Before reading the Lev Manovich article, I honestly did not know what to expect. When first seeing in on the syllabus we had talked about the notion that everything we do had to do with software. Naomi suggested that an everyday person-person conversation may not, but then retracted that and claimed that Manovich may argue otherwise. Obviously that did not make me any more prepared for an article I knew nothing about.
While reading the article, I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with what Manovich was arguing. I understood that people are ignoring the the software and internal design of something in favor obliviousness or the sheer simplicity of operating a machine they operate every day. As I read on, I realized that I understood what he was saying because I was, in fact, one of those individuals who uses something like the Internet without actually knowing how it works. Its a very interesting thing to thing about and, honestly, its something I never really thought about until reading Manovich’s article. That admission right there, though, is exactly what Manovich is writing about. Not only do I not know about the software that makes the internet work, I never bothered to find out. Right this second, I am on the internet. I am tapping away at the keyboard and words are forming in front of me. Soon, I will click the publish button on the right of this screen and those words will be available for thousands to see, categorized and organized. I am well aware of what is going to happen, but just as Manovich describes, I have not the slightest idea how.
If his point is unclear at any point, Manovich later breaks it down in a way that any teenager in this day and age should understand. He describes the simple process of clicking the “Like” button on Facebook as using software. That button is clicked millions upon millions of times a day by millions of people without a single one of them thinking about the process behind it. Manovich, however, describes it as participating in the online information ecology by expressing preferences and adding metadata. I’m glad Mark Zuckerberg and the guys at Facebook decided to go with “Like” instead of Manovich’s mouthful. All jokes aside, I once again admit that I agree and disagree with Manovich. He argues that, nowadays, understanding software is absolutely necessary to understand culture. I can see how this is true with more broader mediums like the Internet or with giant search engines; however, I cannot see the importance when considering things as minute as the “Like” button. Then again, I am not an expert on this subject, nor am I at all knowledgable when it comes to software; therefore, I don’t know if I can assuredly say whether I agree or disagree with Manovich. I’m sticking with both!