Monday, May 12, 2008
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.
Kirkpatrick, D. 2007. Facebook’s new face. (accessed May 13, 2008).http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/24 /fastforward_facebook.fortune/
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.
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
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.
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.
Adams, D. 2006. Queensland University of Technology, KCB104 Online Learning and Teaching Web site: accessed May 12, 2008
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
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.
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
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
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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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