In this assignment, you'll conceive, write, and design the prototype of a web site or blog that enables "social creativity" via the network. You will use Dreamweaver (or a means of your own choosing) and Photoshop to produce this prototype, which will consist of a
- home page,
- rationale page,
- two samples of the form (either on the home page or on their own pages)
--all linked together as a site. Like any prototype, this site is not intended to represent the complete work as may someday exist, but only to illustrate your project's concept, presentation, and procedures in order to suggest how--and for whom--it will have cultural meaning.
The assignment also includes a 500-word-minimum commentary.
Concept and Platform, Specific and Open
While traditional media sharply distiguishes the author/performer from the reader/audience, new media encourages a mingling of these roles.
In this project, you will create a concept and a platform which enables others to contribute to your site creatively and expressively, but within a certain focus, tone, and vision that is yours. The point is to provide a concept that is
Here are some examples, which use this social-creativity technique for various political, artistic, confessional, satirical purposes.
- Fleeting Stories
- Departures and Arrivals
- Make Your Franklin
- In Search of Oldton
- Noon Quilt
- Sorry Everybody (2004, after George W. Bush's re-election in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. See also the rationale)
- 50 Sad Chairs (not socially participatory, but could be)
- "Implementation" by Nick Montfort and Scott Rettberg (notice the rationale page)
- PostSecret (blog)
- People of Walmart
- Black People Love Us (see especially the Your Testimonials! Page) (see also more about site creator Jonah Peretti)
- Uncyclopedia (Wikipedia's entry--you can't trust Uncyclopedia's own "About" page)
Note how each of these examples enable contributors to participate creatively in producing the project, but each contribution is a variation or elaboration on the same idea, effect, or joke.
- that the project consists of a Home Page, Rationale Page, two sample "lexia" (that is, two pages, two blocks of text[s], two units of meaning, which serve as examples for more by you or others), and a 500-word (minimum) written commentary
- how fully the conception and execution of the project recognizes the properties of New Media--while not necessarily obeying them--as defined by Janet Murray's chapter: Procedural, Encyclopedic, Participatory, Spatial (PEPS)
- the extent to which the project attempts to inspire and enable contributors to be creative and to share that creativity socially
- how strongly the requested contributions are defined and unifies by a common purpose, vision, tone, and/or attitude, as expressed in the "concept"
- that the project specifically defines guidelines for the contributions: a form or genre that gives shape to a participant's creative impulses.
- the degree to which the project demonstrates the author's technical grasp of the software, techniques, and work flows learned in class so far
- how usably and aesthetically the project is visually designed and presented, including how the pages are linked together
- how thoughtfully the project is analyzed in a formal, well-written, grammatically correct commentary of at least 500 words (about 2 double-spaced pages)
- how well the commentary explains the project's realization of (and/or negotiation with) PEPS
- how well the commentary explains the project's parallels with works of writing studied in class, especially the ways these writings bring unlike styles or perspectives into dialog
- how well the commentary explains the project's parallels with New Media projects discussed in class
- whether the commentary includes at least three, well chosen quotations (or very specific descriptions of visual texts) from the class readings (especially Murray's chapter) with page numbers indicated when appropriate, or from online examples
- whether all outside references in the commentary are cited correctly using MLA-style in-text citation format and bibliographic documentation at the end of the commentary.
- CSS Zen Garden as example of the procedural nature of New Media
- New York Times article about Twitter in the Primaries
- Mario Manningham Super Bowl catch
- Form as World View (Mikhail Bahktin)
- How to insert fake form fields (including Insert > Form > File Field).
[Note: you are not expected to create working forms for this assignment. If you're interested, however, you can find steps for a working file field here.]