Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Not-so-Futuristic, The Chapter Mason is Missing

When we think about the future, our juvenile minds take us on a journey to a land where sky scrapers are higher than the twin towers, where cars hover, and we are all wearing sunglasses that wrap around our heads as if it is a virtual simulator. I recently viewed a video on YouTube that portrayed a potential future that is more realistic to the road we are currently travelling; regarding media communication, and everyday tasks. The video depicted a day in the life an average working man, from waking up and turning off his alarm clock by sliding his hand over his phone without touching it. It proceeded to show a girl in the bathroom brushing her teeth, the mirror doubled as a touch screen giving her a day calendar, a clock, with a news feed of current events that she could instantaneously share with whomever she clicked on. The idea behind the video was that new technology is not that far off when we consider how far it has come, and the touch screen has literally swarmed our nation. Cellphones, ipods, and ipads are leaving their mark and sparking the imagination of pirates everywhere.

Although the video was created through editing and adding the touch screens in after the video was taken, the idea is still there. All that needs to happen is for the right pirate to create, or rather manipulate existing software and make this video a reality.

The reality as of right now is that there is technology that exists at this moment of wireless power. Systems currently exist that deliver electricity to devices without wires at all. What needs to happen now is for a skilled programmer (when I say this I can’t help but think about pirates) to tackle the technical aspect of this concept, and design the physical and metaphoric interior.

Our world has mad in necessary to give hands on opportunities to gain insight and real experience. Touch screens are literally hands on equipment and I believe it brings more connectivity to the average thoughts of media such as video games, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of moving your mouse a few inches to the right you can physically touch where you want to go. In this sense it could minimize frustrations of use of a mouse. Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it doesn’t connect properly and this is a mild solution to that. Not to mention, we already take our phones with us everywhere and if this desktop mechanism could actually collapse and expand at your desired touch it would round yet another corner in technological myths.

This technology is out there, it just needs to be tweaked and adjusted to our society’s desire.  

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hip-hop Is Facebook


 The internet has become an industry in itself. Like the hip-hop music industry, or brand name clothing (accessories etc.); both of these industries are discussed by Matt Mason, in chapter five of The Pirates Dilemma. The music business has branches known as genres, the fashion business has branches known as labels or “brand names”, and similarly the internet has branches too, I would call them outlets. Since Web 2.0 has evolved the internet has transformed into a source of entertainment, education and communication. As Mason compares hip-hope to the brand name company FUBU he say, “like hip-hop, FUBU is a grassroot D.I.Y outfit that came up from the streets, remixing existing media into its own pirate material and forging a strong authentic connection with a massive audience.” (Mason, 180) This is exactly where the internet came from, and what is has become.

Clothing, and music have existed for centuries, and on the same wave length so has communication. By taking something as simple at as a sound, or a hat (as FUBU did) and reproducing it with signature changes one can create a whole new product. As Mason frequently states that pirates are entrepreneurs, I must agree with this and defend it. Pirates are not coming up with brand new ideas that have never been heard of, instead they are elaborating on current ones. Mason shares in chapter three: Remix Culture, that our society is lacking originality in our ideas, and pirates are the entrepreneurs that repurpose, recreate and build upon these existing ideas.

Like hip-hop, which is a recreation of disco music the internet extrapolated from letters, telephones, advertisement flyers to emails, outlets such as Skype, Facebook and web pages created by companies to gain clientele.

Hip-hop was a new music that wanted to gain attention, and the internet is thirsty for the same recognition.

Mark Zuckerburg came up with a networking idea that exploded on the internet which we all know as Facebook. Facebook is a rendition of hip-hop, with the same aspirations and growing off MySpace instead of disco the same path was followed to obtain the ultimate goal of audience satisfaction. Along this path Facebook was critiqued, changed, adjusted, and manipulated to perfection as was hip-hop. As Jason Russell, creator of the Kony 2012 video states: “right now there are more people on Facebook then there were on the planet two hundred years ago” this is a staggering statistic it unbelievably believable. Facebook is an outlet the people resort in moments of boredom, curiosity of what others are doing, a desire to talk to friends or family, or to post their own thoughts, photos, and updates statuses.

It does sound superficial as I say it now, but this is the way society has creatively altered the way we communicate, as hip-hop altered our sound interests.

Similarly YouTube has certainly altered our source of entertainment, and elaborated our idea of “home videos” by broadcasting everything and anything an individual does in the comfort of their own home (at their discretion of course).

My point is that hip-hop is a culturally accepted form of music, like anything in our world: some people love it and some people hate it. It is impossible to please the entire population, but it is probable to create an outlet that will impact the majority.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Building a Platform Fom the Web Up.

With the explosion of Web 2.0, people began roaming the internet like never before, and with every click, URL and search inquiry companies began profiling these people. When citizens took to the internet with their blogs of opinions and Fliker accounts of personal photography, companies did not hesitate to invade their client’s spaces. In this aspect, it became easy for the capitalist industry to use their client base as a platform for their personal advertising and gain insight to what was desired by society. Soren Mork Petersen uses the term “piggybacking” in his article Loser Generated Content: From Participation to Exploration, when he describes the relationship between media participants on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc. to those who are attempting to influence them through social networking. The relationship as Petersen describes it reconfigures patterns of use into practices which carries a resemblance of work relations, transforming users into losers.” (Petersen)

Companies infringe upon citizens online opinion outlets in order to build a platform that reflects their online profiles, to broaden their audience, and supporters. Using the incredibly visible outlet of the internet it is a simple procedure to find out information and personal opinions because they are broadcast so consistantly.

The first major topic of discussion Petersen reviews is Google purchasing Usenet. When Usenet was created in 1979 by Tom Turnscott and Jim Ellis the idea was simple, with no main server they constructed virtual bulletin board. A lot like blogging, people were able to post their thoughts and opinions so when Google purchased this system their idea was to get inside people’s minds without them fully realizing what was happening. They used unsuspecting people to change and adapt ad campaigns, computer programs and other media material with the help of these citizens.

Facebook is such a powerful social media it is of course piggybacked upon by larger companies. By creating a Facebook page for your company you can add friends, or people can like your page. With this tactic, the more “likes” you have, the more your page is noticed by “friends” of those who “liked” it and the greater chance you have at building your platform (thanks to Facebook). Inevitably people spend much time committed to Facebook, they don’t hesitate to use Facebook as a mask and post comments on company or brands walls in order to make their voice heard. The companies however love this and take these comments into serious consideration; as simple as writing a letter, this media outlet is public, immediate and other “friends” can comment and contribute to the discussion.

Some may view this as an invasion, but because the internet is so blatantly public already there is a contradicting tone in that statement.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Treat the Threat as an Opportunity

Instead of discouraging open source media, we should all be embracing this social outreach of experimentation and expression. Companies are treating open source media as a threat to their products, revenue, and ultimate success. Matt Mason agrees that we should support open source media, in chapter five of his book The Pirates Dilemma. Mason argues that “society finds new ways to share ideas that advance the common good, private interests move in to stop this from happening, to maintain the old systems that benefit only the elite”. (Mason, 142) The problem with society thinking this way is that the elites are becoming the minority, and in a democratic society we are slowly showing ourselves as the majority. Pirates are part of this majority and they are fighting to create a world of open source media. This notion entails that anyone has access to the workings within a program, or software, and recreation of something existing such as music, or a better example is Wikipedia. Access to Wikipedia is easy, and allows anyone to change content, to some this is an absurd new innovation, but to others it is exceptional and mandatory. As Mason says: “nineteenth-century intellectual property laws suited that past, but they are not quite right for the future, and stifle creativity rather than encourage it.” (Mason, 142)

People are certainly grasping the idea of open source media, the major influence that strikes their appeal is the no-cost factor, but there are many other advantages to this increasing outlet of media.

This media can benefit everyone from the original producer, to the manipulator and the audience, in more ways than cost efficiency.  One aspect that is over looked is the lifespan of these sources; they can live eternally through the expansion and changes made to the original idea. Even if the original creator no longer supports the system, odds are likely that someone will be able to maintain it for you (if not yourself) and expand upon it. In the media industry competition in high and if a company does not use open source media then they are the only ones who can maintain your product and sell you upgrades. Someone like Bill Grates who created the software program BASIC decided that he would not use open source media because he felt his innovation was worth money, and not just for free public distribution. What he failed to realize, but Linus Torvalds did was: “‘in many cases businesses are losing out on opportunities because of their information-hoarding mind-set. They don’t realize that their customers know more than they do’”. (Mason, 150 and Linus Torvalds)

Gates didn’t realize this, and although he made a large profit from his software, because he was the only one with access to the interior no one could tell if there were flaws to perfect or unwanted code within it. Today this is unappealing to the majority because people are extremely interested in recreating their software to their own standards, as well as assisting other with similar views and desires.

When Windows 7 came out with their campaign “I’m a PC and windows 7 was my idea” they are not false advertising, however they did make it difficult for their customers to be satisfied. If they had used an open source media they could have evolved more quickly, and the clients could have become the assistant-creators. Often when a company uses open source media the original producer can see when they change it and upgrade it to their desire, the more people who flock to the new idea, the more likely the company is to change their overall product with societies hands-on help.

Change is a good thing, cliché as this statement is, it holds true to the media industry. Open minds and open source media are part of the growing desires in our supply and demand society. In order to succeed isolation from clients is not the conscientious direction.

Creating Change: Majority vs. Minority

Pirating has become accepted, and necessary in our technological word, as Matt Mason confirms in chapter two of his book The Pirates Dilemma. Throughout this chapter the main themes Mason conveys is that pirating is a good thing. He takes us through the history of pirating, explaining how it has been going on for centuries and evolved greatly in 1906. This is the time when DJ Fezzy broadcasted the first radio show with music and the voice of a human being. He was the inventor of the AM radio that we are all familiar with today. Radio was a breakthrough in piracy, and it sparked the interest of many. Others followed in DJ Fezzy’s footsteps and even resorted to broadcasting from international waters; in order to avoid the laws of copyright and theft. As it has, and continues to evolve it is affecting a great number of participants and viewers in every aspect of pirating. Pirates are not thieves they are just people who want to expand the population’s knowledge of existing material, express their opinions of it, provoke thought, and promote creativity.  Mason states that the common knowledge of pirating is society thinking about a man selling poor quality DVD’s of a movie only released in theaters. This is in part true but pirates are being given a false reputation due to their invasion of media platforms and scolding from corporations that created the original content.

We need to take advantage of the fact that these entrepreneurs are working on solo projects to project material to the population that may not have otherwise been acknowledged.

Society often looks down upon pirating acts because they are gaining more popularity with less political structure. Businesses are losing clientele because pirates are giving them material with easy access. The power has shifted from the “elites” or business corporations to us, the citizens with the help of Web 2.0. By making everything simply, and immediately available there is lack of necessity for these major media outlets. This forces them to inaugurate new policies and attempt to establish or reinforce copyright laws.

Democracy has a strong influence over our society, and today pirates and their audience is becoming the majority, while the law and law makers are becoming the minority. In order for any entrepreneur to be successful there must people who desire their commodity.  Commodities such as DVD’s, music, and blogs that express simplification of a subject, and other pirated materials are desired by the population, enabling the progression of pirates. A good example of pirated DVD’s causing issues for the film industry is the collapse of Blockbuster. With so much online opportunity for customers to find a more convenient, and close source for movies, Blockbuster had little choice; they were not meeting client demands.

Mason says that when pirates do something worth-while, or exceptional it creates a discussion that often leads to changing the law based around the newest idea of pirating. Based on this “discussion” spared by pirates Blockbuster created Blockbuster@Home to compensate for their physical loss and gain an invisible online purpose. There are two ways in which pirates avoid consequences pertaining to privacy – either change the law, or ignore it. Favourable of the two outcomes is ignoring it. This is seen in the illegal downloading of music, movies, and other copyright material.

As well pirated DVDs are not going to disappear anytime soon because the law says so. This is an income for the pirates and their discretion has become impeccable. It leaves me pondering: what’s next? Pirates changed the way in which we view movies by pulling people into the realm of Web 2.0, and I think this is just the beginning. Theaters are not closed due to pirates, and in this sense concerts are still taking place regardless of the fact that they can be streamed live to your computer without leaving your room. Piracy is changing the entertainment industry entirely.

I leave you with this thought: John Berger, the author of Ways of Seeing stated, with respect to art that art comes to us, we no longer need to go to it. He was referring to the media and the internet. This is what is happening with every other entertainment outlet as well. If pirates continue to do what they are inevitably going to, large corporations/companies should prepare for the next wave that washes over Web 2.0. (Berger 123)

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Paris, 2008. Print.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Artists and Amateurs

Matt Mason’s book The Pirates Dilemma confronts the current scrutiny of copyright and pirating through remixes in the music industry. The Pirates Dilemma discusses how artists or even companies react to people (everyday citizens sometimes) taking something from them without authorization. In chapter three the main theme is remixing. Remixing has become an entire new aspect of the music industry.

Although we are used to remixing and recreating this does not mean we have lost the spark of originality, in fact, I believe remixing is an innovative way to make something different.

As Mason says “humans have always created new things by repurposing old ones” (Mason, 71) and music is an ideal example of repurposing. Songs that have been remixed clearly made an impact the first time, in order to even be considered for recreation. In this sense one song can be given multiple personalities, and appeal to a larger audience by appearing in different genre settings.

Mason refers to the Grey Album in his book, which is clearly a piracy act violation, however it is an example of a mashup. By taking the White Album (The Beatles) and The Black Album (Jay-Z) Danger Mouse was able to create an intensely diverse mixture of two completely separate artists. By giving the two albums a new voice he was able to prolong the lifespan of them both, and reconnect original fans in a different style. Today DJs are using mashups, remixing, and recreations of old songs to appeal to a new audience. 

Remix DJs are exceptionally talented, and they bring a new diversity to old beats. Hip-hop is today’s most influential music genre that speaks to the young population.  This can easily be used as a tactic to influence and promote revenue in clubs. By taking DJs such as Mikey Bo, who has talent for recreating songs such as Rascal Flat – What Hurts the Most, and Bon Jovi – Dead or Alive and giving them a new perspective. Mason suggests that “rather than taking big gambles on new, unproven ideas hit concepts are repackaged, repositioned, and sold again” (Mason, 84). Sounding as though this is a negative aspect of the remix, I disagree with Mason, by recreating something you can give it the original artist more publicity and create interpellation to a new audience.

Citizen Media is an advancement that should be terrifying to music producers, as this implies that anyone with access to a mix board, or technology such as traktor (which allows you mix songs within other songs and create different effects and sounds) can create their own mashups and remixes, and put them on the internet. Due to the explosion of Web 2.0 the internet has become a place of amateur DJs, and interested teenagers to express themselves. This does pose a conflict with music industry and artists by bringing in a third (uninvited) party who has just as much access to the material.   

The major issue that stands in the way of this remix culture we are creating through the web (youtube, podcasts, blogs ect.) is the copyright laws that currently stand. By changing these laws (which would be an extensive process) we would be able to collaborate successful artists with unprofessional DJs who can manipulate a mix board extensively and bring new innovation to the way each song is heard. There is a Fair Use Agreement which means that items usually under copyright protection can be granted a leeway in such circumstances as commentary, teaching reasons, or research. There should be a law furthering this agreement in the hopes that artists and amateurs can come to an understanding of remix culture. It is a part of society already, and although there are some loop holes, I believe it could bring a new dimension into musical appreciation.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Crowdsurfing into the age of Crowdsourcing

Trebor Scholz wrote an online article entitled Market Ideology and the Myths of Web 2.0,depicting the myths surrounding Web 2.0, but more so the future of the internet altogether. Within the article he touches on social networking, and states that “people like to be where other people are”. He uses this phrase to support the social networking sites such as facebook, and credits their success to the massive audience and dedicated users. Comparing it to previous networks such as myspce, and even before Facebook when there were sites, like for example, created for (in this case African-Americans) particular groups. Although Facebook and Twitter have been so explosive people are neglecting to remember that the internet has been used as a social networking site since 1973; when the invention of the first email, APRNET was introduced. As soon as social networking was exposed there came into being, a free labour execution partaken in by the clientele of the internet, and businesses. By going online and perusing the web you are acting as a host, and your actions directly correlate with marketing schemes. This has made it immensely easy for companies to draw in business without even selling a product, but rather selling a platform. The term crowdsourcing was introduced as a term meaning a job is offered, over the internet, to a large group of people who get paid little, to nothing for their labour. Flowing beyond the internet tasks are now being performed by customers themselves rather than the employees. Examples from this article are self-check-out counters, printing your own tickets in advance, or simply just disposing of trash when leaving a fast food restaurant.

Our society has glided towards a “self-help” alternative route, where we feel independent and assertive by performing our own tasks.

Technology has pushed us in this direction subtly but consistently. We can now use our credit, and debit cards to pump our own gas, and online banking allows us to remain responsible to our bills even in our pajamas. Crowdsourcing is a revolutionary and democratic design which allows the audience to conduct the show. This may be a metaphoric translation but it can also refer to the audience of shows such as American Idol, or Dancing with the stars. In both cases the audience decides who continues on in the competition and who is voted off. This is a marketing scheme to ensure that majority roles apply, and therefore more viewers will stay tuned in to, and support their favourite contestant.

Another example is that, regular citizens with hobbies like photography can be used instead of a real photographer that would be expensive to hire. Even using images that previously been taken can be obtained (with condolence from the photographer) and used again. In newspapers and magazines there are sections which share strictly readers’ comments, humours stories, or opinions. They are not getting paid to write in to these medias, but the media itself is filling pages without having to hire writers. It works because people like to hear others opinions, and be able to relate to them from the same perspective is desirable.

Technology is advancing and in doing so jobs are being cut. There is no longer a need for multiple cashiers at franchises such as Wal Mart, or gas stations because the customers can easily help themselves. Photography has always been a popular hobby among people, and candid shots have evolved with the new digital cameras containing many settings and features to look professional; not to mention the accessible editing programs like photoshop. In this case family members are even being asked to take wedding photos, or talented family friends to take portraits for little or no money at all.

Crowdsourcing is great for franchises and social media, but for independent entrepreneur’s this may mean a new career.  

Monday, 5 March 2012

Google Is Not An Academic Data Base

Vaidyhyanathan suggests, in his book The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) that knowledge is confrontation of the “new and different”. He believes that Google filters each individual’s searches, and therefor they cannot gain insightful knowledge, but simply confirm what they already know, preventing them from “higher education”.

The Googlization of students, Vaidyhyanathan argues is that students especially, those in post-secondary education, are using Google as a primary source for information.  The arguments in The Googlization of Everything fear that Google is shaping the minds and expectations of students when it comes to any search engine. This is troublesome for academic searches, because if students are confused at the lack of immense simplicity they will ultimately retreat to Google.

Research is a vital part of education, and learning how to properly conduct research, through academic sources, is critical for students independency. Google is a tool that should be used for basic searches, to rely on this tool for depth into academic inquiries is unrealistic. The fact is that there are certain features which Google, neither has, nor should attempt to conceive.  To think of Google as shopping plaza or mall is similar to think of academic searches as a library; these are separate locations, and convey separate messages. The library is place for knowledge, to grasp meaning and plunge the depth of something new and mindfully intriguing, where the mall or plaza is an activity partaken in to rest the mind, to pursue less significant actions such as shopping, eating and chatting.

It is important that we keep in mind that academic institutions are accessible and driven to cater to the students as their dominant research tool. At the University of Guelph-Humber for example, they take the library and online data bases extremely serious and ensure the students are able to grasp a full understanding of every aspect related to these outlets. Librarians are assigned to each program, and present their knowledge to each class with the hopes of establishing a proper relationship between the students and their research assignments.

Because books are not the dominant resource for today’s students, the online data bases are designed to be accessible and informative. Students are able to access these research tools from anywhere on campus. With this being said, books should not be overlooked as they have been, and still are an incredibly reliable source. The reason students are overlooking these books and scanning the Google search results is laziness; it is difficult for our minds to immerse into a book, for a long period. Our attention span is dwindling because of the amount of other activity surrounding us; it is difficult to focus completely on one subject for any amount of time. This is not to say reading is dying, it is to say we are less disciplinary when it comes to books, newspapers, and magazines.

Even Google books are attempting to maintain literature in people’s lives, although it is online, perhaps Google will attract the readers that already use it as a search tool. I can agree with most of Vaidyhyanathan’s skeptical outlooks on the Googlization of everything, I agree that Google is a tool for secondary cognitive inquiries such as song lyrics, directions, or restaurant reviews, but not for primary academic research. Libraries and data bases have a purpose that cannot be overthrown by Googles intent to constantly absorb people’s minds.  

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Google: the One Stop Shop for…EVERYTHING

Google is. Google just is, it is everything we want. We want shoes – Google, we want housing – Google, we want weather, news, directions – Google. It has become a part of our lives, it may just be a search engine to us, but in reality it is the search engine, and it is a massive company as well.

Google is consistently rated the highest used search engine ( and and it’s no surprise, it’s the easiest source to ask simple, to unthinkable/embarrassing questions. Yet, in this society this innovation is feared, and thought of as a threat, really? Well here is how I view this search engine in respect to the reason why people are fearful:

·         It caters to us we, use Google to find things that interest us on the web.

·         Google then uses web searches to find the exact article/picture/site that  we want

·         Google takes the information about ourselves (I call this our online profile) and stores it, using it as a reference to specify our proceeding searches eventually following a pattern created personally for us.

Isn’t this exactly what we enjoy about the internet? The fact that it is a tool catered to us, for our needs, our desires – retrieving this information lightning fast. Our society moves and grows at a quick pace, and this is just what Google has been formed to assist.

Some of the reasons why people are not impressed by Google is due to the feeling of their privacy being invaded. They also feel like it is threatening their extension of knowledge. By continually searching the same terms, pages, and areas they are missing out on the depth of information available. We cannot take full advantage of this tool (and that is exactly what Goolge is) without first being able to master it. In Siva Vaidhyanathan’s book The Googlization of Everything (and why we should worry) the author states that “Google is thus dangerous as the airplane and the automobile have proved dangerous in ways their pioneers did not anticipate in the 1920s. These technologies of mobility and discovery are dangerous not just because they physically endanger their users but because we use them recklessly, use them too much, and design daily life around them”. (19, Vaidhyanathan) After reading 100 pages of this book, I don’t think I have come across a more meaningful, perfect quotation to describe what Google is doing to our society.

We use this tool so recklessly with respect to careless inquiries, and idiotic/pointless searches for pure amusement. Google is a tool that should be used to enhance an understanding, to gain something meaningful, or insightful; instead because we rely on Google so heavily we have allowed it to slowly creep its way through every inch of the internet. There are no boundaries for Google, no corner of the World Wide Web left untouched by Googles caressing fingers.

The fact is that Google was created for searches but has since expanded to, email, RSS, blogger, youtube, calander, shopping, directions etc. and now it is being used as a social networking organization? Facebook is the place for social networking in my mind, of course there is also twitter but now a social network entitled “Google plus” is about to break new ground… well if you are as confused as I was watch this video and then try to imagine the future of our Google (

 Airplanes are still around, and so is the automobile, both come with their downfalls: pollution, cost, not everyone can use/operate them, there is limitations (age, speed etc.) but they have up as well: convenience, safety, connectivity, and style. They are always changing and being enhanced, and perfected, this is exactly how I see Google, with ups and downs, but ultimately here to stay and attempt to create a lasting impression on our world.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Making New Media Make Sense

*I’m going to backtrack now, from my last entry, to the first chapter of the book Making Connections in the Digital Age*

Whether we like it or not, there is always going to be a new source of connectivity. From the wheel, to the telephone, to the internet; as a species we are always evolving, and therefore our surroundings must evolve with us. Our society has turned into a balancing act between culture and media.  

I don’t believe one (culture nor media) can really change without affecting the other. This can relate to a theory in Nancy Bayms book Making Connections in the Digital Age that is called “technological determinism”. Broken down, technological determinism is: technology driving the development of our society, and our cultural values.       

The internet has changed culture so much already, one huge example I can think of is dating. There are online dating sites all over the place, and why not take advantage of these tools. No more wasting time getting to know each other, instead you just view a profile and see if you have anything in common, or if this person would just be a waste of time. I guess this is an upside to the internet, but on the same spectra what about false profiling? There are all kinds of pedophiles and people who lie on these sites, and doesn’t this just defeat the purpose? It’s putting many legitimate people at risk, and not only for a heart break but for safety as well. One of Nancy Bayms readers was quoted in her book Personal Connections in the Digital Age say this: “I am deeply in love with a man who is handsome, smart, and loving. We are engaged and happy together. The problem? We met on the Internet. Abby, he thinks I’m 26, but I’m not. Everything I’ve said has been a lie. I’m really 12.” (34, Baym) This is just the reality of how our culture has progressed and been shaped by media. Although dating has always been a part of life, never before has been this veiled. It allows the mind to wander and contemplate the future of relationships.

…The future of anything for that matter, I remember watching a video entitled Did You Know? 3.0 – Shift Happens ( I was completely blown away by the statistics thrown at me in under five minutes. What stood out though was the fact that because of the ever changing media, and the attempts to continually adjust and adapt; the information being taught to students in media programs in the first year, will be outdated by their third year. I am part of that statistic and it’s a bit intimidating, but I realize that it makes sense and that this program - this field,  thingswill always be changing and that’s the beauty of it - it's inevitable to expand our knowledge.

New media is evolving today, and we should not be scared or shocked because it has been this way since humans began roaming the earth. Their caves have turned into our penthouse suits, their oral entertainment has turned into our televisions oripods, and so on. If we fail to accept this process, we challenge society and insult the brilliant minds that have brought us to the 21st century with such amazing contributions to our world. There will be downfalls, as there always is in life but all we can hope is that the up rise is that much greater.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Is Media Effecting Careers?

In the conclusion of Nancy K. Baym’s book “Personal Connections in The Digital Age” she suggests a thought that crosses everyone’s mind when introduced to new technology: “what they do to us, and whether it is good or bad”.(109, Baym) Of course this question is necessary. We are always searching for things that will improve our generation, and I wonder if this desire is pushing our acceleration into overdrive. Nancy also touches on a similar comment I made in my last blog about us being socially incompetent in reality, therefore making us socially powerful online. She foreshadows the concerns we have now, for lack of face to face conversations, and impersonal relationships with even our families. I fear that these concerns are so obvious today that we are about to struggle in many aspects of our lives, especially in our careers.
This class is part of the Media Studies program at Guelph-Humber, and although social networking has been a vastly expanding tool for our future jobs, I believe it is also damaging our field. Part of the course is journalism; this entails social skills, the ability to act comfortably around people, and perform interviews. Public relations suffer similarly in respect to event planning, and public speaking. If we cannot maintain the skills of personal communication (talking, striking up conversations, asking questioning etc.) where can we expect to gain the insight needed for news coverage? I don’t think journalism in drowning, in fact I think it’s thriving, language, and conversation will never die regardless of the medium. The issue I can see is that print media is declining. The internet has no doubt taken control of the majority of news coverage, it is fast and easily changed which coincides well with the fast paced, ever changing world we live in. When something newsworthy happens we are no longer hearing about days later, but with digital media it is instantaneous.
Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message" under a century ago. His quote still holds true today, I think what he meant was the medium is more significant then the content it provides. If we compare that view to the internet then that means people have expectations of this medium: to have endless amounts of information and to have it all immediately.

Seven Ky Concepts

Baym also strikes a discussion worthy topic about seven aspects of affordances which digital media offer. Which is the most important of the seven key concepts (interactivity, temporal structure, social cues, storage, replicability, reach, or mobility) in shaping our communication in a positive, negative, or mutual way?
Interactivity is an interesting topic, it is the way in which all aspects of media work, and how they have multiple abilities. When the telephone was introduced for example it was one machine, created for one purpose. No wonder we are hesitant at the thought of a “cell” phone that will allow us to not only make the calls as a usual telephone but to also text, check Facebook, get directions, etc. The challenge with interactivity is that it may not be influencing us a positive direction. There are multiple usages for multiple technologies, but we are taking for granted the connectivity, something such as the internet, is providing us with and instead using it for (as Baym suggests) shopping for shoes. This is where the topic gets tough, are we advancing in technology for the greater knowledge? Or are we rather advancing for the greater leisure experience?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Web 2.0

" our devices extend us, and we extend them " (8, O'Rielly) Web 2.0 article .... Interesting thought, it's very true that the internet would be impossible without us (humans) but I never thoroughly explored the relationship. It's very dependent of one another, I know I feel distant without my cellphone, but what would be that cellphones purpose without me? There truely would not be one, we create these devices and outlets as if they are commodities for us, but we are a commodity to them as well. The internet and cellphones are there for us to take advantage, but they also take advantage of us. Through marketing, advertising, and reliance upon these items an ongoing relationship has been formed. It has become less of a material object and more of a necessity - or that is how we should feel about them. We rely on them, for many everyday activities. A system as been created of giving and taking on both ends of the scale.        I have never really considered the term “Web 2.0” and that’s a bit scary considering the fact that I am writing this blog for a media studies course. Web 2.0 is simply the second generation of the World Wide Web. The web is a huge place, and is evolution is going to repeatedly assist me and frustrate me during my schooling, my career, and my social life. It’s a tool for those not only in the media field but for every person who has access to a computer. It enables collaboration between many people in any given area, and allows them to interact and share information online. Contributions of Web 2.0 are blogs, wikis, and facebook. I’m already being exposed to blogs (for the first time), as well as wikis through this course. I look forward to pursuing my knowledge of Web 2.0 and watching it change and evolve.


Book or computer? I hope that’s not a serious question…

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading as much as the next nineteen year old, but as I gaze at the screens illuminating light I realize that this question is being launched into a seventeen year old boys mind. Vishal, a student at Woodside High School was the perfect subject for the article “Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction” by Micheal Zimmer. The article focuses on our youth generation, depicting how we spend our time -online. The world seems to be extremely hypocritical when it comes to media. Media is our world, it is advertisement, entertainment, communication, knowledge, and it’s always evolving. To me the article wanted to suggest that as children and teenagers we are using media too heavily in our everyday lives. Yet, at the same time, insisting that bringing media into the classroom is a new, and efficient way to get the students attention. A little contradictory, right? Well I get the feeling that even though, media (internet) is our societies norm there will always be people who are going to challenge this revolutionary tool.  

I’m curious to investigate the reasoning behind the current students mind set and brain activity. We are the generation of multitasking. Homework, facebook, television, all open at the same time and still getting things accomplished, or are we? It’s one thing to have a desktop computer, but as Web 2.0 discusses, it is a fact that smartphones have given us full wireless connectivity. Does this make us a socially incompetent society? With no real use for personal, one-on-one conversations, and social outings that involve your partner constantly checking their phone, updating statuses and “liking” wall posts…but wait then why is it called social networking if the true socialization of personal interaction is being shut out and undesired? With the enormous amount of apps already in existence, and many more to be announced, are we too busy trying to keep up with technology that we are leaving our old social interactional roots to dry up and eventually perish completely?

The conclusion I have made in my own mind is that, our hierarchy has changed, once again. We are now involved more deeply in peoples personal lives and our social status is based on the amount of followers, or friends we acquire. This works both for and against us. The good thing is, that we no longer need to be fascinating people in order to be social butterflies, it is easier to find friends, and make new friends online when we are not trying so hard to impress these people with upbeat conversations. At the same time this media tool is a distraction from work, school, and meaningful human relationships.

I hope that this class can help me answer some of these questions, and perhaps confirm whether this generation, hyped on media is speeding on a course for self-destruction, or revolutionary impact.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be sitting here creating this blog, it's something I have never done and I admit I'm a bit nervous. After the first class I think it's a feeling I should get used to. I'm looking forward to being put into uncomfortable and challenging situations because I really have no idea what to expect from this course.

A bit about myself: I like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, long walks on the beach...just kidding...

I'm a first year media student, I wanted to pursue media and eventually follow the PR stream but after the first semester I realized I'm completely undecided. I live in res, and came from a tiny town three hours north-east of Toronto. The city is definitely a huge change, but I love everything about it.

Movies are huge part of my life, especially superhero movies (I cannot wait for Batman to come out in the summer!) I played rugby in high school, but was far too terrified to tryout this year, I like to think of myself as environmentally conscious person, I worked at Tim Hortons for three years, when I come to an obstacle in life, I usually find myself asking what my sister would do in the same situation, as much as I love Canada I also hope to have the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling.

It's going to be a fun, but intense semester, I can't wait to read everyone’s blogs and get to know you all better :)