How do I plan to gain understanding?

The research will be qualitative so as to offers an ‘interpretive’ perspective as it ‘asks about human experience, social structure or culture’ (Denzin & Lincoln 2011 p. 243) within the online publishing environment.  In addition, Denzin and Lincoln (2011 p. 244) believe a qualitative design must contain a degree of flexibility to encourage the introduction of new understanding as well as to account for the unexpected, which would suit this research enquiry well. 

Although there are three generic types of case studies (intrinsic, collective, process) according to Denzin and Lincoln (2011 p. 244), this case study on the online publishing blog, will be developed to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions (Yin R 2009 l. 483) to gain understanding of this ‘contemporary event’.  The case study will be ‘intrinsic’, as defined by Robert Stake (2005) and will be a single focused case study.  Unlike a ‘history’ of an event, the case study is able to add two vital and vibrant sources of evidence; i.e. personal observations and interviews (Yin R 2009 l. 483) and the case study has the additional advantage of being able to accept a variety of evidence or data types. 

As this is research on a new media phenomenon, the case study approach allows the research to include Lievrouw and Livingstone’s (2006 p. 23) fame work for thinking ‘beyond simple classification of systems and features’ of new media which they define as “information and communication technologies and their associated social contexts incorporating: the artifacts or devices that enable and extend our abilities to communicate; the communication activities or practices we engage in to develop and use these devices; and the social arrangements that form around the devices and practices.


and thus asks about .  or social constructivism case I am going to use an qualitative methodology to gather all the data that I can find – Google analytics, social network analysis, Brand’s Eye statistics, content sources, links, comments, posts, pages, categories and tags – to analyse a single blogging site ( and determine what effect (if any) new technologies and emerging concepts have on the core principles of journalism.  What has shifted?  And what is the result.  Of particular interest will be the “What are the various roles of content creators in an era of networked journalists?”


Day 450: “The journey is the thing”

Two plus years ago I started with the idea that I would like to do my PhD in Social Media.  It was a vague idea and resulted in a vague title “Emerging patterns in social media.”

The best that could be said about this was, “It was a start.”  But not a particularly helpful one.  One of the areas I really battled with was how to make sense of the data that I would be collected.   And after many sessions …  I finally decided that activity theory could provide the lens.   I could not have been more wrong.  Activity theory is an education focused lens and not what I needed at all.

The title became more complex but no clearer.  “Emerging patterns in social media:  A case study on”  The advantage of this title was that it presented a context.  The context was the online publication  This round was heavily influenced by the work of Paul du Gay and the production of identity (Organising Identity, 2007) and the circuit of culture, as presented in the Story of the Sony Walkman (Paul du Gay et al, 1997).

And further readings and ponderings this title morphed into “Content creation in online media: – a case study of neo journalism.”   A change motivated by the shift away from general emerging patterns to a focus on ‘content creation’ or ‘news production’ in the traditional print world.  However the idea of a case study, together with a content analysis, discourse analysis and interviews, was quite rightly dismissed as most likely to produce “a description  which would not add to the body of knowledge.”

Further readings were required and, as is often the case, confused matters.   The honeycomb model of Kietzmann et al (2012, 2011) presented seven functional blocks of social media as the investigative lens to look at social media.  I failed to notice that I was not investigating social media, but investigating content creation.  So once again the title was adapted to “Individualisation of content creation in a networked society:  A case study of neo journalism at”  And in addition to the other methods mentioned above the term ‘analytics’ was introduced into the methodology.  The title was edited into “Content creation in network society.”

The saddest thing about lacking knowledge is that one has no idea of one’s ignorance.  Despair and despondency began to take hold.   Further readings, further thinking and a not so gentle nudge into looking to social network analysis as a method of investigation for this research led to a revised title “A social network analysis of”   Further readings and the title shifted again “Online media ideology:  Representational or Performative?”  In essence I was back to the beginning looking at the construction of identity.  However I was not to remain here long.

More reading … and now I am finally where I think I should be “Journalist or netwoker?” An analytic approach to online publishing.”   It might take a while to decide to remain here, but finally I feel more positive.

As Homer said in Iliad “Even a fool learns something once it hits him.”

Extract from Fourteen August:  A journey of 500 days

Viva la difference

Social Media.  (Douglas Ray using an Instagram)

Social Media. (Douglas Ray using an Instagram)

I spent two hours this morning getting to know the BTech class of 2012 (#smed12), who I will be leading into the world of  Social Media…

But then on Facebook I found this posting by Julie Posetti with the caption”Instagram Photos : Social Media Explained a la @ThreeShipsMedia by: Doug Ray”   And because the instagram presents the differences between social media applications so well I decided to post it here.

And because I liked the picture so much and it is available for iPhone I went to iTunes to see if there was an app for iPad and to by great joy there is .  So I know what I am going to be playing with over the next few days.  More to follow… (Must go, toys to play with.)

Three parts of a presentation

“Millions of presentations are now given every day with the aid of PowerPoint or other slideware.  Yet, most presentations remain mind-numbingly dull, something to be endured by both presenter and audience alike.”  Garr Renolds (Presentation Zen).

Presentations are not about endurance (i.e. how long can I bore you before you walk out), they are about sharing information orally and visually.  It is all about communication.  This being the case then presentations should make a point (one single point)  and then explain why that point is important.   (Otherwise why do I want to hear it?)  That is it. 

“Communication is the transfer of emotion.”   Seth Godin.

In 2007 Seth Godin wrote an e-book on Really Bad PowerPoint and How to avoid it.  He hoped that it would it would make people think about their presentations and that things would get better.  But he recently posted it AGAIN, because things have got worse.  It is not 100 per cent identical the one posted in 2007, but you would have to read both to determine that. 

Read it at

So the three parts of  a presentation are:

  • 1.  Slides with visuals that support or reinforce your words. 

Remember slides are an aid to the presenter; they are not the presentation.  If they are the presentation, then you might as well stay a home.  Especially as I can read quicker than you can talk.  I am going to be extremely annoyed, irritated if you treat me like a 5 year old and read to me.  So don’t.  I want you to talk to me and show me.  Get me involved in your talk, excite me, educate me but do not read to me.

  • 2.  Cue Cards (these are your notes)

Remember your slides are not your notes so don’t put everything you want to say on your slides.  Put 6 words on your slides and put your notes on your cue cards.  They are in your hand  so know what you want to say – just in case you forget or get side tracked during the presentation.  Or if you go blank.

  • 3.  Report.  This is what you leave behind.

This is not a print out of your slides which are irrelevant without the presenter.  And the report is not your cue cards.  The report is the detail of your presentation, plus everything else that you had to summarise, simplify etc  to make you slides work.  It covers the main points of your presentation in-depth and in detail.

Drawing the line

The deadline for blog posts and blog marks are at 18h00 the day before your first class of the week.  This means it is Sunday at 18h00 for fulltime students and Monday at 18h00 for part-time students.

You may only submit two blog marks per person per week.   If  members of your group have not written their blogs, submit your marks  noting that they do not have a blog to mark.  You can’t save them.