Digital storytelling: Mapping human stories

Stories are all around us and they constitute our life. We encounter people to get to know them also though their story of life, while we at the same time uncover our own personal stories, that had an impact on our life to other people. And the basic assumption of digital storytelling is exactly that, that everyone has a story to tell and that those stories are powerful. In our stories we may remember an unforgetable moment of finding the true love of our life, but then…It may be a story about a dear person that…It may be the vacation when you were a child when suddenly…All of these stories make sense of who we are.

As said by Lambert: ´The story become a way to find, if not a re-statement of rooted identity, at least a new center of gravity.´ Further as his experiences during the workshops of Center for Digital Storytelling, he says the re-telling of an incident of trauma, or a situation of achievement, or even a seemingly mundane interaction is made to service the establishment of new equilibrium – a homeostasis – in the storyteller’s sense of self. Thus that the the telling of story can serve for the storyteller as a form of therapy. And then when we move from the moment of the  narrative of the story and combine it with the latest technology, we may grasp that even a at first ordinary story may via images, videos or graphics create a complex picture of the story. All the possible combinations of visuals, sound and the narrative can give the story the essence, bring the story alive, make it more emotional, highlight the uniqueness of the story.

Furthermore even a single individual story can have the impact to be related to a much larger issue, in short digital story can be part of a larger community of people that can relate to the message of the story. And this is one of the aspect why the digital storytelling can be adopted to be a newer form of media engagement. As Lambert says digital storytelling is to support of construction of a healthy individual identity and moving on from the dysfuntional views of dominant media that count on shaping our desires and fears and reshape our identiy as Homo consumerus. And Burgess highlight also the diferentiation point of digitall storytelling to a documentary:

´Digital Storytelling as a ‘movement’ is explicitly designed to amplify the ordinary voice. It aims not only to remediate vernacular creativity, but to legitimate it as a relatively autonomous and worthwhile contribution to public culture. This marks it as an important departure from even the most empathetic ‘social documentary’ traditions.´

The workshop that Mr.Lambert and his colleagues in the Center for Digital Storytelling do is to use the digital options nowadays that are affordable such as video editing tools and publishing and distribution platforms that internet offers such as Vimeo of Youtube to emphasize the participatory media practices. One of the other feature of digital storytelling is that by telling a story digitally the storyteller can learn new digital skills. The differentiating point about a documentary and a digital story is that it is being narratited in the first voice by the storyteller itself. This way most of the stories from Makers, the largest collection of women stories is being produced. The women storytellers in this video are there to serve as an ispiration and maybe motivation, such as the story of Katherine G. Johnson, the NASA mathematician, who grow up in times where for African American girls the options were being a nurse or a teacher. Her story as other stories in on the website thought this stories celebrate women and empower others. Similarly the Bristol stories project releases digital stories about various themes from different people that come from Bristol, thus made by local people that tell their stories about people, places and events that are important to them.

Reference:

Lambert, J. (2013) Digital Storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community, New York: Routledge

Burgess, J. (2006) Hearing Ordinary Voices: Cultural studies, Vernacular Creativity and Digital Storytelling in Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 20 (2):pp 201-2014
http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6243/1/6243.pdf

Democratic Talk: Reflections from Places Looking for Change [Week 7]

According to Barber the purpose of democratic talk is to create citizens who can think as a public (1984), I would like to shed light in this article on one part of the world which is the Middle East, which has been going through turmoil in the past five years. I will have to argue that a critical factor for this eruption is the lack of a Democratic Talk in some of these countries. What has come to be known as the Arab Spring has started in many Arab countries out of struggle for free speech. There were instances where people were jailed for expressing their simplest thoughts about what’s going on in their countries, so this urge for free expression has erupted. But why did it erupt all of the sudden, or was it really sudden or an accumulation of suppressed thoughts and aspirations to participate in political talk. I think the latter is more valid. There are some examples of initiatives that took place showing people’s eagerness to express their opinions such as bloggers in Tunisia who started “7ell blog” or “start blogging” which a web page and Facebook page were also set up to further propagate their messages, another forms of expression took place in Libya for instance where Rappers started rapping against the Gaddafi regime. However, according to Allen Fountain Al-Jazeera channel comes out to be the most distinctly Alternative view in the Middle East (2007).

A crucial element that can allow people to be involved in political participation is to learn “How”, where Barber’s conception of democratic talk is supported by media theorists who link civic education to active participation in public deliberation and debate (Abramson, Arterton and Orren 1988; Entman 1989), from this we can see how imperative it is to integrate active participation in civic education which is a factor that is more often neglected.

Throughout the years many projects has evolved to allow people to participate and voice out their concerns and work to amend their social reality some of them has started very modestly with tapes being circulated, however, today many took a further step to be online like Labor beat, Alternative Views and there is Paper Tiger Television. I have to somehow argue that in some places more than other, alternative media has positioned itself as a reliable and trust worthy source of information perhaps starting a new episode of them replacing the more dominant main stream media. People are hungry for getting different views of news, reliance on state television has drastically weakened. So, it become important for people who are making news through alternative media to establish more strategic and organize their operation and make them more tolerant to external forces so as not to be swept away by the first crisis but still serve the causes they started for.

radical media;jammıng the polıtıcal:reverse engıneerıng,hackıng domınant codes

Radıcal media could be thought as something complementary-modifier thing instead of it is trying to destruct mainstream tendencies or replace them completely.It is an important step on the way of democracy. glitter of intelligence because it does include creativity, sensitive adjusments-modifies on thin string even sometimes without  budget or in the situation of contingency which is based on any rapid political, social, educational, financial events in country -city-region-local arena or in globe.Dances, Street theatre, Street performances,cartoons,posters,parodies,satire,performance arts,graffitis,murals,popular songs and many more can be used for radical media-alternative media,jammıng the wrong political approaches,reverse engineering and most importantly hacking the dominant codes in society which are thought-perceived as harmful .These alternative struggles are not just aiming political distortion in country but also for distortions-corruptions by the mean of values, habits, social tendencies, some social behaviours, intolarance in public for some minorities,sternness who are applied to different view holders.Radical media wants to be voice also for all these aside from political wars.Radical media already encourages participation, readers become writers, consumers become producers, watchers sometimes become part of work and it is againts to hierarchical order in media and instead they advocate horizontal structure so thats why it is much more close to mentality of democracy.On the other hand  ın contrast right wing of political mind which is skipping sometimes to standpatter-preservative interventions , radical media struggles mostly remembered with left views by the mean of being socialist, being communist instead of capitalist, being proggressive instead of being standpatter and so on.We may use the term of ‘counterhegomony’ in here.Fight-struggle-race for hegomony.Hegomony of particular class, ethnicity,social group, gender, political ideology and existence.Radical media sometimes try to generate counter hegomony or create a balance in society by preparing suitable-fair ground to lay the matters on table .Furthermore of course the things have got also technological aspects like computers, social web sites, blogs, all internet features are waiting for being used in creative hands.This is not just about new media versus traditional media but also creativity versus stagnation maybe.Without serious big productions-incomes, extreme number of worker , radical media or alternative voice of Street is proof of always there are somethings to do.When we come to the title about reverse engineering , we can say community media, new media, radical media or graffıtı-street performance based things all have same target which is building reverse engineering .Reverse engineering term is already connected with counter hegomony term in society and political stuffs.İt is about having contrary consciousness .Radical media is much more interested with reality which mainstream media do not always reflect enough according to them. Jammıng the some political things is also connected with democracy if they have wrong- provocative, defected,corrupted, inadequate, incomplete messages tp society or particular minority-community.Hacking the dominant codes means being against to blindly dominant culture, hegomony, values, views in society by creating much more awareness with events-alternative ways aside from mainstream media channels.

 

The voices from undeground. Samizdats in the former Czechoslovakia

During the communism period in Czechoslovakia the press faced in many ways censorship and was as in other countries of the former Soviet Union part of a whole system of controlling the communication. As stated by Downing: “The leading reason for the significance of the radical media in this case is that Soviety system particularly relied on its channeling and strict control of communication and media, its use of them as a transmission belt for the party´s view of reality” (Downing, 2000:355). Some of the civil activists however decided to produce an “underground press” instead, called samizdat to circumvent the censorship. Samizdat is a word that comes from Russian language and refers to underground publications either written by hand or typewriter distributed from hand to hand and produced only in limited prints. Mostly the activity of samizdat press was done by civil society, those who produced this kind of press were called dissidents, people who oposed the current regime, expressed their ideas about the regime and were often for their activities punished or imprisoned. Samizdat was common in the region of the former Soviet Union countries under the communism regime.

In the former Czechoslovakia samizdat publications started at the beginning of the 1960´s. The raise of this kind of press started after the suppresion of the Prague Spring in the 1968 and invasion of the Soviet Russian troops to Czechoslovakia. After the suppresion of the liberation, Czechoslovakia was put under the “normalization” process which meant a heavy censorship of the freedom of the press. The Office for printing and information was establish to ensure that information that are in contradiction with the intern and international politics of the state will not be published.

In Slovakia famous “underground press” consisted of Christian religious samizdat publications that tried to express their belief under the communism regime which penalized and followed the church, 1982 is the beginning of the samizdat magazine Náboženstvo a súčasnosť (Religion and present) and other 26 publications of samizdat press, 23 from this were Christian oriented. The prints of one of the samizdat religious publications were around 200 to 2000 pieces, publications were mostly printed in one of the biggest ofset print machines in the capital, Bratislava. In 1987 the religious samizdat reached its peak in Slovakia with the publications 31 požiadaviek moravských katolíkov (31 requirements of Moravian Christians) that wanted to ensure the freedom of religious expression in the former Czechoslovakia.

In Czech republic “underground press” was formed around universities and faculties and produced by students. Most of them differed from the official press in the way they experimented with the content, discussed taboo topics, open debates, critics and published also texts of forbiden authors of that time. One of the “real” samizdats that started at the university but later on went beyond was samizdat Revue 88. It was produced and distributed by students of  the university in Brno, who wrote under their real names and even wrote the adress where their lived, which was unique and courageous. Many of the students were threatened to be kicked out of the universities or imprisoned.

The reason of the rise of the samizdat publications in the former Czechoslovakia was the political situation during the 1970-1980´s under the “normalization” and the refusal of the official ideology of the socialism that was serving the rulling elite and its official culture that was supportive of the regime. The unofficial culture in the form of literature and press deleloped at one hand to samizdat, authors that were producing illegaly, underground from the state and on the other hand exile authors, raising their voices outside of the state. The representatives were often isolated, they and their families and friends intimidated, authors of such pres were forbiden to travel or sometimes even work, they were criminalized and in the public eye presented as enemies of the western agents or deviants. Most of the time they were also under the constant police control. Even thought of all this repressive methods against the “underground press”, samizdat literature and press enabled to enact at that time debates and topics that were completely absent in the public or forbiden. They were the critical minority who stood up against the wrongs of the regime and pointed a finger on the rulling elites.

 

Reference:

Čarnoburský J. (2005). Odpor proti komunizmu. Impulz Revue http://www.impulzrevue.sk/article.php?26

Downing, J. (2000) Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. CA: Sage

Posset, J. Česká samizdatová periodika 1968-1989. Brno http://www.scriptum.cz/Posset_Johanna_Ceska_samizdatova_periodika_1968-1989.pdf

Soukopová J. (2010). Zázrak jménem Revue 88 aneb Když samizdat delali studenti. iDnes.cz http://brno.idnes.cz/zazrak-jmenem-revue-88-aneb-kdyz-samizdat-delali-studenti-pk9-/brno-zpravy.aspx?c=A100324_1356492_brno-zpravy_dmk

 

The pirate pioneers of alternative radio

“Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there’ll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.”

I remember this quote from head DJ in the movie The boat that rocked because it is the 1960´s pirate radio stations in the UK, on one of which (Radio Caroline) is partly based this movie, which I recall when I elaborate on the term alternative radio. I think in order to understand what this term means nowadays, we have to look back on some of the turning points in the radio broadcasting like the rise and shine of the early pirate radio stations in Britain. If we omit that these radios were broadcasting illegally, which may not be anymore the case of todays alternative radio stations, we can I think trace some similarities. I think in what were these pirate radios broadcasting offshore true pioneers was the labelling of being the “other” voice to the mainstream. These broadcasting ships were the base of a new generation of youth listeners of The Beatles and all those who loved rock´n´roll and pop music nowhere in the main radio provider BBC in the sixties to be found in such an extend and way of delivering the music. Pirate radio broadcasters in the UK were influential in building up a community of listeners who were different than the one of the BBC. They differed not only in whom they attracted, but why they actually did. Pirate radios with its most famous example Radio Caroline were “radical”. They were experimenting with the ways on how to broadcast the content to the listeners and gave in their playlist the space to also back then unknown artists. Pirate radio stood for a new, anti-hegemonic and counter-cultural aspect and I think this is what mainly all the alternative radio stations that followed after have still in common, to stand against the big corporative radio channels.

Despite the fact that some of the pirate radio stations started later to use commercials in order to finance it, so we can say they were not alternative in the sense of being independent of a larger structure, commercial body, but were alternative in its form of bringing a social change, culturally influencing a generation who wanted an alternative source of music and refused the mainstream. The growing popularity of these “floating radio stations” to attract a young audience with a non-traditional music genres its not sure but may have been also an inspiration and reason of BBC to enhance its programming opening up with its first pop music channel Radio 1.

How Might Critics Speculate Common Knowledge?

Common knowledge, or other forms of free distributions to any particular software is the space that take place in the spaces of internet, no doubt that they contribute to creation of free spaces yet, I could not find such thing that create revolutionary alterations or urgently important discovery. For instance, Wikipedia, in my point of view, helps to enlarge mind and also make easier access to knowledge. In order not to break the tradition of flows, let’s talk about Wikipedia as a case.
Wikipedia offer us number of different language so that I believe that, it smoothes the way of access to knowledge and it break the predominant position of the English language. Yet, it can be criticized that English or other Western language like French, German, and Spanish are still the dominant ones. Yet, this criticizing does not come to me fair because it is related to its user because it offers free distribution. In stress, it illustrated quite important phenomena which is about rates of the internet usage, this circumstances indicated that usage of internet more developed in the Western countries and, ‘old’ colonies of the West do not have same opportunities to log on to knowledge.
Besides, Wikipedia has been criticizing in terms of its many dimensions such as free labour, quality of the content, and creation of technocratic elites. In fact, it is again not fair to criticize that its quality because it is open to intervention. Also, the risk of technocracy is common any form of social media practices. The important thing is that not to yield to the technocracy. In addition to that, concept of the production of labour has been radically changed in the contemporary period and this is the consent that given ‘voluntarily’ so that I do not think that there is exploitation of the labour in Wikipedia, it just back up the free- labour. Therefore, my revised generalization argued that critics to Wikipedia or other common knowledge sources are so speculative therefore, critics do not work properly.

Social Networks, Advantages and Disadvantages

Social networks are groups of people connected by one or more types of social relationships, such as friendship, kinship or common interests.

The most popular, certainly are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sonic, Bebo, MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, Friendster, Ning, Badoo and MyLife among others.

These social networks offer many advantages over e-mail, forums and chat, asynchronous and given his personal character, and the relative simplicity of its interfaces.

The advantages of networking

  • Socialization:

Considered by many the major advantage is that allows us to learn and internalize norms and values needed to relate with other individuals, either with friends from the past, current or new friends.

As in real life, in the virtual universe, there is a big community within each social network, in which all can participate, but with the proviso adapt to their standards, so it is necessary to know the netiquette of social networks.

Therefore users of social networks become active members of a small virtual society, where they can interact with others for the purposes they wish, friendship, love, business contacts, exchange of views, businesses, etc..

  • Job:

Since the emergence of the Internet in the world, has completely changed the way people find work.

Many companies have social environments in which communicate job opportunities, receive resumes and job interviews even realize. Besides using these platforms you can do all kinds of contacts, which can be used to find some work, they can even recommend to get a job.

A social network that focuses on this category is LinkedIn, so if you are interested in making professional and business contacts, it is important to take advantage of this network.

  • Business:

This category is closely related to the previous one, but the difference is not about getting a job, because you have a physical or virtual (Web site) you want to promote business.

It’s not just advertising to get new customers, but it also seeks to identify with the brand, important information, reviews and comments of the product or service, allowing you to correct anything that is wrong and achieve strengthen the relationship with your customers or consumers.

Interestingly, it is free, but requires time and effort, both for a small business that want to get noticed, or for a longer stay positioned brand you like on the first level.

The benefits we provide social networks are not just for businesses but for us consumers, and we will receive best deals, best deal and solutions to our problems related to products or services.

  • Information:

Although social networks are not focused in obtaining the information we provide highly relevant information through web sites, blogs and our contacts.

From minor issues like events to attend this weekend, the birthday of a friend or the latest releases at the cinema, even more relevant information and publications on topics of our interest, current news or important events in the life of our friends or contacts.

The primary information we receive is a significant advantage because the reader is facing the source, thus get better results.

Either way, social media provide us with a wealth of information, more social and personal.

The disadvantages  of Social media are:

• Exhibition of our private lives, if not properly configured privacy.

• There may be cases of impersonation.

• Lack of control data.

• They can become addictive.

• Can steal content we publish.

• Can be used by criminals for data on crime victims.

• Threats are made, discriminate, are scams and inciting violence through internet, because anyone can create a false identity that will be very difficult to discover.

No one denies the great potential of these social networks, but be very careful, especially when there are children in the home.

Therefore it is recommended to maintain certain nonpublic personal information; on the other hand, be respectful and not insulting, not incite violence or discrimination, or anything we do not like us.

Collaborative webs

Collaboration, mutual support and exchange is possible in numerous private and public spaces in the Collaborative Web. On the Web, the term “collaborative” sent to the various tools, sites and public or private social networks that allow users particularly:

Share useful information with others (eg testimony, review).

Exchange goods or services.

Communicate in real time.

Work simultaneously on projects with others.

There are different types of collaborative webs:

  • Review sites and forums:

These spaces are characterized by mutual aid: each member of the community is both producer of information (for example, review services or products) and recipient of these.

  • Wedges of services between individuals

The sites of exchange of goods and services or equipment rentals between individuals.

Sharing sites: carpooling, accommodation (eg couchsurfing).

Sites participatory project funding (crowdfunding).

  • Social networking and bookmarking sites

Public social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are already collaborative tools for sharing and keep information, exchange messages and documents, etc..

Community sites “bookmarking” as Delicious, Digg or healing of contents (Pearltrees, Scoop.it) are also part of this group because they allow users to interesting websites plebiscite (voting) or select and share relevant information.

  • Collaborative encyclopedias

The most famous of which is Wikipedia, which features collaborative contributors. In the “high tech”, is a particularly potent commentcamarche.net collaborative space in the computer category.

 

 

Participatory video: Inspiring transformation

Unlike the film industry, participatory video is a project created by the community to the community. It allows people tell stories in their own ways and also to know what it is like to be a producer, camera man, journalist or actor. Just like community radio, this project has emancipatory intentions, which aim for social change. It also reinforces social relations within the communities and promotes collective action. The video below shows different projects in different countries (Nigeria, Peru, Malawi, India, Rwanda, UK, Uganda, China, South Africa and Ghana). Each of them make a video calling for change.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3Ffe1k0mZM#t=503