I have always been interested in history and I guess part of my desire to become a journalist is to ‘be a part of the history’, to be there when it happens as opposed to merely standing on the sidelines. Given the task of envisaging and creating my own online documentary project I think I would like to follow my passion for history, along with my interest in anthropology and pursue something along these lines.
The sites we have been visiting in class over the past few weeks have been very helpful, demonstrating the many ways in which you can illustrate and encapsulate different topics and issues. We Feel Fine, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, jumped out at me from early on. With it’s intricate use of data mining and collection, the site is an amalgamation of my interest in human thinking and storytelling/history. The site is essentially a collation of data sourced from blogs on the Internet, but it has this unique, and I think rather unseen, ability to reveal how people feel on certain days of the year and in certain places, pinpointing age and even gender. Operating around the clock, updating every ten minutes, I believe the site acts as an important historical record. Imagine being able to document the feelings of 20,000 the day the Berlin Wall collapsed? To be able to capture the voices and emotions of such a mass of people on such a momentus occasion would significantly enrich our understanding of the past, as the people take the place of historians… effectively creating their own history.
And I suppose that is the beauty of the Internet, of online blogging, of Facebook and Twitter… it essentially allows the everyday person a space to express who they are or what they feel. You don’t need to be a ‘somebody’ to have a blog. In my eyes, this is what makes the Internet so interesting.
I’m no data mining/html/blogging mastermind… coding and whatnot is certainly not my strength. I’m not a dimwit with technology but I’m not an expert either! So I definitely think that I will be aiming for a strong concept with this project… time to get the ball rolling and think of something genius!