The Visibility Dilemma

First of all, I must apologize. You see, I’m mexican. And I do NOT apologize for that (au contraire, I’m really proud of it!) but my english is far from perfect. It’s not my native language, so I write this first lines so you won’t curse my name in horror if i misspell a word of get something just plain wrong. I’ll always appreciate corrections or advices!! Those, as well as any other comment you may have, will be welcome.

That said, let’s continue.

My primary job is as designer. During my time working with an NGO that focused on Human Rights and Freedom of speech, I realized something fundamental for humanities research and divulgation and that can potentially crash every good intention and project:

No matter how good the content of the work might be, if the message don’t reach its target, it’s as good as if it were never written.

Please, mark those words. Correct my grammar if it is necessary, but mark those words. Information can achieve Invisibility in quite a destructive way. I’ve seen beautifully crafted projects crash and burn just because they neither weren’t appropiatedly focused to reach the public they needed, nor they cared for designing an appropiate “look” or interface. those things might seem small, but are quite important.

One simple example: “Stop smoking” campaigns. They’re, in one word, useless. Why? Because they might shock everybody, might give a lot of information and support that will reach everybody, but smokers. Those campaigns will raise alarm among the smokers’ family and friends and people that has already had a tobacco-related deaths among their circle of acquaintances, but the smokers themselves will just raise an eyebrow and say “Yeah, so what? I already know that”.  What’s the problem there? That the campaign was not correctly raised from start. Avoid that!!

If you’re ever going to start a research that might target an open public (anything from a closed community to the entire World wide Web) always remember: Once you get everything up, you’re halfway done. It’s time to put that info in the right hands.

Digital Humanities and me

Second post, line1.

I wake up, work at some point of the day, and consume industrial quantities of caffeine. Procastinate a couple hours and finally go to sleep around 2 am. Except for those things, I usually don’t have two days alike. That is, as far as I can tell, what’s so great about freelancing: it gives you the chance to choose the projects you want to work in, projects one can really get involved.

This happened to me with this particular project I’m working on today. I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Gustavo Jimenez, scholar and researcher for the UNAM. The project is aimed at LatinAmerican Literature diffussion, giving free access to Short Novels, written between 1875 and 1925 (Modernism). This texts are fully readable and wonderfully edited, commented and explained in the website we’re currenlty designing. It is, however, already active and you can access it without problem (Please do!!  We’ll always welcome comments and suggestions!! It’s in spanish, tho…) www.lanovelacorta.com

I worked on this website’s links today. You know, checking for broken links, adding new ones, that sort of things. It can get tiresome, but you have quite an interesting feedback from this kind of editing. You’ve got a chance for revising your work so far and get a little more info on the subject.

Kya!

My second DH-related activity is attending to a meeting. A somewhat crazy friend of mine has a dream and she managed to gather a group as crazy as she is… me included. We’re planning to edit a Literature/cultural Digital Magazine that will support brand-new writers and creators, helping them disseminate (is that the right verb? making public?) their work.

Let me tell you something: I *LOVE* working in new projects. There’s this excitement and enthusiasm about it. The light atmosphere and comradeship just before actually getting into the debate, everyone with a cup of coffee around the table, listening, sharing thoughts and ideas… I don’t know. It’s kind of like nursing a baby sometimes. Maybe it’s a strange metaphore, but it works. There are a lot of things you just don’t know how to do, a lot of things you just don’t understand and that must be done, so you have to get your heart into it. With efforts (and a great satisfaction) it will grow up, and, in time, you’ll have the chance to say, with a big smile, “There you go, I’m so proud of you”.