Category Archives: General

Turning Type One into Type None!

I have diabetes and at my age (no comment) many people erroneously assume I have type II (commonly called adult onset diabetes).  When I explain that I am Type I (originally known as juvenile diabetes) and have had the disease for 38 years I usually see raised eyebrows followed by

Wow! You don’t look diabetic! I mean, you’re thin and look so healthy!”old-40100_6401


I don’t take it as an insult, but this response is a reminder of how many misconceptions there are about both type I and type II diabetes. Type 2 affects about 90 percent of diabetics while Type 1 affects roughly 10 percent of all diabetics.

 According to the NIH

By age 18, approximately 1 in 300 people in the United States develop type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin producing cells within the pancreas. Without injections of insulin, the Type 1 diabetic would not survive. Click here to see the difference between Type 1 and Type 2.

This summer I am completing internship requirements for my degree in communications.  Thanks to a good friend who just graduated from the program, I found a perfect internship at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s North Florida Chapter. I help a hard-working staff of three and a myriad of dedicated volunteers who raise money for research and community outreach. Nationally, the JDRF organization has been around since 1970.  The main mission is to fund research to improve the treatments of Type One diabetes (T1D) and hopefully find a cure – Turning Type One into Type None! jdrf

What does the JDRF do?

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, policy influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.

JDRF’s highest priority remains funding research to deliver a cure for T1D and its complications. At the same time, JDRF is also focused on developing better treatments that will transform the way people with T1D treat the disease today, in order to help them live healthier lives now and in the future. Finally, JDRF also seeks to prevent T1D, to keep future generations from developing the disease.hero-research-male-scientist

This is all part of JDRF’s promise of “less until none”: to progressively remove the impact of T1D from the lives of those living with the disease until it is no longer a threat to them or their families.

Currently, JDRF is funding more than 50 human clinical trials, several of which are in the advanced stages of clinical testing needed before FDA approvals can be sought.

JDRF’s influence and leadership extends beyond funding research. We strategically partner with industry, governments, foundations, academia, healthcare insurers, and clinicians to ensure that JDRF and its partners are aligned and working toward a common goal of a world without T1D.

The North Florida Chapter – The Coolest place to work!

Our local chapter of JDRF covers an area encompassing 36 counties.  We have large and small fund-raising events throughout the year.  The most well-known events include our annual walk, the Gala, and bike ride.  However, events occur all year so anyone can get involved in helping  create a cure for T1D.

Our North Florida office is located at:11750685_10155802775440223_2523091286320753442_n

Pam, Candace, Board President Greg Carroll, Brooks Biagini They're not short - he's really tall!
Pam, Candace, Board President, Greg Carroll, Brooks Biagini
They’re not short – he’s really tall!

9700 Philips Highway, Suite 106, Jacksonville, FL 32256

(phone) 904.739.2101

(fax) 904.739.2693

I had the honor of speaking briefly about my lifelong relationship with JDRF at our last board meeting. It was my first opportunity to meet members of the board and express my thanks to them personally for the hard work and long hours they volunteer to JDRF.  This is an amazing group of people from our community who work tirelessly to support our mission to end T1D.  And I’m so very lucky to work with three amazing people, Brooks Biagini (Executive Director), Pam Williams (Outreach Coordinator), and Candace Monroe (Development Manager).  These three are the driving force behind the Northern Florida Chapter’s continued success. I am amazed every day at their dedication and commitment to funding a cure for T1D.

Ways to become involved

No matter what time or resources you have, there’s something you can do to help any chapter of JDRF.  Volunteers are needed for a large variety of tasks.  People help in the office, work within the community supporting various events, raise funds, help plan and promote events, offer professional services free of charge, and much more. From a few minutes to a few hours, there’s always ways you can help keep the mission going.

Like to shop?

You can purchase fantastic greeting cards and 20% of the cost goes to the JDRF. visit the merchandising site for other opportunities to help the JDRF through your normal purchases.

Attend an event

One of the best ways to help without the commitment of a regular block of time is to attend one of JDRF’s fantastic events.  For those that enjoy socializing and physical activity JDRF’s One Walk and Ride to Cure bike rides offer the perfect combination of both.   

Do you like a fancy soiree? Attend the annual Gala for a night of cocktails, dinner, dancing, and live auctions and silent auctions. This year’s theme is “One Night in Paris”.  


This year we’ll be at Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach on October 10th from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Individual tickets are available, but you’ll get a great bang for your buck if you and friends pool your resources and get a table of ten.  Businesses can become corporate sponsors and have the benefit of advertising in the program.  People and businesses can donate items or services, for the auction.  Big or small, the proceeds all go to fund research into treating and curing T1D.

Over 400 people will attend so there a lot of people with varied interests and budgets.  Help make this a great night for raising funds to support our research.

A few Donation Ideas for North Florida’s Gala, “One Night in Paris”

  • any items that can be included in a gift basket – we’ll build it for you!
  • Products, services, or retail items
  • Frequent Flyer Miles
  • art
  • gift baskets
  • vacation time shares
  • gift cards
  • a check for any amount
  • Anything you think people might like to bid on! There’s no gift too small.

Call Candace Monroe for details or if you need us to pickup an item. 904.739.2101 

What JDRF can do for a community

Our outreach programs are for those with T1D and their families.  Educational programs, support for newly diagnosed diabetics, social events for adults with T1D, children and family events, and advocacy on behalf of people living with T1D are just part of what we do. JDRF works hard to create a supportive environment for anyone affected by T1D.  Many parents feel overwhelmed when their child is diagnosed and  JDRF offers education, tools, support, and connection to others experiencing the same issues.

Being on the forefront of new technology and medical innovation, the JDRF is a go to source for any questions regarding T1D. I encourage people to spread the word about the great work this organization does. If you’re affected by T1D or know someone who is, consider volunteering or giving a donation of any amount to your local chapter.

Having lived with diabetes for 38 years, it is my goal to see a day where T1D is a thing of the past.  If you contact my office….tell them Bowen sent you and Help Make Type One, Type None!

berry college



I’m currently at the National Forensics tournament in Ohio.  We’ve spent four days in preliminary competition.  I did not make it past the prelims, but what an honor to compete with the best young minds in the country!  I’ve seen so much talent that my heart is full.  This week’s assignment was on Memes.  I am exhausted after these past four days so I’m referring you back to my meme assignment from last summer.  I don’t mean to disappoint, but I need to sleep!  Tomorrow we are back at it for a full day of final rounds followed by the presentation awards.  We’ll be home the day after.  More later!


alice used
Curiouser and Curioser

Art, Artistry, Fine Art, Pop Art, Fake Art, and Pop t’Arts

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….

What is Art?  

  1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
    “the art of the Renaissance”
  2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance
    “the visual arts”

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

     What Characteristics and qualities contribute to my definition of art?

    Wow.   I was probably 8 years old the first time I was asked such questions by my art teacher.  Ah, Mrs. Dorman! Her studio always smelled of art – oil and finger paints, glue for paper mache, clay, and tea.  Mrs. Dorman liked tea. I find it interesting that my first impression of art included smell. The moment someone asks me about art, I’m drawn back to the messy, colorful room filled with supplies for us grade school savants!

    Time for a confession that is embarrassing, but no big secret to my family and friends.  I have about as much talent to produce art as my dog.  Although given the opportunity and some paints, he probably would outdo my best attempts.  As a child, my mother lied  assured me I had the eye of an old master and the brush strokes of Rembrandt.boy-with-finger-paints

    Years later when she was cleaning out her cedar chest, she made the mistake of handing me some of my pathetic attempts  at creativity and said, “Do you want these?”

    I assured her I did. Then, I went home and threw them away.

    “WHY?!” my mother cried.

    “Uh, mom?  I hate to break this to you, but I was pretty much done with them when I gave them to you. What would I possibly do with them? They’ve been in your cedar chest for 40 years! And frankly, don’t you think it would be embarrassing for me to pull them out and show my friends?”  She couldn’t argue with that considering my crowning moment was creating a macaroni encrusted cigar box, spray painted gold, with a light dusting of glitter.  Yeah, not really that artistic.

    However, focusing on these questions made me realize that I do have ideas, concepts, and feelings about  how I define art.  Most would agree that art means something unique to everyone.

    It’s in the eye eyesof the beholder     

    While my focus here is on visual art, the following concepts go for performance art, literature, songs, architecture, etc.

    The pictures I selected in the slide show are just a smattering of various art works that I am attracted to.  Art must attract me in some way.  It must engage me and hold my interest. I doesn’t have to be aesthetically beautiful, proportional or easily understood. It only has to make me stop. Even the grotesque can be art when it focuses the mind on its possible intent. Art causes me to react.


    Art elicits contemplation

    Art should make me feel something.  Feel what you ask?  Good question – no real answer. When I see an empty candy wrapper on the pavement I don’t think art, but some ingenious artists can see the potential and do this…


    Art is transformative.  

    Even the most repulsive images can be art.  I may feel uncomfortable with some art, but I understand the importance of feeling something.  A single image can make a complex statement, evoke emotion, create a conversation, confuse, bemuse, infuriate, sedate, or stun.


    Art evokes emotion

    Content…context…medium… message…expression…beliefs….

    All of these things can play into our ideas of whether something is art. I try to have an open mind to what an artist has created and remove my personal filters from the equation. This is not always easy with some art, but that’s the challenge it offers the viewer.


    Art creates an internal dialogue

    And lastly I believe we all have the capacity express ourselves and create art – gold cigar boxes included. When an expression of the mind is presented in an image, a sound, or an event – art comes to life.  Perhaps the most illusive and overlooked aspect of art is this internal drive to express.  Often, we think only of how art affects us.  Some times the purpose of art is not to be seen, understood, or enjoyed by others.  The mere creation of the art IS the art. And if the artist is somehow lifted, released, encouraged, or silenced by their work….well, that’s art too.

    Art is an external expression of an internal thought




    To view some interesting ideas of what others think of art, try the following websites:

    What is art?     What does art mean?

    What is art for?

My Worst Fears About Our Digital Society… Should I Really Worry?


Are books dead?  Will I one day welcome children into my home only to have them gawk at the antiques lining my walls?  Will they point at my collection of books and say “Wow!  I’ve only seen those in the library museum!”

Sven Birkerts writes that  ” a change is upon us—nothing could be clearer. The printed word is part of a vestigial order that we are moving away from—by choice and by societal compulsion.”

I used to laugh about this happening in my old age, but after returning to school from a 30 year hiatus, I have been faced with the fact that this may come about long before I’m ready for Shady Pines retirement home. Our society has rapidly and ferociously turned into digital media zombies.

The Millennials in my classes don’t read text books.

These students grouse about having to purchase books and complain that the chapters are too long and boring.  I was astounded to see what our text books look like compared to the “old days”.  The front covers are emblazoned with large print declaring web sites and apps that accompany the book.01_highres_fs Upon opening the cover, I see pages  filled with pictures, info-graphics, Short definitions along the side, boxes of non-linear information that interrupt the narrative, and LOTS of color.  It may be a text-book, but in some cases I feel like I’m looking at a static page from the Internet.  To my baby boomer eyes (yes…I AM the last year of the boomers) it’s very disconcerting and obnoxiously busy.

It’s not that I’m stuck in the past, but you have to admit…reading traditional text has worked pretty well for a long time.  Some will argue that reading on electronic devices is the same.  In some instances, they’re correct.  There are words on the page (electronic or printed) that you read sequentially.  I generally like Nooks and Kindles.  You can read the classics and literature that stimulates critical thinking skills, or lose yourself in romance novels and Science Fiction. I even like the option to look up a word on the spot, create an electronic bookmark, share books, and carry darn near a library’s worth of books in one neat device.  So what’s the problem?

1239947_10151651343396840_984352893_nThe problem is that humans are lazy by nature.  Wait –  By technological nature.  We create technology out of need, but mainly out of convenience.  Tech allows us to do things faster and easier, or not at all.  We transfer so much work to technology with the idea that it will free us up to do “more things”.  But usually those “things” involve more technology that takes up more of our time. In essence, we artificially extend time (and shrink space) only to fill it back up with more stuff to do because “we can”.  Yeah….

Don’t get me wrong, the art of laziness has catapulted innovation to new heights. Taking the easy way out is a great things when it comes to many of the tedious chores we once had to do in order to live.  But reading is an activity that is dynamic, active, and challenging. When our lazy kicks in, we would rather watch videos and cut to the chase with pictures and info-graphs. While we’ll get the information needed, it doesn’t activate the brain in the same way reading does. Passively watching the video “Of Mice and Men” doesn’t activate the imagination. Everything is supplied for you…..lazy. Enjoyable, but lazy.

The act of reading has powerful positive effects for your brain the brain

There is an ever-increasing amount of reading available on the Internet, but how much do people actually read?  More often than not people are skimming bold print, looking at videos, popping onto hyperlinks, reading summaries and darting about to different stories in a non-linear fashion.  Back in 2008, Nicholas Carr focused on these very questions in, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

The digital platforms have created new forms of writing.  In my digital media class we learn to write in short, concise phrasing that can be read on the small screens of smart phones. Tiny screen, tiny phrasing – Tiny thoughts. The human brain is capable of complexity of thought and a depth of understanding that are not nurtured by paraphrased blurbs attached to a kitten video.

While most people will tell you that no one reads books any more, especially the young, the actual numbers might surprise you.


So reading is alive and……well, its alive – but it’s changing.

Reading on new new media’s digital platforms for free comes with some, well, distractions.  The old adage, “There’s no such thing as free” comes into play here.  Free means putting up with lots of ads, links, widgets, and images to distract the reader from the content. Linearity goes out the window and a developed story competes with sidebars.

Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading?


I can give a personal account on watching young adults in college between the ages of 19 to 25.  This group of digital natives are attached at the hip to their digital devices.  All have smart phones and many have tablets, iPads, ultra-books, etc. But I see them spend most  of their time scrolling through their feeds on Snapchat, Instagram, and video platforms.  They love memes, videos, short cartoons, and captured pictures.  They love people’s amateur movie clips and excerpts from TV and cable shows.  They like “the best part” and often don’t want or need to see the rest.  Snippets. It’s all about snippets. They spend hours in, what I consider, mindless activities.


My generation did the same thing with TV.  Short of PBS and its attempts to educate us, TV was largely a vacuous display of entertainment that required little thinking.  At least that’s what the experts said.  But we are all products of  the society we’re born into. While I can’t really point the finger at this generation for doing anything different, I can point to the fact that they don’t read text books. They may read parts, but the whole thing?  That’s crazy talk.  If you look back at the reading graph you’ll see it says “read a book whole or in part”.  I think there “in part” number would be much higher than the “whole” number.

Previous generations had few options other than books to find information.  Now the bombardment of information people receive  via the Internet is astounding. We can find anything on the Internet but, advertisements abound and the eye cannot decide where to settle on the “page” of a website. It’s no wonder no one is reading much content.

My professor in Media Criticism has shared that his editors warn  against making manuscripts too long.  He says readers prefer shorter books even if it involves a series to finish the story.  Can anyone say “Hobbit movies”?  As we speed into the future we keep finding ways to condense our communication.  Text, tweets, Memes, info-graphs, and videos are truncated forms of communication that seem to be eclipsing traditional reading. For those of you that like to read, you can enjoy this piece on the future of reading.  It has some rather interesting insights.

And here’s a video to entice some of you non-readers

I don’t think any of us can accurately describe where reading will be in the years to come.  Technology’s fast paced changes are impossible to keep up with. By the time we’ve figured out what happened, we’ll be launching off another precipice into the unknown.

Society doesn’t seem too concerned. Maybe the fact that we’ve managed to survive and evolve with  every technology in the past has given us a false sense of security.  Like a Henny Penny warning, we’ve all heard it one too many times to care.  But…what if the sky really IS falling this time?18976_hennypennygaldone_mainocb

Twittering Tumultuously Could Lead to Twoubble

Among the many topics discussed in class recently, was the question of whether Twitter should take steps to remove or censor graphic content. Further, we discussed whether it was ethical to do so as an autonomous, third-party commercial enterprise.  We’ve been asked to defend our rationale in our post.

Our specific example is the beheading video of journalist James Foley by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. Twitter did suspend accounts containing the video and in doing so, catapulted itself into the age-old quagmire that traditional media has been trapped in: to ban or not to ban graphic images.

violence-in-the-workplace                         635536551193732639-graphic

Questions such as this become highly volatile because of personal, religious, professional, and even artistic beliefs that create a myriad of responses. I will attempt to lay out my stance, and defend it to the best of my ability by telling you what I believe supports my conclusion.




I am just learning about Twitter and its uses.  Like many who are not regularly use it, I thought Twitter was all about short bursts of personal expression contained in 140 characters or less.  But what was once a platform of teenage angst is now a serious source of news. According to a Pew Research report, half of the people on Twitter use it to get news. With 271 million users encompassing 35 languages, that makes Twitter a major news source.

The very immediacy of the platform’s Tweets makes it the wellspring of information on events as they happen. There are no lag times  on the platform. While not actively monitoring content, Twitter does have TWITTER RULES.  There is a rule about posting threats and violence against someone.  Beheading another human would fall into this category.  

So unlike traditional media, it’s not a question of IF something should be posted, but should it be taken down once it has been noticed.  As pointed out in a story in a story on the NBC news site, the issue is further complicated by the arduous task of navigating through multicultural beliefs about what’s considered taboo.

For my reader’s information, you can turn off the automatic preview of photos on your mobile app and select a “sensitive” content setting on your desktop platform.  See how HERE.

SOOOOOOOO, Where do I stand on sensitive content?

I will freely admit I am a super sensitive person. Seldom will I watch shows with violence. Yeah, I pretty much haven’t been to the theater since Herbie the Love Bug in the late 1960s.  I don’t like violence on TV, in movies, on video games, in cage fighting, or news.  I watch news because I feel it’s an important source of information about our world. I rely on warnings or the editorial control of the broadcasters to shield me from graphic images.  

             I understand I’m an anomaly


Where to draw the line___________

I can almost hear some of you saying, “but what about THIS picture, or THAT video.  Who decides where to draw the line? I would appeal to common sense, but I’m afraid that’s gone the way of many social norms and a sense of propriety. The anonymous nature of the internet can bring out the worst in people.

Logically, I believe that we must study, case by case, the reason for a shocking image being included in any media. The context in which it is being displayed has much to do with the need and impact of the image. Does it have significance, tell a story better than words, add impact to the written word, or explain a truth that needs visualization? What will the effects be on those viewing it?

I don’t believe anything is fair game for public posting. The ramifications of publishing such things can be many.  In the example of the beheading, I think first of the impact on unsuspecting viewers. Then I think of the family of the deceased, children who may run across the photo, the extremists who use this as a propaganda tool, and the lack of decency for the dead.

A news story describing a beheading would be sufficient enough to convey the brutality of the event. Watching a man’s beheading would not be needed to bolster my belief in the insanity of the act. In thinking about this, I realize that a still image affects me much differently than a video. The most violent picture, while repulsive and unnerving, is a frozen moment of time. My brain can see the image and comprehend it, yet  somehow be removed or shielded by the stillness. A video with movement and sound, magnifies the intensity ten fold.

 Twitter is a business

By not allow the photo to remain on the platform, Twitter is taking a stand for the users, whom they believe would concur, that it’s not appropriate in any way. Twitter is a business and must decide the tone and nature of what is acceptable on the platform

We should remember that no platform on the internet is completely free of control. Paul Levinson discusses this in his book New New Media. Many assume Twitter is simply user-generated on a platform of absolute freedom. But social platforms, while free to use, come at a price. That price is having to abide by the rules set in place to make the site safe and appealing to the majority of its users. Ask anyone on Facebook about the continual changes in user agreements and you’ll get an earful.

Besides…you can always find it somewhere on the Internet

We have reached a pinnacle of numbness on our planet.  Violence and unrest from around the world and in our own backyard comes bombarding into our lives every time we tune in to media.  The immediacy and freedom that gives the Internet its great appeal, allows the ugliest part of humans to flourish in living color.

I have also learned from classmates, that there are  web sites specifically set up for violent and disturbing content to be viewed. People knowingly enter them  to view the macabre and disgusting and that’s their choice.  But to stumble upon such a picture on Twitter or Facebook, with no warning?  Not so good.

Digital media is in its infancy.  Rules and social norms are developing right along with the technology.  We use these sites without thought until we run into a shocking moment like the beheading . Then we make quick assumptions and judgments one way or the other based on the first thoughts that flow through our minds.

Is it ethical to edit content?

Ethical:  pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality;pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

Being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession.

So, um, yeah, I think it is ethical to edit these posts or images. While Jihadist  would praise the acts portrayed as moral, most of the world would vehemently disagree.  If nothing, the Internet teaches us a global consensus on anything is an impossibility. But when an overwhelming majority of earth’s population shudders in disbelief and despair, I think that’s reason enough to say stop.

 As a company, Twitter decides it mission, vision, and policies to promote and grow its business.  Ethical decisions are part of that decision-making process.  The company has a right to protect and maintain the image and environment it wants to create on its platform.  With the bajillions of other places people can go to feed their need for shocking visuals, there is no need for every site to pander to a portion of society that desires to view such violent content. I applaud Twitter creating standards they feel keeps the integrity a platform that so many go to for news.

The arguments over graphic content will continue as long as media exists. I think the changes in technology can easily outstrip society’s ability to adjust its perspective.  I hope instead of feeling overwhelmed and unable to stop “the inevitable”, we manage to balance our drive for technology with compassion and human kindness.


The internet offers readers the ability to instantly respond to a story. In fact, with new, new media, such instant interactivity is expected by consumers and largely considered required by the producers of many websites.  Stalwart, and traditional media that have converted their original papers and magazines to a digital platform, however, do not always offer such forums or limit and edit them before putting them on their sites. 

The questions that arise are many, but I’d like to focus on the following

  • Should reputable news agencies incorporate comment forums attached to news stories?
  • How do anonymous or pseudonymous comments impact discourse on the internet?
  • Should journalists be allowed to participate in these threads?

I will offer my thoughts now, but will surely refine them as I continue in the media criticism course I’m currently taking. First I’ll give you a brief summary of my ideas on the evolution of media.

The ever evolving adaptations of a Baby Boomer

I’m old school.  While I have adapted to modern technology and enjoy the many advantages of the Internet, I believe some things are best left in their original format…like Coke Classic and Levi’s 501 jeans.  I’m not saying change has little value, but why mess too much with success? Ah, but times they are a changing…


The Journalistic tradition of one way communication in newspapers and TV news broadcasts, have informed, guided, amused, and outraged consumers since they began. Responses were contained to letters to the editors or TV stations.  If you made a succinct enough point, you may have your letter published or read on the air. Before new new media arrived on our computer screens, we relied on journalists, who were impartial experts, to gather and disseminate news. Editors and fact checkers helped insure accuracy of the stories. They did so because the reputation of the paper was at stake and there was time to spend on these important processes before going to print.

Fast forward to today’s instant world of 24 hour information overload on the Internet. Old media, having to play catch-up with newer, more popular forms of news gathering, have digitized their formats not only to cut costs but to compete with the immediacy of new media. Backpack journalists simultaneously shoot footage, Tweet live from the scene, blog and write news stories.

Where everyone is an expert…including the reader

The largest change in exchanging information through digital media, is that anyone can produce a story, video, Twitter feed, Podcast, website, Facebook page, etc. Because anyone can produce content, we often homogenized our views about the content. Everything on the Internet looks equal in quality and importanceThe Internet allows anyone to look “official” and “reliable” with a basic knowledge of how to put things on a site.

Studies show that many users of the Internet overrate the reliability of sites and seldom check the credibility of what they’re consuming. So it’s not a shock that we often forget the vast differences true journalists offer. These are dedicated professionals trained to gather, analyze, and write factual accounts of events. Here, I am talking about reputable news sites and not the infotainment sites that has a thin veneer of “news” surrounded by entertaining audiences so the site can run advertisements.

Back to the questions


Because of social media, where everyone has a platform in a virtually interactive world, people expect all forms of communication to be openly interactive. Instant feedback is the norm. Even TV news have scrolling”tickers” on the screen with live Tweets and secondary news bulletins. 

If reputable news sites don’t offer some response mechanism, I fear they’ll become the dinosaurs of the digital age.

Only aunt Gertie will go to a site….where you can’t even post a comment!aunt-gertie-costume-zoom

I do believe some form of commentary space should be provided on reputable news sites. I do not believe it should be a free-for-all conversation. News sites are specific in their intent and content. If you’ve looked at comment forums, you’ve seen the crazy, off topic remarks that hijack the conversation and turn it into a virtual slug fest. I think this lowers the professionalism of the site, creating a space where people go just to “watch the fight” or worse, join in. There are many other Internet platforms that act as a modern-day version of the market place of ideas.

Reputation-Icon-Question-MarkWHO SAID THAT? Mr. Anonymous of course.

The anonymous comments, while having a place on some forums, tend to, frankly, drive me up a tree.  If you feel strongly enough to comment on something, why wouldn’t you want to stand behind your words?  I believe the anonymity of the Internet gives some a free pass to spill vile and vindictive ideas where they really don’t belong.

Some people wreak havoc on the Internet as a hobby. People like to stir the pot. Posting responses that you wouldn’t ever say in a face to face conversation is known as online dis-inhibition. I believe papers have the right to require knowledge of who is responding. Accountability and the idea that people may know who you are, makes a huge difference in the responses likely to be posted.


“Discourse: written or spoken communication or debate.” This sounds a lot loftier than many of the personal attacks and inane comments I’ve seen at the bottom of some news stories.

Reporters strive  to get their facts straight, but those commenting don’t have to. Every day folk sometimes spout myths, hearsay, gossip, personal beliefs, and outright lies as “gospel”.  By having the comments evaluated, the paper can assure a fair and equal display of various viewpoints from readers.  Yes, it may be seen as editorial dictatorship to some, but there’s nothing stopping these people from going onto their favorite digital platforms and posting their opinions about the subject. Irritatingly, open comment fields can be hijacked to advertise a business or website and becomes free “ad space.” These post have little to do with the article, but simply attempt to take readers away from the site.

I’m not saying someone shouldn’t be able to freely express themselves.  But if you can’t stamp your name on it, or let your mother read it, you might want to think twice about what you’ve written for public consumption. Maybe I’m selfish and want to maintain the role of professionals in the media, but soon, I hope to go forth into the world and work in a manner that sets me apart from “”.



And lastly, I think journalists should refrain from making any comments other than to clarify or correct mistakes.  They should not get into a one to one with people.  The idea that a journalist should remain neutral seems to be archaic;  especially in light of conservative and liberal news programs that are heavily biased. However, by not openly tipping one’s hand in arguing a point or disagreeing with a reader, the journalist maintains that neutrality. Professional societies, like the Society of Professional Journalism, have a code of ethics for journalists.

Personal blogs and social media platforms would be a better place to express personal beliefs. Journalists have a right to freedom of expression as private citizens, but should serve as a more controlled and thoughtful voice when doing their job.

And The Manovich Saga Continues…Chapter 5

As we wrap up a six week semester, we find ourselves reading the last two chapters of Manovich’s , The Language of New Media. Chapter five, “The Forms,” is an exhausting extensive look into another aspect of the unique essence of computer reality.

The forms which he speaks of are a collection of documents  (data base)


and navigable space (virtual interactive 3-D space).

The Thinker
These two dominant forms are favored for different reasons.  The data base becomes the work horse and the 3-D space is associated with leisure and fun (computer games).  All new media design can fall into these two categories. You’re either “constructing the right interface to a multimedia database or defining navigation methods through spatialized representations.” (p. 215)

Each form can be used separately, together, or interchangeably depending on the task at hand.  Finding data, or using a search engine would utilize the data base. Playing a game and walking through a virtual landscape would utilize the spacial aspect.  Utilizing both is a characteristic of many games today; working between obtaining or using data and immersion in the virtual narrative of the game.  I discussed this phenomenon in the review of chapter 4

…the unique requirement of computer users to work in a peculiar temporal dynamic …”a constant, repetitive, oscillation between an illusion and its suspense.”

Manovich discusses narratives from the historical standpoint of literature and cinema. ladyreadingbook Our brains are familiar with a narrative that moves us through media in a linear fashion. We expect to be lead in some manner and given a cohesiveness trajectory for moving from beginning to the end of the story.  Computer culture does not rely on the narrative in the same manner, or at all in some



Database and narrative don’t share the same status in “computer culture”.  Manovich notes this because all objects, no matter how they are presented, as data or narratives, are “on the level of material organization…all data bases.” Manovich poses the question “why do narratives still exist in new media?”  Again he returns to the past to show that the dynamic between data and narrative has long existed.  Just as older technology melds  into the new, narratives , once the leader in media, flows into the world of computer data bases. Here it takes a back seat to the data base. This is summed up in a quote from Frederick Jameson (discussing modernism to postmodernism)

…features that in an earlier period of system were subordinate become dominant, and features that had been dominant again become secondary.”

Manovich often says what happens in society is reflected in computer culture ,and therefore, the opposite follows as well.  The dynamic between the data and narrative in  computer culture has roots in cinema of the past and present. Gathering the footage can be seen as forming the data base, editing creates a “unique trajectory through the conceptual space of all possible films that could have been constructed.”

cutting-150066_640In this chapter there are many examples of cinematic works that work plunge into exploring, restructuring and demolishing the narrative to expose the database.   “Man with a Movie Camera” is hailed for its attempts to create a language through its film effects (techniques).  However, Manovich points out that the very nature of the digital world subverts the attempt at creating a stable language because of the “constant introduction of new techniques over time.”

Gaming utilizes navigable space in many different ways.  Some games have specific algorithms which the player must learn through trial and error.  Other games, such as Myst, are exploratory in nature with no set narrative, but  rather a free flowing experience in a virtual world.  Manovich compares real world art installments to their computer counterparts.  Each can offer a space that has an implied narrative (set path) or an open concept that allows the viewer/user to select where they will go. With this example, we are reminded of the reflective nature of culture.


At the end of the chapter, Manovich reiterates the idea that  any  cultural change cannot happen abruptly. He uncovers the connections of new media and the old, “the interplay between historical repetition and innovation.” In the end of the chapter he leaves us with these words,

In short, I wanted to create trajectories through the space of cultural history that would pass through new media thus grounding it in what came before.

As we evolve into a computer cultured society, we change our perceptions about navigating through virtual space utilizing databases.  While the narrative will never disappear, it will change and evolve as we explore the unlimited space of hyper reality.

Hollywood Here I Come!

We had another great class in assembling digital media.  We learned to edit a brief video using iMovie.  This was frustrating and fun. Using a MAC versus my lovely Windows is a bit of a challenge, but the exercise is good for my old brain.

I cut the scene down, added fades in and out, put in titles, and then added sound.

The set up for this video:

I had to show motion while the camera was still OR show the subject and the camera moving as one, giving an effect of “Stillness” within movement. You’ll see both effects in this movie as my lovely cousin makes her debut in Twirling Hair.  She was in getting her hair done and I conned her into being my star.  Thanks Cuz!