I’ve got the power

To upload and share almost anything I want through this WordPress account, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and various other media platforms. We are all citizen journalists. Isn’t that extraordinary? Today, we don’t think about it that much. But in comparison to say, a decade ago, we have come a long way into a very different, amazing and continuously evolving form of communication. We are active prosumers, participating in mediated culture more than ever before. Why? Because we want to be heard, and we can.

There are little to no gatekeepers monitoring what you share online and this is why social networking, blogging and vlogging have become so popular. Monologic media journalists have to be very cautious about what they write and how they present their information. Everything stated in newspapers, magazines, television or on the radio goes through a rigorous editing process. This ensures that the media can control what and how we receive information, although now this control is shifting. An example of this would be Han Han, a chinese blogger who became extremely popular online so he created a magazine, which was shut down after the first issue (selling over a million copies) because there was too much controversial information.

A case study in ‘The mobile Phone and the Public Sphere’ by Janey Gordon investigates the London bombings. Gordon states that those involved were providing “direct accounts from their mobile phones” of information and images through phone calls, SMS, MMS and social networking. I’m quite intrigued that it has actually come to this; being surrounded by danger a horrific event and yet the first thing people do is upload and share what they can see/what is happening. I personally think it’s a way of reaching out. All humans want to be heard and seek interconnection.

Street violence – Schoolies

The media likes to blow up or exaggerate Schoolies violence. It is a hot topic in society because 1- A high per cent of the population have children or are people who attend schoolies 2- Teenagers are an easy target when acting out (they represent our future generations) 3- Considering the amount of people in one vicinity for schoolies, violence does occur, yet it’s not as ruthless as the media makes it out to be.

An example would be A Current Affair’s (ACA) report on Schoolies in Bali (many Australian high school graduates travel here and is a popular tourist destination). ACA uses a very biased review on this issue aiming for the audience to ‘take their side’ by not showing the full story making it difficult for viewers to form another opinion. This is created by presenting only one perspective of the issue. They have achieved this by using snippets of chaotic and violent behaviour indicating that’s all that happens at schoolies. This is further amplified through the use of evocative language when describing incidents which have occurred such as ‘alarming temptations’ the title of the story, ‘Berserk in Bali’ and the repetition of stating there is ‘no rules’ due to the corrupt environment.

Other popular Schoolies destinations for Australian high school leavers are QLD’s Gold coast and Byron Bay where destructive and violent behaviour also occurs. Yet Schoolies in Bali is more relentlessly targeted in a very negative way by the media. Alcohol and drug related violence occurs everywhere, especially places which embrace tourism (such as the Gold Coast). It also needs to be taken into consideration that there is a high possibility of increased violence and crime in peak seasons when certain areas are overpopulated. The portrayal the media places on Schoolies tends to shock and concern viewers, especially parents with teenagers yet to travel to Schoolies destinations.

Locked appliances VS Generative platforms

Many of you would remember the days where MySpace was one of the most dominant social networking platforms. Its popularity stemmed from the fact that it was an open and free platform. Users were able to generate their own themes and HTML codes to personalise their MySpace profile. The shift to FaceBook then occurred – a closed platform. Whilst you can still post personal content you cannot control how your FaceBook page looks and works. A similar comparison would be the Android and iPhone. The Android allows you to take control and responsibility over the choices you make with regard to how you use it (via rooting) whereas the iPhone is a ‘sterile’ or closed/locked device. This video outlines how Apple has complete ownership according to how the iPhone is used. In fact, Apple receives a 30 per cent profit of everything sold in their App store, which holds over two million applications.

In an article ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, Henry Jenkins states that “Cultural policy is increasingly being set not by governmental bodies, but by media companies; we lose the ability to have any real influence over the directions that our culture takes if we do not find ways to engage in active dialogue with media“. Jenkins points out the increasing power of converging media and how consumers play a huge part. This statement made me curious… Is using closed devices giving them the upper hand? Should we be concerned? Will this affect us in the future and if so, how? Our culture is becoming more and more technologically dependent. Is this what we want?

And so now, the battle of locked VS generative appliances comes into play. Ultimately I feel it comes down to personal choice… do you want everything already there for you? Are the extra features necessary? Do you have enough time to adjust it completely/to learn how to root? I think the iPhone does a terrific job and is continuously adapting as technology advances. The thing I love most about the iPhone is that I never have to buy a new phone and I will never get bored, because it is consistently being updated and I am able to update the software with the same device! The most revolutionary idea in the world of mobile phones.

You heard right, no copying.

The term Copyright facilitates the right to claim owenership over our opinions and ideas. Violation of a copyrighted item inflicts serious penalties.  90 per cent of the content we are exposed to is controlled by four major companies with the assistance of Copyright protection – Disney, Viacom, NewsCorp and Time Warner. I did not realise how pivotal copyright was until this week. Obviously stealing other people’s ideas is wrong, but I only associated this in my mind with things such as plagiarism because it was always discussed in school from a young age. Though I was quite astonished to discover that Time Warner actually owned the Happy Birthday song and that every time it is sung, it is considered a breach of copyright.

The content industry argues that a world without copyright, is a world without new ideas creating a poor cycle of the same information continuously overlapping. Essentially this argument is stating that the opportunity for individuals to copy each other legally would create stacks of the same material and people not getting the credit they deserve for their own ideas.

The notion of an idea was initially considered ‘public commons’ meaning that we were unable to declare our own intellectual work. I believe a world without copyright would be an unfair world. Every individual has the right to their own intellectual work and should be acknowledged for it. The copyright legislation finally controlled the copying of individuals’ work in order for future generations to understand and learn for themselves. This seems fair to me.

Here’s an enlightening video about Copyright in the media

 

“The medium is the message”, “Worship at the altar of convergence”, “The machine is US/ing us”

 Humanity has been consistently enthralled by the methods used to present and communicate information. How individuals communicate defines who we are and constitutes a lot of what makes us unique. Marshall McLuhan introduced many observations about the impact of changing ways we express ourselves through media.

A valuable phrase stated by McLuhan is “the medium is the message” and that personal or social consequences of any medium is an extension of ourselves. The ‘medium’ is anything from which a change emerges – commonly through mass media communications such as radio, television, internet etc.

“Usually our senses bring the world to our minds, speech takes our sensorially shaped minds out to the world” I found this statement very significant in understanding the way McLuhan expresses the relationship between the medium and content; the content will always bind us to the source.

I was quite impressed with McLuhan’s points on communication and technology, it really opened my eyes as I never directly correlated the information we receive with the WAY we receive information. It seems so obvious when I think about it now though…

An article by Henry Jenkins further appended to my understanding of media change and its importance. It points out the way that convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek information and make connections. Participatory culture and collective intelligence is what propels the media along. Participatory culture can be defined as consumers of the media interacting with each other according to a new set of rules which nobody understands yet. Furthermore, collective intelligence can be seen as an alternative source of power in the media.

Convergence occurs within the individual and through social interactions with others. An obvious example, every morning the first thing I do is check my phone, respond to texts, calls, Facebook/twitter notifications, update my tumblr/twitter… etc. Before i’ve even gotten out of bed. It’s also the last thing I do before going to sleep.

The way I ‘measure’ convergence in my mind is comparing generation X to generation Y. I guarantee my parents’  daily routine did not consist of spending so much time interacting with one another through wireless devices. My dad is sickened with the amount of time I spend on the internet, and I can understand why. Although I think he gets so irritated about it because he can’t keep up himself; yet as soon as he is having some sort of technical trouble he is so grateful to have his technology dependent daughter by his side.

Jenkins mentions in a video that convergence culture is a world where every story, sounds, brand, image and relationship plays itself out across the maximum number of media channels. These channels or ‘platforms’ are all the popular websites/applications used today such as Facebook and Twitter. Being connected online allows you to send and receive information on an international scale. Information can now go further, faster.

Another interesting video I watched was one named “Web 2.0…The machine is US/ing US”. This was a quick and effective way of pointing out how we have more power than we think. We teach ‘the machine’ something every time we use it. Hence computers learning what they know from what we do with them. It is not apparent to enough people just exactly how much control we have. More and more sites are becoming user generated since the boom of YouTube, Facebook and the like.

BCM110 – INTRO: STREET VIOLENCE PRESENTED IN THE MEDIA

A “hot button issue” which I find significant and recurring throughout all forms of the media is Violence. I plan to focus on the way media portrays violence on the streets or in schools with the influence of things such as drugs, alcohol, TV, films, games, music etc.

Violence can be defined as the “intentional use of physical force against another person or against oneself, which either results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury or death” (Rosenberg, O’Carroll and Powell 1992, p. 3071). Violence is generally classified according to the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator (e.g. gang violence), as well as the location in which it takes place (e.g. street violence).

I will be approaching each theme of street violence from various perspectives in hopes to create both an educational and controversial blog, regarding how the media conveys this topic and its effect on target audiences.

BCM112 – Media Platform/Emerging Technology

Choosing my media platform was not a simple process… there’s so much out there. Some were too broad, too specific, too bizarre and some I’d never heard of. I finally decided to choose something I knew about already which is important to me, that I have found a dependence on each and every day – The iPhone (smartphone).

The iPhone was released by Apple in June 2007 and since then has completely altered the way we communicate. The iPhone is a significant product assisting the stimulation of media convergence among users through it’s applications you can install.

Media convergence is the technological shift between different media platforms from analogue to digital. Technological evolution now allows us to stream videos online, instead of on our television. We can read our favourite stories on a hand-held device instead of lugging around bulky novels and textbooks. Things that used to be accessed through an analogue process (eg. purchasing a newspaper) are now being done digitally.

Convergence can be classified as various forms of media combined into one platform. E.g. the iPhone contains the internet which allows you to use different applications to access things such as radio, gaming, ebooks, GPS etc as well as standard mobile functions i.e texting, calling and plenty more.

Information through different media platforms are consistently changing to adjust to the demands of technology. This alters the way we create, consume, learn and interact with each other more than ever.

Considering this, I felt that the iPhone would be  a great device to study as it not only caters for the technological convergence but it is one of the most popular products worldwide. I am unsure if what my particular focus will be on – perhaps the convenience of social networking the iPhone provides (as that is what I use it for most) which I think is it’s most appealing feature.

DEAR K-MART’S MOST RECENT COMMERICAL,

A brief post on advertising (influential media)…

Has anybody else noticed that K-marts most recent ad on television is ENTIRELY caucasian, middle-aged women? Now before you go thinking “der, obviously, that’s their target market/most popular group of consumers” just hold up a second – this really bothered me because shouldn’t the advertisers be trying to appeal to all different kinds of people? Middle aged women aren’t going to stop shopping there if they are not being advertised to directly. Now i’m not having a stab at K-mart, heck I love that place. They sell all kinds of essentials for various ages, gender, sex and race. My problem is with whoever’s in the big seat of their commercial advertising, seriously, update your code of ethics. I found the ad so sexist and stereotypical… some may disagree and say “dude it’s just an ad” but it’s these sly forms of advertising that further endorse stereotypes and ideologies of women… a very clever backhand to the face for society in my opinion.

Advertising plays a very significant role within the media and some don’t realise how much of an impact it actually has. It’s happening right under our noses and is primarily uncontrollable unless you are to remove yourself from the source itself – which is almost impossible. All across the internet, strewn through the streets, advertising gets exactly what is wants without people thinking twice until it is brought to their immediate attention.

ME & THE MEDIA

My name is Loren, I’m a 19 year old student studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media / Journalism degree at UOW.

I am very familiar with being connected online and have been since my early adolescence. Myspace, Bebo, Msn messenger, Piczo, Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Google+ are just some social networking sites off the top of my head that have come and gone since I have been a part of the online world. Sure, all of these sites still exist but the boom in popularity have differed. This just goes to show how rapidly the media is actually converging.

I find myself using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram regularly (daily) because they are the easiest to access when on the go (via iPhone apps). I feel that these media platforms are also the most popular within my age group which creates an instant convenience when I feel the need to share thoughts, photos, videos and much more.

I love social networking and being a part of a ‘wireless’ generation. I feel it is the most powerful way in today’s society to communicate because it is easily accessible, instant, and not to mention global. Furthermore I think that people really underestimate the power in online media – one click of a button and it’s there for anyone to see. This is a major advantage to the media industry as they are able to get more information out there in a smaller amount of time with comparison to, for example, print media.

I am really looking forward to learning more about technological convergence. Hello and welcome BCM students.