Monthly Archives: February 2008

Gen X overlooked again

This article on MicroPersuasion.com triggered a reaction on the whole Generational thing, only this time as it ties into how Gen Y is going to be a major push for the continuance of the Information Tech Revolution currently picking up where the Industrial Revolution left off. To borrow a term used by the show Real Time with Bill Maher, “Blogga, please.”

Look, I’m Gen X. I’ve read the book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Fail as aging Boomer social scientists Howe, Strauss, Matson, and Williams tried to ‘explain’ our generation back in the mid 90’s. I laughed at the book mostly, because the Boomers were trying to slap a generalization on a group of folks who hates being generalized. There were some nice pithy comments, and 13th Gen took a unique approach because it was initially posted online for commentary by the emerging internet community, represented in sidebar format in various places in the book. There was also a single political cartoon on the inside of it which summed up in pictorial format the entire undying and still growing resentment between the Boomers and GenX. It showed a coffee shop full of business-suited Boomers talking loudly about how hard it was to refinance the yacht in such an unfriendly economic climate as the mid 90’s, and wondering why the service seemed a bit chilly… all of the wait staff were Gen Xers wearing black T-shirts and black jeans, hard at work and looking harried. The T-shirts all read “Die, Yuppie Scum”. Pretty much sums it up.

Why I’m not buying it

I can’t buy into this message that it’s Gen Y who is going to force the issue of this new Information Age. In the blog article, the emphasis is put on the fact that Gen Y “grew up with the internet, they demand it”. Well, see, that demonstrates two points borne out by general Boomer behavior patterns which I reject categorically. The first has to do with parenting… y’know, maybe Gen Y would be easier to work with if they had actually been -parented-, and introduced to the concept that temper tantrums don’t get you what you want. As a recruiter I can’t tell you how many bubbles I had to burst with brand new kids of the edge of the Gen Y generation who wanted to demand lots of perks without any experience, and seemed actually upset that they would have to “pay dues” the same as everyone else, in one form or another.

As to the second point… the fact that Gen Y “grew up with the internet” should indicate and indicate CLEARLY that the internet was around before they were. In fact, there were folks who actually did buy into the internet and helped to make it so ubiquitous that -children- had access to it, and that demand was not due to any one generation or another, but instead was a social phenomenon caused by trickle down effect… government saw the use of digital networks in productivity, corporations saw the benefits of using computers, and then finally individuals saw those benefits, and slowly computers and the internet saturated society, finally taking hold at a time when, coincidentally, the Gen Y were growing up.

Applying lessons from the field of Anthropology here

I’ll believe social research which glorifies either the Baby Boom or their kids, Gen Y, when it isn’t authored by or built upon theories authored by the Boomers. They’re hardly objective… and while I give props to scientists and journalists alike who try to reach the holy grail of objectivity, the subjective nature of any study lies first in the decision to study it. Just like the entire science of Anthropology which taught me in undergrad to trust no written source in anthropology which was published prior to 1970, 1980 would be best.

My professors said that until the GI Bill of WWII opened higher education to the blue collar economic class in the US, the only anthropologists were from the luxury classes of society. As such, they relied on the pioneering anthropologists and the idea of a homogenous view of culture… examine only a single slice of the culture and you can extrapolate out the rest of culture. As such, they focused on the top 1%, the kings and high priests and ruling classes. And then tried to say that the poor classes lived the exact same way, just scaled according to their means. If that theory held up, we should all have a tiny boat to use in our bathtub which we could call our yachts.

After the blue collar folks got into Anthro, so the reasoning goes, they started looking at more than just the romanticized past of the princely classes of noble savages… they started examining how different levels of society lived,and their findings prompted a foundational shift in Anthropological method, leading to the ‘systems’ view of culture which is espoused today… that is, within any given culture there are smaller sub-systems or sub-cultural systems adopted by different groups based on different identities and physical means. Studying the life of an Irish Catholic priest from Boston in 1950 will yield a very different view of culture and lifestyle than studying the life of a pig farmer in Nebraska at the same time period. Yet both can arguably be said to belong to the same culture.

Bringing it back to Gen Y

So I don’t doubt that there’s a whole host of well trained, well educated, and well intentioned sociologists from the Baby Boom who have developed these wonderful generational theories. I respectfully have to wonder whether they are getting the results that they are getting based on the kinds of subjects and kinds of questions that their own biases are presenting, and I have to seriously wonder whether this data might not be myopic through the influence of the culture of the Boom (and the Boom parenting culture for their kids). I don’t question the hard data of the census or quantitative methodology… just the extrapolations and interpretations which are being wrangled out of it.

This line of questioning ties in directly with a topic that Yochoi Benkler addresses in his Wealth of Networks, when he looks at the role that ‘culture’ plays as a force previously ignored or dismissed, yet extremely impactful and one needing to be taken into account but hard to assess. Benkler was addressing the arena of Liberal Political Theory and approaching the role of culture there, but the argument can be easily made that if culture is a presence needing to be accounted for in one social science, then it should extend similar types of problems into other social sciences as well.

I am inclined to disagree with the notion that any single generation of the US is somehow more or less relevant to the ongoing development of the internet and the continued role that the information revolution is playing in society. After all, we are on the one hand preaching a networked society (Castells), and the Long Tail effect of niche marketing is getting extracted out into the idea of customizable culture and niche network clusters, finding community based on intrinsic characteristics and preferences as opposed to the closest thing available from mass media consumption patterns of the late 20th century. So what if Gen Y grew up with computers? So will all of the children from this point forward.

A rather different prediction, here

And if we are right about the social restructuring effect of the internet in general, the scientifically we should expect to see that “Gen Y” exists as a label on a population curve and little more. We should expect to see Internet-familiar children instinctively forming their own networks based on their own preferences and personal experiences, and thereby defying generalizations of classification and behavior prediction on the scale that marketers and sociologists -used- to rely on.

Isn’t that why we should really be paying attention to them? Because, in the end, they -shouldn’t- conform to our expectations. Or else we’ve been wrong about the social effects of the Internet on a grand scale. And if we were wrong about that, then how do we trust our predictions about Gen Y even if they do fall into predictable late-industrial mass-media consumption and cultural organization patterns?

It certainly would seem so. In fact, it would seem then that we should expect Gen Y to demonstrate a marked resistance to simplified generalizations and classification, a marked reliance on finding and building networks of friends and business contacts who tend to like the same things (philology, love of the same), a respect for the rights of others to self-select their own networks or a philosophical basis of tolerance of differences in others, and a continued reliance on cyberspace as opposed to physical space as the place to affect social change.

The last laugh, literally

In short, if the Internet continues to influence social patterns the way that it has been since before Gen Y, we’ll know because Gen Y will come to resemble Gen X more than the Baby Boomers, albeit with their own identity, but more X than Boom. And that, my friends, will be what makes me laugh all the way to the grave.

Apropos of nothing…

… I took 2 semesters of Contemporary Mohawk in Potsdam College back in the early 90’s. Two semesters and one Mohawk name later, all I could manage to do was introduce myself in the language, ask for my audience’s name, and then launch into a rousing rendition of “10 Little Indians” (which in Mohawk becomes “10 of The People”).

Discuss. 😉

Free! article on Wired.com

I’ve been perusing an article featured on Wired.com which made the statement, “It’s now clear that practically everything Web technology touches starts down the path to gratis, at least as far as we consumers are concerned.”

This is a particularly interesting observation, and it triggered the response thought, “That’s because getting our attention is worth more money in the long run than getting us to buy something now.”   Along with “Charge the businesses… they’re the ones who have the money… hit them up for services and leave us mere mortals free of charge.”

There’s always going to be money or some approximation of it, and resource generation and investment is the foundation of capitalism. But when we reach a mass media saturation point where there’s -too- much clamor and din, the tactics which win our attention and somehow serve to stand out from the babble are the ones which will eventually lead to money. Offer the heavy hitters a track record of attracting attention, and they will pay you for the ability to tap into it. Handsomely.

So free is definitely the way to go. Because free earns buzz. Free earns attention. Heck, any college activity knows full well that offering free food is the best way to attract a crowd. (There is NO cake.) Free also earns gratitude, which is an important ‘opening act’ for any advertising or marketing schtick.

This creates an interesting symbiosis for new actors on the stage of economics, or old actors taking on different roles. There’s the business of business… sales, ROI, incremental gains, shareholders, the whole 9 yards. Then there’s the business of experience…. culture generation, constructing the infrastructure, providing the space, empowering the artists, *being* the artists, customizing the fun, providing the fun, providing the tools… authoring the experience. The two are similar, in that money is a way for both to keep score. But the money follows the crowds. Please the crowds, empower the artists, attract the traffic, create a gathering of attention… and then the money will come.

Interesting thought. We already have multinational corporations providing millions of dollars of support for superstar celebrity endorsements and high/mass media productions. Now we should see the Long Tail in action there too, with smaller corporations getting in the act of finding smaller Experience Authors and paying them for their ability to create or draw even a niche crowd.

Fun stuff. We’ll see if my idle musings turn out to be right.  Woo hoo if that’s the case, since I’m fixin’ ta become an Experience Author somehow myself, once I finish the practical training on Interactive Communications. I mean, I’ve got opinions and things to say… while I’m grateful for the QU business training, I’m also looking forward to the time after graduation when I can devote time to creating cultural displays and using the web as a free publishing medium to attract my own sort of Long Tail. Just for fun… after all, it’s no fun being just the amusement park architect… you gotta go on some rides.

Mount Rushmore

I’ve been working on a narrative project for Writing for Online Media with Professor Hanley this semester. Non-linear topical organization, what I call gunfire writing style – short bursts, more precise the better, each sentence a bullet carrying a complete topical target payload. Short. Clipped. Detached. Yet linked. Engaging. Reaffirming. Taking a complex topic and breaking it into facets and then building it into geometrical castles of topical relevance structured around subtle nuance.

Anyway, I selected the topic of the controversy surrounding Mount Rushmore. (I’ll post it as a website when I’m done.) But I figured, I’ve taken a look at a lot of the basics… time to actually see what the official US National Park Service website had to say about it. I mean, I’ve never been there. Aside from watching the folks on the reality show “Hidden Treasure” clamber all over the faces on the Rushmore trails, I’ve never actually seen the place in any detail. That, and being turned on to the whole controversy by Penn & Teller’s BULLSHIT! Season 5 episode where they go into the whole controversy which surrounded Mount Rushmore at every single stage of the project, historically on up through present day.

The Official Site

So I decided to see what the National Parks Service had to say about the controversy.

Nothing.

Not a single thing on the website. Now, I grew up in Hyde Park, NY, in a cul-de-sac along Route 9, halfway between the Vanderbilt Mansion which bounded the northern side of Hyde Park, and the FD Roosevelt Home & Library, which bounded the southern side of Hyde Park. They were connected along the Hudson River by national trails, and they both had excellent ‘adventure’ and ‘exploration’ potential as a young boy with a bike in an age before Lyme disease and sexual predators became topics of parental paranoia. Before the age of 16, all tickets to the Home and the Mansion were free. (If you’ve ever been to them both, while technically both are ‘mansions’ by any standards, the Roosevelts were quite poor by the standards which included their next door neighbor, Cornelius Vanderbilt. That’s like comparing the wealth of the Southern Baptist Church to that of the Vatican.)

Anyhow, I became a bit of a pest, and a favorite of some of the park employees and tour guides. They recognized me from the boy scout troop trips, and summer after summer of hanging out with friends. Then the high school trips from honors classes into the archives, and finally getting a full-on behind-the-scenes one-on-one curator-led tour of the FDR Home & Museum because I told the tour guide I was a college student studying museology (anthro of museum displays).

Given that albeit local experience with the National Parks Service, I was actually kind of shocked that there was no mention of any controversy on the website for Mount Rushmore. None. I’m… I’m a bit upset by this, because it seems wrong.

I shall write an email!

So I wrote them an email. And submitted it. And here, good friends, it is. I invite folks of like mind to write similar inquiries. (Poke around the site… you’ll learn lots about mountain goats that got away from General Custer, but not a heck of a lot about anything to do with the Native Americans, or, say, the fact that the chief artist on the project was a known and active member of the KKK). When the topic is done for the class, I’ll post the Mount Rushmore project here. Or at least link to it here.

My name is Adam, I’m a graduate student studying Interactive Communications at Quinnipiac University in CT. I am putting together an interactive display speaking toward the more controversial elements surrounding the history of Mount Rushmore. I had hoped to find some historical data or reference materials to the storm of controversy which has surrounded Mount Rushmore from the inception of the project’s vision by Doane Robinson, but alas, I cannot seem to find any links or resources on the official website mentioning anything about this.

Perhaps there is a virtual museum display which is being developed on such a topic? It’s not like the conflicts between the Native Americans and the Settlers over the Black Hills was a quiet period in history. After all, the 1848 Fort Laramie Treaty which formed the basis of the Lakota Sioux claims to the Black Hills in perpetuity was the only instance ever where the United States acknowledged defeat to another political entity, the Sioux Nation.

Could you please direct me to files or resources of public record concerning these claims, artifacts or virtual catalogs of documents held in public trust by the National Park Service which document not only the policy stances taken through word and deed by the creators of Mount Rushmore, but also the relevant historical and dissenting movements which opposed the creation of this monument in various ways along its creation?

As a communications professional pursuing advanced scholarly coursework, I am hopeful that this material has been carefully assembled and worked into the national monument’s display area in the physical monument. As an internet-specialist in the field of communications, I am hoping as well that this information will be made available quickly, on-line.

As a citizen, I am of course hopeful that the National Park Services are presenting -all- aspects of the history of such monuments as Mount Rushmore, and not just a ‘history of the victorious’, as it were.

And as a fellow human, I hope that we are communicating all aspects of a controversial subject in an open and transparent manner, empowering all viewers to weigh the facts and come to their own decisions and appreciations of the complexity of the issues… and not preemptively making those choices *for* them.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing where I can find the story of the Native Americans and the controversies among politics in the broader US society which surrounded the creation of Mount Rushmore.

-Adam Pacio

Interview Insights

I had an interview today for the position of Web Communications Manager for a company called United Technologies Company, Fire and Security. I had two meetings, one with the VP of Communications, the other with two of the Communications Department employees I would be working closely with.

All complaints gone. Seriously.

I was critical of the organization of ICM in my last post. After the interview today, I have to say that any perceived complaint of mine is really petty quibbling. Really.

It’s very easy to get lost in the vision of the blossoming future which we’re studying right now. It’s equally easy to miss the point that Quinnipiac has philosophically sided with the future and decided to try and help it take root by preparing us as business leaders who are not only aware of the changes and social revisions which are taking place but who are also able to navigate them and harness them.

The interview went very well, all things considered. I was there as a New Communications Professional (see Halavais’s class for more on that), ready and eager to see how this translated into a corporate structure, and they were playing the role of a Traditional Corporation, looking for a new Human Resource to populate an empty cubicle and organizational pigeonhole with. I’m sure I made just as odd an impression on them as the notion of a candidate for a Web Communications Manager who didn’t bring or refer to the URL of a portfolio of dazzling websites and web work.

In short, the Corporation is still stuck in Web 1.0 mentality and were slightly… surprised… by some of the things that I brought to the table. They certainly weren’t the traditional portfolio of websites… after all, I read the job description to be a ‘web COMMUNICATIONS manager’ and the VP at least seemed to be looking for a ‘WEB communications MANAGER’. I felt bad that I didn’t bring a sideshow portfolio of tricks and cool looking graphics, weird sites and tricked out webpages. I think she was actually looking forward to seeing it.

Yes, yes. Soon there will be.

I know, I know. I should have a website of some kind showcasing who I am and what I do. I just haven’t had the complete skillset to put it all together yet, nor the copious free time with which to populate said site with bells and whistles.

Still, the second portion of the interview went much better. I got a chance to talk with two great Communications professionals currently working within the department. That interview quickly broke down to talking shop, which was refreshing because I wasn’t certain whether my notion of talking shop would be borne out by fellow ‘bona fide’ Communications Professionals. I mean, I can dish with the best when it comes to advertising agencies and graphic design, even a bit when it comes to recruiting, but I didn’t know whether or not the cloud of subject matter and topics of conversation I’ve quickly been accumulating during the QU courses would actually translate into anything recognizable to other Communications professionals from outside the department.

Some of the ideas put forward

We discussed ways to help the United Technologies Companies drive user interaction and reliance upon their (proprietary solution!) Intranet. They wanted to know how to reach the thousands of “services” personnel who didn’t do work behind a computer but instead were the technicians and installers/servicers out in the field. I asked if their proprietary Intranet had an XML data API. Yes. Well, had they considered developing a widget which would channel email alerts and news items through Mobile Media devices? Mobile Media? Whatever did I mean by that? “Cell phones.” Oh. No, they hadn’t.

What about getting employees to check the intranet regularly? Can they develop widgets for the intranet site? Yes. Well, what about turning the company intranet site into something based more loosely around the models like Facebook or MySpace? Give the users options for customization of look and feel and more importantly, widgets needed for their job, and allow the option of linking in with Mobile Media devices for notification of updates or changes. If the intranet was actually useful, and it allowed the users to customize their own experience of the website, they would be more likely to spend time there and thus, more likely to pay attention to company updates.

I decided not to ask whether or not they would consider setting up a wiki for employees to use to generate the documentation for process and procedure. I didn’t even bother getting into discussions on how to enter the Peering community. I figured by this time that I had tanked with the VP and slam dunked with the employees. If I get called back in I’ll bring a portfolio of various communications materials so that I’ll have my dog and pony show.

Big wakeup call

This for me was the rude reminder that as commonplace and as matter-of-fact that Quinnipiac is making Interactive Web 2.0 philosophy for us as students, there are a *lot* of businesses out there which haven’t gotten the message. Maybe they feel they don’t need to change their ways, and maybe they don’t need to. I do know that I got their attention by quoting the IBM case study from Tapscott & Williams’ Wikinomics. If IBM felt the pressing need to adapt in order to connect with the new communications paradigm brought about through the technological revolution coming through the internet, well then … maybe ‘security’ is more like ‘complacency’. Not to be alarmist… if UTC is any indication of the corporate cultural hurdles which must be overcome to begin affecting real business change, then my fellow QU grads and I are not just near the cutting edge, we’re helping the edge along.

And that’s a sweet place to be.

Buyer beware in the ICM curriculum

Okay, I’m dense. Really dense. I’ve made a crucial error this semester in planning and arranging my courseload by signing up for ICM590 after having taken ICM512. The two courses are essentially identical in their curriculum, but because I didn’t read the syllabus as fully as I should have, I am now enrolled in what amounts to a re-run of a class I have already taken for credit elsewhere within the ICM program.

Concept to Website, take 1

Last semester with David Maccarella in ICM512: Strategic Communications we learned how to identify the need for a possible website, work from concept up, through client planning and strategy documentation, on through wireframes and information architecture planning, the development of navigational elements and user interface optimization, up to the actual design and layout of the site. I did the work on a website for a friend, got the credit and passed with an A-.

The minus was due to general laziness on my part… I already work in web development environments, and while all of this theory is just dandy, it fails to translate directly into actual practice. The real world requires much greater flexibility, and the arrangement of professional priorities to ensure that more time is spent on actual site development up front than documentation for documentation’s sake. Yes, it is entirely possible for projects to spin out of control, but that’s a big part of what makes a web professional a web professional – the ability to successfully navigate the balancing point between necessary and unnecessary processes and procedures. Since the average client comes to the table far too late and with far too little idea of what actually goes into making a professional-quality website, I’d hazard a guess that the majority of web developers either have to abandon the client’s dollars or abandon a strict process.

Concept to website, take 2.

This semester, in ICM590: Online Collaborative Studio with McNally, we’re doing the same thing as we just did in 512. The difference lies in minor emphasis shifts… McNally’s class covers everything that Macarella’s course did, but adds in a bit on search engine optimization later on in the course and also seems to be covering usability design and testing in greater depth.

However, in *this* semester’s ICM503: Advanced Visual Aesthetics with Maccarrella again, David is focusing on XHTML, CSS, webpage coding, *and* Usability testing and User Interface design. Also, the misnomer of ‘Collaborative Studio’ for ICM590 would seem to indicate that students are going to join together in online collaborative teams in order to produce something in the digital realms -together-, learning how to leverage the need for collaborative organizational efforts and work within the modern digital community. Even there, though, ICM522: Comm., Media, & Society taught by Alex Halavais this semester is stealing thunder from ICM590. Halavais is leading the students in his class toward collaborating online using wiki software in order to produce a book exploring the role of the New Communications Professional in society today.

Not leaving much

So the only thing that ICM590 has to offer which isn’t covered by other classes I am taking or have taken is Search Engine Optimization practices, and that’s covered within a week or two’s lecture after midterms. Honestly, having taken the ICM501 overview of topics in Interactive Communications, I know already that an entire graduate level class could be offered on Search Engines alone, and could include a very in-depth study of optimization practices and the politics of search engines in creating the culture of the information marketplace. But as interesting as that might be, it wouldn’t fit within ‘Collaborative Studio’ connotations.

As a matter of fact, a better alignment of course offerings with course titles would have been putting Halavais’s seminar under ICM590: Collaborative Studio, have someone (again, Halavais seems to have some direct research experience with search engines so we’ll use him for example) teach ICM522: Comm, Media, & Society and focus on the social politics of the information marketplace and search-engine driven cultural evolutions, including standards of optimization practices. And move McNally’s class to ICM512: Strategic Communications, alternating with David.

Proposed ICM Curricular Realignment

In fact, here’s a suggestion on some revisions and “curricular realignment” to help solve the disconnect which appears currently between Quinnipiac’s ICM course names/numbers and the actual subject material within them. I’ll start only with what currently exists, and put it into my Druthers (If I had it my way, I’d ruther it be this way). Then maybe a wish list as a student for the next step of improvement and evolution of the program. Maybe. Too much homework I’m too far behind on (why do these insights come when I’m late with things?).

Core Experience Coursework

These classes are the foundational courses upon which all other electives and tracks will build.

  • ICM501: Intro to Interactive Communications — Review of ICM literature, seminar face-to-face format. Relationship and community builder for Campus students. Online version only for the non-campus version of the program/new abbreviated program under consideration. More instruction on the basic level of basic university level research, citation styles, and scholarly writing for research. Need more handholding up front to inspire confidence and establish foundation for business grad students to work within academia.
  • ICM502: Digital Production & Aesthetics (formerly Visual Aesthetics) — Overview instruction in basic digital design principles. Overview instruction in the technical considerations for digital production. Introduction to the Holy Trinity of digital design: Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign. Core curricular focus on differences between vector/raster, web/print, mac/pc consideration, discussion of Holy Trinity and open source alternatives. Simple design aesthetics instruction including scoping the competition, deconstructing basic designs, and analytical approach to the role of design within the online medium.
  • ICM506: Writing (Non-fiction) for Interactive Media — Keep course as it is. Introduces students to online writing convention for narrative style.

Digital Production cluster

Building upon the Digital Production cluster of courses:

  • ICM503: Front End Website Production – HTML, CSS, PHP & MySQL — Formerly ‘advanced visual aesthetics’. Focus on use of Dreamweaver and the design and production of websites with CSS, HTML variants, and integration with PHP/MySQL databases on the front end of web design and production. (This would only add in the PHP & MySQL integration unit, since currently-named ICM503:Adv. Visual Aesthetics includes HTML & CSS.)
  • ICM504: Website Production – ActionScript 3.0 — Basic introductory class on scripting for information animation and website ‘programming’ in Flash’s ActionScript 3.0 language. Only change… make the final project designing a website entirely in ActionScript. Coding project was fun & all, but websites are what the business community is going to want, and this is a business-level communications program as it currently stands.
  • ICM508: Online Video & Sound Production — Class focuses on all aspects of digital video editing and composition, as well as sound editing and production. Beef up the resources allocation for graduate students/greatly restrict the number of students who can register so that each grad student receives a dedicated set of audio and video production equipment for the duration of the *entire* semester. At Quinnipiac course prices PLUS lab fees, we shouldn’t have to compete for resources with undergrads while taking this -required- class.

Strategic Business Cluster

Building upon the Strategic Business cluster of courses:

  • ICM512: Interactive Development for Strategic Communications — Make this class and this class -alone- about the process of making a website, from concept to usability testing and continual site review. Overview of the website design and project management process.
  • ICM525: Media Management — I haven’t taken this course yet, but I’m hoping that it will focus completely on how to manage the digital media process using business-school management techiques and adapting them specifically for the business environment. If this just ends up as another ICM512/590 ‘concept to website‘ class, I’ll be pretty pissed.
  • ICM590: Collaborative Studio — Focus on the phenomenon of peering and collaborative environments. Students establish a collaborative studio and are given the task of actually creating a website and all of its content from concept to completion. This site will be hosted on Quinnipiac’s server and therefore the team must not only navigate the cooperative workplace but also balancing the needs and interfacing with the business standards and practices of the ‘client’, in this case the PR department of Quinnipiac which approves or denies all material posted on the QU web. Students must maintain an analytical blog record of the collaborative process and journal any thoughts or insights. At the end of the project the website goes live. Designed as a ‘finishing’ course for the business cluster but relies heavily and adds value to Digital Production coursework lessons as well.

Social Impact Cluster

These courses emphasize the Social/Societal role of new media cluster of courses:

  • ICM522: Communications, Media & Society — In-depth literature review on the social influences or roles of the New Media. Broad span of topics, but aimed more at where the technology of the internet and digital media are in the process of redefining or reshaping social roles, cultural norms, or social philosophies. Areas like activism, copyright laws, democratization of access, politics of information. Meant to provide a more robust literature survey in seminar format. Final project aims at production of a scholarly paper or project for submission to peer reviewed journals.
  • ICM552: Media Law — Still haven’t taken this, but I’m assuming that it’s a review of the current legal trends and casework which has been done or is pending and which affects the new media and social philosophy as expressed by law, and perhaps also a look at how the new media has changed or shaped the practice of law as well.
  • ICM520: Game Theory and Digital Media — Currently the course is named “Game design & development” and I’ve been told that it has never been offered at QU because there’s no one around with the requisite background to teach it. Instead of focusing on game design in the entertainment sense, the establishment of topical course clusters gives a chance to delve a bit beyond the ‘buzz topic’ in digital development of game design. Course would focus on an in-depth literature review on Game Theory as it applies to the realm of digital media. Chance to focus on connections between game theory and usability, inherent politics which result from management of limited choices, the definition of a ‘game’, basics of game theory, etc. Also allows a look ‘under the hood’ at the theory of limited choices and game mechanics within User Interfaces, navigational elements, and actual ‘games’ development.

Capstone Experience

  • ICM601: Master’s Project — Student wraps up the entire program by electing to produce an online interactve piece which demonstrates mastery of production and praxis. (Take 601 OR 602)
  • ICM602: Thesis — Student wraps up the entire program by electing to produce a Master’s Thesis, which demonstrates academic mastery of topical research and scholarly communication within ICM. (Take 601 OR 602)

Electives

Offered as needed to round out the curriculum or introduce new topics. Ideal if they can be mapped to one of the existing topical clusters, but not a requirement.

Well… there you have my Druthers for the ICM program speaking from halfway in. I’d drop the current 590 class except that it would drop me down to part time and affect my fiancial aid. Looks like I’m due on a trip back through the ‘Concept to Website’ trip again. Ah well. Practice makes for improvement. I’m just going to have to look at this as a ‘Ryan Millner-esque’ chance to have fun with the subject matter.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, my car is finally mine to use again, so its time to go catch up in Halavais’ class. (Alas, online though it is, I need access to the library for the access to the journal articles full-text. That means the library. And that means an hour commute. Off I go.)

Bibliomancy meme

I’ve been hit with the latest version of a chain letter. Alex tagged me with the bibliomancy meme suggestion. ‘Grab the nearest book, open to page 123, count down to the 5th sentence, and then post the next three sentences’. Sort of like divination by random book opening. Well, actually, that’s exactly what bibliomancy is. For those who like free Bibliomancy readings at any time, check out Facade.com. They have runes and tarot and I ching an Biorhythms over there, too. Facade has been around since at least the late 90’s when I would waste time while working at IBM by surfing there, when surfing was new and the mp3 hadn’t been invented yet.

Anyhoo, here’s my bibliomancy meme.  I’m left handed and I sit by a bookshelf. First book that came to hand was The Technical Pen: Techniques for Artists by Gary Simmons (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1992. Pg 123 exists with text. 5 lines down, the bibliomancy segment reads:

“Think of small lines like this as shapes and hatch them as such. Avoid drawing a solid line that cannot be integrated into the larger shapes later.

“The feathers on the goose’s back are very subtle. They look defined, but actually they are merely suggested in shape and in position. They tend to melt into a general shape at the chest and to disappear into the shadows on the back.”

I’ll have to edit this later to put in the folks I’m karmically engaging to provide their own bibliomancy meme post. For now, enjoy the mystic wisdom excerpted above.  Personally, I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster reveals his noodly wisdom above by trying to get us to live modular, open source lives between the transparent conglomeration of love in our hearts and the anonymity of obscurity in our proprietary past.

Om mani pad thai yum.