With Great Audience Comes Great Responsibility

We are ‘the people formerly known as the audience’ (Jay Rosen).

Allow us to guide you through the internet where you can express your opinion, share other peoples opinion, create content and change the world.

From ‘You To Me’ To ‘Me To Everyone’

Pick up a classic English novel, what do we do with it? We read from left to right and that’s about it. Now go to a popular social networking site (e.g Facebook), what do we do? We still read from left to right but we cal also ‘share’, ‘follow’, ‘post’, ‘comment’ and so much more. What happened between the book and the internet that allowed this interactivity? What implications does it have on us?

Youtube and books, what exactly is the difference?

Before the Internet, media was generally consumer driven. We would ‘consume’ the message/medium we had available to us. With the rise of the Internet and sites such as Facebook, Youtube and WordPress; participation in the creation of the content available. This allowed us, the ‘audience’ to become more than just that.

The beauty of the Internet is, arguably, it’s freedom. Books, Television and Radio often allowed it’s audience to communicate with it’s producers but it always went through a filter of some kind. Ultimately the producer and the user stayed separated. The Internet is far too vast to mediate like this. The low cost of entry to the internet opened it up to a wider user network. This lack of ‘mediator’ allows users to express their opinion no matter how outlandish it may be.

Social Networking Media Used Activism; It’s Super Effective

Acitivism- Simply ineffective

Social media has given us the ability to spread information and ideas worldwide at the click of a button without having to go through an entry cost or regular censorship. With this, regular people and their opinions have been able to gather followers en masse to influence politics and real world matters with greater force than ever seen before.

The downside to this simplification of networking is ‘slacktivism’. This is putting in minimal effort towards a cause to seem like you’re helping when in reality you are not. This also includes supporting causes with no credible background, causes with no actual cause or genuine intention and causes that work on unethical circumstances (primarily for money).

It’s as simple as 1-2-3. A Howcast video on the process of social media effecting social change (Click here to view in Youtube)


The Best Offence is a Good Apple

The evolution of mobile phones

Defence vs Offence

Apple vs Android

Closed and controlled vs Open and free

In the Dawn of Time…

Believe it or not but phones weren’t always tiny and portable, some of you might remember how cool it was to carry a brick that you could talk into if you were a fancy business man. Well, even before that ‘mobile’ phones were even bigger. During early World War II, mobile radio phones were carried on the backs of horses. In a short amount of time, before the war even ended, mobile radio phones had become small enough to carry on a humans back. By 1983 the first generation of mobile cell phone was created. Then in 1992 the 2nd generation of mobile phone came. This used digital signal as opposed to the first gen that used analog. 2001 saw the first 3rd generation mobiles phones which had internet capabilities (Notice an increase in the evolution pace?). Finally 2007 and 2008 were the dawn of the first Iphone and the first Android respectively. Two Systems that are dominating the current market but where do we go from here?

Operating Systems Operated By Who?

First of all, let’s talk about philosophies,
Apple Inc. believes in the use of closed technologies. This means users must buy Apple approved content in Apple run stores to use onApple products. Their technology is locked so there can be no modification. The idea is that users will have to stay loyal to Apple and all their content can stay owned by Apple. This is good in that it allows Apple to build themselves ‘a good defence’, they are free from viruses and are protected from other companies stealing their products. It’s all about control.

Android Vs Apple

Now, as for Android,
Android is owned by Google and Google’s policy revolves round open sourcing and freedom to create. Want to use Adroid’s API to produce your own content? Go for it (Android APIs)! Ever wanted to embed Youtube into your app? Knock yourself out (Youtube APIs)! This means content for android is freely created by users. The users become ‘Prosumers’. Sure this opens up the operating system to viruses and misuse but anyone can make a defence from the very same viruses as well. Freedom to create.

Clash Of The Titans: Who Will Come Out On Top?

Freedom is good, does that make Apple evil and Android our savior? No.
I’ve always had Android phones and while I may be prone to viruses and I have to filter through junk apps before finding a real gem, the freedom to create as I please and customize to my hearts content appeals to me as a ‘techy type’. My Mum on the other hand, she’s always had an Iphone. She doesn’t want to create or customize, she just wants to use her Iphone as intended and she doesn’t have to worry about viruses. It all depends on personal circumstance.

An indication of trends in the smartphone market

As we can see in this table, Google has grown faster and shipped more smart phones than Apple so from a business standpoint Google is ahead. But we can also see Apple is still ahead of the remainder of the competition. Due to their strong control, Apple can not simply go down without a fight

Sharing is Caring, or is it?

We grow up being taught that we must share our things, then all of a sudden we grow up and now if we try to share, lawyers fly out like ninjas and tear strips of off us. What’s the deal? What is this copyright business and why is it such a brutal no-no?

Copyright: The Opposite of Pasteleft… isn’t it?

Copyright is a law put in place to stop anyone other than the original creator of the content from using the idea behind the content like it was their own. So, before copyright, if you wrote a masterpiece, anybody could just take it and reproduce it in their own name. Authors and publishers weren’t protected, it was a problematic time. Hence, in 1710, Queen Anne produced ‘The Statute of Queen Anne‘ (Creative title, I know). This entitled authors and publishers 14 years of ownership where they were the only ones who could decide who had the rights to use their works.

Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ was published in 1979, does that mean I can make my own version of how the story goes? Simple answer, No. For as long as copyright has been around, Authors and Publishers have been trying to extend it. From the original 14 years in 1710 to the Berne convention in 1886, giving ownership for 50 years after the Authors death, to the current setting, 70 years after an authors death or if created by a corporation, 120 years after creation.

Can’t get enough of copyrights? Like fast talking? Try this (Click here to view in Youtube)

Why The Long Face/Copyright length?

Let’s not beat around the bush here, Disney is behind the lengthy copyright laws. But why? Well, it’s to do with control. Disney is one of the four biggest companies in media ownership today (The others being Viacom, Newscorp and Times Warner). Disney’s overwhelming size is due to them building a ‘conglomerate’ with the control over media they collected creating content or buying it from others.

“Conglomerates sound fun”, said no one, ever, so why has Disney built such an impressive one? Preservation.
A conglomerate is A collection of sub companies that form a larger business but are distinctly separate. This means, even if one of Disney’s smaller branches falls, it won’t have an adverse affect on the rest of Disney

Want more information on these big media conglomerates? try here.

That Makes Sense, Now Why Won’t You Leave Me Alone About It?

Copyright laws are coming under hardship with the growth of the internet as it is becoming increasingly difficult to define who owns what. With the rise of sites such as Youtube, Soundcloud and DeviantArt, where the user creates the content and sharing is encouraged, traditional copyright laws are developing holes in it’s system. I know I’m gonna be keeping my eye out for big changes in the copyright system soon.

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.

Books? TVs? Game Consoles? Do You Mean My Modern Media Platform?

Would you argue if I said people enjoy parties because we like to group things, such as our friends, together in one convenient place?

What about grouping together all our favourite forms of media on one convenient platform?

This City Needs a Hero! Enter: The Prosumer

Some thoughts to get the ball rolling (Click Here to watch in Youtube)

We are in an age of media convergence.  In the past there was a clear separation between the three main elements of convergence, the Audience, the Industry and Technology. With the move from analog to digital that most media platforms seem to be following nowadays, technology has evolved into something that enables the audience as opposed to restrict them, allowing the consumer and the producer to merge supporting a new generation of ‘prosumers’.

Let Me Look Up a Terrible Phone Joke On My iDroid

Do me a favor and look at your phone. Most of the people reading this will have some kind of smart phone or know someone that owns one. A small few may even be viewing this article on a smart phone.
“I thought we were talking about convergence. Why am I staring at my phone?”
Well, the smart phone is a prime example of a media platform born from convergence. 20 years ago, one would go to a cinema to watch a movie or buy a newspaper to read the news but with these forms of media converging, we can do so much without having to leave our homes or even our beds.
Remind you of anything?

From Words and Concepts to Whole Phrases: Yay! We’re Learning

With all this ‘Converging’ and ‘Prosuming’ we have begun to find that , “the medium is the message” (Federman 2004). What does that mean? It’s a phrase first stated by Marshal Mcluhan that identifies that the content of a platform is so dependent on it’s medium that the medium influences the message found in the content.

Mcluhan and his “medium is the message” phrase (click Here to watch in Youtube)

Dawn of the blogging

Welcome all,

So it seems this is my new blog for my BCM course. I’ve often thought about starting a blog but I’ve never got around to it… till now (Guess it had something to do with my profound ability to get sidetracked easily).

Firstly a little about me. My name is Ralphie but most call me Ralph. I’m a communications and media studies student and am interested in how information is expanding and how that affects us. I love gaming, from Pokemon to Devil May Cry, I play the acoustic guitar and spend ridiculous amounts of time on Youtube. I also love films, from horror to romance, comedy to documentary, Hollywood blockbuster to low-budget atrocities, I’ll watch it all… And probably make fun of it (What was that someone said about getting sidetracked easily?).

To make a long story slightly longer, I hope you find some interest in my hardly justified nonsense and I’m keen to see where this takes us.