A Pot of Gold at the End of the Tail

YouTube has approximately 1 billion visitors each month with over 100 hours of footage being uploaded a minute. With so much content, it is hard to believe videos can gain as much attention as they do. With the ability to post whatever, whenever, people are becoming celebrities at the click of a button.

This situation can be explained by the long tail effect. Established by Chris Anderson, it is a niche marketing technique that shows if a distribution channel is large enough, products in low demand can exceed and/or rival the few bestsellers and blockbusters (2004)

Creating and producing a successful and professional video is very difficult, but YouTube gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to share their work, with no limitations on the content or quality. YouTube can therefore be seen as the distribution channel, with the variety of videos establishing countless niche markets. As the Internet offers unlimited space, more and more content can be added to each niche market, representing the ‘long tail’ that is continuously growing. The more specific the niche market is, the further is goes down the tail.

Take for example Rebecca Black and her infamous ‘Friday’ music video. Her parents had paid for the song and video to be created, which was then shared on YouTube with no anticipation of the reaction it would receive. While the majority of the reception was negative the video hit 100 million views after 63 days. When asked his opinion Simon Cowell said, “Whatever she’s done has worked. Whether you like her or not, she’s the most talked-about artist in America right now.”

Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are both signed to one of the largest music labels in the industry, Def Jam Recordings, and both artists had fewer views for their official music videos than Friday (Kaufman, 2011). It wasn’t a large music labels that made Rebecca Black famous, it was the viewers that clicked, shared, liked and disliked the video that made it viral.

The long tail has expanded opportunity. While quality is still valued it can certainly be overlooked by quantity. As in the case with Friday, no matter how untalented you are, if you can get your material out there you have a chance at success.

Sources:

Anderson, C 2004, The Long Tail, Wired, viewed 31 August 2014, <http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html >.

Kaufman, G 2011, Rebecca Black’s Friday Beats Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber on YouTube, MTV News, viewed 31 August 2014, <http://www.mtv.com/news/1661773/rebecca-black-friday-youtube-views/&gt;.

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The Hare Wins the Race When it Runs Through the Web

A home is a place of comfort, safety and love. However, the values associated with a home are changing with the technological tide we are being swept up in. A modern phrase is “home is where the Wi-Fi automatically connects” and it is true. Technology is becoming bigger and better and we rely on it for almost all aspects of our lives. While technology has certainly had its benefits, many worry our extreme dependency is potentially detrimental to our society.

I have reflected on my family’s interaction with technology and the Internet, in the digital age. Until you take a step back and analyse the situation, it is easy to underestimate the power technology has. Many lives of families such as my own revolve around and rely on the Internet to function. The fact that we argue more over the iPad than the television remote is definitely saying something. From paying bills, to doing assignments, to watching movies, every member of my family ranging from ages 8 to 50, use the Internet daily. 

National Broadband Network otherwise known as NBN is the new network for phone and Internet services, being brought into Australia. It is to be rolled out over the next 10 years and is said to bring faster, more reliable and affordable services to all of Australia. According to NBN Co Limited, NBN will allow more people the ability to work from home, make video conferencing faster, allow multiple devices to be one the same broadband connection at once, improve the education system, and improve the medical gap between urban and regional areas (2014).

The Australian Government has mapped out its plans for introducing NBN, allocating numbers to areas. These numbers will determine how many years it will take for NBN to be installed in that particular area. I live in Engadine in the Sutherland Shire. While Miranda, a suburb only 15 minutes away will have access to NBN this year, Engadine is a ‘3’ area. While construction will begin in approximately 3 years it may still be 5 years before we can utilise it.

Internet speed in my house has fluctuated over the years between “wow look how quick this video has loaded” to “OMG I’M GOING TO THROW MY LAPTOP INTO THE POOL”. Living with five people who all use the Internet has meant we have needed to upgrade our broadband package multiple times to one that can handle constant use. NBN will definitely be appreciated in my household. The ability to all use our devices at the same time with no affect to the speed will be helpful in a busy household.

Nevertheless, is this ‘super internet’ really necessary? I had a thought while we were discussing this question in our tutorial. When I was younger, we only had a single computer where we could play one game, a radio, a Walkman and a television. My family would spend most of our time together and a time would be allocated to using technology. Nowadays, there are 4 laptops, 2 televisions, 3 iPods, 4 iPhones and 3 iPads in our house. While the increase in technology is not surprising, what I thought interesting was that it seems like we spend all our time on these devices and then allocate ‘family time’. While we are all socially connecting trough cyberspace our face-to-face interactions have undeniably lessened. In a TED talk by Sherry Turkle, she discusses the negative effects technology is having on social interaction. Her theory is that we have become accustomed to a “new way of being together alone” (2012). While we may all be in the same room, we are all using separate electronic devices, and not necessarily interacting with one-another. Having quicker and more available Internet could possibly mean this time ‘together but apart’ could increase.

According to research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2012-2013, 83% of Australian households had access to the Internet with more than ¾ through a broadband connection (2014). With such a large part of Australia on the Internet, I would be very surprised to find people that would say no to it being faster. I wonder, if we did have faster Internet would that give families the opportunity to get there work done faster therefore have more time to spend together or would it just allow people to look up more cat videos in a shorter amount of time?

Technology is showing no signs of slowing down, so it is up to families to make sure they allow for time to spend together. Because let’s face it, if the Internet is not going anywhere, you’d rather it be fast like the hare than take the tortoises slow steady pace.

Sources

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/D0DD505F12749281CA257C89000E3F5E?opendocument&gt;

NBN Co Limited 2014, The NBN In Your Home, NBNCo, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/information-for-home.html#.U_nGpxaIXwI&gt;

Turkle, S. 2012, Connected, but alone?, TED, viewed 24 August 2014, <http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript&gt;

Williams, D. 2012, The National Broadband Network In The Sutherland Shire, Newton, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.davewilliams.com.au/the-national-broadband-network-in-the-sutherland-shire/&gt;

Why We’re Working 24/7

We live in a networked society where we are often more active in cyberspace than in real life. This change has moved into the workforce, where the growth of technology has changed the way many businesses function. M. Gregg describes it as the “always on…wireless world of the contemporary office.” This movement can be described as ‘liquid labour’, that is the flow of information due to the breakdown of networks. Businesses work in a network based arrangement rather than a hierarchical one, allowing fast communication between everyone.

With technology becoming more mobile, you can now carry and access your work almost anywhere. In this sense, liquid labour has allowed workers to be more flexible when and where they work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 12 workers did more hours at home than any other single location in their main job. For many office workers with family’s, the ability to work from home means they can adapt their work hours to suit their lives better while still maintaining their work duties.

While there are many benefits to technology in the workforce, there are also many negative impacts to consider. As the line between home and work lives are blurring, people are not living balanced lifestyles. Our unlimited access to Internet often gives the impression communication is instant. For many workers, having access to their emails on their smartphones means they are checking them 24/7 because they feel if they don’t, they are not doing their jobs properly. Workers are not switching off, they are attempting to do everything all the time. Whilst discussing the negative affects of multi-tasking through technology, Christine Rosen believes there will be consequences to this change. “When we force ourselves to multi-task we’re driving ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run, even though it sometimes feels like we’re being more efficient” (2008). Similarly M. Gregg highlights the point in his work that with this constant access comes an expectation that employees will put in more hours. In order to compensate, “work takes prominence in daily life to the detriment of the few remaining obstacles, such as holidays, children and sleep.”

While I can see both the strengths and weakness of technology impacting work, I think it is important for people to maintain a balanced lifestyle. The temptations to access work and the Internet will only increase, therefore we must use some self-control to do the unthinkable, and switch off our devices once. After all, there’s a great big world out there, beyond our screens.

Sources

Gregg, M. ‘Function Creep: Communication technologies and anticipatory labour in the information workplace’

Rosen, C. (2008). The myth of multitasking. The New Atlantis, 20(Spring), 105-110.

Fishing For Our Freedom

“On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather” (Barlow 1996).

This opening line of John Perry Barlow’s 1996 work, ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” encapsulates his view on the freedom of the Internet. That is, Governments have no right to control a space that is completely free. Barlow describes cyberspace as a place without “privilege or prejudice”, a place free of fear as thoughts can be expressed liberally (1996).

Ahead of its time, Barlow’s writing projected the current issue of net neutrality. On 15th May 2014, America’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held an open commission meeting to discuss the introduction of open Internet rules. Following the idea of net neutrality, content providers would have the ability to pay for faster services. But what happens to those that can’t afford these high prices? Companies such as Netflix and Facebook are in favour of net neutrality as they have the funds to come out on top.

The following video by the New York Times explains the functioning of net neutrality, looking at both sides of the argument. Speaking to media columnist David Carr, he makes the point that if you are receiving one message fast and another slow, it is obvious which one will be heard (2014).

So what does net neutrality mean for us as Internet users? If companies have to pay to speed up their services, they might potentially begin charging consumers to cover the costs. While various video-streaming services may become more reliable, there will eventually be fewer services available. Smaller providers may shut down, as they cannot afford to keep up with larger providers.

With a lot of this information being foreign to many, Internet users have come together to create ‘The Net Neutrality Teaching Kit’. The site provides various links to videos and articles to explain net neutrality and assessments to test your knowledge and understanding. While you may not know where you stand in this debate yet, it is important for us to be aware of this issue. It is our responsibility to discover, create and take action around Net Neutrality” (Braybrooke & Sansing 2014).

Sources

Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, <https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html>.

Braybrooke K., Sansing C. 2014, Net Neutrality Teaching Kit, Makes.org, viewed 17 August 2014, <https://keyboardkat.makes.org/thimble/LTQzNjIwNzM2MA==/net-neutrality-teaching-kit&gt;.

Wyatt, E. 2014, ‘F.C.C. Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate’, The New York Times, 15 May, viewed 17 August 2014, <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/16/technology/fcc-road-map-to-net-neutrality.html?_r=0&gt;.

Peoplemeter Is Swinging The Axe

Have you ever gone to watch the latest television series you’ve invested your life into for the past 4 episodes only to find it has been cancelled? Well you can thank its lack of ratings for that.

The Oxford Dictionary online defines ratings as an estimation of a television programmes audience size (2010). Australia’s main source of television audience measurement is OzTAM. Created in 1999, OzTAM collects data for over 100 Australian channels. This information is then analysed by media industries to understand viewer behaviour, plan advertising, and measure the performance of television programmes.

OzTAM relies on Nielsen a service provider, to collect these measurements. Through a large-scale survey, various households are chosen that represent the population being measured. The televisions in these homes are then connected to a ‘Peoplemeter’, a small black box, which records the electronic transmission signals being received by the TV. The ‘Peoplemeter’ can identify the programmes watched on the television, how long it is being watched for, if it is fast-forwarded, and who is watching it. This information is stored and collated for a daily report.

Recently Channel 10 axed morning breakfast show Wake Up after a fast decline in ratings. According to blogging team Mammamia, “[The show]…struggled in ratings against breakfast regulars Today and Sunrise. It’s had about one tenth of Channels 9 and 7′s audience.” Comparing numbers, Wake Up was receiving 35,000 viewers a day, while Sunrise attracts approximately 350,000 viewers and Today about 300,000 (Mammamia, 2014).

While some people argue TV ratings isn’t an accurate measurement of television audiences, companies such as Nielsen and OzTAM are continuously expanding, using social media to collect more ratings than ever before. Television networks and advertisers rely on these numbers to be successful therefore it would be unlikely to see ratings go. So if you love a TV show you better find someone with a Peoplemeter and be very nice to them as they control the fate of your programme in the palm of their hand.

Sources

2014, Australian Breakfast Show Axes, Mammamia, weblog post, 21 May, viewed 16 August 2014, <http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/wake-up-on-ten-axed/&gt;.

If you need help ‘Googling’ you’re too old

Our entire world revolves around the Internet. It’s hard to imagine being able to go through every day life without it, so much so that we forget there was a time before the Internet even existed.

Kids today are born into the Internet age. It seems as though most know how to use an iPad before they can even properly speak. But do they really understand what the Internet is or where it comes from? The Fine Brothers create YouTube videos of demographics reacting to various topics. In a video titled, ‘TEENS REACT TO 90s INTERNET’, “teens [aged 14-19] watch the 90’s era instructional video, Kids’ Guide to The Internet and discuss how the Internet has evolved over time.” (TheFineBros, 2014).

The participants can’t help but laugh at the video, overwhelmed by how old and corny it is. They roll their eyes when the definition of “e-mail” and “web” are given. When asked about the video, one teen states, “It’s so outdated, I have no need for it, I already know what to do” and another agrees it’s unnecessary, describing the Internet as “self-explanatory”. The teens however found they do not really understand the workings of the Internet. Most agreed that it wasn’t important how the Internet actually works, it only matter that you know to use it.

According to Sterling (1993, p. 5), “The Internet’s pace of growth in the early 1990s [was] spreading faster than cellular phones and faster than fax machines.” At the time, the increasing growth of Internet usage was allowing more people to connect than ever before. Sterling’s idea that the Internet was a form of freedom resonates today. Even now, the fact that there are no “bosses” of the Internet gives people a sense of liberty that is hard to find anywhere else. Therefore does our ability to use the Internet however we want override any need to understand what the Internet really is?

Sterling (1993, p. 5) states, “The real Internet of the future may bear very little resemblance to today’s plans”. As we can already see, it has surpassed expectations from its origin, making me wonder what the internet will be capable of doing in years to come and what future generations will have to say about cyberspace today.

Sources:

Sterling B 1993, ‘A Short History of the Internet’, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, viewed August 5, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245647/mod_resource/content/1/Sterling%2C%20B.%20-%20A%20Short%20History%20of%20the%20Internet.pdf&gt;.

The Fine Brothers 2014, TEENS REACT TO 90s INTERNET, online video, June 1, YouTube, viewed 8 August 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0mg9DxvfZE>

Welcome to the 50’s

This week we were asked to speak to someone older than ourselves about their experience of television when they were younger. My grandmother is always telling me about all the TV shows she loves to watch so I thought, whom better to ask than her!

My grandmother was born in Sydney in 1942. She grew up in Hurstville with her older brother, her younger sister, and her parents in a one story brick house. Her family was quite well off and her father always had to have the latest and greatest item on the market.

She was 14 (1956) when her father bought their first television home. My great-grandmother was apparently very against the idea of buying a television, as it would take the focus off the family interacting with one another. Nevertheless, everyone else was very excited about the newest addition to the household. My grandmother was one of the first to own a television out of all her friends and was therefore always hosting ‘TV viewing sessions’.

Their television lived in the lounge room, along with a lounge, piano, coffee table, fireplace and ashtray. She described the black and white Kreisler as a large cube on four legs, which was “quite fancy at the time” and the “centre piece of the room”.

My grandmother remembers watching many detective and cowboy movies with her family, however their favourites were the variety shows like the ‘Bobby Limb Show’. If like me, you’ve never heard of it, here’s a short promo to the show.

I asked my grandmother why she thought the introduction of television was so exciting and she said she felt that it was because it was a “universal experience”. People all over the world, were seeing just how amazing technology truly was. Entertainment was no longer a single sensory experience and people were able to directly see events that were happening all over the planet. Australians felt as though they were no longer disconnected from everyone else on the other side of the world.

Hi…it’s me…again

This is my third introduction of myself on Procrastination Place and I feel like I’m in Inception, each introduction is a deeper look into my mind. Not really but they’re all a little different and fun (*cough* compulsory) so here it is.

As you may have already seen my name is Emily, and I am in my second year at UOW. I was originally studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media and a Bachelor of International Studies, however I dropped International Studies when I realised learning Spanish was a lot more about conjugating verbs and a lot less about eating tacos and doing the mexican hat dance.

To make it quick and simple, in no specific order I’ve put together a list of my top ten favourite things:

1. Movies

2. TV

3. Green vegetables (even Brussel sprouts)

4. Chocolate

5. Alcohol

6. Travelling

7. Online shopping

8. Music

9. Tea

10. When my parents put petrol in my car

This semester I am studying Global Networks. Each week I will be writing a blog post on the topics we discuss in lectures and tutorials and tagging them in the subject code #DIGC202.

I hope you enjoy my blog posts and see you back soon 🙂

Back to the Blog

After a long break from blogging, I am finally back!

For the newbies to Procrastination Place…Welcome! My name is Emily, and I am in my second year of a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies at UOW. I am majoring in digital media and international communications.

This semester I will be blogging for BCM240 – Media, Audience and Place. During the first lecture we explored audiences and what they do with media and more importantly where they access media. There are two types of audiences, those that are visible, e.g. a crowd watching a theatre performance and those that are invisible. The latter was explained as people connecting with media individually. By using your phone on a train you are an audience of media but your engagement is not necessarily shared with others.

As I live in Sydney, I watch the majority of my lecture online. While listening to lecturers Kate and Sue explain a media space, I realised I was currently in one. It is the space in which an audience connects with media, and for me, it is in bed with my laptop on my lap.

Laptop in bed is the only way to do it

I will start watching a tv show on my laptop, then I will pick up my phone and check instagram, and then unlock my iPad to see if I’ve gained any lives in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (embarrassing I know, but too addictive to stop). My room is where I can connect with media, a social space in a personal space.

This semester by bedroom will become my workspace for the BCM240 blog posts. I hope to see you back and that I can provide you with some procrastination worthy posts to distract you from your own work!