Is Education the Answer?

It is interesting to look back in nearly every aspect of life and see how there is always been a gap, big or small, between different groups within society. It is difficult to ignore that one of these major gaps between groups is shown through that of men and women. Ever since the beginnings of history, we have seen these issues time and time again, from the suppression of women, to when women were finally given the right to vote, many years after that of men. With the growth of social media and the internet, these issues are still so present in everyday life with women often experiencing this inequality through online harassment.

Online forum websites such as 4chan, Reddit, YouTube, or even everyday blogs, abusive users, referred to as online trolls, have the ability to mask their own identity underneath the veil of the internet. Often commonly referred to as key-board warriors these users attack their victims with appalling insults commonly death threats, abusive language or acts of sexual harassment without any sort of remorse as they are not physically abusing their victim face to face. Because of this ignorant nature of the attackers, many high profile women within the blogging or online community are subject to these threats and abuse from these trolls.

How is it that these issues are able to be overcome? With such large corporations being the platforms for this bullying, including Facebook and Google, I personally believe there is a way to better moderate and control what is being said and posted online. Education is also a key area that needs to be focused upon, and being billion dollar companies, these corporations may be able to donate to educational programs teaching ethics and addressing the consequences of these actions

References: 

Thorpe, Vanessa (2011) Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men, The Guardian, Sunday 6 November.

Dreher, T¬†2014, ‘#mencallmething: Identity and Difference Online’ powerpoint slides, BCM112, The University of Wollongong, viewed 13¬†May 2013 .

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Slacktivism

Over the years the internet has weaved it’s way into every day life, to the extreme that it is now nearly impossible to go a day without using the web¬†at all. Because of this massive online growth, it has led to¬†companies and organisations world wide having to adapt and change the way they work to be in favour this new online world. It is though this growth that we as the audience as well as consumers, have had to adapt the way we also participate in the online world, and a huge part of this is that of activism.

Years ago, if you were really passionate about a social justice or political issue, to have your own voice heard, you would need to physically go out into the public and join a group, or ring an organisation to donate money, this required actual interaction with another person. However, since the growth of social media, it has become increasingly easier for people to join these groups and show support from the comfort of their own home. Just under two years ago, an activist group known as Invisible Children started the Kony 2012 campaign to bring freedom to the child solders in Africa, as well as the arrest of Joseph Kony. The thirty minute video, seen over seventy million times within the first four days proves how intense and powerful social media can be in regards to activism.

However, with this, it must be remembered that millions of people sitting at home pressing a ‘like’ button to show support to a cause, although creating exposure, does not necessarily help or resolve the problem.¬†This term “Slacktivism” refers to users of social media passively supporting, rather than actively doing something. These slacktivist actions¬†lack commitment¬†which overall, does not lead¬†to a positive change for the organisation.

References:

Jenkins, Henry. (2012). ‚ÄėThe New Political Commons‚Äô. Options Politiques.

Strauss, Jesse. (2011). ‚ÄėYouth movement in a culture of hopelessness‚Äô. Aljazeera.com.

Transmedia

Represents a process where¬†integral elements of a fiction gets dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels.’ – Henry Jenkins.

Jenkins writes that there are ten ways in which a piece of media can be transmedia.

An media type that is an example of this is Harry Potter. Originally, Harry Potter was written in novel form along with a number of different sequels. As the story got more and more popular, it was then developed into a film, as well as all the sequels following, meaning that it was now both a novel and film, becoming a transmedia. The Harry Potter world also includes a website called Pottermore. Through this website, users are exposed to more information about the Harry Potter world which is not included in the film or novels. Harry Potter is again showed to expand through the development of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park, and ultimately another media platform conquered giving a more in-depth insight into the world of Harry Potter.

In relation to Kickstarter, it can be seen as the platform often used to launch tansmedia. Individuals are able to develop and produce different types of media, whether it be a film, an illustration, or a novel, different from the original media piece. An example of this transmedia used within Kickstarter is the Veronica Mars Film. What was once originally a television show was able to be crossed over into a feature length film contained within the same Veronica Mars world, but exploring new stories. It is through the financial support and backing of this film that the Veronica Mars television show was able to cross the boundaries and become a transmedia.

References

Jenkins, H 2007, Transmedia Storytelling 101, Confessions of an ACA-Fan, webblog post, 22nd March, 20th April 2014, <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html&gt;.

 

Remix Culture

This thought of remix culture is a growing idea developing amongst a number of media platforms including. Although most commonly seen in music development, the idea of a remix can be seen though many other mediums including film and literature. Through the further development of the internet and the web 2.0 it has allowed for greater access for users allowing for more sharing, uploading and downloading of media, allowing for these remixes to come around. Today, it is almost impossible not to stumble upon some sort of remix. With websites such as SoundCloud and YouTube produsers are able to easily upload their own rendition of the media, whether it be a movie clip or a song, within a number of minutes and send it out to the world for anyone to see.

With this ability to so easily remix media, it allows for the further development and growth of culture. Take the Girl Talk remix Play Your Part Pt 1. In under five minutes, musician Greg Gillis who goes by the stage name Girl Talk, is able to combine over twenty different songs from a number of decade all aimed at a number of different genres. Through this, all these styles of music are brought together and remixed into a whole new category, appealing to a whole new type of person, whilst still containing the likeable elements of the original.

The web has allowed for the expansion as well as further development of these remixes. It has allowed for a combination of different styles and genres to be brought together to create an almost new perception of the original media.

References:

Lessig, Lawrence (2008) Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, pp.23-31

Bruns, Axel (2010) Distributed Creativity: Filesharing and Produsage

Rouse, M 2011, Web 2.0 (or Web 2), Whatis.com, Blogpost, March, 2 May 2014, <http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Web-20-or-Web-2&gt;.

 

Produsage Kickstarted

Bruns (2007) suggests that a major shift has taken place in regards to the usage and creation of various texts including products and information. It is though this user-led content creation that we all, as avid internet users, are exposed to greater- more expansive range of information produced by not just large corporations, but individuals themselves. Examples of these participatory networks range largely from social media including that of Twitter and Facebook, to blogs, and even Wikipedia

Bruns’ suggests that there are four key aspects when it comes to characterising produsage, which include;

  • Organisational Shift
  • Fluid Movement
  • Unfinished, ready to be edited
  • Continual¬†collaboration¬†

But how does this relate to Kickstarter you say? Well in essence, Kickstarter is the ultimate produsage tool. Individuals are able to upload and contribute to information on an online platform, giving them access to a number of user created ideas and projects.

In relation to Brun’s characteristics of produsage, Kickstarter promotes a shift from major organisation and corporation developments, to more individualised projects, developed by individuals of all backgrounds not fitting within a typical cookie-cut mould. Again, Kickstarter largely incorporates the fluid movement allowing for consumers to become producers, as well as producers to become consumers. Kickstarter, has producers who’s backgrounds are shown to be professional to amateur, and everything in-between. A major aspect of Kickstarter¬†is that the projects allow for user contribution, meaning that all projects are able to be critiqued and edited by their users, conforming to one of the characteristics. And finally, Kickstarter does contain intensive copyright laws, which allow for the appropriate acknowledgement of individuals wok to be brought forward and shown.

Although the intensity of the characteristics may vary, Kickstarter clearly shows that they are a media platform/technology thats number one main focus is that of produsage. Individuals on Kickstarter are given to opportunity to engage and create their own ideas and designs giving them ultimate content production.

 

REFERENCES: 

Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. In Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington D.C.

Moore, C¬†2014, ‘Participatory Media: From Citizen Journalism to Collective Intelligence’, Lecture Presentation, BCM112, University of Wollongong, April 8th 2014, <http://prezi.com/bkoegstwbrrn/bcm112-w6-2014/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&gt;.

 

Audiences Have Their Say

One of the top 1000 websites in the world, it is easy to see that Kickstarter‚Äôs audience would be vast in number, as well as quite diverse as the website does not cater for one specific ‚Äėgenre‚Äô or style.

Being a crowd funding platform, the main anticipated audience of the website is everyday people with extraordinary ideas. Kickstarter states that projects come from “artists, designers, and creative people all over” giving no specific target audience but rather a mass audience approach. It is generally believed that the main project creators would be small businesses or sole traders with an interesting project or idea that they believe would be able to change people everyday life, but do not have the funds¬†to finance costs of their project.

However, in recent times, a new audience or unintended audience has became apparent in the kickstarter environment, and that is,

famous crowd funders‘ the most popular of these being of course the recent Veronica Mars crowd funded film. With this comes a lot of ethical concerns to whether or not famous crowd funding should be allowed, given that the rights to the Veronica Mars film were owned by Warner Bros.¬†a multinational company capable of funding the film without the assistance of crowd funding. However, Kickstarter was shown to have adopted this audience, even giving the project extra promotion by giving the film a banner ad on the main page of the Kickstarter website.

Viewers and backers of the project are able to leave comments with questions, ideas, and concerns they have with any of the features of the project, allowing a dialogic technology to exist. Creators of the project are able to comment back, giving a greater avenue¬†of communication. This type of dialogic technology would not be available if it wasn’t for crowd-based funding platforms like Kickstarter which allow the backer to directly contact the creator.

References:

Kickstarter 2014, Frequently Asked Questions/Kickstarter Basics, Kickstarter, April 3 2014, <https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter%20basics&gt;.

G.F, Is it unfair for famous people to use Kickstarter?, Economist, Webblog, 13 May 2013, 3 April 2014, <http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/05/economist-explains-unfair-fair-famous-people-kickstarter&gt;.

2014, WarnerBros.com, Warner Bros., 3 April 2014, <http://www.warnerbros.com&gt;.

Sorry we’re closed, Please come in! – And never leave.

Some fear that media is out of control; others that it is too controlled. Some see a world without gate-keepers; others a work where gatekeepers have unprecedented power. 

-Henry Jenkins, The cultural logic of Media Convergence

As the media environment is increasingly growing and moving forward, it is becoming more apparent that there are two clear forms of media platforms, they are either opened, or closed. Open and closed forms of media technologies have been ever present since the mid 2000s, but has been brought more and more into the limelight since the release of the iPhone in 2007, and the user generated competition between Apple and the Android operation systems.

Apple, being a closed or locked technology, doesn’t allow for its’ users to have any control whatsoever over their operating system, or physical hardware, not even being able to add storage or battery power to the iPhone. All changes to the technology come

straight through Apple, and because of this a sense of built in obsolescence has been adopted, forcing users to buy new products after a certain period of time. As a result, Apple users are generally locked in, the only way they can legally put information onto their device is either through iTunes or the Apple store, if a user illegally jailbreaks their iPhone, they loose their warranty contract with Apple.

On the other hand, with the Android operation system, virtually anyone is able to develop software for whatever device the operating system is being hosted. As a result of this users are given more flexibility as

well as access, allowing android to be viewed as an¬†‘unlocked’ media platform.

In regards to the studied platform, Kickstarter, I believe that it is an open platform as anyone is allowed to upload ideas onto the website. The company has no affiliations with either Apple or Microsoft, or any other social networking site such as Twitter, or Facebook. That means that you do not have to have an account with another platform to use this. A non-member can even donate to a project, without having to join.

 

References

Jenkins, Henry (2004), The cultural logic of media convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 7 (1): 33‚Äď43

2014, Apple, Apple, March 31 2014, <http://www.apple.com.&gt;.

2014, Android, Android, March 31 2014, <http://www.android.com&gt; 

Howard, B C, Planned Obsolescence: 8 products designed to fail, Popular Mechanics, Webblog, March 31 2014, <http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/planned-obsolescence-460210#slide-1&gt;.

Costello S, What is Jailbreaking? About.com, About.com, March 31 2014, <http://ipod.about.com/od/iphonesoftwareterms/g/jailbreak-definition.htm&gt;.