Tag Archives: spoken word

Presentation time – Digitizing the Voice

  • This presentation is called Digitizing the voice, because it seems that we have digitized almost everything else in this age of technological wonders. Also, the presentation concerns the spoken word, and the power that words have in today’s world.
  • I’ll begin with a nod to Melissa Terras who blogged about tweeting an open-access paper: http://melissaterras.blogspot.ie/2011/11/what-happens-when-you-tweet-open-access.html. I didn’t realise that this was an unusual act, and that academics didn’t do this all the time. I believed this was the norm, and because they had written the paper, it was up to them what they did with it. How wrong can you be?
  • So, following on this lead, I’m going to talk about the journey of a piece of writing of my own that’s very non-academic. It’s called Storm and it’s a slice of consciousness, only a ‘slice’, because I believe a ‘stream’ would be much longer. This piece is not new, but Mike Cosgrave says that’s ok, as he uses some of his own older poems as demonstrations in class from time to time.
  • Slides 4-11 is where I’m reading my work – I’ve chosen some images to accompany the reading, and these are they.
  • In an effort to be digital, I tried to create a nice visualisation of the text using Many Eyes. I found though, that it wasn’t such a user-friendly piece of software. The user needs to create an account in order to use the programme, and it won’t allow you to leave with a file of your creation, only a thumbnail sized image, and this isn’t very useful as it can’t be resized without it becoming terribly pixelated. I used WorditOut instead, and the result was a lot more visually pleasing, I thought.
  • I took the first few words of the piece ‘Sometimes there are too many words’ and ran them through 8 different search engines (some I had never heard of) to see what they would each return in terms of results. As I expected, Google came back with the greatest number of results – weighing in with 91’200’000. I did think that Yahoo would be the next in line, but it was in fact Aol with 87’800’000
  • I published my piece on Medium.com on Saturday 15th November at 12 midnight, and I tweeted it immediately afterwards to see what would happen. To my surprise, 30 minutes later my work had been favourited! Like Melissa Terras and her tweeted paper, I have no way of knowing whether this person actually read my work, or was just congratulating me on publishing it – writers do that, they support each other.
  • I also ran my text through Google translate and converted it to Latin. I did think that this would result in a different wordcloud from WorditOut, but it turned out to be the same shape as the English one.
  • Being unusually brave, I went to O Bheal on the night prior to delivering the presentation. There, on each Monday, an ‘open mic’ night is held for anyone who wishes to read their work. I had the idea that I would get a friend to record me while I was reading. Sadly, the technology let me down on the night so I have no recording to include here – maybe it’s just as well 🙂


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