started using Tumblr recently, in order to build an online Wunderkammer called Weekly Wonder. Every weekday I post an entry on a specific topic according to a set schedule (Mondays = prehistoric animals; Tuesdays = ideas; etc.). It is an outgrowth of a similar project I ran on Facebook in 2012-2013, when I posted a link to information about an animal, along with a few sentences about what I thought was most worth my reader’s time, as a status each day for 365 consecutive days.
I use Feedly on a daily basis to keep up on a wide array of blogs and news outlets. I have a collection of other accounts which I have abandoned or use only to access content without creating it: YouTube, Flickr, deviantArt, etc. I have never used Twitter, but I am considering it.
As a library science student, I am also Dr. Eric Meyer’s research assistant, and the topic we are studying is what YouTube comments reveal about user learning and engagement, specifically on Khan Academy’s channel. In the course of this research I have become much more interested in how the YouTube platform shapes user engagement and expectations. Although our work is on Khan Academy, I’ve also become very interested in the way Mike Rugnetta uses YouTube’s features and designs his videos to encourage user participation in Idea Channel, because I suspect that the things Rugnetta is up to indicate the directions social media is headed. This might be the occasion for a future post.