Spreading transliteracy

An interesting quote from Constance Penley:

We need to learn from them (teens)," Penley said. "Transliteracy is not starting from, 'It's bad,' but, 'What is reading in the digital era?'

It comes from a decent article in the Ventura County Star, a local paper in California and also contains some good comments from Alan Liu about the social nature of transliteracies.
Although it is important to prise apart the differences between Alan Liu's notion of "transliteracies", our notion of "transliteracy" and the occasional use of "transliteracy" used in educational theory about bi- and multilingualism there is no doubt that we all share a common philosophy of embracing the "trans" while, I hope, not being uncritical of it.

Mass Collaboration? (tools, techniques and foundations) 11 September 2007 @ NESTA

nesta.bmp What sparks innovation? A clash of ideas, a fresh perspective, a fusion of expertise?
NESTA Connect seeks to stimulate innovation through collaboration, in part by exploring the participatory culture of the web. On Tuesday 11 September 2007 they are hosting Mass Collaboration? in partnership with the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University, where we will hear from Howard Rheingold, and Mark Earls, writers who examine and challenge traditional perceptions of mass behaviour change and cooperation.

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Don’t you trust me?

From Jill Walker's blog I came across a really interesting project which is trying to visualise "trust" in wikipedia. Basically, they scraped some of Wikipedia and run a program which coloured in authors' contributions based on how long their edits remained untouched. Contributors whose edits lasted a long time were uncoloured while those whose edits tended to last the least length of time had an orange background. They refer to this as a "content driven" trust system rather than trust systems such as ebay's where the rating is explicitly produced by users. The idea is to build a system that can automatically help a reader discern how reliable the article in question might be. For example, "untrusted" authors on "A Million Penguins" might have their contributions rendered in a banana colour: the brighter the banana, the less you can trust them…
It's fascinating to look at. Jill Walker makes the point that there are times when she might be more interested in looking at the "dissent" which brings up the notion of dimensionality and trust within a context. For example, someone might have had a lot of changes made to their work in one particularly contentious article while other edits might rarely have been touched. The visualization doesn't seem, at the moment to deal with that context.
The various attempts to help readers interpret the provenance of articles on wikipedia (and by extension similar texts) could possibly do with thinking about the transliterate skills of readers. Our notions of communicational trust are remarkably complex. Although the colouring project is interesting it really is just a dabble of the toe in some fascinating waters.

Learning to speak on the phone

An interesting vox pop on 43 Folders: Vox Pop: Your best "best practice" for email?
The entry shows has a lovely little film clip from 1927 dealing with what we now would call the best practice for using the phone. The article compares it with the author's experience of learning "netiquette" and he refers us to a blog entry in which the author writes a little wistfully of the potential usefulness of an encyclopedia entry for how to answer email.
I can't say that I've noticed a lack of books claiming to teach good email practices. They usually look to be hurriedly written and clearly are have been published to make a fast buck out of people who are anxious about email. For me one of the fascinating developments in computer-mediated communication (i.e. email, instant chat and so on) has been the way in which netiquette has emerged from the practice of email and I think that notions of transliteracy help to explain this emergence. At the risk of over-generalising (who me?) I think it's fair to say that if you give two humans a tool they'll quickly figure out how to communicate with it and I suspect that is because one of our skills as a species is learning how to apply pre-existing literacies to new media.

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