What a quick semester! Feels like only yesterday that myself, a starry-eyed, fresh-off-gap year, freshman walked into my first BCM112 lecture run by Ted. The past 10 weeks of blogging have definitely opened my eyes up to the world of digital media. It has been a process of critically analysing digital media concepts that all hover around the notion of convergence. My three best blog posts “Many Hands Make Light Work”, “Nigella Foursome” and “Because I Just Can” all showcase the notion of audiences affecting convergence, in a more specific insight, ‘Participation’.

My three posts all discuss current or recent online trends and using examples, talk about the positives and negatives of the online digital world allowing user participation. Through writing these posts I have been able to understand why the open nature of the online world and lack of gatekeeping can be a problem yet be a positive. In my post “Many Hands Make Light Work”, the notion of ‘Citizen Journalism’ to myself means through the empowering nature of the participatory online world, regular everyday people do not have to be an accredited Journalist to create media. This can be used negatively or positively as explained in the post and in my opinion is harmful to traditional Journalism. My post “Nigella Foursome” was the most fun I’ve had writing thus far, which therefore helped me understand the new culture of ‘Remixing’ online. The concept of remixing to myself was a ‘distortion of reality’ and due to the very accessible and participatory nature of online platforms such as YouTube, it is very easy to do. I also understood that while remixing is very commonly used in a humourous sense (such as my Nigella video), it is also used to bring up political concerns. Writing the post “Because I Just Can” explained the culture of ‘Trolling’. The use of the poem ‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling, I conveyed the message that you should always be prepared for negative criticism when you put your works and opinions online as it will be very hard to gatekeep trolling. These are just the negative repercussions of free speech online and the open nature of the internet.

These three posts provide useful insight to where the online media world is heading, a user empowering world!


Because I just can.

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools” IF, Rudyard Kipling

These vintage, famous words spoken from Kipling help shape my own understanding of current ‘online trends’. Trends of racism, sexism, violent threats, bullying etc on social media, video platforms and blogs are trends that are spiraling so far out of control that it can even leads to suicide. This is due to the openness of the Internet. The participatory nature of the internet as explained in previous blogs have welcomed cultures such as Remixing and Citizen Journalism. Although these cultures may carry aspects of positivity and negativity, a new, negative culture of Trolling has caught open platforms off guard! The definition of the slang term ‘Trolling’ is someone who deliberately posts an off topic, controversial and provoking comment on an online forum. Urbandictionary has a much more clear definition of trolling- “Being a pr*** on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent bystander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can.” This colloquial definition is completely correct, it is because they can. The anonymity and lack of gatekeeping entices these internet Trolls to spread their distasteful opinions. Back in the times of solely passive consumption eg. Newspapers, there was very little access to voice an opinion. Where as now, there are very accessible portals to express an opinion. The trolls aim is to implant a chilling effect which will then discourage people’s involvement online. Some individuals have tried to find solutions to “get even” with these Internet trolls for instance by establishing the website “The Anti-Bogan”. This is basically a website to “name and shame” perpetrators of sexism, homophobia, misogynism etc in the online sphere.

This video truly showcases the characteristics of an Internet troll (even if it’s a parody). They keep themselves anonymous, they feel empowered when they post an extreme comment and they get satisfaction from backlash which is due to having a troubled upbringing . Our participatory culture is changing the world of online media, so online users should still voice their own opinions/ideas to the world. Users who post on open forums must be prepared to receive negative trolling as it is quite hard to gatekeep. In my opinion it’s the invisible responsibility you agree to when posting publicly.

The participatory nature of the online world today should welcome healthy online debates over an issue, but trolling is just one repercussion of free speech on the internet, so “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”, as Kipling quotes “You’ll be a man, my son!”

Youth itself is a talent, a perishable talent.

Eric Hoffer who quoted this sentence might be a while in the past, but the meaning however, is very much relevant to the present. Older generations such as ‘the baby boomers’ have the impression that all the youth do is eat, sleep, Facebook, maybe venture out of the house, eat, Facebook, sleep and repeat. There is essentially moral panic about the youth of today. In my opinion this generation is very much correct. We have the perfect opportunity in this digital/social media age to start forms of Clicktivism and Global Activisim. Clicktivism is the pollution of activism with the logic of consumerism, marketing and computer science. Global Activism in my opinion blends together a global change (eg. gay marriage), a target societal group on a global scale (eg. Young people) and the digital world all together. But why do we have the perfect opportunity? Henry Jenkins says it perfectly “the digital age has opened a new era of activism that offers the next generation new avenues into broader political participation.”

Having this said, the new digital era has also brought about a culture of Slacktivism. This is just a pejorative term that describes “feel good” measures in support of an issue, that has no practical effect on the actual issue. I can admit, even I have been a perportrator of slacktivism! Just scrolling down my Facebook page I have seen a post titled “Repost this to feed this child’s family”. Feeling like a hero I repost the Facebook post, but how do I even know its a legitmate charity? I don’t. All I did was make myself feel good for that 5 seconds of my life by reposting phony Facebook spam. That is Slacktivism. Yes I can hang my head in shame now.

“Other peoples interest in politics may be sparked by references by popular culture that helps them connect to issues that they already care about” (Jenkins, 2012) This quote by Jenkins describes Culture Jamming. This new breed of activisms plays to Gen-Y’s interests (which is normally cats doing silly things), but in this form of activism’s case:

julia gilliard(Source: Google Images)

It is a use of a Meme that attracts the interest of users. Meme’s are normally littered all over Facebook, Tumblr and most social media sites which will guarantee exposure to a young audience. The creator has bascially called Gillard a ‘Hipster’ for her new glasses while calling for the 2013 election. The #HipsterGillard uses the popular culture of Twitter to get people interested whilst still creating political discussion.

So there are obviously many ways us youthfuls can become involed in political and social activism, but we must make it meaningful! WE are the future and WE must not let our natural talent of being youthful go to waste, dont be childish and take a stand to what you believe in.

Nigella Foursome?

Warning: Crude humour (and lots of it!)

Firstly, can I begin by saying, tone it down Nigella! Is this the new breed of chefs that are emerging in 2013? Is there some mysterious scent being set loose from her apple upside-down cakes that’s turned Nigella into a sex-fueled manic!? Well, not exactly. This my friends is the art of remix. We all know the REAL Nigella Lawson who is a much-loved, celebrity food writer and journalist. She is also seen as the food worlds ‘sex icon’. The maker of this video wants to exaggerate Nigella Lawson as an overly sexual person (with quite obviously bad editing). The whole purpose of this video is to distort reality. Andrew Whelan perfectly describes the culture of remixing using the French word ‘Detournment’ which means derailment or changing the direction of.

Now, with media platforms such as YouTube these days, it’s very accessible and participatory in nature to remix. Users take remixing as an opportunity to highlight or expose issues within our society or simply just to critique. It’s a deliberate act that can actually cause political investment into intervening regarding issues that are brought up. The only potential social issue exposed that I could decipher from “Nigella talks dirty” is maybe the extreme use of sex or ‘sex sells’ in television. If this is actually the case, the creator puts it in a humorous sense to soften the raw, harsh message.

Also, can the Remix culture however, “take things too far”? I believe it can but only to some extent including legally. In Nigella’s video’s case, it may be poor for her image towards people who have never heard of her before therefore defaming her reputation. But, we can all see that its over-exaggerated and hopefully people will recognise this not an attack on Nigella personally. At the same time, a remixed video needs to be exposed enough in the media for it to get really out of hand, this is when legal action may take place. From a legal perspective, the art of remixing can technically work around copyright. You are essentially combining existing materials to make a new product. However, some companies such as SoundCloud are encouraging remixing but take copyright of original work very seriously.

The art of ‘Remixing’ is on the rise and I will be quite interested to see how it will distort our thinking of reality throughout the years. But in the mean time, Nigella, have a cold shower!