Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Response to Galloway vs. Lyotard comment below

Interesting that you mention as a fundamental difference between the two theorists the belief that one has to know how to use technology to communicate in today's "computerized society". Particpating in the Cyworld lab tonight made me realize just how much knowledge you needed to even sign up for community membership. Of course, the typical fields had to be filled out, but the next page was even more interesting-- it told you to check your email (or go on AIM) and then immediately gave you a field to type in the special code from your email. This indicates that they probably expected their users to have their email open in a separate window or tab, or have their AIM working in the background. Both of these actions are not common among new computer/internet users-- mostly, these behaviors are typical of experienced (and moreso, connected) internect users. People who constantly have their email or AIM running are usually highly connected and technologically savvy. It was shocking to me to see an internet site so geared towards this type of person-- usually these social networking sites bend over backwards to be as technologically "dumb" as possible so as to attract as many users as possible. Obviously, Cyworld expects its users to be of a different breed-- to know technology intimately and to be a full-fledged citizen in a post-modern computerized society.

2 comments:

M. Kirstin S. said...

This strikes me particularly within the Blogger setting.

Galloway cites Natalie Jeremijenko's use of the rubric of "'structures of participation' to think about how certain implementations of technology promote active user involvement and understanding while other technologies obfuscate understanding and control user involvement" (16).

As a blogger.com user for several years now, I've witnessed the evolution of the user interface. Customization used to be limited, and any attempts to break out of the predetermined layout choices required a thorough and rather sophisticated knowledge of HTML. If a user already possessed this knowledge, the design aesthetic/presentation options of his or her blog were "limitless". Yet, as the site became more popular, and with an influx of users with diverse relationships to programming/blog design, more options became available to customize the site. At the same time, the option to code your own design completely was all but erased (now to work with the raw code of the site I have to constantly reject converting my blog to the new "user-friendly" customization interface).

I find this to be an interesting example of the interaction between tech-literacy and freedom and I'm wondering how we can all relate this back to Galloway's discussion of systems of control.

Karynn said...

As more and more people get on the Internet, it seems that the protocol is becoming more and more hidden from the everyday user, and control too seems to disappear. The fact that you can create a webpage now without knowing any HTML is just one example of this. If you look at online communities such as Digg and Wikipedia, it would also seem that protocol has evolved into more than just the code that enables us to be online, as these communities imposes their own rules and regulations (sometimes formally, sometimes informally) that highly regulate their content. Especially in the case of wikipedia, regulations such as the deletion policy were created and adapted by its user base, highlighting Galloway's insight into the voluntary acceptance of protocol.