Sunday, October 21, 2012

Signs? Sig(h)ns.

If you know me at all, or have followed this blog, you know that I am a proponent of multimodality.  I love teaching about, learning about, using and advocating multiple modes in the classroom.  I also propose that we pay attention to the modes around us outside of the classroom.  I do worry, though, that  the world depends so greatly on signs.  Just like we have multiple interpretations of words, we, too, have multiple interpretations of signs.

Just a few minutes ago, I logged into my blogger account so that I could read some more of my students' blogs.  I have decided to follow all their blogs, so that when I log into dashboard...there they are.  The problem...I can never remember how to log in to my dashboard. I typically have to click two or three places before it shows up.  It wasn't until a few minutes ago, that I clicked on the white B in the orange box.  To me...that logo meant "blogger" and I assumed it was going to take me to the home page.  Makes sense right? But because I was logged in, it took me to my dashboard.  I could swear that when I started this blog almost a year ago, there was an actual link to dashboard.  I mean the word "dashboard" was underlined.  So I am used to clicking on the word.  Not the logo for blogger.

So...why the change? The same thing happened to me a few years back.  I wanted to delete an e-mail from my g-mail account.  Typcially, I would click on the box to the left of the e-mail...go to the top and click on the word "delete."  I swear, it took me longer than it should have to eventually figure out that they replaced this with an icon of a garbage can.  Now, why did I never click on the garbage can?  Because in another e-mail program, the garbage can led you to your deleted e-mails.  So in one e-mail program the garbage can was literally the place where your "deleted" e-mails or "garbage" was found.  And in another e-mail program, you had to click on the garbage can to delete your message.

So here is the issue.  One sign means two different things.  When there are words, it is much simpler.  You know the meaning.  But with symbols, it might take multiple attempts or some practice to understand what they mean.

I truly believe we are becoming more sign-based because we are a global society.  The plus side to using images is that they are (most often) universal.  But the negative side is that even signs can have different meanings depending on one's prior knowledge.

I pose no question.  I just wanted to rant about signs for a moment.  While I do love teaching about understanding signs and other modes, I too, get tripped up from time to time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Instant Memes

So tonight I was watching the presidential debate, and like many others, I was on facebook at the same time.  Though I heard Romney mention that he had "binders full of women" from which to seek cabinet members...I'll be honest....I didn't think too too much of it. At best, I thought he was kissing ass. About a half an hour later, I noticed that that my newsfeed on facebook was filled with binder comments.  Eventually I was led to this link.  Clearly, I first laughed my ass off.  But what fascinated me was the speed in which these were generated.  In fact, my partner was not watching tonight.  So I paused to tell him what the facebook nation seemed to focus on...this one comment.  (And believe me...if we're going to pick at Mittens...there was plenty to pick on.)  I even joked with him that this was "bindergate."  My partner's response was that there was so much mockery in such a short amount of time.

This got me thinking.  We are used to make comments on facebook within seconds.  But now we are creating memes.  In minutes after a gaffe.  Look at the speed in which we can send information.  It used to be that we could send e-mails to a selected party...but now we can communicate with ANYONE within moments after an event.  Being a multimodal theorist...I worry about this.  We tend to use multiple modes to express our we really want/need to have them out there for everyone?  Or are we impulsive?  Have you ever waken up after a drunken facebook night and thought "Jesus....I really didn't want everyone to hear my thoughts?"  I'm just worried, because with social networking....and web we think before we post?

i would be lying if i said i was a model example of posting.  i mean, look at my facebook any friday am and chances are...if i could take back a post i would.  not just because i may have had cocktails...but because when i facebook...which is traditionally at's after a long day of work...and to tell you the truth..i am worked up.

that's what worries me about web 2.0.  It's so easy to post without full thoughts.  Think about it.  I know I will.

I know I don't want to slant my posts...but my God...binders full of women...can't stop laughing!