Author Archive

The Real Revolution

Posted: February 9, 2011 by Alex Curtis in Uncategorized

I have always thought that because virtually anything that’s online can be published unchecked, internet reporting is often sensationalized a great deal.  

Naturally, when I heard that there was a “revolution” going on in Egypt, I was sceptical of its legitimacy (or at least its scale).

In the spastic and distracted world of the internet, words like “revolution” help to make things stick. And sometimes things that are made out to be a coup are actually just a cough.  

So I went about investigating what this whole revolution was about. I started by doing a Wikipedia search, and began reading. There was something big happening without a doubt, but to call it a revolution seemed hasty to me.

I followed a few links from Wikipedia, and then returned to find that the Wikipedia page had been edited.

I hadn’t spent more than twenty minutes online and the information was being updated already. It’s when I realized that I had been missing the idea. There was something revolutionary about the Egyptian protests. It was a media revolution.

I think the influence that social media had in shaping the protests is obvious considering the government’s blackout on the internet. There was definitely greater ease in organizing protests with access to social networking sites, but the protesters didn’t stop when the internet went down.

That rules out the notion that the “revolution” is dependent on the internet.

I think what’s really revolutionary about the protests in Egypt is that someone like me, is able to be constantly up to date on what is happening  when I am on the other side of the world.  I guess that might mean it’s more of an information revolution.

I’m sure that the Egyptian protests will be written about in history, but what I think is historical about it, is the widespread coverage on the internet that made it almost impossible not to watch the protests unfold.

The expression “one for the history books” is almost funny now considering history is more often learned on Wikipedia these days than in any books at all. The pages of history being written now are web pages, and in a way the history being made has more resonance because of its presence online.

It’s funny to think that maybe our class is in some small way playing our part in the “revolution” just by posting online about it ourselves. Though separated by space and time, the internet provides a forum for ideas to be shared, and sure, it’s pretty unlikely that anybody outside of our class will read what we have written but even sharing with each other proves the importance of the internet for spreading ideas.

Zen and Web 2.0

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Alex Curtis in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

I tend to favour myself a bit of a romantic. I have always begrudgingly rejected advancements in technology because it seems that with every “progression”, there is a greater disconnect between real people. Though, I am reluctant to admit it, I very much enjoyed Pirsig’s marriage of romanticism and rationality, especially in suggesting that by showing “care” for a machine, we can actually develop a relationship with it.

In the context of internet based journalism, I think Pirsig might make one of two arguments: First, he might suggest that because the internet is so “broad” that things like web journalism can easily lose their depth, something that I agree is true. It seems that internet articles appeal to a crowd with a shorter attention span, and are written faster so as to keep up with other online sources that are constantly breaking news. In this way, Pirsig might liken the new era of print journalists to the mechanics in a shop who despite being “professional” mechanics, rush through their work and take little pride in what they do.

Second, he might suggest that with the advent of technology such as blogs, where anyone can participate in creating meaningful works and publishing them (especially as someone whose book was rejected by 121 publishers) that we are able to fully develop caring relationships with technology. Taking time and pride in what we do online.

Alex Curtis- Media Diary

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Alex Curtis in Uncategorized

Thursday, 8 am, I am jarred awake like every morning by a loud radio alarm. I usually like to begin my day by listening to CBC Radio One, but due to some unfortunate contact with the tuning dial yesterday, it’s just a mess of static and country music. I hop out of bed and run across the room to hit the snooze on the alarm, and at the same time I turn on my phone (I turn it off before bed every night).

I actually have a small nightstand-ish table that I have dubbed my “media centre”. On it, I keep my television, iPod, Phone, Radio and a basket full of batteries, headphones and other little trinkets that help with my technological impairment.  It’s also located right by the door so that I don’t forget anything on my way out in the morning. I close my eyes in bed again and within seconds, my phone is vibrating like a mad man, so I get up again, turn of my alarm so it doesn’t end up going off while I’m in the shower, and check my text messages. Then, since I’m awake, I decide to have a read through some headlines on my “favourites” that I’ve saved on my iPod.  I get my news from CBC.ca, and then check Pitchfork, Punknews, Thrasher and Sherdog and a few personal blogs I follow just for my own amusement.

I walk to school with my iPod in, ignoring everyone in the world and rejoicing in the sunshine. When I get to campus, I check emails and facebook, but decide on this particular day to deactivate my account. I recently decided that I would like to rid myself of facebook and social networking sites and even try to get rid of my cellphone, in order to fully commit to being an actual emotional human being, and so that I don’t have to rely on technology to socialize. It’s a daunting task, but I did it happily for 18 years, so there’s no reason I couldn’t revert back to being a Luddite.

Throughout the rest of the day, I spend time doing readings both online and in books for my classes and spend some time searching online for articles for a research paper. I flip through an abandoned Aquinian while eating lunch and spend a little more time online before leaving campus.I get home around 7 o’clock and turn the TV on to keep me company. I spend a bit more time still on the internet, navigating to Facebook twice, almost forgetting both times that I just made a commitment to stop using it.

I run out for the night, and get to watch sports highlights while out at a pub with some friends. I get home late, fix the tuning dial on my alarm, and unintentionally make an ironic choice for a pleasure read, “White Noise” by Don Delillo. I read it until I fall asleep.