The Final Chapter: The Road of Reflection

It is with great regret that I say farewell to my weekly routine of reading, taking notes and blogging. I am confident that my only reader, my tortured tutorial teacher will be just as sad that my blogs will no longer light up his computer. Although fear not, I am an addicted blogger, and have learnt to love sharing my own opinions in this tech savvy world.

As I re-assess my blogs and decipher which are my favourites, I have observed a positive progression from my first attempt to my present. I have developed my own bloggers’ style; stating my thoughts, discovering additional links and materials rather than summarising the ideas from the specified readings.

This can be best seen in my Week 8 weblog post Creation requires influence’.  I demonstrate a new level of confidence; researching supplementary information on the issue rather than relying strictly on the readings/views provided. I have remixed my lecture/tutorial influences and developed my own unique trail of thought in my weblog/s. By looking outside the box, I create and voice my own conclusion relating to the chosen topic.

Week 7 ‘Embrace your inner nerd! reflects my own personal interest in the topic choice as it documents my attempt at being creative and humourous by using a random music video to portray my own nerdish persona.  I got to ‘research’ YouTube videos for my favourite nerdy programs; who wouldn’t love this. This topic encouraged me to look past just the readings, where I discovered a serious side to being a nerd; an addiction to gaming and an avoidance of ‘real life’. I successfully steered away from the rhetorical questions as seen in my earlier weblogs; clarifying my own ideas with solutions and explanations.

Another favourite was my most recent weblog, Week 10s Good Vs Evil: Open Technology Vs The Troll’ regarding internet trolls and online bullying. I feel I looked at all sides that trolls attack rather than just the sexist view which was what the lecture was mainly focused on. My reflection is genuine as I am so passionate about this topic and sickened by this public abuse of not only individuals but of the internet as a whole. I have personally witnessed online trolling when visiting the memorial page of a friend on Facebook.  I feel this weblog gave me the opportunity to publicly vent my disgust for this action; a chance I would normally not have had. Thank you BCM112.

Finally, it would be so unlike me to go out without a bang, so here you go!

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Good Vs Evil: Open Technology Vs The Troll

In every fairytale, the princess is bewitched by the evil step mother, in every action movie the superhero is set upon by the evil villain: with all things good comes bad. Similarly, with the advancement and openness of the internet, we too are plagued by trolls and online bullies who lurk within our screens.

With the advancement of technology, opportunities are provided but some chose to abuse and destroy these privileges for the rest of us. This is the case with the freedom of users on the internet.   Let me introduce ‘the troll’; the online user who is usually anonymous and purposely sets out to create conflict and controversy across media platforms with offensive and racist/sexist behaviour. Trolls exploit the openness of these online platforms with distasteful comments, photos and spam; most will remain untouched unless formally reported.

This online graffiti has caused what is known as the ‘chilling effect’ on free speech as  fellow users now refrain from stating their opinions online through YouTube and other public forums, for fear of legal prosecution. The goodness of free speech is being sabotaged by online bullies/trolls.The beauty of the internet being an opened platform is that people can state their opinions reaching a large audience fast so why do some push the boundaries and use offensive, threatening material?  Racist, sexist and offensive comments are not tolerated in public places like schools and cafes in the real world so why do people think it is ok to distribute them across the web? That is because the culprits involved have the sanctuary of their computer screens; anonymous to the world.

This leads to the big debate. Should open media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook follow the trends of other sites turning into a restricted platform; filtering the public comments displayed on their sites? This would not only punish the social media platforms but would have a domino affect on users: all because of the few trolls who want to ruin it for the rest of us. By filtering comments on internet sites, valuable content will be lost and we will begin to see the return of Gatekeepers.

The openness of the internet has so many advantages and positives attributed regarding the publication of free speech. It is unfortunate that this privilege could be jeopardised in the future due to such a small minority. Trolls Beware; your days are numbered.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles….or is it?

In today’s society, it is becoming harder to define who is classified as a true journalist with the creation of social media and the accessibility of distributing relevant news fast. Are we categorised as noteworthy for sharing information on media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress? I guess it depends on who you ask?  Conventional journalists may label the raw thoughts of citizen journalism as ‘degrading’ the news and ‘crudely written’ but the actual audiences who read and  religiously follow news from these sites would agree. Let me simply say, we are living in a participative  culture and the power is shifting..

It is interesting to note that when breaking down the word journalism; you get journal which is defined as a daily recording of events, similar to a private diary. This restricted concept is represented in the conventional form of journalism which is rapidly decreasing in popularity, where a closed group of Gatekeepers decide what is shown to the public with a ‘that’s the way it was’ approach. One group with the power to decides what we, the audience see.

In our digital era, audiences no longer rely solely on this traditional form of journalism. We embrace social media as a means of broadening our knowledge, surfing a variety of different sources (majority online) which provide news which is relevant to our own individual lives. This has seen the power of the Gatekeepers slowly disappearing as the role of Gatewatchers are becoming more evident, publicly posting when journalist get it wrong.

Today we are educated, non-passive audience members who have the ability to take charge. We can write our own news on what we think is of importance and spread it globally in seconds; challenging  the relevance of the  news in its corporate form. Media platforms like Skype allow citizen journalists to do this with quality images and sound.

Citizen Journalists are influential to the younger generation who are tech savvy and happy to surf for their news; personal choice is taking over. We live in a digital world where we have the ingredients and the ability to create and collaborate our own news. Anything is possible with the resolution of online social media sites; we can distribute, we can produce, we can share, all in a matter of seconds.