DMAC Revisited

(What follows is my last post to the DMAC blog from the past summer. For some reason, it bothered me that it was the last one and that it was sooooo long. Real conversation stopper, ya know? I’ve edited a little out, but I sorta wanted to remind myself of where I left things this past summer.)

I’ve been home from DMAC for less than two days. All I can say is this: I want to go back. Yeah, here I am back in Louisville, feeling like a little kid whose toys got taken away.

The longer I was at DMAC, the more I was compelled to keep reading for my exams this fall. Lots of pressure (as it is for all Ph.D students, right?), but I also wanted to go back to my room and explore the ideas we had been talking about that day. Learning Sophie, building a WordPress blog, using the FlipVideo, etc. So there was too much that I wanted to do. As always, I ended up feeling guilty about not doing one while pursuing the other. And my impulse to be social only complicated that conflict further. I’m such a little ball of anxiety, right? Yeah, well, in a healthier turn of rhetoric, I can say that I tried to be honest with myself about my conflicted goals as much as about my own limitations of time and energy. So I kinda spread myself out between those pursuits. Balance, balance.

Also, I miss the sense of community I left behind. (Or, hopefully, until next summer?). So many people interested in talking about, exploring, researching, and producing the work of “digital composition.” Not to say that my professors and fellow students aren’t quite so taken with these concerns… but they’re not. Leaving if for someone else. Debra, then. Joanna Wolfe, too. And they’re great. But they are not a community in which I can immerse myself. That, friends, is what I miss.

The other compulsion I had is that I’m going to need to keep thinking about what I mean, and what other different populations mean, when we/they say “digital compostion.” I’m less concerned about the conflation of multimodality with digital composition, or rhetoric with argument. Instead, I’m thinking about the expansion of “digital composition” to encompass entirely different kinds of texts. In particular, I’m thinking about “myself” as a text. Let me explain. (Okay, so now that I’ve completed the whole posting, it’s really long. So I’ll just summarize here and offer a link to my blogger where I articulate my project more thoroughly.)

Summary. Certain Web 2.0 sites (like Digg,, YouTube, WordPress, Facebook) along with certain technologies (like the FlipVideo, camera phones, text messaging, XML) have really started me thinking about what it means to construct an identity digitally (thanks a lot, Jamie). So I’m going to explore and experiment, one-by-one, each of these technologies. I’m going to blog about them on my own blog with commentary and screen-capture-video.

Along the way, I’m also going to be experimenting with some open-source or freeware alternatives to a few standard software packages: Picasa (Photoshop), Thunderbird (Outlook), OpenOffice (MSOffice), Freemind (MindManager), Audacity (Audition).