Rebooting Electronic Literature: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Social Media Content for David Kolb's "Socrates in the Labyrinth"

As with Sarah Smith's King of Space, performing a Traversal of David's Socrates in the Labyrinth live, online, and using social media channels adds a participatory aspect to the existing Pathfinders Traversal model. By sharing their existence with a wide audience we are able to keep seminal works like Smith's and Kolb's alive in the scholarly conversation. This captures more of the depth and richness of the scholarly conversation surrounding these works and allows for recording the ensuing conversation for posterity. 

Following the approach we took for Smith's Traversal, the undergraduate researchers, the ELL faculty and staff, and David Kolb gathered in the lab. The undergraduate researchers had notes from their research and from Grigar’s critical study on hand to feed content into the social media conversations. They also took photographs, mixing in prepared research on the work and its criticism with observations, comments, and interactions with other participants. While Kolb performed the Traversal, Grigar moderated the live YouTube chat and later the question and answer session, documented in the videos on this pageAfter the event Nicholas Schiller prepared a Storify site to gather social media posts and screen captures of the YouTube Chat. All of this material helps to further document the work and capture the audience experience with the work.

We posted to three locations on Facebook: 1) the site Grigar set up in 2013 for the Pathfinders project, entitled "elitpathfinders,"  with 245 followers, 2) the Electronic Literature Organization's page with over 1600 members, and 3) Grigar's own site. ELL Team members with a Facebook page also posted to their own sites. 

This post, the first we put on Facebook, introduced the event to the general public the day of the event.

Just before we started, we posted a reminder to those on the elit-pathfinders site to join us at the event.

The next few posts contain information about the work for the audience who do not have prior knowledge of Socrates in the Labyrinth

We announced the Q & A to the audience so that those following us on Facebook could post questions to the performer and moderator.

We also announced that we created a Storify site for the Facebook and Twitter posts. 

One final photo we posted capturing the event and a thank you to David Kolb.

We tweeted the Traversal on three accounts: 1) Dene Grigar's account that had over 2,800 followers, 2) Nicholas Schiller's account, with 2,200 followers and 3) ELL Team Member Veronica Whitney's site, with over 175 members. Whitney was in charge of posting and reposting on Twitter during the event. The hashtag we used was #elitpathfinders, the same hashtag developed for the original Pathfinders project.

The first posts announce the event ahead of time using the hashtag #elitpathfinders.

Grigar posts a photo of Kolb rehearsing for the Traversal the day of the event.

These next few posts contain information about the work for the audience who do not have prior knowledge of Socrates in the Labyrinth

These next four posts are from students in the audience.

This post is from Nicholas Schiller who provides a link to access more detail on Kolb's work.

This is post shows the original copy of Socrates in the Labyrinth which Grigar purchased from Eastgate.

This post from Grigar thanks David Kolb for participating in the live Traversal of his work, Socrates in the Labyrinth. 

YouTube Chat
As we were relying heavily on YouTube for distribution of video for our live streamed Traversal, with this Traversal we began to capture the discussion that took place in YouTube's chat feature.

Here is the chat for David Kolb's reading of his Socrates in the Labyrinth. The linear nature of text chat presented challenges for including in this book, we'll explore other techniques for capturing this conversation in future chapters.
We found Storify useful as a tool for pulling together all of the Facebook and Twitter posts into one interface. While our story could have been exported as a .pdf or made into a screen capture, the output is not an accurate representation of the original format and presents other display issues. Instead, Nicholas opted to export the story to HTML, save the content locally, and then host it on our web server. Weeks into our project, the developers of Storify announced that the site would not be continued after May 2018, which means we will not have access to this tool in future stages of our project.


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