Open for the User

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Think of all the possibilities that could be available to the consumer if only we had a “magic phone”. However it seems that today we do have this opportunity with the idea of open, generative technologies.

“Generative technology, as defined by Zittrain, is a technology that allows third parties to innovate upon it without any gate-keeping” (Cathryn Ploehn).

The leading example of this type of technology is the Android Smartphone. Users are able to able to tweak their phones to align with their interests and take advantage of what the handset has to offer (Open Handset Alliance).

They can swap out the phone’s homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos” (Open Handset Alliance).

This is only the beginning of what an open platform can do. Other nifty things Android can do include using a PlayStation 3 Controller to play games on the device.  Open devices such as Android empower their users to actively contribute in the development of a product. By using the idea of collective contributing it can allow for a continual mutation of technology and a user driven experience.

However it seems with all these possibilities people are still scared into using closed platforms. Alex Kessinger suggests the reasons for this are that consumers feel open platforms are inferior to paid software, they feel there is no support and generally they are insecure about open devices. With media warnings about hacking threats such as SMS Trojans and “Cold boot attacks” it is no wonder people are more inclined to use closed devices such as IPhone.

Convenience and risk seem to be key players in the success of a product and closed products offer this convenience at low risks. Closed devices however work on a permission culture tethered to a closed ecosystem (Ted Mitew). It is obvious that the ideological permission culture is slowly fading in today’s convergent society. Active consumers, who are becoming bored with being formatted, move to new and exiting generative technologies where they are able to format the experience for themselves. This can be seen in the Gartner Q2 2012 Mobile Sales Unit Report. Of the mobile devices sold, over the past quarter, 64.1% are powered by Google’s Android and 18.8% are operated by Apple’s iOS (Darcy Travlos).

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An Advertisement That Will “Blow Your Mind Away”

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Advertisers of Burger King shocked their audiences in 2009 after releasing an extremely controversial advertisement promoting their newest sandwich, “The Super Seven Incher” (Lantry, 2009). Although the advertisement was printed in Singapore and was not linked to any American advertisers as such it sparked mass outrage. Mark Duffy and advertising copywriter stated:

“I’ve seen a lot of sexual innuendo ads and this is about the worst, especially for something as mainstream as Burger King. I was a little repulsed by it. It’s really misogynistic to women and it’s also unappetizing.” (Lantry, 2009)

Looking at the sign myself it is easy to see why the advertisement draws in so much negative attention. On a first glance I see the denotation of a blonde haired woman about to take a bite into her “Burger King Super Seven Incher”. However when I look into the connotations of the image I think of sex, pleasure, desire and hunger. The use of red lipstick it immediately draws my mind to the connotation of love, desire, lust and deviousness. The vector of the burger leads my eye to her mouth and coupled with the salient bold writing of “blow” I am immediately drawn to think of the act of oral sex. Because of the ideological perception that sex produces pleasure the audience connects the idea of eating the burger with pleasure that is associated with a sexual act. This in turn is meant to leave the audience wanting to try the burger. However not all people may associate the act of oral sex as pleasurable and may find it highly grotesque turning them away from trying the burger.

The sign plays an interesting role because of the sexual shock tactic that it uses to grab audiences’ attention. It is said by Scott Purvis that people are 20 per cent more likely to recall sexually explicit advertisements however this is not seen as persuasive advertisement because the audience generally isn’t interested in the product itself (Lantry, 2009).  Because sex is mainly used to grab attention it can be referred to as the “borrowed interest” effect (Daye, 2008).  However there are many cases where sex sells advertisement has resulted in long-term success. Calvin Klein managed to generate one billion dollars in annual revenue on a brand that is strongly identified with sexuality (Daye, 2008). So the question seems to be not weather sex works in advertising rather when is the best situation to use sex in advertising? (Daye, 2008)

YouTube and Copyright

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Copyright is seemingly intertwined with content industries and their attempts to control and consolidate convergence. With this issue in mind I turned immediately to the hub of copyright infringement, YouTube. It did not take long until I found ample examples of where a breach of copyright had occurred.

Although vastly responsible for thousands of cases of copyright infringement each day YouTube isn’t actually responsible for copyright violations of its users (Warren, 2012).  Only when YouTube receives a takedown notice by a rights holder does it deal with the content. Interestingly it seems to be big business dominating the use of these notices. This can be seen in the case of Sega issuing a takedown notices on all channels with footage or commentary regarding the game “Shining Force III”.

Because YouTube only acts as a facilitator of content it has come under major scrutiny and copyright lawsuits especially from the content industries. Because of this YouTube has turned to the process of convergent technology in the form of Content ID.

“Rights holders deliver YouTube reference files (audio-only or video) of content they own, metadata describing that content, and policies on what they want YouTube to do when we find a match.” (YouTube, 2013)

The development of Content ID leads to content creators having to live in a permission culture. Interestingly once a match has been established most copyright holders will allow for the content to be published because this allows for benefit through exposure, advertising and linked sales (Gould-Stewart).  So if content industries see a financial gain through illegally copyrighted material they are less likely to take the content down and in turn are basically using copyright in a “win-win” situation. This can be seen in the case of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance. It is fairly obvious that the happy couple is in breach of copyright by using the song “Forever” by Chris Brown. However rather than blocking the content Sony actually allowed the upload and coupled it with advertising and links to ITunes and the considered “expired song” went back to number four on the ITunes charts (Gould-Stewart).

So in the case of YouTube it seems that copyright is almost being used as a weapon for content industries to stay afloat and aligned with today’s convergent society.

Media Scapegoating?

Hi Digital Diary Followers

When issues arise in society it is very easy for us to fall into a “point the finger” culture and naturally it is usually the media who is scapegoated for our problems. Many people would be aware of the various negative media clichés that exist today. However when one delves deeper into the issue we find that there is, in fact, little reliable evidence to show what media actually does to us. (David Gauntlet, 1998) suggests this is because the media effects research has taken the wrong approach. Interestingly enough until I was actually asked to question this notion I readily accepted most of the assumptions written about the media.

An interesting point to consider is that we don’t take into account that many of these media effects tests take place in sterile, laboratory settings (Gauntlet, 1998). It is obvious that this would have a clear effect on the subject because they know they are undergoing testing. It also removes them from an environment in which normal media habits would take place therefor leading to unreliable results. It is also noticed that there is an outnumbering of small scale simple tests to large scale sociological studies meaning information consumed from the these small scale studies may not be as reliable because they were completed on a lower budget in limited time.

Another issue is that effects research often starts with media as the problem rather than looking at individual factors (Gauntlet, 1998). By looking closely at other issues such as family history, religion, peers, diet, location etc. it is often found that these are the issues which cause problems such as violence rather than the consumption of media. This can be seen particularly in the case of 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. Even before Seung-Hui Cho’s name had been realised several specialists had already presented video games as the underlying cause including Jack Thompson (Ferguson).

However the Virginia Tech Review Panel stated that:

“He was enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do program for awhile, watched TV, and played video games like Sonic the Hedgehog. None of the video games were war games or had violent themes”.

Cho also had a number of other underlying mental health problems and had undertaken stalking behaviour towards female students previously (Ferguson). By looking closer into the details it was obvious that the media was not to blame for this tragic event rather the individual traits of Cho.

So while the “media effects model” can provide us with some interesting conclusions we should not readily consume everything that it tells us. We need to look at the bigger picture instead of just jumping to assumptions and immediately blaming the media for our own  problems.

Convergence and Its Paths

Hi Digital Diary Followers

It has become fairly obvious that we live in a culture that is undergoing vast change in terms of media. Everything we need is now basically in the palm of our hands: television, music, maps, photos, calendars…the list goes on. However it is because of this rapid change that we see a focus on the process of convergence and the mixing of technologies, industries and audience. Personally being born and cultivated into the digital age I find it harder to grasp these effects because honestly I don’t know any better.

The process has been described as to me as intertwined i.e. the changes we see technology also directly affect not only the industry but also the audience. Content is beginning to flow across multiple platforms because of the change from analogue to the digital. With this change to digital technology we also see a reformat of our behaviours. Applying this idea to myself I see that when I was a kid most of my time was spent sitting in front of a television where I would watch a cartoon and laugh because that’s what the message was telling me to do however when technology comes in such as a Wii console it reformats my behaviour and sends me a new message i.e. no longer should I just be sitting and watching television I should be actively involved with it.

Convergence, it seems, becomes problematic in terms of the audience. There has been a paradigm shift from passive to active and no longer are we just the consumer we are also the prosumer. The technology we use today stimulates us to share content. Being a YouTube enthusiast I realised this idea is applied to the daily vloggers I follow. In CTFxCinema, Alli (the host) reviews movies. She then asks her audience to post video responses to what they liked/disliked about the movie. Not only does Alli share content in terms of the movies she reviews but she also is an example of where an audience member is being active.

The problem seems to come when you look into the perspective of the industry in relation to the audience. Although they respond positively to the idea of new technology they do not respond well to the idea of content flow across multiple platforms. Why though? Delving deeper into the idea I was shown there are a number of reasons for this. They believe audiences should still be in the “end position” – our role purely to consume. However because of this shift to the new active audience and developments of technologies such as the Internet we see that basically now anyone can produce content about anything at a small cost. This contrasts to the scarcity model that the industry bases themselves around. Also because digital content is easily shared by us it leaves zero control to the industry.  I saw this in practice after doing a simple search of “full movie” in YouTube. While I get to now sit in my room and watch a copied version of The Vow the industry doesn’t earn a single cent.

So it seems that although we are moving forward in terms of the technology and the audience, the industry seems to be lagging behind. To me it seems obvious that industry should attempt to adapt to the process however this is probably easier said than done. The fundamental understanding that came to me from this was that this clash is occurring because of the process of convergence.

Sources

Mitew, T. 2013. Trajectories of Convergence, BCM 112. University of Wollongong, unpublished.

Go On Have A Stalk

Hi Digital Diary followers

My name is Emily however if you ever see me around campus or in class feel free to call me “Bauer”. You may ask why “Bauer”? It’s my last name and I asked people to use it after realising that I had the dilemma of having a common name. Funnily enough now, you are probably more likely to get a response from “Bauer” rather than Emily. Another thing I’m recognised for is my hair. I’m a natural red head and it doesn’t take one long to realise that I’m pretty proud of the fact.

I decided around Year 10 that I was interested in media and communications after doing work some experience at a radio station. During my final years of school I also found I had a real passion for history and decided the HSC wasn’t where I wanted to finish my study of it. Hence my degree: Bachelor of Media and Communication Studies/ Bachelor of Arts (Deans Scholar). I’m currently undecided as to where I want to direct my Media and Communications degree in terms of my major however in 5 years time I would hopefully like to see myself going into radio.

I have to say my guilty pleasure media habit is YouTube. I’m a sucker for daily vloggers. If you don’t know what a daily vlog is let me enlighten you – it’s kind of like online reality television. I don’t understand why I am so addicted to watching them or even how I begun liking them however I find it interesting that people can be so open about posting their everyday life online. My favourite vloggers would have to be CTFxC, Shaytards and BFvsGF. So if you watch any of these feel free to let me know because I am still yet to find someone else who shares the same strange interest. Besides this I’m also a chronic Facebook user…but then again aren’t we all?

Another thing I’m really good at is rambling about nothing.

I Swear

Hi Digital Diary followers

I’m Emily and this is the blog I’ll be using throughout the course of my university degree. I’m feeling excited and like the idea of making the BCM 112 subject hands on but I swear setting up this account was more stressful than the HSC…so many themes, so much indecision.