Blogging Workshop by Skype (Movement over Distance)

I am taking part in a blogging workshop being given by Stephanie in the Lab, but I am at home listing in with Skype. This is the latest episode in my efforts to be in two places at once. Being at home on parent leave but still wanting to do/listen/learn in HUMlab, these last few weeks has been interesting for experiencing presence over distance. Right now Stephanie is describing how to blog on our new WordPress blog platform. I try to follow her descriptions on the screen that I am sitting in front of here at home. It is not easy but it does work somewhat. It seems that one problem is the slow processing speed on the laptop she is using. My Skype session is slowing things down a bit. My first impressions of the new platform are that is a much more Web 2.0 style blog tool. WordPress seems to give greater network capabilities in the form of pinging, linking, the WordPress community and support. The interface is much more direct; in the sense of what you see in the editing is what you get on the page. Tags are up front in the writing of a post.I have now just had to log off due to slowing down the teaching laptop, but it was an interesting experiment. The experience so far for me of trying to “distance interact” has me thinking that I am much too stationary in my own technology. Following a hard drive crash a couple of years ago I decided that information must always be in movement (mostly being stored online or shared in P2P networks) for it to be most durable. I now see that for myself to benefit from this information I also have to be able to connect and interact from multiple points. This is something I will address in the next 12 months.

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7 Responses to Blogging Workshop by Skype (Movement over Distance)

  1. Stephanie says:

    It was great to have you here, Jim! I hope that the experiment will work better with a faster computer (to come sooooon…I think!). You missed the interesting part about blogging styles and ways to combat ‘blogger’s block’. My main message was to be interesting, interested and unafraid to have a voice. Blogging is not a punishment :-)

    Looking forward to your return, but also enjoying the saga of the digital dad :-)

  2. Patrik says:

    Is it you or the information that is in movement? If you store things on online services such as or whatever (not infrastructurally p2p) is it not rather you that move. The information is in pone lace, and the question is whether that is a safe place. In a non-web 2.0 environment where you store bookmarks (to use that example) on many computers, maybe transfering them inbetween, your data might actually be safer (even though they are distriubted).

  3. Jim says:

    Thanks for the comment Patrik. I have been thinking about it during my morning of cleaning, feeding and playing with the kid.
    One of the (several) things that made an impression on me from Ana Valdés seminar this week in the Lab was the poly-nature of I have been using it to excess as a bookmarking tool. Ana reminded me that it is a network as well. I thought at the time of (my pet text at the moment)”The Wealth of Networks” by Benkler when he wrote “The networked public sphere is not made up of tools, but of social production practices that these tools enable”(p219). When I put something that I have made on the net; a piece of writing, a sound file, or a collection of links, I hope it will be copied and distributed. That’s why I put it on the net. For my own personal use of the resource perhaps it is stationary (i.e. on a server somewhere and only “moving” when I access the document here in my studio). But if it is being shared than I hope it is whizzing around the net, perhaps there somewhere for me to call on if I should need a “copy” of my “original” document sometime in the future. I have several sound projects that only exist for me today because of being stored on the Internet Archive.
    There are many ways to duplicate links. Synching to Firefox bookmarks (Foxylicious…what a great name), or using the multiple bookmarking tool Onlywire are just two of them (more here: The ‘Links for You’ section in the page allows me to copy other users links. I hope others are doing the same for me as I may need it one day. I also export my links into a HTML document and email it to myself every couple of weeks.
    After Ana’s seminar I went in to my page and took some time to look around. I was surprised to find I have 17 “fans” that monitor my links. I am also connected to 16 people of who I am a “fan” (you are one of them Patrik).
    Data safety for me is its continued existence in one form or another.
    Copying of data and distributing it is the best way of doing this I think. Of course it should be integrated with other approaches, like keeping my own records (disks, external drives, email storage).

  4. Patrik says:

    I was being a little bit provocative on purpose. I agree with most of you say here. I am strong advocate of distributed, social software of different kinds. BUT it is also true that even if you keep copies of your database elsewhere, your content amounts to more than the bookmark and tag database. I think it might actually be misleading to think of it as a storage space for data. It is a service. If that service closes down and if you use that service as a primary means for accessing bookmarks/networks/feeds (i.e. being somewhat stationary) you will lose lots. That is probably a risk worth taking but I do not belive that the “content” will live thereafter as it is interwoven with the material qualities of the interface, associated networks, rss feeds and basically a world view.

  5. Patrik says:

    An additional comment regarding WP: I think sometimes more elaborate interfaces cause new problems. For instance, if you paste material into a WP editing window, formatting seems to remain. And I have not been able to find a simple way of removing or normalize formatting. Of course you can change the HTML directly but that is a bit akward and time-consuming. Also, I do not like being moved to the first part of the post everytime I paste something and, also, when inserting links, MT automatically inserted whatever you had just copied into the URL field. WP does not seem to do that. I like WP and I am sure there are ways to fix the above.

  6. Stephanie says:

    We talked about this problem at the meeting and discussed the possibility of changing the editor from a WYSIWYG to a rich text. Personally, I prefer the rich text editor, but the majority seemed to prefer the other. We decided to try this out for a while and come back to the question.

  7. therese says:

    If I remember correctly, the majority didn’t really have an opinion on this at all :-) . One thing which was discussed was whether the rich text editor would have the feature of letting you preview on the same page. As long as that is possible, I don’t think people would mind the rich text editor, and we could probably switch over if you think it wouldn’t be too much work…

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