Exegesis

This exegesis will briefly discuss the customisation of the central-node and nodes and then examine the reasons for selecting a particular Social software, with a more in-depth look at the central node – a WordPress blog. Explanations of what each Social software is or does will not be given as it is assumed the reader is already aware of them, or can research them on their own.

I have chosen to create a web presence that discusses and promotes critical thinking  and skepticism via a pseudonym. I chose to use a psuedonym as I want to be able tp have a complete separation between the me of the Social software service accounts I already have and the me of this web presence. For the pseudonym I have used the name and photographs of one of my pet cavies – Maximus Tiberius Cavius.

The central node is a WordPress blog called Critical Reaction. WordPress was chosen as it is the most popular Content Management Software (CMS) on the internet (Builtwith, 2012). Due to this popularity it has a massive community support base which troubleshoot problems or finding out how to do something much easier. The following paragraphs describe the main reasons why a blog was chosen for the central-node of this web presence.

I wanted to take advantage of the fact that blogs are a “relatively free-form type of social software, and are decentralized, often running on their author`s own domains…” (Rettberg, 2008, p.53) which allows me to run the blog on any domain I own and customise it in any way I see fit. By running it on my own domain and own hosting I have full control and ownership of the blog and any content I create and upload to it. With other Social software such as Facebook, it is not possible to customise the central node to the same degree, or to run it from another domain. It`s this customisation I wanted to take advantage of so I could make my blog more attractive to potential readers/participants. I chose a theme called Chunk because of it`s very sparse appearance as I wanted something I could easily create matching themes for on the other Social software services that were chosen. I also wanted to use a theme that did not distract the user from the content of the site, but rather draw them to it.

Things that are posted to a blog have persisitence (Rettberg, 2008, p.65) old entries don`t disappear, they are archived and indexed for searching. This persistence as Rettberg (2008, p. 66) states “means conversations don`t necessarily have to take place instantaneously.” I want to take advantage of this persistence and searchability of blogs to allow people to search for posts and perhaps add new information or a different opinion/view to even old posts.

Twitter was chosen as one of the nodes as it allows one to very quickly send out simple bits of information such as links to interesting sites, and inform others of updates to the central node – so even those who don`t know about the central node or do know and are not using RSS can be informed when an update has occured. Twitter has a feature called retweet which allows a user to re-post the origianl tweet to their own twitter page introducing the original tweet to a new group of people. During the Queensland Flood Emergency in 2011 the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI) found that this passing along of exisiting messages (retweeting) made the original tweets more visible (CCI, 2011, p.7). Twitter has been chosen as a node because it has this ability to make information, messages, links, etc posted to it more visible, thereby increasing the potential number of users of the central-node. I have also made the Twitter theme match the theme of the central node.

Delicious according to Nan et al. (2011, p.140) “… is largely task-focused, with a priority on stor-ing bookmarks for future retrieval, and thus organizational motivations are most dominant there.” Delcicious was chosen for these bookmark storing and organising abilities. It is my intention to create a large collection of bookmarks relating to critical thinking and skepticism that visitors can use to learn more about these topics from other sites.

For photo sharing Flickr has been chosen as it is widely used and because of this integrates very well with many other Social software services including the Social software chosen for this web presence. Flickr like WordPress also automatically generates RSS feeds so users who aren`t interesteed in the sites content can be kept up-to-date with the photographs by themselves.  As Flickr lacks theme customisation features it`s theme could not be customised to match the central-node`s theme.

Facebook was chosen as a way to expose the presence to another audience. There are 901 million monthly active users and of that number an average of 398 million users are active with their Facebook accounts on at least six out of the last seven days as at the end of March 2012 (Facebook, 2012). This is a massive potential audience of people that I can not affortd to ignore. Facebook also lacks theme customisation, so I could not match it to the central-node`s theme.

In conlusion Wordpress was chosen for the central node because it aids the purpose of the web-presence by providing a simple to customise site, with easy integration with other Social software servieces, automatic generation of RSS feeds, and automatic archiving and indexing of posts. Twitter was selected due to its efficiency in spreading information via its “Retweet” fucntion into new networks of people where it might never have spread without Twitter. Delicous`s bookmark storage and organisational skills made it essential to creating a repositry of taggable and searchable bookmarks of links about critical thinking and skepticism. Flickr`s popularity and easy integration with Wordpress made it my choice for photo storage and sharing. Facebook`s massive acitve user base makes it an excellent place to advertise the presence`s central-node. In the future I would like add content to the central-node regularly and further develop the data in the nodes and by commenting and linking to similar blogs make the presence more appealing to readers/participants.

 

References

Bruns, Axel., Burgess. Jean., Crawford, Kate., Shaw, Frances. (2012). #qldfloods and @QPDMedia: Crisis Communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland Floods. Kelvin Grove, Australia: Arc Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

Builtwith. (2012). CMS Usage Statistics. Retrieved from http://trends.builtwith.com/cms

Facebook. (2012). Statistics. Retrieved from http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts/Statistics-8b.aspx

Nan, Lin., Daifeng, Li., Ying, Ding., Bing, He., Zheng, Qin., Jie, Tang., Juanzi, Li., Tianxi, Dong. (2011). The dynamic features of Delicious, Flickr, and YouTube. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63, 139-162. doi: 10.1002/asi.21628

Natarajan, M. (2007). Blogs: A Powerful Tool for Accessing Information. DESIDOC Bulleting of Information Technology, 27, 13-20.

Rettberg, Walker, Jill,. (2008). Blogging. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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