Category Archives: BCM110

Never Look Back, Use Reflections Instead

So it’s been 6 weeks since we started here on Hungry Digital Zombies.

What have we learnt from this experience?

what have we learnt from others?

You Learn Something New Every Day

Through me readings, lectures and tutorials, I have explored many concepts of media. Ideas and knowledge, some of which I already had a basic understanding of, Ideas that I had never considered before and information that has changed my perception of media. The concepts that have left the biggest impact on myself would have to be the public sphere and the role of media in society.

In week 5 we discussed the concept of a ‘public sphere’, a place for people to come together to discuss and debate modern affairs. I easily understood how talk shows like ‘The View’ and news programs such as ‘The 7:30 Report’ were mediated public spheres as they literally have people together, discussing and debating issues, and before my lecture, I thought of pop shows like ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Big Brother’ to be irrelevant brain rot. The lecture opened my eyes. These pop shows may not be in the most professional setting but that doesn’t stop them from highlighting issues in society such as racism, class separation and others that regular talk shows would be hesitant to cover.

Merlin Luck’s silent protest to free refugees got people talking about the issue of refugees.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/14/1087065072743.html

One week that completely changed my view on it’s topic was week 6; media’s role in society. Specifically, the information on CCTV cameras. I used to think CCTV cameras were alright, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong so I don’t need to worry about them’. Upon discovering how shady ownership and copyright laws are on CCTV footage is, I began to rethink my ideals. admittedly, I made the false assumption that the cameras were there to lower crime rate or help catch culprits and that’s all they did. When looking into it, I discovered how the camera are used to manipulate and suppress the public. I will definitely be more critical of The State and it’s use of media from now on.

 More Brains Are Better Than One

I have been following my peers in the last 6 weeks and participated in the sharing of ideas. Reading my peers blogs have influenced me to ask questions and think about media from different perspectives. For example, media ownership. I wrote an article about media ownership focusing on the media moguls and their role in this concept, what I didn’t immediately consider was the audiences reaction to this. Being subject to a limited view of the world would an audience only develop that same limited view? Well, China has strong restrictions on what is shown to it’s public but China is always experiencing protests and revolt so this suggests that; no, major media can filter their content all they want, citizen journalism will always find a way to challenge the ideals presented in the limited views.

Citizen Journalism: The sharing of ideas and opinions is what gives it power
http://d3sdoylwcs36el.cloudfront.net/future_of_news_citizen_journalism_we_media_cover.jpg

What Can The Future Hold?

I will continue to follow media issues and developments, over time and look forward to learning more in my lectures, from my peers blogs and research out of personal interest. I may hold my perceptions and ideals close but they are always open to questioning and influence.

Hit Control Alt Ideology To Bring Up The Society Manager

Media is everywhere.

It has it’s models, owners and issues.

But, what role does it play in society?

What Kind Of Roleplaying Is Media Into?

Australian propaganda poster. Telling us what to think.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Lindsay_fight_or_wait.jpg

The phrase ‘media’ has so many forms that it’s be foolish to think that it played a small role in society. In fact, media is so heavily embedded in our lives, it plays a strong role in controlling our actions, influencing ideals, and empowering people to rise up against forced ideologies.

Marketing media and journalism are forms of media that influence ideals. Large scale media ownership allows a single ideology to be broadcast to a wide audience with minimal question. Images are often used to broadcast ideologies to a vast audience or to ask people to question the ideologies they have been subject to.

Semiotics has been used throughout history to enforce hegemony, the dominant influence of a group over another (usually the state  over it’s people). For example, Governments using war propaganda posters for recruitment; this draws on the ideology that civilians should go to war to defend their country. At the same time, semiotics can be used to empower the people. Images are often used in social media as support for a social uprising. Social media has begun to be a platform for people to band together as in a ‘participatory culture’ to create a revolution, revolting against old ideals and ideals that have been pushed onto people in the past (The Guardian on social media’s effect on local communities)

“RSA Animate – The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?” A very detailed look at how the internet affects citizens and the role it plays in empowering them for revolution and allowing the government to silence citizens through censorship.

Third Person Role Playing

CCTV cameras are a great example of how media can repress the public.
In the late 18th century, Jeremy Bentham came up with the ‘ideal’ prison design, The Panopticon. The Panopticon only needs one guard situated in the middle with the cells surrounding the guard. This meant the guard had constant view of the inmates and the inmates knowing they were being watched would be less reliant to revolt. Essentially repressing the inmates.
Modern day CCTV cameras also rely on this concept of constant surveillance to keep citizens in fear.

The effectivity of CCTV cameras are often in debate as it can be argued that they are an invasion of privacy and that they are a scare tactic with minimal crime prevention.


“Alex Deane debates CCTV cameras on BBC Breakfast”. Debating the use of CCTV cameras in England including citizen and expert opinions.

Massively Multiplayer Role Playing

Without a doubt, the internet, specifically social media, has begun empowering citizens in a way never before seen. Social networking encourages people to share info and come together to share ideas. These aspects of social media is arguably perfect for supporting marxist ideologies and uprising against hegemony.

The Capitalist ideals that Marxism opposes. Social media like twitter and Facebook give ‘The Individual’ the power to rise up against the state.
http://www.fedupusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Crony-Capitalism-Pyramid.jpg

Social media provides the ability to broadcast ideas instantly to a global audience. Governments have and still are censoring media such as this but with such a low cost of entry, civilians are finding ways around the censorship to organize rallies and protests. The Arab Spring is a fine Example of the effect social media has on societies.

The Final Fantasy

Whether it be repressing or empowering civilians, media will always have a powerful impact on society. The State will most likely never fully control it’s citizens as long as they continue to resist with the very same media.

It’s Media Time,

One of my favourite shows at the moment is Adventure Time, created by Pendleton Ward. On the outside it seems like a silly, lighthearted children’s cartoon. But in closer detail there is a heavy, realistic, and at times dark, undertone to the entire show. This detail and stark reality provides a basis for the show to explore issues, introducing them to a public sphere.

Come On, Grab Your Mediated Public Sphere.

In his 1962 book, “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Jürgen Habermas talks about the public sphere and how it’s changing with technology. A public sphere is a place where people come together to discuss news and debate ideas. Habermas related the concept to a “17th century coffee house”.
Beginning with ‘letters to the editor’ columns in newspapers and magazines, mediated public spheres have come to light. Modern mediated public spheres range from television shows such as, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The 7:30 Report and even ‘pop’ shows such as Big Brother, Toddlers And Tiaras and Adventure Time. The first three just previously mentioned identify issues clearly and discuss them in a calm open-opinion environment whereas the other three bring up these issues into younger audiences and pushes discussion on online forums and social networks.

We’ll Go To Very Distant Lands.

Adventure Time has a large ‘cult’ following and because of that community groups have formed around the show. The most well known Adventure Time Forum being The Land Of Ooo. The site allows users to start discussions on show related topics in a calm, open-opinion environment. There are guidelines members must follow such as speak English, no profanity, use each forum page as intended. There are also moderaters to enforce these rules but they do not have power over opinions and what people want to say (within the guidelines).

Adventure Time Season 5 Episode 2: Up A Tree
http://images.wikia.com/adventuretimewithfinnandjake/images/2/28/S5e5_discussion.png

With Ideals The Dog…

Adventure Time contains a plethora of analogies that relate to the real world. For example, the show is set in a post-apocalyptic future,  after “The Great Mushroom War”, “mushroom” being a reference to the mushroom cloud produced by large scale explosions (in the case of adventure time, it came from a nuclear bomb) which raises discussions on the use of nuclear weapons. The show also explores social connections between people with numerous characters that interact differently. This aspect of the show is explored more deeply in Season 5 Episode 3: All The Little People.

And Censorship The Human,

Australia is known for having strong media censorship. Many games, movies and television programs have either been edited or not made it to Australian shores because of the Australian Classification board and the laws they withhold. Even a lighthearted children’s show like Adventure Time can be censored after coming from America.


Adventure Time: Australian Edition (Click here to view in Youtube)

It’s only subtle and some of you may not even notice till it’s pointed out to you but in the Australian edit, Finn The Human’s bare behind is taken out of the shot. This raises the issue of nudity in cartoons. In American it was acceptable to show the bare behind but in Australia it’s not. Questions like, “What amount of nudity is too much for a child to be exposed to?” and “How different would this scenario be if it was a real bottom shown?” incite discussion over these matters. Discussions that would be held in a mediated public sphere.

The Talks Will Never End. It’s Adventure Time.

Adventure Time brings real world issues to a broad audience which, in turn, draws it’s viewers into discussing the issues presented in the easiest way how in modern times, through forums where anyone can express their opinion freely

Standing In The Shadow Of Media Monoliths

Media doesn’t sprout from nowhere, somebody has to own it.

But there’s so much that encompasses ‘media’, heaps of people would have to own it, right?

You would be surprised at how few people own such large portions of ‘media’

One Does Not Simply “Own” Media

When I say people who own media, I mean, individuals that are heads of companies that own or are major shareholders in a media platform. Some significant examples:

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg Founder and CEO of Facebook

Rupert Murdoch: The head of NewsCorp, one of the largest media conglomerates in the world that owns or co-owns FOX and all of it’s sub-parts, SKY, Big Ten Network, Myspace, Photobucket, thesimpsons.com, hulu.com, americanidol.com, a plethora of magazines, a large portion of major and minor newspapers around the world, especially Australia, Harper Collins and so much more (http://www.newscorp.com/investor/index.html)

Mark Zuckerberg: Co-founder and major owner of Facebook,the most used site in the U.S

Kerry Stokes: Major share holder of Seven group, Yahoo!7, Pacific Publications and a major slice of the West Australian Newspaper scene.

A media mogul is someone who influences the media they are a part of. The ideal is that owning more and more of today’s media will not only bring in wealth but, with a big enough conglomerate and a wide enough diversity, one could influence politics, social status and essentially the world.

If Not For The Media, Who Will Tell Us What To Think?

Let’s consider what affects large scale media ownership has on us.
We are told what is what in the media, issues like global warming, political stories, pop culture and most importantly, the effects of media ownership, are told to us through forms of media. So if media has this affect on us, and you had control over it, wouldn’t you want to tell people what is what? In this scenario, we’d b influenced by a view of the world through your eyes.

“With great power, comes great responsibility” (Spider-Man 2002), we’d like to think that the news presented to us is fair and objective but in reality it’s not. Rupert Murdoch, for example, is widely known to be a conservative, republican, libertarian with an interest in politics. These strong views of his are seen through his news networks and he’s not afraid to show it, even accepting the subject being satirically mocked on his own networks.


“The Simpsons uses Fox News as a Punching Bag” (Click here to view in Youtube)

Not only can media be used for political influence but also industrial gain (And in some cases these two combine).
Gina Rinehart is a mining billionaire who has gotten a fair bit of media attention lately because of family drama but more importantly her attemps to get onto the Fairfax board (http://www.smh.com.au/business/agm-season/gina-rinehart-delivers-fairfax-its-first-strike-20121024-285a1.html 12/04/2013). It is widely accepted that her attempts at the Fairfax board is to have editorial rights over the newspapers Fairfax owns. This influence in media would give her the ability to put mining in good light, hence influencing the populace’s views when time comes to voting for mining taxes.

Gina Rinehart takes on Fairfax

Ownership Vs Shareholding… And A Third Scenario

The main difference between media ownership and media shareholding is who has a say in what goes into the media. Rupert Murdoch owns Newscorp, so he has incredible power over what gets media attention and what kind of media attention it gets, this leads to one sided views and unfairness. Mark Zuckerberg is the major shareholder in Facebook but that doesn’t mean he has total control over the site. Effectively the remaining shareholders can vote against his ideas if no one agrees, providing a (usually) fair and multi-opinionated system.

Their is some cases where media isn’t directly ‘owned entirely’ by anyone in particular and that is user generated content. Sites such as Youtube allow users who upload videos to maintain ownership rights to their video on the condition that they allow Youtube access to the video to distribute it how they like.

And The Winner Is…

User generated content has become the larger part of media in the last couple of years. Once we got all our news from newspapers and magazines owned by media moguls, now phenomenon such as media convergence and citizen journalism has given rise to the prosumer and user owned user generated content. This means a large scope of views, easy access to and broadcast of these views and giving the power to influence the state back to the people. We are “the people formerly known as the Audience”, now we are the producers and owners of our own content.

Say ‘Cheese’ For Positive Connotations (Warning: Controversial Images)

Look to your left. Now, back to this article. Look to your right. Now, back to this article again.

Did you see a sign?

What connotation did it have to you?

Sign Here Thanks

Definition of sign: Something that refers to something else.
The ambiguity in the definition is intended. Essentially anything can form a sign.
Signs show denotations (signifier) and connotations (signified). A denotation is what an image literally contains and connotations are what an image suggests.
The study of signs is known as; semiotics. This involves the science of signifiers and  the signified and how they relate.

Let’s Take a Look at Some ‘Ads-amples’… Examples

Controversial White Playstation Portable billboard image.
http://mygaming.co.za/news/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/PSP-White-is-coming.jpg

The above image is a billboard commissioned by Sony as an ad campaign for their new product, the White Playstation Portable. The image is of two people in black and white. One Caucasian woman with white hair, dressed entirely in white, in a very dominating pose over the other person. The second person is a black man, dressed entirely in black,  in a submissive pose to the other person.
Sony may very well have intended on emphasising the superiority of their white console over the black one but a lot of people too offence to this image due to it’s connotations. The body language of the two people of different races suggests a superiority of caucasian  over black people.
It’s all about perspective.

Slippery road sign
http://www.vectorfree.com/media/vectors/glossy-slippery-sign.jpg

The above is a road sign that shows the silhouette of a car followed by curved, black lines. The intended connotations of this sign is that the road ahead is slippery but the sign could just as well be telling motorists to do burnouts.

No Smiles For Controversy

While denotations are straightforward and controlled, connotations have an ambiguity about them that can easily be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted images aren’t all bad, as long as they don’t touch on ‘taboo’ topics such as drug use, inequality, murder, child abuse, nudity, frowned upon sexual practices (Just to name a few) or they are simply too disgusting for some people to be comfortable with.

‘Fashion Junkie’ crosses the line by glorifying drug use
http://blogs.longwood.edu/advertising3/files/2012/09/SISLEY-FASHION-JUNKIE-17.jpg
‘Wrong Job, Barber’. Generally, people aren’t comfortable seeing a man on the verge of death.
http://adsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/media/public/images/wjob2.jpg

Top left: An ad by Sisley showing two women using a dress as if it were cocain. The intention seems to be playing on the addiction to drugs being like the appeal to Sisley’s fashion brand. This ad was criticized for ‘glorifying’ drug use. Drug use is a sensitive topic in today’s society so linking it to everyday  items such as clothes seems inconsiderate and vulgar.

Top right: The image contains what appears to be a chef about to shave a man with a terrified look ob his face, with a cleaver. Possibly intended to play on the supposed negatives of being in the ‘wrong job’, this ad terrifies people with it’s raw bluntness. The man in the chair is on the verge of being murdered, this makes most people uncomfortable.

Find these and more controversial advertisements here

The Dead Media Effects Model

How many times have you been told that violent games, movies, tv and stories will make you violent?

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘studies show’?

Have you ever questioned this?

Maybe you should…

Ever since the 19th century, with the spread of literacy and hence, thrilling stories, people have feared the effect media has on the general populace. Why is this? The issue lies in the media effects model.

(What we fear)

What is the media effects model?

The media effects model is the understanding of how media (such as popular literature, comics, television, film and digital media) effects the behavior of it’s audience. Media is often perceived as a ‘sender’ encoding a message, sending it through a medium for a receiver to ‘decode’. This perception and the assumption that children need to be ‘molded’ from birth can give rise to serious concerns from the public and fear of the unknown which anyone can manipulate for their own benefits. One will often hear about how violent media make kids violent and that it desensitizes them.

Desensitized: Media violence and children  (Click here to watch in Youtube)

Should we accept what we are told and shy away from all forms of media that display any forms of violence? No!
Because the current media affects model is wrong.

So, What’s Wrong?

The people that claim violent media makes children violent see media as the ’cause’ and violence in children as the ‘effect’. This is a backwards way of looking at it. When we look at the ‘affected people’ first we can generally link it to a different ’cause’.

Cartoon: violence (medium) by Christo Komarnitski tagged violence,computer,games,life
(Komarnitski, 2010)

Real Life Example, Anyone?

Consider the case of ‘Martin Bryant and the Port Arthur Massacre‘.
On the 28th of April 1986, Martin Bryant allegedly  murdered 20 people at Port Arthur, Tasmania in Australia. The Newspapers, the Hobart Mercury and The Australian ran biased Photoshoped images and suggested Bryants violent behaviours was attributed to his consumption of ‘violent’ films and ‘bestial’ pornography. Investigations showed these claims to be fictitious and psychological reports indicated Bryant behaviour could be attributed to his experience with mental and psychological turmoil.

This is a clear cut example of how media can be shown in the wrong light as the ’cause’ of violent behaviour when it’s not necessarily the case.

Final Thoughts

The current media effects model is backwards and the way we approach it when researching the links between violent media and violent behaviour is problematic. There are so many other aspects to consider in this area that it’s near ignorant to assume consuming violent media can have a direct adverse effect on the consumer.