“If not us, who?”

Imagine the concept where the humble text message could become more than just a way of staying connected with friends and family. Truth has it; a text could ultimately save your life.

When the devastating 2004 Tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, mobile phones were utilised in a variety of different ways. This simple device documented the event through photos, was a major source of communication generating phone calls and texts and also assisted rescuers with locating survivors. Social media joined in with Google setting up a “Person Finder” web app to link victims with family. (altered paragraph)

Presently, Government officials are sending SMS messages to alert residents of valuable information. Texting was used in the recent Riverina floods by SES workers to inform residents of North Wagga of the impending flood levels. This information prepared residents, provided evacuation procedures and confirmed when it was safe to return to their homes.

This is also witnessed in my everyday life where my University Campus regularly send residents text messages about news, safety tips and updates; reaching a large audience in a short amount of time.

This concept of consumers becoming the producers is evident with the community sending photos and videos from their mobile phones to mainstream media and via their own personal blogs. With this idea, consumers are taking responsibility for their own information and spreading it accordingly through their own media platforms, raising the question if not us, then who? The biggest change that can be seen through industry practices and technology is that people are gaining knowledge/information from other people rather than news networks. This is due to the advantage of the consumer’s audience being able to talk back and forth and to each other, thus the idea of consumers being the producers is made clear by Clay Shirky.

In the image people choose to interact with each other rather than relying on other media platforms (eliminating the gatekeepers)

This idea can be observed through the media platform of Skype where communication is not only heard but is seen and allows people from all over the world to communicate face to face.

As consumers we continue to succeed in all media platforms as producers. We are able to provide and spread relevant information to others quickly, by word or by image, in its entirety not airbrushed; potentially we can save people’s life. 

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Free flowing content or locked appliance; Control or protection?

How often do we use the internet? Realistically, with our current unlimited access, the number of times would astound. Previously accessing the ‘internet’ involved waiting patiently for it to connect. Nowadays we are constantly logged on; linked from laptops, phones and iPads. We can now be connected wherever we go, but with access comes choices. (altered paragraph)

Clay Shirky explains that social networking creates global unity where society can take action together and create change. Media circulates information, helping consumers engage and communicate and as a result “strengthens the public sphere”. These platforms allow users to network human thoughts and design around each other. Alternatively, there are locked appliances which are successful for having total control over the content and their users. (altered paragraph)

The success of contributing ideas is evident in Evan Williams‘s video regarding Twitter. By tweeting petrol prices and locations, users work together by sharing information and ideas. Twitter (the original concept) through convergence has developed and demonstrates features that it wasn’t originally designed for by this public intervention. Wikipedia’s ten year success is also attributed to these free flowing network principles.

Free flowing digital content is shown in the Android mobile phone where there is an abundance of applications available. Digital freedom can have  negative consequences, as Jonathan Zittrain warns consumers about viruses, spam, delays  and crashes. So really, is this freedom worth it?

Skype has also experienced media convergence, where the original idea has grown from just communicating with friends and family, to expanding into the world of business and education. Though it has changed in these areas, Skype is a locked and highly restrictive platform where audiences don’t have the power to choose how it develops. Consumers are given a successful product which cannot be changed by outside forces.

So I’ll leave you with this dilemma, regarding our infinite relationship with the internet. Do we choose a media platform with free flowing content which is open but may be susceptible to viruses and security problems? Or a platform which is closed, restrictive and incapable of utilising the new ideas of consumers? The choice is yours!

Before you hit that paste button, STOP…copyright!

Picture yourself at a birthday party. The lights are dimmed and your mum walks into the room with a giant cake ablaze with candles and everyone begins to sing ‘Happy Birthday’…It’s an annual global tradition that millions of us have experienced. Nonetheless, little did you know we are all breaching copyright laws by abusing the creative works of ‘the Warner Corporation’ every time we sing this celebration song! Ridiculous, isn’t it?

Surely as individuals we are permitted to speak our minds? Shouldn’t we be able to create and congregate ideas to produce a better outcome? Society has grown by producing new media platforms that permit individual expressions yet the laws seem to be outdated and stagnant. This injustice was expressed in today’s lecture; in the example where a DJ was sued for taking just one second of someone’s track and placing it in his own composition.

The media platform Skype has also been bitten by the copyright bug when the Skype founded company Joltid tried to sue them in 2009 for using its peer-to-peer software. A settlement was reached ensuring Skype full control of their  software and the opportunity to succeed in the social media world. (added paragraph)

Can’t we work together on an idea, bouncing thoughts back and forth as long as we acknowledge the original writer? That is where Creative Commons works, a licence to share. Ultimately you can be the co-author with others and create a masterpiece without copyright restrictions and limitations.

Copyright represents invisible walls around the content which hinders and often controls how the flow of content is applied by the user. I agree it is important, that it stops others taking ideas and using them as their own, but shouldn’t we live in a society which encourages the agreement; to create the best and to share in the digital revolution. (paragraph altered) 

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Communication; do we even need to leave our homes?..

SKYPE TIP ONE– ‘Remember the person you’re talking to can see you and how you respond to what they are saying (rolling eyes, mimic gestures can be seen)’

In the present day, do we really even need to leave the comfort of our homes? With advanced media technology growing and developing so rapidly, who knows what the future will hold! Soon we will be able to conquer the world, climb the moon, all from the luxury of our living room! When you think about it, you could be socialising with hundreds of people every day without taking a step outside, and that’s the beauty of technology!

Being a first year student living away from home can be daunting. It’s the beginning of our new life where we must begin the journey of being independent and think for ourselves. However with the use of Skype, it is easy to feel at home while being miles away.

Skype is a media platform that has grasped different ideas from other forms of communication technology such as telephones and msn and combined their attributes together to create an exciting new medium. It’s hard to even picture the day when home telephones were our main communication source; it’s even harder to remember the last time I have used my home telephone. Skype has made life easier for many individuals: making long distance face to face communication possible, permitting people to work from home and it allows you and me to interact with people from across the globe.

It is mind-blowing, the things that we are capable of doing from our own lounge chair in this century. Talking to a friend in Japan on Skype, being made aware of an impending natural disaster from twitter and the example of Dino Ignacio.

It is rare to find a single-function item these days, nothing seems to be simple or analog styled. The world is full of convergence media and we must learn and master this savvy world of technology or we will be left behind.

Marshall McLuhan, author of Understanding Media states “Control over change would seem to consist in moving not with it but ahead of it. Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control.”

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WARNING! EXCITING BLOG UP AHEAD.

As I stare blankly at my computer screen in my tiny room with my music blaring, I begin to wonder what I should type on my first ever blog. I think of the rules I SHOULD follow to make sure it’s the best blog. I begin to worry about how I’m going to encapsulate the audience and draw them in. Will my readers be able to relate to what I write, will they actually read it. I think that the best way would be to bribe people with a catchy caption with CAPITIALS, bold writing and underlines. Or perhaps to offer advice, saying if you read this you’ll get the six pack of your dreams, or if you read this you could win millions! But then I remember we can’t exactly lie on these blogs so honesty is probably best…. I am a first year student at the University of Wollongong and these blogs are for bcm110 and bcm112. It’s interesting to be getting back into school after a year off and being one of the little ones all over again. I am keen as to get my blog ON and my twitter account ACTIVATED!
I’m sure I’ll be hearing from you all soon, best of luck to my fellow bloggers!