The end is near

Having to blog over the past 10 weeks has definitely been a different experience for me. I have always wanted to start my own fashion and makeup blog, but never had the confidence and kept thinking “why should I bother, who is going to read this?!’

My blogging for BCM112 has definitely made me realise that there would be people out there who would read what I have to say!

I definitely think blogging has improved my writing style and writing on different topics each week has definitely broadened my thinking of convergence, technology and the media.

I think my 3 strongest and most interesting blog posts have been:

Click ‘Like’ to stop the war

I really enjoyed this topic, and found it very interesting to learn about slactivism and clicktivism, and all the ways that technology can make us feel as if we are being social activists when all we are doing is clicking like or watching a video. I had never heard of these specific terms before this subject, and I found it so interesting to be able to write – and think about what the future will be like if all generations under us start depending on solely raising awareness online to fix social problems.

Mine, Yours, Ours?

I found this topic so interesting! I have never thought about the benefits that remixes have on society, and how they encourage the individuals creativity and helps bring awareness to some social problems. I’ve always just listened to them and never thought much more about them.

Please do not feed the trolls!

Online trolling has always been interesting to me – I could never understand what would make a person say such hateful things to someone else. It was definitely an issue close to my heart, I have experienced some hate myself on Formspring and anonymous haters on Tumblr, and although it was a challenging topic to read about, learning about trolling really gave me such a deeper insight into the reasons behind it.

Please do not feed the trolls!

The way in which the internet is designed – no gatekeepers and the notion of participatory culture fuelling the internet, inevitably leaves space for harsh comments and threats. This could be bullying about anything: racism, homophobia, misogyny etc. This is referred to as trolling.

But should we disable comment sections and forums, discouraging the online participatory culture that is the internet, in order to stop these hateful comments?

Trollers provoke people as they find it amusing to get a reaction. They may even deliberately disagree in order to cause havoc. So instead of disabling comment sections to stop this hate, why don’t we just ignore it? If no one comments back and ‘feeds the trolls’, then won’t they stop if they get no reaction?

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Pretty much any site with a comment option is home to many a troll. That again doubles when people have a choice of being anonymous – for e.g. Tumblr, Formspring, and ask.fm. “Being anonymous makes us meaner as we can we state whatever we want before thinking about it and without the fear of repercussions.” (Sarah Downey, 2011).

And this abuse from strangers who hide behind their computers can have serious repercussions, and can even result in suicide. An example of this which was highly publicised in the media was Charlotte Dawson and the twitter trolls. And in this case, their abuse caused her to attempt suicide.

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 “Under the cloak of anonymity people feel they can express anything” (Natasha Walter)

Charlotte is now recovering from this hate, and is now campaigning to shame the trolls and support other victims who suffer abuse. When she met the people who sent her this abuse, their comments all had a similar theme about how “They’re things that I say on twitter and twitter isn’t real life – you have more confidence on the internet.”

But the reality is that what you say online is real life, and the trolls abusive comments do have serious consequences.

Click ‘like’ to stop the war

We’ve all done it. Whether you watched the 30 min video of Kony 2012 on Youtube, shared it and joined a group on Facebook, retweeted to stop Kony or signed an online petition – and felt like you were being a true social activist,

you are guilty of being a slactivist.

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As Urban Dictionary defines it, Slactivism is the act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.

With all these different ways to access the internet and ways to feel like we’re contributing to the world while sitting on the couch, who can blame us?!

Participation to ‘stop’ issues like these becomes so easy and free that there is no real action done to find a solution.

As Tory Shepherd comments, “I love Australian democracy and isn’t it wonderful that we have the choice to click on this link to make us feel better.”

The power of social media without a doubt contributed to the awareness of Kony 2012 – but can social issues really be eradicated using people power generated through social networks?

What is the world going to be like when the now Gen Y are running the country? If there is a political problem are we just going to take the risk free action, and like a Facebook page or sign an online petition? Results for these issues will never be successful and have a positive outcome if all awareness and advertising is done online. An online petition has no where near the effect as a protest or rally. If we as a generation are going to have any hope of fixing such social issues then we need to stop clicking, get off the couch, and start participating in real life.

Mine, Yours, Ours?

Remix culture is so imperative in today’s society. It encourages individuals to join in the participatory culture, by creating and editing previous messages or mediums to then share with the community. This then contributes to social and cultural change, as challenging the original content inspires and empowers them to go beyond their usual realm of comfort, and to challenge more diverse mediums.

Remixing is the activity of taking samples from pre-existing materials to combine them into new forms – this could be music, films, games, TV series – ultimately anything that is in the form of video or audio can be remixed.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to remix culture, and the change it brings can be phenomenal. Furthermore, anyone and everyone has the ability to create a remix. ‘The increasing availability of symmetrical media technologies… like the Internet afford their participants an equal chance to have their message heard’ (Bruns, 2010). Remix culture supports the individuals creativity and contributes to media (and in turn the world,) moving forward.

However I believe remix culture isn’t always positive.

remixThe role of copyright is one of the main concerns surrounding remixes, as it is illegal to use someone else’s music, unless a license is granted to you.

But even if an artist has a licence to do so, the original artist is hardly ever acknowledged in the title of the song – even if they’re mentioned in the song details – WHO READS THAT!?

One of my pet hates is hearing a song on the radio that has taken components – the tune, bass line, lyrics, whatever it may be – from another song. An example of this is Dead Or Alive’s song ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), and comparably, Flo Rida’s ‘Right Round’. The original song was released in 1984, and wouldn’t be known to the young audience in 2009 that Flo Rida’s version was aimed at.

Maybe I’m over thinking it – but if I was the original artist, I certainly wouldn’t be happy that an adaption of my song– 25 years later, has become so popular without everyone knowing that it was originally mine!

But wait, there’s more…

Transmedia narratives – you may not be familiar with the term, but I can promise you that at one time or another you have been immersed in one of them. If you’ve read the book, seen the movie, played the game and own the figurine, then you’ve been involved in one of these worlds.

Twilight, Harry Potter, the Matrix and The Hunger Games are all popular examples of these – they started off as one medium, in this case a book or a movie – and when they became successful came the introduction of sequels, books, games, comics, extra merchandise, character profiles, theme parks etc. The purpose of this story telling over a variety of media forms, this is ‘to create a unified and coordinated entertainment experience’ (Henry Jenkins). This content flow through many media channels allows for the audience to have numerous access points to the story – more access points means more options for the audience to engage.

 ImageThe Harry Potter series is probably one of the most popular transmedia narratives today. The original story has extended to 6 more books, movies, online gaming experiences such as Pottermore, and even its own theme park.

By getting involved in transmedia storytelling, you become part of another world, a community that thrives on participatory culture and which has everyone excited to take part in and contribute their own ideas. Fan made material such as Harry Potter Puppet Pals is a great example of this – many universities now even have their own Quidditch teams!

It is convergence that has allowed transmedia to become as huge as it is today, and convergence which allows the creation and magnitude of these communities.

Which of these transmedia narratives or worlds have you got caught up in?

Image – http://www.flickr.com/photos/junniorkopke/7203924534/

 

Citizen Journalist: “I should be getting paid for this!”

The rise of citizen journalism was inevitable. With all the new technologies we have in the 21st century, and all compacted onto one pocket size device such as an iPhone, everyone has the potential to become citizen journalists.

With the rise of of such technologies, we’ve seen the more traditional forms of news and media delivery change; and with it, the suffering of traditional journalism. The news broadcasts and newspapers no longer having the chance to report news first, as ordinary people such as you and I can capture videos and events as they happen, and have them on the internet for anyone in the world to see in a matter of seconds.

But saying all this, this won’t mean the end of  professional journalism. People will always want to hear a professional account of events, and even if they find out first through citizen journalists, it is the actual news they will look to next to see the story.

Many journalists are worried that their career is in danger due to these ordinary people reporting their news stories. British journalist Andrew Marr refers to citizen journalism as having “nothing to do with journalism at all”, stating that bloggers seem to be “socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting… and that the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.”

Below is an image which too suggests what Andrew Marr thinks of citizen journalists.

Image But this is not an accurate depiction of citizen journalism, this is simply just real journalists trying to protect their career. Citizen journalism in fact, is more evident and more needed as ever.

A key recent event being the Boston Marathon Bombings. The world was alerted within minutes of the attack,  witnesses on the scene uploading videos snapped on their phones as it happened.

It is evident in events such as these that citzen journalism is crucial to putting together all the pieces of a situation, and allows people to see real footage and to gain an actual depicition of what happened.

Without citizen journalism, thousands of fascinating stories would remain untold.

‘Social Activism’ or Slack Participation?

The way in which we interact with the media has changed dramatically. Before the internet was invented, the only media was monologic, and the only way to interact with media (such as television, radio and newspapers) was to go through a screening process by ‘gatekeepers’ – whether be publishers, government censor or mainstream media, to decide which questions/views or comments would be shared.

Internet however, is dialogic by design, and encourages people to voice their opinions and views. And hence, since the introduction of the internet, people have been more connected. And not just with media itself, but with other people from around the world with similar interests, views and passions.

The internet is fuelled by individual participation; people starting blogs, creating and commented on forums, people sharing websites and videos; the types of interactions on the internet are endless.

prosumerThis in fact, has changed the role that we play in the media, as Jay Rosen states, ‘The People Formerly Known as the Audience’ are now prosumers; as we are not only able to actively participate but have the ability to broadcast media – instantly and without ‘gatekeepers’ or a filtering system. However this isn’t always a good thing. There are many consequences of having no ‘gatekeepers’ – and that is that the veracity and quality of content can be questionable, and that there’s no filter to what a person can view online.

The power of many is also greatly evident within the internet, and helps certain issues to be shared around and brought attention to within a short period of time, something that wouldn’t have happened before the introduction of the internet. A key example of this is Kony 2012, when the world was knocked into a frenzy after watching the video on Youtube. However people started to believe they were being social activists and helping this cause by ‘liking’ a page on Facebook, or tweeting about it on Twitter. This notion is referred to as slack participation, where participation to stop issues like these becomes so easy and free that there is no real action done to find a solution. As Tory Shepherd comments, “I love Australian democracy and isn’t it wonderful that we have the choice to click on this link to make us feel better.”  But like the quote suggests, the power and connectivity that we can feel through social media websites can be phenomenal, but can social issues such as Kony 2012 really be eradicated using people power generated through social networks?

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Furthermore, as well as political issues, there can be other worldwide phenomenon’s which catch on through the internet. And due to the nature of the internet, this information being posted can be about ANYTHING, no matter how weird, wacky or inappropriate.  A good example of this is Gangnam Style or other more random entertaining videos such as Taylor Swifts I Knew you were a goat parody (below) – which also proves how really anything can be posted on the internet!

Thanks for reading! Please post with your comments!