Reflection.

Over the past 10 weeks not only have I enjoyed convergent media as a whole, but I have also enjoyed learning about the different aspects of convergent media that I either wasn’t aware of or had little or no knowledge about. So here is what I believe are my best 3 blogs:

1. #1stWorldProblems
Week 4’s topic was not only extremely easy to understand, but also easy to relate to. As I am apart of Generation Y, I’m interested in everything technology related, so writing this post was rather enjoyable as I had the opportunity to insert some of my technology related experiences. Although this blog post wasn’t very original, it was the actual topic which made it one of my favourites as it made me reflect on how rapidly technology has evolved.

2. You Can’t Change The World By Clicking A Button
Week 9’s topic was really interesting because we learned about how social media has altered the way we participate in politics. With the rise of social media, clicktivism is becoming more apparent as more and more people are finding it as an easy and quick way to show their support. Although it took me a while to figure out what exactly to write, I found that once I started it become much easier to express my opinion on the concept.

3. The Dark Side Of The Internet..
Previously, we learnt about how great and useful the internet is, so week 10’s topic was a great way to end my blogging experience as I talked about ‘trolling’, anonymity, cyber bullying and the detrimental effect it may have on victims. Although I have never been cyber bullied, I find it frustrating to see when people just write abusive or demeaning comments online about someone based on their race, gender, appearance or their past. Writing this blog post was just a reminder of how much of an issue bullying is in today’s society.

Overall, having to blog each week has been a great experience. Not only have I been able to further research and understand each week’s topic, but I’ve also had the opportunity to improve my writing skills (at least I think I have).

The Dark Side Of The Internet..

The internet, particularly social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, has created new ways for its users to socialise, interact and stay connected with one another. With the popularity of the internet at an all-time high, an explosion of content is being published online for others to view, like, share and comment. Instead of respecting each others views, there are people out there who engage in hate crusades just for the fun of it without considering the potential effects it may have on the victim.

Believe it or not, trolls were once fairytale creatures known for dwelling under bridges and occasionally scared goats. Nowadays, trolls are defined as anti-social individuals who cause interpersonal conflict and shock-value controversy online. Trolling, a form of cyber bullying, spreads hatred, racist, misogynist and vulgar comments online, particularly on blog sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums and online chats.

Disturbingly, it seems that it’s women who are being targeted by these so called trolls. Sexual insults posted online often reflect attempts to “put women in their place”, the same way verbal and sexual abuse attempts to keep women fearful in the domestic sphere. If women aren’t afraid to leave their front door, why should online threats and abuse stop women from posting their opinion online?

In 2012, Amanda Todd posted a 9 minute video onto YouTube describing her experiences of bullying, depression, blackmail and assault. A month after posting the video, Amanda Todd had committed suicide which received widespread and international media coverage. Numerous Facebook pages were set up in her honor, but instead of posting sympathetic messages, the pages were targeted by nasty and hurtful messages from people who intended to bully her after her death. Anonymity online is one of the greatest problems with social media and the internet in general as it has become the key to cyber bullying. People are hiding behind their computers and saying whatever they want without any consequences.

You Can’t Change The World By Clicking A Button!

Online political activism has been described as superficial engagement as it essentially lacks the personal ties of a community that once drove social change (Henry Jenkins, 2012). The convergence of technology, particularly social media, has altered the way our generation participates in politics as we no longer rally and protest for something we believe in. Instead we utilise the internet to show our support by liking and sharing online campaigns with the hope of starting an online movement. Realistically, liking a page on Facebook isn’t going to achieve anything. Social movements require organisation, strong social bonds and ultimately sacrifice.

slacktivism1_0Clicktivism is all about utilising the power of digital media in order to bring social change and promote activism. Just like any other form of social change, online activism faces the challenge of individual mediation. Like me, a vast majority of people doubt the concept of online campaigns as they believe they cannot maintain interest and gain sufficient momentum to actually change anything. Whilst others may view social media as a quick and easy way to show their support, I view clicktivism as a cop-out as it doesn’t show true passion for a cause or movement.

The aftermath of the #Kony2012 campaign left many realising the true power of social media. Gen Y’s desire to fix social problems with little effort and as quickly as possible provided the momentum the campaign needed. After being shared across multiple different social platforms, the 30 minute video acquired more than 100 million views within the first week of being posted. The rise of digital media, particularly social media, has resulted in younger generations moving away from social activism and towards social clicktivism.

“Twerk Twerk, Bounce Bounce, Clap Clap” – Remix Culture

Whether it’s in the form of a text, sound or image, remixing is defined as rearranging, combining and editing existing material in order to create something completely new and unique. Although existing material is being used, it’s still considered as a creative process as the creator must develop and combine two or more forms of media into one. The concept of remixing has extended much further than just music; it has now become a part of everyday part of life and essentially a social norm.

In today’s society, we are more likely to utilise online sources to consume entertainment, rather than the traditional mediums. Due to the advancement of technology, there has been a clear increase in the availability of media content (whether it be music, text or video) online. As a social platform, YouTube has now become the medium in which remix culture is uploaded and viewed by audiences worldwide. For instance, if I wanted to view remixes, mash-ups, parodies or other forms of remix culture I would instantly search through YouTube because of the rise and availability of user-generated content (Bruns 2010).

girltalk-djGregg Gillis, also known by his stage name ‘Girl Talk’, is “one of the hottest new artists in an emerging genre of music called ‘mash-up’ or ‘remix’” (Lessig 2008). Gillis repositions popular music in order to create a “wild and edgy” dialogue between artists from a widespread of different genres and eras. One track in particular, titled ‘Let It Out’, is a clear example of a remix as Gillis takes samples from a total of 24 songs and combines them together to form an original and unique work of art. It’s artists like Gillis who believe in the idea of fair use, as he creates something completely new from existing material, which is transformative (Lessig, 2008).

Transmedia Storytelling

According to Henry Jenkins, “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience”.

As we are constantly surrounded by an “ocean of content, products and leisure opportunities”, we as the consumers now prefer transmedia stories to be delivered across multiple media channels. Not only does this allow us as the audience to follow the story as it progresses, but it also allows us to connect and further immerse ourselves into the narrative’s world. Each medium or channel essentially makes its own contribution to the development of the story, therefore creating a much more unified entertainment experience for the audience.

2978634-harry-potterWhat started a series of books, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has not only evolved into a global phenomenon, but its franchise has turned into a multi-billion dollar empire. The development of Transmedia storytelling has allowed the Harry Potter franchise to expand in a way that gave the fans the opportunity to actively participate with the story as it progressed. A total of 7 movies, video games, board games, toys, figurines, online forums, websites (including Pottermore), fan fiction, theme parks and much more have been developed since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  In particular, the “bold, new online venture” (Jenkins 2011) Pottermore is a further extension of the Harry Potter narrative as it allows fans to interact with the story and build an exciting online experience.

Without thinking twice, our attention flows from our computer screens, to our mobile phones and our television screens. Emerging media channels (such as the internet, social media, interactive TV and smartphones) has encouraged the entertainment industry to branch out and expand their franchise across as many different platforms as possible (Jenkins 2007). By doing this, audiences have the ability to further engage with the franchise as they are provided with both exclusive content and an insight into the character’s world. In particular, the emergence of high-speed internet has become one of the most powerful delivery channel for transmedia content. Audiences from all over the world can instantly access, view and share movies, television shows, video games, comics and animations.

Citizen Journalism

In today’s society, the creation of user-generated content now takes place in a range of different forms online. According to Axel Bruns, these range from “widely distributed, loose and ad hoc networks of participants to more centralised sites of collaborative work”. A member of the public can write a blog, upload a video onto YouTube, update their status on Facebook, or post a photo on Instagram based on any topic or issue which they believe is newsworthy.

The concept of citizen journalism is essentially recognised as public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and broadcasting news and information” for others to see. The emergence of the internet and social media has had a significant impact on “social practices, the media, economic and legal frameworks, and democratic society itself” (Bruns, A 2007). As a result of the convergence of new media technology, particularly social networking and media sharing websites, citizen journalism has become much more accessible to audiences worldwide.

citizen-journalism-oAccording to Katie Hawkins-Gaar (CNN) journalism has changed forever, “people can interact with media organisations and share their opinions, personal stories, and photos and videos of news as it happens”. The internet gave the average person the ability to broadcast information to a global audience instantaneously.

As the traditional media outlet environment is becoming much more constrained by the availability of resources and time, the rise of user-generated content online, particularly citizen journalism, can only strengthen journalism as a whole. Not only do the consumers have the opportunity to be the producers, but media outlets and networks could acquire exclusive and up-to-date content which would benefit them significantly.

#1stWorldProblems..

A simple question that I cannot personally answer – “What would you do without your iPhone”. My iPhone means everything to me, it wakes me up in the morning, keeps me entertained when I’m bored and allows me to stay connected 24/7. The fact is that the mobile phone has become a symbol of status as we are essentially defined by the technology we buy and utilise.

It’s fair to say that the convergence of technology has in fact enhanced our quality of life. It has provided individuals the convenience of having multiple devices and platforms in one compact gadget. For example, the mobile phone has become a necessity in modern society as it provides us with an opportunity to stay connected with friends and family all around the world, whether it be through text, phone calls, email, social networking or other media platforms. In particular, the smartphone allows us to do virtually anything we desire as it’s not just a phone; it’s a revolutionised compact entertainment gadget!

To be honest, it’s actually quite scary to look back and see how rapidly technology has evolved. It feels like it was only yesterday when I received my first mobile phone, the Nokia 3310. Even though it was practically a brick, I thought it was the greatest thing ever! Although you didn’t have the ability to access the internet or social networking sites, take photos, download applications and utilise the built-in GPS system, you could customise ringtones, play games such as the infamous Snake and Space Invader, and you could even throw it at the wall without it breaking.

Nowadays it seems most people are more focused on expressing where they stand in regards to the Apple vs. Android war. Even though both Apple and Android phones may have similar features, in reality they are completely different. Apple is a company which has complete control over the iPhone and how the software and hardware work together, therefore making it a closed device. Whereas Android is an open and free platform as it offers its software to a range of different companies such as Samsung and HTC. With that said, Android is indeed ‘bigger’ but Apple is the only company which builds and actually controls every aspect of the phone, making it consistent and reliable.

Introduction

Why hello,

This is my first blog post ever, so bear with me. My name is Sierra Galloway, I’m 18 years old, graduated from Bulli High School last year and I’m now studying at the University of Wollongong.

Before and after completing the HSC I was always asked what degree I was planning on undertaking and my response would always be “I actually have no idea”. After thinking long and hard, I wanted to select a degree which embraced what interested me. With that said, I’m now studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies due to my love for television, movies, technology and of course social networking. I will admit that I am addicted to my iPhone as it is my life!

To be honest, I can’t imagine where i’ll be in 5 years time, but i do hope i’ll be doing something i’m passionate about. In order to do that, i need to actually complete my BCM degree and figure out what path i want to take career wise. So hopefully during the next 3 years I have some sort of epiphany and decide what career I want to pursue!

Twitter: @sierragalloway