Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Probably my final entry, Lets make it a good one.

While skimming my brain over what i could write about this week, I realized that the semester is basically over, with only one more week of classes to go. I figured this final entry should therefore (respectively) be about Digital Media Cultures. The seminars, the assessments, and many of the things that I have learnt.

I will be the first to admit that I wasn't always punctual when it came to attendance. Due to other commitments I would be required to sometimes leave early, when I did get to come to class. I will also admit that I found myself, several times, questioning weather the clock on the wall was actually working or if the battery had died a long long time ago. My note book is cluttered with pages and pages of graffiti, perhaps more so than actual class notes. And sometimes, but only sometimes, I wondered if the class would ever end.

However, now that it is coming to a close, like all things that end, I begin to reflect on what was a great learning experience. It may seem slightly exaggerated, however the above paragraph might make you rethink accusing me of dishonesty. This entry, like I mentioned above, is all about reflection.

I remember when we had our first seminar. I didn't know what to expect...Peter looked like a fair decent guy, but I felt slightly intimidated by him. still, the introduction to the subject went smoothly, and what started off in a tiny class room for 70+ students, ended up in a larger class room with less students. For the first few weeks, I was still unsure about what I would be learning in the classes, it seemed like it would be a bit of an easy walk in the park.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

DMC proved to be one of the most difficult and challenging subjects I have ever undertaken. The readings were completely foreign, as if they were in a language I don't speak. In the seminars, on several occasions we were required to get into groups to work on a small group activity or discussion. I did not enjoy it at all. I felt that we were constantly being pushed into the group activities which made me very intimidated and extremely self conscious. I felt like, at times when the people in my groups knew exactly what to say, I hadn't even understood what exactly we were meant to be discussing. As a result, I was too nervous to speak up some of the time.

However it wasn't all so negative. I enjoyed the topics we talked about, especially privacy. I liked being able to discuss and learn about the issue at the same time, and with Peter elaborating constantly, I took an interest and felt that I did understand and was at the same level as everyone else. I liked that people with different thoughts and opinions were able to freely share them without a single bit of hesitation.

Overall, DMC was a great subject. The seminars were convenient, and 3 hours on one day may have been draining, but it made taking it all in much easier.

Finally, DMC was a academic journey that I am glad that I took. It has opened up my eyes to the media further, and has helped me thing from different perspectives. I have acquired some great skills from doing this subject, and am glad I chose it.

Good luck with your subjects next year guys, and thanks for checking out my blog.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What does South Park have to say?

A couple of days ago my boyfriend showed me an episode of South Park about social networking that I found to be very witty. I felt that it was worthy of a blog entry because of the message that was hidden in the story line, which is that rather than encouraging social networking, the episode conveys the negative aspects of online interaction.

The episode entitled 'You have 0 friends' shows how one characters refusal to conform to society's expectations can leave him isolated and even disliked, until finally he gives in and befriends anyone, and everyone. At one point the father complains to him that he posted a photo on his wall and that he didn't comment it, and therefore felt insulted. Eventually he tries to delete his profile and gets sucked into cyberspace (oh the joys of cartoons and their ability to take you to places thhat you cant go to in the real world) until he defeats is profile and liberates himself from Facebook's grasp.

The sub-plot in the episode shows how another character befriends a boy with 0 friends, and as a result, his popularity falls, until most of his friends have unfreinded him, which sees him resorting to chatroulette to restore his popularity by attempting to find new friends. On the other hand, his new friend is over the moon that he finally has a friend, while his parents are unaware that their sons friendship is only in cyber space and doesnt extend out to real life.

The moral of the story is that our society is becoming so consumed in social networking that it is actually effecting us in real life, not just in cyber space. South Park uses humour to demonstrate the fact that our online profiles begin to define who we are in real life too. Nowadays, to unfriend a person on Facebook means that a friendship is over in real life. A couple is not a couple until their relationship is Facebook official. If you dont accept someones freind request you are being rude or cocky. If you dont comment on someones photo or status you are holding a grudge or being anti-social. Private messages are a substitute for real life, intimate conversations and sharing of secrets. The list goes on. 

Furthermore, in relation to the sub-plot it seems that we really do consider tis new form of friendship a legitimate one. While the little boys parents think that their son is at the movies with his new friend, we see that the boy has taken his lap top with him. Whenever his parents think that the boy is actually doing something with his new friend, we see that he is, but through Facebook, not in real life.

This demonstrtes to us what our genration has become. We do not socialize and make time for people the way generations before us used to. Life is easier for us when all our friends are in the one place and we can make contact with them through Facebook at any time. And it seems that the older genrations have also adapted to this way of life.

I think that South Park raises so many good points in this episode that you really do need to watch it for yourself. It really is a window into what our society has become.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taking it too far?

I came across a very interesting article as I was browsing the net earlier on today. It was based on Criminals who now have thheir own Facebook profiles set up for them, and have people updating their pages on behalf of them. There has been a pledge to shut them down, and they most likely will be in a matter of time. What I found interesting is the reason why these profiles are being shut down, or are seen as potentially threatening.

"The last thing we want is for them to be communicating to the outside world and it will be very difficult to determine how one would manage that through legislation but I am certainly keen to find a way to try and close them down", Costa was reported as saying.

I find it extrememly scary that hard criminals are able to use social networking sites such as Facebook to make contact with the public. Even if they aren't the ones who are personally posting on to these pages, the fact that they have their names out there and that they have people posting on their behalf is quiet threatening to the safety of the general public. I personally feel like these criminals could be using their Facebook pages to communicate and plan attacks and brutal murders.

Ok, so it may seem like I'm being a little dramatic, but wouldn't you be thinking the same thing? Never before has it been so easy for a criminal to make contact with so many people at once. Facebook and Twiter have opened the doors to communicating with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people at once. What seemed like something so innocent and fun and socialable now seems to be more than what meets the eye.

The article has got me thinking further about the threatening people who may take advantage of Facebooks services. Paedophiles, Thieves, Murderers, Rapists....they are not banned from the site. There is nothing, no miraculous filter that can stop them from creating a profile and gaining access to peoples profiles by befriending them. I can only imagine how many young teenagers have been lured into traps by Paedophiles posing as a younger person and wanting to meet up. Or the amount of Thieves who may see that your family is going to Sydney for the weekend and take that opportunity to break in to your home.
Looking at it from this perspective, I can see why social networking sites are no longer safe online places for people to socialize. They are potential hazards and people need to be cautious when befriending strangers on these sites. Because that stranger might seem like a nobody to you, but in reality, they could be the crazy person out to get you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


In this weeks seminar we spent a decent portion of the lesson looking at photographs and how they represent us as individuals, due to the fact that this weeks lesson was all about self revelation.

In groups of 3 we looked at one group members photo and analyzed the location, the closeness, if anyone else was in the photograph etc. This led to several questions asked by Peter Hughes in order to establish a few fair points. Some of these points established an already clearer understanding of why we take photos, who we take them with and where we store them. A majority of the class raised their hands when they were asked if they had 10 or more photos on their mobile phones.

The class discussion then moved towards how these photographs define us. Why do we use a photograph of the back of our head as our default picture on Facebook, and what does it say about us? Why and in what way do we judge these people?

It was made clear to me during that part of the lesson that we are quick to judge people based on what images they put out there to represent them. Similarly, we only post photos of ourselves on social sites like Facebook and Myspace based on how we would like to present ourselves. Furthermore, because there is certain information that we would like to share or withold from our friends, we might be more wary of the images that are up on Facebook of us.

For example, you may not want everyone on Facebook to see photos of you at a club at the risk of being judged as a party animal or someone who doesn't take life very seriously. This could be a bit of a problem if a future employer were to encounter these photographs. Alternatively, you may want to make that photograph of you at the club visible for everyone because you want them to percieve you as out going and social, fun and exciting.

You can see that different people have different perceptions of different images, and a simple photograph of you can say so many things. For that reason we are cautious with the things we do and don't put online of ourselves. As the security problems in our society increase, there become more concernts for privacy and for the way we are percieved.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

just a quick note for anyone who is interested...

I came across the annual 'Vanity Fair 100' today, and saw that Facebook's C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg was number 1 at the top of the list. Rupert Murdoch, was at number 4.

I found it really interesting that in 2007, Mark Zuckerberg wasnt even on the list....and that Rupert Murdoch was at number 1.

Is this telling us something about the way the media is evolving and changing?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


My fellow students, I figured I have made enough references to Facebook in my previous posts and have decided that despite the fact that there are so many things I cant focus on that relates to digital media, I’m going to give Facebook a rest this week. And instead talk about Apple. More specifically, the iPhone.

Just a little over a month ago the iPhone 4 was released and we witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of people wait for hours in lines in order to get their hands on the gadget. I have a friend who proudly told me he was the 50th person to get the iPhone in Melbourne. It’s a title he is so proud of he takes every opportunity he can to mention it. I find it hilarious.

The day the iPhone 4 was released, I went to my local shopping centre to look around. I had never owned an iPhone and was very anti-conformist about the whole thing. But out of curiosity I went up to a Virgin mobile stand and asked them if they had any more of the new iPhone’s left.

They told me there was one left.

I bought it.

Now I won’t sit here and brag about all the exciting things that my new iPhone can do. Nor will I sit here and name the flaws I believe it has.

I want to talk about how advanced technology has become. My boyfriend has an iPhone so it wasn’t like I had never played around with an iPhone before. But it’s the little things you notice when you spend several hours trying to figure it out that you actually begin to understand just how amazing technology is. The iPhone senses when you shake it, tilt or you flip it around. It has applications that allow you to play games, access your bank account and buy music, videos, books and so many other things. It allows you to access the internet wherever you are, and keeps you occupied for hours. And the part that amazes me the most is that the iPhone is so little, yet it can to so much.

I don’t regret buying the phone. Nor do I brag on about it. But it has quickly become a gadget that I cant live without. Its inbuilt GPS helped me get to 2 birthday parties and a lunch. I can now transfer money from one account to another in a matter of seconds, making my hunts for ATM’s a thing of the past. I can Google things on the spot, take photos and immediately upload them on to Facebook. I can’t send picture messages to my friends asking them what they think of my outfit. And, I can keep myself occupied with my countless games when I’m dozing off in class.

Without a doubt, Apple has created an amazing piece of technology, and it honestly does become a must have item that you can’t live without once you have had a taste. I’m already this amazed at what Apple has come up with, and I can only imagine what they will release next year.

Cheers Apple.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

privacy privacy privacy...

I came across an article today while browsing the web that made me both laugh and almost cry at the state of our society.

The title of the article alone made me cringe and I must admit I sat there in disbelief for a few seconds trying to comprehend if this article was for the real.

‘Google Suggests Name Changes to Protect Privacy’. Yes, that was the headline that accompanied the short article about how Googles CEO believes “…that name changes will be the only way to hide your history.” By history he is refering to all those silly things you posted on Facebook or Myspace all those years ago, that are now completely humiliating and to some extent, damging to your reputation.

Eventually, after reading the article I got thinking about the privacy issues that keep making headlines all over the place. It seems that everywhere you look people are complaining about Facebook and how their privacy setting are just too complicated. Or that Facebook is invasive. The list is endless.

As a Facebook enthusiast (which you may have noticed in my previous post) I do not personally feel like I have anything to run and hide from. But I do understand why others would be concerned about their privacy. But not to the extent where they would have to change their name in the fututre in order to run and hide from their past. I think that’s a little bit over the top and silly. But it is reality.

You know that there is a problem with privacy and social networking sites when articles are being published about people needing to change their names to hide from their past.

I found a website a few months ago called ‘Openbook’ which was created to demonstrate the problem with Facebook and how public and open it is to everyone by allowing you to search a key word and acces thousands of status updates by facebook users containing that key word. Again, even as a Facebook enthusiast I tink that ‘Openbook’ highlights some key problems with privacy. Funnily enough when you try to share that website on Facebook, Facebook doesn’t allow it because it is ‘spam’.

I hear a lot of people talk about how back in their days they could roam the streets for hours and their parents wouldn’t mind…but apparently now, in this day and age, privacy is such a big concern that people are scared to let their children outside at all. I guess if their children did go out and be social they would have to change their names in a few years time to protect their privacy too.