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.

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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?

The Following is Transmedia

Transmedia is when a show, movie, book, game etc moves across multiple platforms with multiple stories that enhance the original.  This makes a product an experience rather than just a product.  Transmedia is a marketing tool used to engage with audiences on a broader scale than would be possible with just one type of product or just one story.

After reading a fellow student’s blog, I have a better understanding of what transmedia is.  They used a great example, Castle.  Other transmedia brands include The Matrix, Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars.  They have created alternate worlds parallel to reality.

The (amazing and addictive) new show, The Following, could become a great example of transmedia. 

Already they are introducing possibilities for spin-off stories and possibilities for extra products.  I made up a list of what I would do if I was marketing The Following.

1- Release Joe Carroll’s book

2- Joe Carroll was once a university lecturer, release essays and recordings of lectures to build a solid identity.

3- Create a newspaper/channel.  This would, of course, be exaggerated, missing vital information regarding people’s involvement and identities, be distorted and biased.  Have this as the channel in the show, make it online for viewers.

4- An online mystery or trail.

5- An alternate reality game like that of “The Lost Experience“.

There are so many more possibilities with this show!  It could easily be a honey pot for transmedia. 

A brand that opens itself to transmedia is opening itself for a broader audience, a passionate fan base and chances to continue a brand into the future.  For example, the Star Wars transmedia journey has been going for over 30 years.  Because of transmedia it has been reinvented and rejuvenated for current fans but also for new followers.

How does transmedia enhance our experience of a show or movie?

“Cathedral vs. Bazaar”

– Eric S. Raymond

Legacy media is the cathedral.  A diminishing thing of high walls blocking out innovation.  The internet, citizen journalism and collective intelligence is the bazaar.  Everything vying for our attentions, open to everyone and everything.  Does citizen journalism and collective intelligence have any impact on the “cathedral”?

When Wikileaks is entered into a search engine the results are the main site, a Twitter address and a few other related links, but as you move down the results there are news sites including The Daily Telegraph UK and The Guardian that have entire sections dedicated to news from Wikileaks, whether it be the releases of sensitive information or the doings of its founder.  I find it fascinating that professional journalists that work for traditional news sources are following an organisation that allows for citizen journalism and collective intelligence.

Wikileaks is the perfect example of citizen journalism.  It was founded by Australian, Julian Assange, in 2007.  Their ideology is to use the media as a tool for transparency in governments, corporations and the media, therefore promoting “good governance”.  I say citizen journalism because it is independent from every news organisation and company.  Wikileaks conduct themselves much like a news company though.  They have qualified journalists to investigate and write stories about the information they receive, they censor information (to protect lives, of course) and everything goes through a gatekeeper.

I had always wondered how Wikileaks obtained their information.  When Bradley Manning was detained I thought “well, that’s the end of that.”  Meanwhile, Wikileaks continue to release sensitive and confidential information to the public.  How is this possible?  Wikileaks rely on the public and those working for governments and corporations to submit confidential material to them.  This is collective intelligence.  “No one knows everything, everyone knows something” (Lévy, P) Wikileaks have put this into practice.  In a way, this is also another example of citizen journalism.  These “citizens” are taking the release of information into their own hands, they are empowered.  If it wasn’t for those investigating their own workplaces and governments, Wikileaks would not have the information to write about.  Wikileaks is encouraging citizen journalism.

In the past few years there have been changes in journalism and the media.  Shifts in the value of citizen journalism and collective intelligence, from authority to writer and in content.  The shift in content from bundled news to niche content means that as producers we are less likely to sit down and watch or read a news bulletin and more likely to sit down at the computer and actively seek out material that we find interesting, that we want to see.  I have conflicting views on this topic of “bundle to niche”.  Yes, it’s wonderful we can find reliable, in depth, expert information on a small amount of topics.  But how will we learn of new topics while our blinkers are on.  It’s broadening our knowledge, but narrowing our knowledge.

What I’m trying to say, in a confusing way, is there may not be any overlap of topics.  While you are actively seeking out news on sport or finance, you may be missing out on important local news and world news.  We could be shutting ourselves off to information rather than opening ourselves.

How do you feel about traditional media vs. citizen journalism?

Power to the People

I always had a niggling suspicion that traditional media forms, that is television, newspapers, and radio, were the shady middleman dictating what we view, read and know of current events and news.

How do we know what they are telling us is true?  How do we know it’s accurate?  What makes their news more credible than a tweet or a YouTube clip from an event?  The news we get from television, for example, has been investigated, observed from afar and edited to conform with airing and government guidelines.  Not only that, but it could also have bias from the reporter, or view of the network airing the news.   Eventually the news may become distorted. 

Meanwhile, Twitter, YouTube etc have no restrictions to what is aired (as long as it complies with copyright laws).  This allows those “living the event” to provide viewers with accurate accounts of events in real time without filtering and from a primary source.  We as prosumers are able to compare traditional news sources with the endless possibilities the internet provides us and draw our own conclusions from it.  By doing this, we are cutting out the middleman, the gatekeepers.

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This gives us the power to become active in the news process.  We can be passive and consume the news from an immediate source like Twitter and then be active and provide feedback, our opinions and share it with others.  We can also start revolutions, ideas and innovations.

Innovations can either fail dismally or succeed.  Eye tracking technology is emerging in a market that is constantly looking for new and easier ways to get things done.  With the imminent release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 eye tracking being criticised for being an unnecessary technology that is creating a buzz rather than having a “proper” use.  But with the advances in eye tracking for trivial purposes comes advances for other uses including the medical and health areas.

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Will this technology make us lazier or will it increase health professionals’ ability to diagnose earlier and more accurately?  In my opinion, we’ll see advances in both areas and the uses for eye tracking technology will expand further.

Open or Closed?

Is closed media better than open media types?  First of all, what are open and closed media?

Open media is when a technology or platform is able to be tinkered with by its users and can be completely controlled by its users whereas a closed media is when a user is unable to change anything about the device and all programs or software are preloaded and cannot be modified, it is completely controlled by the producers.  When I think of things as opened and closed systems I think of the Xbox 360.  It is only closed to a point, it can be modified or hacked to be modified.  There are ways around closed technologies if people with the skills are willing to take the time to find them.

I have an android phone, an open media platform, but I know it wouldn’t bother me if I had an iPhone, a closed technology.  They do the same things, make calls, take pictures, keep me up to date.  I guess that’s just revealing my technologically passive nature.  I haven’t got a clue what I’d do with my phone if it was entirely under my control.  I would be absolutely petrified of stuffing something up that’s for sure.

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So, what’s better?  Open or closed?  Television and newspapers are a perfect example of closed media.  The producers of the content expect us, the consumers, to be passive to their brainwashing ways.  Whereas the internet is open to anyone’s ideas, opinions, lives, anything.  We become active in the production of content.  It’s like a cycle, we produce content for ourselves therefore we produce what we want to see.  Sometimes we see closed media, like TV, catch on to what we as consumers want to see.  This can be seen when a show is taken off air because there weren’t enough viewers.  This means that the so called consumers of the show didn’t consume as predicted, therefore what’s the point in keeping something on air that isn’t doing what was expected?

Henry Jenkins makes an interesting point in his International Journal of Cultural studies article “The cultural logic of media convergence”, page 40.  He mentions that the current music, film and television industries (closed media types) have reacted to consumer driven activity in ways that do not promote evolution in the industry, that is they have quashed any possible creative improvements or ideas.  He goes on to say that the gaming industry is reaping the benefits of their creative audiences and listening to their opinions to make improvements using “the best user-generated content” (Jenkins, H 2004).  I feel that the gaming industry has found the middle ground.  They allow their consumers to be producers, to improve on what is already there.  Many successful games would not be so if the players were not listened to and their ideas built on.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes it’s not that black and white, sometimes the line between what is open and what is closed is blurred.  Even if we’re supposed to be passive to what we are “fed” there are ways in which we can make a closed media platform open.

What other ways can you open a closed media platform?

What’s in a Name?

One of the world’s most known philosophical questions.  Originally appearing in Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare; one of the most well known plagiarists in history.  Shakespeare sourced his Romeo and Juliet from Masuccio Salernitano’s novella “Mariotto and Giannozza” … Continue reading

“théorie du complot” coz everything looks better in French…

Okay, so I read our readings for this week and I know Guildmaster Marko said to write a summary, what interested me and what views I agreed with and didn’t agree with, but I kind of got caught up in a few ideas thanks to the following quote.

“And if we discover that the new medium brings along effects that might be detrimental to our society or culture, we have the opportunity to influence the development and evolution of the new innovation before the effects becomes pervasive.” (Federman, M 2004)

Well that’s nice isn’t it?  I found this quote to have the most impact on me and I apologise in advance for the following rant.

But isn’t it nice to know that there are people out there that are “influencing” new ideas that may have negative effects on our society and culture?  MAY have “detrimental” effects.  Who says the effects are detrimental?  Well, in answer to my own wonderful question, it depends on the perspective taken.  Let’s imagine that an especially innovative group of people create a solar powered smartphone.  They take their genius idea to a phone company, called Pineapple, and ask them to back their creation and get it on the market.  From our perspective a solar powered smartphone would be awesome.  The battery wouldn’t run out, and if it did just sit your phone in the sun for half an hour and voila!!  No need for chargers, phone batteries or to hunt down a powerpoint with 3% charge left. We’d be on a money saving and environmentally sustainable winner!

BUT – and here’s the “detrimental” effect – Pineapple have always sold their wall chargers separately from their phones.  This allowed Pineapple to charge rather excessive prices for their chargers.  So when this especially innovative group of people approach Pineapple with their genius idea of a solar powered smartphone, Pineapple see this creation as a negative.  They predict the sales of their wall chargers will decrease, which will impact production, in turn they will see their profits decrease and have to lay off employees.  And it’s not only Pineapple’s profits that will be effected.  What about the battery company that Pineapple buy their current batteries off?  And electricity companies, whose resources we tap in to every night to charge our phones? 

So, what’s to say that there isn’t some amazing, new, innovative ideas, concepts and creations that would be beneficial to the majority but “detrimental” to the extremely wealthy and powerful minority?  Who, in the end, has the say of what is “detrimental”?

A perfect example of predicting the effects of something new would be that used in our second reading for this week.  On page 5 Jenkins mentions that in the 90s there was a lot of speculation that the internet was going to replace all forms of “old media”.  He uses one example I find quite funny, that this guy, Nicholas Negroponte, predicted the complete collapse of broadcasting networks.  To requote “What will happen to broadcast television over the next five years is so phenominal that it’s difficult to comprehend.”  Well it’s taken about 23 years, but maybe we’ll finally get to see those “phenominal” predictions about broadcasting networks that he seemed so certain of at the time.  Now, what if, when good ol’ Nick had released his bestseller, someone took him seriously and saw this effect he predicted to be “detrimental”?  What would have happened to the greatest innovation of our time if those that saw it as being “detrimental” had the “opportunity to influence the development and evolution” of the internet?  But maybe that actually happened and what we have today is just the product they allowed us to have.  Hmm, something to ponder…

Tune in next week for another conspiracy theory overload!!