Monday, May 12, 2008

Labryan's Response to Emmy " Get Smarter Facebook! You're driving me mad!

When I first got hooked on Facebook, back at the end of 2006, I was addicted to the fact that YES I was getting back in touch with people who I had not seen for years. Over the last few months though I too am getting friend requests from people who I'm sure don't even know me, they know of me. A friend through a friend type scenario.

Facebook has definetly broken down the barriers so much so that you can virtually HUNT and yes I mean HUNT anyone down and add them as a friend. It has gotten to the point where I am rejecting people left, right and centre because I do not need anymore friend facebook and like you do not wish for alot of those people knowing what I am doing.

I feel that the friendships I have acquired through the presence of Facebook have been forced upon me by the software itself, rather than me having control over who can see and access my profile. Sure their are privacy settings to restrict what people can see, but if my memory serves me correct - the ability to do so was implemented after the conception of Facebook, when the creator decided to give some of the creative control over to the users (Kirkpatrick, 2007).

Hopefully, as users continually push the evolution of technology we will push Facebook into enabling us to decide our online communities.

References

Kirkpatrick, D. 2007. Facebook’s new face. (accessed May 13, 2008).http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/24 /fastforward_facebook.fortune/

Labryan's Response to Annelise's "Power to the Audience/People"

You could not have summed it up better with your title "Power to the Audience". The emergence of Web 2.o indicates a power shift between media producers and audiences, enabling the audience greater control over the media that they consume (Cascio, 2006).

In my opinion, this is a marketing trend that has been employed by media producers to harness the colletive intelligence of the audience, using these mechanisms to effectively generate material in favour of the audience (Jenkins, 2002). Who better to determine what we wish to consume then us??

Audience empowerment has stemmed from the ability to control what they watch. You raise good examples such as Big Brother and Australian Idol. These were shows by which the audience was given the opportunity to control the outcome of the show. Here we see the public shaping social views (produsers). The power, once in the hands of major conglomerates has been given back to the consumers, empowering them to participate and essentially develop the marketing concepts for them. The promise of participation helps build consumer investments (Jenkins, 2006)

The new digital environment has indeed expanded the audience’s ability to produce their own media products in combination with media producers. I do agree with your points that it is due to the expanding digital environment that has enabled the interactive audience and believe that as technology continues to evolve and expand we will continually see a power struggle between producers and audiences - perhaps a blurring of the line between the two.

References

Cascio, J. 2006. The New World, the Rise of the New Culture of Participation. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. November 15, 2006. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cascio20061115/ (accessed 3 April, 2008)

Jenkins, H. (2006). Introduction: Worship at the altar of Convergence in Jenkins, Henry, Convergence Culture: When new and old media collide, New York: New York University, pp. 1-24

Jenkins, H. (2002) "Interactive Audiences?" in D. Harries (ed) The New Media Book, London:BFI Publishing, pp 157-170

Jenkins, H. (2006) :Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality Television," Convergence Culture, New York: New York University Press, pp. 59-92

Labryan's Response to Samara's (Blog Sauce) To Blog or Not to Blog

Blogs are the evolution of online communication, the ability for the user to articulate their views and opinions in a forum that is now widely regarded. Understanding this new form of communication is essential in evaluating the popularity of the new media environment. The relaxed nature of the blog however, does open up the question of authenticity and journalistic integrity, as material may not be original and therefore essentially an infringement of copyright.

Individuals are drawn to the blog due to the freedom of speech it offers users. It opens up consumers to a multitude of opinions and allows them to engage and reflect in their own way, building upon someone else's views and leading to collective intelligence.

I do agree with a number of the questions you ask in relation to the creative integrity of the blog. In my opinion, as this new media style continues to evolve, rules pertaining ownership will arise and users will have to adhere to a code of practice while engaging in this type of online forum. In my opinion, I think blogging is only appealing because people can say what they want without having to attribute it to the real source. When rules and regulations are put in place to essentially legitimise the information given by others, it is then society will see the emergence of a new media form.

Are We Too Dependent?



Labryan's Response to Elyse's Newspaper vs Online

Print media has played a fundamental role in the modernization of Western society and contributed significantly to the rise in popular culture. Newspapers in todays society still hold a prominent place with perhaps a loyal readership base, however newspapers are beginning to see the trend in moving to a virtual world, bringing into question the real future that lies ahead for print media.

Although I agree print media is a vital part for information in today's world, studies conducted by numerous print media sources have discovered the growing trend of users going online and are developing user generated genre's in order to involve the consumer (KCNN, 2006).

With new technologies emerging, I do believe print media will become the niche market - with organisations preferring the minute by minute updated service provided by the World Wide Web. We Media, a non profit and research organisation predicts that we are beginning a golden age of journalism and predict by 2021 citizens will produce 50% of the news peer to peer (We Media, 2003).

Elyse, while you provide statistics on the amount of households that currently use TV and the internet - the growing trend towards the virtual environment suggests users growing dependence on the web as a source of day to day information is drastically increasing (Adams, 2006).

There is an unquestionable growth towards user generated information, which print media struggles to facilitate without the interaction of an online forum. Print media may be relevant now, but the emergence of newer technology is only a click away from replacing newspapers.

References

Adams, D. 2006. Queensland University of Technology, KCB104 Online Learning and Teaching Web site: accessed May 12, 2008
http://oltfile.qut.edu.au/download.
asp?rNum=3230505&pNum=409849&fac=CI&OLTWebSiteID=KCB104&dir=sec&CFID=5993860&CFTOKEN=30781123

KCNN,2006, Hyperlocal diversity accessed, May 12, 2008, http://www.kcnn.org/research/citmedia_chapter1_page3/

We Media,(2003), The Media Centre: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information. Accessed, May 12, 2008, http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Labryan's Response to "Melindamarie Power to the People"

Melinda, I agree that the forum of blogging and citizen journalism has allowed the opinions of society to surface in a manner that is becoming more recognised by opinion leaders, such as politicans and organisations.

Your example of the Lynx advertising campaign expresses a niche in the blogging community. Sure, people were upset about the exploitation of women, so much so that they still continue to comment of their dislike. As Clement stated, “We are ‘lulled by the entertainment values which often replace news values’(Clement, 1986). This constant bad publicity inherited by the blogging community has in fact drawn further attention to the company and its future advertising campaigns.

Recently, in Australia there was outrage over the TV ad for U tampons which showed a lady with pet Beaver. The online blogging community was in outrage, and so the campaign was pulled from television. Highlighting what Bruns (2008) describes as the power of the participatory culture. However, if you go to YouTube and type in "The Beaver Ad" you will see that it has been watched by a large user base, raising the question - is all publicity good publicity? And are citizen journalists in fact aiding a new forum for advertising?

The problem is not the citizens covering the news from any particular ideological, political or religious vantage point, but the citizens distorting the news they're supposed to be reporting upon objectively (Jennings, 2002). But objectivity does not seem to be apparent in the blogging community which is ruled by opinion based journalism.

References

Bruns, A. (2008)KCB201 Citizen Journalism. Week 10 Podcast. accessed May 10, 2008, http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=_29175_1

Clements,I.(1986) The ravenous half shut eye manufacturing bad news from nowhere, Media Information Australia, 39.

Jennings, D.(2002) Media Distorting Reality, accessed May 10, 2008, http://www.freecongress.org/commentaries/2002/020823

Friday, May 9, 2008

Assessment of Quality is Purely dependent on the Individual!

(Under Construction)

I can not count how many times I have been up late at night, trying effortlessly to find further resources for an assignment due the next day. The question I find myself constantly asking is, is this resource any good? Is this resource credible, and how do I determine the quality and authenticity of this information?

Now, if I applied the same critical evaluative techniques as I would for a book, music or magazine, maybe the entire process wouldn't be so hard. After all, you determine the quality and relevance of a book or music as pertinent to your tastes at the time. The content on the world wide web is more fragmented than ever because of the interaction it has inspired with the intergration of various media devices. By media, I mean users uploading information, video's, and their own user developed content. With the expansion of information of the world wide web, we have seen the development of more sophisticated search engines. Now, there is more of a possibility of finding information about any possible topic and researching answers to any particular question. The internet has inspired a networked society, and with the masses of new information circulating the world, networked data are both valuable, and contributing to the congestion, raising the question of quality of information on the internet.

I do believe that consumers assess the quality of the information dependent upon the systems available to them and that as humans we do critically evaluate information we receive, both in our active daily lives and also while we source information online.

For instance, consumers with access to only a small group of social networks, would rely heavily on the assessment of peer evaluations. A number of search engines also attribute quality and relevance by the amount of views or hit the site has received from the general public.This is evident in YouTube, where by users can rate the clips that they see, attributing status to resemble quality to other users. Sites such as B-School, are putting stamps of approval on information and allowing consumers to access it via intermediary tools.



Monday, May 5, 2008

Niche - The New Mainstream?


Have you ever had one of those friends that pride themselves on being so unique that they will try and differentiate themselves from the masses at all costs? And as soon as they see an apparent unique trend being coined by the masses - they are so quick to jump in and say " I did that, way before anyone else? Almost like they invented a particular style of music or fashion trend.

I personally, remember when I was at college and had stumbled across a song by Jimmy Fallon called Idiot Boyfriend. My friends and I reveled in the fact that we all knew this hilarious song and no-one else did. Then entered the inter-college network, where information, songs and movies could be accessed by anyone living on campus by the click of a mouse. The song became so widespread that it wasn't 'Our' thing anymore.

This brings me to my point - what exactly is the niche or unique these days?
Is there such a thing as unique?
Or is it just the rise of the individual?

Consumers and society are more fragmented than ever, meaning that reaching the desired market is often extremely difficult. I recently stumbled over an article entitled a
mainstream that is hard to pinpoint, which points to the relevance of the cultural and business realms both having relevance to the mainstream and the increasing emergence of niche markets in a fragmented society.

Consumers are smarter than ever, and are more aware of marketing trends, thus reducing the effectiveness of mass marketing techniques (Flew, 2005).
Today’s consumer certainly has far greater access to information than ever before. The internet has allowed the wired consumer, who has access to everything - the opportunity to source through an abundance of information in order to make decisions on likes and dislikes.

Chris Anderson ,author of the Long Tail points out that society was under the predisposition that if something sells well that it must be good. The emergence of the interactivity of the World Wide Web enabled users to discover alternate options to the norm and develop their own individual culture.

Culture is defined as “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought .” The article, The mainstream, hard to pinpoint, notes that “In a paradoxical way, the unifying cultural preference of our generation is to reject the need for a unifying culture - rejecting the mainstream.

Enter the niche.

The era of the blockbuster is over. The niche is now King. Everyone's rush to customise and personalise their specific purchases, to me is indicative of a trend. After all, subcultures and niches had stronger divides in society and the emergence of the internet has once again drawn them all together. So doesn't this mean that the internet now is a mass market?

According to trendwatching the internet has made these markets easier to penetrate as businesses jump on the bandwagon to specifically target these lucrative markets. With 78% of Australians currently having access to the internet, online advertising is a booming market. With figures showing that online advertising is continuing to grow rapidly, with spend up to $294 million in Australia alone (IWS, 2007). Websites are becoming more inherently niche because consumers are more tech savvy and source information out of interest.

Is society really embracing individualism? Or is it just the social experiment that is Web 2.0? Has the niche market become the new mainstream?

I remember when it was cool to be a little bit alternate.

We all had that friend that refused to buy mainstream music or eat at fast food chains, and only bought second hand clothes. Now, its seems technology has given consumers a new way to access the information that they consume and everybody is looking for ways to be slightly more alternate.

An article entitled times person of the year: you, provided an interesting insight into how consumers should be rewarded for all their hard work. The integration of new interactive web based functions and the creation of new social networks, which have been user generated ventures has seen an explosion of productivity and innovation. The emergence of the individual and the interactivity of the world wide web has framed a new digital democracy.

In my opinion, with everybody so quick to differentiate themselves from the mainstream, the mainstream too has become a niche market.

References

Atal, M, (2007), A mainstream that is hard to pinpoint, The Brown Daily Herald, accessed May 5, 2008. http://media.www.browndailyherald.com/media/storage/paper472/news/2007/03/13/Opinions/Maha-Atal.08.A.Mainstream.That.Is.Hard.To.Pinpoint-2773901.shtml

Flew, T. (2005). New media: An Introduction. South Melbourne: Oxford UP

Grossman, L. (2006). Times Person of The Year: You, Time CNN, accessed May 5, 2008. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html

Internet World Statistics. (2007). accessed May 5, 2008 http://internetworldstats.com/pacific.htm

The drama Show, (2007), The underground is the new mainstream, culture and technology marketing 2.0, accessed May 5, 2008 http://www.drama20show.com/2007/08/21/the-underground-is-the-new-mainstream/

Labryan's Response to Emma P's Living The Second Life

Alot of the examples cited are related to the media effects theory, as expressed by melindamarie. My concerns of social networking are not centered on your concerns of consumers imitating media behaviour, rather your comments on the behaviour that comes from being part of a networked community. Online communities enable consumers the opportunity to engage in various forms of personal identities, and provides the opportunity for active user participation.

It is apparent though, that social networks open up users to a number of socially disruptive purposes and can in fact disconnect people between their online and offline identities. Online interaction is replacing offline interaction – that is a fact. Every extra hour spent in an online network is one less hour the user is engaged in the ‘real world’. I do not believe that people who are part of online communities and virtual worlds are socially retarded, however, there is evidence to suggest that social networks and excessive internet usage can contribute to anti-social behaviour, as reported by Nie,(2005). The internet is indeed a very different platform from reality and the way we act is entirely different, despite online communities creating norms and attempting to regulate behaviour.

References

American Psychological Association, 1998, Isolation increases with internet use, Volume 29, No 9 http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep98/isolat.html accessed 30 April, 2008.

Nie, N (2005), Researchers link use of internet to social isolation, Stanford University, http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep98/isolat.html accessed 30 April, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yours, Mine & Ours:The Future is in Our Hands!

I remember when mobile phones first came out, thinking that my older sister was carrying around what resembled to me as a brick. It was big enough to be a brick, it certainly looked like a brick and it was just as heavy as a brick. Throughout the years though, I noticed that the capabilities, functions and aesthetics of this telecommunications device started to change.Initially I just attributed it to the evolution of technology but not once did I consider that it was the users driving this technology.

Technology options have been multiplying rapidly - consumer preferences are rendering some styles of communication more important than others. Because as needs emerge, users scrounge around and find something, tools and technologies emerge, and people figure out how to use them (Lohr, 2003). Citrix research found that consumers are driving the Corporate IT agenda, with half of the firms seeing effective web applications more and more useful in consumer life (Citrix, 2007).

Although, back when the internet was first established, users were unable to create and produce their own material, contributing to the material making up the World Wide Web, but as consumers needs shifted - technology changed to adapt accordingly.

Everyone has heard the song Video killed the Radio star, but is it accurate to say that new technology changed the focus of the old? Or is it more the point that consumers killed the radio star, because as our needs changed, so did the focus of our attention.

The fact that developments in communications media technologies have, throughout history, led to major changes in the way societies operate comes as no surprise to most people. It is not difficult to see that the invention and widespread introduction of the internet has had a lasting effect on the way people communicate and conduct business. But developments in communications technologies also have unforeseen effects that challenge pre-existing social orders.

For a start, the uses to which they are eventually put are often vastly different to those intended by the developers of the initial technology. For example, who could have predicted that internet would become forums for lonely hearts allowing consumers to interact with people on the other side of the world, without leaving home? While their primary use is still access of information, the range of uses to which the internet can be used for are continually widening, particularly when combined with other technological developments. As well, many of the effects of communications technologies are indirect.


Using the same example, the internet have removed the need for family members to live close to each other to remain in contact and allow companies to conduct their business from outside the central business district. Except in price, internet access does not differentiate between someone in the next street and someone on the other side of the world. With the introduction of the internet and other communications media, enables individuals to distance themselves imaginatively from their immediate circumstances and inclines them to take an interest in matters that do not bear directly on their day-to-day lives.

References

Citrix Research, (2007), Consumers driving corporate IT agenda, accessed, May 3rd, 2008 http://www.citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=658894

Hitwise, An Experian Company (2007), Internet Breaks down geographic legacies, accessed May 3rd, 2008 http://www.hitwise.com/press-center/hitwiseHS2004/us-010605-newspapers.php

Lohr, S. (2003), Technology & Media: New Economy; markets shaped by consumers, The New York Times access May 3rd, 2008 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07E6D7103AF932A35751C1A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1


Thursday, May 1, 2008

The internet - Leaving us lonelier than EVER!

Sam discovered the social benefits of the internet when she joined a social group online (Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Faceparty). There she got the advice for effective way to deal with "growing up". But Sam also noticed that she was spending less time - talking to her mother, whose judgement, advice and support - had once been just as beneficial, if not more so than the virtual world she had now become acquainted to.

The opportunities that have stemmed from the emergence of newer technology, has facilitated in the growth of social networking, ensuring friends and family members stay in closer touch, but also allowing for social relationships to take a backseat to the new age of the interactive world, replacing vital-day to day human interactions.

The world is more connected than ever before, but people spend less time in person with those they care about. With regards to social interactions, quantity has replaced quality (Norman, 2005).

Sure Facebook can send you a virtual hug, but Facebook can't physically hug you or laugh at your jokes. You may log onto Facebook and see that you have four hundred friends...but then ask yourself? do you really have four hundred friends???? These virtual acquaintances are just as they say - acquaintances, all contributing to the further isolation among a population that is gravitating towards virtual communities.
National survey data show only 22 percent of people who had been using the Internet for two or more years had ever made a new friend on the Internet, the researchers note. And we all know that those friendships tend to be of low quality.

The emergence of new technology, claims that its primary goal is to facilitate further communication and interaction by breaking down the traditional barriers of geographic locations. What we are seeing though is a genuine loss of belonging and connection as people cancel their Sunday breakfasts to poke each other online.

Has social networking enabled by sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and Twitter made us better or worse off as a society?

Research has shown that increasing dependence on the internet decreases ones social capacity.
They found a direct correlation between participants level of internet use and their reports of social activity and happiness. As their use of the Internet increased, the participants reported a decrease in the amount of social support they felt and in the number of social activities they were involved in.

So what is the net effect of social networking???

According to Nie, a self-proclaimed internet addict, the web is but the latest in a long list of technological developments that have improved quality of life but restricted social interactions.

I don't understand how something can improve quality of life, but then again admits to restricting social interaction. As much as online communities try and regulate behaviour by creating virtual norms - it will never resemble the offline community. Social technologies and networks never have predictable outcomes or effects.

So, realistically social networking sites are hindering society's ability to effectively interact with each other. A Study offers an early look at how Internet is changing daily life. A key finding of the study is that "the more hours people use the Internet, the less time they spend in contact with real human beings," (Nie, 2005).


In my opinion - with the growing trend to interact online, im forseeing a world where we no longer communicate face to face, rather in a networked environment that is controlled by virtual gatekeepers. An environment where friendships and relationships are fabricated as individuals invest emotionally into their online identities. I am not the only one that shares these concerns. Newspapers have reported a growing trend of university students interacting online.

It is a given that social networking sites enable people to keep in contact with friends and family, the problems arise when sharing becomes dangerous. Examples include web suicides that are attributed to gossip circles on a social network. Individuals become addicted to an alternate identity on the internet and thus withdraw from physical interaction with other human beings.

Social networking is changing the dynamics of society as we know it - whether the ramifications of this change is good or bad is dependent upon the type of society that you value. After all my idea of an awesome interaction is attending a family reunion - not staying up all night in a virtual world, with a second identity.


REFERENCES

Dubner, S. 2008. Is Myspace Good for Society? A freakonomics Quorum: The New York Times, accessed April 30, 2008. http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/15/is-myspace-good-for-society-a-freakonomics-quorum/

Flew, T. 2004. New Media: An introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Nie, N. 2005. Researchers link use of internet to social isolation: Stamford University accessed April 30, 2008. http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/february23/internet-022305.html

Sleak, S. 1998. Isolation increases with internet use: American Psychological association, Volume 29, No. 9, accessed April 30, 2008 http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep98/isolat.html



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Convergence=Distortion

"Welcome to convergence culture - where old and new media collide"
OR

"Welcome to convergence culture - where distortion is inevitable"

I uploaded a video to YouTube that I created one night with a group of friends for a laugh. At the time, in my opinion, I was doing just that......making a video. What I didn't realise that by contributing to this network, that I in fact was becoming an active participant, driving the convergence culture.



The advent of the internet (and its huge growth, reach and difficulty in policing) has turned everything on its head. What makes it even more difficult is defining “who” is the actual producer of the content in the event that something posted is actually an infringement of copyright. Take for instance this video (above) that I have posted onto YouTube: "Unfaithful"

Now, I'm not the only person that has ever done something like this, every day i see people posting what appears to be copyrighted material lifted from other websites, tv shows, and movies, etc. onto their blogs. Jenkins argues that convergence is not simply about technology. Rather, convergence is a cultural and social shift – in other words, it’s about how people (producers and consumers) make use of technology to suit their own needs and wants, and the way that technologies are developed around these uses.

The Bum Spangled Banner was a video created that re purposed, remixed and mashed up the American anthem. This was an interpretation of the star spangled banner, which was written to exemplify that America stands for something special and was the hope of the world - potentially bringing all American's together, regardless of race, gender and socio-economic status. It was a common element for citizens amongst a sea of differences.
At the time the video was made - the world had been witness to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, and it was evident that still, despite claims, all American's were not created equally. Being created equally is an idealist perspective, not a realist. The video is a comment on the American dream - portraying the American reality.

The gross distortion of sound and the manipulation of images was an anti-american demonstration, supported by digital and new media technology. It is essentially, creating a cult around the bum spangled banner.
For Jenkins, ‘convergence’ refers to a series of interrelated changes: the conglomeration of media companies, the increasing flows of media content movement of audiences across those platforms in search of content.

When I read about
Castells thoughts on the rise of the network society I understood what he meant when he said that it "is a complex pattern of interaction". It's great to think that it is a co-evolving relationship among physical technologies, cultural technologies and economic systems, and that we (the citizens) are at the forefront of this merging technology. But is this merging technology causing further distortion?

REFERENCES

Castells, M. The Rise of the Network Society: The information age: economy, society and culture, Blackwell Publishing, accessed, April 25, 2008 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hngg4aFtJVcC&dq=castell%27s+the+rise+of+the+network+society&pg=PP1&ots=N9XaAlNyt4&sig=a2y6enHWUF3onnHgj-jhdPpB0SY&hl=en&prev
=http://www.google.com.au/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Dcastell%2527s,%2Bthe%2Brise%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bnetwork%2Bsociety%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSearch&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad
=one-book-with-thumbnail#PPP1,M1

Jenkins, H. (2006). Introduction: Worship at the altar of Convergence in Jenkins, Henry, Convergence Culture: When new and old media collide, New York: New York University, pp. 1-24

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ever Get the Feeling of De Ja Vu???

EVER GET "The feeling of De Ja Vu"
EVER GET
"The feeling of De Ja Vu"
EVER GET
"The feeling of De Ja Vu"


"We are no longer in a period when industry was born. We are in a period of monopolies, trusts and multi-national corporations" - the mainstream effect.

Too often society has fallen victim to the propaganda machine for western ideology. However, it is not just any form of media it is the monopolies hogging mass media (The mainstream). It is manufactured history that is legitimised through popular modern legends told in an industrialised, dominating form of entertainment.

How many times are we as consumers subject to this machine of meaningless, stale, regurgitated consumer crap, simply because anything with any worth or personal interest could not be sort after due to the barriers that were in place before the introduction of open source software???

The development of open source software has opened up opportunities for ALL!

For years, consumers have been spoon feed with what Paris Hilton describes as What's Hot and What's Not, products that are only appealing and available in the mainstream market.

Today consumers are motivated by what Feller describes as a combination of individual and altruistic motivations, contributing to open knowledge (Feller, 2003)

As an example of this, DIY magazine is a group of people who like to create their own products, and have managed to encourage DIYers to contribute to a once barrier restricted culture. Online communities are content creators (Bruns, 2008). By sharing information on "How to", solely created by the users, people from different geographic locations have been able to utilise open source software for more than what they thought.

The long tail is a concept that pertains that society is moving further away from the consumption of mainstream "de ja vu" forms of media, towards smaller subsidiary, lesser known books, films, music and topics. The long tail, as illustrated by Chris Anderson, illustrates the lesser 80% of medias. Participatorty culture, via the use of such sites as Amazon and Netflex has enabled the every day consumer to have access to the long tail (Anderson, 2005)

Open source software programs such as Amazon and Netflex have become household names. Open source software was a concept I was thought to be an idealistic view on the ways in which society and consumers could communicate with each other and source information in an open and transparent environment. This concept, which I was thought to be unattainable, is not proving to be functioning and continually expanding.

Now consider for a moment what it known as the 'long tail market' - information, topics and mediums that are lesser known and acknowledged by mainstream audience followers. Allow me to illustrate the dynamic differences between the long tail and the mainstream mediums commonly used.

Take Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Both are primarily focused on a means of establishing profit in order to remain competitive. Barnes and Noble made it their business to open up a Block and Motar storefront business, so people could purchase the most popular books, from the most popular categories. They had less of the more smaller and niche market books.

Then comes Amazon. They too sold mainstream books of interest, but also Amazon catered to the more delicate and individual tastes of the more niche market interest groups - that obviously, only a few would ever really care to read. Yet Amazon believed that they added value to the customer experience by enabling anyone to use it. This was in contrast with Barnes and Nobles mass market appeal.

Successful open source platforms must be original and able to provide ideas to sustain new and emerging topics and concepts. Open source programs need to empower users to contribute via the creation of new material to add long term value - that is the long tail.


References

Bruns, A. 2007. Produsage: Necessary Preconditions. http://produsage.org/node/12 (accessed April 26, 2008)

Anderson, C. 2004. The Long Tail. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html?pg=2&topic=tail&topic_set= (accessed April 26, 2008)


Anderson, C. 2005. The Long Tail. http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/faq/index.html (accessed April 26, 2008)

Eric, S Raymond. 2003. on "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" in JTS Moore's Revolution O.S

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The 'Hollywoodisation' of Citizen Journalism



"Do readers want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
or Just a believable story to gossip around"?

Citizen journalism is one of the hottest buzzwords in the news business these days - with loads of wanna be celebrities jumping on the bandwagon, attempting to grasp their 5 seconds of fame by developing a concept or idea that the wider public will eat up.

Perez Hilton, an American blogger rose to fame for his increasing coverage of celebrities via blogs, YouTube and web commentaries. Perez Hilton's site is a glorified illustration of citizen journalism. This is a citizen started blogging out of interest, but turned it into a successful, profitable industry.



Citizen journalism is a forum and a way for people to document topics of interest and voice their own opinions, to inform, motivate and inspire other individuals (Cascio, 2006). Perez Hilton has used it as a forum to harness the interest of the general public by developing a credible online identity, networks and instilling hype and craze around topics related to the lives of celebrities.

Bruns writes, produsage based citizen journalism has broken the commercial hold of industrial capitalism in the journalistic industry (2008). But is this new style of journalism - celebrity journalism a new form of naviety - that can be damaging to the editors who want to stay in the parameters of journalism rather than relying on the larger production of constructed authenticity? The authenticity that comes with gossiping techniques that otherwise govern celebrity journalism?

A study by the social networking site MSN spaces found that nearly 60% of people online, use their blogs as a diary. A second study revealed that nearly 65% of people don't consider themselves journalists. Blogs are as individual as the people who keep them. Citizen journalists take matters into their own hands, as described by Jenkins, who further claims that bloggers actively deconstruct, poke fun with other producers to ensure opinions get circulated.

Can this be called real journalism????? Celebrity bloggers a.k.a citizen journalists are more concerned with providing consumers with emotional experiences rather than factual material.

Rosie O'Donnel - a celebrity, has used her status as a tv personality to form a relationship between media and alternative forms of journalism. This brings into question media power. Couldry explains it as symbolic power - or the power to construct and communicate ideas (Flew, 2007)


In my opinion what we are seeing is citizen journalism as a mobility multiplier, making available to consumers, a vast array of experiences that otherwise would have been unavailable to them. The breaking down of geographical and communication barriers (Livingstone, 2005).


Citizen journalism is in overdrive, with studies being conducted in the usefulness of consumer input. Newsassigment conducted a study into pro-consumer journalism, as a mission to spark innovation in open platform journalism by distributing concepts for the audience to report on. What they found was total chaos. The idea of audience freedom led to ambiguity in information content and the abundance of personal opinions rather than hard core facts useful for journalistic material.

Citizen journalists a.k.a celebrity journalists - such as Perez Hilton, need to start with an idea that interests them and then allow the community to evaluate and give meaning. An example of this was the extensive coverage of Britney Spears comeback performance at the MTV awards. Citizens pounced on the opportunity to gauge public thoughts on the performance skewing the event in all sorts of directions based on personal opinion. This then led to the highly publicized YouTube video of Chris Crocker. Citizens are playing an active role in the processing, collecting and evaluation of information. As information becomes more valuable and available it becomes a part of DIKW social context, of knowledge improving communication and social dissemination (Bellinger, Castro & Mills, 2004).

Rather than credible journalism, the introduction of the new interactive processes enabled by Web 2.0 has facilitated the"Hollywoodisation" of citizen journalism - where anyone who is anyone can contribute to the masses of opinion based topics online, but the media's growing reliance on - and the public's growing preference for entertainment and gossip pose implications for journalistic integrity.

REFERENCES

Bellinger, G. Castro, D. Mills, A. 2004. DIKW article: Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom. http://www.systems-thinking.org/dikw/dikw.htm/accessed (2 April, 2008)

Couldry, Nick. (2003) " Beyond the Hall of Mirrors? Some theoretical reflections on the global contestion of media power, in N, Couldry & J. Curran (eds), Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a networked world. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, pp. 39-54

Jenkins, H. (2002) "Interactive Audiences?" in D. Harries (ed.) The New Media Book, London: BFI Publishing

Livingstone, S. (2005) “Media Audiences, Interpreters and Users,” in M. Gillespie (ed) Media Audiences, Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 9-50

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Consumer Knows Best!!!!!


With media futurist Jamais Cascio predicting content being produced predominantly peer to peer, the move to understanding the relationship between media producers, audiences and the participartory culture has risen. Web blogs, discussion groups and forums - all social networking forums - enable audiences to engage actively with media to aid an informed society in a connected world, through user participation (Jenkins, 2002).

The relationship between producers and audiences has undergone significant transformation. The tools that are emerging allow users to work together, openly and transparently with media producers for mutual betterment. Take for instance YouTube and Flickr . These are user generated programs, and act as a form of participation that has inspired a collaborative effort between media producers and audiences, altering the distribution of power.


The emergence of new interactive software, such as web 2.0 indicates a power shift between media producers and audiences, enabling users to have more control over the media that they consume.
"The world of Web 2.0 is also the world of what Dan Gillmor calls "we, the media," a world in which "the former audience", not a few people in a back room, decides what's important." - Tim O'Reilly (2005)
The trend towards a participatory culture as reiterated by Jamais Cascio as a marketing concept employed by media producers to harness collective intelligence of the audience (Jenkins, 2002)

Henry Jenkins notes that increasingly media producers are embracing the active audience, and using audience knowledge as part of their marketing power (Jenkins, 2002). Producers are sourcing greater feedback from their audiences and are integrating a participatory approach by allowing audiences to generate their own content into their design processes.

Recently there has been movement away from concepts such as Battle of the Bands, by which the public could participate by turning up to gigs and offering crowd support to their preferred band where ultimately the judges would decide on the outcome. Now days we see the same concept emerging in a new interactive approach with television shows such as X-Factor, Australian Idol and Unsigned Bands giving the power back to the consumer to decide on the outcome.

Take for instance the Big Brother concept. Here we see the public shaping social views (produsers). The power, once in the hands of major conglomerates has been given back to the consumers, empowering them to participate and essentially develop the marketing concepts for them. The promise of participation helps build consumer investments (Jenkins, 2006).

The new technologies are breaking down old barriers between media consumption and media production. The new digital environment has expanded the audience’s ability to produce their own media products in combination with media producers. While the opportunities for a networked community will continue to expand, media producers will need to tailor functions and formats to match the technology of the time to their target market – their audience.


REFERENCES

Cascio, J. 2006. The New World, the Rise of the New Culture of Participation. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. November 15, 2006. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cascio20061115/ (accessed 3 April, 2008)

Flew, Terry. 2005. Virtual Cultures in Flew, Terry, New Media: An Introduction, Melbourne: OUP, pp. 61-82.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Introduction: Worship at the altar of Convergence in Jenkins, Henry, Convergence Culture: When new and old media collide, New York: New York University, pp. 1-24

Jenkins, H. (2002) "Interactive Audiences?" in D. Harries (ed) The New Media Book, London:BFI Publishing, pp 157-170

Jenkins, H. (2006) :Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality Television," Convergence Culture, New York: New York University Press, pp. 59-92

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How is Web 2.0 different from Web 1.0?

Web 2.0 is often spoken of as a future goal, but the truth is that the change from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is in many ways indefinable. The change is a gradual transition from the read only web, web 1.0 to the read, write, web, web 2.0. The focus has shifted from companies to communities.

Web 2.0 is enables the engagements with content for which users have control over. Users who essentially participate in open source software sites such as Wikipedia have changed the traditional industry structure of production. This is a fundamental movement from the web 1.0 of ownership to the web 2.0 framework for sharing. Users involved in online communities have become their own producers, sharing content, knowledge and ideas to adopt a bottom up approach to content, rather than the traditional top down.

Web 2.0 allows for incremental changes, enabling the improvement in quality of content and material produced. The structure is flexible and the only organising element is the process of development and content creation.

Social communities, therefore create their own structures based on the opinions, views and concepts created by those that are part of it. There are no predetermined structures in the web 2.0 structure, where as web 1.0 relies on a framework.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How do online communities organise themselves?

The advances within technology has seen the rise of online virtual communities.

The internet has allowed the breakdown of social and cultural barriers - linking people in an enviornment where geographical location and distance are no constraint in the communication process. Online communities emerge out of user interest rather than by other socio-economic factors in the traditional environment such as: age, income, race etc.

The online world/community allows users to emerse themselves in a variety of different social contexts, allowing them to take with them knowledge and information that would not otherwise be possible.

In the traditional physical sense, society's have a number of norms and social rules that are put in place, which is followed through to guide user behaviour in an online forum.