of the posthuman era as ‘disembodied information’, surely this information has no relationships, morality or meaning until it comes in contact with human cognition? Carr (1986) would agree with this, arguing that the reality of human experience, of life, is not a ‘mere’ or ‘pure’ sequence of isolated events, or chunks of information. Human experience, even posthuman experience, Carr (1986) would argue is ‘characterised by a complex temporal structure akin to the configuration of the storied form’. With this in mind the concept of ‘narrative learning environments’ have been examined by numerous theorists (Laudrillard et al 2000; Walker 2006; Mott et al 1999, Pachler and Daly 2009). Within these environments, learning can be examined by analysing the relationship between narrative structure and human thought. According to Campion (2006) narratology and cognitive psychology focus on different aspects of narrative – narratology on the structure of texts and cognitive psychology on the role of the reader and what the reader does with the text. When looking at Twitter, we can first consider how the ‘text’ is structured. Pradl (1984) adds “….without stories our experiences would merely be unevaluated sensations from an undifferentiated stream of events.” Campion (2006) reminds us that narratives are generally linear and there are consequences for comprehension in non‐ linearity, some of which we will examine in this paper. Brown (2000) in his turn, was convinced that the digital ‘story’ was created as a form of ‘bricolage’, a concept studied by Claude Levi‐Strauss. It related to the ability to find something – a tool, a document,
video – and use it to build something with the critical factor being the judgement necessary to become an effective ‘digital bricoleur’. “Distributed discussion offers many points of entry, both for readers and for co-writers. And it offers a new environment for storytelling.” (Levine 2008) Twitter, as a story ‘genre’, appears to function like a personal anecdote, rather than a crafted story – repetition, backtracking, interaction with others who share the story. The #itf10 conference Twitter ‘narrative’ was not linear – there were digressions, discussions and interactions as well as openings, middles and closings as in a typical story. Some participants were working as ‘bricoleurs’, some as ‘storytellers’ and some were providing the ‘problems’ and ‘issues’ which drove the ‘narrative’. The narrative was also self referential – talking about itself as a narrative as well as talking about the speaker or the conference (see full analysis, using some of Bruner’s (1991) ten features of narrative p7) However, “…narratives suppose such a double mechanism of story comprehension and construction of a situation model.” (Campion 2006) What the Twitter trend for the IT Futures conference was doing was constructing a ‘situation model’ both for the conference participants and the non‐participants trying to follow the action through the Twitter hashtag. The flow of commentary, particularly from the main ‘storyteller’ or commentator ‘kicking_k’ contextualised the events.
Published on Jan 16, 2011