The Power is in your Hands

Over the last 10 weeks of studying Convergent Media Practices subject, there were 3 distinctive blog posts in particular that contributed to my understanding of the subject. The ability to understand the changing role of the audience, the rise of citizen journalists and the use of social networking sites allowed me to gain useful knowledge on the concept ‘convergence’. We have the power to influence the world.

In the process of writing my blog post in week 5 ‘Do you want to be heard?’ it was brought to my attention that due to rate of convergence moving rapidly, there are new opportunitiess for audiences to engage with content and participate with media platforms. I’ve learnt that the traditional passive consumer is evolving into an active consumer, producing and distributing its own content. The key concept that was used throughout my post was citizen journalism; we are no longer just the audience. I’ve learnt that if the audience does not get given the information, they will go ahead and produce it themselves. I believe the rise of the participatory culture has been encouraged by social networking sites; it has allowed active consumers to aggregate knowledge. Therefore, I believe the internet is largely responsible for the changing role of the audience.

It was brought to my attention in week 6, that mainstream news media is on the verge of collapsing due to the rise of citizen journalism. My blog post ‘Welcome, to the New Land of Citizen Journalism’ emphasised the ways in which citizen journalism poses a major impact on the future the news media. I’ve learnt citizen journalists essentially have nothing to lose because the internet has no cost of entry, no gatekeepers and no up-front risks. On the other hand, every aspect of mainstream journalism is in crisis because the internet is an uncontrollable powerful medium. I believe the internet has enabled citizen journalist to bring hidden news to life, via producing and sharing content on social networking such as Facebook which thrives on ‘citizen journalism’. Clearly, the power is in our hands.

My week 9 blog post, “Youth + Social Media = Future” I’ve learnt that the emergence of young activists is on the rise; they are becoming active citizens. I believe in today’s society the youth are passionate about various global political, economic and social issues. Young activists are addressing these issues via using the power of social media to change the world. I believe social media platforms are playing are significant role in the success of youth political campaigns. Therefore, social media platforms are an important ‘political educational tool’. As long as the internet is around, the power is in our hands.

Source: Thinkandbeinspired

Source: Thinkandbeinspired

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By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

The emergence of the online participatory culture has created new opportunities for the traditional passive consumer to transform into an active consumer. The invention of digital technologies and social media allowed individual voices to be heard. Majority of online content is dominated by men as a result there is a lesser participation of woman online. This may potentially raise a cause of concern surrounding the gender gap. Throughout the world social media platforms were used in an ethical way to post and share content. However, over the last decade a gloomy shadow has been casted over the online participatory culture.

The freedom of individual expression online has resulted in cyber bullying, trolling, sexism, racism, exclusion and misogyny. In particular, women have been the target of violent, offensive and threating comments posted online. Many cyber-bullies hide behind an unrevealed identity and this allows them to continue to cause emotional hurt to their victem. Female journalists that interact with content online and contribute to national debates have become the victem’s of cyber bulling (Thorpe & Rogers, 2011). The increase of misogyny online has caused widespread fear amongst female writers globally. It is very important for users online to respect the viewpoints of women because their voices have the right to be heard as well.

Source: Keep Calm-o-matic

Source: Keep Calm-o-matic

Due lack of authority online, trolls continue to post offensive comments on various networking sites. In 2012, TV personality Charlotte Dawson became the target of online Twitter trolls, who launched a campaign of hate mail and death threats. The Social networking sites, such as Twitter facilitated the cyber bullying. Each Twitter post ended with the hashtag ‘#diecharlotte’, which indicates how disturbed and twisted the minds of the twitter trolls are. You have to wonder what kind of morals and respect for humanity these twitter trolls have. Whilst Twitter rules state users cannot post illegal material or post direct threats, it did not prevent the Twitter trolls from tweeting such comments as ‘Go hang yourself’. After receiving numerous threatening tweets, Dawson could no longer put up with the cyber bullying and attempted to commit suicide. On her Twitter account she signed off with the disturbing message ‘you win x’. It is evident, cyber bullying via social networking sites can harm an individual’s well-being.

The online participatory culture has created new opportunities for women but at the same time has brought fear amongst women. Various social networking sites have created a safe haven for trolls to cyber bully and display misogyny. As a result, Governments need to take action and address the issue of cyber bullying of women online. Ultimately, Women need to feel safe online and be treated with respect.

References
Thorpe, Vanessa (2011) Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men, The Guardian, Sunday 6 November, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Youth + Social Media = Future

Overtime, the definition and characteristics associated with ‘youth’ has altered. Globally, people assume and view the younger population as being lazy and egotistic. A common trend as appeared amongst the younger generation, they are disengaged with traditional politics and are concerned about their own quality of life. The emergence of young activists is on the rise; they are becoming active citizens and operating as political communities. The youth are passionate about various global issues such as equality rights, environmental awareness and to put an end to poverty. Young activists are addressing these issues and concerns by using the power of social media to change the world (Jenkins, 2012).

Source: servebbs

Source: servebbs

Social media platforms are playing are significant role in the success of youth political campaigns. Various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are being used by activist movements to motivate participants to take a stand for what they believe in. Social media reflects the values of a more participatory culture; it has assisted young people to share their personal stories to address the issue (Jenkins, 2012). Social networking sites have assisted youth movements to become influential players online. Clearly, social media platforms are an important ‘political educational tool’. Due to technological convergence, the use of social media has allowed online movements to reach a larger global audience; as a result it has enabled them to recruit international support from young activist.

The World Wide Web provides young aspiring activists with numerous possibilities to participate in global issues. Oxfam Australia’s ‘3things’ movement aims to transform young Australians into active global citizens, in the fight to create a world without poverty. The intended goal of the ‘3things’ movement is to persuade governments to adopt policies that support a poverty free world. The movement practices of participatory politics, emphasise poverty awareness and the steps needed to take positive action.

Source: Oxfam

Source: Oxfam

The gap between the rich and the poor is becoming so wide, young activists are fighting for change and radical democracy. The Occupy movement allows activists the right to voice their opinion and fight against economic, political and social injustice. Among the activists protesting are youths who are marginalized by race, class and university students who are unable to find jobs. Strauss (2011) explains that class warfare significantly impacts young people and cuts off the future. Since the youth are the future, the need for change is necessary. Therefore, it is important that governments worldwide work collaboratively to addresses and resolve the issues raised by youth activists. Since the youth are the ultimate symbol of the future.

References
Jenkins, Henry. (2012). ‘The New Political Commons’. Options Politiques.
http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/nov12/jenkins.pdf

Strauss, Jesse. (2011). ‘Youth movement in a culture of hopelessness’. Aljazeera.com.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/occupywallstreet/2011/10/2011107172820297149.html

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Caught Up in the Remix!

Due to the rate of convergence moving rapidly, there are new opportunities for the passive consumer to produce and distribute their own content. In today’s society nothing is original. Remixes enable artists to rearrange and modify the original content. Although the past inspires users to re-invent original content, the user should somehow manage to put their own unique twist on their creation. In the book, Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, Lessig (2008)“describes two cultures: one made to be consumed (Read-only), the other made to be remade (Read-write).” The diversity of new media technologies such as the internet will enable the RO and RW culture to flourish in the future.

Overtime, the evolution of genres and the rich history of music had enabled artists to re-invent and transform original content. The six second drum beat of the Amen Break continues to be in popular demand by gospel, funk, hip hop and electronic artists. The success of the the drum loop has generated decades of musical innovation of scratching and remixing. With the explosion of technologies, more artists in the music industry are exploring music sampling. Take a look at American R&B singer Jason Derulo’s song “Fight for You” which samples Toto’s 1983 hit ‘Africa’. Numerous other Artists such as JoJo, Wiz Khalifa, and Ja Rule have also sampled Toto’s most recognizable song. The remix culture is responsible for bringing old and original content back to life.

The various use of remix, mash up and media repurposing practices have led to audience participation and empowerment. Filesharing is offering users to engage in produsage cultural practices. According to Bruns (2010), he states that Produsage is an “ongoing, never finished process of content development and redevelopment” in the pursuit of new possibilities. YouTube has created a platform for users to showcase their mash-up creations. The music and video mash-up below by Daniel Kim, ‘Pop Danthology 2012 – Mashup of 50+ Pop Songs’ has received over 30, 885,474 views and still counting. It is evident that if a mash-up is made successfully it can gain more attention and popularity than its original source (Bruns, 2010).

It is important for all users not to get swept up in the whirlwind of their remix and mash-up success. They must remain grounded and respect the copyright laws and intellectual properties of other artists. Subsequently, the remix culture phenomenon will continue to grow.

References

Bruns, Axel (2010) Distributed Creativity: Filesharing and Produsage
http://snurb.info/files/2010/Distributed%20Creativity%20-%20Filesharing%20and%20Produsage.pdf

Lessig, Lawrence (2008) Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, pp.23-31
http://ia600204.us.archive.org/13/items/LawrenceLessigRemix/Remix-o.pdf

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Let the Transmedia Narrative Begin!

A transmedia narrative is a significant concept of the convergence culture. The video below views transmedia storytelling as creating a complex experience. In Henry Jenkins, article Transmedia Storytelling 101 (2007) he states that, “By convergence I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms.” Similarly, transmedia content shares multiple stories over numerous mediums and channels. Over time, new media platforms have revolutionised the ways in which the audience interprets the medium and the message. Therefore, transmedia narratives allow content to flow across multiple channels such as books, films, games, TV series, merchandise and websites. The multiple options of mediums are catalyst for a powerful cross-marketing effect.

An important principle of transmedia narratives is to create an innovative medium that engages the audience’s attention. Thus, engagement is the key principle. Essentially, the more entry points to the story will result in additional options for audience engagement. According to Henry Jenkins (2007) he states that “Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence.” It may indicate that audience participation plays an important part in discovering the fictional world.

Transmedia storytelling provides opportunities for the producer of the content to build a successful relationship with the audience. In Hollywood, the most recent example of transmedia story telling is The Hunger Games movie trilogy. In the summer of 2011, Lions Gate created a transmedia campaign for their film adaptation of The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Case Study from Ignition on Vimeo.

In partnership with Microsoft, The Hunger Games Explorer was an interactive website that allowed the audience to engage across multiple channels. The website allowed fans to become citizens of the Panem and advance the campaigns narrative through their own actions. On the website, citizens were able to go on a Capitol Tour and access never before scene locations of Panem. At the American Video Music Awards, a twitter hashtag (#Whatsmydistrict) was used in the teaser trailer that allowed fans to discover the capitol and its location. On the Capitol.pn site fans were given district assignments, a job and an ID card. On networking sites such as Facebook, hubs were created for Panems 12 districts and citizens were able to run for their district mayor ship. On Tumblr, a fashion blog was created to showcase the fashion couture of Panem and Capitol TV was created on YouTube. In the course of the campaign the most enthusiastic Fans received merchandise, exclusive emails of capitol figures and fans were able to work collaborator to reveal campaigns. Over the 8 month period, 1 million ID cards were created, dramatic increase in the films Facebook page, 22 million video views, 36,500,000 books sold and helped Lions Gate achieve the highest non-sequel opening in film history.

Source: Frozenemotion

Source: Frozenemotion

This is just the beginning of The Hunger Games transmedia narrative, audiences will have to wait and see what transmedia experience is yet to develop.

Reference
Jenkins, H. (2007) ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’, http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Do you want your voice to be heard?

Due to the rate of convergence moving rapidly, there are new opportunities for audiences to engage with content and participate with media platforms. It has resulted in a new type of audience appearing, the traditional passive consumer is evolving into an active consumer, producing and distributing its own content. Gone are the days of just listening to the radio, watching TV and reading the newspaper wishing your opinion could be heard. We are witnessing something dramatic; it’s the transition from monologic media to dialogic media.

Who wants to be told you can only listen? We all have opinions and we openly want to be able to share them. The internet allows for individual voices to be heard. Everyone can participate online and contribute to content without any costs. The internet provides an environment where there is no gatekeepers and is extremely difficult for governments to implement their power. This has led to the rise of the participatory culture.

Source: The Princess and the Pump

Source: The Princess and the Pump

We are no longer just the audience; we are “citizen journalists” according to Gordon (2007). Since the introduction of the smartphone, users are able to make calls, send messages, capture photos and film videos. We have the ability not only to produce our own content but now distribute and share it with the public sphere. Mobile phone usage is contributing to the public sphere, witnesses of the London bombings in 2005, shared mobile phone images to the mainstream media. However, the images were still subjected to gatekeeping. So called “citizen journalists” also posted their images in the public domain via personal blogs (Gordon, 2007). Therefore, the public domain has allowed active consumers to distribute their own content.

The rise of the participatory culture has been heavily encouraged by social networking sites; it has allowed active consumers to aggregate knowledge. The Egyptian revolution in 2011, generated a Facebook group “We are all Khaled said” which permitted the audience to have an active role in openly criticising the regime of its time. Similarly, in this same event the Twitter hashtag effectively was used by active consumers to coordinate mass demonstrations. Also YouTube was used in a way to disseminate video footage of police brutality in Egypt, to encourage further protests. It was essential for active consumers to play an important role in contributing to social networking sites. As a result the rise of the participatory culture was successful in overthrowing the Government.

Source: First Covers

Source: First Covers

Audiences believe if they don’t get given the information, they will go ahead and produce it themselves. This was the exact case when gatekeepers in the Chinese media gave no explanation why Bo Xilai was sacked in 2012. The active consumers took it among themselves to post outrageous rumors and photos of military tanks invading the main streets of the capital on Weibo. However, the downside to participatory culture is whether the information is fact or fiction. Due to the internet having no gatekeepers, there is no quality control. We have to question the credibility of the source because participatory culture encourages the dissemination of content.

Ultimately, I believe the internet is largely responsible for allowing us to voice our opinions. Social media platforms and mobile phones have enabled us to consume, produce and distribute content. An active consumer has more power than ever to aggregate ideas and broadcast any message to the World Wide Web. As long as the internet is around, our voices will be heard.

References
Gordon, Janey (2007), The Mobile and the Public Sphere: Mobile Phone Usage in Three Critical Situations, Convergence 13/3 Pages: 307- 319.

Unknown, 2012, Facebook is my friend, YouTube is my profile Facebook covers, image, First Covers, viewed 5 April 2013 http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/97361/facebook+is+my.html

Unknown, 2012, My response to ignorance: one voice, image, The Princess and the pump, viewed 5 April 2013 http://www.theprincessandthepump.com/2011/02/my-response-to-ignorance-one-voice.html

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Round 1: Control vs. Freedom

The battle days are not over yet, Apple and Android go head to head in the fight to win over consumers. The ongoing tension between the locked appliance and the generative platform is fuelled by the dynamics of technological convergence. Now, more than ever mobile web trends are increasing around the globe. We have the internet to thank, for allowing us to be connected with everything, anywhere and at any time. In 2010, 6.8 billion people inhabited the world and 5 billion of them were mobile phone users. The shocking statistics show we live in a society addicted to mobile phones. Hence, Apple and Android will go to any extremes to empower their users. Are we better off in a permission culture or open culture?

Source: All Things D.

Source: All Things D.

Apple is a locked appliance that thrives on owner empowerment. However, Zittrain (2008) explains this was not the case with Steve Jobs first invention Apple II, with its functionality being drastically different from the iPhone. The Apple II was a generative platform that invited innovation by others. On the other hand, the iPhone device is preprogrammed and is linked to a network of control. Accordingly to Zittrain (2008) “The iPhone is a product of both fashion and fear” and I believe to a certain extent this is true. Although the iPhone device is a revolutionary mobile phone, that has an astonishing high quality touch screen and superior internet access. The locked appliance has many restrictions that may overwhelm the benefits. Does Apple have good intentions for its consumers, or are they only locking our options to have ultimate control?

Due to technological convergence moving at a fast rate, it has resulted in an outburst of increased concentration of media ownership. Apple is a power house company that has complete control over its App store, iOS and developers. Even though Apple may provide their consumers everything that they need under the same roof, the user is limited to customising there device and having freedom of choice. With Apple having full control over its users, consumers are becoming more curious and want to experience the unknown. However, are you ready to take responsibility for your own choices?

Source: Best Free Web Resources

Source: Best Free Web Resources

Incomes the first Android phone in 2008, it represents everything that Apple isn’t. Due to Android being an open platform, it allows for the independence of the application market. Convergence provided an opportunity for Google’s Android to expand its market and to reach across other platforms. Accordingly to Steve Jobs he states that, “Android hurts them more than it helps them.” (2008). Clearly, Android is taking risks that may lead to the destruction and division of their market. However, Androids popularity hit an all-time high in 2010, which resulted in an increase growth in the Android market. This resulted in consumers being empowered by the variety of options available to personalise their smartphone devices. The Android platform allows consumers to play a much more active role in their device compared to Apple. In doing so, consumers are embracing the freedom of choice provided by Android.

Jenkins sums up media convergence by stating that, “Some see a world without gatekeepers; others a world where gatekeepers have unprecedented power.” (2004 p. 34). Evidently, Androids success is due to it allowing the control to be in the consumer’s hand. At the same time, Apple is still continuing to dominate its users. I believe Android has the upper hand at empowering users, but yet again Apple is full of surprises. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

References
Jenkins, Henry (2004), The cultural logic of media convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 7(1):33-43.

Zittrain, J. (2008) “Introduction”. In J. Zittrain The Future of The Internet And How To Stop It (pp 1-5) New Haven: Yale University Press. http://yupnet.org/zittrain/archives/6

BBL, 2012, Wallpaper 25, image, Best Free Web Resources, viewed 27 March 2013, http://www.bestfreewebresources.com/2012/01/30-most-beautiful-android-wallpapers.html

Eric Johnson, 2012, Android vs iOS, image, All things D viewed 27 March 2013, http://allthingsd.com/20120820/boxing-game-brings-html5-to-the-center-ring-and-punch-out-to-campaign-2012/

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Are You a Copycat?

In today’s society it is so easy to breach the copyright law without even knowing it. Unintentionally, we all find ourselves at some point in our life imitating someone else’s ideas and behavior. Who would have known a public performance of Time-Warner’s song, ‘Happy Birthday to You’ is a criminal act. Before copyright, people were able to freely replica and sell someone else’s content without the acknowledgment of the creator. The introduction of copyright in 1710, was a positive step towards giving creators exclusive rights of their innovative works. However, overtime the extension of the monopoly of rights have drastically limited creativity. Steve Collins (2008) states that “Like Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together.” Has the pursuit for copyright supremacy gone far beyond our reach of control?

Source: webspot

Source: webspot

I have to wonder, if we have given too much power to the Digital Rights Management and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect our ideologies and creative works. In the article ‘Recovering fair use’, Collins (2008) explains how a eighteen month old child dancing to a background recording of Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” sparked YouTube to issue a take-down notice, due to copyright infringement. It’s astonishing how a clip purely posted for entertainment was caught in the middle of a lawsuit. More recently, Warner Bros. successfully sued Mark Towle’s creation of replica Batmobile vehicles for violation of trademark and copyright of their iconic Batman Vehicle.

Copyright intends to create artificial scarcity; by taking full control over content a highly valuable product will be formed. However, due to the rapid advancements of modern technology there is no scarcity on the internet. Accordingly to Kevin Kelly, “the internet is a copy machine”, consequently this poses a major challenge for the distribution of films. The production of a Hollywood blockbuster is a huge risk, due to the unpredictable financial uncertainties it brings. Marco Cucco (2009, p. 228) states that, “The movie theatre is crucial to… establish the commercial value of the film.” Due to the internet having no scarcity, why would we go pay to watch a film at the movie theatre when you can illegally download it for free in the comfort of your own home. For how much longer can we get away with being copycats?

Source: Keep calm and posters

Source: Keep calm and posters

In the end we are playing a game of cat and mouse, we will use the internet to our advantage, until we get caught in the act of breaching the copyright law. Where does the future lie for copyright? Are we going to be faced with endless regulations that will continual to diminish our ideologies or are we going to succeed in a society where copying flourishes online?

Reference
Collins, SC, (2008), ‘Recovering Fair Use’, M/C Media Culture, vol. 11, no. 6.

Cucco, MC, (2009), ‘The promise is great: the blockbuster and the Hollywood economy’, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 215-230.

Gardner, Eriq, (2013), Warner Bros. Wins Lawsuit Against Maker of Batmobile (Exclusive)/ Hollywood Esq, The Hollywood Reporter, viewed 18 March 2013

Kelly, Kevin, (2008), Better Than Free/ Issue 53 – 01, Change This, viewed 18 March 30, 2013

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Around the Convergence Merry-Go-Round

Are you in with the new or out with the old? The Media convergence phenomenon is amongst us, it alters the relationship between technology, industry and audiences. The concept of convergence has also had a large impact on the media industries production, distribution and consumption of content.

Henry Jenkins (2006, p. 2) states that “By convergence I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms.” Our daily interaction within the convergence culture enables us to flow across numerous media platforms. The advancement in new media technologies allowed the same content to flow through many different channels. Over time, new media platforms have revolutionized the way in which we interpret the medium and the message.

The transition from analog to digital content, has resulted in old media platforms to live, die or mutate. A cassette tape (analog) provides chronological access of songs, on the other hand a mp3 (digital) offers random access to any song of choice. Consequently, the purpose of the medium and message changes. “Convergence is, in that sense, an old concept taking on new meaning,” (Jenkins, 2006 p. 6). This led me to question, Mark Federman’s article “What is the meaning of The Medium is the Message?”

Source: David Airey

Source: David Airey

To distinguish the difference between the medium and the message, Marshall McLuhan (1964, p. 7) states that, “the medium is the message”. It clearly defines the medium as having a message of its own. The notion of Mark Federman’s opinion made me question if the medium has the potential of being everything? Mark Federmans comprehension of McLuhan’s statements provides us with the understanding that we must not focus entirely on the content of the medium.

Source: ts-event services

Source: ts-event services

My interpretations of Jenkins ideas of convergence culture, has triggered me to be more aware of its uncertainties and the endless new opportunities that it may provide. Due to convergence being an ongoing process, we will not know the full extent of power it comprises. Therefore, time will only tell what dynamic media changes will experience on the convergence merry-go-round!

References
Federman, M. (2004) What is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message?

Jenkins, H (2006). “Worship at the altar of convergence”: A new paradigm for understanding media in change. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp1-24). New York: New York University Press.

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM112

Let the BCM adventure begin!

Hello!

My name is Bianca Tasevski and I am a local girl from the Illawarra. Im currently in my first year at Wollongong University, studying Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies. Right from the very start, I have had a desire to pursue a future career in the Media industry. So here I am. With excitement and curiosity I launch my BCM blog!

Life as we know it can throw us various challenges and I am ready for what ever comes my way. Let the BCM adventure begin!