Wednesday, April 30, 2008


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

"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?


Castells, M. The Rise of the Network Society: The information age: economy, society and culture, Blackwell Publishing, accessed, April 25, 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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ever Get the Feeling of De Ja Vu???

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


Bruns, A. 2007. Produsage: Necessary Preconditions. (accessed April 26, 2008)

Anderson, C. 2004. The Long Tail. (accessed April 26, 2008)

Anderson, C. 2005. The Long Tail. (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.


Bellinger, G. Castro, D. Mills, A. 2004. DIKW article: Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom. (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.


Cascio, J. 2006. The New World, the Rise of the New Culture of Participation. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. November 15, 2006. (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.