This description is a work-in-progress
For a 2005-2006 honors thesis project in Art-Semiotics at Brown University, Nathan critically engaged with online "Web 2.0" focused communities. The goal of the project was to insert a critical theory perspective into the entrepreneur and programmer-heavy discourse around the development of networked social media.
There were two distinct portions of this project: the blog and the research.
The blog, Swarming Media, was the central tool through which the overall goals of the project were realized. Through it, Nathan interacted with a variety of individuals working around the development, use, and study of networked social media.
The advantage to using a blog over another medium comes from the tools it gives the writer to interact and engage with others using the same medium. Writing in a blog is not a purely unidirectional act, it is an act that expands the network as it touches other nodes. This happens through trackbacks, comments, blog-aggregators, links, and in an ever increasing number of ways. By using a blog, then, Nathan was able to pointedly interact with other individuals.
Swarming Media reacted to and analyzed phenomena and conversations within and about networked social media from a critical theory base, so it was very important for Nathan to strengthen and build his own knowledge within both spheres: critical theory and digital media. This process not only fed the development of the blog, but culminated in a lengthy, traditional, written work entitled Identity and Interaction in Swarming Media Networks. IISMN discussed the purpose, success, and failures of the blogging project and further explored three of the central themes covered: the archive, identity, and control.