How do I showcase my projects and more importantly where?

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Before I go much further, I must share with you my dilemma. As a student, we were required to create digital portfolios and blogs of our work. At the time, I used the Penn State blog as my platform. This worked out great when I was a student and employee of Penn State, but now that I have moved on I had to move my lovely portfolio as well. This process didn’t go so well and I wound up with fragmented bits and pieces of my work scattered about the internet.

Bait & Switch Resentment

A small thing — I hope to keep this short & sweet! 😉

When a user is suckered into clicking on clickbait, they resent being suckered — “how could you“?

Usually, however, the question ought to be: “how could I“?

In most cases. it is blatantly obvious whether (or not) the context has been clearly defined. Rational media name the context in plain English. Irrational media obscure the context with brand names. Anyone who clicks on an irrational media (brand name) link, has only themself to blame for beng suckered.

The Foundations of Context

Context is basically content’s habitat — whether that be paper and ink, pixels on a screen / monitor, bits in the ether, whatever.

The technological basis of content cannot be overlooked. Media is not merely a channel, it is also the technology itself.

In my previous post, I pointed out that the most basic notion of context that most of us have grown up with is actually bogus: Fact vs. fiction … neither exist in reality.

So what does exist?

For the past several centuries, the answer was, for the most part: Paper. Within the past several decades: A whole lot more. Today (and tomorrow, and for the forseeable future): The Internet. I don’t know of a good way of measuring content (Hal Varian has historically measured it by simply counting bits — but as I used to say: it might not be very reasonable to consider a megapixel-sized photo of a black room to be a million times as informative as one big fat zero), but I do feel quite confident that most of it will at least be duplicated online (even if it doesn’t live there exclusively or “in the first place”).

Most people recognize that the habitat of the Internet is networked computers. Yet only a few people recognize that the habitat of the Internet is also alpha-numeric characters (plus the “hyphen” symbol) — and a couple of these people might include the founders of Google (since the original name of the company is equivalent to the number of combinations of such characters which are possible in each top-level domain). Hardly anyone recognizes that the habitat of the Internet includes the governments / legal systems that are responsible for regulating the technology.

If we want to understand online media, we need to understand how the sausage is made, including the languages used and regulations (and similar standards) which govern it.

Fact vs. Fiction = A False Dichotomy

One of the most widepread sets of containers for media is a distinction between fact (or “non-fiction”) and fiction.

Although it is very widespread and also has a quite long tradition, it is based on a fallacy: The scheme of separating content into these 2 buckets is a false dichotomy.

People who follow my writing may be reminded of this quote by Edward Snowden about “how to make facts” … and how I described the way it is a very unscientific approach.

In science, there is not actually “true” or “false” — but rather: “disproven” and “not (yet) disproven”. Indeed, even this may be too harsh. If we leave tautological statements and similar mathematical proofs aside, the notion of proof — in the sense of 100% certainty — is not a scientific concept. We cannot prove anything with 100% certainty, and neither can we disprove it with 100% certainty.

This is not even a matter of debate exclusively limited to ivory towers. Common sense (and common language, too) have many levels of thinking, believing, guessing, estimating, and so on (and of course there is a lot of academic literature on this sort of “fuzzy logic” — in linguistics, this is primarily considered in discussions related to “modal verbs”; in other fields, the concept of “epistemology” is also widely used).

Perhaps the main point to note here is that even the most fundamental containers that have been used since close to forever are at the very least problematic, if not questionable or even downright faulty. We have here a case of “tried and invalidated”, very far from “tried and true”. The contexts which you have so far considered to be infallible are, in contrast, fallacious, misleading, bunk.

It’s time — it’s even long overdue — to head back to the drawing board.