Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lecture three - what is text?

On Monday we had a guest lecturer, who spoke with us about the meaning of text, how to effectively communicate through text, along with other methods of communication and reporting which perhaps link to text, but do not use it as the predominant medium through which to present information.

One example of this was news presented through online games - something which did not personally spark my interest as I do not play video games, computer games or anything of the sort. I took notes, however, and over the past few days I have been thinking of pros and cons of this method, which I thought I would log below:

Pros of using gaming as a news platform:

  • Those who may not previously have bothered to expose themselves to news could learn more about the world and current events through this medium
  • Children like to play games, and in my opinion should not be ignorant of world news, so weekly or monthly 'Current Events Games' through news websites which parents could allow their children to play in order to catch them up
Cons of using games as a news platform:
  • In my personal opinion, breaking certain news items down to this form could be seen as trivialising events, along with the possibility of leaving out major details due to the desire to create a more 'playable' or enjoyable game
  • Even if all relevant and important details are included, there is no way of guaranteeing that those participating in such games would take the time to read, process and retain said information
  • Video and computer games are notoriously distracting, and also addictive - news, in my opinion, should be presented in a manner which allows or full concentration of its recipients, and the ability to walk away from a newscast, article or blast after an appropriate (see: relatively short) period of time, thus allowing them not only to process the information, but put their own spin on events & present them either to friends, family, social networking, blogs, etc
Personally, I do not think I would be an advocate of presenting news through a gaming format, possibly because I am a 'media snob' in many ways (I will watch terrible television adverts and scream 'NO, YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE IT THIS WAY!' at the screen), but also through memory of personal experience; 
As a child, I played a computer game in which I had to identify and put together the human anatomy, from skeleton to facial features, and I became very good at it, memorising the names, locations and even functions of each individual body part - but now, as a young adult, I don't think I could tell you how many bones are even in the human body! Games are, in many ways, about memory and repetition rather than actual gathering and retaining of knowledge and new information regarding the world.

When I reject an idea, I usually like to come up with a few of my own, some practical, some whimsical, mainly to justify within my own psyche that I am not simply shaking my head at anything new that's thrown my way. It's always best to think, particularly when one's opinion slants towards the negative.

Alternative ways of presenting news:
  • If we want to present news to children, I see nothing wrong with including a 'current affairs' class in primary school classrooms, say once a week. I went to primary school in England and in year 4 my teacher was very well travelled, and passionate about helping educate children to become conscientious citizens rather than just kids who knew their 7x tables - I remember once a week or so we would discuss events such as 9/11, what wars meant and where they were occurring in the world, who was in parliament and brief introductions as to what each party stood for, etc, and it's stuck with me for many, many years after. 
  • Somewhat '1984'-esque, but since we are constantly and consistently bombarded with advertisements for Coca Cola, ribbed condoms (for HIS pleasure, of course), any and everything Disney, etc, why not have occasional 'flash news' segments on the television and radio, even Facebook & Twitter, reminding people of what's going on in the world and giving links to resources available if one would like to conduct further investigation on the matter? Billboards are so full of airbrushed Victoria's Secret models and angry, Nordic looking men informing me that certain types of ice cream 'MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF MAN NUTS' (because that's just what we all need on a hot summer's eve, right?), you'd think we'd find a small space within our crowded consumer culture to actually educate people as to what's going on in the world!
  • Speaking of consumer culture - Coke cans, chocolate bars & even alcohol bottles are produced at such a rapid rate, why not print news headlines on them? Instead of 'Share a coke with your bro', why not print 'Kony 2012' across people's beverages? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, thanks for leaving a comment!