This week we are focusing on another key element of the media network, data. Obviously, they are closely linked together as media is the medium of data, whenever data is transferring as a message or saving as an archive.

So, data, what can we do for it?  I find it complicate for this week blog posting, as the ideas I got from the reading seem are not related but at the same time, they actually overlaps each other. Urg, yea confusing, I will try my best to explain that here. First, I want to point out some good points on data, derive from The Vast Machine by Paul N. Edward (2010),

‘Without model, there are no data.’

Good point, but on the other hand it can be another way around. We can say a model is developed by data, but we can also say that we can get data from a model. So it is just a question for chicken and egg for this. Edward used climate change as the example for data. This is interesting as climate change, let’s just says global warming, and has long been argued on whether they are true or not.

‘Everything we know about the world’s climate – past, present and future – we know through models.’

So model is essential, not just for climate, it applies to a lot of things, like, media studies, economy, well, just anything you can name of require a model. It is just depends on us whether we stick to it or create a new form a model. As Edward points out,

‘There is always more to learn about the past… our perspectives on the past keeps changing. We argue about how to interpret the evidence, finding flaws in earlier interpretations.’

So, data itself does not change, it totally depends on we interpret it. Instantly, I just think of one image that probably presents this idea for me.

Woman or Old Lady?

Do you see old woman or a young lady? The image (data) did not change but how we interpret matters.

There are tones of way to interpret a data thanks to media and internet. Media itself obviously provides a huge range of perspectives for us as we can easily access all source of information online. And here it come the idea of infotention introduced by Howard Rheingold. According to Rheingold (2009), infotention is a skill “describe the psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today, a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters”.

Basically, it means the process of filtering information or data online. Information online is just packed, it becomes necessary for us to get the good and trustworthy stuff from the wide range of sources. What we need for this is the mindful infotention, in which require a good source of attention literacies and infotention filters (Rheingold 2009). I am not so sure on this but I think it means we need to have a clear mind on what we are looking for with the use of corresponding technical skills?

Edwards, Paul N. (2010) ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii

Rhiengold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’ <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/index&gt; (accessed on 6 April 2011)

Wesley

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