As a historian, I am very interested in the parallels between the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, and previous revolutions. I decided to use Glogster to do a little “play” creation with video clips, mostly because I wanted a way to have all the video on one page, going at the same time. Can’t really happen, I don’t think, with any of the 50 tools.
My inspiration is a little story too. I was walking on the treadmill at the gym, watching Dr Zhivago on TV, and out of the corner of my eye I caught TV news coverage of Egypt, the people on the streets. Look at the treadmill TV and it was people on the streets in a fictional movie; look up and it’s real people in the streets in Egypt.
This is a half poster because I wanted everything “above the fold” on the screen — Glogster doesn’t do half posters.
So Glogster restricted me. Web 2.0 tools are intended to be liberating. The easier a tool is for the masses to use, the more restricting it is for those of us old farts who can embed video into HTML pages. What I wanted was something like this:
so I did it on a web page with Quicktime embedding. Even Posterous tried to restrict me, not letting me autoplay this movie if I uploaded it, so I embedded it myself.
But did I fulfill the assignment? Alexander and Levine’s article says digital stories are “open-ended, branching, hyperlinked, cross-media, participatory, exploratory, and unpredictable”. This isn’t any of those things, except that it contains three media: text, images, video. I used a Web 2.0 tool, but not in a Web 2.0 way.
I did, however, “[f]ollow a drama on YouTube”, though it has also been through Al-Jazeera – it’s a story that’s just starting.
All of this helps explain why I do not like the label Web 2.0. It’s just the web, as it is, now. You can use it in a collaborative way, or not. And like everything else we repurpose to use ourselves, we add an interpretive layer. That hasn’t changed. We have always recombined information and media to see things differently.
So I get a little grumpy when I read things like the diaries of an English soldier “come to life in this new format” (Alexander and Levine, 56). No, they don’t come to life. They get a different life, created by someone else. It’s kind of like that old copyright law stuff – it’s the same thing until you change its format. If you take a diary that’s intended to be read, and you tweet it instead, it’s something else. And something else is fine. Unless you wanted the diary.