Multiple Perspective/Mode + Social Space

“Drift” is the best word to use to describe my situation for my thesis project.
But I have to move on, cause I need to graduate.

Multiple perspective/mode:
Giving a wider range of view to the subject. Although more information doesn’t necessarily means more truthfulness, but it does help it’s audience to access the subject from different angles and inspire different thoughts.

Social space:
Social aspect of Journalism, using journalism to facilitate conversation. The physical space allows multiple users to participate in news reading at the same time. Sharing news, articles and thoughts within a confined area or space, opens up the landscape not just through the multiple perspective of the content, but also through the POV of each participant.

Untitled from Ping Li on Vimeo.



Update July/22/2009

Journalism as a form of public forum?

Okay, what you are about to read, might be a bit of nonsense. I’m putting it down just because I need to organize my thoughts.

The first form of journalism started out at the ancient greek markets. A place where people come and exchange information, and decide policies based on a public consensus. The same form of forum continued for quite a while, until some of our forefathers decided to put the information onto a paper, which then became the first kind of Newspaper.

As our society grew larger, and as people spread out more to different areas of the continent. Newspaper went into mass production and became one of the main channels for people to gather information. It slowly became the creator of a public discourse, it became what we talk about when we meet our friends. “Have you seen the headline today?” A very common question to start a conversation within our daily life.

Journalism, different from news, is the practice in which people create news through a series of professional investigations. Back in the ancient greek markets where people exchanged information with each other in verbal form. Everybody was a journalist themselves, every each and one of them were the gatekeepers of information. They filter, digest and organize what they considered to be important to tell. After entering the age of Newspaper, we gave that power away, to people who we now consider as “Editors.”

That was a few hundreds years ago. Now let’s fast forward to the year 2003. A few years after the dot com bubble exploded, a group of network believers gathered around silicon valley to discuss about their next revolution step. The Web2.0 era.

The use of technology have improved and took our society to places we’ve never imagined before. We now live in a world surrounded by networks, from the deepest oceans to the outer space orbits. Networks appear in every aspects of our living. In this 21 century, we live in a world where every one of us are connected. I shout out “ballocks!” here in California, a guy living on the other side of the world hears it and gives ma thumb up. Isn’t this a bit familiar with the ancient Greek market event I mentioned in the previous paragraphs? Technology breaks the limits of space and time in our environment, it gives us the power to exchange information like how our ancestors did centuries ago. The verbal form of exchanging information is back again.

Any Model That Tries to Create Walls, is Not Going to Work

“Twitt” into Revolution

I woke up this morning wondering what I should get for breakfast, and what kind of grocery should I buy on my way to school. I then turned on my computer and this is the first thing that I see.


These words where slammed onto the front page of the Huffington Post website. In a position that is impossible for visitors to ignore. The font size was huge and the color was red, echoing with it’s own stunning words.

I’ve been following this particular piece of news on the Huffington post and the New York Times website ever since the protest started. Despite the fact that the Iranian government have banned the broadcast of every foreign news agency, locked the reporters in hotels and warned the camera mans that their life will not be guaranteed. Words still spread out, and this time not through smuggling video tapes or risking reporters life to escort materials out of the country, but through the help of modern technology. The internet, or I might as well say the “twitts”, has been playing an increasingly important role in the protest.

“If” in the end this protest really leads to another revolution in Iran, this would probably be the first revolution in our history to be tightly connected and influenced by the internet. This would be a revolution not just in the reform of a country, but also a breakthrough in the cyberspace. I still remember when twitter first came out a few years ago, me and my friends were one of the early users of the online community. We never really got adapted to it, and we weren’t even excited about it. I personally even felt the interface design was a disaster, and I made a prediction thinking that it would die away within a year. That was two to three years ago and obviously I was wrong in many ways. In the year 2009, celebrities “twitt”, politicians “twitt”, candidates “twitt”, CNN “twitts” and now the people leading a revolution in Iran, relies on “twitts” to broadcast themselves to the world. The once “tell me what your doing and where you are” message board, suddenly becomes the media outlet of an uprising revolution. It’s the first time for an online community to be so tightly connected with a major social event.

However, the world we live in today is a very unbalanced one. In many cases, those who have the power to access technology also holds the key to absolute dominance. The protestors in Iran, in which most of them are supporters of the opposition party and the ones who claimed the ruling party’s victory as a “stolen victory”. The majority of these protesters(opposition party) are from the urban areas of Iran, many of them live in big cities like “Tehran”. They are by contrast more educated, wealthier and have more access to computers than the supporters of the ruling party, where most of them live in suburban or undeveloped parts of the country. The result of the presidential election ended in a landslide victory with Ahmadinejad(ruling party) winning over 60% of the votes. The opposition won less than 40%, and they say this was a rigged election.

But is it?

With a margin larger than 20%, lots of specialist say it is unlikely that this election was rigged. However, the truth is we will never know unless the President himself comes out and confess to the public. So what if it wasn’t a rigged election, and what if the leader of the opposition party was actually a wolf in a sheep’s cloth? He and his supporters starts a revolution based on a fact that they can’t even prove to be true, and what the world only hears is the voice of the opposition’s protestors, because the rest of people in the country doesn’t have an equal opportunity to express themselves to the world. Then is this real democracy?

I’m not implying that the opposition party is untruthful in what they say and I do agree that Mr. Mousavi is a better person to be elected. I especially support his policies in women’s rights in Iran, and I believe that he has the ability to lead the country to a better future. But what I’m trying to point out, is the consequence that we might be facing when our world relies more and more on the internet world. Equal accessibility to the freedom of speech, should be as important as the election itself. For more then ten years specialists have been predicting a future of no newspapers and a world of immediate synchronization with everyone. After the dot com bubble exploded, we all wondered when will that day come true. Now we are finally here(or entering that world), at an era where newspapers have been defeated by the almighty internet monsters, and the idea of immediate update has been pushed from daily news updates to 24hrs news channels and finally to updating in just a blink of an eye. The only question left is, are you ready? Or maybe I should ask, are “we” ready?

. i need to do what i need to do .

I guess I’m a person that listens too much and speaks too less. Every time after talking to someone, I would just toss out my old ideas and start thinking on a new one. This is bad, really really bad, cause this is why I’m never consistent on something…or anything. So I guess in the end, I need to do what I need to do. I know clearly that I can’t just think and not do anything, I need to graduate, and to graduate I need to face the final critique, and to face the final critique, I need to have something for them to critique on. M5, I guess this is the term where we explore through making, I made some stuff through the first five wks, and then got stuck after meeting with the faculties. It’s wk 6 now, and this is my bottom line of “just thinking not making.” I can’t stand for another week of just thinking in my head, and not producing work. So here’s the plan… whatever idea I decide to do, or I’m interested to do. I’ll just work on those until wk11, and then start to think about the wk12 review. It’s time to start making again, cause my brain is tired of thinking and my hands are getting bored from not moving.

Huffington Post

Yes, readers should have more power in choosing what they want.

Weinberger/Huffington Interview

Knowing what you don’t know, is the most essential step to knowing.

In the past five weeks, I’ve been doing explorations on how we receive and read the News. However, the main focus was leaning towards the accessibility of news and journalism, but not on how and what it presents. I was then suggested by my advisor that I should focus more on the way of how we read instead of how we receive. I think what I have been focusing so far, was only scratching on the surface of journalism, which is like in what forms do we access it, or in what forms do we receive it. But the main element that would bring more depth to my work, is actually how it’s been presented, and the contents that we choose to come with it.

This doesn’t mean that I’m trying to redefine what journalism is, or even set down a statement on how we are supposed to do journalism. In the end, I see myself as a designer instead of a journalist. My goal (or my motive) here, is to see how design can facilitate different possibilities to present News in different ways. I am especially interested in how journalism can be presented in multiple perspectives for the readers.

In the past five weeks, I’ve investigated on the ways of access to journalism. One of the explorations that interested me a lot, was the way of how a single article can be physically presented. A news article can become an object, and what it becomes, is more than just “information”. It provides a sense of commodity, but more important, it also gives a sense of it’s existence in the real world.

So here I am, grabbing on the to two elements in my thesis. “News as a physical object, and it’s ability to be show multiple perspectives”. I think one path that I could take, is the three dimensionality of an object, and how that aspect can be played into the multiple perspective idea. However, one of the disadvantage of building objects, is the ability to be updatable in spilt seconds. Although this issue can probably be solved by using cutting edge display technologies. It still needs to somehow be tied into the design.

Lots of issues and questions are waiting in line to be explored, I wonder if any of them can ever be solved. One thing that I’ve always kept in mind, is the attitude I should have towards my thesis project. I try not to see myself as a problem solver, but a problem researcher. I don’t expect myself to be the one to come up with a million dollar idea and save journalism. I just see myself as a design researcher, who is interested in journalism, and wonder what would happen if I try give it a different role in our society.