Thursday, 6 December 2007

Final Reflection

So we've come to the end of our project. Everything is edited, proof read and final. I myself am very proud of it and I know everyone else in the group is too. Last Monday was a turn over. The project actually looked well presented with the images, colours, links and layout... thanks to Mette's patience with the computers. In some cases I found that the images reflected what we were arguing anyway so it was a good visual tool.

The Group
The individual roles at the end of the project went as follows;
- Research - A bit from everyone
- Site design - Mette
- Main Image finding / collection / research - Leda / Khristina
- Editor - Jana
- Content preparation and writing - Mette / Khristina / Leda

- But then again, everyone done some of everything.

I have to say... what annoyed me at times was the fact that a lot of work I had done... went through editing and was completely changed. Although it's nothing to take personally as it’s a group project, I felt at times... what was the point of me researching and taking time to write when it was changed. Next time I think i'll leave the main writing to the perfectionists of the group. (Just kidding) You have to learn to be mature about these things. Apart from that and although there was a bit of worry at the start I enjoyed working with my group... we got on well, were motivated, worked hard and stayed in contact via email with all the progresses.

The Course
As I’ve said before, at first I was confused about the outcome of the course and the style and context of writing was different to what I'm used to. It’s much more relaxed and like a conversation, where as my degree course is more academic, formal and uses long posh words that I just forget after two seconds. I felt I could be more myself in blogging... (Probably lots of spelling and grammar mistakes - sorry about that but everyone has their weaknesses). Blogging for me was like having a conversation with a friend or writing a dairy. You can reflect, moan and plan and so on.

When I started I didn't have a clue about creating web pages and actually didn't really care as I had the mentality that I will never need it or use it in my life. My social networking skills are awful, I have one 'Facebook' account which I hardly use and never manage or create any groups on it etc... I prefer using the phone or face-to-face interaction. Although that is personal preference and everyone has different preferences.

However I have come to learn just how easy it is and actually and surprisingly used the skills in work. I work for a photographic production agency which represents popular fashion photographers and stylist. This month I have been given the responsibility to maintain their website; update new magazine stories, biographies, E-mails and create new pages. Check it out it’s: . So the skills I gained from this course have been proven useful.

My initial idea of cyberspace was negative. As we know cyberspace and in particular 'virtual communities' offer a lot of scope for deception and the false portrayal of identities. For example some ‘chat rooms’ offer worrying examples of paedophiles adopting false identities in the ‘grooming’ process.
but to be fair, this experiance in blogging has proven to show that 'cyberspace' can be a place where people can actually portray their real selves and reflect honestly. For example some one can be homosexual and freely express that online but not in public. A virtual space is ideal in this sense; one can join homosexual groups, participate in conversations and get advice. Although I have become more aware of the dangers by the research we have carried out in the group, it’s not fair to just attack virtual communities with its negative use. At the end of the day, people can access the internet in the ways they wish and although this will never be the case... but people should be conscious and wary about what personal information they offer others. There are warnings, articals and news reports into such communities and also films and cyberpunk novels provide this awareness.
Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk novel 'Snow Crash' is the inspiration of the development of 'Second Life'.

Actually before this course I never had herd of 'Second Life' - it actually really interested me which lead me to do a small case study into its use for an academic essay. What really interested me were the media corporations marketing the companies in this virtual community. Well it is marketer’s jobs to be on a constant hunt for newer potential advertising space. And 'Second Life' was a perfect way to reach a mass audience. 'Sony BMG', 'Ben & Jerry’s', 'Coca-Cola', all have 'Second Life' accounts, lands and companies. So real yet virtual. The fact that people pay real US$ to access a virtual space is crazy and demonstrates the strong future which the cyber world holds.

It’s clear the future of communication, media corporations and every element of real life will be also part of a 'second' 'virtual life'. So any of you who feel they may need IT training skills better start some courses now.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Towards the End!

I have to say... time has flown! It feels like only last week I was stressing about not knowing what to do in this course. This week we have all are other course deadlines so I think many is in a bit of a panic to get everything finished.
I thinks it's bin the hardest term so far of the whole degree course, and personally I've struggled to keep deadline's set by the group in order to finish the project (well one deadline!) due to the mess in moving out side London, late evenings and early mornings... not that I want to use it as a excuse, but it is the reason for most of my stress. However, despite petty misunderstandings I do think it went ok...

I've uploaded pictures and added references on the wiki, also worked on the introduction and an idea for the conclusion. Hopefully tomorrow Monday 3rd December (I can't believe were in December already!!!) we will finalize the project. We only need some small rearrangements and final touches. We arranged as a group to meet at 10am and throughout Nigel's session to get it all done!

This group project has actually been a lesson. Although you have some up's and downs, different opinions and styles of working, even if you don't really like or get on with members (generally), you have to work together to get something finished. Sometimes you could together produce master pieces. It's a challenge.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


I’ve just read Mette's blog and I think she's right about the presentation on the wiki page. I seen other groups work and it’s very creative. Well, I guess it’s the quality that counts. Although there are study which say that most people scan through text on a computer screen.

So all the 'exciting' links, images and videos we’re adding on our wiki should attract readers and be quite straight forward and interesting.

Mette and Jana uploaded a lot of text in the Monday session which was great due to the techno difficulty they had. I have upload some relevant images and need to focus on a strong into and conclusion.

Thinking about cyberspace and from other classes I have, its interesting to see the links and representation of cyberspace in films, cyberpunk novels and reality.
I've been researching on the net into cyberpunk novels and films, their narrative etc... coming across Matrix, La Femme Nikita, The Lawnmower Man, Cyborg Cop etc all film involving humans interaction with information technology, data etc and all provide a form of warning to society of this technological development which can exceed human intelligence.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with Nigel about my concern with having too much technology and radiation around the house, and my dislike for my siblings always on the phone or MSN. Virtual communities are taking over!! nooooooooooooooooo!!! Just kidding.

Monday, 26 November 2007

In Class

While Mette's focus was to upload all the work on the wiki, Khristina and I worked on gathering images and videos to enhance the visual appearance of the wiki page. Here are some examples of images and videos I thought would be useful:

The images shows a cartoon demonstaeing in a humous way, the power of computers and technology on humans.

My favoriate clip is below a short episode from 'The Real Hustle' showing card scams. Unfortuniately I couldn't find a clip on any online scams which would have been good.

It's bin soo long...

Wow, I can't believe I actually miss writing on my blog. Well, I bet Nigel missed me... didn't u Nigel? ... Did u notice that 'u', I was going to change it but realised it makes a point. I've been doing this a lot when trying o write essays etc. I’m just so used to writing in text, msn and chat format and way of writing.... And i'm not proud of it! But it just shows how people, especially young people are in a way writing words in short and not even noticing it. It's becoming normal. My brother last week showed me an essay he wrote, his teacher had underlined in red all the short words he'd used and it was disgraceful.

Anyway... back to work, I really think this course is useful in outlining and making consciouse the theory, arguments and research into identity and virtual communities. We use them with out realising their effects on use. As I've said before, I just can't believe how much one is reliant on the Internet, My Space, Facebook, MSN etc (in their personal space) in ways to communicate with the outside world. I no for sure that I use the Internet to communicate with friends and family much more than using my phone. Its available, free, and quick so why not? But what annoys me about myself and I see it in other people as well, is the fact hat when their not using and online network, their on the phone or if not that then it's using text messages.

From notes from Chris Sams lectures on cyberspace, and academic reading from many books, (my favouiate) David Bell's intro to cybercultures, all this raises the issues about real life and and a virtual life, and face-to-face communications. It's nice to read and be able to relate academic theories into the way we as members of virtual spaces behave.

Anyway... it's 10:30am and I have a lecture. I’ll come back to this soon.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Web Designs

Good and Bad Website:

I personally think that what make's a good website is; clarity, flow of colours, useful/ relevant links, picture illustrations and diagrams, sub titles, and precise texts.

What makes a bad website is, too many random links, too many colours and moving images, long blocks of texts, pop ups, bad spelling, no reference information for quotes etc.

Links to the examples of these are below;
Good Web Site;

Sam learning is an educational website for young teenagers. It’s designed to help with revision on key stage 1-3 Sats, GCSE's and A-levels. The aim of the websites it useful and informative, the colour design used (red and blue) works well, as they are bright and can in a way to encourage students to fell active in revision. If dull colours were to be used it would make it unappealing and boring to revise. Also it encourages links to help further with revision ' Take The Stress Out Of Mocks Pack'. The links are clear and bold and it is an established website, has a logo etc.

Bad Web Site;

The high street fashion store 'Jane Norman' in terms of colour and layout, it does work, but the links and the availability of clothing images is very limited. Each occasion category shows only one out fit. I think fans of this store would like to see the whole collection.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


Hello again..

Im not stressed any more, I have my internet back and I've got alot of work done this week. After research research research... I finally put together my piece on 'identity in virtual communities'. I've also done a project introduction and edited some research into the definition of 'community'.

I've emailed this to the group and feel prity confident again, and writing in my blog I think has become helpful in strcuturing and keeping record of our progress as a group.