Not So Social Networking

From anonymous Facebook pages inspired by gossip girl ‘confessions’ to ‘leaked snapchat pics’ to Tinders inconsolable practice of rating womens bodies, the online world enables users to hide behind their screens and project their opinions- be they racist, sexist or cruel- in a way in which they remain anonymous and unaccountable for their actions.

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With over 500 million active Facebook users worldwide, 21st century bullying places a high emphasis on the cyber component. Scarily, this trend does not just apply to teens (the generalised audience for cyber activity). A study in 2010 revealed that 65% of Year 4 Primary aged students experienced cyber bullying. On the other side of the spectrum, leading professionals, especially journalists, are not exempt from such anonymous tactics. The hash tag #mencallmethings illuminates the same prejudice and online bullying, in a more vulgar manner and particularly targeted toward women. The hashtag was designed to name and shame these misogynistic members of society and raise awareness so that women may band together in their outrage. 

Tiger Beatdown’ analyses the elements which mark these hateful comments as sexist. Please note the following content contains vulgar language and horrific threats. 

Comments targeting women are sexist when containing one or more of the following themes:

1. “The weaker sex”

2. “Unfuckable whores” 

3. “Queer”

4. Rape themes 

5. “You’re Crazy”

6. “You’re not a woman”

7. “You’re no fun at all” (in regards to remaining professional and refusing to engage in sexual activities)

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Thousands of tweets illuminate the great extent to which women have been targeted via anonymous communication methods, many online through social media and comments on reviews, blogs or websites. Email, text and mail are further methods in which women have received anti-feminist propaganda and hateful content. 

A lack of identity is a contemporary issue allowing for extended freedom in crime and inappropriate behaviour. Originiating in Russia 2009 before spreading to Australia, the ‘porn virus’ targeted users who breached child porn policies. Hackers activated the users webcam during use and claimed to be members of Federal Police. Hackers then issued a ‘fine’ for their breach in child pornography and often gained credit card details as well as a bank deposit. This scam occurred online and anonymously, as users thought their captors were members of the police force. 

In case you need it: Girls Guide for Staying Safe Online

REFERENCES:

Schipano, L 2014, Modern Bullies Hide Behind a Computer Screen,The Punch: Australia’s Best Conversation, weblog, 12 November, viewed 16 May 2014, <http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/modern-bullies-hiding-behind-a-computer-screen/&gt;.

Sady, J 2011, But how do you know its sexist? The #mencallmethings round-up, Tiger Beatdown, weblog, 10 November, 16 May 2014, <http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/11/10/but-how-do-you-know-its-sexist-the-mencallmethings-round-up/&gt;. 

Houston, C 2013, ‘Porn Users Extorted’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August, viewed 16 May 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/national/porn-users-tricked-in-cyber-extortion-20130817-2s3v3.html&gt;.

 

Online vs Offline in Youth vs Politics

Social media and online platforms allow for effective mobilisation and dissemination. Methods of communication are efficient, diverse and more accessible than ever, thus collective intelligence allows expression of mutual ideas politically.

ITP.net argues the disadvantage to online activism by a lack of personal connection. However, impersonal communication fosters a confidence for individuals to express their opinion without fear of physical retribution and without the second party knowing their identity. Thus, an impersonal nature harbours greater, bolder communication essential for a protest. Social media, particularly Facebook, facilitates individuals ability to post opinions:

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It is through social media platforms that youth are able to engage with politics socially. Questions can be asked and evaluated with peers in a non-confrontational and less formal matter.

In contrast, political discussions and demonstrations offline have declined as  youths trend a ‘worldwide disengagement’ in politics. Offline methods lead to a greater insecurity in which individuals are accountable for their beliefs to the general public. March in March was a series of protests against the Abbott government, run by Leesa Little. Yet even this offline demonstration was coodinated by online means, through a series of messages across websites, blogs and social media channels. Attendance to this march, while inclusive of a range of ethnicites, had few youthful members, despite active online involvement by youths.

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Due to an increase in individuality, online methods provide an outlet for youths to express their political opinion and work actively toward it. However, organised offline group movements do not satisfy youth needs for security, individualism and convenience and thus the political demonstrations are left largely to the older demographic.

REFERENCES:

Gwen Davis 2012, Online or Offline Activism, ITP.net, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.itp.net/584108-online-or-offline-activism&gt;.

Paul, J 2011, Why Activism?, Pro-Life Commentary, blog post, 28 February, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.savelivesonline.com/pro-life-commentary/why-activism&gt;.

Leesa, L 2014, ‘March in March Australia: a National Protest against the Abbott Government’, Independent Australia, 21 February, viewed 6 May, <http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/march-in-march-australia-a-national-protest-against-the-abbott-government,6198&gt;.

Leesa Little 2014, March in March, image, Social Observant, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://leesalittle.com/tag/march-in-march/&gt;.

The Rise of Remix Culture

Beginning in the late 1960s/early 1970s in New York, remix culture and the act of ‘taking samples from pre-existing materials to combine them into new forms according to personal taste’ has extended itself into an integral element of the music industry. Frequently, tracks that reach high ratings are targeted for remixes, often to change the genre of the song to enable a fresh, danceable tune. Even artists do so with their own tracks, as seen with Katy Perry:

Remix functions as an intervention to highlight the flow of meaning within a text. It provides a medium of expression that is increasingly diverse and accessible. Through satire and other mash-up components, remix illuminates messages audiences would have otherwise been naturalised to. Consider the images below.

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‘Rosie the Riveter’ was part of a 1950s campaign encouraging women into the workforce. Her image has become a timeless representation of feminism and invites audiences to empower the role of women and feel comfortable by their leaving domestic restrictions. However, by subverting this image, modern audiences are invited to take one step further and place the male in the domestic environment. Thus, values of the role of men and women have been publicly called into question; whereas most have been naturalised to the idea of women in the workforce AND at home, most lack deep consideration of the domestic man.

“Everything has already been said before”. Including that statement, which Andre Gide imparted upon us. So what are the restrictions of remix, especially within music, if messages and mediums have since been spoken? Illy, an Australian music artist, brings this very matter to our attention in his song “Heard it all”.

To take it one step further, is it really, truly, ABSOLUTELY possible to run out of new music?

Mathematically, there will always be room for something new. Yet, interestingly, the human condition is wired to appreciate a limited number of melodies and tunes. Therefore, even by remixing songs and audio, the human mind is limited to a finite amount of musical tracks. Sure, there are others that would be new, but outside of those tunes that appeal to our brains, would we care?

The remix culture is rising, but how much more can it go before we run out of new material?

REFERENCES:

Eduardo Navas, 2006, Remix Theory, Remix Theory, viewed 5 May 2014, <http://remixtheory.net/?page_id=2&gt;.

2013, He can do it, image, Male + Feminism, viewed 5 May 2014, <http://menforwomen.wordpress.com&gt;.

Andre Gide 2014, Andre Gide Quotes, Think Exist.com, viewed 5 May 2014, <http://thinkexist.com/quotation/everything_has_been_said_before-but_since_nobody/10203.html&gt;.

 

 

 

 

The Transmedia Narrative

“Transmedia storytelling represents a PROCESS where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across MULTIPLE DELIVERY CHANNELS for the purpose of creating a UNIFIED and coodinated entertainment experience.”

– Henry Jenkins

A transmedia narrative is one story scattered over many channels. Mediums including comics, games, movies, TV series, podcasts and books represent channels through which information that helps build a world are contained.Through these, characters, plots, backstories and riveting concepts are revealed. A true fan may experience each of these mediums and become well versed in everything to do with the text. However, companies like Marvel, who have thousands of comics detailing intimate backstories, may experience difficulty taking full advantage of this information. It is not safe to assume that an audience of the ‘Iron Man’ movie has read comics and other channels to gain insight. Thus, the delicate process of balancing new viewers and linking to old content is presented.

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Krishna Stott outlines the way in which a narrative transforms into a transmedia narrative. Begining first with plot and target audience, it is then essential to construct a ‘story world’.

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These worlds allow for complexity and interrelated characters. There is no linear timeline. By producing such a broad array of information, content can flow between cultures and over great periods of time. These extensions also create different points of entry for different audience segments.

It seems, however, that these worlds are a means to profit. Collective intelligence reaches such a huge perspective that we cannot access all segments of information within the channels. Thus we must purchase the limited edition book, the comic series, the board game and sometimes further collective intelligence is required to navigate these things. It encourages an encyclopedic impulse to document and understand everything, at a profit to the company.

“We are drawn to master what can be known about a world and can always expand beyond our grasp”

– Jenkins

This quote cements the unpredictable, unrestricted nature of worlds in transmedia narratives and our desire to comprehend them.

 

REFERENCES:

Stott, K 2014, What are the Transformational Steps to take from Traditional Media to Transmedia?, Bellyfeel, blog post, 19 March, viewed 4 May 2014, <http://www.bellyfeel.co.uk/bfblog/2014/03/19/what-are-the-3-transformational-steps-from-traditional-media-to-transmedia/&gt;.

Jenkins, H 2008, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York University Press, New York.

 

 

Produsage and the Participatory Culture

Understand, first, what it means to be an audience or “people formerly known as the audience” (Jay Rosen). The modern ‘consumer’ is not so timid. The most frequent thing people do when they open a webpage? GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! With the entire internet offering variety, distraction and the promise of something better, it takes a lot to keep audiences engaged.

Easier, is to get them involved. 75% of people utilise a second screen to contribute to the online conversation. Be it Twitter, Facebook or Shazam, audiences have transformed themselves to form communities of collective intelligence. For example, Channel 9’s ‘The Block’ airs the tweets of its audience, extending the conversation not only to twitter users, but national viewers.

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And why not become involved? There is a low cost of entry, low up-front risk and the largest gatekeepers are primarily the self. These communities introduce the idea of produsage, which, according to Bruns (2007) have 4 characteristics:

1. An organisational shift (between individuals, groups, teams and communities)

2. A fluid movement (changing roles as dictated by experience, use and skill)

3. Unfinished (not being discreet but encompassing some form of clear edit, mash-up or remix)

4. Permissive (There is open access, with more emphasis on merit than ownership)

But Bruns misses a key element- at the core of produsage is community. Why else invest time and interest in the construction of mash-ups and other mediums if not for dissemination? Comments, shares, mash-ups of mash-ups, produsage is, at its heart, an announcement to the community waiting to be shared and appreciated. Connectivity leads to connection of similar interests and appreciation. For this reason, despite having the worlds knowledge in our pockets, we choose to laugh at cat meme’s and YouTube fail posts. The participatory culture invites users to question, analyse and contribute to everything in order to present something new or different. Even music:

REFERENCES:

2014, Tweeting highlights of Fans vs Faves, The Block Jump In, viewed 7 April 2014, <http://www.jump-in.com.au/show/theblock/fans-v-faves/&gt;.

Axis of Awesome, 2011, 4 Chords, YouTube video, 20 July, YouTube, viewed 7 April 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOlDewpCfZQ&gt;.

Jay Rosen, R 2006, ‘The people formerly known as the audience’, Pressthink, 27 June, viewed 7 April 2014, <http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html&gt;.

 

 

 

 

Shazam, It’s Users and the Global World

Shazam has over 420 million  users in 200 countries, has the capacity to engage with the 70% of television consumers utilising second screen advertising and can reach anyone with a smartphone. In 2014, 1 in 5 people own a smartphone- that’s 22% of the population! Shazam epitomises what it means to have a global audience.

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Shazam’s audience has only one implemented restriction: users must be over the age of 18 (13 with parental permission). Having attracted a globally diverse audience, does the app meet the standards of its consumers? How did users find the interaction process?

Google Play Store 2014 reviews:

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#Shazam:

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Moreover, as a sample cohort, I’m interested in your review.

If looking for responders’ opinion of the app, links below allow for further reading.

Earlier discussions have established Shazam’s dynamic software. This ability to adapt to consumers reviews and usage patterns facilitate its endurance and this months update is no exception. Only just announced, the app released its update in response to audience demand. February has marked a 15% increase in video interaction, a 50% increase in views of lyrics and a 10% increase in the number of times a discovery is shared. This conversation is boosted in the coming update with “an improved integration of the social sharing options including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WhatsApp and Pinterest” which firmly promotes Shazam as an effective dialogic technology.

Further information about the new update can be found here.

shazamred

ShazamRED, launched in 2009, revolutionises the role of consumers and industries through providing a link to third world countries estranged from technology. Shazam is the first mobile app to endorse the product. It involves taking 20% of the purchase price ($4.99) and contributing it toward the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Music really can change the world ❤

 

REFERENCES

2014, Shazam Key Stats with Top Countries, image, Shazam, viewed 20 March 2014, <http://news.shazam.com/images/shazam-key-stats-with-top-countries-225879&gt>

Shazam, 2013, Shazam Terms and Conditions, Shazam, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://www.shazam.com/tc#12&gt>

2014, Shazam (service), Wikipedia, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shazam_(service)&gt>

2014, Advertisers, Reaching out to more than 420 million users, Shazam, viewed 3 April 2014, <https://www.shazam.com/music/web/advertisers.html&gt;

John Heggestuan, JH 2013, ‘One in every five people in the world own a smartphone, one in every 17 own a tablet’, Business Insider Australia, 19 October, viewed 4 April 2014, < http://www.businessinsider.com.au/smartphone-and-tablet-penetration-2013-10&gt;

2014, Shazam, Google Play Store, viewed 4 April 2014, <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shazam.android&gt>

2014, New Lyrics, Video and Sharing Experience in Shazam’s update, Shazam, viewed 4 April 2014, <http://news.shazam.com/pressreleases/new-lyrics-video-and-sharing-experience-in-shazam-update-978102&gt>

2009, ShazamRED, image, AppAdvice, viewed 4 April 2014, <http://appadvice.com/appnn/2009/12/shazam-encore-and-shazam-red-on-sale-for-the-holidays&gt>

Etherington, 2009, ShazamRED makes the App Store a slightly kinder place,Gigaom, WordPress, 25 November, viewed 4 April 2014, <http://gigaom.com/2009/11/25/shazamred-makes-the-app-store-a-slightly-kinder-place/&gt>

REVIEWS

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shazam.android

http://www.cnet.com/products/shazam-android/

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/shazam/id284993459?mt=8

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/google-android/3319837/shazam-for-android-review/