Month: March 2016

Big Companies are Watching You.

With the world’s mobile usage rapidly increasing, we are immersed in a world that is ubiquitously connected. The Internet has been a huge blessing in our lives, as it is allowing us to become globally connected.

But at what cost?

This is a quite literal query, as the internet is becoming more affordable, however it’s the devices that we use to access the internet that could cause a significant decline in our bank balance.

The large companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google, are taking full advantage of this new world by competing against each other in order to convince us to break open our wallets. The ideological differences of these companies creates the competition by inspiring innovations, new devices that are released every year or so, that keep us spending and increasing their revenue.

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These companies, especially Apple with it’s ‘walled garden’ strategy, have control over what we produce, and how we distribute/consume that content. This is different to Android’s approach, as their OS allows for user modifications and root access, giving the user complete control.

There is no ‘good’ and bad’ company here. They’re allowed to have different strategies and ideologies, and everyone has their own personal preferences with regards to their devices.

All I ask is that you remain open with who you’re loyal to, as this convergent media environment that we live in could alter the ideologies of these companies at any given moment, for better or for worse.

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I’m Lovin’ Fairy Meadow

My recordings were heavily based on the two lane round-about on the Princes Highway and the inside of McDonald’s that’s located right next to it.

The roar of the cars as they drive past blends with the mixture of sounds inside McDonald’s. The chatter of people and the various ambient sounds, such as the moving of equipment and slamming of the register, are almost indistinguishable when they’re combined. I put these sounds together in order to convey that this locality is never quiet, constantly moving, flowing together almost as if all of the different sounds are one whole sound.

One project that influenced my project was ‘An Evening over the Water at Port Germien’ from ABC RN’s Offtrack. The narration, the feeling of the movement from one place to another as they walked together and the ambient sounds created an atmosphere that I was inspired by.

Dangerous toys and safe guns? Go figure…

Type ‘Controversial Advertisements’ into Google images. Go on, do it.

Witness the thousands of controversial images laid out on that screen, ranging from allusions to domestic violence, blatant racism, objection of women, animal cruelty, and so on and so forth.

Sickening, right?

The fact that Google images is only scratching the surface to the abundance of offensive, borderline abusive advertisements is enough to leave me speechless.

I can’t even imagine what’s going through the advertisers’ head’s as they sift through their repertoire of twisted taglines pair with equally disgusting images. I understand why they do it, to get the people talking about their product, their brand. I don’t know about you but it doesn’t make me want to buy their product, if anything I want to stay as far away from it as possible. Why build a reputation based on unethical, offensive thought processes? I guess that’s just not my taste.

After scrolling through, I found one image that particularly irked me.

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Not because it is too controversial (which is debatable) but because I’m very passionate about the topic of gun control. I’ll try not to get too fired up about it right now.

The signifier in this image is the two children hold these contrasting items side-by-side, which is supposed to convey the ridiculousness of the significantly less dangerous object being banned, as guns obviously cause a lot more harm than dodgeballs.

Due to my ideologies being 100% for gun control, as I’ve grown up in a country where it’s existed for a majority of my life, my connotation of the image is, Why on earth is the game dodgeball banned when it’s so obvious that guns are a huge issue in the U.S.?”

The other images in the series of advertisements continue to make me think as such. Find more here.

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A bottle of wine? Really?

This only fuels my opinion that the idea of guns for protection is completely absurd. Yet to someone whose grown up in an environment with opposing ideals, this idea is completely justified. For a majority of the U.S., guns have provided a sense of comfort and protection for a long time. This image would have a completely different impact on those people, perhaps they think that these products shouldn’t be compared.

Everyone has different opinions on how the world should be. Although these opposing ideologies can be frustrating, these confronting media texts could allow audiences to open up a dialogue and contribute to the variety of discussions used to expose and address the worlds social and political issues together.

Let’s just hope that this advertisement puts gun control into perspective for those who disagree.

Copyright – Friend or Foe?

Copyright.

Such a pain, isn’t it?

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to include an image in my blog yet didn’t because I was afraid of copyright infringement.

Yet without it, life becomes even more of a pain, especially for content creators.

See, before copyright existed, the concept of property only referred to the land that someone owned, meaning that any other “property” that people created was available for somebody else to modify, copy, or even sell with no ramifications.

Nowadays, we, the consumers, the mediocre content creators, are the ones who suffer from these limitations. Although we are able to freely use the content that is public domain, a large amount of the intellectual property that exists is already owned and subject for copyright. Even the ‘Happy Birthday’ song was owned by Music Publisher, Warner/Chapell. Thankfully now it’s become public domain, so you can safely upload a YouTube video of your family gleefully wishing your Grandfather happy birthday with no fear of being charged. (Here’s an example)

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Taylor Swift, or more notably her management team, is notorious for her relentless copyright pursuits, hence the meme.

So maybe we won’t be able to post a video including a 30-second clip of Shake It Off any time soon, however, I do know one solution to that problem.

 

16 and Famous: The parental anxieties of today’s youth.

As a girl in my late teens still trying to discover who I am, I’m fairly impressionable, right?

I used to think so, only when it came to other people’s opinions, which I’d unintentionally adopt in order to sound more knowledgeable about topics I knew absolutely nothing about.

When it came to TV however, I never really considered it to have an influence on me. I’d always wanted the elaborate stories that happened in my favourite shows to happen to me, which would make my life a lot more interesting, but I never went out of my way to make that dream a reality.

Which got me thinking, do most young people today have the same passive desires? Or is there a change in youth culture that’s constructing more of an active audience?

Growing up in the era of rapidly improving media and technology has significantly impacted the way my generation has developed. We are highly exposed to various forms of media, which makes the young people of today perhaps the most affected media audience. Still growing and developing whilst having regular access to the internet and social media is something that no other generation has experienced, giving the adults and parents of today’s youth extreme anxiety about the possible dangers of this behaviour.

One example of this parental anxiety is the MTV reality TV series, 16 and Pregnant.

The premise of this show scared the living daylights out of most parents, due to the fact that they think it glamourizes or encourages teen pregnancy. While this is true in some cases, as most of the girls end up becoming celebrities, it actually provides more of a negative snapshot of their lives; most of the girls end up as single mothers, others’ lives being ridden with domestic violence and drug use.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound that glamourous to me.

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However, in today’s youth culture, the appealing part of the show isn’t the desire to get pregnant at a young age, it’s the fame that comes along with being on a reality show.

These kids are fame hungry.

Think of the amount of viral videos there are floating around of teenagers doing stupid things. The endless provocative posts on Instagram. The millions of tweets sent to idolised figures, in hopes of getting noticed. This is all part of their inner desire to see their follower and view count climb.

So parents today shouldn’t be scared of their kids falling pregnant due to some TV show (which has actually cause teen pregnancy rate to drop, by the way.) They should be scared of the active desire to get their 15 minutes of fame, which in itself is causing anxiety amongst teenagers, and the sometimes idiotic behaviour that is pursued in order to achieve it.

 

 

Image: http://quotesgram.com/16-and-pregnant-quotes/#xf1P1j2ZcY

Effect of 16 and Pregnant: http://time.com/825/does-16-and-pregnant-prevent-or-promote-teen-pregnancy/

The medium is the message: One woman’s struggle to discover the meaning behind this statement.

“The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan

A concept that I’m still trying to understand myself, however I’ll try my best to convey my knowledge on the subject.

Simply put that a message delivered to an audience through one form of medium may have a completely different meaning if the medium through which its delivered is changed.

During my tutorial yesterday, my group and I decided to tweet my tutor directly and ask him for assistance, amusing him and thus making us his top priority. However, if we had simply asked for his assistance by shouting across the room, not only would our demands get lost in a sea of voices that were discussing the topic at hand, our message would be no more or less important than all of the other students asking for his attention through the same medium. We changed the medium, hence the message itself changed; reiterating the fact that the medium is as important, if not more important, than the message itself.

And yes, that actually happened.

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In this case the medium is considered to be any extension of yourself, i.e. your computer, your voice, or even the chair you’re sitting on; anything that further enhances our body’s innate abilities. The message is considered to be “the change of scale, pace or pattern of behaviour,” (Marshall McLuhan) as opposed to the actual content and information contained in the message, as the message is dictated by the reception of the audience.

The “message” part of this whole concept is perhaps most confusing. Why is the meaning of message the effect that the communicated message has on its audience, rather than the actual definition of message?

I’ve said message so many times that it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore.

I’m sure I’ll grow to understand this topic more as the semester goes on (at least I hope so) but for now that is my basic understanding.

My New Normal

Today marks the end of my second week living on campus. I’d like to say I’m adjusting well but to be honest, I just don’t think it’s hit me yet.

I actually live on my own now.

Well I mean, sort of. I live with roommates, but none of whom are responsible for me, that’s my job. I have to remember to eat well, shower every once in a while, not let my laundry pile get too big before I get around to actually washing, etc. I still need to work on keeping a budget but needless to say that’s not working out too well.

Before I came here I actually took care of myself pretty well, surprisingly. My diet was reasonably healthy, I exercised occasionally and I hardly ever drank alcohol. Like, ever.

So to excuse this poor behaviour that I’ve recently acquired, I like to tell myself that moving away from home is a huge change (which is true) and it takes time to adjust to a new normal (which is also true), but it will happen eventually (I hope).

I continue to tell myself this despite the fact that I know the adjustment won’t happen on its own, I need to make it happen. I guess these are my old procrastination habits returning after not being around for nearly a year. I’m sure they will keep showing up as the year goes on, especially when assignment due dates start edging closer… but that’s an issue for another day.

For now, I need to focus on getting my life together. Adjusting to my new normal now, not later. And to do that I need to move forward, take what I’ve learned in the past and use that to help me change; keep the good, get rid of the bad. I need to stop thinking of this move as temporary and start thinking in the long term. Truly think of this as my home, not some place I stay during the week before I return home to Sydney on the weekends.

As I’m transitioning into this new version of myself, it’s hard for me to accept that certain aspects of my life are guaranteed to change. The everyday routine that I developed over the past year provided me with a sense of comfort and gave me no incentive to change my situation. However, I’m starting to realise that I can’t get too comfortable limiting myself, and that my new normal, living away from home and going to school again, is exactly what I need in order to change for the better.

Getting My Life Together

Hey everyone!

My name is Misha.

I am a first year student at UOW and I’m doing a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, majoring in Digital Media. Although I’m not quite sure if Digital Media is for me, I’m willing to stick it out.

I chose to study BCM because I’m a pretty avid media fan, as I’m sure most of you are, and I’ve always been interesting in studying the various media platforms and discovering how the world is continuing to evolve with these mediums. My interests in film and social media usually cause me to sit on the couch for hours on end, waste away the precious, sun-filled hours of the day and wonder “What am I doing with my life?”

So you could imagine that when I found this degree that I was pretty ecstatic; I could take my otherwise futile interests and turn them into something productive, something that I could make a living out of, which is all anyone ever wants in life, right?

However, I still took a Gap Year. After being completely burned-out from the HSC I took a necessary break in order for my poor brain to recover.

So after working as a swimming teacher for a majority of my year off, watching from the sidelines as my friends spent numerous months travelling around Europe and experiencing the world while I hadn’t earned nearly enough money to join them; I realised I that I still have an incredible amount of self-discovery to do.

And that’s why I’m here.

Now as a 19-year-old, fairly inexperienced uni student living out of home for the first time, I’m on a quest to regain the creativity I lost during my early high school years and am excited, albeit nervous, to be able to think for myself again.

I’m hoping that with a BCM degree, I’ll not only be able to obtain a well-paying, innovative job in the future, but I’ll also gain some skills, discover things about myself that I never thought possible and hopefully make a friend or two along the way.