Sunday, 21 February 2016

Module 6: The Order of Things

Lambert and Frisch draw our attention to the fact that there are increasingly better and more cost-efficient – if not free – digital tools available for content mapping purposes, such as creating indexes for documentary collections and that some are for recreational purposes, while others are intended for experts.(1) When a platform like Pinterest is used recreationally to catalogue product purchases, inspirational images and recipes, be not mistaken, sales professionals pay close attention.(2) Marketers(3) and media publishers (4) utilize Pinterest to hyperlink product images or links to articles (5) while it provides meta data to corporations that are constantly accessing and leveraging information about prospective clients.

Being personally involved in the contemporary arts, I have had interactions with professional curators on a regular basis over the years. I therefore completely sympathize with Peter Morin’s position on the outright misuse and oversimplication of the terms “curator”, “curated by” and “curating” in online literature. He objects to the reductionist use of the term to casually describe the act of online scrapbooking, an embodiment of commodity fetishism that benefits no one but the retailers (6). I have a similar quarrel with the hijacking of the term “artisan” by the fast/processed food industries (7).

At times I feel a certain “uneasiness,” which turns into laughter, when I inadvertently come across some Pinterest boards of friends or former colleagues, and a certain pleasure when I create my own classification systems. I borrow the term “uneasiness” from Michel Foucault’s seminal preface to The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, because it points to the physiological/emotional reaction that one may have when coming across or creating taxonomies.(8) As a long-term collector of many different types of objects, I have organized a number of my collections in a fairly compulsive manner (books, postcards, etc.) and attest that there is something of that kind of reaction that effectively takes place. Taxonomies trigger a physical response, and Foucault’s preface reminded me that they have an effect on the reader. The analysis of Foucault’s text by Michael Duszat of Humboldt University of Berlin also makes important observations to this effect, in particular with respect to heterogeneous enumerations:

“One of the powerful effects that heterogeneous enumeration can have: it provokes substantial self-reflection, which, in an almost educational sense, can produce a disturbing but also immensely rewarding reading experience.” (Duszat, 2012, p. 203) (9)

“Heterogeneous enumeration becomes visible as a powerful literary device that can be employed to raise critical questions about many of our present concerns about the production and representation of knowledge and meaning, questions about rationality, order, and the power of writing.” (Duszat, 2012, p. 214) (10)

There is also something ultimately existential about list-making, as Georges Perec splendidly noted in Thoughts of Sorts.(11) Perhaps the appeal and popularity of Pinterest can be explained in part by the type of aesthetic gratification it brings its users (content creators) and readers, voluntary or accidental. The question however remains how many of its users will take advantage of this experience to engage in independent and reflective thinking about their own list-making practice and whom it truly benefits?


(1) Lambert, D. &  Frisch, M. (2013). “Digital Curation through Information Cartography: A Commentary on Oral History in the Digital Age from a Content Management Point of View,” Oral History Review, (1), 135.
(2) Constine, J. (Feb. 2016). Image Recognition Invades Shopping As Curalate Raises $27.5M”, Retrieved from:
(3) Hurley Hall, S. (Oct. 2014). How Successful Marketers Use Pinterest to Drive Conversations (And How You can Too), Retrieved from:
(4) Perez, S. (Sept. 2013). “Pinterest Appeals To Publishers With New Article Pins, Pushes To Become A Bookmarking & “Read It Later” Service, Tech Crunch, Retrieved from: 
(5) Ibid.
(6) Morin, P. (Oct. 2011). An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet. Retrieved from
(7) Polis. C. (Oct. 2011). When 'Artisan' Means 'Industrial': How One Word's Definition Has Been Overused And Abused, Retrieved from:
(8) Foucault, M. (2005) The Order of Things [1966], Preface, p. xx, Retrieved from:
(9) Duszat, M. (2012), Foucault’s Laughter: Enumeration, Rewriting, and the Construction of the Essayist in Borges’s ‘‘The analytical language of John Wilkins’’, Orbis Litterarum 67:3 193–218
(10) Ibid.

(11) Perec, G. (2009). “Thoughts of Sorts”, translated by David Bellos.

Module 7: Identity, Representation & Selfies

Module 7: Identity, Representation & #Selfies (two weeks)

MACT Reading Week Feb. 15-21

Monday, Feb.22, 2016 - Sunday, March 6, 2016

  • Feb.22: As practise for your Selfie Assignment, tweet two #selfies (in two separate tweets) and include a short critique using the remainder of your character count
  • Feb. 29: As practise on weaving theory alongside your critique for your Selfie Assignment, read Lauren Katz’s “Say it with a Selfie: Protesting in the Age of Social Media” article and Crisia Miriou’s “The Selfies: Social Identities in the Digital Age” paper ALONGSIDE at least the first page of selfies on “Which Picture Would they Use?” at How do you interpet the selfies and how does the representation fit alongside the two articles and the theories of identity raised? Post your findings in a 2-3 paragraph response as a COMMENT on my Module post on the class blog
  • March 2: Tweet your thoughts/reflections/questions about any of this module’s readings
  • March 3, 7:00 pm: live e-class chat

Theory of the Selfie Assignment DUE by 23:59 March 6

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A Pound of Curation

“[B]andaging a wound doesn’t make you a doctor. Snapping non-digital photos of empty train tracks doesn’t make you a photographer. So, guess what? Assembling a group of tangentially related things and publishing them online does not make you a curator. So what does it make you? A blogger? A list-maker? An arbiter of taste? Sure, I’ll take any one of those. Just stop calling yourself a curator.” (2011, Hermitage Museum) 
Dear anonymous curator. Take a deep breath. Your job is safe. Have confidence. You’ll be ok.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Trying to understand the appeal of Pinterest

Out of almost every module so far I have seen change.  Change is scary.  Change brings differences that many people do not like, understand, or even want to understand.  Did a person who typed on a typewriter have the right to call themselves a writer, over those who used more traditional methods?  Are ebooks replacing books?  Are you really an author if you can just self-publish whatever you want, or put a unique spin on publishing through social media? 

When reading “An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet” I could see where they were coming from.  The author had a point.  Just because Pinterest allows you do collect information online that’s relevant to a specific subject, doesn’t mean a person is a curator.  Especially when those people who are curators by profession have worked so hard.  After spending years in school, and even more time gaining job experience do become a curator, does someone who jumps on the online curating train have the right to that title as well?  But what are they then?  A social media curator?  Are people holding on to titles and names in a changing world?  People who dedicate time and effort to their Pinterest account definitely do not do the same things as a Curator at a museum, but do changes in technology then require people to loosen the reigns on definitions of words?  Navigating the internet isn’t easy, after all.  With the amount of information in the world expanding as rapidly as it does, someone has to organize it, even if someone can do it sitting at home in front of their computer during their spare time.

I don’t know the answer.  If someone enjoys taking pictures, and they have a high quality camera, I’d probably call them a photographer, even if it’s not their profession or if they haven’t trained for it.  If someone writers stories and puts them online for anyone to read, I’d still call them a writer and an author.  I wouldn’t put them on the same level as people who are published and paid for their work, but I wouldn’t cut them off either.  So while I would not call someone who ‘curates’ online content a professional curator, maybe this is just one more word that needs to expand its definition, understanding that there are different ‘levels’ or ‘classifications.’

“I am all for changes in the English language as long as they are for the positive. What I am not in favor of is the hijacking of words to make something sound more important that it actually is.” (Morin, 2012)

What do we do, then?  Create a new word?  Create sub-definitions?  In the end is the type of work each person does, the amount of time, education, and importance behind the work more important than the label used to define it?  When I look up online content curation, I see a focus on marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (Mullan, 2011).   When I think of curation for museums or gallery’s, appealing to the masses is part of it, but so is the preservation of history and the sharing of culture.

This entire assignment is content curation, gathering content that is already out there.  But none of it is original content.  Right Mix Marketing suggests that content curation should be used along with original content to better promote your collection and increase search optimization (Treanor, 2011).
In my view, it all comes back to change, and how fast change comes when we may not be ready or willing to accept it.  The internet has created a whole other aspect of life that people have never had to really consider before.  It some ways it’s nice to know that humans are still needed to help the internet improve.  Our ability to organize and sort is still needed along with advancements and technology (Rosenbaum, 2012).

I’ve never really become interested in Pinterest.  I’ve tried, I’ve had an account for years.  I’ve taken multiple cracks at it, but it is not for me.  If I want to find recipes to try, I google it.  If I want DIY projects, I google it.  But the only reason that works is because of content curators.  So special thank you to the people out there who actually have taken an interest in platforms like Pinterest. 

I focused my board on one of my favorite debates, books vs. ebooks, and if one is better than the other, or if one is making the other irrelevant.  I don't think either side will ever render the other obsolete, but I still enjoy the debates around the issue. 

1.    Hermitage Museum, (May 2012). “An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet,” Aboriginal Curator in Residence,
2.       Mullan, E. (2011) What is content Curation?. Available at: 
3.       Rosenbaum, S. (April 2012). “Content Curators are the New Superheros of the Web, “ Fast Company,
4.    Treanor, T. (2011) Content Curation: Definition and 6 tool options. Available at: 

Thursday, 11 February 2016


For this week's project, I embraced the medium of Pinterest. Therefore, all my thoughts and comments are embedded in my Pinterest board itself.


Duggan, M. [2015.] "Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015," Pew Research Center.Retrieved February 09, 2016, from

Erickson, C. (June 2012). “Pinterest Rolls Out Curated Newsletter for Users,” Mashable. Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from

Morin, P. (May 2012). “An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet,” Hermitage Museum. Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from

Perez, S. (Sept. 2013). “Pinterest Appeals To Publishers With New Article Pins, Pushes To Become A Bookmarking & “Read It Later” Service." TechCrunch. Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from

Wuebben, J. (2012). “Introduction,” Content Is Currency. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.  Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from

Sunday, 7 February 2016


I have unfollowed (but no deleted) a lot of friends who post highly personal, TMI (too much information), or angry rant like posts on Facebook.  I follow a lot of celebrities, companies who sell products I like, and fan based pages.  While going through my Facebook timeline, I noticed that most of the posts I read were not from people, but from these companies I liked.  Those posts that were from people I knew tended to focus on movies, books, food, pets, social & political issues and travelling. 

J is an American friend who posts a lot about politics, her favourite shows/books/movies, her daughter, and cats.  She has a little girl who just recently started school, and is often talking about her frustrations with the educational system.  The video she shared was of University students in the States and how little they knew about their own history.

D is a social media expert and a lover of all things geeky.  Her posts tend to focus around her job as a social media manager, pictures of her pets, and fan videos, fandom memes, gif sets and more.  In this case, she’s posting a ‘spoiler’ about the recently released Star Wars video and saying she’s ‘sorry, not sorry’ because the movie has been out for a long enough time now.  She really, really loves geek culture, is a huge gamer, and often speaks out about sexism in gaming culture.

M was a friend from high school.  She’s posted a photo of herself in an outfit to match the era of “Pride, Prejudice & Zombies.”  With her is someone else who is dressed like a zombie.  M is a huge fan of books and geek culture as well.  She has said she is very excited to see the movie, and I’m assuming she and her friend are headed to watch it in full costume.

L is interested in attending the Silver Millennium Masquerade Ball.  Without clicking on this, I assume it has something to do with Sailor Moon.  I remember that she really loved that show as a kid (and still does now) as she recently posted about a gift she had received from a friend that was Sailor Moon Themed.    

I don’t know J very well anymore, but she keeps showing up on my newsfeed because of the news articles and funny posts she makes.  I could not tell you what she is up to her life, but I know posts a lot about sexism, racism and equality.

The last time I saw J2 was in University.  We were in the same program and worked together, so when we saw each other outside of class or work, it was usually at a party.  These days he is focused on his marriage, his job as a teacher, and his new born daughter, who he is currently trying to find a new carrier for.

I have not seen A since high school, but I know he recently left one job to start a new career, he lives with his girlfriend who he seems to really love, and has an adorable cat who he is constantly posting photos and videos of.

Sometimes, the most random things end up on my timeline.  But that's to be expected when you follow Tumblr.

 The posts I see are all picked out because of the accounts I interact with most often. so they also reflect my own interests.  There are many users I’m ‘Friends’ with who I never see on my timeline anymore, and anyone who starts posting things that are essentially overshare, I end up blocking.

More than updates from my friends, were posts from pages I’ve liked.  Corruption and policy brutality news reports, PSAs against drinking and driving, posts from George Takei, recipes (mostly from Buzzfeed and Tasty), and post that a breaking down the current Republican and Democratic debates. 

Module 6: Content Creation with Pinterest

Module 6: Content Creation with Pinterest
Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 - Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016
  • Feb. 12: Using the Module’s readings as context and theory, curate a Pinterest board. Your board must be related to ONE of our course Modules (digital literature, twitter fiction, #selfies). You must include 7-10 pins. Each pin must include a description that draws from the Module readings. Remember, you are curating specific and pertinent information artefacts. Cite any references using APA style. Embed your completed board in a blog post on the course blog. Tweet a link to your Pinterest blog post. Use the class hashtag #NMN and always tweet to me @JessL

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Studying Facebook

A screenshot from Instagram (personal communication, February 2, 2016). 

I will emulate Jenn's format, because she did it oh-so-cleverly. As I started studying my Facebook timeline, it was difficult to find statuses that weren't shared links. That’s likely because I often unfollow "friends" who post effusive, highly personal status updates. 

Most of my timeline posts are content from institutions or personalities I follow ie. The New York Times, 
George Takei, Jezebel. Clearly, they’re looking to promote their own content or causes, so I’ve decided not to examine their narratives. 

A sample post on my Facebook timeline.

I decided that I would only examine Facebook posts that were original content, native to Facebook. Like Jenn, out of concern for my friends’ privacy, I won't be sharing identifying information about my friends. 

1) G. is a former work colleague of mine, who changed his profile picture to an image of himself and his wife looking pensive or skeptical. They're outside sitting on steps of a large public library. I think G. intended all of his friends to see this photo. Indeed, the profile photo is used as an avatar across the site and can come up in Google searches. From this, I’m guessing G. wants to show the importance of his relationship with his wife. 

2) K. is a former high school classmate who I haven't spoken to in years. She writes that she thinks she's lost her wedding ring in a garbage bag filled with dirty diapers. It's accompanied by many anguished emojis. 

The message is brief and powerful. I think the post is made to garner sympathy and words of encouragement. From this message, I'm imagining that she's a busy mom and wife with many responsibilities. 

3. N. 's photo shows herself and young niece at a birthday party. The accompanying text says how  N. loves and cherishes the niece, S. This "friend" often posts pictures of her family and friends. I'm a former colleague of N.'s and yet I can see this personal picture, so this photo is very public.

N. is quite pretty, and most of her FB posts are selfies with family and friends. This portrays  that she has strong relationships with others and values her family and friends.

A screenshot of B.'s Facebook post.

4. The next post is a lengthy, esoteric post promoting a yoga retreat in Southeast Asia. It was posted by the organizer of the retreat, a high school acquaintance named B. 

B. posted a picture alongside the text, showing her posing under a gorgeous, bougainvillea tree. The picture is washed in warm light, and B. is smiling invitingly while wearing a tummy-baring yoga outfit. The photo captions suggests B. is having "a midday frolic through Eden" (personal communication, February 2, 2016).

I think her post is to evoke emotion in the reader. Because B. is promoting her event, she's intending the post to be widely read and shared. The appealing image is meant to attract the reader and get them intrigued by the yoga retreat. Most of our mutual network would be in rural Alberta, suffering through the winter. The post is enticing and says "come join me in the sun in Southeast Asia". 

5. S. is a high school friend who posted regarding the broken pilot light on her furnace. Three commenters gave S. advice, after which she responded that the furnace was fixed. 

From this post, I’m gleaning that S. is a homeowner with responsibilities. She's trying to be pro-active and solution-oriented. Also, she’s living in Calgary and she’s still suffering through the brutal Alberta winter. 

S. is quite prolific with Facebook postings, so I think she intends them for a wide audience. I don’t know her very well anymore, but I can still glean lots of information about her job, recreation activities and marriage. 


Jezebel. (2016, February 2).  Sarah Palin, February 1, 2016: "You ready for peace through strength and that Reagan-ous posture that would tell any enemy, 'Uh uh, we’re America, so we win, you lose!'" [Facebook status]. Retrieved from