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It’s a wrap.

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This semester has finally cured me of my secret desire to always want to blog, and has in turn saved me from becoming yet another whingey whiny teen, blogging about the delectable aroma wafting from the obscure tea brewing in the vintage tea pot on the bench. Thanks for that.

My attitude toward blogging has always been a little damp, just because growing up in a time where blogging was the cool thing to do I came across so many dull and tasteless blogs that it made me vow to never ever touch the damn things. I’m glad though, that I’ve had the experience to blog in a few subjects throughout this semester as I’ve been able to learn the opinions of many on the topic and realise that in some cases they aren’t really that bad at all, heck you can even get famous- and from your bedroom!?!@$%^&?

I’ve been enlightened to the fact that cyber space is omnipresent in our society and have been given insight into a range of things relating to my role in it, and look forward to watching technology continue to change and advance along with us…or us with it?

Thanks net comms for being user friendly to an opposite-of-computer-nerd like me, and broadening my web knowledge horizons!

Peace.

Images Sourced:http://memegenerator.net/instance/8088644

Week three: Assessed.

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Community

Pronunciation: /kəˈmjuːnɪti

noun

  • a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common: Montreal’s Italian community the gay community in London the scientific community
  • a group of people living together and practising common ownership: a community of nuns
  • a body of nations or states unified by common interests:[in names] :the European Community
  • 3 Ecology a group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat: communities of insectivorous birds

 

Websites that promote user generated content (UGC) such as Youtube, market their product as a platform on which normal individuals can create themselves as something different online. UGC websites strongly promote active participation by users, yet this is where a prominent issue arises. As outlined in van Dijck’s article ‘Users like you?’, a study was taken by a Guardian technology reporter who found that in a hypothetical group of 100 UGC ‘participants’ only one will actually create and upload something, ten will interact with the content and the other 89 will simply and silently view it. This notion stays true especially to the UGC website Youtube. While there are hours and hours of video uploaded by users every minute (20 hours per minute recorded in 2009), the magnitude of non-interactive viewers still trumps this number. (YouTube Official Blog, 2009). This brings to question the nature of these so called ‘participatory cultures’, and the fact that ‘participation’ does not amount to ‘active contribution’ (van Dijck, 44).

Van Dijck raises the subject of ranking tactics within UGC websites, in particular Youtube, which although aims to produce a ‘community’ based website where “every user makes the site what it is” (van Dijck, 95) the level of control that the owners, and wealthy companies or sponsors have over what is made visible on the homepage of the website may argue otherwise.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Internet first described his construction as a way of creating a community through hypertext web. He noted that through this, a group of people no matter the size would “force itself to use a common vocabulary, to overcome misunderstandings” (Leech, 10) While the notion of community may be available and in some cases exercised through online social networking websites such as YouTube and Facebook, the ranking tactics involved in them which promote certain videos or advertisements either through private sponsoring or popularity counts still mean that these ‘participatory’ communities are in a way controlled by people other than the users. Commenting, liking and rating are all features widely used by participants on these websites, but the videos to which viewers are initially directed on YouTube are in many cases as a result of “coded mechanisms which heavily rely on promotion and ranking tactics” (van Dijck,94).

In an article on the formation of online communities through blogging, Rebecca Leech interviews two active participants, one noting that the positive of it was it being “another type of space in which to think, and to talk and to write” and once a network is formed it becomes a “collaborative discussion about your work”(Leech, 11). This positive outlook on the formation of online communities through blogging websites can be transferred over to YouTube as it still faces the same issue of accessibility. There are an immeasurable amount videos available to us as the viewer, yet why do we always seem to click on one that has already had thousands and thousands of views opposed to one that has none. The “measuring of downloads and the promotion of popular favourites” means that every time someone accesses YouTube they are quickly directed to a video due to its high view count and ratings. This in itself somewhat violates the notion of UGC culture as instead of allowing for people to build their own online communities, the communities are in essence already lain out for them.

This being said, the internationality of YouTube does allow for geographical boarders to be disregarded and for online communities to still be formed, the question being, who’s really forming them?

Youtuber’s discuss what ‘Online community means to them’

Uploaded by Blade376

 

Information Sourced:

Leech, Rebecca. “Online communities: Welcome to the edublogosphere” Teacher: The national education magazine. (2006): 10-14

Van Dijck, Jose. “Users like you? Theorizing agency in User-Generated Content,” Media, Culture and Society 31(2009): 41-58

 

Youtube’s Official Blog (2009) Zoinks! 20 hours of video uploaded every minute.

http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/05/zoinks-20-hours-of-video-uploaded-every_20.html

Accessed: 2nd June 2011

Memes.

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“An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.”
So pointless, yet so, so funny.

Bachelor Frog meme.

Information sourced:

http://thedailymeme.com/what-is-a-meme/

Image Sourced:
http://chzmemebase.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/memes-foul-bachelor-frog-found-remote.jpg

Week Four: Assessed.

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News

Pronunciation:/njuːz/
noun
[mass noun]

  • newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events:I’ve got some good news for you
  • (the news) a broadcast or published report of news:he was back in the news again
  • (news to) informal information not previously known to (someone):this was hardly news to her
  • a person or thing considered interesting enough to be reported in the news:Chanel became the hottest news in fashion

There is an increasing emergence of public based, or ‘peer produced’ news and media in our present society, and for some has taken first place in popularity above the traditional media platforms such as print newspapers, magazines and radio/TV news broadcastings. Russell et al. pose the question of whether these new age bloggers with their “merit based popularity” are more effective in informing the public on current news events.

As Russell et al. outline, this new-media culture brings with it anxieties surrounding the credibility and extensiveness of the news that will be covered. The new wave of media is reviewed by analysts as both liberal and democratic, as well as “a horror of narcissistic isolation”, as although new media platforms such as blogging allow for everyone to have a voice, not everyone’s voice is heard. Much like traditional forms of media, there are alternate views and opinions available to the public, but it is more a matter of popularity and reputation. This transfers over to the world of new media, where whilst there is a plethora of blogs available to the public, either radically political or the opposite, the scale on which they exist means that not all of them are widely accessed, and only those with a reputation are even considered; “a small set of so-called A list bloggers garner the majority of blogosphere traffic” (Russell et al, 2008:67).

While Russell et al. state that there are anxieties surrounding blogging as a more effective form of media, there are also a range of positives that work in favour of blogging as the new informant. Microblogging for example has become increasingly popular in the modern age, and microblogging sites such as ‘Twitter’ are now being used as an efficient, effective and highly popular form of media release. Bloggers or news forums use microblogging as a “supplement” to their latest blog, adding a link and short description which entices readers to go further without becoming bored with a lengthy article scaring them away at first (WebPro News, 2011). In a world where everything needs to be bite sized before it’s considered too time consuming, microblogging fits perfectly. Twitter and Facebook are used by many major news corporations, such as the ABC to inform readers of news updates and to provide links to news stories at all times throughout the day, regardless of the ‘old media’ outlet, being its television broadcast at less frequent points throughout the day.

The speed, accessibility and ease of microblogging such as ‘Tweeting’ means that the public can use it as a place for peer produced and distributed information. Twitter and other chat forums and forms of microblogging are even being utilised in the classroom, as it is believed that “microblogging allows students to express themselves without having to wait to be called upon.”(Bryne, 2010 )

In some instances blogging, and micro blogging are more efficient as a news platform as updates are simple and quick rather than having to wait for a newspaper or TV bulletin, they can happen on the spot, and information is often heard on the internet before it is heard anywhere else. A recent example that comes to mind is after Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed by the American Government earlier this month. I was browsing Facebook and saw a link to a news article, and literally minutes later my newsfeed was flooded with status updates and links relating to the incident well before I heard it announced on TV. The speed with which news travels through cyberspace is remarkable and is for some a more efficient platform for media distribution.

The trouble with bloggers becoming the new public informants is that on microblogging sites such as Twitter or Facebook, not all information is as credible as if it were coming from a major newsroom. Most updates on these sites are primarily used for personal use, and information can cross paths and get caught in the middle. While microblogging is highly useful for more confined issues, for example local traffic updates, which are not major enough to be reported on TV or radio, and has made a significant footprint on the path to new media, I believe traditional forms of news distribution are still more heavily relied upon and trusted by the majority of the general public.


Image Sourced: http://paper.li/tag/twitter/2011/03/23

ABC News Twitter account:

http://twitter.com/#!/abcaustralia/lists

Information Sourced:

Bryne, Richard. “Beyond Chit Chat” School Library Journal 56(2010): 15

Russell, A. Ito, M. Richmond, T. and Tuters, M. (2008) Culture: Media convergence and Networked culture. MA: MIT Press

WebPro News (2011) Microblogging: What is it good for?
http://www.webpronews.com/microblogging-what-is-it-good-for-2007-10
Accessed: 30th May, 2011

Week eleven: Assessed.

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Piracy

Pronunciation:/ˈpʌɪrəsi/

  • 1 [mass noun] the practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
  • a practice similar to piracy but in other contexts, especially hijacking:air piracy
  • 2 the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work:software piracy

 

Depending on which end of the spectrum one is sitting at, piracy is either viewed as a malicious act of intellectual property theft, or as simply ‘making a copy’ of something that will still exist regardless – fundamentally different from ‘theft.’

“To download is not to use or take someone else’s song file, but to copy it.”(Katz, 2004:163) One of the main arguments pro-piracy is that there is a stark difference between ‘stealing’ and ‘downloading.’ When one downloads something, they are not removing it finitely or stopping anyone else from accessing it, which would be the situation if someone were to steal a car, like the multinational media propaganda claims. To steal someone’s car or handbag would be leaving them without their possessions, as there is no ‘copy’ of ones personal items- this is significantly different from downloading a music or movie file, as regardless of the amount of copies, the original file still remains.

Downloading music files can often lead to the expansion of ones music taste, and the genres which they listen to, which will then result in a wider variety of musicians and bands being accessed and recognised – obviously beneficial to them in the long run. Searching through file sharing websites will often mean users come across bands they have never heard of before, but due to the lack of cost are willing to try. If the user was paying for every song they wanted to listen to, the desire to spend money on a band they had never heard of before would be low, which in turn means the user sticks to the type of music they know and trust. It is not uncommon for music downloaders or P2P file sharers to come across a band accidentally, “a number of downloaders noted that they ventured or stumbled into new musical territory”(Katz, 2004: 167), and to be satisfied with the result.

Downloading and file sharing is frowned upon by those in the industry as they claim it is aiding its decline. While it is no secret that the industry is loosing money as a result of the rise in P2P and downloading culture, the only way to reduce this is to accept the change to the industry and to restore copyright with more of a balance between both worlds, where it would be seen as “defacto fair”(Katz, 2004: 182)

As Medosch outlined in his article, piracy “fulfils culturally important functions” (Medosch, 2008:81) and gives people access to certain types of media that they would otherwise not have access to. A prominent example of this is the boom that piracy bought to the Chinese public, hitting “China like an atomic bomb”(Danwei, 2002-11).  The mid 1990’s saw China become inundated with foreign entertainment from kids movies to workout videos and Hollywood blockbusters, the bootleg versions were suddenly cropping up in Chinese markets, meaning the public now had access to Western culture in a way that they had never been able to access prior to this. The expensive price of non-bootlegged Western works meant that many Chinese people did not have the means to access them, therefore “many argued that the bootleggers were merely enabling China enjoy the benefits of the modern information age” (Danwei 2002-11)

Modern artists such as ‘Girl Talk’ and ‘Radiohead’ have also taken a more relaxed approach to CD sales, allowing their albums to be either downloaded for free, or downloaded for a price of the downloaders choosing. Radiohead released their 2007 album ‘In Rainbows’ online, selling three million copies by September 2008, which included downloads from the website, physical CDs, iTunes sales and vinyl/box sets (CCC, 2011). This is an impressive amount of sales, considering the album was originally released for a ‘pay-as-you-want’ price. Their newest album, (Feb 2011) has been released under the same model, a free album with incentives to pay for the physical edition.

The way in which the music industry seems to be headed shows the need for copyright laws to be reviewed as piracy fulfils the needs of many who wish to access creative works but are limited, either through financial or cultural boundaries.

Girl Talk’s free download of ‘All Day’:

http://illegal-art.net/allday/


Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.

Images Sourced:
http://potspansspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/thom-yorke-dances-to-single-ladies/ (1)
http://www.born-today.com/Today/10-07.htm (2)

Information Sourced:

Copyright, commerce and culture (CCC), (2011), Can pirating be stopped?

http://copyrightcommerceandculture.com/tag/piracy-girl-talk-radiohead-illegal-downloading-music-movies-riaa-mpaa/

Accessed: 30th May, 2011

Danwei (2002-11), Media Schizophrenia in China
http://www.danwei.org/media_and_advertising/media_schizophrenia_in_china_b.php

Accessed: 30th May, 2011

Katz, M. (2004) Capturing Sound: How technology has changed music. Berkeley: UC Press

Medosch, A. (2008) Deptforth TV diaries II: Pirate strategies. London: Deptforth TV

Creative Commons.

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Whilst trying to choose which Creative Commons license to add to my WordPress account I found myself tossing up between:

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA).’

And

Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC’

The difference between the first and second is that under the ‘CC BY-NC’ someone who was to tweak or remix my work would not have to license their derivative works under the same license as my original one.

In the end I decided to apply

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA).’

“This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

I chose this particular license, as I believe it is suitable for the content of this specific creative work. Initially I didn’t see much point in adding one at all, or if so I was going to chose the CC license that allowed others to use my work for commercial as well as non commercial purposes as I figured this is only a University blog, that not many will have access to and has a limited amount of creativity in the way of what I’m producing. I changed my mind though thinking of the minuscule chance that something was to happen and commercial profit was made off something I produced with no mention to myself as the original author. If I was ever to hypothetically find myself in that situation I know I would regret my choice, so I therefore chose a CC license which while still allowing others to use, and build on my work, also ensures that I would be credited.

Some rights reserved by Grégoire Lannoy

 Image Sourced:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fulbert05/3099175563/

Week seven: Assessed.

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Blog
Pronunciation:/blɒɡ/
noun
• a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
verb (blogs, blogging, blogged)
[no object]
• add new material to or regularly update a blog:
it’s about a week since I last blogged

++++++++++++++++

While there are some who argue that the nature of blogs is as a basis for community discussion and/or a tool used for mob benefit, the primary use for blogs amongst most active users is as a way of self promotion, or in Geert Lovink’s words “a tool to manage the self.” (Lovink, 2007:28)

In some cases blogs can be used as a tool to generate discussion amongst a particular group of people who, for example may share interest in a particular topic and wish to discuss it further online with others sharing a similar interest in the topic. Blog’s, while in essence being a personal website have the feature of allowing others to comment on a post, which means it becomes interactive and some may argue a thing belonging to the public, allowing “group members to engage in thoughtful dialogue” (Deed, 2011). While this may be true in some cases, as Lovink outlines, most bloggers do not wish to enable readers to comment on their posts as it becomes more of an online message board, which can then lead to time consuming yet necessary actions such as controlling spam or answering questions (Lovink, 2007:28). The defining feature that allows a blog to be catergorised as ‘public’ is this interactivity between writer and reader, yet if most find it too time consuming and annoying to allow public opinion, therefore restricting it back to a private sphere, does this still classify as a tool for active community based discussion?

Although the modern form of blogging is unmistakably used as a tool for self-management and as some believe shameless promotion, this may not always be as sinister as Lovink makes out. Lovink’s view of blogs as a “bad omen” is an extremely nihilistic view and while his arguments may in fact be very relevant to the types of bloggers that are emerging today, it is not always necessarily a bad thing. The overwhelming abundance of teeny blogger ‘day-to-day’ update/ whinge blogs does become somewhat monotonous and undesirable, but for some this apparently soul-eating entity has been a platform to recognition and celebrity.

Rumi Neely, creator of fashion blog ‘Fashiontoast’, model and now designer began her virtual journey to stardom in 2008. I began following Rumi’s blog in early 2009, never having looked at a fashion blog that interested me before, I was attracted to the simplicity of Rumi’s blog, and for months failed to even realise that she was becoming increasingly more famous. I felt like I watched her progression as the outfits she would blog went from being picked up in her local op-shop to being sent to her specifically from world-class designers. Rumi is represented by NEXT modeling agency, but through the power of her self-created fashion blog, doors to higher aspects of the industry were opened for her, by her. Modeling and designing pieces for brand RVCA, as well as being the star of the 2010 ‘Forever 21’ campaign, Rumi made a name for herself.

Rumi recently won two awards at the Bloglovin’ awards in May of this year, this event described as the “Oscars of fashion blogging.” Creator Mattias Swenson announced the first Bloglovin’ awards to be held this year, Independent Fashion Blogers (IFB) website stating “the fashion blogosphere has made it thanks to dedication, phenomenal creativity and worldly influences!” (heartifb.com). Rumi picked up two awards, one for ‘Best personal style’ and the second for the major prize of ‘Blogger of the year.’ Through her simplistic yet personal blog, created with the intention of self-management – Rumi Neely has now become a household name amongst the fashion elite, and has bettered herself in the industry of her choosing.

While Lovink’s argument is becoming increasingly more prevalent throughout the blogging community, the notion that blogs are a tool to manage the self, for some, is not at all a ‘bad omen.’

Rumi at the 'Bloglovin' awards, May 2011.

Image Sourced:
http://www.bloglovin.com/awards

Fashiontoast – Rumi’s award winning style blog:
http://www.fashiontoast.com/

Information sources:

Deed, C. (2011) ‘Unrestricted student blogging: Implications for active learning in a virtual text-based environment.’ Active learning in higher education, 12(1): 11-21

Independent Fashion Bloggers By WordPress (2011) ‘Bloglovin’ awards ‘The Oscars of Fashion Blogging’

http://heartifb.com/2011/02/01/bloglovin-awards-the-oscars-of-fashion-blogging/– Accessed: 30th May, 2011

Lovink, Geert. Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture. London: Routledge, 2007