Upon Reflection…

The role of an effective blog is to engage with a global audience, present opinions of varying issues and provoke dialogue and discussion. To call a blog post well presented goes beyond the quality of its writing and looks at the implementation of techniques and themes to engage with the audience and encourage further thought and discussion. I feel that the three posts I have done that best fulfil these attributes ‘In the Public Domain’, ‘Journalistic Civility’ and ‘Digital Paparazzi’.

The title pun alone, ‘In the (Public) Domain’, is engaging and previews the issues to be discussed. The extended metaphor represented allows clear parallels and conclusions to be drawn in regard to private versus public information and copyright. The language and style of this blog post easily links to the themes and lectures of BCM112 without appearing simplistic or conversely over complicated. The extended metaphor allows an obscure niche of the issue of copyright to be explored in depth and interestingly. The emotive wording takes it past being an information report which allows it to be more engaging. It maintained reader interest and allowed and encouraged a personal reflection and response to the issues raised when discussing copyright and public domain.

In the post Digital Paparazzi focus was given to the direct interaction between celebrities and the public through social media such as Twitter. By using socially prevalent examples, Kutcher, McCain, The Nerd Machine, to support the thematic concerns it engages with a larger audience. It goes on to discuss a more niche intellectual debate about the control of social mediums which again allows for an increased demographic. Through the use of quotes this post validates its opinions, and presents the audience with a justified, credible argument. The rhetorical question allows for audience contemplation and therefore, engagement. By allowing the reader to reflect on the significance of the result of Kutcher’s circumstance the message being conveyed is reinforced.

Journalistic Civility looks at the role of civilians and citizen journalism. The title becomes a pun and helps to engage a reader, as the post comes to detail not just citizen journalism but also the way in which these writers portray their opinions. The civility of their writing flows to directly influence the nature of the “Big Names” and the presentation of news. By presenting the question “How do the Big Names hear our little voices?” as the initial sentence or sub heading allows for a text preview, but also an engaging point of contention. The use of this rhetorical question and the formation of the post as a response allows for the audience to maintain engagement throughout.

These three posts I feel are my three posts that best fulfil the characteristics I associate with an effective blog. They contain techniques that encourage audience involvement with the issues and discuss relevant, current points of contention within the media.


(Web) Surfing Championships for Social Media

When considering the role of social media in our society we attribute online identity to replicate that of the “real” world. We see, perhaps naively, the platforms as equal podiums in our online communities. However in reality there is quite significant inequality in several areas of the online industry.

Women in computing occupations are a statistically underrepresented demographic. Of The 10 most influential people on the Web – 2010 only one is a woman (Huffington) and this seems to reflect the role, or at least the recognised role of women in the internet industry.

However, compare this to the role of women in online, especially social media, involvement. In most cases women are over represented in the statistic of online participation.

More women than men across the world are involved with social networking and females spend on average 30% more time on them. Not only are women online more frequently, according to Aileen Lee they “drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity”.

So when we look at the women and their online presence we can readily accept their role in contributing to social media websites. It is disappointing to compare these numbers with those of a woman in the professional industry and see the stark disparity. Lee says “Women rule the internet” because they are, generally, more social, dedicated to maintaining and forming relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking and most likely to present themselves in a social setting.

However the fact remains: Women may “rule the internet” by default, but this should, and could be reflected in a professional sense.


The Championship Finalists line up:

The trophy was taken by the 15-24 year old females across the board!

Autonomous Trust

The new participatory culture of the World Wide Web allows for more people to become involved in the collation and distribution of information. Under the name of “Civilian Journalism” we see people retweeting breaking news, blogging their opinions and updating savvy statuses. And more and more people are coming to depend on this as their daily source of news. Because of the greater choice of information sources consumers have the ability to be more selective in the consumption of their information.

The greater choice available has led to the audience shifting too less traditional forms of news and less traditional sources.

The ability to write autonomously allows for people to believe that the information is free from bias, control and positioning, but nothing is. While civilian journalism may be free from institutional control there are other problems associated that have the potential to warp the information being consumed. Civilian Journalists don’t have to comply with a code of ethics, and don’t have the professional integrity that binds them to reporting accurate information. They also don’t have the connections to information sources that ensure accuracy. Because of this civilian pieces may lack the credibility of professional sources and the sources of information are harder to trace.

People are beginning to suggest that because of the ample sources of information people are choosing those which they feel they can trust. Older generations often follow a reporter, news anchor, TV channel or Newspaper which they have come to trust as having reliable relevant information. However, the youth rely on friends and family in social media to get news and information through posting links. The traditional sources have an aging demographic and some believe empires are “unravelling”. (Mark Scott)

Civilian Journalism has changed the public’s consumption of information. It is changing the role of traditional news sources. It has the potential to change the future industry though changing the role of the news empires.

To define music…

When looking into the history of music you have to consider the definition of music. When asked about your favourite music type we have to clarify genre definitions. Because of the uprising of the digital age we have to redefine music types and define new ones.

In modern times cords, beats and progressions are often computer made, synthesised or altered and modified digitally. It is not an uncommon occurrence to hear people of all ages (let’s stereotype: the elderly) to question the ‘music’ of the youth of today. And with the rising role of digital media and technology in all facets of life including the music industry perhaps this questioning is not just a generational gap any more.

We say we listen to music but more accurately we are listening to modified instrument reverberations and synthesised sounds. The most obvious example is music where “I like my beats fast and my bass down low” (Dev.) The beat and the volume appear to be the most commendable qualities of certain genres. The complaints of the “doof-doof” music as “just noise” (generalising again) have the potential to be supported. But beyond the obvious most music types use computer modified sounds in at least one aspect of production.

In the traditional view of music does current production with a reduced role of instruments actually remove all music from its definition?

Music/ˈmyoozik/ (noun): The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. (Google)

So the question answered. Music is music. Modern production collates sounds, frequently that which was originally instrumental or vocal into a completed works. Production incorporating the use of digital media falls under the art and science of producing music. It is perception of beauty and harmony that will change individual opinion as to what clarifies as music and what clarifies as simply noise.

Digital Paparazzi

While surfing through The Nerd Machine I noticed that new technology has changed the role of the infamous paparazzi who use to capture the private opinions and photos of celebrities that weren’t carefully monitored and adjusted. Now, because of convergent media and the role of social networking, celebrities themselves play an active role in revealing their ‘real’ life, intentionally or not.

Twitter allows high profile accounts to be involved in opinionated discussion and disclose private pictures and opinions of themselves and others electively. “Thanks to Twitter, modern celebrities are only ever one ridiculous comment away from ruining their careers” Student Beans. And those less vigil do.

Ashton Kutcher has posted private photos of wife Demi Moore. And he felt the wrath of his 8 billion twitter followers in November 2011 when he defended Joe Paterno (fired for ignoring child sexual abuse by one of his co-coaches). Kutcher later clarified he didn’t have all the facts. (SMH)

The result? “I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed.” Kutcher turned over his twitter account to Katalyst Media to manage.

This new medium comes with responsibilities, especially for high profile accounts, because their ability to talk to millions. James Griffin said Kutcher’s incident is a “reality check” for celebrity users, but the professional management of his account means it is “no longer true to the medium.”

Meghan McCain, a young political commentator, tweeted a photo of a “night in” that didn’t get the expected response. An hour later she tweeted that she was upset by the fact that by wearing “anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut”. The “embarrassing experience but also a learning one” meant that though she threatened to delete her account she decided to “be more careful in the future about my use with the medium.” (McCain)

Other mediums like YouTube also allow for celebrities to be affiliated with various opinions that would have potentially been more private in the absence of convergence culture. Indeed, some celebrities have gained fandom because of YouTube. Nerd Machine TV has celebrities announcing their self-acclaimed ‘nerd’ status and connecting with fans more intimately. Justin Bieber on the other hand posted videos of his private life, him singing, and gained stardom though rising online popularity.

The publicity that social networking allows has been exploited by celebrities to expand fan bases and to increase publicity. However, it has created a medium which encourages the sharing of private information. Where celebrities previously complained about paparazzi exposing what should be private and sacred they are posting online themselves.

Living with Global Media Entertainment

Films, music and television have been shared internationally since technology allowed it. Now however, the entertainment sector is becoming more globally widespread and its impact is also becoming more widespread and significant. We see the impact transcend from the global sphere and begin to immediately impact local cultures. While all technology and media is now global and the effects are often discussed, the immediate effects of the entertainment industry are often overlooked. Music, television shows and films can be internationally known, especially by those with similar speaking bases.

Media is often affiliated with the development of culture and cultural identity and this is strengthened by entertainment. Because of the global spread of media entertainment individuals and communities have more links to different cultures. The impact of films like Blood Diamond, Slum Dog Millionaire, and even something as non political as Kung-Fu Panda can be seen to have informed an unknowing audience about aspects of a different culture and way of life. Perhaps people are unknowingly absorbing the information presented to them as their entertainment. But the nature of the exposure of the different cultures, as a form of entertainment through film, song, etc, means that maybe people are more likely to absorb the presented information without discrimination.

The effect of this would be interesting to review. Are we becoming less discriminatory because of our increased awareness of other cultures? Are we questioning our personal views and ethics when presented with fundamental alternatives? Are we considering ourselves as global citizens rather than individuals or members of a local community? Are we becoming less attached to our own culture because of the global exposure to others? Would that be a bad thing? Should we be changing the way we think?

I would love to have all the answers, but as yet I don’t think anyone does. Our awareness of different culture has definitely increased, and it is hoped by most that discrimination will continue to decrease. The impact of westernisation has been apparent for while foreign films struggle for popularity in western countries. These films have to be created for a western audience, and have to have substantial monetary backing. The sharing of media entertainment between cultures still lacks equality.

“Culture” has become links and interests rather than locality. Media entertainment plays the role of increasing cultural exposure and connecting those who wish to be connected as a culture.

Journalistic Civility

How do the Big Names hear our little voices??

When discussing user empowerment in relation to the internet we readily see the effect on industry and the effect on the audience.  We see the shift to “prosumers” where anyone has the power of production because of social networking and open media platforms. Within looking at these effects we see the consequential effect on other facets that rely on audience views. Content based industry like the news relies on content to draw audience. With the same content available online for free and from multiple, corroborative sources means that the news’ power dynamic is changing.

Mark Stencel (Managing Editor of NPR’s Digital News) said that online news wasn’t a problem initially because the access to the internet and online sources was not easily portable. It is with the production of portable devices with constant internet access that the real power dynamic has shifted greatly. This is evident with the number of apps that are news based, newspapers online, and the reduction of traditional print mediums. However, John Ryley (Head of Sky News) remains optimistic about the role of traditional news, simply saying that the delivery method will continue to evolve across platforms “in a format that works best for the consumer” but the need for the big name news sources will continue to exist.

While these particular methods allow the “Big Names” to stay in control of content and therefore still have power in the dynamic the use of social networking has given rise to civilian journalism and less conventional sources which sees a shift in content control. The flawed fact is that anyone can publish which puts information credibility and reliability in question.

In some ways the change from traditional sources to online content and the rise of civilian journalism had been a liberating experience. Glenn Beck, (CEO of Mercury Radio Arts) believes his changing dynamic of consumption and production of news is a positive because it is revealing stories that “the media gatekeepers either finds disinteresting or is afraid to report.” Online information and civilian journalism allowed for the Libyan Revolution, and we see examples of information leaking out from under China’s stringent control.  Erin Burnett (CNN Anchor) suggests that while citizen journalists have now got a louder voice are also providing room for “traditional journalists to seek out in-depth stories.” The idea of coexistence is really the only available option for the news industry because of the escalating rate of the public getting their news online where information is easily accessible for free.

So while the quality of civil journalism can be deemed refutable the ability to corroborate sources and view the whole picture online is what draws attention. There is a change in the dynamics of the flow of news content because of new media platforms, However, for the moment at least, news stations are still managing to keep a hold on the industry.