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3.3 Talk to me! Chatting/texting/twittering at each other

1.    Summarise the main points in the readings noting your agreement and disagreement with the ideas and opinions of the author/speaker.

E.J Westlake starts the reading by giving her first impressions on what was the new News Feed in 2006, a big deal because suddenly everyone knew what you got up to on Facebook, every time you logged in. Westlake explains that there was a lot of negative feedback regarding the stalker-like vibes the new look inspired.

Facebook, as Westlake explains, was founded as a way to enhance face-to-face contact on University campuses. Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in February, 2004. Originally to help students get to know each other, it went live to include schools, workplaces and public domains. Westlake admits that Facebook usage may seem to the older generation as “deviant exhibitionism” or as “passive acceptance of intrusive surveillance.” (Westlake, 2008, 23). But Westlake assures that it is neither, rather, willing participants in an ever changing phenomena refusing to be pigeon-holed.

Westlake likens Facebook to MySpace, a similar program that consists of an online diary that includes photos; video footage; comments from viewers and allows people to connect with one another. Both websites “encourage users to share personal information, such as favourite movies and books, favourite quotes, political leanings… and photographs.” (Westlake, 2008, 25). Both websites are reminiscent of the 70’s Slam book. MySpace has been used as a promotional tool and because it includes a blog, it differs from Facebook. Although these sites can be connected to each other, Facebook’s features originally allowed students to meet, especially if they were enrolled in similar courses.

Westlake’s article describes the way we, as users of Facebook, perform; read texts and travel on the web. Just like following links to information that interests us, we are able to use Facebook by linking people through mutual groups, friends and interests. Westlake explains that this is a good example of “read-write culture.” (Lessing, 2007) and such other examples include IMDb and Wikipedia where participatory culture is at its best. With Facebook, friends can not only leave comments and messages, but also tag themselves and others in a person’s photos.

Westlake also lists the different types of generations, older than college students:

  • “The “silent” generation (1925–1942),
  • The Baby “Boomers” (1945–1960),
  • And the “thirteenth” generation (1961–1981)” (Westlake, 2008, 26)

Some of which, Westlake admits, to having difficulty relating to Facebook and its functions of communication. While college students, on the other hand, thrive on the new technology.

Another point Westlake makes is about the way we come across on our Facebook profiles, or the way we perform. Westlake likens our Facebook friends as the audience and even though they cannot see our faces for audio cues, we make use of photos, videos and content in what we write. The audience then takes what we have written and validates us and this seems to be the main reason why the Facebook community works so well.

Westlake then continues by describing what Facebook is and what one would see when they first log in; she explains profile pictures, groups, friends, poking, applications and fake profiles. Again some aspects that an older generation might find puzzling, but to an avid Facebook user, it is indeed, quite addictive. For example, my profile is kept up to date and I communicate often with friends and family and post photos for them to see. It is an ideal communication tool because I live far from my family and it keeps us all in touch. I’ve only recently taught my mum how to log in and navigate Facebook, so it will be great when she feels confident enough to do it on her own.

A valid point that Westlake makes is about surveillance and privacy and one that concerns me a little as well. I heard a while ago that British police had scanned a large number of Facebook profile photos and had them available to them to compare with surveillance footage taken from street cameras and the like. I didn’t know what to think. What if someone looks like me and commits a crime, what will happen then? Will I be charged simply because I look like a criminal..? I wonder if misunderstandings like this could happen. Stalking is another problem faced by Facebook users, and what I’m worried about is that older kids that have access to Facebook may also see some adult content. I worry for my children, and because they are growing up in a technological era, it is up to me to educate them about the internet, from the good things to the bad. What is good to know is that Facebook has strict guidelines to promote a somewhat safe environment for its users. These guidelines are reinforced by other users who are encouraged “to click on “Report Abuse” links on every page.” (Westlake, 2008, 34).

In her next point, Westlake talk about Generation Y and their use of Facebook, and their willingness and openness to new technology, media and politics. “Generation Y Facebook users perform themselves and offer themselves up for surveillance for their chosen audiences, opening new stages for the operation of and the resistance to hegemonic power.” (Westlake, 2008, 38). This generation seems more at home with Facebook and all it has to offer. Westlake concludes with “The internet continues to be a palimpsest of the older ways of communicating, even as it is also
a way of signifying through new technologies.” (Westlake, 2008, 38). And to me that means that Facebook is merely picking up where the older generations left off and I tend to agree. I might be performing for the world to see, but I choose to perform and I choose what they get to see.

E.J Westlake (2008). Friend me if you Facebook: Generation Y and performative surveillance.  The Drama Review 52(4), 21-40.

Evan Williams on TED, in February 2009, talks about how he came up with Twitter, with the help of Jack Dorsey, as a side project while working at ODEO. This talk is fascinating to me because I have never heard of how Twitter was born. I have said many times that while Facebook is an all rounder in terms of having status updates; photos; games and messaging, Twitter to me has always been a little boring as there’s not a lot to do but state what one is doing at any point in time. Having said that, I find it amazing how a concept has taken on the world and become not only popular, but addictive.

Williams explains that Twitter is “based around a very simple, seemingly trivial concept. You say what you’re doing in 140 characters or less. And people who are interested in you get those updates.” (Williams, 2009). What is interesting is that one can receive an update on their mobile phone, on the go. So I don’t even need a computer, just a Twitter application and I’m ready to tell the world what I’m doing, where ever I might be doing it!

I can relate to this on some level because I have heard of celebrities Twittering about their lives, sharing important, very personal information as well as very insipid details that no one needs to know. I understand that normal people like me might make use of Twitter to be part of a community no matter where they are in the world. This of course leads on to the use of Twitter during a crisis like what Williams uses, the San Diego fires in 2007, where people Twittered to let others know what was happening as well as to tell loved ones that they were safe. Both the LA Times and Emergency Personnel also used Twitter to relate news and information.

Unsurprisingly, businesses have begun using Twitter to advertise, but what is interesting is politicians utilising Twitter for their campaigns. “In fact, there’s 47 members of congress who currently have Twitter accounts [in America].” (Williams, 2009).

Another point I found impressive was Williams willingness to let other people tweak and change Twitter for the better, for example:

  • Inventing the reply feature, so you can reply to a specific person or message
  • API, or Application Programming Interface, where “programmers can write software that interacts with Twitter.” (Williams, 2009)
  • Twitter being accessible on Macs, Windows, iphone, BlackBerry
  • And a search engine by Summize

Williams concludes with admitting that Twitter has grown from what was originally a side project intended to keep family and friends connected to people all over the world utilising the software to broadcast news and information to even helping politicians with their campaigning, and helped people raise money for various causes. And here I thought Twitter was boring!

TED talk – Evan Williams on Twitter

2.    Reflect on your own use of messaging, Facebook, and twitter concerns or fears you may have and economic opportunities you might recognise.

It’s funny, but for the longest time, I have texted rather than called anyone on my mobile phone book and very rarely picked up my land line. Is it because I just don’t want to talk to anyone? Could be. I’ve been described as chatterbox in the past, but talking on the phone is something I don’t much enjoy.

I have a Facebook account and I enjoy immensely keeping it up to date with new a status almost every day, new photos of my children for my friends and family to view and keeping in touch with friends that I don’t often see. At times it is the best way to get in contact with me as more often than not my phones will be out of action. I have two young children who love to explore and take things apart to see how they work!

With Facebook, I get the whole deal, I can message, view photos and play games. Twitter, on the other hand, is boring by comparison and I hardly update the status. I’ve already done it on Facebook, so why do it again? Also, there’s nothing else to do on Twitter, so I’m not fond of it.

My only concern with Facebook is the privacy aspect of it, and whether I’m setting my self up for a fall, when I upload so much of my life on the social network. I have taken precautions to ensure only friends have access to my profile, and I never write private details, such as phone numbers or bank details, where everyone can see. Even so, there are people out there that, if they want that information bad enough, they will find a way. That is a bit scary.

As for economic opportunities, people can have a profile devoted to their product or services and the ads that appear on the right hand side may be noticed by people looking for something in particular. I have noticed that some ads correspond to the interests I have stated on my profile, which is rather cunning. For example, I was reading a lot of baby related adverts (like Huggies) while I was expecting and now, I am seeing ads for Jobs from home; gym clothes and new furniture!

 
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Posted by on 04/29/2011 in MED104

 

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1.2 The Medium is the Message? When the media coverge

Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture (Vid)

The video for me was a lot more interesting than the article, because even though it’s basically the same message, the visual helped a lot! When Jenkins was talking about big media companies, you could see in the background that he was referring to Disney as there were clips of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Aladdin and even the Walt Disney Logo.

In this video he says, “major media companies claimed ownership of these stories in the 20th century” (Jenkins, 2009 on Transmedia from niko on Vimoe) and I take it to mean that Disney took stories like the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Little Mermaid and made it their own. The remediation of this story has Ariel living happily ever after with her prince at the end of the film. (As we all know she dies in the original story).

Since the movie came out in 1989, sequels have followed, as well as TV shows, games, toys, activity books and a vast array of merchandise including clothing and manchester. Disney has done this process to a number of other stories as well, whereby the story becomes the property of Disney, if not physically then by the very process of remediation. Ask a child today, 5 years ago, even 10 years ago who came up with The Little Mermaid and they will no doubt tell you it was Disney.

So according to Jenkins and to paraphrase, today’s participatory culture is allowing ordinary people with different perspectives to use the necessary tools to tell their own story. To come away from the shadows of big media companies such as Disney for example and to claim back stories that belonged to us so long ago. After all, “a world governed by participatory culture has the potential to be much more diverse than a world controlled by a handful of media companies.” (Jenkins, 2009 on Transmedia from niko on Vimoe).

http://cinematech.blogspot.com/2009/05/great-video-w-henry-jenkins-on.html

Lessing 2006

Personally, I know cyberspace is real even if I don’t indulge in that particular world. I enjoy Facebook, as I tend to participate in everything it has to offer: I write what is on my mind daily, I post photos for my friends and family to see, I catch up with friends here in Oz and over seas and I play games when time allows. Creating a whole life in cyberspace is a little too tedious for me, however, I guess both are part of Jenkin’s participatory culture!

What I got out this text was that virtual reality to paraphrase, enables us to have a duality, to have a life that might not be normal in today’s society, and can be acceptable online. However, is the government keeping up with the technology today? Do they have rules and regulations (apart from system codes that make a cyberspace program possible) that determine how people should behave, or punished for any wrong-doing and who they are governed by online? Do these rules border on the ambiguous because they are yet to be tested?

Another question is, can virtual worlds be governed by the real world and do the same rules apply? The example of Ann Arbour Jake and Hackensack Jake was very interesting because “It [cyberspace] created a competing authority for Jake and gave him the chance to select between these competing authorities merely by switching his computer on or off.” (Lessing, 2006).

Lecture: Merrick 2010 MED104 Key Themes

Finally got to listen to the whole thing! I love Star Trek. My step father got the movies for us to see every Friday night. If it wasn’t that, it was Chuck Norris or Steven Segal. Love it!

To answer your question Elaine, the unit themes are Ownership; Participatory Culture; Ethics; Credibility and Privacy.

Reservations, concerns about new media use

  • Identify and discuss community fears and concerns about new media use.

In regards to what I’ve learned from Jenkins and Lessing fears about new media use include online war games being too graphic and too violent; cyberbullying; sexual predators. Personally, I can attest that my mother is terrified of even owning a computer because she might break it! Aside from that, when she does log into Facebook, she often admits she would hate to look foolish on something so public should she accidentally publish a typo (my mum is bilingual, Spanish being her first language).

  • Consider violent and sexually explicit content on the web and in games.

As a Christian as a mother I do not tolerate such content in my home, and I have Family Safety Filter through Windows Live installed. However, I also believe each to their own, I’m not going to tell others what and what not to access on the net.

  • Discuss net filters and government regulations as well as resistance to regulation

Having young children, who are curious about everything, the internet included (my two year old knows how to access the ABC for Kids website) I trust and believe in net filters placed by the government. They are too young to question what is being left out and I’m happy with that. When they are older they can make their own decisions about what is suitable for them to see.

 
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Posted by on 03/12/2011 in MED104

 

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MED104: Engaging Media Learning Portfolio. 1.1 Introduction: How does the media engage you? How do you engage with the media?

1.1 Activity Discussion

I just wanted to put down on screen (?) before I turn in for the night. Because I’m a stay at home mum, I depend a lot on the internet for just about everything from entertainment, to social networking, to news.

We have a PC, a laptop, PS2 and a PS3. On the PC, I have Facebook and twitter as the social aspects, as I chat to my friends and family this way more than on the phone. Also I depend on YouTube to find out visually what’s going on in the world and if the Wiggles have a new song out. Very important to my two year old! We catch up on newspapers from Oz as well as the USA and I particularly like a website called Stumble Upon, simply because it’s FUN.

Both the landline and the mobile get rarely used, the TV is mostly used to watch movies or children’s shows, like… You guessed it, the Wiggles.

I’m 31 and I love technology, I love it so much that I’m teaching my children how to access the net and how to play their movies and they are quite smart about it too. I believe that as long as I’m there to make sure they don’t get into mischief they are Ok. As a parent I’m teaching them skills that they will use in the future, but also setting up safetynets so that I know that they will be well- safe, as they delve more into the web as they get older. Like giving your child a bike, you must first put training wheels and make sure you are there to catch them if they fall.

How do views about recent developments in the media differ between students and friends/family/older generations/different cultures? Why?

I’m not too sure how to answer this question, but I’d like to try if that’s ok… My personal view on this is that technology can always get better but at the moment it’s great. I have Facebook to keep me up to date with what my friends and family are doing. I can have a chat with them or simply send them a message they can access later. I can post photos of my children for my friends to see and likewise I can view their photos.

Now, my mother is 51 to my 31 years of age and she finds computers in general terrifying. Seriously, she is very intimidated. She refuses to purchase a computer of her own and so uses mine to access Facebook and her email account. Every time, she says, “I don’t know how to log in!” Every time, I say, “Mum your username and password is your name!”

I believe that although my mum is not very old, she is very old school, so computers don’t feature much in her life and she can live quite happily without one. Another reason is that she is bilingual (as I am) and speaks predominantly Spanish, so sometimes she feels embarrassed if she misunderstands (or is misunderstood) when interacting on Facebook.

Did You Know 4.0 video

I found the video quite relevant as just recently my favourite book store, Angus and Robertson have been under stress because no one is buying books. People can buy books quite cheaply online and if you have the mind to it why not just read it off the computer screen and save more money?

I could save money, certainly, but then I would lose that special feeling of curling into my favourite chair with a nice cup of tea (it used to be wine before kids came along!) and holding in my hands my ticket to whatever time, place or genre I want to be…

Another point is the fact that people’s mobile phones can do everything a computer can do, and that doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been waiting for this since I read a book about the future in primary school (early 90’s). Unfortunately, my children have destroyed the last three phones that I’ve bought so now I just have a mobile phone that I use for emergencies only.

My husband on the other hand uses his mobile phone for wake up alarm, as a clock, access to internet (including Facebook), camera and of course, calls.

The video itself was interesting because it was simple and to the point. It used fast paced facts and music (almost too fast paced) and it was very colourful. I think the target audience might be someone like me, someone interested in technology, but not an expert. I read the comments that the video received and noticed a lot of young people having their say. Could that be that others couldn’t or they simply didn’t want to?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8

Re: Jenkins 2009

This is what I got from the reading.

“Partial agenda for media reform from the perspective of participatory culture”. (Jenkins, 2009). Basically individuals acting independently to make their own free choices (Wikipedia) regarding new technology and the various aspects of information sharing websites.

Jenkins goes on to point out many limitations of today’s technology from fear of cultural change, lack of access out of school and workplaces, legal battles such as copyright, fair use and privacy. I must agree to the reinvention of public institutions to better educate people and overcome social divisions being passed on to cyberspace.

The ongoing debate of us against the government is here too. But the idea is to find a balance with ongoing training and understanding the way not just young people, but how everyone is connecting to the online world using “friendship-based, interest-driven social networks.” (Jenkins, 2009).

Media that engages us – Examples

I’m a child of the 80’s and both Chucky Norris and Steve Segal came over for tea on weekends so when I saw this ad, it transported me back to my childhood!

Please enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjRK0rNnK-Y

Mobile Phones

I was just thinking… Can I propose that everything that came before the mobile phone is old media and the mobile phone that exists today Is the new media?

If I went and bought a state of the art mobile phone, what do I get? A device that can make phone calls, while seeing the person I’m speaking with; take a photo/movie; have a flashlight; have internet, where I can check emails, online banking, social network, even as of this month make claims on health insurance (NIB), play games…

In certain types of phones I can access applications that can do almost anything I wish.

In others yet, I can access Satellite Navigation Systems that can tell me where to go while on foot.

Just think, an all encompassing device, kinda reminds me of a Swiss army knife. What do you think mobiles can do in the future? Can it do a Jetsons-Style transformation into a car and vice versa? I hope so, that could solve a lot of parking problems!

 
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Posted by on 03/12/2011 in MED104

 

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