Yes! We’ve finally gotten to the good stuff. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing analysis-type pieces for the blog, I was yearning for a more creative/experimental type of activity in the class. That was one of the promises that I was missing since the class was originally pitched as a follow-up (of sorts) to the Electronic Literature. If I had known that the Field Guide project was going to fall right into that experimental type of activity, I would’ve shown a lot more enthusiasm whenever I mentioned it in my previous blog posts; there is the “I’m looking forward to it…”, and then there is the “I cannot wait for it!”.
The Field Guide project apparently consists of creating a fictional character with a Twitter account that helps me solve/analyze a specific topic related to the social media —a (pretend) mentor, if you will. The part that got me excited the most is obviously the character creation. Last week, when everyone else was working on the GIF activity in the class, I was fortunate enough to work on that character creation thing instead… because my computer had died —basically ran out of battery because of the streaming. You can see some sketches that I did on my notebook below.
The idea of using a seal as the character came from one of my earlier blog posts in which I used the figurative way of describing the internet as a “digital sea”. I figured that I could take that metaphorical approach a step further and possibly use various sea-creatures as representation of certain personalities on the internet, particularly the type of social media users (e.g., the trolls in comment sections as piranhas in “digital sea”). Below is the final form of the main character.
So, the story that I’m planning on is about that character, currently named Porter Phoca, closing up his Alchemist Laboratory in order to go on a journey to examine those sea-creatures I’ve mentioned above. He’ll keep in touch with me, as an ongoing story of sorts, and attempt to analyze their “behaviors”. The theme of the story is digital dualism, which is described as “the belief that online and offline are separate and distinct realms” in the article titled The Straw Man of Digital Dualism by John Suler. I’ll probably go more in-depth in my upcoming Field Guide post about that theme but you can probably imagine where I’m actually going with this; people becoming “sea-creatures” inside that “digital sea”. Are they the alternative personalities, or merely the same ones that believe otherwise? It’ll be interesting to study/play with potential answers —I personally do not have one as of now. I have to say that I’m really excited to be working on this project. I even have an interesting sort of ending in mind for this WIP “story”. Though, I prefer not to spoil it for the time being. Hopefully, the result will end up as interesting as it sounds… or looks in my head, I guess.
It’s time to go on a journey!