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Class 4: Content creation, part one

February 20, 2015

Class this week opened with some more participants delivering their elevator pitches. Following that we had a discussion, informed by the reading material set last week, about the creation of ‘content’. Students participated confidently and coherently via text and voice.

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Content is anything online, a person’s print on the virtual web. Content does not have to be interactive, but Daniel argued that by being online in video or text form implies it is already interactive by default.
There are different types of content, but does it have any value? Some content only has meaning to the person who posted it, eg, random posts on twitter. But then meaningless to who? Or is it more a case of having value to a few people only Sometimes, commentary may only have relevance to certain people. Sometimes people use social media to hide behind and post spiteful and malicious material. They behave differently from how they may behave in the real world because there is no accountability. Internet trolls being an example.

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The point was made that interaction on the internet is different from face to face. This is not necessarily negative.
Going back to look at your own blog, do you have a different take on what content is now? The answer was yes, creating blog posts is creating content as it is contributing something new to the internet. The Humans of New York blog is a good example of how a creator uses multiple media-images plus text to tell stories of humans. As we create content for people, we hope to make connection, often emotional connections, and it is through these connections that we project our personae into the online world.

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According to Olwyn ‘many businesses or corporations using social media have had a negative review/blog/comment written about them therefore creating negative content around their brand. It is possible to hire people to write so many positive comments it rids the page in question of negative content. It shows how important your virtual footprint is.’
Have a think about how you are going to create content for your project and while doing so, create a credible personae for yourself to complete your assignment.

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Elfay Pinkdot

Guest speaker Elfay Pinkdot was introduced to the class to talk about communities and making connections. She brought us on a field trip to Bugs and Us, a butterfly sanctuary. Once settled in the peaceful environment Elfay talked to class about online communities she has been involved in. Her SL radio programme Coffee and Pajamas is an SL group around jazz. She wanted to share her love of jazz with other SL residents. She had previously used Jazz and her love of music to teach geography, as a social lubricant, as a way in, and that was not different when trying to form the community in SL. The show was widely listened to and quickly formed into a tight community, impacting people in more ways than Elfay realises. When you start to create content or connect online, especially around something that means a lot to you, you cannot always envisage how rich a resource it can be. In Elfay’s case, her SL life has led her to meet with people from around the world – including the lecturers in this module.

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The internet can seem like a really dauntless place but what #IOLE enables you do, is take control of how you choose to use and engage with the medium of the internet, and control the message(s) you choose to put out. Elfay does not consider SL or online life different from real life… she sets boundaries just like real life. She encourages that you take responsibility as you make your mark.

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As was pointed out in the class, there is a lot more potential for people to think they can get away with things that are not permissible in real life. There is a huge challenge in how the law keeps up with change in the online space and the various envionmnents and changing methods of interaction. All of this is the reason why you need to give a full and measured consideration to how much of yourself you want to share online.
Kaiya, one of the owners of Bugs and Us, added by saying ‘I have been in SL a long time, and I bring my RL morals into SL, I prefer honesty and loyalty. There are many here in SL that bring drama, and lose their sense of self. Don’t make yourself vulnerable as there are many wolves in SL that prey on others.’
Also, taking a lead from Sitearm Madonna, don’t be shy about playing with your identity in SL. And you are welcome to reach out to Elfay as you prepare for your final presentation and work on your project.
Don’t be vulnerable, let people earn your trust, don’t underestimate the online medium.

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At the end of the class the lecturers told the participants about the research work they were doing around the class. We asked that you complete an anonymous survey by clicking here.

Finally, DIT students are reminded that your blogs are undergoing the first of three assessments this week so make sure you are up to date!

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: this thoughtful blog post Content Licensing in Virtual Worlds about the legal issues around protecting ‘things’ you create in SL and online in general. Read the comments also.
  2. Read: The Laws of Virtual Worlds. From the California Law Review 2003 this is an excellent, if highly specialised, review of the legal position of avatars in virtual worlds.
  3. Write the fifth post: to your blog about the value of copyright in a world where everything can be easily copied

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