Response 2: Managing abundance

DUE: September 12, 2013

Focus your second response on the texts from week 2: Ann Blair, Clay Shirky, or Victor Hugo. You can focus on one text, put two texts in conversation with each other, or trace a common thread in all three. Regardless of your approach, remember that your response should have a main point or central question that you're pursuing. You could (but are not required to) use one of the following prompts as a jumping-off point:

  • Some of the cranky complaints that Ann Blair documents might sound familiar if you recall Nicholas Carr's diatribe against "the Net." Other than consultative and intensive reading (Blair 43), which we discussed in class on Tuesday the 10th, what parallels do you see between Carr and the voices Blair cites from the 12th-18th centuries? How is the anxiety over media change similar or different, and why?
  • Clay Shirky argues that managing privacy through a complex interface like Facebook is just not natural. In this response, analyze Facebook as an information management technology. Be sure to cite specific examples from Shirky's presentation and from Facebook. You will need to explore the interface and root out some of the "flow control" features you might not have used before. You might also need to explore the privacy policy and cite examples from it. Remember to stay focused on the assigned texts for the week--don't just write about Facebook, but use Facebook (today, in 2013) as a test case for Shirky's argument (based on 2008 Facebook). You could also think about your response as updating Shirky's spiel and seeing which of his points still hold true and which don't.
  • Victor Hugo writes that "beginning with the discovery of printing, architecture withers away little by little, becomes lifeless and bare." Drawing on examples from his chapter from Notre-Dame de Paris, what reasons does Hugo give for this withering? Thinking about your own use of media, are there any applications, software programs, devices, websites, or web services that you relied on in the past, but now you've forgotten about them or they're dead to you? Do you buy this metaphor of a newer medium "killing off" or completely replacing another older medium? Why or why not?

Post your response in the comments below, and be sure to save your work in a separate document first. Just in case. As a reminder, here are the response guidelines as they appear in the syllabus. You must create and confirm your Disqus account before you can comment here.

Note: The first time you comment, your post might go to a moderation queue before it shows up. I will be approving posts as they come in, but don't be concerned if your response doesn't go up immediately, if you get a message that it's waiting for moderation. Again, remember that you can bring your response to class in hard copy form if you are having an issue.

comments powered by Disqus