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!

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.

“Creation requires influence”

With the constant development of technology, three words ‘Copy/Transform/Combined’ have become our newest social resolution. Currently, we exist in a ‘remixed world’ where we share ideas and work together to create bigger and better ones fuelled by influence. Question: Can you think of a movie/song which is exclusively unique without any impact of others? (Awkward silence). Star Wars you might say? Wrong, it follows the outline of the ‘monomyth’ used in Flash Gordorn (1936). Kill Bill? Wrong again! You get the point..

This remix evolution is due to so many developments existing on the worldwide web, and the fact that we are all working with the same ideas/materials. Sometimes by mistake, we end up with the same innovation being  created by entirely different sources; it’s just inevitable,  it’s “multiple discovery”. Take for instance, our BCM112 Blog posts for 2012. Students are working with the same reading materials each week and though the conclusions from the material and writing style may be different, they will ultimately be similar. By reading other class member’s blogs, we can learn and expand on our own ideas without stealing; as “copying is how we learn”.

But is ‘remixing’ an idea classed as an infringement, a form of copyright? I believe not! I do think it’s important to credit the original artist for what we use but if we are simply remixing and not hurting the original content of the piece, we are actually attempting to broadening their audience size and expanding on the idea.We exist in a world where we are growing faster than our copyright laws; regulations  are indeed holding our creativity back. We are not duplicating word for word and stealing ideas, we are simply being influenced while we transform ideas and should be allowed to do so.

Scratching is a good example of taking work (music) from others and creating it into something new and unique without hurting the original piece but it too is under huge debate regarding copyright issues. The Amen Break, the world’s most used 6-sec drum loop and heaps of other beats are constantly used in today’s music in a remixed form.

Many media sites across the web actually embrace the idea of combining work/technology such as the Banksy website who encourages remixing: “copy any Banksy imagery in any way for any kind of personal amusement”. Sharing is  part of the 21st century and is inevitable with the development of the internet. The acceptance of the nerds has also heavily influenced the idea of making sharing easy and accessible through filesharing websites like 4shared and filehippo.

We learnt in this week’s tutorial, to have a read/only approach to technology means we are only watching and not controlling what is happening. We are simply consuming, which ultimately limits our creativity and our knowledge. In contrast, by using the read/write approach through media consumption we can read,  recreate and interpret in our own unique way. We can remix our lives and create new developments from existing ones! I would be happy for readers to Copy, Transform and Combine my blog while creating their own.

Embrace your inner nerd!

The rise in technology, the rise of the nerd, the rise of the addiction!

Once upon a time, nerds were stereotypically “shy, introverted, socially awkward, bookworms” who were bullied, had no friends and never talked to girls. Nowadays, in a world filled with developing technology, there has been a huge socio-cultural shift of the role of nerds/geeks in society. It seems these geeks are stepping out of the traditional role of being uncool and creating a global niche culture of their own. “It’s as if the economic hegemony of the Geek in the 1990s, when high tech and the internet were driving the economy has somehow been converted into a cultural hegemony.” (Jenkis, Henry 2010)

The nerd character is becoming a big hit in today’s digital world with television shows such as (my personal favourites) The Big Bang Theory and the glorified Star Wars obsessions in How I met your Mother. Awkwardness is alive also on the big screen with movies like 40 year old virgin and the young nerds looking to party in Superbad. The geek community has largely embraced their former stereotype and are able to poke fun at themselves, creating great entertainment. We as the audience are able to laugh with them, knowing ourselves that we all have , deep down, an inner nerd.

However with unlimited access to today’s nerdish technology games like WOW, individuals can acquire an addiction to playing electronic devices with some people unable to find the line between reality and fiction, gaming and real life. In the reading Grossman states “The fear being that a single experience like a movie can warp a mind into thinking ‘real life’ is hardly worth any effort.”

Skype director Sten Tamkivi describes how their media platform has grown massively out of the technical geek circles over the years. With the development of technology such as Skype, Facebook and Twitter, our awkward nerd stereotype has grown up becoming accepted and admired in today’s society. They have become chic and have their own global following; so grab those glasses, put on your  Star Wars T-shirt  and buy that comic book, it’s hip to be square!

Book, movie, series, ACTION!!

Why just make a movie and entertain some when we can collectively make books, games and comics and entertain many?

Synergy is the idea that combined forces are ultimately greater than the sum of an individual force. This concept relates to the initiative of Transmedia. Henry Jenkins’ interpretation of Transmedia is the “process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” Transmedia is about a single story or idea being placed into numerous mediums, creating multiple points of entry and ultimately attracting more followers.

Picture this, a diagram of a movie with an arrow pointing to the consumer; this is how media channels used to work. But now think of hundreds of additional content adding value, pointing to the consumer. This is the idea of Transmedia!! By creating different points of entry for different audience sectors allows for a greater chance of audience exposure and ultimately higher recognition and income.

Being a huge Matrix fan, the film quickly expanded into a series called Animatrix (expansion of the story), comics, video games and much more. This example shows us that if the audience only watched the movie they are missing parts,  it is not until the channels are combined by other forms is the audience fully engaged with all the content.  This can also be seen in the lost experience and Pottermore where the original idea is being expanded into multiple channels to create a bigger picture with a greater audience following.

Media is rapidly growing and developing in numerous ways; constantly being added to and updated. By breaking down the story into diverse channels, it is increasing its  distribution and profits.  Transmedia is a great marketing tool that can ultimately make a single channel, last a life time! Take for instance, Star Wars  produced in the 1970s; today it’s still recognised worldwide, even by generations born long after its creation!

As Henry Jenkins states “Transmedia, the excesses in the unfolding of the story; introducing potential plots which can’t be fully told or extra details which hint at more can be revealed.”

Do not limit your experience; don’t just go watch the movie! Fully engage in the multiple channels of the platform and broaden your horizon of knowledge and understanding!