Exegesis

An exegesis is an explanation of the choices made that lead to a final action. In this case, in creating this web presence. This blog (Flexigav) is not only to announce a new presences on the world-wide-web, but also to promote the thoughts and work of its owner and author Gavin Lardner. This is his exegesis:

The new web 2 identifies shifting cultural trends in web use and participation. These shifts picked up momentum in the early 2000’s. In fact they were the manifestation of dreams for the web back in the 1990’s that somehow got side-tracked resulting in the retronym web 1 (Allen, 2013, p. 262). By around 2003, the increased participation, collaboration, interaction, rapidly changing content, enrichment of the experience through increased use of multimedia and the release of new and more complex application programs (with more user friendly interfaces) were recognised as a web cultural shift (Allen, 2013, p. 264). It is not clear whether these trends drove the demand for more capable technology, like broadband modems, or whether the increasing availability of these technologies drove the cultural trends. What was clear though, was that the user population grew and they were migrating from readers to contributors or participants.

The web 2 presents a golden opportunity for marketing. The more hits a site gets, the more attention it gets—a marketing dream! Not just for products or business, but also for personal social advantage.

I chose to make my debut as a blogger to help establish a presence of professional competence before growing social networks. I see a personalised website as a businesses shop-front. As WordPress allows the creation of a website more than suitable for blogging, it was my choice for the central node in a network of nodes. A blog is most suitable for this (Rettberg, 2008, p. 59). It is all about volume of traffic in the commercial world. If people seek advise and knowledge, I believe a wiki presents a greater draw card than a blog, simply because of the collaboration of knowledge sources. However even most (if not all) owners of these newer platforms have personal websites that may-well serve as blogs as well.

The tools and quality of presentation from a blog website are far more comprehensive and professional than those provided on the social networking platforms. Having a polished base presence enriches my participation experience in social networking—I represent a site of professionalism, which sits just one click at the other end of any links I add in social networking sites and as Jenkins (2006, p. 3) states, people “believe their contributions matter”.

In designing this website from WordPress I researched a number of presentation themes. My technical writing background suggested it be textual based, however my background also includes photography and audiovisual experiences, suggesting a mixed media format. With the latter in mind I set about looking at samples of many themes that promote visual communication. I found a tutorial on creating a WordPress website using the Oxygen theme and liked what it had to offer.

One of the things I had in mind when designing this site was a menu structure where blogs could be entered on one page of infinite scrolling length in the usual reverse chronological order blogs are renowned for, while a second menu could be devoted to archived posts. The menu building features already built into the Oxygen theme templates allowed for this.

I carried out an analysis of information classification and came up with this: My scope for the central node blog-website would be everything about multimedia content and product creation. Separating those media resulted in photography, digital imaging, graphic art, fine art (décor art), animation, video (audiovisual), audio and writing. Plus some primary industries to which I limited my interest to publishing and website development and maintenance. I then added tools to the scope, separate from the crafts that use them. Initially only WordPress, Photoshop and computers, however the scope does allow for expansion at any time.

Having established my craft, industry and tools as categories, I then developed my document classification index: Discussions, discussions in academic format, concepts, instructional, review, Australian specific, groups reference, events reference, legal information, exhibitions and a resource; all document classifications. The document classification index was manifested as further categories in WordPress. The key is that categories can be represented as menu items. The oxygen theme has a menu system that supports a sub-menu structure, where the sub-menu further filters what is returned from the main menu to provide a really fine tuned filter for retrieving posts from the archives.

I then applied the same indexing criteria from my WordPress website to the Delicious node in creating Tag Bundles. At the time of writing Delicious was only capable of filtering the collection of bookmarks on a single category tag, however each bookmark is tagged with both topic and document classification tags as the sidebar search tool can search on multiple hash-tag entries, separated only by commas. Such a search string might look like this #photo,#competitions,#Australia (no spaces).

Back on this central node, a tag cloud sidebar was added to help find all articles in the blog on a particular keyword. Just to make sure no post is ever lost in the archives, a search control box that includes full text searching (in case of tagging oversights) was added near the top. I designed this web presence to be comprehensive with other nodes of specialisation expanding the horizons beyond just this site. They are all linked to here through the blogroll sidebar links. For social conversation I chose a Facebook node, for philosophical discussion I chose a Tumblr node. I will dedicate the WordPress blog to educational concepts and instructional blogs, with the Delicious node providing further references and the Twitter node to announce all the activity between nodes. Two other nodes will be added for professional purposes; Linkedin for business discussions and Redbubble to exhibit digital art works for sale (already added).

In conclusion, I chose a blog based website that supports mixed media as the central node in the network representing my presence on the web because they are dedicated to communication with control over participation and interactivity, yet are easily and quite seamlessly able to be linked to other platforms of specialisation, enhancing the overall capability and the user experience.

References:

Allen, M. (2013). What was web 2.0? versions as the dominant mode of internet history. New Media & Society, 15(2), 260-275.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7b7e45c7e0-a3e0-4b89-ac9c-e807e1b0ae4e%7d/jenkins_white_paper.pdf

Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogs, Communities and Networks in Blogging. Blogging (pp. 57-83). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Retrieved from http://syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780745641331/index.html&client=curtinh&type=rn12

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