Is That…My Reflection?

When asked to pick out my best three blog posts for BCM112 and analyse them I thought, well how can I do that? They’re all so wonderful! After reading through them all I finally settled on my copyright post, “What’s in a Name?”; my clicktivism post, “Solve this problem, Facebook” and my cyberhate post, “Don’t CyberHate on Me”.

“What’s in a Name?” Focused on Shakespeare’s plagiarist history, playing on the hypothetical situation he would have found himself in if copyright was around in his time. I believe I applied copyright theory to Shakespeare in a way that is simple to understand for a broad, possibly global, audience.

I addressed the issue of copyright in a way I understood having studied Shakespeare for some years. In retrospect, I believe I could have been a lot more technical applying the copyright theory.  I could have gone more in depth with some of the topics I brought into my argument and elaborated more with my views. Overall, I believe this post is easy to understand, but I definitely could have made it more technical.

“Solve this problem, Facebook” was about the concept of clicktivism and whether it helps activist groups and movements or not.  I used the Human Rights Campaign on Facebook and the Occupy movement as examples, drawing on widely known and fairly recent causes.

I used reliable links to support my argument and included extra articles for my readers to consider. My introduction is quite bitter and I believe I could have improved it somewhat to include a wider audience.

I used a wide range of sources for this post and believe this is my best blog post so far. I supported my argument with reliable sources with altering opinions.

“Don’t CyberHate on Me” is my most recent BCM112 post and addresses the issue of cyberhate (obviously), sexism and misogyny online. Looking back on it, I believe I was quite strong with my opinion and could have stepped back from the issue to give both sides of the story. More links to outside sources would have supported my argument better and given more to the reader to consider.

I believe these posts are my best because they don’t go off topic as much as my others do and apply theories.learnt in the lectures to examples that are relevant to the topics and Convergent Media Practices as a subject.

In each of my posts I could have applied these concepts to the technology I am following for my final essay. If I had done this I may have understood each topic better.

Don’t CyberHate on Me

I am woman hear me roar!!  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

I could write forever about the injustice of sexism, misogyny, the objectification of women in the media, trolling, cyberhate and bullying online.   We all know it’s there, but are we going to do anything about it?

Only last week, a woman commented on an NRL Facebook post I was following.  She was attacked for her team preference and her gender.  So she did what any footy fan would, she fought back.  It took another person to step in and say “seriously, you guys are fighting on facebook, no one wins”.

How right that person is – “no one wins”.

The internet can liberate.  Liberate countries.  Liberate groups of people.  And liberate viewpoints.  It provides a megaphone for opinions to be voiced.  Not all opinions are useful though.

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Facebook: How does this help anything?

 

How is this conducive to an accepting society?  It isn’t.  It achieves nothing.  This only amplifies that some people still hold views from ancient history.  This is 2013, seriously, we’ve lived with each other for millions of years, why are we unable to accept each other?  No one wins when opinions like this are posted for the world to see.  The commenter may feel great about him/herself for a short amount of time, but when their self satisfaction wears off they’ll just move on to another victim.  The people viewing this, liking this, agreeing with this discourage others with alternate opinions from speaking out against them. And we see the faults of society.  I don’t want to stereotype, but every time I see barbaric views like this I think of an oily haired, overweight and dirty person living in some kind of hole in the ground (with an internet connection, obviously).  But we don’t actually know who these people are.  The anonymity of being online allows social media to become their playground.

There are always those that are dumb enough to use their real names though.  Sexist Facebook Dudes on tumblr name and shame people who practice sexism and misogyny online.  Users post names of people who post offensive, sexist and cruel comments about women on Facebook.  Another group taking a stand and exposing sexism is Sexism! As Seen on Facebook.

From what happened to the woman who voiced her opinion on the NRL I am now apprehensive about giving my viewpoint online.  That she was attacked for being female has discouraged me from commenting on Rugby League posts.  This article outlines how witnesses can generalise if they see sexism.  This is the case for many who experience or see hateful messages online.

How can this be addressed?  We could delete hateful comments.  We could name and shame.  We could fight back.  All of these are plausible, but what if deleting comments becomes so wonderful we start deleting opinions we disagree with?  We’ll see less diversity of opinion.  If we name and shame, there’s every possibility others will troll the commenter causing a cycle of hate.  Fighting back will only escalate the problem.

In my opinion, the only way we can seriously address this issue in a way that will have lasting effects is to educate.  Educate children from a young age to understand the concept of diversity of opinion and that attacking someone for their gender, sexual preference, colour or religion does not achieve anything.

How would you address these issues?

Solve this problem, Facebook

I’m a lazy, unemployed Gen Y.  What’s going to be done about me?  I’m an epidemic!  Stop me from becoming the failure the media is so sure I’ll be!  Fellow BCM112ers, we are told every day by the media that we have nothing to look forward to, that we are held back by our own inability to get off our butts and, I dunno, study or something.  We have no real interest in the problems of the world or giving back to society.  Well, what can we do?

We could join a society or club at uni, volunteer every weekend, rescue neglected animals in our local area, like a page on Facebook, change our profile pictures… Could Facebook – the reason why nothing gets done – solve the issue of corporate greed or equality and actually change something?

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There is an endless list of pages on Facebook that claim to further a cause.  They’ll contribute $1 to their cause if I like their page.  They’ll send a bag of rice to Africa if I share their post.  Wow, I better like that page or all those people are going to starve.  If I ignore it I’m not interested in helping to end the suffering.  Do they really do anything to help?  Is my lazy attempt at activism causing change somewhere or would it be better for me to actually get out and do stuff to make a change?

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We’ve all seen this. Does it further the cause?

The recent Human Rights Campaign on Facebook saw many people who believe in this to change their profile pictures, clogging news feeds for over 24 hours.  It would have reached everyone one way or another (if you haven’t seen this, what rock have you been under?).  This campaign has seen the introduction of marriage equality in several US states, New Zealand and France.  Could there be a correlation between this campaign and the introduction of marriage equality?  There’s every chance that could be the case.  It is gaining momentum everywhere.  The more people behind something the more chance it has of getting airtime in the mainstream media.  Mashable recently reported about the relation between online political engagement and how that translates into “real life”.  They found that 18% of social media users surveyed in the US participated in offline political events that they had originally learnt about through social media.

What about the Occupy movement?  Reaching its peak in October 2012, 82 countries around the world participated in the movement.  The organisers used the internet as a way to reach people, rallying the 99%.  In Australia, we thought we’d put our two cents in when we also organised several Occupy movements.  Around 2000 people attended Martin Place in Sydney.  Some Reports from Australian media were less than positive about this turnout, using the argument that because Australia has one of the best economies in the world we don’t really have that much to worry about.

We can’t write clicktivism off straight away.  Spanish sociologist, Manuel Castells says “[online] movements raise awareness and embrace and encourage people”.  So why can’t we feel better because we liked a page on Facebook?  In my opinion, the more momentum a cause receives from popular media, the more chance it has of making a change.  I agree that liking a page on Facebook or changing your profile picture definitely won’t solve the problem, but there’s every chance that someone who has the ability to assist in a useful and meaningful way will help.  They always say there’s strength in numbers, if enough people are behind a cause and willing to get their hands dirty then there is no reason to why a problem can’t be solved with Facebook.

Further Reading

Dispatches from the information wars: online activism on the move – http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/29/dispatches-from-the-information-wars-online-activism-on-the-move/

South Africa: Can Online Activism Change the World – http://allafrica.com/stories/201304171268.html

Pew: Online Political Engagement Can Lead to Offline Activism – http://mashable.com/2013/04/25/pew-internet-politics-activism/

‘Slacktivism’ vs ‘snarktivism’: how do you take your online activism? – http://theconversation.com/slacktivism-vs-snarktivism-how-do-you-take-your-online-activism-13180

Miss Swisse was a miss

Isn’t that wonderful!?  Nicole Kidman looking beautiful because she’s “on Swisse”, although she forgets to mention that with all her joyous displays of health and wellbeing.

Appearing on the ABC’s The Checkout, this advertisement – usually associated with health, wellbeing and happiness – has been completely changed from its original meaning.  It is a great example of remix, subvertising and culture jamming.

Nicole Kidman appears in the Swisse marketing campaign jumping, dancing and having a lovely time, because (although she doesn’t say it) we can all assume she’s “on Swisse”.  In direct contrast to this, Craig Reucassel appears as Nicole Kidman jumping, dancing and having a lovely time talking about the untruths this “health” company has fed to the public.  Although The Checkout’s version keeps much of the same look as the Swisse ad (Craig doesn’t really resemble Nicole…), it changes the meaning from the “reliable, scientifically proven results and healthy” view of this product to dodgy, false and unnecessary crap that has not been entirely honest with its consumers.

I really love the idea of remixing, subvertising and culture jamming.  They expose the falsities big corporations, companies and even governments cover up with fancy, expensive advertising.  A recent culture jamming movement in London, Brandalism,  involved “hijacking” 35 billboards in 5 cities throughout the UK to fight back against the constant bombardment of “spend more”, “consume everything” advertising we get on a daily basis.

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Artist: Paul Insect, Brandalism participant

This week has opened my eyes to the broad terms under which this concept of changing the meaning of something we all know from its original meaning can be used.

Adbusters campaign

Culture jamming allows everyone to get involved in remix, subvertising and culture jamming.  Memes are probably the simplest way, we see them every day and I doubt there is any way to avoid them.  These concepts are also the simplest way to bring about change.  The Checkout’s Swisse ad has driven Swisse to sue for defamation.  Maybe not the best outcome, but Swisse obviously didn’t like their dirty laundry being aired.

What changes have you seen caused by culture jamming and subvertising?