Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, Let's Cruise!

Intro: The IDM Project for Carey Sargent’s course on Media, Culture and Society, was a great learning experience that allowed students to put their knowledge of new media and content creation to the test. This process of creating content can help one learn about the internet as a public forum. Being that new media and technology progression is an advancement that has just recently shot off in the last few years, it is easy to compare older ways distributing information and public forums with more current ways. I used a blog as a public forum to organize and distribute information to a particular audience that consisted of 95 people.

About The Project: In August of 2010, a group of 95 people are going on a Carnival cruise together to the Western Caribbean. We all may not know each other on a one-on-one basis, but we are all connected in some type of way. It started off as just my family of five (parents, me, 2 sisters) and from there each of us invited extended family, church members, friends, etc and asked them to spread the word and invite others as well. Now the tricky part was keeping everyone on the same page. How were we going to introduce ourselves and our idea of traveling together? Get everyone registered and payments made to the travel agent? Provide a place to answer questions? Suggest ideas for fun and entertainment? Traditional ways of communicating to a mass audience often times relied on telephone calls, mail, and word of mouth. Although email was helpful, it is not always the most efficient way to get information out to a large body of people- in terms of keeping everything organized, easy to update and to have readily available information.

The Internet as a Public Forum: By condensing the entire cruise information into a blog- barrier, after barrier was knocked down when compared to the disadvantages of more traditional ways of communication. The blog provided such a rich social and cultural experience to the audience that after it was made, it made no sense to turn back. We introduced our travelers to the blog through email. We highlighted it in an electronic newsletter and discussed it as an alternative way to stay linked to the cruise updates and news. Firstly, the blog was valuable in that provided information to a large amount of people. We provided different types of information and it was organized, included pictures and had spaces available for people to comment and interact. The audience could develop a more concrete and clear understanding of what the information entailed of in a visual, presentable and condensed format. Secondly, the blog was valuable in that it distributed knowledge in a more efficient way. If one person posted a question, the question and answer was seen by everyone. Through email, content is often times buried in an inbox or even spam, but through this blog, it was readily available and had a concrete home in the cyber world that was easy to retrieve. Furthermore, it allowed people to access it in a time that was most convenient for them.

Check It Out!

Conclusion: In the end, this was a very valuable experience for both the creator and the audience. Sociologically, it provided a place for everyone to connect, communicate and obtain knowledge. As the creator I learned how to make a blog and I learned about new ways of communicating and distributing information to others. This project has taught me to think more creatively and sociologically conscious in terms of distributing information to others. I am so thankful for this experience and I look forward to creating more content, teaching others along the way and last, but not least, cruising the night away!

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