Yang and Yin

Equality isn’t easy. We are all made unique with different abilities and there is always someone out there who will be better than you (unless your Beyonce). However, being said, we should be celebrating these differences as they provide multiple perspectives and views on the world, allowing for the creation of amazing things. One such thing is the internet. Such a powerful tool made with good intentions dominated and used for evil. 

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The arrival of the web has promoted misogyny with the increased ability to exercise your right to inflict your opinions on other people. The current state of technology makes your freedom of speech a hassle free, effort less process. Misogyny has always existed and is now simply easier to express. 

One such issue continually brought to life is the discrimination of women and the belief they are ‘incapable’ of delivering information at a standard men would. Where is there any logic to prove that is remotely true? Are we that threatening that there is a need to strategically attack one another in fear that we will cope the first blow? 

The current ‘Wikistorming’ project has been developed in order to counteract this trend. By acknowledging the contribution of women within the digital landscape, the feminists hope to change the demographics of Wikipedia’s editor-base in hope that it will eventually to create a more equitable, inviting space in which to share knowledge. Wikipedia, one of the most used information sources online has an overwhelming male presence. Only 3% of contributors are female. Problems with this? Millions of people every day are reading this information from one point of view. This is a detriment to the information shared as it is not catered to suit EVERYBODY. Only 20 something, white males attending uni, still living at home, trying to work out whether they have enough goon to go out to some chicks house party. 

If we are to grow and develop in a POSITIVE way as a society we need to stop cutting each others grass and support each others ideas. If you don’t approve because of a legitimate reason, fine! Im sure that person won’t really miss you from their life. Just because I’m so chick and do have the ability to ‘feel’ doesn’t mean I’m going to confuse them with information and important things. That’s why its so cool being a women, we have the ability to multi-task therefore i can feel, work, play, do anything i want, so stop abusing me cause your jealous. 

2014, ‘Wikistorming’, FemTech Net, viewed 16/5/2014, http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/wikistorming/ 

Youth Activism

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“In terms of personal development, identity, expression and their social consequences— participation, social capital, civic culture- these are the activities that serve to network today’s younger generation.”

The power of social media and the new digital era within our lives has re-defined the term of ‘social’, once limited to the need for interaction and companionship, to the ability to engage, create, participate and express ones beliefs and values. Traditional critics are blaming social media for promoting a “superficial engagement” amongst youth towards political activism. However, Henry Jenkins argues that the ability to share and create ideas on these digital platforms positively expands the avenues in which youth are able to investigate and explore the world of political participation.  

Social media sites including Facebook and Twitter promote the theory of ‘Participatory Culture’, which shifts the focus from one individuals expression towards community involvement. These sites encourage self expression due to the minimal barriers towards artistic expression and civic engagement (Jenkins, 2006)

The growth of youth activism online has been facilitated by the circumventing of traditional gatekeepers of current news and events. This has been achieved by the expansion of technology which has increased the efficiency in which information is produced and circulated. A prime example of this would be ‘KONY 2012’, a short film created by Invisible Children Inc. According to TIME Magazine ‘KONY 2012’ is the most viral video ever shared with over 99 million views (Wikipedia, 2014). The large success of the campaign was due to its exposure across multiple media platforms.

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Young people today arn’t following in the same political foot steps. Our lives are exceptually mediated encouraging us to ‘chop and change’ our view points as a result of current trends. I believe, although it’s not a traditional method, social media encourages youth to participate and engage within youth activism. The open network design triggers the generation of self expression. A sense of community and inclusion is also comforting with teenagers especially, expressing the desire to ‘belong’ and therefore will share interests shown within their peers. The medium of social media has itself become the message of campaigns, expressing the evolving nature of politics, with traditional methods being pushed aside and our voices becoming the major source of technology that will influence a generation.

Jenkins, H, Clinton, K, Weigal, M 2006, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for 21st Century, Macarthur Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, viewed 15/5/2014, http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

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Cohen, C, Kahne, J 2011, New Media and Youth Political Action, Participatory Politics, viewed 15/5/2014, http://ypp.dmlcentral.net/sites/all/files/publications/YPP_Survey_Report_FULL.pdf

Jenkins, Henry. (2012). ‘The New Political Commons’. Options Politiques.

2014, Kony 2012, Wikipedia, 7 May 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012 

 

 

 

 

Why Does Everybody Want to be a DJ?!

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Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few years you wouldn’t of been able NOT to notice the dramatic rise of so called ‘artists’ taking up the DJ’ing profession. Yes, I am a fan of a late night boogie or two, but why the sudden interest? The remix culture is not a new phenomenon, it has been present for as long as new inventions, gizmos and gadgets have been created. As referenced in our lecture the ability to remix has seen the evolution of world changing inventions such as the printing press and the light bulb. But how?

Creativity is not magic, it cannot be generated from thing air. It requires inspiration from a variety of sources. Copying is how we learn. By observing the work of others we are building a foundation of knowledge and understanding in which we can generate our own interpretations and transform existing products, with the intentions of improving the original copy. 

The concept of ‘remix’ within the music industry can be dated back to at least the 1950’s with Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman remixed Orson Welle’s War of the Worlds with various musical snippets. However, the rise of remix culture within the 21st Century is a result of the tools of production becoming democratized and open to all members of the public due to the availability of symmetrical media technologies. What was once an artform restricted to professionals who owned and operated expensive equipment is now affordable and accessible across the western world. This has encouraged the rise of the ‘DJ’ culture with individuals who have access to a computer and internet  able to “produce and distribute their work for costs close to zero” (Gallagher, 2008). 

However, the power to mash up and transform ‘original’ pieces of work has caught many individuals out by infringing copyright laws. The remix culture is currently dominated by amatures who are demanding the right to “mashup and remix material – to take on the role of producers – to cut, paste, sample of jam with content, in order to produce something which is distinctive of their own social and creative innovation” (Australian lawyers from the Queensland University of Technology). This raises the questions whether or not people SHOULD be able to access the work of others and if so what are the original owners RIGHTS? 

Both of these question’s raise the notion that copyright laws are unable to keep up with the digital era. With the rise of the DJ its about time this issue should be addressed so the growth of creation wont be hindered. 

Bruns, A 2010, Distributed Creativity: Filesharing and Produsage, p.1

Jenkins, H 2008, “What Is Remix Culture?”: An Interview with Total Recut’s Owen Gallagher (Part Two), Confessions of an ACA Fan, June 4 2008, Viewed 15/5/2014, http://henryjenkins.org/2008/06/interview_with_total_recuts_ow.html#sthash.dFvEL3bq.dpuf

Martin, R 2014, Remix Culture: A Rights Nightmare, ABC, viewed 15/5/2014, http://www.abc.net.au/catapult/indepth/s1645533.htm

 

 

 

Instagram Lends a Helping Hand

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Transmedia isn’t a new phenomenon. It could quite possibly be one of the oldest techniques of sharing information. Seen within ancient cultures with stories passed down from elders and interpreted as wall paintings. The exchanging of information across media platforms has forever been present. 

The purpose of Transmedia storytelling is to share a narrative, a theme through the use of multiple media platforms. Henry Jenkins proposes this is an integral process to create  “a unified and coordinated entertainment experience” (Jenkins, 2007). A large variety of media platforms are utilized to expand and promote the product to a wider audience. This included books, movies, video games, tv shows, etc. The purpose of transmedia is to encourage each medium to make their own individual contribution to the unfloding of the story to enhance interest and participation from the public. This cumulative process adds richness to the story as the audience are encouraged and allowed to become actively involved. The use of social media sites invites opinion and democracy to inform large corporations on ‘what they want’. 

In relation to Instagram as a transmedia platform.. Rather than its contribution to the original narrative and unfolding of the story, Instagram acts as an effective gateway used to promote the variety of distribution channels that would inevitably add its contribution to the transmedia narrative. Many businesses and brands have jumped on board using Instagram in this exact way. Promoting and encouraging their product through the use of hashtags, sharing images and online competitions create a great platform for the world of transmedia to grow. 

Jenkins, H 2007, Transmedia Storytelling 101, Confessions of an ACA Fan, March 22 2007, viewed 14/5/14, http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

Moloney, K 2013, What is Transmedia Storytelling?, Transmedia Journalism, viewed 14/5/14, http://transmediajournalism.org/contexts/what-is-transmedia-storytelling/ 

Produsage and Instagram

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Bruns describes Produsage as “collaborative content creation and development practices found in contemporary informational environments” (2007). Therefore, when analaysing the social media platform Instagram we are looking at the contributing, sharing and interconnectedness between users. 

Back in the 1970’s Alvin Toffler concieved the idea of the ‘prosumer’ describing the emergence of a “more informed, more involved consumer of goods” (Bruns, 2007). With the empirical rise of social media sites, such as Instagram, Toffler’s view on contemporary society is coming to life. This is evident throughout the active participation on Instagram where users are engaging in prosumption, which combines both production and consumption. 

The features on the app promote user based content allowing participants to upload, share, edit, comment and like eachothers images, creating a visual narrative online where they are able to express their ideas. The use of creative common laws assist this process allowing for the reuse and remixing of already exisitng content to enhance the individuals beliefs. Instagram displays the four key characteristics Bruns describes are the framework for produsage. Photographers have proposed the idea of Instagram generating its own unique art form with 200 million dedicated monthly users engaging within the social media community uploading and sharing over 60 million photos every songle day! 

The app’s success has been generated through the fluidity of its nature. Allowing users the freedom to actively select and participate in which ever role they desire, thus encouraging the use of the app. Also aiding towards this instant rise is the ability to blur the line between professional and amateur photography. By allowing users to ‘edit’ their images through filters it has, for many, enhanced the quality of many peoples images.

As I mentioned earlier the use of the creative common laws, which enable individuals to re-use images suggests that the content shared throughout Instagram is and always will be an unfinished product. This idea of a continually developing, evolving product is an exciting prospect. The theory that there is always room for improvement will be forever present, encouraging users to search and work towards that ‘perfect’ image. 

The main feature I enjoy from Instagram would be the interconnectedness within the entire community. We are all engaged with eachothers work as we use key tools such as the ‘hashtag’ to seek out everybodies story and discover who they are. We share our interests, which grow daily due to the consistent contribution each individual makes. As the sun sets here we can see it rise half way across the world. It may be a little unprofessional to say this simply but thats pretty cool. 

Bruns, A. (2007). Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. Proceedings Creativity & Cognition. 6, p4.

2014, Instagram Statistics,Nitrogram, viewed 14/5/2014, http://nitrogr.am/instagram-statistics/

So Long!

After transferring from a course of bone dead material to BCM I was immediately brought back to life with the content we have covered. During the last six weeks learning about the physical nature of media I have been able to step outside of the public realm from an audience member to that of an observer, in which I have found it a very rewarding experience.

Covering the effects model early on really aided this transition and generated a moment of self-reflexivity, as I immediately became aware that I had conformed to the belief that “TV makes you fat”. Combined with an enhanced perspective on how to read an image, my approach towards interpreting the media has become effectively critical in everyday life.

Exploring the impact of culture on ‘signification’ I believe enhances our understanding on issues ever present within society. One of these major issues being the relationship between children and the media. There is, unfortunately, a strong collaboration between child stars and a dramatic fall from the heavens. Most recently seen in pop star Miley Cyrus. But is the media the issue or are we once again playing the blame game?

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It has been noticed that “over the past decade, the fashion industry has started using younger models and now commonly portrays 12 year-old girls as if they were women”. Images such as the Roger David one above, have fuelled the argument that children are being continually exposed too and apart of over sexualised material. Thus creating what is known as a ‘moral panic’ within society. Moral panic is defined as “a threat to societal values and interests” (2014) But this raises my question… If we as a society are so concerned with keeping sex behind a closet door why are we continually surrounded by it? In the developing era of modern society sex was expressed as an art form and worshipped. A prime example being ‘The Vitruvian Man’ by Leonardo Da Vinci

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Before studying this BCM course I would of immediately disregarded the image of the young girl above. The context behind this ad provokes a view of he girl in a sexualized way. The camera angles show her “averted eyes, wounded facial expressions, and vulnerable poses mimic the visual images common in pornographic media”. How disgusting are you for looking at her like! She’s only a child! However as suggested by Gauntlett one of the ten things wrong with the ‘media effects model’ is that society has made no attempt to understand the meaning of the media and relies on unjustified conclusions and unified beliefs, leaving no room for expression or interpretation. But that’s exactly what an image of this genre needs, its a work of art (for some) deserving recognition and multiple opinions.

I don’t see sex in the media going away, its simple sex sells and entices people. So perhaps as a society we need to grow up and adjust our belief system. Teach our children right form wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, so when these images are flashed between the latest episode of Game of Thrones (which by the way is way more explicit than any of these images) children will be able to maturely deal with it. Don’t underestimate the kids for Christ sake!

Children and young people in advertising, Commission for children and young people and child guardian, viewed 14/4/2014, http://www.ccypcg.qld.gov.au/pdf/…/children-and…/Corporate-Fact-Sheet4.pd…

Gauntlett, D, 1998, Ten things wrong with the media effects model, Approaches to Audiences – A reader, Arnold, London, Viewed 14/4/2014, http://www.theory.org.uk/david/effects.htm

2012, Premature Sexualisation of Children, Women’s Forum Australia, Viewed 14/4/2014, http://www.womensforumaustralia.org/significant-issues/premature-sexualisation-of-children

2014, Moral Panic, Wikipedia, Viewed 14/4/2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_panic

#bcm110

Who really is the Biggest Loser?

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With the ever evolving world of media comes a change towards societal ideologies. As TV has dramatically advanced in the last 15 years from crime and first responder shows to the spectacle of reality TV, so has the public sphere. Once hailed by Habermas as a realm for which public opinion on social, cultural and political views can be shared, modernists are now claiming it has been depredated “by the forces of consumer capitalism”. And what show is bigger and larger than any other reality TV show in Australia? The Biggest Loser of coarse!

Never being a fan of the show I found myself completely drawn in during the latest season finale last night. I “oohed” and “ahhed”, laughed and cried with the rest of the audience at the amazing transformations undergone. The most recent winner Craig had lost 79.8kg throughout the series. A life changing amount weight. The Biggest Loser is one of many shows that trivialises important issues an in this case they are obesity and weight loss.

McKee discusses the impact of relations between media and the public sphere claiming that “only in the mass media that vast populations of people can come together to exchange ideas” If that is the case The Biggest Loser is promoting an unpractical solution to obesity and weight loss that many will not be able to achieve. The contestant who go on this show put their entire lives on hold for months to lose weight. 66% of Australian men are overweight. Imagine of they all decided to ‘take work off’ what would happen to our workforce? It would be severely depleted, that’s what!

The public sphere was evolved to create a sense of freedom and equality. Its fundamental purpose has been exploited with individuals within reality TV shows selfishly exploiting this ideal in order to enhance themselves. Michelle Bridges personality figure has grown tremendously with her appearance upon the show. Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation grew 350% in one year (Fitzsimmons, 2014), assisted by her appearance on the show. No personal grudges against her success, but in context to the structural transformation of the public sphere programs, much like the Biggest Loser, are commercializing it.

I am a strong believer in equality and the right to shares ones opinion but in this new wave of craze TV, including reality shows can make a mockery and abuse this power to manipulate and confuse the audience. The idea of exploiting people struggling with weightless shouldn’t be paraded to this extent. Many people claim the show as a motive to get out and be active! But from experiencing it fro an audiences perspective it mainly promotes entertainment and laughter.

Huijser, H, Little, J, 2008, GetUp! for what? Issues Driven Democracy in a Transforming Public Sphere, Democracy Under Fire: the uses and abuses of democracy in the public sphere, No.16, Viewed 14/4/2014, http://www.transformationsjournal.org/journal/issue_16/article_06.shtml

Fitzsimmons, C, 2014, Michelle Bridges’ empire of body transformation, BRW., Viewed 14/4/2014, http://www.brw.com.au/p/marketing/michelle_bridges_empire_of_body_Uhiqs5JDpkfxDWy2Eh78dK

2011, Jürgen Habermas’s Public Sphere explained (summary), The cultural studies reader, viewed 14/4/2014, http://culturalstudiesnow.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/jurgen-habermass-public-sphere.html