Assessment Task 2: Finding My Community

The past few weeks I’ve been investigating different online communities and have been trying to integrate myself into them and offer up my contributions. But one specific online community I’ve been using is the Steam Community (http://steamcommunity.com/). It’s a subsection off of the Steam store, the biggest online video game store. This community platform allows users to post content related to specific video games that can be purchased through the store. Whether that be through the Forums, uploading screenshots, videos, artwork or even the workshop which allows you upload modifications to games that anyone around the world can use.

But what makes this website a community? When looking at communities we can recognise that they are formed on 3 general points. Central unifying values, participation within a conversation and a sense of shared experience. The community is unified by there not only their love of video games but for the Steam platform itself. It allows users to interact, post pictures and discuss this love within the forums and enables participation within an overall conversation. The sense of shared experience comes from playing the video games themselves and being able to share your own personal experience of the video game, with other likeminded individuals on the Steam platform.

The particular part of the Steam community I chose to partake in was a sub-section for the video game Counter-strike: Global Offensive. I made a couple of different contributions. The first two contributions I made where videos (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=676604611 and http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=676604607). These videos acted as a review for the latest patch notes for the game. This allowed me to share my own opinion on the changes and hopefully spark discussion with other community members that are interested. “Hypertext thereby blurs the distinction between what is inside and what is outside the text” (Landow 2006) In these videos I attempt to make use of the intertextuality of hypertext, making direct reference to popular (http://www.reddit.com/r/globaloffensive) community threads and known image macros in the community. Such as the ‘volvo’ meme, that is used to reference the company Valve, the owner of steam. This is a theme I thought pertinent in other videos I looked at from the community. Another contribution I made was in the forums under the alias ‘ReveZ’ (http://steamcommunity.com/app/730/discussions/0/364039531225509113/), where I offered my opinion on ‘smurfing’ an issue currently plaguing the community.

“We can’t exchange social currency in a vacuum. We need other              people.” (Oatway, 2012:98) I came into this experience with this quote in mind. I wanted to break into this community and offer my own social currency to them, instead of just indulging on the side lines and giving nothing back. While I believe I’ve created content and shared content with the community in mind, I have received little or no response back from them. The reasoning for this minimal success probably comes from the fact I’m not an established figure in the community. “The hunt for community is hardest at first, but gets easier once you’ve established a presence. Overcoming complete obscurity, moving from being a complete unknown to being recognizable presence is all it takes to being to attract an audience.” (Oatway, 2012:100) This is just my initial offering to this community. To eventually attract a bigger response, I’ll need to keep offering up my social currency and progressively gain more contacts, connections and opportunities within the community. Only then will I truly establish my presence.

References:

Landow, George P. “Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization” Hypertext 3.0, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2006 117-118

Oatway, Jay, Apr 26, 2012, Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader Wiley, Hoboken.  97-109.     ISBN: 9781119943457.

 

Workshop 22/04/2016

In todays workshop I took a look into some of the communities I regularly browse but don’t necessiraly contribute to. This community I chose to focus on was http://www.SteamCommunity.com I honed my focus more specifically to the discussion forums of the website. Each game has it’s own respective forum. I posted two comments in seperate posts in the Counter-strike: Global offensive section of the discussion forums. Both the threads were focused on the issue of “Smurfing” in the competitive CS:GO environment. Which is players of particularly high skill in the community, buying lower-ranked accounts and competing against lower-skilled players for an easy win and some fun. I offered my opinion on the subject and replied to different users in the threads. I’ll subscribe to the threads and wait  to see if I get a response.

When selecting this website I made my choice on the values that make a community discussed in the lecture this week. “Central unifying values, participation within a conversation and a sense of shared experience.”

Workshop 15/04/2016

Today we discussed different media theories, I had a look at Technological determinism.

  • What you think the term means

Technological Determinism state that media technology shapes how we as individuals in a society think, feel, act, and how are society operates as we move from one technological age to another (Tribal- Literate- Print- Electronic).

  • Who are some people (if any) who relate to this (theorists etc)

-Thorstein Veblen

-Karl Marx

-Marshall McLuhan

-Raymond Williams

-Clarence Ayres

  • Think of an example that helps demonstrate this

Cell phones. Twenty years ago there were none; today they’re everywhere. We’ve witnessed a few ways that they are influencing our evolution.

First, they’ve made the world much smaller, by making it possible for people to connect just about anywhere, anytime. This connectivity has enhanced the homogenising effects of economic globalisation, while also making it easy for governments and corporations to track our movements; conversely, they have made it possible for whistleblowers and revolutionaries to get their messages out while cultural change is occurring, while increasing the speed of that change.

 

I also had a look at a few different video game communities that interested me. Here’s my top5 list:

https://steamcommunity.com – Video game stores and gaming community

https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/ – Subreddit for anything gaming related.

http://mmgn.com – Australian and international gaming news and forum community.

http://www.hltv.org – Counter-strike international news site.

http://au.cybergamer.com – Local counter-strike competitive scene and community.

 

Today’s Workshop 08/04/2016

Today in the workshop I found an interesting video game that relates to the subject. This website is called http://thewikigame.com it’s a race against time to get from one unrelated wikipedia article to another. It makes use of the millions of hyperlinks between articles on the HyperText known as Wikipedia. It’s a great example of what Landow suggests his students “fall in through the living-room ceiling rather than entering through the front door.”

I also looked into a few video game industry websites that interested me. Such websites included https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/04/07/baftas-2016-gaming-winners/ which had the results of the latest BAFTA game awards. All the games that won had hyperlinks to there respective reviews, giving me a better insight into why perhaps they won the award. As well as options to share the post on Facebook, twitter and reddit.

We also discussed in the workshop today the follow points in a group discussion. (These were my personal answers):

Can you think of some examples examples of this in your own experience of reading stories online?  

.Facebook post, reading some one having a big argument and you have no idea why it started.

How do you navigate once you’re ‘in the living room’ straight away?

.Look up similar work to maybe provide context

.Try to find hyperlinks and information off the website to guide you

Assessment Task 1: Blogging

As a person, writing has never really been something that has excited me a great deal. But upon starting this course and having to start a blog, I have been really prompted to start giving it a try. The tools and perspectives I have already been given over the past few weeks has changed my view on blogs entirely. Through looking at web content and media as a series of hypertext, all interlinked. Giving an entirely new and still experimental way to display information and tell a story. To the use of creative commons as a platform to share work and collaborate with other people through online communities. These are just a few examples of ways blogging has got me excited as a writer.

Before the course I had a very plain outlook on what blogging was. I assumed it was mostly just a text posts put online mostly about political and social issues. But through viewing blogs as a hypertext or a form of online story telling my perspective quickly changed. The most obvious example to me was a hypertext I viewed in a workshop called The Whale Hunt. “First, to experiment with a new interface for human storytelling. The photographs are presented in a framework that tells the moment-to-moment story of the whale hunt. The full sequence of images is represented as a medical heartbeat graph along the bottom edge of the screen, its magnitude at each point indicating the photographic frequency (and thus the level of excitement) at that moment in time.” (Harris, 2007) Johnathan Harris decided he wanted to display his journey of whale hunting via the photos he and the crew took on the journey. But it is the way he chose to display and share the documented images which is great. With an innovative system that allows you to visually see frequency of photos being taken on a linear time scale. Like a heart rate monitor. But also allowing users to sort photos by metadata/tagging to construct their own concept of the story. With tags that allow you to sort by location, crew member, time of day and many more. To me this is a great example of a hypertext. Which excites me greatly as a writer.

When comparing The Whale Hunt to my own blog I can see how I am slowly forming my own hypertext with my blog. Through this post (https://lachlansmind.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/youtube-channel/) I have given a brief introduction to my new gaming YouTube channel. I’ve embedded the playlist of videos into the post for interactivity. As well as tagged and categorized it for easy access on the blog. Which is important for people searching for particular aspects within a hypertext. Each post about Video game content on my blog I further my story as a content producer and the overall hypertext.

The content protection medium known as Creative Commons is a form of protection almost exclusively used for the internet. Because it allows the user to set his/her license to the amount of freedom you want to give people to use your work. “Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that offers a flexible range of licences for creators wanting to allow others to use their work in certain ways. Often a copyright owner will reserve all their rights, but a Creative Commons licence allows the creator to relinquish some rights and reserve others.” (Arts law: Information sheet: Legal issues for Bloggers, 2016). This excites me greatly as a writer, as it gives me the opportunity to not only let people take my work and adapt/share it in their own way. But also if their license allows adapt and use other people’s work in my own way or style. I think it is a great way to increase this sense of Intertextuality that exists in hypertext media.

Through a new understanding of hypertext content and the way it tells a story. As well as learning the use of Creative Commons as a way to share content with other users in online communities. Overall I have gained a much deeper understanding of blogging as a whole and it has given me new-found excitement as a writer.

 

References:

Harris, J. (2007) The whale hunt / by Jonathan Harris / statement. Available at: http://thewhalehunt.org/statement.html (Accessed: 7 April 2016).

Arts law: Information sheet: Legal issues for Bloggers (2016) Available at: http://www.artslaw.com.au/info-sheets/info-sheet/legal-issues-for-bloggers/ (Accessed: 7 April 2016).

The Whale Hunt – Workshop 1/04/2016

http://thewhalehunt.org

Today I spent some time looking at the interactive online work The Whale Hunt. It’s a great example of a Hypertext. It’s essentially a team of documentarians that have chosen to record their trip whale hunting with Inuits in Alaska via the form of photo media. But the main focus of the project was how to display this media (3000+ photos) in an interactive and engaging form. The photos were displayed in a timeline of the date and time they were taken. But it also allowed the user to display the photos by the frequency of the photos taken in a time period. Much like a heart beat monitor that shows the increase of photos taken over a period of time. Another important feature was the detailed tagging and catergorising of the photos. Allowing the user to sort photos by team member, where the photo was taken as well as what is featured in the photo. It also worked as a website to learn about the different team members  and had links to all there individual blogs and backgrounds.

I enjoyed looking at this different take on interactive documentation.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 9.30.30 AM
Example of the timeline they created for the project.

Today’s Workshop 18/03/2016

In the workshop today we just discussed what we read in the reading. Which was Creative commons and Copyright. Mainly just the differences between the two types of protection. To sum it up, creative commons gives you the ability to share your copyrighted work. As well as borrow other peoples copyrighted work as long as they have opted into the creative commons license.

Cool stuff.