Exegesis

Web technology has made creation of an online presence a reasonably simple task.  Applications provide the means for users to contribute and receive (Colvin, 2010) information in ways that had not been previously possible.  MacManus (2005) stated that the web “…is about the people” and the growth in the number of weblogs or blogs in the last ten years is indicative of that statement.  According to Blood (2000) only a handful of blogs existed in 1999 but more recent statistics at the BlogPulse (2010) site show that as at 20 August 2010, there are over 145 million in existence.  Anyone with a computer and internet access can create their own web presence with which to share their views.

This exegesis is an attempt to explain choices that I made while creating my web presence for Web 101. The aim of Assignment 3 was to create an online presence not based on pre-existing or current names, websites or profiles.  The web presence needed to be constructed around a central node with at least three contributing nodes chosen especially for the assignment.  Students were given a range of social networking sites to choose from for this assignment.

I had signed up for a new WordPress blog in order to work on my Learning Portfolio and to enable links to other student learning blogs through the blogroll.  As O’Reilly (2005) stated, “…bloggers paying attention to other bloggers magnifies their visibility and power.”  Linking to the learning blogs of other students made all of our blogs more visible and accessible to students still compiling their own blogrolls.   I then began to set up the contributing nodes based on the user name for my Learning Portfolio blog.  This mistake was a good reminder to always read the assignment instructions carefully.

The next name that I chose was an adaptation of one from a long list of possible choices.  As I worked my way through the list, it became obvious that they were all popular names that had been taken.  I decided to use an anonymous user name, puddymuddle, which was available for use on the central node as well as the contributing nodes.  I signed up for a new account at all of them but still needed to feel a connection with each so I made a point of showing my profile name as Michelle or Michelle M. wherever possible.

Qian and Scott’s (2007) anonymity and self-disclosure research found that of the 242 blog users who took part in a 2005 survey, the majority of respondents (30%) chose to use a partial real name. The use of a partial real name may be due to the fact that the respondents wanted to be recognisable enough to friends and family while still remaining anonymous to strangers.  My decision was influenced by the need to feel that people I know would not have any problem making the connection.

This blog became the central node because WordPress is user-friendly with a large number of interesting templates.  The design I chose is called Koi by N. Design.  It is a very minimalistic watercolour style with a sandy background.  Most of my life has been spent living near beaches and water so I found the pastel shell-like colours and the design very attractive. The artwork is confined to the top and the bottom of the page to leave most of the page uncluttered so that blog entries are easy to read.   O’Reilly (2005) said that “…the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads.”  In that case, a minimalistic blog template was the right choice.  An abundance of ‘mental chatter’ combined with an overly decorated template could create a lot of ‘noise’ and make the blog difficult to read.

Choosing a purposeful theme was difficult.  I am not an expert in any particular area so my blog may be classed as more of a personal journal.  My life is very much built around home, family and an appreciation of the silly things.  Laughter is supposed to be good medicine so it makes sense to take some time out and enjoy the lighter side of life.  I have attempted to set up the contributing nodes to reflect that philosophy.

The social networking sites chosen for the contributing nodes are Delicious, FriendFeed, Twitter and Flickr.  I had not used them previously and they seemed to fit well.  The social bookmarking site Delicious was a good choice because I was not only able to link to the WordPress blog, but all the other nodes as well.  FriendFeed allowed me to link in all the nodes so that the feed updated when I added to one of the other sites.

The Twitter background is called Theme 7.  As with the WordPress template Koi, Theme 7 is minimalistic.  The background is a very pale pink and on the left hand side is a single floral emblem.  FriendFeed also had a choice of backgrounds and for this I chose Butterfly Corner.  Again the background is pale pink and the top left hand corner has tendrils with leaves ranging from white to dark pink.  Not being able to change the background of Delicious and Flickr was disappointing as I would like to change those to a similar colour scheme as the other nodes.

Setting up the central and contributing nodes has been a time-consuming but enjoyable learning experience.  Online communication tools have opened up the world for many people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to travel or meet others with similar interests.  They can share their experiences and learn from those who have had similar experiences.  As O’Reilly (2005) said, “…the blogosphere has begun to have a powerful effect” and it will remain a major contributor to online communication for many years to come.  A large part of that powerful effect must be credited to the fact that it allows people to engage with their own creativity while sharing information.

References

BlogPulse. (2010) Retrieved 20 August, 2010, from http://www.blogpulse.com/

Blood, R. (2000). Weblogs: a history and perspective. Rebecca’s pocket. Retrieved 20 August, 2010, from http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html

Colvin, M. (2010). This is Web 2.0, and it’s changing our world. The Drum. Retrieved 20  August, 2010, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/07/2946631.htm? site=thedrum

MacManus, R. (2005). What is Web 2.0. ZD Net. Retrieved 20 August, 2010, from http://www.zdnet.com/blog/web2explorer/what-is-web-20/5.

O’Reilly, T. (2005). Blogging and the Wisdom of Crowds. What is Web 2.0. Retrieved 20 August, 2010, from http://oreilly.com/pub/aweb2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

Qian, H., & Scott, C. R. (2007). Anonymity and self-disclosure on weblogs. Journal of  Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), article 14.

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