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Week 11 Discussion

Q1. What do you think made the Old Spice campaign so effective?  What risks were there to the Old Spice brand in embracing participatory culture in the hands of a marketing team?

By thinking about this campaign, and other examples of media that has drawn attention online:

Can you come up with your own definition for what ‘spreadable’ media actually means? Does the vast array of options mean that ‘going viral’ is the only way to compete with ‘mainstream’ media, or does that distinction no longer makes sense?

Personally, I think the campaign was successful because the actor, Isaiah Mustafa, was willing to go to great lengths to entertain the masses of potential Old Spice buyers. The adverts were funny and ironic, but the kicker was the follow up replies to comments on the ad. The participatory nature of this campaign, I believe gave viewers something to talk about long after the advertising had aired. What I love is the fact that so many people copied and remixed the concept of the ad with great results! I showed the Sesame Street one to the kids and they thought it was funny, so it works on a lot of levels.

The problem I guess is that if any product wants to remain current they need to constantly be in the spotlight and that could get tiresome.

Jenkins et al (2009, p 5) uses “Spreadable” media as opposed to “viral” media which sounds a lot more palatable. The authors explain that users spread messages according to what they like and don’t like. In the case of Old Spice, people enjoyed the advert so much that they forwarded, reposted and retweetted it to other viewers ensuring the video was seen by many more people. This to me is spreadable media. “Going viral” makes me think of diseases which to some it may make sense, but when content is funny and upbeat, how can we call it a virus? I like “sharing” media, as this what I like to do if it is interesting enough to pass along to friends and family.

Q2. Have you ever participated in a conversation about spreadable media? If so, how did you participate? (For example, have you ever forwarded a funny email or shared a link for a hilarious ad or other viral video?)

Have you ever participated by making a remix of such media?

I used to forward funny emails on occasion prior to Facebook and Twitter. Now I’m constantly reposting articles, funny photos or great links on FB and a little bit on Twitter. I love it how if I’m reading a particular web page there is a FB button I can utilise to share what I’m reading. I tend to spread media that is either funny or inspiring.

There are some pages on FB that post funny pictures/articles that I find particularly interesting but have questionable names, so often I copy the picture and post it rather than ‘share’ to avoid unsavoury page names, other than that I don’t really remix media.

Reference

Henry Jenkins, Xiaochang Li,  Ana Domb Krauskopf  & Joshua Green, If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead: Creating Value in a Spreadable Marketplace, Convergence Culture Consortium, 2009, PDF at http://www.convergenceculture.org/weblog/2010/04/convergence_culture_consortium.php

 
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Posted by on 02/25/2014 in WEB207

 

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Week 3 Discussion

Well that was the weirdest thing… WordPress logged me out of the website and wouldn’t let me in until I gave them my phone number for “security reasons”, mmm? Ok! Back to work!

What opportunities and challenges emerged when the Lord of the Rings production embraced official and more importantly, unofficial, websites about their films during production?  Did you interact with any of these websites, and if so, what value did the different types of websites (from official, to quasi-official, to unofficial) add to the experience of watching these films?

 

Are there other examples of more recent films that you would like to add to the discussion, ones that make similar good use of the web, in particular instances where the plot of each story was less well known than with the Lord of the Rings, or where there wasn’t an already such a well-established fan base?

 

I believe that films utilising the web are enriched by the transmedia and the story line is that much more entertaining. A film that is marketed well may bring in more viewers. In this website, McArthur (2013) lists ten innovative films making the most out of marketing campaigns to increase audience size. My favourite would be Prometheus, with character Peter Wayland giving a Ted talk and an ad for the David robot in the Wall Street Journal.

 

Indie film Paranormal Activity used a website called Eventful to encourage viewers to “demand” (McArthur, 2013) to see the film and once it reached 1 million, it was released nationally in 2009. Twitter was also utilised to further spread the word. What is interesting is the return on the film was $193 million from what was spent: $15,000.

 

Some movies that may not have an established fan base seem to do well when the element of surprise is used the best advantage. By teasing viewers with fictional websites, RPGs, social media accounts and clever marketing such as selling imaginary products found only in the film, the curiosity of many is piqued and sales soar through the roof.

This website argues the best and worst marketed films of 2013 which makes sense and an interesting read…

In the lecture, the Matrix films were used as an example of a partially successful attempt to create transmedia, but one that failed because the elements were too reliant upon one another (the stories did not make sense if they were experienced separately from one another).

 

Can you think of any examples where transmedia has been created that works in the sense Jenkins specifies (as integrated, and yet also separable)?

I think just about all the cartoons from my childhood have been made into films, games, books, and webisodes. For example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and He-Man. Another example is of course the movies that have been based on the Marvel comic books, such as Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, Blade and the Avengers and the separate character movies like Iron Man as well as DC comic books such as Superman, Batman and the Justice League.

One of my old time favourite transmidia examples is Barbie. I had my very own Astronaut Barbie, colour-in books, stationary set and clothes with Barbie on them. Today she has made movies such as Barbie in the Nutcracker, Barbie of Swan Lake and has released webisodes called Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse, which is very tongue-in-cheek. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSjbOabJQsk.

Ok, stepping down now, getting a bit carried away I think…

Things like the TMNT and Barbie are usually associated with children, but do you think transmedia for these universes is intended for the younger demographic? Or does it aim to lure a wider audience?

 

I would love to say that these shows are watched by my children alone, however, that’s quite untrue. I absolutely love the turtles and Barbie, and it is because of me that my children watch the old series of TMNT (I think the new series are a bit more for older children). I think that a wider audience can watch these shows because there are jokes that work on many levels, some which go over my kid’s heads but I will have a chuckle at. The merchendise is aimed at kids, but of course parents benefit because the kids can play with toys for hours, giving parents some peace and quiet!

 

Tryon (2009a) outlines some of the way digital technologies and communications can make filmmaking and distribution easier.  Pick out some of the ideas in which you are most interested and share them on this thread.  Are there other examples of films you have seen that illustrate these ideas?

 

Tryon (2009a, 121) discusses the Weeks and Caldwell documentary, 10 MPH and how it was released for free on YouTube. Viewers were then encouraged to pay what they thought the documentary was worth with an average of $4-6 per view. Although I’m yet to watch other films/documentaries released under this business model, it got me thinking that it would be a great idea (if not a naïve idea) that we should pay what we think a project is worth. There are plenty of films out there that completely missed the mark and it seems unfair that viewers pay before they have a chance to see if it is a good film or not. For example, the Matrix movies went downhill so for movie tickets I would have paid $12, $4 and finally $2 rather than $48 for all three ($16 each).

 

I had a look at this website where alternative business models for film makers are discussed and case studies are conducted, one of which is 10 MPH, and it is very interesting, definitely worth a read. In particular, Schlain’s The Tribe, where Director Tiffany Schlain explains the many ways she supplemented the release of her short film with a website, a wiki, an email list and social media profiles. The short film was also released for free and this helped sales on other media. However, Schlain cautions that releasing films online “disqualifies them from winning an Oscar”, so the choice must be well thought out (“ITVS Digital Initiative: Report from the Field,” 2013).

References

ITVS Digital Initiative: Report from the Field. (2013). ITVS. Retrieved December 11, 2013, from http://itvs.org/funding/resources/report-from-the-field-tribe

McArthur, Y. (2013, March 26). 10 Most Innovative Movie Marketing Campaigns. Master’s in marketing degree guide. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://www.masters-in-marketing.org/10-most-innovative-movie-marketing-campaigns/

Tryon, C. (2009a). Desktop Productions: Digital Distribution and Public Film Cultures. In Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence (pp. 93-124). Rutgers University Press. Retrieved from http://catalogue.curtin.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&scp.scps=scope:%28cur_aleph%29&vid=CUR&vl%28freeText0%29=cur_aleph000836779

 
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Posted by on 12/13/2013 in WEB207

 

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Week 1 Discussion

Q1. Jenkins suggests nine areas where the relationships between consumers and producers are changing. What are these, which seem most important, and how far have these new relationships emerged?

 

1. Revising audience measurement

 

Jenkins (2004, p 38) purports that “what consumers do with the content” and the length they go about acquiring media demonstrates their loyalty to their favourite show, movie or music, which can then be exploited by media companies and their sponsors.

 

2. Regulating media content

 

Media such as TV shows are being targeted to specific audiences, moving away from “broad mainstream entertainment” (Jenkins 2004, p 38) allowing viewers to make their own choices about what media is being consumed in the home.

 

3. Redesigning the digital economy

 

Even though the Web has been constructed to be free for all, some content cannot be accessed without payment. “A subscription-based model” (Jenkins 2004, p 39) has been in development for several years, but is yet to be rolled out.

 

4. Restricting media ownership

 

The content owned by corporate media versus the free, grassroots content and subsequent debates about who really owns what.

 

5. Rethinking media aesthetics

 

Content across media has become more complex and interconnected, shifting away from simple adaptations (Jenkins 2004, p 40). With consumers today seeking a deeper connection to their favourite show, movie or music, media companies are utilising all media to tell one story, such as the Matrix movies, anime, games and fandom.

 

6. Redefining intellectual property rights

 

Jenkins (2004 p 40) explains that “in an era of read-write culture” intellectual property rights may need to be expanded to include laws suitable for today’s media and its usage.

 

7. Renegotiating relations between producers and consumers

 

The game industry has had a lot of success with consumer feedback and Jenkins (2004 p 41) stipulates whether this business model would suit other media such as the film and TV industry.

 

8. Remapping globalization

 

Jenkins’ (2004, p 41) “pop cosmopolitanism” discusses the many ways other cultures filter through our own through media with or without our knowledge. For example, I may download Japanese anime while listening to British Pop, while playing Mystery Manor a social game made in Russia.

 

9. Re-engaging citizens

 

Today’s media seems to be making celebrities into politicos and (Jenkins 2004, p 41) describes how “activism draws models from fan culture or that popular culture becomes the venue through which key social and political issues get debated”. But I find that politicians are also using media to humanise their image (Rao, 2013), such as USA president Obama.

 

In the nine years since this article was written, these areas of interest have changed little, in particular, the re-engaging of citizens and of politicians use of social media. Sauter & Bruns (2013) suggest that today politicians use social media more effective than they did four years ago and are quite adept at using this form of communication to push forward their campaigns. Twitter and Facebook are noted with the majority of politicians owning an account/profile on the websites.

 

Q2. Manovich suggests a few areas where the most interesting and innovative responses to social media are being produced – what are they, and how might (or might not) these be indicative of new forms of creativity unleashed by digitisation?

 

Manovich (2009, p 323) explains that social media promotes customisation, such as changing avatars and web page backgrounds, and this has continued on to beyond the web to customising shoes and cars.

 

Another fascinating area is the comments or responses to content on social media. Manovich (2009, p 328) finds it interesting that people can post comments or videos in response to what has been posted prior and can carry on this conversation endlessly. And because the web has been designed just so, this conversation can occur no matter where the users are or when they chose to respond.

 

In addition, Manovich (2009 p330) elucidates that with the rise of social media, contemporary art has been exponential in the 2000’s. This is because artists can upload their portfolios to a wider audience and receive feedback straight away, giving them higher standards in which to work with.

 

Lastly, the web itself has been the subject of the best innovations, and Manovich (2009, p 331) uses Firefox as a great example. As an open source system, Firefox allows users to further develop the website with creative and useful add ons which anyone can download and use. In return, we have a simple, user-friendly system, and if anyone should need any help they need only ask in open forums and get troubleshooting tips that will aid them.

 

What do you think, and do you agree with Manovich?

 

Absolutely. Although social media may have its draw backs, if it is used wisely, it can certainly promote innovation and creativity. As seen in the case of libraries that utilise Tumblr, when using social media to endorse their services, the library can reach users that may not otherwise search for libraries or literacy (Neilson, 2013). And the information that is displayed in Tumblr is easily accessible and attractive, with a balance of a professional tone and a humanised image.

 

Q3. As you look through the unit you’ll see that each of the next five weeks covers a different aspect of the contemporary media landscape. The third and final question you’re asked to consider and comment upon is which (if any) of these topics is of most interest to you?

 

More importantly, why is this particular topic of interest to you?

 

I love film and TV, but what really interests me right now is games. I became quite addicted to social gaming on Facebook while I was nursing my two eldest children. It was for some time, the only interaction I had with other adults. Games became a way for me to socialise and have fun without having to actually leave my house. I’ve since had to stop playing because the combination of uni and running around after three kids under the age of 6 is exhausting to say the least. I look forward to when I do have free time to sit back and relax and play my favourite games again.

 

Reference:

 

Jenkins, H. (2004). The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 33–43. doi:10.1177/1367877904040603

Manovich, L. (2009). The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production? Critical Inquiry, 35(2), 319–331. doi:10.1086/596652

Neilson, E. (2013, November 6). RE: Post your Topic 11 Technology summary here – Tumblr. Curtin University Blackboard. Retrieved November 27, 2013, from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_68352_1%26url%3D

Rao, V. (2013, August 7). President Obama can let loose on late-night TV, thanks to Bill Clinton. TODAY News. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www.today.com/news/president-obama-can-let-loose-late-night-tv-thanks-bill-6C10858821

Sauter, T., & Bruns, A. (2013, July 1). Moving Politics Online: How Australian Mainstream Media Portray Social Media as Political Tools. The Conversation. Retrieved November 27, 2013, from http://theconversation.com/moving-politics-online-how-australian-mainstream-media-portray-social-media-as-political-tools-15465

 

 
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Posted by on 11/28/2013 in WEB207

 

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2.5 All the world’s a game: virtual worlds, interactivity, convergence

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

Alternate Reality Gaming and convergence culture: The case of Alias.

Henrik Ornebring’s article sheds some light on the phenomena that is Alternate Reality Gaming. By using Alias the TV series and the three ARGs developed for the show, two by the ABC Network and fan produced Omnifam, he is able to establish the fact that these form part of a marketing campaign. After looking at games played either on the PC or game consoles, that are strictly virtual world only, ARGs are a surprising element which goes beyond that and actually work in the real world.

Taking a look at Lost as an example, audiences watch the show, but Jenkins’s ‘loyals’ will no doubt look beyond the show and try their hand at the mysteries supplied, that can be solved by going to specific websites. Gamers are urged to follow a trail head or rabbit hole to enter the game. Clues are then distributed and together the fans, in the multitudes, can piece these clues together to solve the puzzle. This ensures greater participation, as opposed to just sitting and watching TV. Media companies have designed ARGs to accompany the TV series for maximum effect.

Although ARGs are relatively new, by 2007 they were quite common and a lot of research had been done, particularly by Jane McGonigal (2003-2007). “McGonigal analyses ARGs using a frame work based on contemporary theories of performance and play, as well as work on collective intelligence and participatory culture.” (Ornebring, 2007, 447).

Ornebring critisises the idea that “ARGs are part of a wider context of media convergence… Convergence culture does not work to dissolve the boundaries between texts and create trans-media narratives as much as it creates new opportunities to market a specific text or set of texts (such as a feature film, a computer game or a TV series) through other texts.” (Ornebring, 2007, 448). Taking on Jenkins, and his idea of lost narratives through too many mediums, Ornebring explains that the narrative is simply stratified, all the better to market the TV series, in this instance, Alias.

Another point is made with regards to fans wanting to supplement their entertainment by adding their own spin on the story. As most fandom apt to do, issues are raised and concepts are questioned; different character’s points of views are sought, and in this instance, ARGs are utilised as a tie in to favourite shows and movies. Ornebring suggests that this is “a kind of cultural labour, producing texts that develop elements not covered by the original text that more often than not conform to producers’ basic intentions.” (Ornebring, 2007, 451). I wonder if this like wearing a T-shirt with a famous logo or image, which I bought. Am I paying for the right to advertise that logo or image? Should it not be the other way around?!

Ornebring points out that because ARGs are temporal in nature, he had to rely on archives and interviews to gather information on the Alias ARGs, particularly the ABC Network releases. He then described the games as complementary to the TV series, seasons one and two. The fan based Omnifam was released for season four although it was never completed. The Alias ARGs made direct connections with the show often using character’s names in the trail heads and clues. (In contrast with The Beast, the ARG made for the movie A.I. which was loosely connected to the movie). Unlike The Matrix, however, gamers were not given extra information about the show through the industry produced games. Omnifam, on the other hand, made use of the Rambaldi Mythology to construct puzzles, clues and riddles. The reason for that, Ornebring explains is because the show’s content is copyrighted.

While season one of Alias and the first industry produced ARG were quite consistent with one another with regards to story lines and clues, season two was less so due to the lack of funding. Ornebring explains that when season one ARG was released, the genre was in its infancy and upon further development, the tie in with the show would not be important. After all the ARG is simply a marketing tool, devised to grab audiences attention toward the show.

Omnifam had more involved story line, that although was not directly linked to the show because of copyright laws, still managed to remain consistent with the back story. This fan produced ARG “is based on a sense that this is ‘explorable’ territory and that fans have a right to expand their favourite fictional universe.” (Ornebring, 2007, 459). And so Ornebring concludes that even though the barriers are being broken down, between big media corporations and grass-roots facilitators, giving way to a more participatory culture (according to Jenkins, 2006), fan based productions including ARGs are still limited with regards to what they can use without infringing in copyright laws.

I tend to to agree with Ornebring with this because I was thinking the same thing when I summerised the Marco Cucco reading, The promise is great: the blockbuster and the Hollywood  economy (2009). When one plays an ARG that is linked to a movie, or a TV series, they continue to watch to obtain more clues to solve the puzzle, what better way to promote a new movie or TV series. And even though an ARG made be made by fans, content is often owned by the corporations and so there are limits to what fans can do, without breaking any copyright laws.

Ornebring, H. (2007). Alternate Reality Gaming and convergence culture: The case of Alias. International Journal of Cultural Studies 10(4), 445-462. (electronic databases).

Playing on the digital commons: collectivities, capital and constestation in videogame culture.

This article by Colman and Dyer-Witheford explores the rise of videogames as an “ideal commodity”  and the rise of “a player culture” (Colman and Dyer-Witheford, 2007, 934), where games are downloaded for free and modified. They explain the difference between commons, where ideas can be borrowed but not owned; and commodities which is something of value and may be sold and how these differences impact on games and the way they are played.

Hacker Games

Originally, war games were derived from young researchers mucking around on their computers as part of analysing data from the Cold War. Such games were frowned upon but never the less allowed to happen. From this, Spacewar was developed in 1972 and it “transformed computers from Cold War armaments to play devices.” (Colman and Dyer-Witheford, 2007, 936). Later this process would be used by Atari, the company transpiring games for arcades and consoles for TV sets, in the 1980’s. Atari was preceded by Nintendo and Sega, then Sony and finally Microsoft. The video game console brought about the popularity of games and with it the lawsuits, as content became copyrighted. Many gaming companies were sued for stealing ideas while others yet, took complicated measures to keep their concepts safe from competitors.

Pirate Play

Selling games for profit outlawed the copying of games, and hackers were became out and out thieves. However, stealing games was also profitable, and the ways to achieve this became easier. Here, Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford explain MODs and EMUs and how they have been released (much like the games themselves) on the web for others to use. Piracy claims billions of dollars from gaming companies each year and its usually achieved by

  • ” individuals burning occasional copies,
  • small groups circulating copies on ‘darknets’ (Biddle et al., 2002 cited in Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 938),
  • ‘softlifting’ by companies or employees obtaining games or authoring tools for use at work,
  • shady retailers generating theirown stock
  • black market operations
  • ‘warez’ networks.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 938).

As the internet is seen as a free for all, Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford explain that most people don’t not see anything wrong in sharing what they have already purchased, be it software, games or music. On the other hand, media companies see no difference between one type of theft from another and spend a lot of effort in trying to contain piracy of any from, with the use of

  • “anti-piracy hardware,
  • DRMS,
  • encryption,
  • code obfuscation,
  • digital watermarks,
  • spyware
  • other forms of software surveillance (Myles, 2005 cited in Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 939).
  • US Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998″ (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 939).

While some might say that with sharing comes innovation, others disagree and because games haven’t been around long enough to bypass the copyright laws, then many game websites have subsequently been shut down. However, this causes a resistance and piracy thrives in most cases. Begging the question, has the updating of commons become obsolete?

Mods and machinima

“Modders aim to expand games: changing characters’ ‘skins’, adding weapons, creatingscenarios, levels or missions, building new games out of old engine.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 941). Mods are freely distributed on the web and have become quite successful, so much so that outfits that create the mods are hired by gaming companies. Meanwhile machinnima are movies made from games. “A digital camera situated in the point of view of a character films in-game action:voice and music are dubbed in.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 942). Gamers using both mods and machinima are participatory in nature, viewing games as changeable goods, and today most games are designed with that in mind, making this a commons over commodity matter.

Commodity-commons: MMOGS

Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are games that behave differently to other games because they are played online by millions of gamers simultaneously, interacting with one another in cyberspace. To use World of Warcraft as an example, developed by Blizzard and released in 2004, a gamer must buy the software and then continue spending on monthly subscriptions as well as extension packs for the game. ” Worldwide MMOG revenues were over $1.5 billion (Schiesel, 2005; Woodcock, 2005 cited in Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 944). This seems no commons, but a game commodity par excellence.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 944).

Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford explain that although players are free to do as they wish within the confinement of the game giving the illusion of actively using commons, in actual fact, they are paying for the privilege and such games have become commodities that earn big media and game companies a lot of money.

The fragile link between commons and commodities in gaming where gamers have the tools to modify and disseminate these games, are at the basis of said games. Without people like this, who take on big corporations to create something innovative and exciting, then games become stale and wrapped up in their self serving copyright laws. On the other hand, stealing should not be condoned,  Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford conclude that “Game capital, robust but [b]y no means impervious to crisis, may bein the process of effectively squashing the game commons or of pioneering their inventive co-option within the commodity form – or of demonstrating contradictions that doom such an attempt.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 948).

On the basis of the article, I think as a consumer that I should have the right to upload any content on the web, and I completely agree with Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford with regards to innovation, how else are we to produce more exiting content if not through collecting old ideas and making them better? “Commercial games, themselves children of hacking, generate the technological know-how and cultural excitement that fuels ‘do-it-yourself’ player activities, which companies often in turn re-market.” (Coleman and Dyer-Whitheford, 2007, 948).

Sarah Colman and Nick Dyer-Witheford (2007). Playing on the digital commons: collectivities, capital and contestation in videogame culture.  Media, Culture and Society 29 (6), 934-953.

2.    Outline your  plan for your remediation that identifies the form, proposed content, technological tools and intended audience of your remediation project.

I have decided to take my chosen text from Bridget Jones’s Diary, written by Helen Fielding, and turn it into a short film. I was intrigued as to why this part did not make it into the film Bridget Jones’s Diary released in 2001, and wondered if I could recreate it my self.

The text is taken from diary entry Thursday 23rd of February:

Midnight. Urg. Completely exhausted. Surely it is not normal to be revisiting for a date as if it were a job interview? Suspect Daniel’s enormously well read brain may turn out to be something of a nuisance if things develop. Maybe I should have fallen for someone younger and mindless who would cook for me, wash all my clothes and agree with everything I say. Since leaving work I have nearly slipped a disc, wheezing through a step aerobics class, scratched my naked body for seven minutes with stiff brush; cleaned the flat; filled the fridge, plucked my eyebrows, skimmed the papers and the Ultimate Sex Guide, put the washing in and waxed my own legs, since it was too late to book an appointment. Ended up kneeling on a towel trying to pull off wax strip firmly stuck to the back of my calf while watching Newsnight in an effort to drum up some interesting opinions about things. My back hurts, my head aches and my legs are bright red and covered in lumps of wax.

Wise people will say Daniel should like me just as I am, but I am a child of Cosmopolitan culture, have been traumatized by supermodels and too many quizzes and know that neither my personality nor my body is up to it if left to its own devices. I can’t stand the pressure. I am going to to cancel and spend th evening eating doughnuts in a cardigan with egg on it.” (Fielding, H. (1996). Bridget Jones’s Diary, London, Picador: 59)

I will be filming with my digital camera, editing the film on Windows Live Movie Maker. I’m hoping to bribe some family members into acting for me, so far I only have one yes, but I need two more. In my mind, I think the target audience, apart from Elaine, would be the same target audience as the original film. Or at the very least the same audience who enjoyed reading the book and were disappointed when some bits were left out of the film, for whatever reason.

 
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Posted by on 04/14/2011 in MED104

 

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2.4 Play with me!: Having fun with media

1.    Summarise the main points in the two articles.

Claiming a stake in the videogame: what grown-ups say to rationalise and normalise gaming.

Helen Thornham’s article Claiming a Stake in the Videogame articulates the many reasons adults justify and rationalize the ownership of video games and specifically game consoles as well as being an adult gamer. In her research, Thornham uncovers a lack of identification in such area, finding that the majority of studies have been of children and their play. A BBC survey is cited as saying “the average age of gamer in the UK is 28, and 51 per cent of gamers reside in the 35–50 age group.”

Thornham explains that games are often classified as a means of escapism, fantasy, but by contrast “claimed by adult gamers as serious, rational and logical pastimes.” (Thornham, 2009, 142). She goes on about this matter in more depth later.

Pleasure is another topic that is discussed in the article at length, Thornham is aware that gamers feel pleasure when playing, however the way they express it is quite different and the kind of pleasure that is experienced is of great interest to the study. The verbalization of pleasure is seen as a “problematic issue for gamers, it is also, of course, a much debated issue for academics.” (Thornham, 2009, 142). Thornham found that the interviewees while trying to explain why they play games often could not express the pleasure they felt while playing and with the male housemates, discussing the possibility of obtaining pleasure from playing games resulted in perceived abnormal and lessened their social status.

The ethnographic research Thornham was engaged in for four years targeted gamers who:

  • shared adult households
  • were financially autonomous
  • had social power dynamics rather than familial lines

Familial power dynamics involved:

  • parents purchase PC for specific reason (education)
  • parents decide location of PC
  • parents regulate game play (time, place, genre)

Which meant that such a dynamic would be unsuitable for this research. To make things easier the households needed to be socially established on a more democratic footing. While both men and women rationalize and and justify their gaming experience, there are many differences in when they play as well as how and why. Interviews were performed largely in groups, with the exception of solo gamers within the household, who were interviewed separately and alone. The interviews took place in the living room over a few days in which gameplay was recorded and conversations documented.

Thornham interviewed four households initially, but as some people moved away she followed them where she could to continue with the research. This presented a wider basis on which the power dynamics could be studied. All the housemates were skilled players, being able to use the controller, and so forth. Some would spend between 15 and over 30 hours are week playing games and most households contained more than one game console as well as a laptop/PC. Thornham was able to visit on a regular basis, in which she did not interfere with visitors, gameplay or discussions. This visits allowed confidence and trust to build and Thornham was able to let the housemates contribute to her work by way of their reflections, to tie the piece together and maintain good working relationships.

This question is asked as part of the research: Why did the housemates become interested in gaming? And the answers were, social aspects, like peer pressure or social status; multifunctional technology, like a DVD player; boredom and the money. some housemates rationalize the initial purchase of the console later adding their preference of the type of console (PlayStation, X-Box, Atari) This preference along with the games played and how long they are played attracting ridicule and criticism as seen when housemate Simon establishes himself as a rational adult with authority over housemate Steve.

“Simon: [To Steve] you just play it for hours with nothing else going on but . . .
Steve: I used to play it like with either music or the TV on
Simon: so, so you’ve got something else going on, you’ve just turned your brain off. (Brighton 1)” (Thornham, 2009, 148)

Interestingly, when this household breaks up in 2006 and Simon moves in with Joe and Lorna, Simon seems to let Joe be the alpha male and becomes less of a know-it-all. “This suggests that it is not only wider discourses of power and performance that are being negotiated, but that they are also contingent on temporal, social and household specificities.” (Thornham, 2009, 149).

In order to rationalize gaming, people tend to “humanise” (Thornham, 2009, 159) technology with terms like ‘responds’ or ‘reacts’ to the gamer. This is common for Thornham to find as it allowed housemates to talk about pleasure. In this context, they explain that when playing a game and succeeding in passing a particular level brings pleasure after what could be hours of frustration.

It is noted that different types of relationships are built by gamers and their consoles. For example, where housemate Joe’s game will allow him to win because of his expert knowledge, other housemates Beth and Lorna will see the game as the “‘powerful’ partner in their relationships.” (Thornham, 2009, 150). Also there’s the point when the gamer is about to finish playing for the time being and the game persuades them to keep going by “offering” something more. (Thornham, 2009, 150). Thornham points out this kind of pleasure comes from a relationship based on power and the machine is seen as giving (benevolently?) what the gamers want and need.

Another point of discussion is the social aspects of owning a console and being a gamer and the fine line between ‘”‘normal’ and ‘geek'”. (Thornham, 2009, 151). The housemates interviewed for this article all identified owning a console for the social aspects as in playing with others physically present a opposed to online. It seemed to build an image of the solo gamer as abnormal. Two out of 26 housemates insisted they never played alone. These housemates identified “social gaming as the normal and only mode of gameplay”.(Thornham, 2006, 151). The subcontext was that if you played alone you were gay and had sexual perversions and were socially inadequate.

So the games based on this kind of pleasure – including “immersion, escapism, fantasy fulfillment” (Thorham, 2009, 152) are seen as elements of a ‘geek’ nature. ‘Normal’ gamers take pleasure in the social aspects and have a life outside of the game. Male gamers can have fun in a ‘real’ place and time and “can perform close (homosocial) relationships with one another without any threat of perversion.” (Thornham, 2009, 152). ‘Geek’ gamers, by contrast, invest a lot of time on games to the expense of their social lives which puts a question mark on their sexuality as well as being perceived as socially inadequate. Although today’s society has been moving toward a “‘metrosexual’ notion of masculinity, what is interesting about these performances is that they continue along very rigid, sometimes aggressively macho, normative lines.” (Thornham, 2009, 154). Gamers agree that the social aspect of the games is what is most attractive about it.

Another good point made by Thornham is that because children play to learn, when an experienced adult plays they are not doing anything constructive. To an adult with “working lives where every hour has meaning or purpose” (Thornham, 2009, 155) the need to justify owning and playing games is a strong one.

Thornham concludes with the question of pleasure. Adults taking part in gaming are seen as doing anything meaningful or important and therefore feel the need to justify their actions. Although games themselves were not looked at in this article, rather the act of playing and the association with pleasure is the focus here. Thornham feels that there is a need for further research to investigate the link between adult play and pleasure.

Reference: Helen Thornham, (2009). Claiming a stake in the videogame: what grown-ups say to rationalize and normalize gaming. Convergence 15 (2), 135-139.

The War between effects and meaning: Rethinking the video game debate.

Likening video games to books, Jenkins begins this chapter citing Lambaugh (2002) “video games have ‘no conveyance of ideas, expression or anything else that cold possibly amount to speech.'” (Jenkins, 2006, 19). The judge had decreed that games would not be protected after viewing excerpts of four similar games and found them wanting. However, these games were not a proper representation of all the games in the US, and indeed the world, which has set about much discourse.

On the one hand there is the gaming community questioning the judge’s assumption that games have no concepts and yet are able to sway young Americans into violence. And on the other, those who seek to improve on our behavior ask why games need to be protected if they don’t have any impact and repercussions on the people who play them. Jenkins goes on to explain the difference between effects and meanings:

  • “Effects are seen as emerging more or less spontaneously, with little conscious effort, and are not accessible to self examination.
  • Meanings emerge through an active process of interpretation–they reflect our conscious engagement, they can be articulated into words and can be critically examined.” (Jenkins 2006, 20)

Jenkins’s research into ‘boy culture’ (Jenkins, 2006, 20) and gaming was submitted to the courts to overturn Lambaugh’s decision and although the debate continues, so does the support for not just games, but they way they can be used for education.

Looking at the comments by D. Grossman (2000) and E. Provenzo (2001) about games teaching kids how to be soldiers when they play violent war games, “Every time a child plays an interactive point-and-shoot video game, he is learning the exact same conditioned reflex and motor skills.” (Grossman, 2000 cited in Jenkins, 2006, 21) Jenkins challenges this by suggesting “Grossman saw games as shaping our reflexes, impulses and emotions almost without regard to our previous knowledge and experience… the model is one of stimulus-response, not conscious reflection.” (Jenkins, 2006, 22).

Jenkins understands the education works differently to what Grossman is suggesting; that when Jenkins teaches he knows that student don’t all learn at the same pace and some don’t even learn at all. So comparing this to when people sit down to play a game, they do it for the fun of it not to learn a set of skills. On the other hand educational games are different and research is undergoing to explain the difference between Provenzo’s “players being forced to conform to machine logic” (Provenzo, 2001 cited in Jenkins 2006, 23) and J. Gee’s (2003) suggestion “that our active participation enables us to map our own goals and agendas into the game space.” (Gee, 2003 cited in Jenkins, 2006, 23).

More research utilising the game Civilization III is undertaken by K. Squire (2004) where students who were not doing well and were in the minority, discovered African and Native American Civilizations and were able to win the game as well as learn about those civilizations. The teachers played an important part in guiding the students to a more successful outcome. By teaching something that the students could relate to, they could “map those lessons onto their understanding of the real world.” (Jenkins, 2006, 24).

Jenkins explains the act of getting together to talk about strategies is called “meta-gaming” (Jenkins, 2006, 24) and this occurs both in the classroom as well as out of it. It can occur in the home between children, parents and friends. Also, it it can occur online, where it can lead to stronger relationships between the gamers as “social expectations are reaffirmed through the social contract governing play even as they are symbolically cast aside within the transgressive fantasies represented within the games.” (Jenkins, 2006, 25). Using Z. Li’s research in 2003 on the online game America’s Army, Jenkins explains the game was originally designed to influence young people into joining the army, but the game took on more meaning for military personnel as they began meta-gaming and discussed how they related to their own lives.

I found this point interesting. People who don’t like or enjoy violence can still watch a violent movie or play a violent game and look beyond that to the concept they are trying to put across. (G. Jone, 2002, cited in Jenkins, 2006, 25) And the fact the violence has so many different ways of portrayal, all viewing of violence cannot be erased from the world because then people, particularly children would not be prepared for the real world. (R. Pozner, 2001 cited in Jenkins, 2006, 26). By talking about violence, people learn from others mistakes, however, Jenkins admits that reformers often use extremely violent games to support their arguments and never quite look at the concept of the game only the way violence is represented.  Designers do look for ways to make a game more ethical, but these changes are small due to guidelines and genres.

Using The Sims to demonstrate the way people can use “the simulation to imitate real-world interactions.” (Jenkins, 2006, 27) they can explore the psyche of many emotions such as the way we deal with death. Also the ethical dilemmas, of right from wrong. Since people playing a game choose to act out fantasies, some of these fantasies may consist of behaving completely different to what they would in the real world. Another game which allows people the same opportunity but in a different and controversial way is Grand Theft Auto 3 and it’s variations. Here gamers are encourage to try and live outside the law and the challenge is in fact seeing how long one can go without getting caught by the police. These type of games allow gamers to see the consequences to their actions within the game.

Jenkins seems to believe that by learning more about games in the classroom students are better at evaluating them and understanding the concepts underneath the gloss and violence. “Rethinking game genres can encourage greater diversity, and in doing so, introduce new contexts for thinking about game violence.” (Jenkins, 2009, 29). A good example is the way Tropical America was made, using the point of view and experience of Latin American kids. Jenkins concludes that once again, education is the answer. By bringing games into the classroom, teachers are better able to equip students in not taking commercial games at face value and not to distracted by how violence is portrayed but what concepts lie underneath.

Reference: Jenkins, H. (2006). The War between effects and meaning: Rethinking the video game debate. In D. Buckingham & R. Willett (Eds.), Digital Generations: Children, Young People, and New Media (pp 19-31). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Ass.
2.    Write about your personal experience with games and your attitude to video and computer games.

I have to be quite honest, I love video and computer games. In my personal experience, and before I had children, I would spend a lot of leisure time on games. At home we have both a PlayStation 2 and a PlayStation 3. So for each console we have a variety of games. For example, SingStar and Buzz and their many variations from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe; Ratchet and Clank from Sony Computer Entertainment America; Enter the Matrix from Atari and WB Interactive; Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe from WB Interactive and Eye Toy, from Sony just to name a few. We also have quite a lot of PC games, some of which are bought at a store like Microsoft’s Age of Empires in disc form or web games bought from my favourite provider, Bigpond.com such as Hidden Object games like Insider Tales or Mystery Stories, also I love Zuma and Bejeweled both from Pop Cap Games and my two year old plays a Dora the Explorer game.

I also enjoy playing games on Facebook, a while back I got into Mob Wars and I could not let a day pass without logging in and getting paid and doing missions. I got all my friends to play it so we could send each other energy and gifts. After a while however the appeal was lost and the idea of logging in everyday became tedious…

When I had free time like when the children were asleep or when I was breastfeeding I would sit at the computer and play. I have stopped completely as I don’t have the time and I do miss playing terribly. I was very happy when I was told to play a game as part of the preparation this week! Obviously I don’t have a problem with games or adults playing games. I think if you work hard then you deserve some time off and if that includes gaming then that’s fine by me. I have been described a nerd which is funny because it’s true. And after reading the article by Helen Thornham, I’m feeling a little bit hurt that I might qualify as geek as well!

I can’t say too much about violent games because I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. The fact of the matter is this: we enjoy playing Mortal Kombat and my husband will often spar with my two year old. However, I don’t let him play it on his own and I don’t endorse him acting out the moves in ‘real life’. Especially because I need him to be quite careful around the baby.

As for sexually explicit games or violent games that include violence against women, who do not fight back, those games are not welcome in my home. I realize there is a fine line because Princess Katana and Sonia Blade do get beaten up by other characters from the game (Mortal Kombat), however they in turn also kick some serious butt! I guess it’s up to me as parent to separate the game from life for my children and to teach them right from wrong.
3.    Make note of your ideas for the remediation.

I have the concept in my head but the execution is still quite out of my reach. I have decided on what text to use from the Bridget Jones’s Diary book. As the book doesn’t have chapters, rather months (it’s a diary after all!) I’ll be working on the entry for the 23rd of February. When I read it, I laughed and was a bit disappointed it was not put in the film, so I thought I’d try my hand a shooting this particular bit with my own actors and see how I go!


 
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Posted by on 04/08/2011 in MED104

 

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2.3 Entertaining the world: using media across cultural boundaries

1.    Summarise the main points from the readings

Pop cosmospolitanism: Mapping cultural flows in an age of media convergence.

It is the year 2006 and young people of America are seeking to embrace Asian culture through entertainment media such TV, film and comic books. These young people are referred as “pop cosmopolitans” by Jenkins and in this reading he explains why. What is a pop cosmopolitan? It is “someone whose embrace of global popular media represents an escape route of the parochialism of [their] local community.” (Jenkins, 2006, 152).

It is noted that America has a lot of sway in entertainment media, and much of its content is not modified when it reaches other countries. For example Disney is viewed as distinctly American or western. However, Asian pop culture is growing in status even after being westernised to be more accessible to the American market. So much so, that it is difficult to distinguish who dominates who. Jenkins claims that American children are “more familiar with the characters of Pokemon than they are with those from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen”. (Jenkins, 2006, 157).

Jenkins explains that major companies push to have their content reach as many audiences as possible, including international audiences, this content in turn is viewed by people seeking something new and different to their everyday lives, many of whom are in different parts of the world, this whole process becomes pop cosmopolitanism. The very people who wish to learn about other cultures, who wish to see something outside their normal scope are the target audience of content released today.

By content, I mean media in the form of Japanese Anime; Bollywood film and the music style called Bhangra and Hong Kong Action films, and with broadband increasing in speed and access, comes a wider range in media being distributed directly to many people’s home without “having to pass through US gatekeepers or rely on multinational distributors.” (Jenkins, 2006, 157).

“If you can’t beat them, join them” has become the mentality of the American entertainment industry, often casting Asian talent as well as remaking successful franchises from other countries such as Japanese horror films The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water. Anime is being distributed in three ways, comics, film and TV series, and toys; all linked to each other for maximum effect. Even though the Japanese style is often marketed to particular group, or westernised to suit a broader American audience, Jenkins claims that “this is starting to break down as Americans develop a preference for the qualities they associate with Japanese culture.” (Jenkins, 2006, 160).

As well as Japanese pop culture, pop cosmopolitans have become fascinated with Indian fashion, music (Bhangra) and cinema. “The United States and Britain now account for 55% of international Bollywood ticket sales.” (Jenkins, 2006,163). A few examples Jenkins gives, are Madonna and her use of henna and Indian religious iconography in her “Ray of Light” tour, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams, the onstage musical with an all-Indian cast and music by A R Rahman.

An excellent point and one that I can relate to is the The Matrix Franchise that Jenkins states “is perhaps the most successful and visible example of this absorption of Japanese pop culture influences into the American mainstream.” (Jenkins, 2006,168). The franchise consists of the same distribution concept the Japanese media uses, tying in the movies, with anime, video games and comics. As a cosmopolitan and fan of the Wachowskis, I have come across this content by trying to escape my everyday life and therefore taking part in this culture. I have seen the films, bought the anime and played the games. I’ve had a taste of Japanese culture and feel enriched by the experience.

Although there is no guarantee that pop cosmopolitanism will solve the world’s problems, by people becoming more tolerant of others through getting to know their cultures from afar, there is till a fine line between a superficial admiration and dedicated knowledge of the other cultures. Pop cosmopolitans border on the selfish. They take little bits from here and tidbits from there to make something different for themselves, something they can relate to. Having said that, Jenkins explains that “pop cosmopolitanism is generating its own intelligentsia, its own critics, historians, translators and educators.” (Jenkins, 2006 ,170). So the debate is not between pop culture and a more authentic folk culture, but a higher understanding of what we already know and implementing the desire to continue learning about other cultures through the means available to us right now.

Reference: Jenkins, H (2006). Pop cosmospolitanism: Mapping cultural flows in an age of media convergence. In H. Jenkins, Fans, bloggers and gamers: exploring participatory culture (pp 152-172). New York: New York University Press.

Indigenous, ethnic and cultural articulations of new media.

In Ramesh Srinivasan’s article he explains how ethnic and indigenous communities make use of ‘new media’ to further their causes. He explains that although technology today is causing a ‘digital devide’, by “Apply[ing] the notion of ownership”  and creating “ethnic biases” (Srinivasan, 2006, 497) it is also a means to reconnect people as seen in Tribal PEACE, but more on that later.

While Jenkins forms an optimistic point of view of the way people today use technology to take part in something new and exotic, Srinivasan points out that this technology is also rendering traditional society and communities obsolete. He explains that public places such as bowling alleys are shutting down due to lack of demand. A key point is made when Paul Virilio is cited: “But now, globalisation and virtualisation are inaugurating a global time that prefigures a new form of tyranny.” (Virilio, 1995, cited in Srivinasan, 2006, 498) People are spending more time online building societies in cyberspace rather than ‘real life’.

He adds further that technology is seen as something that has been forced upon the public “rather than a tool that can be used to achieve locally and culturally specific visions.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 499). However, with education and new media can be seen as an opportunity and not an obligation.

Srinivasan goes on to illustrate his point by using Fay Ginsburg’s example of the Inuit People of the Arctic; Terrence Turner’s work with the Kayapo people of central Brazil as well as Eric Michaels’s work on the Warlpiri Aborigines of Western Central Australia. All have used new media to convey their stories, their voice and political views to their advantage. The use of broadcasting in this new form has allowed all the three examples to maintain their culture, as well as controlling what is used and therefore having a say in what is broadcast.

The next point is the issue of a group of people that have migrated to a new country and made it their new home. For these people, the new media represents a pathway to keeping connections with the old and to stay in touch with people, issues and religion. So to this extent, Srinivasan explains that communities are now so much more than “bounds of geographical neighborhood and cultural background.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 502). Ethnic communities on a global scale means that cyberspace is the place to be to reconnect with the people who are most important, religiously, politically or personally. As well as maintaining ties with their homeland and peers, these people who have made their home in different parts of the world, can encourage others (Jenkins’s pop cosmopolitans) to see their country and its ideals through their point of view.

Tribal PEACE is a project that Srinivasan has undertaken in California, “a web-based information system created with 19 Native American reservations of San Diego County.” Communication in these reservations had been slowly dividing due to “historical dynamics”. (Srinivasan, 2006, 506). The work would include reconnecting the reservations with one another. “This infrastructure would be based around the goals of rekindling ancient networks of kinship amongst the reservations that had been destroyed over time. In essence, the [Hewlett-Packard] grant would provide a ‘Tribal Digital Village’”. (Srinivasan, 2006, 508).

Srinivasan goes on to say that for 18 months he spend time getting to know the people from the reservations, attaining their trust and gathering data for the Tribal PEACE project. He explains that he was able to catalog traditions, languages and songs. He and another colleague also came up with the Mazanita tree Diagram that is used to represent the reservation. It can be modified by anyone with access and it expresses ideas, stories, songs, prayers and native songs. Today this is an important tool used in schools as well as by political leaders within the tribes as well as the majority of the reservations. Tribal PEACE illustrates with certainty that new media today has the capability to not only reconnect people but allow these people some control over what is distributed.

“The point across both the indigenous and diasporic examples is clear: the networked nature of new media technologies enables sharing, identity formation, communication and publicisation to occur nearly instantaneously without being bound by the realities of physical distance.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 504)

The Tribal PEACE project is an excellent example allowing people to understand the importance of new media and the way that it is used by ethnic communities, the way it is shaping these communities by preserving their culture, be it songs, native language or other important documentation.

Reference: Srinivasan, R (2006). Indigenous, ethnic and cultural articulations of new media. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 9(4), 497-518.

2.    Identify media texts from other cultures that you enjoy. Consider whether your use of these texts makes you a “pop cosmopolitan”.

I was born in El Salvador and raised in Australia, however, I’m an Aussie at heart and enjoy dunking my Tim Tams in my cuppa. I also enjoy watching the cricket and the AFL. Being raised in Australia, I have embraced this culture as my own, so much so, that watching a Spanish film feels like I’m watching another culture completely different to me and mine. Guillermo Del Toro’s Masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth, released in 2006 is a perfect example where indeed, I needed the subtitles as I couldn’t follow the Spanish being spoken!

So, yes I think I’m a pop cosmopolitan, I enjoy watching martial arts films; I adore Jet Li. Especially in Hero and Fearless. I love musicals, so Bollywood films are a must and I have seen many Anime TV series and films, including Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell and Ponyo just to name a few!

I am a huge fan of British films, romantic ones like Love Actually and BBC Worldwide version of Pride and Prejudice. But what tickles my fancy is the Blood and Ice cream genre films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost: Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

American content consists of Zombies,Vampire and Werewolves films or anything with Milla Jovovich and or Bruce Willis. Particular favourite films include the Resident Evil franchise, The Matrix franchise, Underworld and Van Helsing. I’m also a huge fan of The X-Men franchise.

My children enjoy watching ABC for kids on channel two and I have noticed some of its shows are made in Asia, like Korean Dibo the Gift Dragon. There is also Bali from France and Mr Maker from the UK. So I’m raising a couple of pop cosmopolitans as well!

What I’m wondering is can we classify American and British culture as different to Australian culture and whether I’d be called a pop cosmopolitan by watching a lot of American TV and film? Undoubtedly, I consume a lot of American texts. It’s everywhere you look. Movies, prime time TV shows, (channel nine’s Two and a Half Men on at 7pm) and books. Also I must admit, that just as Jenkins suggests in this week’s reading, my interests in other cultures is slightly superficial as I’m not willing to change my beliefs or ideals after consuming different cultures. I only wish to escape for a little while.

 
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Posted by on 03/29/2011 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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