Reflection

Blogging has been a very new experience for me, beginning as an amateur. Throughout this course not only have I developed my online profile but have learnt how to develop my own opinions on convergent media practices. With the study of multiple media platforms, in particular, Tumblr and current media issues, I feel as though I have developed a thorough understanding of how the media, audience and technology connect in today’s society.

Surprisingly my favourite blog of BCM112 was ‘Copy, Paste, Arrest’, a post exploring the current issue of copyright. Not only did I find this topic interesting but discovered how I should be legally using the internet. This particular post contains accurate and updated statistics as well as official legislation, giving the writing credibility. The video added was not only relevant to my platform Tumblr, but was presented in an entertaining manner.

My week 7 blog post, ‘Lost in Transmedia’ explored the concept of transmedia. The rewording of a movie title (Lost in Translation), that used transmedia worked as a perfect play on words capturing my readers. The example of Transmedia I used, the Teen Wolf Project, is not only relevant for my generation but perfectly exemplifies this idea of transmedia.

Finally, my blog post, ‘Behind the Lens’, captured the concept of citizen journalism in a simple but informative manner. Using recent events such as Hurricane Sandy and relating it to twitter hashtags engage readers engaged to known material. The pictures not only visually capture audience attention by complement my arguments of the positive and negative affects of citizen journalism.

All in all, I have found this experience of running a blog very educational, not only for this course but as a user of the internet. The topics we have covered have offered me a diverse understanding of the media and through blogging I have been able to form and voice my own opinions.

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A Small Man Behind a Big Screen

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(http://miista.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Internet-tough-guy-troll.jpeg)

Today, there are 1.11 Billion people on Facebook and those without accounts are considered outcasts. In the online community, people have the ability to speech their mind, which is can be very difficult to monitor. When given so much freedom, there will always be those who abuse this right and can in-turn create hostile environments.

Trolls are people who roam social media, making fun of or satirising anything and everything. Sometimes they are funny and sometimes the boundaries are pushed too far. Often these people troll the Internet under aliases or anonymous accounts meaning they are hard to find, report and punish for essentially ‘bullying’.

Women are more than often the targets of trolls but hasn’t the world finally moved on from gender inequality in the twenty-first century? Clearly not! There has been a dramatic increase of an older generation online presence. Many women are taking advantage of the Internet allowing them to speak their minds and have begun blogging on all issues current to themselves and the world. While many find this empowering, others verbalise their hesitations in publicly stating their opinion, which for many is a new concept. This is when trolls attack. Feeding off their vulnerability, these trolls demorilise, insult and often threaten these ‘weak’ minority groups quite often to feel a sense of empowerment and control.  Alice Marwick, assistant professor of Communications and Media Studies at New Yorks Fordham commented on the issue stating, “It’s not that men making sexist comments is a new thing. It’s just that they are so prevalent on the Internet and can be so easily accessed by people.”

This issue has proved to be very difficult to address by individual victims and authorities, because everyone is technically entitled to their own opinion. But to what extent should this be allowed and should there be a limit to how far our opinions can go? Many people, in particular young teens, have taken their lives due to being cyber-bullied. These cases of trolling have been so severe yet no one seems to be getting in trouble. How can we continue to let these trolls get away with murder while maintaining our freedom of speech? As social media grows, so does this issue, meaning immediate action must be taken before the online world ruins the real one.

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(http://www.hammillpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/internet-troll-cartoon.jpg)

Saving the World One Click at a Time

Generation Y has been bought up on social media, encorporating technology into every aspect of our lives from birth. Everyday, photos are posted on Facebook claiming “like if you care” or “comment and we will donate”. This idea of ‘saving the world’ from behind our computers is a concept know as ‘clicktivism’. A term recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘clicktivism’ is defined as “the use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause.” This concept utillises digital media to promote social change and activism to an audience that is permanently online.

However, there are always downfalls to such ideas. ‘Slacktivism’ is the concept that people ‘liking’ a photo are feeling as though they are contributing to greater causes when in truth it does not achieve anything at all.

‘KONY 2012’ circulated the media when a non-government organisation created a short film that aimed to have African militia leader, Joseph Kony globally known to have him arrested by the end of 2012 when the campaign ended. (http://kykernel.com/2012/03/07/a-call-for-justice/) People all over the world watched the video and bought the KONY pack to raise money and promote the issue. While it did become globally known, Joseph Kony could not be caught through ‘clicktivism’ thus resulting in the campaign’s failure.

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(http://www.theresolve.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/resolve-kony2012-header-SMALL.jpg)

Generation Y is considered narcissistic and unaware of the worlds problems. Nevertheless, we did manage to use social media to create the most viral political movement in history. While we may be ‘slack’ and not directly help the world we definitely have a super power, our strength online. Utilising this power has the ability to take over the world.

Remixing Reality

The classic job of being a DJ involves mixing different tracks together to form original tunes. This idea of separate materials being combined and edited to produce new forms of work comes from the remix culture. A common platform for remixes today is YouTube. People are uploading anything from music to news reports that have been remixed to either produce a specific message, different from the original materials or to simply entertain.

Popular TV series ‘Glee’ is well known for its ‘mash-ups’ of both old and modern hits. Combining songs such as ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves and Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ allows Glee to target to a larger audience who listen to music from different generations.

Another example of remixing is compilations of movie scenes. People have made inspirational videos for groups by editing specific quotes from different movies. Although from completely dissimilar themes and contexts, by editing in a very specific way they have formed a two-minute motivation speech that flows perfectly.

Many brands have also begun implementing elements of the remix culture into their marking of products to  ‘drive creativity and present huge opportunities for brands to create a loyal fan base.’ These brands have accepted the idea that their logo or adverts may be remixed into videos or images and have used this to their advantage by not limiting their customers to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ idea. They instead encourage individuality, a growing trend in today’s society.

Vodka brand, Smirnoff used the remix culture to create a promotional campaign that encouraged customers to vote online for their nightlife dream for the chance to make it come true. By collaborating with their audience, Smirnoff encouraged a passive audience therefore expanding their market and its popularity.

Lost in Transmedia

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Transmedia is essentially MULTIPLE stories told over MULTILPE platforms. These different plots come together and form a SINGLE pervasive storyline, allowing the audience to have greater depth into the narrative. Henry Jenkins explains the purpose as creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.”  The ability to spread a story across as many mediums as possible expands an audience market thus promoting and economically aiding the development of a story.

MTV has recently expanded its popular television series ‘Teen Wolf’ , into a transmedia narrative. Launching ‘Teen Wolf: The Hunt’, this social TV experience offers fans the opportunity to interact and ‘friend’ the characters via Facebook and mobile to solve and online, interactive mystery.

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 Tina Exarhos, EVP of Marketing and Multiplatform Creation at MTV, MTV2, mtvU, and MTV.com explains the motive behind the development was to allow viewers to feel as though they are “part of the show”  in a natural way. It also rewards the dedicated fans that want more from the show. The fans are sent emails, audio and video messages from the characters asking them to help find a missing character that disappeared in the season two finale. Players then can share, discuss and analyse clues through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Although The Hunt follows the series, it is not limited to regular viewers. The plot diverges, still tying into the show but allowing players to experience the characters in a different way with the mystery unfolding, depending on the choices you make. This encourages non-viewers to perhaps become viewers to expand the experience of The Hunt even more.

Including social media into its strategies, MTV’s online fan base has dramatically increased with 100 million Facebook likes for its network and show pages earlier this year. With a year long break between season one and two of Teen Wolf, the use of transmedia has allowed the series to retain its fans and add more in the social sphere. In ensuring the show remained active whilst not on air, resulted in the number of supporters growing by 50% noted by the increase of Teen Wolf Facebook fans to 1.5 million at the end of season two.                

By removing the traditional confines of a story, transmedia narratives allow audiences to engage across all platforms during, between and after a show. This ability to create these interactive storytelling vehicles and spreading them across different channels inspires the prosperity of media.

Behind the Lens

Nothing is missed today with the majority of people owning a smartphone. We permanently carry a device that can instantly capture any single moment. Photos and videos taken by regular people are now used through social media platforms to establish ‘news’. This participatory culture has led to user-led content creation, allowing for consumers to transform into prosumers. The public are considered ‘citizen journalists’ by sharing their footage, opinion or recounts of events through social media allowing for collective intelligence.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy tore through America destroying everything in its path. Hundreds and thousands of people were capturing images of Sandy and her effects and posting them on Instagram. ‘This was undoubtedly one of the largest single events in Instagram’s history. Co-founder Kevin Systrom told the New York Times that users were sharing 10 photos with the #Sandy hashtag every second.

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Following this, a third-party website, Instacane was established documenting Hurricane Sandy through Instagram pictures tagged under #sandy and #hurricane. While the website is based around the specific event it displays any photo on Instagram with these tags, therefore photos such as the following were also included on the site.

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There are clearly faults in this new form of journalism, being the reason many believe ‘citizen journalists’ will not take over the professional ones. Blogger Phil Gonzalez, told the Daily Dot.

“I think we have to be conscious that Instagram will be a very important feed of news as all users are potentially journalists or photographers of things happening around them. But Instagram won’t be the news magazine of the future. News magazines will have to integrate Instagram as they did with Twitter.”

The fact that citizen journalism is free, there is no filter and no risk, allows for these new journalists to take ANY angle on a story. However, this can pose as an issue with determining fact from fiction. The idea of ‘one too many’ considers the consequences of the freedom citizen journalists have and therefore the impact on the reliability of todays news sources. Nevertheless, the audience’s role has clearly become dialogic allowing news to become instantly reported and known as it happens. With the growth of social media and technology, citizen journalism has revolutionised today’s news reporting and will continue to shape how we see the world.

#WeveGotThePower

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In this weeks lecture, the question was asked “If not us, who?” discussing the role of the audience, particularly ‘who’ has user empowerment, access and participation in the media today. It was established that over time, the position of audiences has evolved, to now having the ability to ‘physically’ influence what we consume. This consequently explores the ever-changing relationship between media technologies and audiences.

My grandmother is constantly calling me, asking for ‘tech savvy’ advice. Growing up with the development of the radio and television, she comes from a monologic audience. That is, an audience that merely receives information and cannot engage with it on their own terms. Just last week she asked me what a “tweet” was and why they’re always coming up on the news. The concept that people could immediately and physically give their opinion on a topic being discussed is completely foreign to her, and many others accustomed to a monologic role.

On the other hand, my younger sister is the perfect example of the other side of the spectrum. She has been brought up in a dialogic world, whereby media flows between the audience and the producer. Compared to a conversation or dialogue, it relies on input from all parties involved. She is only in primary school and her class already has a shared blog where they post their homework and discuss relevant topics. Not only does this demonstrate the way in which society encourages interaction with media platforms but the way in which the dialogic seems to be overtaking the monologic audience.

Although monologic roles still exists, they have transformed to include dialogic aspects to keep up with their developing audiences. Media platforms such as Twitter offer people a way to not only be the consumers but the producers of what we receive, clearly offering the audience more power than ever before. Take the iPhone for example. The ‘Siri’ feature allows a user to literally talk to a phone that talks back! Who knows what will be next?


May the Control be With You?

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I have always been a bigger fan of Apple than android. Their silver, slick designs have always caught my eye and the fact that they ‘look pretty’ was the extent of my reasoning for using an iPod, Mac and iPhone. No matter what smart phone you use, you’re ALWAYS connected to the internet, and it is practically an extension of your arm. Nevertheless, the ultimate theme of both is CONTROL. But who has the control of your device?

I like many others, may have not realised the true difference between these two competitors, one has locked appliances and the other generative platforms. The locked appliance ‘remains tethered to its maker’s desires. While the user cannot be flexible and innovative, this system offers a more consistent and focused experience. Generative platforms on the other hand run codes from anywhere, written by anyone.

In 2007, Apple introduced the first smart phone to the world. Apple reinvented the mobile phone to allow users to access more than ever before. In the market, Apple had already put itself ahead, setting the standard for smart phones with no competitors. The iPhone is a closed device. Think about it…can you buy apps from anywhere other than the Apple store? The answer is no. Apple users are locked into Apple; this is known as a ‘walled garden of apps’. Apple has complete control over all apps available and has the ability to remove any apps at any time. Therefore, Apple has control over the platform, content and user. You may be wondering why Apple has taken this approach. Steve Jobs believed the locked appliances system allows Apple to remain in complete control of the direction of the company also ensuring fewer failures. Jobs stated, “We define everything that is on the phone…you don’t want your phone to be like a PC…[that] doesn’t work [after] you have loaded three apps.”

Google released the Android smart phone in 2008, one year after the iPhone. Having to distinguish itself from Apple, android is a generative platform. The open and free platform is based on the Linux kernel operating system allowing anyone to access and modify the codes of androids. The ‘open garden’ of apps allows users to download apps from ANY market, uploaded by ANYONE. The difference therefore from Apple is that Android has NO control over the platform, content or user. But how does Android profit from this? Android as a generative platform facilitates the flow of content. It allows users to be in control of what is on their device and where it comes from. They can modify it to personally suit themselves and what they need. Google therefore encourages users to access as many channels as possible, as they receive funds each time they are used.

Tumblr for example is an open platform, in the sense that it allows users to view and upload content from anyone and anywhere. However, elements remain closed due to copyright limitations that have the ability to remove content that breaches its original copyright. Tumblr supports Android and Apple, with apps for both. However the Android app was created first and is more developed than Apple’s, due to the greater number of android Tumblr users.

Had I had an understanding of the ‘locked appliances vs. generative platforms’ concept, prior to purchasing a smart phone, I wonder if I still would have gone with Apple. Nevertheless, I am confident in Apple’s reliability to consistently work, which is more important to me, than my freedom to adapt and use different codes. I can definitely see the advantages of both systems and think I’ll be more considerate of the android users next time I argue my phone is better than theirs.

Copy, Paste, Arrest

The issue of copyright is a very fine line we have all crossed, most likely more than once. The concept that it is illegal to take something that is not yours appears simple, however, with evolving technologies and converging media platforms, copyrighting laws are becoming more detailed in order to remain enforceable and effective, thus becoming more complicated to comprehend.

FUN FACT: There are over 2,405,518,376 people with access to the internet today. Content is becoming more accessible than ever before. Information is being diseminated faster than it can be received. As a result, people often mistake copyrighted material as Public domain, that is anything not under copyright that can be copied and remixed freely. “I can save it to my computer, what’s the problem?” Now here is the real issue. Who says we can’t just download a new song or photo without permission; who is in control?

This is where legislation implemented to regulate what we can do. By Australian law, “copyright generally lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years and where duration depends on year of publication, it lasts until 70 years after it is first published.” (Australian Copyright Council) Essentially, the copyrights of ones material will most likely outlive you.  It is only fair that someone who has originally created something has the right to its ownership and control, and that they are credited for their own work.

The purpose of my media platform ‘Tumblr’ is to share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos that can be reblogged by any other user. Upon looking through various Tumblr blogs I found the original source of material quite often hard to find. This ability to “effortlessly share anything” is being questioned by some who consider this a breach of copyright. Tumblr’s current copyright laws are established from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). DMCA makes avoiding Digital Rights Management (DRM) a criminal offence. Therefore any stolen material is issued with a Copyright Infringement Takedown.

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According to Mashable, leading Porn Company, ‘Perfect Ten’ sued Tumblr for $5 million for “rampant and unremedied uploading, display and distribution of Perfect 10’s copyrighted photographs.” Perfect 10 complained that even after sending former Tumblr president John Maloney six Digital Millennium Copy Right Act notices, only a small amount of the 200 reported were actually removed. Tumblr argued on the other hand that their “safe harbor laws” place users responsible for copyright laws, not Tumblr itself.

With the rules of copyrights often blurring, people must take extreme caution when thinking of using someone’s work. The terms and conditions are becoming finer and finer. Internationally acclaimed author, John Green, gave an entertaining opinion on the ‘ins and outs’ of copyright laws, with a particular experience of his own. This vlog not only argues that copyright is not keeping up with fast paced technology but most importantly it’s our responsibility to police ourselves do right by our fellow internet users.