*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO ASSIGNED READINGS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.
For my response to required text this week I have chosen to read L&K chapter 5 Blogs and Wikis. I was surprised that these two digital mediums were paired together in the same chapter. My mindset before reading this chapter was that blogs and wikis were as different as digital mediums as could be and that the chapter would focus on contrasting the two mediums. But as I found out in my reading there are many similarities between the two and are a perfect match to share a chapter.
Main Insights from the chapter
I had utilitarian knowledge of blogs and wikis before reading this chapter. I don’t think I had ever read any formal text about either, I just had developed my understanding from using them or from word of mouth. I was really interested by L&K’s comparison of blogs to a piece of paper. It works so well as a comparison for me because like paper a blog is a place to store your ideas as text. I think, however, a closer comparison would be to a newspaper column, without editorial oversight. For me paper, or more specifically notebooks, are my private storage of ideas but a blog is public, like a column. Unlike a column the independent author of a blog had complete editorial control. Freeing the author to tell whatever story in whatever way they want.
I knew that wikis were created through community contributions of content, but I had assumed that the structure was like volunteers working are an event. People giving their time but a overarching structure that was directing the actions of those philanthropists. I had no idea how involved the contributors were to the upkeep of each wiki at all levels.
Expanded Definition of Digital Storytelling
Before reading this chapter I did not really see blogging as digital storytelling, it seemed more like a journal that is housed on the web. I have seen some blogs that have done a fabulous job of incorporating multimedia elements and thought that they were the next evolution of blogs that had become digital stories. The concept form the chapter that facilitated the expansion of my view of digital stories to included blogs, including my simple blog is the access to an audience that housing on the web gives the author. I had seen the blog as a personal journal that was open to anyone. I felt that one could just as easily been a offline blogger by writing ideas down and stapling them to light post, I thought an internet blog was attractive because it was one light post you could post thoughts to that millions of people could access. This, in my new vision of blogs, was the wrong way to look at the access to audience the web provides.
Yes, with a blog millions of people have access to your ideas or narrative but this is not as important gaining access to the relatively few people that have aligned interests from great distances across the globe. From my experience blogging that I know I feel more successful from seeing I have views from far off places then it do from many American visitors. Because the access to a targeted audience, a blog frees the blogger to tell a different story then if she were posting ideas to a community bulletin board. A story that is meant only for members of a niche community and told in that community’s common language, a digital story.
My favorite wiki is the Star Wars themed Wookieepidia. Much like the examples for L&K this a fan community maintained wiki site that focuses on the vast Star Wars universe. With Disney buying Star Wars and resetting the Star Wars Universe (SWU) I have relied on this wiki to relearn what is canon and what is just awesome side story in the new SWU. It is also fun to just surf from link to link and learn new tidbits about my favorite make believe place.