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June 4, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Oldies are becoming more internet savy!

  EMPOWERED by technology, people aged over 60 are connecting with the world and joining the digital revolution in droves. In 2009, almost half of people aged over 60 had used a computer at home in the past 12 months, compared with only 28 per cent in 2003.

 Lindsay Cato, 61, of North Adelaide, uses social media to stay in touch with his children, who live interstate.

 “My family has spread out around Australia, so we use Skype and Facebook to stay in touch with the kids and grandkids,” he   said.

source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/computer-and-internet-use-by-older-australians-has-nearly-doubled/story-fn7x8me2-1226068974979

 

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May 30, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Using Blogs as a Platform

Week 7:

B) Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.

The revolution of the internet has facilitated a platform for the creation of user generated content that can be published on a blog. A blog is referred to as a ‘frequently updated web based chronological publication, a log of personal thoughts and web links, a mixture of diary forms around what is happening in a person’s life and comments on what is happening …in the world out there (Lovink, 2007, p3). In agreeance with Lovink, ‘no matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self’ (Lovink, 2007, p28). It is a blogs structure as that of a diary form that blogs offer a platform for one to express themselves (Lovink, 2007, p6).

 

 
Firstly, participating in a blog assist in managing the self as it makes the blogger feel as though they are a ‘gatewatcher’ and can comment on the choices of those who control the news agents (Lovink, 2007, p5). With the increasing skepticism on the mainstream mass media, people want to become a part of the blogosphere so that they can literally feel as though their opinions are validated and their commentary elicits democracy.
Other than blogs acting as a way for a person to feel as they are a part of a democratic culture, cyberculture acts as an identity provider (Lovink, 2007, p13). Lovink explains it perfectly-
‘by keeping a daily record of their rites of passage, bloggers often give a shape and meaning to the stages and cycles of their lives that would otherwise be missed in the helter-shelter of modern existence’ (Lovink, 2007,p27).

 
Simply, blogging is a ‘technology of the self’ (Lovink, 2007, p4) that allows for an arena where ones personal fears and insecurities can be written about (Lovink, 2007, p17) for validation and a way to record their lives. The only difference to a diary is that diaries are ‘off-line’ in the sense that they are not accessible (Lovink, 2007, p6), however now blogs allow for the format to go on-line, so private lives are exposed to the ‘potential gaze of total strangers’ (Lovink, 2007, p28).

 

These two aspects can be seen in a blog that one of my friends writes. Based on her experiences as a teen mother she writes about her anxieties of judgment, her experiences as a mother and her fiancé all of which I believe she is personally doing for validation of herself. Furthermore, she contests the view of teen mums presented in the media, attempting to express her own opinion on the issue. It is important that her and other bloggers realize that in terms of forming a democracy ‘where everyone has a right to speak, everyone ends up thinking that they have a right to be heard and when everyone in general thinks they have a right to be heard; then you end up with a situation where nobody in particular is being listened to’ (Lovink, 2007, p23).
In conclusion the process of blogging is self-centered, in the way that it is used to ‘structure one’s life, to clear up the mess and master the flow of information’ (Lovink, 200, p28).

 
REFERENCES:
Lovink, G., ‘Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, (London: Routledge, 2007), p1-38.

 

May 30, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Ranking Tactics on YouTube

Week 3:

While discussing YouTube, José van Dijck argues that the site’s interface influences the popularity of videos through ranking tactics that promote popular favourites (Reader, page 94). How do ranking tactics impact on the formation online ‘communities’?

 The success of YouTube is dependent upon its users. Without the continued contribution of its ‘producers’ to the content published on YouTube, YouTube would not nearly be as successful as it is today. With the 35 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every hour (Google News, 2011) the sites interface of ranking tactics allows viewers to determine which videos are worth watching. Furthermore being able to rate the video, comment and like it contributes to the formation of online communities as people use the site to ‘tie their personal taste and lifestyle with shared mediated experiences’ (Dijck, 2008, p44).

 

The ability to subscribe to a users videos provides an arena where ‘groups with a communal preference can form a community for their similar interests to be served’ (Dijck, 2008, p45). For example, Tyler Ward is a musician who has over 550,000 subscribers to his channel titled ‘Tyler Ward Music’ on YouTube (see:http://www.youtube.com/user/TylerWardMusic#p/u/8/-QRAa7_NeIE). Within his YouTube channel, viewers can communicate with other fans of his music and share their thoughts with Ward as well as other YouTube users. This represents a community because as Dijck defines it ‘community strongly connotes the inclination of users to belong to a group and be involved in a common cause’ (Dijick, 2008, p45), which in this case is a supporter of Wards music.

 

The interface of YouTube allowing one to like, dislike and comment on videos also allows for the foundation of an online community to be formed. Through commenting on a video (criticising or appreciating it) a connection is not only developed between the uploader and the viewer but also among others who have viewed the content. From the comments others can take notice of what is to be expected by the video and in some instances meet others who share common feelings. Seeing how many people have liked or disliked comments or a particular video also informs one how they should respond to the video and which online community they belong to as to whether or not they feel the same way.

 

The primary ranking tactic that has the biggest impact on what video will be most popular among people and therefore serve as a base for communities to form, is the number of views displayed under the title of a video. The more views a video has the more likely someone will be to watch that video as they want to feel in synch with other users and up to date on the most popular videos. However, it is important to note that the number of views does not signify a valued video, for example Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ video has over 153million views but has nearly 3million dislikes and not even 500,000 likes. Moreover, comments on this video were disabled due to what I imagine was the online community writing messages of hate and hurt. ‘You Tube users are steered towards a particular video by means of coded mechanisms which heavily reply on promotion and ranking tactics, such as the measuring of downloads and the promotion of popular favourite’ (Dijick, 2008, p45).

 

Undeniably, the power of YouTube users is phenomenal as their collaborative structures control what is published on the site. Yet it is the ranking tactics offered by the sites interface which contributes to its success as viewers feel that their interaction with fellow users builds a community that exists not in the real world but in cyberspace, as they share in common interests and ‘build an individual and group identity'(Dijick, 2008, p44).

 

REEFRENCES:

 

Dijick, J., ‘Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content’, in Fibre Culture Journal v11 (2008), on-line: http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_bruns.html

 

Google News, ‘35 hours of video a minute uploaded to YouTube’, AFP, Nov 11 2010, on-line (cited 4th April 2011): http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hL4UMqXBKBTfJ2PjHINPGpWZe82w?docId=CNG.7a039cc7305a51102e864beb3aa51545.181

 

May 29, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Facebook Privacy Blog

Week 5:

Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices:http://www.tubechop.com/watch/146252

‘We’ve spent a lot of time reviewing your feedback,’ states Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg as he informs users of the changes that have been made by his team to better an individual’s privacy as a Facebook user (YouTube, 2010). Zuckerberg and his team have heightened the confidence and lessened the anxieties of all Facebook uses by making ways to control your privacy simpler and more accessible, consequently leading to Facebook users sharing more because they have control over what they share (Youtube, 2010). However, although our privacy may appear more in our control, there are several breaches of privacy that are still occurring.

It cannot be denied that the way to control the privacy settings on Facebook is a lot simpler. With just a few clicks one can choose who they wish to be able to see their profile information (such as interests, liked pages, birthday, phone number, wall, photos etc) by choosing whether ‘everyone’, ‘friends of friends’ or ‘friends only’ can access their information. Facebook has also reduced the amount of information that has to be visible in order to create a Facebook account. Acknowledging the increase in the amount of applications and games now present in the realm of Facebook, Zuckerberg’s team have also created an option for whether or not you wish to allow these activities to access your information. In general, it is simpler and easier to choose who and what one can see on your Facebook profile (YouTube, 2010).

Yet, with this change in privacy has come a change in Facebook’s statement of rights and responsibilities. Facebook’s regulations now outline that once one decides to delete their account their account will expire, but the Facebook company may retain archived copies of their user content for years (Facebook, 2011). When previously, the documents stated that all content will automatically expire. As Chris Walter from the blog The Consumerist writes with reference to this content alteration , ‘We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever’ (Walters, 2009) . This begs the question as to whether or not it is a breach of privacy itself that personal information can be kept for years by Facebook.

Even with these changes breaches of privacy are still being seen, with the ‘new, private Facebook group called the Brocial Network’ (Irving, 2011). With its 8000 members, this group publishes racy photos of women, as males must trawl around female profile pages seeking a picture of them which will then gain them entry into the club where they share the women’s names and links to their profile (Irving, 2011). The sobering thing is, these men are not only taking these pictures from women they don’t know but even their own friends (Irving, 2011). Tillie, 21 states that she felt sick when she discovered a picture of her in a harmless bikini circulating around facebook, as she was inundated with friend requests from unknown people (Irving, 2011).

It can be seen that these privacy changes have made controlling ones content simpler, however as Dr Rosewarne says ‘There needs to be more education and more media literacy about what privacy actually means on-line’ (Irving, 2011) to prevent future exploitation of one’s rights. In the context of user content being placed into archives it could be said that these privacy changes are just a PR stunt to make users feel more comfortable and a way for Zuckerberg and his team to use the information they acquire from you for their own profitable benefit.

For full story see : http://www.mamamia.com.au/weblog/2011/05/the-brocial-network-posts-near-naked-female-friend-photos.html

REFERENCES:

Facebook, ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’, on-line (cited 29th May 2011): http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

Irving, Kara., ‘Facebook trade in female images,’ The Age Online, (May 18 2011) on-line: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/facebook-trade-in-female-images-20110517-1erfu.html#ixzz1NkJRUgW4

Walters, Chris., ‘Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever,’ in The Consumerist, (Feb 15 2009), on-line: http://consumerist.com/2009/02/facebooks-new-terms-of-service-we-can-do-anything-we-want-with-your-content-forever.html

Youtube, ‘Mark Zuckerberg on Making Privacy Controls Simpler’ (may 26th 2010), on-line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWDneu_w_HQ&feature=player_embedded

May 29, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Where should we get our news from?

Week 4:

Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: “Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?” (Reader, page 136). Do you agree? Use examples to illustrate your point of view.

In the past century the worlds technology systems have revolutionized not only the structure of the World Wide Web but the world we live in (Grossman, 2006). 10 years ago the main sources of news would typically be broadsheet or Tabloid newspapers , yet these days people don’t need to read the newspaper or watch the TV news to know what is going on around the world. Rather they can learn from on-line blogs. As Russell puts it ‘The balance of power between news providers and news consumers has shifted’ (Russell, 2007, p67).  This can be illustrated in a war context, where reporters in war torn Iraq are being trumped by personal emails, blogs and images produced by soldiers or onlookers (Russell, 2007, p66).   However, with this shift comes anxieties and poses the question as to whether or not bloggers ‘more effectively inform the public’ than professional journalists (Russell, 2007, p67).

Many analysists of this shift acknowledge that blogging has provided an arena for the ‘liberation of democracy’ (Russell, 2007, p67). New media networks offer a platform where opinions, less main-stream news and other information can be freely shared. For example, blogging site WordPress allows for any member of the public to create their own blog and publish their material without cost or monitoring content. By tagging particular topics brought up in their blog and altering the permalink they use, they can increase the chance of the news published in their blog being discovered (WordPress, 2011). However, as with many activities there are a small set of A-list people such as Perez Hilton and those blogs featured on the home page of WordPress that receive a lot more ‘blogosphere traffic’ than the typical blogger, not offering democracy itself in the blogosphere (Russell, 2007, p67). Yet, although this argument of democracy is contestable, many suggest that bloggers achieving this star status is still an improvement on what used to be a media environment dominantly controlled by big media cooperation’s like Rupert Murdoch (Russell, 2007, p67).

With the growing number of everyday citizens who are ill-informed being able to alter public debate or manipulate public opinion ‘truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged and reinvented’ (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005, p.125). Thus, the reliability of the information which may be used by others to develop opinions becomes questionable.  The untrustworthiness of blogs has been recognized by academics as they refuse to allow university students to use blogs as references in their essays. Glenn Reynolds argues that ‘power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many’ (Russell, 2007, p67).

Unfortunately, with the rapid popularity of blogging increasing privacy guidelines have not followed. A blogger can easily publish their own name, address, phone number and that of others on their blog and provide a foundation for false information to spread (Solove, 2007, p35). This was seen in 2003 when 18 year old Katie was rumoured to have been raped by professional basketballer Kobe Bryant. Journalists refrained from mentioning the victim of Bryant, but once speculation of her identity erupted on the internet, blogs went crazy and started discussing the issue and Katie. The label as Katie as Bryant’s victim was false, however that did not stop blogs publishing photoshopped pictures of Katie engaging in sex with Bryant (Solove, 2007, p36).

In general I think it is fair to say that a bloggers editorial independence has provided a ‘launching pad to offer contesting points of view and alternative practices’ (Russell, 2007, p67)  as well as a place where things not considered newsworthy may be written about and shared. However, when it comes to the question of who better informs the public, I believe, for the sake of true facts, we must all still turn the page of newspapers and avoid the work of ‘creative amatuers’ (Lessing, 2004 in Dijik, 2088, p53).

REFERENCES:

Dijick, Jv., ‘Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content’, in Media, Culture and Society 31 (2009) p 41-58.

Grossman, L., ‘Time’s Person of the Year: You’, Time Magazine, 13 Dec 2006, on-line (cited 4April 2011): http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html

O’Shaughnessy, M. and J, Stadler, Media & Society: fourth edition, (South Melbourne; Oxford University Press, 2008).

Russel A., et/al ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101,’ in Confessions of an ACA fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins (2007), on-line:http://www.henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

Solove, DJ., ‘How the Free Flow of Information Liberates and Constrains Us, in The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumour and Privacy on the Internet, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007) p 17-49.

WordPress, on-line: http://wordpress.com/

May 29, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Celebrities in Cyberspace

Week 9:

A) Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269).

In 2007, the Telegraph newspaper reported that YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the whole entire internet in 2000 (Carter, 2008) . The success of such videos is heavily dependant upon their form as home videos, with content ranging from animals doing cute things,

source: http://www.cleancutmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/YouTube-Logo-Statistics-Media.jpg

to hopeful singers posting videos of them singing the latest tunes (Burgess et/al, 2009, p25). With these videos being broadcast within a public domain ‘YouTube has mythologized… a way to broadcast yourself into fame and fortune’ (Burgess et/al, 2009, p22) However, Burgess and Green argue that those who gain celebrity status through YouTube only ‘remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media’ (Burgess et/al, 2009, p22). I believe that raw talent is the only foundation that can guarantee one success and fame outside the realm of YouTube. Furthermore, the classification of what a celebrity actually refers to needs more attention. Here I will attempt to do so.

A youtube celebrity which Burgess hints at being labelled as a ‘star’ (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p24) classifies those whose star status exists only in the realm of YouTube and of which is dependent on their ‘continued participation in youtube’ (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p24). ‘YouTube  has its own internal system of celebrity based on and reflecting values that don’t necessarily match up neatly with those of the dominant media’ (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p24). If YouTube was to be shutdown and all of its content lost then it could be said that those who are famed in the YouTube world would no longer be given the status of a celebrity at all. Outside of YouTube those who are well-known within it, appear less popular.

This 14 year old boy has over 214million views on all the content he has uploaded of him singing and has a star status in the world of YouTube. Have you read a full page spread about him in the newspaper? Have you seen his face splashed on magazine covers? Does the name Beener Cahill ring any bells? I assume you have answered no to all these questions. And this is because Cahill is only known within the realm of YouTube. Similarly, we have the 328million viewed video Charlie bit my finger of which lead to these kids being stars in the YouTube realm. Yet after they stopped participating in this media structure their status within the realm of YouTube halted. Many of the creators of videos that receive much success and recognition never succeed in the wider mass media because the videos are simply entertaining and elicit limited talent.

The other type of celebrity we will label the media magnet which Burgess labels as a ‘celebrity’ (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p24), known for succeeding outside the walls of where they were discovered on YouTube. Teen sensation Justin Bieber began posting videos on YouTube of him singing as a way of sharing it with family. After gaining a large following on YouTube he was subsequently signed with Usher.  Due to talent, Justin Bieber was able to succeed outside the realm of YouTube. The marker of these types of success stories is not only their on-line popularity and raw talent but their ability to pass through the gate keeping mechanisms of old media to become a ‘bona fide celebrity’ (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p24).  

 A YouTube Celebrity will only ever gain star status within cyberspace whereas those who are able to use YouTube as a platform to boost their status and their raw talent enables them to become a Media Magnet in all areas of the media. All in all it comes down to talent and someone with the resources to mediate it that helps one move on from being a celebrity in cyberspace to a celebrity in the real world (Burgess, et/al, 2009, p22).

REFERNCES:

Burgess, J., & Green, J., ‘Youtube and The Mainstream Media,’ in YouTube: Online and Participatory Culture, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009), p15-37.

Carter, L., ‘Web could collapse as video demand soars,’ The Telegraph, 7 April 2008, on-line (cited 3 April 2011): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1584230/Web-could-collapse-as-video-demand-soars.html

May 27, 2011 / hayleystrickland

Happy Birthday to you…

Going through The Age On-line’s archive I came across an article published in 2009, which celebrated the 20th birthday of The World Wide Web. Despite this milestone however, its creators, including Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau stressed that there are parts of this revolution which they dislike-

1) its provided an arena where people have to live off advertising

2) the comodity of truth : ‘the trust between the person who is consulting and the person who provides the page’

3) the protection of children
 
4) They expressed fears about the ‘growing tendency to profile web users and detail their habits by collecting online data, often automatically’. Berners-Lee expressed his fears of snooping.
 
It can be said that no matter how the world wide web changes and transforms, not even its creators will ever be happy with its content or place it has in society.