Week 12: Picking from Apple’s tree

I must admit that I am a fan of Apple and everything they do. For me, their walled garden is perfect. I can do everything that I want to do on my iPhone: use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, check my email, check the weather, play stupid games and use safari. And it all looks so neat and pretty. The few times that I have used someones Android phone, it just seemed so messy. Right now, I wouldn’t consider buying another brand for a phone, laptop or tablet (I’m still not convinced about Apple Tv though). Everything is just so connected with the iCloud- it would actually be a little inconvenient to not have Apple products. And good on Apple for making it this way… they know what they’re doing.

But after reading some articles on the web, my stance is slightly changing. Especially by this article http://www.webpronews.com/mozilla-slams-apples-walled-garden-philosophy-2012-05 (really good article, read it!)

I am a web citizen and when I see that somebody in California can decide what I am allowed to install on a device that I paid for with my own money, that he will impose his own values that are not from my culture and are different from my context it seems very scary to me.” former Mozilla Europe President, Tristan Nitot.

It kind of is scary when you think about it. Aren’t we supposed to be prosumers, not consumers? However, I still think that Android mimics the chaos that is the world wide web, and I would rather stick to the walled garden than deal with that. Maybe in a couple of years I will convert.. unless Apple has sucked me in with some new product that I never knew I needed.

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On a side note:

It seems that Apple is always in some sort of battle… Android, Samsung, and remember these old ads…?

#week11 #arabspring #egypt

So in Maria Popova’s article (1st set reading), she said that Malcolm Gladwell declared that “the revolution will not be tweeted”, and that social media is useless when it comes to serious activism. As we have all seen this week, it is obvious that he was wrong.My group presentation was on this topic, and I discovered that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were not the main causes of the Egyptian revolution, however they did help organise and disseminate information. And the revolution definitely was tweeted, sorry to say Gladwell… But  “#egypt” was the most popular hashtag in 2011 and #jan25 was number eight (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/egypt-the-top-hashtag-twitter-2011).

Also, tweets around the world about Egypt during the revolution jumped from 2300 a day to 230 000 a day! (http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/05/the_egyptian_revolution_dominated_twitter_this_year, I recommend watching the video on this website too to have a visual understanding of the enormity of tweets).

A map of every tweet with the hashtag #jan25 on February 11th, the day Mubarak resigned. (Source: http://scrippsmediaethics.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/dont-be-stupid.html)

But of course, like I said, social networks were not the only reasons why the Arab Spring revolutions were successful. And like Evgeny Morozov said in Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go, unfortunately a lot of Western media focused so much on social media social media social media. But, for example in the Egyptian revolution, the people were ready for change and there was a real grass roots power behind the protests.

I really like this article by media critic Jay Rosen, http://pressthink.org/2011/02/the-twitter-cant-topple-dictators-article/. In it he explains a genre of articles that occurred after the Egypiatn revolution, which he calls “Twitter can’t topple dictators”. These are the articles that have titles like “People, not things, are tools of revolution” and “Mubarak steps down. But let’s be clear- Twitter had nothing to do with it”. They totally dismiss the role of social media and object to unquoted statements by random people that it does. Anyway, Rosen does a really good job of explaining it!

In regards to the Egyptian revolution, I personally think that the people were finally ready for change after 30 years of oppression, and social media was a way of organising the events. The median age of the Egyptian population is 24, so it makes sense that so many of them were already using Twitter and Facebook, so communicating via these networks was an obvious way of doing so.

What do you think of all of these arguments?

Week Nine: Allegiance to Wikileaks?

Hackers, crackerz, botnet, DDos… a lot of this weeks topic I had no idea about. The most I have ever heard about hacking is from my brother, when he used to “hack” into certain 1st  and 2nd generation video/mp3 players so people could download apps for free and upload burnt DVDs… illegal? And then there is Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Like most people, I have heard a lot about the two, but I didn’t exactly know how they worked and all of that.. so I went straight to TED, the website with talks and conferences about everything.

I came across this video from 2012, where Assange spoke about how WikiLeaks work.

And according to him, this is how:

“So we use this state-of-the-art encryption to bounce stuff around the Internet, to hide trails, pass it through legal jurisdictions like Sweden and Belgium to enact those legal protections. We get information in the mail, the regular postal mail, encrypted or not, vet it like a regular news organization, format it — which is sometimes something that’s quite hard to do, when you’re talking about giant databases of information — release it to the public and then defend ourselves against the inevitable legal and political attacks.”

And they hardly ever actually know who the whistleblowers are who give them or lead them to the information. Interesting. I thought that Assange and his co-workers were hacking into secret files not knowing for sure that there would be military and government secrets.

Do I agree with how the organisation, or as Raffi Khatchadourian calls it in ‘No Secrets’, the  media insurgency operates? Yes, from what I know about it, I do. After reading  Khatchadourian’s article, it is obvious that everything is very secretive, like operating in a closed off house in Iceland. And in the video, Assange explains how they have no idea who the whistleblowers are, and if they do find out at any point, they destroy the info immediately. And I guess this is how they have to operate, because if the whistleblowers were uncovered, WikiLeaks would become counteractive as governments could target the people leaking their secrets.

If you haven’t seen the video in my post, I recommend watching it!

And is there anyone in digc202  who isn’t a fan of WikiLeaks?

Week 8: Industrial media vs Crowdsourced news

 

This week really presented the question on whether there is a role for industrial media anymore. I think there is no right or wrong answer, because there will be different opinions by everyone, and how do we really know who is right? But as Bruns said, the field of journalism has entered a crisis period. In ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, he said that a gap has formed between the needs and wants of media audiences and traditional mass media creators, and what they can actually provide. This is so true. Mass media outlets can’t provide news that is customised to our specific interests, like the Twitter hashtag can, and it definitely can not be as quick as citizen journalists can be at at uploading content straight from the source.

The people formerly known as the audience, as Jay Rosen said, can really provide what mass media can not, in terms of quick information and access, fast on the spot recounts and commentary, an abundance of associated comments and ideas etc. However, as Rosen points out, industrial media can become ‘guide dogs’- guiding people to credible online sources.

In ‘Confessions of a Digital Immigrant’ (http://groundviews.org/2009/11/21/confessions-of-a-digital-immigrant/) Nalaka Gunawardene, said:

“citizen journalists are necessary — but not sufficient. They alone cannot meet all the information and communication needs of the human family that will soon have most of its members connected. We still need what social activists derisively refer to as the ‘Big Media’.”

Industrial media needs to redefine it’s state as gatekeepers with agenda setting priorities, to providing links to and information on news-worthy external sources. Having tweets that contain an associated hashtag on the screen whilst news stories plays just isn’t enough, especially when we can access twitter ourselves. The abundance of user generated content is going to need sorting through, and if mass media has an established following, they should begin doing so.

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On a side not…the author of ‘Confessions of a Digital Immigrant’ said:

“Call me an ink addict, a digital misfit or whatever you like. The day a computer can deliver not just the information but the full sensory experience of browsing through a Sunday newspaper, I will fully migrate online.”

If she has kept to her word three years later, she has definitely migrated online, because with iPad apps, it does feel very similar to reading a newspaper or magazine.

 

 

YOUTUBE

I just came across this photo and thought it was very fitting of the industrial media vs social media debate, in a few different ways.

Will Youtube take over Hollywood one day?

What about all of the content produced in Hollywood studios that is being uploaded to Youtube by users?

Why are some users of Youtube receiving 100s of millions of views, maybe more than some Hollywood produced movies will receive?

 

Did you know I was Time’s person of the year once…

…so were you, kind of.

In 2006, Time Magazine ‘You’ (us, we, the users of the world wide web) the people of the year.

I know I am six years late in discovering this, but it reminded me of the content of DIGC202- growth of internet technologies, user created content, social networks, citizen journalism, creation, remixing, collaboration, media convergence, prosumers, produsers, and this weeks topic, the long tail and the attention economy.

Time Magazine chose we, the active users of the internet, the person of the year because of how we use Web 2.0 (a term which I’m sure was less bandied around back then),

“for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game.”

So, yes, we were the new interactive audience of the web, and we still are. I would even say that we are the driving force behind the long tail. It may be the companies such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes who are uploading their commodities, but their reason for this and their reason for their success in sales is because of the buyers, the people purchasing this content from home. The consumers of commercial/popular products  online are driving the purchasing of and the demand for more niche products. Consumers are also helping other consumers by the way of the ‘People who bought … also bought…’ and the filters and recommendations features. As Chris Anderson said, the long tail isn’t about throwing a whole heap of niche products online and expecting them to benefit from the long tail,you need hits on the popular products to lead to hits on the nice products.

Ted asked us to think about what the real value of sites like Google, Netflix, Trip Advisor are. I think that the value is is that they allow this idea of scarcity vs abundance to co-exist. For instance, with Trip Advisor, I can go online and find an abundance of information about holiday destinations, hotels, things to do and see, all rated by people who have been there and experienced it. Where as at a travel agent, I can only access the personal knowledge and experiences of a handful of people. There is a scarce amount of knowledge in a small amount of space.

Companies that go online can hold so much more knowledge, products and information than any physical place can, and for practically free. If we, as users, did not interact with this online economy, it would not succeed.

So yes,  I think that us active users did deserve to be named Time’s person of the year. Congrats.

References
Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1570810,00.html

Anderson, C, 2005, http://longtail.typepad.com/the_long_tail/2005/06/what_the_long_t.html

[Week Seven]

Week Six Summary- Media Convergence

Right now as I am writing this blog post, it has been the second day that the internet has been down in my house because of a problem with the modem router. Thank god (or Jobs?) for 3G on my iPhone and iPad.

But as much as I love Jenkins’ idea of convergence, and how convergence has impacted the way we interact and live, with no access to the internet via my laptop for two days, convergence isn’t really my best friend at the moment.

Access to my university assignments, homework and readings, social networks, television shows and news source is all converged onto this device- with a major reliance on the internet. The internet is down, and I am having to rely on different sources to access what I would usually access easily on my mac book on a daily basis. It is as if my laptop is a dead medium. Except for accessing saved files and Microsoft Office, it is has no use to me!

The internet is so closely related to media convergence. I think that participatory culture relies on a connection to the internet for the concept to be able to flourish and meet its full potential. With access to the internet, consumers have the power to create, remix and participate in so much more than ever before. Consumers have become active and as Jenkins’ says, have become prosumers. And I guess this is where this week’s topic ties into last weeks of copyright and content control.  Jenkins says that consumers are using new technologies to bring the flow of media into their own control, and a freer flow of content is expected from these users. However some media companies want to control the flow of media related to them. But it is the companies who understand the new ‘migratory’ and socially connected consumer, with business models that take account of convergence and prosumers, who will ultimately succeed. Succeed in gaining users trust and loyalty.

And now that the problem of my faulty modem has been fixed, I can post this blog and continue being a prosumer!

Following the trend of fashion’s copyright laws?

So, there are no copyright laws in the fashion industry (only on trademarks and logos).

Blakley says that other creative industries can follows fashion’s trend. This copying culture has forced designers to “up their game” and be more innovative, which has led to designs being too hard to copy. She says that there creative industries can learn from this, can they really?

It got me thinking about the current Apple VS Samsung trial. The battle over a design. The fight over rectangles. If they were apart of the fashion industry, it would be thrown out of court, because there are no copyright laws over design. Maybe this case should be dropped. Both allowed to play with their rectangles however they please. It might force both companies to create more innovate designs?

Orrrr, maybe not.

Creative Freedom

This weeks lecture and seminar got me thinking about our freedom, as users, on the internet.

Our society has formed into an information society , where intangible assets like knowledge and information have become so valuable, that strict copyright and intellectual property laws have been created to control information.

Information has such a power, that big companies use copyright laws to control knowledge and the flow of information.

I have read a lot articles on the web that are calling for even more strict IP laws, and then I have read many that think the less are way too strict and should be lessened, as they are obstructing our right to freedom on the web. What do you think?

I actually think that Creative Commons solves this problem. The problem of online freedom, remix, sharing and communication in relation to content and communities (obviously not solving all internet freedom issues about access and control!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DKm96Ftfko

As Lessig said, our society is shifting from a ‘free culture’ to a ‘permission culture’, and I think that Creative Commons is allowing society to remain somewhere in between the two. Our freedom to share and create content on the internet may be safe for a little while longer.