With my reservations coming into this class on a topic I’ve always (for the most part) separated myself from, I thought it’d be fitting to do a reading response concerning my initial reaction. Truth be told, my feeling towards the internet have always been: I don’t really want to know how it works, I just take part in it and I know it works for me. However, after reading for this week, a couple pieces really stood out to me, and got me to really re-evaluate my relation to the mighty Web.
The Alexander and Levine piece, Web. 2.0: Emergence of a New Genre exposed me to something I had no idea existed, yet have been taking part in for essentially all of my time on the web. It really put into perspective how all the little things done on the web contribute to how we define the web for future generations to critique. It’s like being part of a machine for so long, and only realizing how complex it all is when you finally take a look at it from the outside. And even then, you can’t quite grasp the full scope of it all, but at least being aware of it is one step into thinking about engagement on the web in a more critical manner.
For instance, as I write this I am not only engaging in this blog post to PUB 802, but I am also connected to Facebook, Instagram, and waiting for e-mails to arrive, while also thinking about what else to hyperlink readers to in this post. We’re absolutely everywhere all the time in every form (currently) imaginable.
Stearns’ The Best Online Storytelling and Journalism of 2014 really encapsulates the shear magnitude of the ubiquity of online storytelling. What really stood out to me was the disclaimer he wrote at the beginning: “each year my readers augment the list with their own favorites, so please add yours (*updates will be marked with an asterisk).” And people contributed to the construction of the list. It really had me thinking of the idea of the incompleteness of storytelling. Stearn was conveying a story, a summary of the year in online storytelling; however, leaving his story open for others to add to is something that is made a hundred times easier thanks to the web. Our instantaneous relation to the web gives us the ability to – for all intents and purposes – complete each other’s sentences like never before.
In fact, it is because of this, I believe much of what this week’s readings meant (to me at least). All of the pieces orbited around what it meant to speak and contribute on the web. With all of the noise (i.e. social platforms) we take part in, we are simultaneously trying to define what all of it means to us; what the web means. To me, it’s a difficult one to answer. I feel like to do so; you must remove yourself from this online storytelling to objectively tell the story of what you see is happening. There’s so much noise we take part in, it’s difficult to see how things are happening for what they are.