The Battle between Old and New Media

4 Jun

Week 4: Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: “Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?” (Reader, page 136). Do you agree? Use examples to illustrate your point of view.

 

Whilst it is true that radical changes are occurring in the media landscape with traditional barriers to publishing information being broken down, in my opinion the views articulated in blogs are restricted in their ability to influence viewers. Traditional media forms such as newspapers, with their institutionalised methods will always have more credibility.

With the introduction of web 2.0 applications, particularly with the emergence of blogging, radical changes have occurred as a result of the ease at which information and knowledge can now be shared and transferred across the globe. According to Russel et al (2008, p.43), this digital revolution has resulted in a lowering of the threshold when producing and publishing information. Because of the increased access to new publishing tools and platforms that individuals can access, there has been a reduction in the boundaries between producers and consumers as well as between public and private cultures.

Fast forward to today’s networked culture however and traditional relationships between consumers and media outlets have been transformed. Traditional top down relationships that we have grown accustomed to are now being challenged by many-to-many relationships in the form of blogging or wiki.

Russel et al (2008) points to an increase in a distrust for traditional commercial news organisations as a reason for the widespread popularity of blogging today. This concern with the dominance of commercial media forms and the destruction of democracy in the news world is echoed by Jenkins (2006, p.17) with his concern that “a small handful of conglomerates” are effectively dominating all sectors of the media industry.

This view is most evident with the widespread dominance of Rupert Murdoch and his associated news publications in Australia. Many people are concerned with the enormous amount of power and influence held by  Murdoch. With the power to influence the opinions of his journalists to publish his views, concerns about the integrity of news are paramount.

Despite these concerns regarding the democracy of news items, in my opinion relying on bloggers for accurate reporting of news information is not a viable solution. For me, a blog will never hold a significant amount of influencing power. Whilst blogs provide an effective way to offer alternative views and opinions to those reported by the commercial media, I would always view these opinions with a level of skepticism.  Much of the  amateur content found in blogs relies on disorganized methods for gathering information. I would question the reliability of information being published by bloggers and would always have concerns about fact checking. Because of this, amateur content providers such as bloggers do not really threaten the existence of media authority.

Whilst I agree that the balance of power between news providers and consumers has shifted (Russel et al, 2008, p.67), this power is undoubtedly restricted and limited in its ability to influence. New media networks provide the platform to publish opinions, however not all opinions are credible, well researched or informed with all facts validated.  Therefore, traditional media outlets maintain their power to reach a large audience with breaking news stories in a short amount of time. Many blogs get lost in the traffic of cyberspace and lack the ability to reach a large audience. For all of these reasons, traditional media forms win the battle for me.

REFERENCES

Russel, A, Ito, M, Richmond, T & Tuters, M (2008) ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’, in Kazys Vernelis (ed.) Networked Publics, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press, pp.43-76.

Jenkins, H (2006) Convergence Culture:Where Old Media and New Media Collide, New York, New York University Press, pp.17-19.

Facebook: Global Domination

20 May

I’ve posted the link to this pretty cool video about the social networking revolution. The dominance of social networking sites such as Facebook has exploded across the globe. We can only speculate as to how far this dominance will extend.

Here is My Blog: Feel Free to Remix

14 May

Some rights reserved by A. Diez Herrero

Week 10: Following week 10 tutorial’s exercise, explain why you chose the Creative Commons license that you added to your blog and discuss the relevance (or not) of adding the license.

Following the tutorial this week, it took me a while to decide which Creative Commons license I was going to include in my blog.Ultimately however, I was swayed by the ideas of freedom and open access behind the creation of Creative Commons and decided that the Attribution-ShareAlike license would be the most appropriate license to choose.

The role of the Creative Commons website according to founder Lawrence Lessig is to counter the changes in copyright law which are seen as narrowing access to creative works (Lessig 2004). Recent legal changes to copyright, such as the introduction of the Sony Bonno Copyright Extension Act in 1998 which extended the length of copyright, have created issues in the application and transference of these laws to the medium of the internet (Garcelon, 2009). Following the introduction of these restrictions on copyright, Creative Commons was established in order to regain a sense of freedom of information and ideas on the internet.

Through the introduction of the Creative Commons website, copyright holders (such as myself with this blog) are given the option of choosing a license which enables their creative work to be available for copying and for distribution. These Creative Commons licenses operate by granting voluntary exceptions to their original rights under copyright laws which means that no legislative action is needed (Garcelon, 2009).

Thomas Jefferson, known as the architect of original copyright law in America argued that ideas are the property of the public domain (Vaidhyanathan, 2001). Jefferson believed that it was only the expression of these ideas which should be protected under copyright, rather than the actual ideas themselves. According to Jefferson, “he who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light himself without darkening mine” (Katz, 2004). The risk with copyright laws, according to the advocates of organisations such as Creative Commons, is the threat that is posed to ideas existing within the realm of public knowledge. Without this open access to ideas, the creation of new culture works would be restricted and inhibited by the strict constraints surrounding copyright laws.

The founders of Creative Commons aim to recover this sense of freedom, with emphasis placed on freedom of information. Lessig focusses on the concept of non rivalrous property when discussing freedom of ideas. According to Lessig, the realm of ideas consists of non rivalrous sources which are not restrictive in the same way as the realm of reality (Lessig, 2005). Lessig champions the idea of a commons as a “public domain from which anyone can draw without the permission of anyone else” (2005, p. 352).

After reading the terms of the available licenses on the Creative Commons website, I decided to choose the Attribution-ShareAlike license to apply to my blog content. I believe that this license best represents the goal of creative commons to achieve maximum levels of freedom and access to ideas and information on the internet. With this license, readers of my blog will be aware that they can remix, tweak and build upon my blog for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

In relation to benefiting from this content for commercial purposes, one restriction is applied within this license. By adding the Attribution-ShareAlike license to my blog, the user must not only credit me in their new work, but they must also subject their work to the same terms under the Attribution-ShareAlike license. This means that whilst they can benefit commercially from either remixing or building upon the content of this blog, they must also allow their content to remain open and free for others to also benefit commercially and tweak and remix their work. I believe that if anyone could find a commercial use for my blog then they must also enable that content to be free and able to be distributed and copied for commercial or non-commercial purposes in the same way that i have allowed. I believe that this license truly represents the interests of Creative Commons and leads the way towards a freely accessible public realm of knowledge and ideas.

REFERENCES

Lessig, L. (2005) ‘Open Code and Open Code Societies’, in Feller, J, Fitzgerald, B, Hissam, S & Lakhani, K (2005) Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press, pp.349-360.

Garcelon, M (2009) ‘An Information Commons? Creative Commons and Public Access to Cultural Creations’, New Media & Society, vol.11, mo.8, pp.1307-1326.

Katz, M. (2004) Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music. Berkeley: UC Press.

Vaidhyanathan, S (2004) Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and how it Threatens Creativity. New York and London, New York University Press.

My Music Library. A Rivalrous or Non-Rivalrous Resource?

11 May

At first, I found this concept of non-rivalrous and rivalrous resources difficult to grasp. Garcelon describes rivalrous resources as being limited in relation to their use by potential users (2009). In contrast, non rivalrous resources are unrestricted and unlimited, with no danger of being depleted through their use by users (Garcelon, 2009).

After thinking through these definitions, I struggled to classify file sharing and the downloading of MP3’s from p2p networks into one of these two categories. Is my music library classified as a non rivalrous or rivalrous resource?

If an MP3 is available for downloading on the internet at no cost and can be copied  rather than taken from one user’s computer to another, then there is no danger of the resource being depleted as it can be copied/shared millions of times. If there limitation or restriction to the number of copies that can be made without being detrimental to the original, this particular MP3 source would be classified as non rivalrous.

Because of this, laws about copyright and piracy being applied to and coming into effect in cyberspace becomes complicated.

YouTube Fame & Fortune? Not possible.

10 May

Week 9: A) Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269).

It cannot be denied that popular web 2.0 application YouTube is emerging as a site with significant media power and is often discussed as a separate entity to existing media business models. In spite of its growing power and influence, when it comes to the creation of celebrities, YouTube still needs a little help from traditional media models.

Although YouTube allows for new forms of participation from the public and can be viewed as entirely distinct in relation to existing media forms, ultimately it is necessary for those individuals who emerge into the realm of celebrity through posting their content on YouTube to still conform to the original systems of celebrity that are controlled by the institutions of the mass media.

The idea that you can become an overnight success story and leap into fame, celebrity and fortune plays out in many of the discourses surrounding YouTube. For example, YouTube itself promotes this very idea through their many talent discovery competitions and initiatives. An example of this can be seen in 2006, when YouTube launched a channel purely for unsigned musicians with YouTube serving as a platform from which amateur content can be distributed (Burgess & Green 2009).

However, despite the many success stories of amateur content having millions of worldwide hits on YouTube, it remains a fact that traditional and mainstream commercialised media forms are still very much in control of the systems of celebrity. To reach celebrity status, the ordinary person must first upload their amateur content onto YouTube. In addition to this, they must also be represented and supported by traditional mass media forms.

In spite of the wisedpread popularity and reach that YouTube provides for its viewers, traditional media institutions such as recording labels still possess a great deal of power when it comes to the world of celebrity. This idea of DIY overnight celebrity stories is definitely restricted and cannot be achieved without navigating the pathways created by mass media outlets.

A transfer of media power does not necessarily occur between old åtraditional media systems such as the recording label and newer forms such as YouTube.

I agree with Burgess and Green’s argument that the system of celebrity still remains within the control of the mass media (2009). YouTube amateur video success relies on already existing media structures in order to produce celebrity. For example, whilst it is true that an amateur video may receive a lot of online attention and become incredibly popular through their number of hits, if the video fails to pass through traditional and well established media systems of celebrity such as a recording contract or more recently in the form of advertising campaigns, then only a limited and restricted online success and celebrity will be achieved, which will more often than not be short lived.

The simplest way to demonstrate this would be to research cases in which ordinary people have gained celebrity status through first becoming a YouTube sensation and then have progressed through traditional media forms.

Philipino born, Charice Pempengco, became a YouTube star through the posting of her performances in various singing competitions on YouTube. Despite her popularity on YouTube, her real success was achieved after being invited to sing on the popular American talkshow, Ellen DeGeneres in December 2007.

From here, traditional mass media forms took control and were the driving force behind her becoming an international celebrity. Pempengco is now a chart topping recording artist as well as acting on the second season of Glee.

REFERENCES

Burgess, J & Green, J (2009) ‘YouTube and the Mainstream Media’, YouTube” Online and Participatory Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, PP.15-37.

Remix Culture and Creativity

9 May

I found this interesting video relating to piracy issues with web 2.0 apps. Lawrence Lessig talks about the ways in which copyright laws, especially in relation to the medium of the internet, may actually be impeding creativity by being so regimented.

How to Make a Good YouTube Vid? Just Ask this Guy

6 May

After this week’s lecture, i decided to YouTube how to make a good YouTube video to see if anyone had actually posted any good tutorials. Unfortunately, most of the videos were pretty unhelpful. The video i posted above is a pretty bad example of how to make a good YouTube video, considering i couldn’t watch past 45 seconds…