Common Craft

Commoncraft.com is a Website that provides ‘easy’ explanations to difficult concepts through animated videos that last no more than three minutes. These videos use custom, hand-made shapes with pencil and colors, then animated throughout the video-presentation. The Website also offers customized videos as well as a vast supply of free custom shapes downloads so users can build their own. Its Know How page offers instructions on how to make your own ‘craft’ video from using their own cut-outs and videos, to guides for script writing, all for decent amount of money if you go with the basic plan.

According to Christy Dena in The Writer’s Guide, Craft Part I, “Writing for new media requires that writers understand elements such as interactivity, micro lengths and digital media affordances.” The people behind Common Craft are aware of how interaction can help not only with the process of learning but also with retaining the information; by making the videos short and using clear language instead of jargon, these videos are easily displayed in a wide variety of platforms, as well all can be shared with different social media.

For example I saw the video for “Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)”, they managed to explain a complicated topic such as APIs in an easy way to understand the subject in less than three minutes. Not only the video’s narrative script is easy to grasp, but also the hand-made shapes and animation contributes to the overall understanding and gives us a feeling like we draw them ourselves.

 

References

Dena, C. (2007). Australian council. Retrieved from http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/writersguide/craft,_part_one

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At Long Last…

My reflection about New Media through this WordPress blog can be summarized as a great and meaningful learning experience. Aside from the fact that this is the first time I set and keep up with a blog of any kind, the thought of anyone reading–and liking my posts is addicting and gratifying. Besides, it makes me happy to see that finally I am contributing to the Web 2.0 culture.

New Media is present in every aspect of our lives; from the music in our iPods to the video mashups we share and the memes we create and send to virally become famous, it is now a kind of a new footprint, a digital footprint that for good or for worse will follow us from now on. New Media allows us create music, art, radio, images, pictures, blogs, videos, even create our own news to instantly be shared to the world.

New Media no longer refers exclusively to the physical aspect of technology but the human aspect as well. Just as technology is changing we are changing with it as well. We are getting more dependent on having our relationship status ‘updated’ to the point that some are taking it so seriously that if is not on Facebook, the relationship is not ‘official’.

Radio and TV will never be the same. From a passive medium both became dynamic and interactive. Audience can now interact with their favorite shows through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools. Shows like Glee allow fans to form communities from their Fan page, download in advance songs from the show from iTunes, and follow the cast in Twitter. Radio stations like RadioLab are taking advantage of social media as well to reach audience from all ages and education backgrounds by allowing users to listen and download shows from different social media tools like podcasts, iTunes, and widgets.

The music industry has also adapted to New Media. As the Internet revolutionized how we can create and share information, the way we listen music has changed as well. Suddenly, we are able to create what we want to hear and how we want to hear it. Talented people in the past needed to be ‘discovered’ by the music industry. Not so anymore; anyone can make a cheap, home video and upload it to YouTube. It is just a matter of hours before it goes viral to be acclaimed worldwide. Such was the case of three young siblings called Los Vazquez Sounds, whose remake of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” made them an Internet sensation in only days.

Journalism on the other hand, has also adjusted to New Media. We see now regular citizens reporting news from the spot aided with the camera in their cell phones. Pretty neat indeed but at the same time, we are also witnessing how fast news can travel through social media and its immediate consequences. Such was the case of Samantha Brick, a British journalist whose article “There are downsides to looking this pretty: Why women hate me for being beautiful” published on the MailOnline, drew over 5,000 comments in just two days from supporters to haters about her article.

We also see New Media reflected in movies. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” portraits a young troubled girl that through information and technology she gains control of her life. Throughout the movie we see the use of Apple laptop computers to hack and download valuable information to catch a serial killer. Films many times reflect the technology culture we are living now.

Another important aspect of New Media is that it brings the world to us. Thanks to Google Maps and other technologies such as “krpano”–a high-definition image viewer–we are able to virtually visit cities and museums located thousands of miles away. The Vatican among other entities, have already benefited of such technology by having a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel that renders a breathtaking 3600 tour with zoom in capabilities to fully admire Michelangelo’s art.

After analyzing each of these categories from art to music, film, radio, TV, social media, journalism, and video, I see why they are such an integral part of New Media.  Any tool that emerges enhancing or changing the way live, coexist, and deal with each other has always been categorized as ‘new media’. Whether it was the wheel, the Guttenberg Press, or the Steam Machine, somehow each one marked an important stage in our evolution. The New Media we are experiencing in the last fifteen years however differ from any previous media in the sense that not only we produce it and consume it, but the terms dynamic, collaborate, interactive, share, connect, and instant are all interchangeable and synonyms of each other. Additionally, new tools and applications emerge everyday making it easy for us, the users, to keep producing, collaborating, sharing, and using information for this emerging media I call New Media 2.0 to differentiate it from any past media.

New Media and Evolution

There has been key elements in human history that has marked a milestone in its evolution. Something that has sparked a profound change that affects daily life and human relationships forever on. That feeling of power and control that our ancestors felt when they found out that they could build tools with stones or when they learned to control fire must have been overwhelming. By the same token when the wheel was invented, it “represented a transformation from how how load was carried. It changed the mode from dragging to passing” (Dholakia, 2010). The Gutenberg press on the other hand, allowed book mass-production and the spread of knowledge to the masses, while the steam engine marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and a change in work production.

Among these and many other inventions without doubt the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind by connecting us all at once.  Additionally, the Internet has brought a wave of new technologies that continue to develop and contribute to our evolution.  New Media has brought that spark that forever changed how we relate to each other and how we view the world. At the same time, we are still in the early process of learning how to deal with the great power that comes from such great technology such as privacy, copyright, and relationships that with time, eventually we will overcome the same way our ancestors did with each great invention.

Anthropology and New Media

Evolution of Man through the eyes of New Media

References

Dholakia, V. (2010, June 3). Top 10 Greatest Events that Shaped Human Evolution – Journey from Apes to Aliens. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from Trak.in – Indian Business Blog: http://trak.in/tags/business/2010/06/03/top-10-greatest-events-human-evolution-events/

Image Source:
http://escuchatucuerpo.xocs.es/2012/01/antropologia-biologia-historia-tiempo/

The art of New Media

One thing that New Media has brought us is the ability to create, upload, and share art.  Art is in the eye of the beholder and anything that has a meaning for somebody, is art. There are now many applications and tools available for free that anyone, with no technical skills, can create digital art and graphics, anything that the heart desires.  And that, that is the art of new media.  With this growing cyber culture, a new form of art is emerging that one day it will be classified as the folklore of the Internet Age.

I ventured myself to create something that I could call my creation, my art, something that I always admired but never knew how it could possibly be done.  When I saw Salvador Dali’s painting “Gala looking at the Mediterranean Sea” for the first time, I always wondered if he ran back and for as he painted it in order to get Abraham Lincoln’s face appear from a distance. For sure he was an artist ahead of his time. Fortunately for those of us not so talented, new media provides us all we need to create our own version, with our own pictures, with couple clicks of a mouse.

Myself through the eyes of new media

Myself Through the Eyes of New Media. Mozaic made of social media icons and assorted memes created with Mazaika.

“Myself Through the Eyes of New Media” is a mozaic of my picture composed with over 300 memes and social media icons, as if embedded in order to form a ‘digital footprint’. In a way, this is how new media and culture are rapidly converging; our social life, way of thinking, information, privacy, our relationships, work, diet, friendships, politics, everything we do is taking a different shape through new media.  Technology is changing and our relationships are changing along with it.

Making art has never been so easy, one only has to go on the Internet for inspiration and the tools will be right there for us.

For the mozaic I used Mazaika, a special software for creating photographic mozaics.  Although this is not for free, a trial is offered in its Website.  I also used a tutorial from YouTube that taught me in 5 minutes how to create this, my first mozaic.

I used the same memes from the “My Mashup Video” and the social icons I downloaded them from komodomedia.com.