Category Archives: Bcm112

Reflection

So, this is the end of my bcm112 blog. All the topics covered have added to my knowledge of media and while some I found not so interesting I have a sound understanding of them. I’d like to think my writing has improved during the semester and I’ve learnt a lot from other people’s blog posts as well. There are so many people doing this course and its great to read their posts and see the various points of view on the weekly topics.

I liked the “evolution of the audience” blog post because I found this topic interesting. The main point of the post was how the audience is changing from being passive and consumer based to producing and consuming simultaneously. This whole concept is intriguing because it is not something I have ever thought about before. However, i think the quality of the writing was not my best. Based on that post it is obvious I still have a lot to learn about the concept of blogging.

The Citizen journalism post was a favourite of mine because of the concept as a whole and the example I used. I found it fascinating that within ten minutes of the crash occurring video footage was being posted online, when media institutions hadn’t even known about the incident. This post would have been much better if I could have put more links in and the first hand footage captured.

The Transmedia Storytelling post was another one of my favourites because not only is the concept interesting, I was able to incorporate one of the few tv shows I watch and like. I find fascinating the different aspects of a fictional world that can be created and the different issues that can arise from this. I talked a lot about the tv show though, and not so much about Transmedia storytelling in general. I think balancing out the topics in this blog would have made it better, and also my writing still needs a lot of improvement.

Overall, I think it’s obvious I’m not the best blogger, and definitely won’t be nominated for an award. However, I do try hard to make the posts interesting and relatable and hope to continue improving my writing and blogging skills.

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Trolling and misogyny

Trolling is an Internet slang word used to describe any Internet behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate somebody. Named after the wicked creatures from children’s stories, these people write offensive posts or messages online with their only intention being to provoke a response. Trolls like a big audience, so they frequent popular blogs, pages or sites where they know they well get the most attention. But why? Why do people feel the need to make other people’s lives hell? Well, according to an article on BBC.co.uk “trolling is usually carried out by young adult males for amusement, boredom and revenge”, and “young people’s determination to create an online identity makes them vulnerable to trolling”.

Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist in the U.S believes “the cloak of anonymity can encourage people to react in extreme ways”. I agree with this completely, some people think that just because their posts are anonymous, they don’t need to be held responsible, or feel guilty of their words hurt someone. Then there are others such as nimrod severn who don’t post anonymously and don’t care what people think. Either way, this is bullying. There are no blurred lines, and it can have disastrous consequences.

Misogyny is a term I had never even heard of until this week but it is actually a form of bullying defined by dictionary.com as the “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women”. Thanks to a 15 minute speech on the topic by Julia Gillard the definition is now going to be broadened to “entrenched prejudice against women”. This declaration to change the definition cause much outrage in the public media. Some are saying that changing the definition is “ludicrous”, while others believe the decision is sensible, and it is about time the definition was changed.

But really how do we expect societies views on women and misogyny to change when the media promotes it like the magazine cover below.

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These women are seen as a piece of meat, to look pretty, dress skimpy and “go back to the kitchen” when the men are done with them. If that’s how some men see women, can we not expect women to start questioning themselves.

Clicktivism, does it really help?

Activism has always had an important place in societies throughout the world. Activism involves promoting, delaying, or directing social, political, economic, or environmental change. It can take the form of terrorism, or economic activism such as boycotts, strikes, street marches, sit-ins, and hunger strikes. However, not all types of activism are so extreme, it can also include simply writing letters to newspapers or politicians and political campaigning or voting. According to Henry Jenkins, “Those (children) whose parents are politically involved, who encounter teachers who bring current events into the classroom, who are encouraged to volunteer, and who participate in extracurricular activities are much more likely to engage in future political and civic activities than those who lack these experiences.”

The rise of social, and other digital media, has seen an equally large rise in the way that NGOs utilise the Internet for campaigning. Technopedia.com defines Clicktivism as “the use of social media and the Internet to advance social causes”. One major example of clicktivism is the kony 2012 campaign, orchestrated by the U.S charity group “Invisible children”. This campaign went viral thanks to a 30 minute video uploaded to YouTube about the need to stop Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a military group that has operated in Africa since the 1980s. People were buying activation packs and spreading the word through the various social media sites. It seemed like everyone was emotionally affected by the tragedy of child soldiers in Uganda. However, i highly doubt anyone promoting the campaign on my Facebook newsfeed actually bothered to look deeper into the issue. These teenagers were receiving the information and taking it as the truth, with no employment of critical thinking or suspicion. A year later kony has still not been caught, despite nearly $20 million being raised by the 2012 campaign, and according to news.com.au, more of the money raised was spent on promotion and marketing than the actual program.

Opponents of clicktivism believe that it reduces activism to a mere mouse-click, yielding numbers with little or no real engagement or commitment to the cause. This is something I wholeheartedly agree with. Watching a video and thinking you are helping, or liking a photo because it says if you don’t the sick girl in the picture will die, is just ridiculous. I mean, I’m all for promoting causes and helping out wherever you can, but that involves actually doing something to help the person or organisation, rather than clicking a button. Also, the reputation of the organisation is one thing to look into before you spend possibly thousands of dollars to volunteer overseas or donate to the cause. I personally like to know that most of my money is going to good use and will ease the suffering of these people, rather than be spent on advertising or promotion.

Rip, mix, read only and read write culture

Works of art, culture, invention, and creation are informed and inspired by things that we experience in the world around us. Then the question arises of what is original, and does it really matter? Remix culture is defined as rearranging, editorialising or expanding on the original piece, modernising it, and adding your own artistic flair.

Read Only culture is the culture we consume more or less passively. The information or product is provided to us by a ‘professional’ source that possesses an authority on that particular product/information. Current copyright law heavily favors the read-only mode. It controls the right to make copies, but, in the digital world, any use of a work involves copying it. So every use requires permission.

Read-write culture is a participatory medium. It involves more people, but can also be economically larger than read only culture. Web 2.0 (web sites that use technology beyond the static pages of earlier web sites) is boosting our capacity to re-establish this participatory, people-driven culture. But we nevertheless face greater threats than ever to our creative flair, as major industry players team up with legal staff to find new ways to fasten down the media being created online and ensure the survival of the music industry.

There have been many cases or arguments of people stealing lyrics or chord progressions from others and many mash up videos made to illustrate this. One such case is that of bob Dylan who is very open about how he writes his music. He says he listens to old folk songs with no lyrics and writes his own to go over the top or gets inspirations from other peoples songs. “I’ll be playing Bob Nolan’s ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds,’ for instance, in my head constantly — while I’m driving a car or talking to a person or sitting around or whatever. People will think they are talking to me and I’m talking back, but I’m not. I’m listening to the song in my head. At a certain point, some of the words will change and I’ll start writing a song.” – Bob Dylan

Mash up videos and songs are a large part of remix culture that started several years ago and was made popular and easily promoted through YouTube. These videos involve taking pieces from two or more songs to create a completely new one. Basically it is read/write culture. The hit tv show glee is frequently taking advantage of this culture. They have done mashups with song from renowned artists such as beyonce, Bon novo, the police, madonnas, jourmey, the Rolling Stones, and that’s just the first season

Transmedia Storytelling: Pretty Little Liars

Henry Jenkins describes transmedia storytelling as “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience”. Each of these elements make their own individual contribution to the unfolding storyline, which increases the details of the fictitious world and extends the drama beyond the original plot line. One great example of transmedia storytelling is one of ABC’s top rated series Pretty Little Liars (PLL). The shows continuously high ratings are due to the networks extensive use of social media to promote the series and create buzz before the episodes even air.

In the middle of season three, the ABC network released an interactive “suspect tracker“. Accessed via the PLL official site, it allowed fans to cast their vote on which of the 12 suspected characters committed the ‘ultimate betrayal’ in that season. Users actually voted via twitter, tweeting a hash tag such as #LucasIsGuilty, which generated more social buzz around the show when retweeted or seen by followers.

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The network delved deeper into transmedia storytelling with the release of “pretty dirty secrets”. An eight part web show which aired during the mid season break and each episode was allegedly watched by 200,000-600,000 fans. The web show has its own Facebook page with 11,990 likes and a tumblr sites as well.

Twitter is another platform used by the ABC to promote the show, with the official account having 1.2 million followers and multiple unofficial pretty little liars accounts. With the return of “Pretty Little Liars” in January 2013, a Twitter-based scavenger hunt was launched, taking place in real-time while the midseason premiere aired. Mona, one of the characters of the series, tweeted clues to followers of her official fictional Twitter account during the broadcast. Fans had the chance to unlock a secret video containing never before seen footage by decoding the hidden message within her tweets. According to Bluefin Labs, the mid season premiere of Pretty Little Liars “accounted for over 52% of all Twitter activity peaking at nearly 39,000 tweets per minute and achieving a new record of around 1.4 million mentions on Twitter”

While it has many benefits, there are some criticisms of transmedia storytelling. Fans are able to delve deeper into the world of their favourite book, movie etc. and sometimes have the opportunity to participate in things such as scavenger hunts. But are all these mediums official? Now that we are evolving into a prosumer based society, there’s no guarantee that all these spinoffs from the original have actually been authorised by the franchise. This is something that is not really a problem for the consumer, but more for the producers of original content because someone else may be making money off something that they could have done or should have been in control of.

What is citizen journalism?

According to the Oxford Dictionary citizen journalism is “the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet”.
As first said by Pierre levy, the main theme of citizen journalism is that “nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something”. Authority is the essence of gatekeeping, and citizen journalism is the absence of authority. It is an open process, with no closure and is continuously under development due to advancing technology.

There are many benefits to citizen journalism. Professional reporters cannot be everywhere, especially if the event is breaking news and they don’t know about it yet. This is where citizen journalists come in and use the internet to alert the general public and the media, while also being able to provide images or recordings of the event. This was certainly the case with a helicopter crash in London earlier this year. The incident occurred at around 8am on January 23rd and almost immediately citizen journalists we tweeting about the accident, while it took news agencies about 15 minutes to pick up on the news. The first video of the accident was posted online within ten minutes of it occurring, and news broadcasts were using mainly this footage for several hours after the incident occurred.

Follow this link for a great video on how citizen journalism affected the spread of information about the London helicopter crash.

While I think citizen journalism can be advantageous, such as the fact that it is free of government and military agenda and censorship, there are also some disadvantages or criticisms. For example, many citizen journalists don’t have the vast resources on hand to fact check their information like the news companies do. Most of the time people assume that the information on a professional news broadcast has been verified and is true, whereas citizen journalism cannot always assumed to be fact. This was also apparent in the case previously mentioned, people were posting information online and telling everyone it was a terrorist attack. Metropolitan police later identified there were no suspicious details, leaving those who cried terrorist looking like fools.

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The evolution of the audience

Being part of an audience used to mean that you would be constantly consuming what other people were telling you. If there was a breaking story you would see it on the television, hear it on the radio or read it in the newspaper, and people would gather to gossip about the current events and voice their opinion.

Since the introduction of the internet, there has been a shift in the way the audience is seen my media conglomerates and also how the audience sees themselves. An audience that was once passive and concentrated on only consuming information, has evolved into active responders who not only consume information but are also involved in producing and sharing. The old style of information broadcasting as known as monologic, where everything you are being told is controlled by gatekeepers. They could be the publisher, a government censor etc. but either way, they restrict access to information. The reinvented information broadcasting approach is unmistakably dialogic. This style promotes two sided conversation and discussion, and is strongly influenced by the realisation of “the people formerly known as the audience”(Jay Rosen) that their voices or opinions can be heard. The same message or information is received by the audience, but now it is mostly digital. This means if someone reads a news york times article online, if they have an opinion on the subject they can post a comment on the site for potentially the whole world to see. This opinion is broadcast instantaneously, and there are either no gatekeepers or weak ones who hold little power against the digital culture of today.

Not only can people now comment on what other people produce, they are able to participate in the production of media sources. Everyone wants their voice to be heard and it seems like today’s digital generation of people are all fighting for the microphone. With the increase in social media sites whose aim is to share information, pictures and videos, everyone’s a content producer. The line between consumer and producer has become blurred, creating whats called a prosumer. Someone who produces content for consumption, but also is a consumer themselves.

I thought this short clip was pretty cool so I though id put it up for you guys to see.
Prosumers