EVERY WEEK, I READ about someone who wants to erase themselves from the history written about them. It used to be easier back in the days when the most indelible records were granite.
I walked on the historical record of James, located deep within Sligo Abbey. His surname and several particulars were carved away from his headstone, meaning his memory and his legacy lasted only in spoken word of mouth. Perhaps he was illegitimate or maybe his remains were moved to a family site somewhere else. More alarmingly, James' mother might have offended community sensitivities, causing the church to erase reference details about her son from his headstone.
Today, it is much more difficult erasing the electronic reference to a person when they do something they regret. It is so easy for damning information to trickle into easily-discovered corners of the internet where it oozes out to soil a CV or credit check years later.
And when that happens, it is often easier to discard your online nickname or to adopt a new surname. That is one reason why some employers demand to know all your identities during the hiring process and why those same employers will terminate you for cause if you are not forthcoming.
If only things were as simple as scraping off a surname on a granite stone.
It's a place I've photographed often since moving to Cashel in 2005. Now I want to learn from the experts how to put together a body of work that can be safely digitised into a dataset that researchers from around the world might use to find their part in Irish history.
UNTIL INSTAGRAM, I was unaware of the thigh gap obsession. Then it appeared in my daily newsfeeds in the form of a quick test.
Derek Baird gave the test: "Stand-up straight with your feet together in front of a mirror and look for a space between your upper thighs. If you see a gap, you have the latest body image obsession teen girls are starving themselves to achieve."
And then Derek pointed me to how this teen girl obsession has a huge following on social media sites like Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram.
Derek explains, "The trend is fueled by digital media and magazines that feature celebrities with the elusive 'thigh gap'---which is, in most cases, the work of a highly skilled Photoshop guru and not so much based on reality."
I noticed how easy it is to subscribe to a steady pictoral flow of dangerous body image trend. I can read tweets from Supermodel Cara Delevingne about her thigh gap on Twitter and scroll through thousands of thigh gaps on Tumblr with images of ultrathin women in bikinis, hiked up skirts, and lingerie, all baring thighs so thin they don't touch.
THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT we get from our junior infant (snapped younger in the photo) is she doesn't want to hear the news. She wants RTEjr.
We told her the news said she can watch, listen and play on a new RTEjr app so she's interested. She agreed to pull one of her apps off our family iTouch and tossed Snow White into the dead pool. Some day she might discover how to run the RTÉ Player and dive into 40 hours of content on any given day.
I like the idea that Mia can listen to stories or sing songs with an online presenter because I grew up with those kinds of things before we had a television in the house.
It looks like RTE have commissioned more than 100 children’s stories and that some of that content will port to mobile devices. I wonder if we can listen to the dedicated children’s radio channel on DAB or if it's a Saorview-only option.
I BELIEVE THERE is a lost art in creating a proper mixtape. And it's an artform that uses real cassette tapes to immortalise the sound track of my life.
In the Limerick School of Art and Design where I teach creative multimedia students, the steady march of technology continues unrelentlessly. I marked significant emotional events in college while listening to and making mixtapes. Last semester, only one in 20 students in my college lectures could explain how a pencil is related to a cassette tape. And that respondent had never rewound a cassette with a pencil but had seen someone do it in a movie.
I stumble across old mixtapes from the 20th century, often remembering the exact point on the cassette where the music is garbled from stretched tape or demagnetised segments. And I've handled a few of my 70s vintage tapes feeling that I'm part of a nearly extinct species that marked college days with the love and passion of crafting a real set of tracks that often came directly from an LP or from a radio station. I've digitised one of my found mixtapes below, trying to immortalise REM in the process.
THERE ARE TIMES like these, on the heels of the suicide of Aaron Swartz, that cause me to think about the precious status enjoyed by copyrighted content. Years from now, I believe we will recognise copyright as an imperialistic concept.
Nothing I write and nothing I share in a higher education classroom has any value unless it's read and remembered. My course notes, essays, sample questions and readings have to be opened, read, discussed and shared among classmates. Only then does creative content become knowledge. In a related essay, Jeff Jarvis cites "the pioneers of rethinking content’s value"—Lawrence Lessig, Joi Ito, Cory Doctorow, Aaron Swartz—to make the point that "all creation is born of what came before". The realm of intellectual property has changed.
ONE OF THE MOST cherished discoveries in my life is stumbling upon the visually impaired community on Audioboo. If you want to hear the power of social networking, it's worth following a dozen blind people as they navigate through their days.
I went along and clipped a few minutes of audio (below) and also included the most popular sound clip from Audioboo, based upon its mentions in the year 2012 on the world's most compassionate social audio platform.
Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel | Photo of Irish Examiner.
IRISH NEWSPAPERS HAVE started invoicing agencies that link to their content. If this unwelcome industry practise creeps into academe, it could stifle the delivery of high-quality content.
As the senior creative multimedia lecturer at the Limerick Institute of Technology, I write content in the form of Acrobat documents, e-books, Powerpoint files, public Evernote links, Google documents and Slideshare presentations. All of these documents gain a share of their relevance through occasional hyperlinks to Irish newspapers such as the one shown above in this blog post. Based on a billing mechanism developed by the National Newspapers of Ireland, I could be liable for payment simply because I put links into a bibliography section of an academic document. Since I cannot honour a demand payment, I am modifying the hyperlinks to ensure they do not point to the newspapers. Furthermore, I am removing most of my academic material from public view since I know Meltwater, Google and other crawlers have discovered it during the past three years.