#Reflection

And just as I was starting to enjoy blogging every week and watch the progress of my Hashtag WordPress, it’s now time for the final reflection.

blogging

In my overall experience of writing for BCM240, I have really enjoyed myself. I found the topics we discussed beyond interesting and could honestly continue an everlasting discussion on almost all of them. My interest in this subject has greatly complimented my writing and has helped me find my own strategies to engage my fellow peers and other audiences online.

To capture my readers, I aimed to write about as many personal experiences as possible. I used them as examples to support my arguments and ideas discussed in the blog posts. I also used this strategy because, well, isn’t that what blog writing is all about? There are million, if not billion of blogs on the internet and to just bore people with the straight facts regurgitated from either Wikipedia or textbooks is far too common and not my kind of style. Another strategy I used to attract readership was the use of images and catchy titles. Every blog post I’ve ever posted has come with an image. Not only does this attract the reader’s eye, if the image is humorous, creative or powerful, it will spark an interest to the reader. I also try to make catchy yet relevant titles to bring in my readers and create a sense of originality for my blog writing.

To make my blog known to the world of the Internet, I aimed to post the links to my blog posts weekly on my Twitter account. According to my WordPress statistics, this method was how most of my readers found my blog, through my tweets. I have recently become very active in tweeting, thanks to my studies, and am able to communicate with my fellow peers in the subject easily through hash tags, for example, #BCM240. Not only did posting my link on Twitter help my WordPress blog gain followers, it gave me a boost of self-confidence in sharing my writing with others who are writing about the same thing. This also was the beginning of my readership. Following my fellow peers on WordPress and reading their posts on our in-class discussions helped me develop my own different way of writing. Instead of just giving a narrative of what we learned in the lecture the day before, I would aim to interpret the discussed concepts in my own way, and let it lead the way of my writing. Mentioning the key points and terms used in the subject was important, however I found my best blog posts to be the ones where I had my own understanding of the topic. Reading other blog posts fascinated me, as others would take different approaches in their style of blogging and talk about different concepts which I had never thought of. Allowing myself to be open with the feedback given from the initial blogging assessment and reading other people’s blogs I believe has made me strive to write better and blog to the best of my potential.

However, one con to the whole ‘readership’ thing was the lack of two-way communication. From time to time I would try to comment on other people’s blogs with nothing other than positive comments. Days after posting, I would get no reply from them or even worse, my comment wouldn’t be ‘approved’. Was this because people were simply not checking their e-mails which stated my comments were awaiting approval? I feel this was a big reason my blog hadn’t received as many views as it should have over the period of time in which we started this subject. I believed what I was writing was relevant, easy to understand and interesting, so why wasn’t I attracting the attention of my fellow peers, like they were for me? I came to the conclusion it was because of my online presence, not being ‘out there’ enough. In awe of the continuous tweeting of a classmate, I decided to get stuck into Twitter and really make my username pop up on the news feed of everyone in my subject. In doing this, I’ve become a real “tweeter”, and may have accidentally hash tagged #BCM240 too many times, even in posts that were completely irrelevant to the subject. For example –

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.38.44 PMFrom this, I’ve learned to think before I tweet, and only hash tag when it is relevant. I have also learned to be more aware of my writing weaknesses which are staying on track and focusing on specific points. Being introduced to tags on WordPress was also a vital lesson, as I managed to gain two readers from the United States in doing so.

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Throughout the course of this subject, my knowledge on Media, Audience and Space has widened and given me many new insights into particular topics. Not only have I been educated in the study of media platforms, content, types of audiences, public and private spheres, moral panics, copyright and piracy and so on, I’ve learned how to make myself present online and run my own social networks. With the great research conducted and theories explained by my lecturers and tutor, I can easily say they have helped grown my interest in a career in Media and Communication Studies.

References

Wallace, 2013, ‘Possibly the cutest yet…’, NatalieWallace9, Twitter, 16 September 2013, viewed 26/09/2013, https://twitter.com/NatalieWallace9

Wallace, 2013, Hashtagmymedia, Hashtag, WordPress, 3rd August 2013, viewed 26/09/2013, http://en.wordpress.com/my-stats/

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“We live in the era of Smart phones and stupid people.” – Annoymous

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It’s no secret that mobile phone use has increased over the last decade. Every teenager I see, in public and private spaces, has their eyes glued their iPhone or Samsung screen. And if you haven’t got one of those types of mobile phones, you must be behind the times.

Personally, my iPhone is my organizer. I have my messages, contacts and photos on it, just like everyone else. But I also use the other applications like the calendar to keep track of my busy schedule or the GPS when needing directions. These features are important to me, and the convenience of the accessibility to the Internet and social networking sites through apps make communication a whole lot easier. However, I use my phone when I need too, unless I am in an awkward situation or am dying of boredom. What do I mean by this? If I need to check my work roster and let my friends know when I’m working, I’ll use my mobile. However, if I’m the passenger in a car, or out to lunch, I don’t find it necessary to be on my phone stalking my own Facebook news feed. I do that in my own, free time. My best friend though, is always on her mobile, to the extent where I wonder if she’s even listening to me half of the time. Unless she has ten times more interesting apps on her phone than I do, I can’t understand the appeal.

When discussing the topic of mobile audiences in our tutorials, our tutor asked us what is the difference between saying something through a text message, than in real life, face-to-face. My peers and I came up with similar answers. Talking via text message is easy. You can hide your emotions and feelings when text messaging, avoid confrontation, yet also have the courage to say something you wouldn’t normally say face-to-face. This makes text messaging very impersonal, especially compared to hand-written letters. Writing a letter requires more time, effort and practice. You cannot simply delete a misspelled word without having eraser smudges or add a happy or sad emoticon to express your tone of writing. With new mobile text messaging features such as auto-correct, text messaging has become increasingly easy to do without proper concentration, almost in a way making us dumber and lazier. Even I am guilty of texting my mum when she is only a room away from me in the same household.

In a 2009 survey conducted by the Princeton Survey Research International, the report stated that, for teenagers, “the phone has become such an important conduit for communication and content of all kinds that turning it off is nearly unthinkable.” The report also revealed, “Older teen girls aged 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort…Text messaging has become the primary way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face contact, e-mail, instant messaging and voice calling as the go-to daily communication tool for this age group.”

Although mobile phone use is an important form of communication, it also raises a number of moral panics, such as:

  • Teenagers being exposed to explicit images and “sexting”
  • Encouraging people to be lazy and “dumb-down” their grammar and punctuation
  • Health risks associated with radiation from the device

Since texting has become the primary method of communication for teenagers, it has also taken a role in the sexual lives of teenagers and young adults, introducing a practice called “sexting”. Another 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project discovered that “…4% of cell-owning teens [in America] aged 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging.” Author of the report, Amanda Lenhart explains “[Sexual images] have become a form of relationship currency. These images are shared as a part of sexual activity, or as a way of starting or maintaining a relationship with a significant other. And they are also passed along to friends for their entertainment value, as a joke or for fun…Teenagers have always grappled with issues around sex and relationships, but their coming-of-age mistakes and transgressions have never been so easily transmitted and archived for others to see.”

When it comes to these issues regarding mobile phone use and teenagers, the only way I believe to resolve it is to take control in the home. By having older figures educate their children on the consequences that can occur, teenagers may think twice before they click on the send button. These consequences can result in damage of reputation, bullying, blackmailing and Internet exposure which can lead to more serious issues in the future regarding working jobs. I believe it is also important to encourage a healthy living active lifestyle and to set leisure time aside, away from technology.

To read more surveys and reports on teenagers and mobile phone use, visit the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

References

Lenhart, A., 2013, Teens and Sexting, Pew Internet and American Life Project, viewed 26/09/2013, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Teens-and-Sexting/Overview.aspx

Lenhart, A., 2013, Teens and Mobile Phones, Pew Internet and American Life Project, viewed 26/09/2013, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones/Summary-of-findings.aspx?r=1


The Big, Flashy Apple

Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to advertising in the public sphere.

In this week’s BCM240 lecture, we discussed a number of topics which I thoroughly enjoyed looking into. We looked into public screens in public places, such as digital signage, and how advertisers have developed a strategic way to capture their audiences when they are not in their homes. A question our lecturer asked was, “Are people really being ‘hailed’ by advertising in public spaces?” My answer is yes, yes we are. And this leads me to my favorite example of all time – Times Square.

A couple of years ago, I had the lucky opportunity to travel to the United States and stay in the heart of New York. At the doorstep of my hotel was Times Square, the major commercial intersection, center of entertainment, tourist attraction and neighborhood of Manhattan. It was as colorful and illuminated as ever, even at three in the morning. It was almost exactly how I saw it in the movies. Those big, digital billboards meters above my head, flashing images of Coca Cola and promoting the latest Broadway shows. According to Travel and Leisure in 2011, 39,200,00 people visit Times Square annually, me being one of them. Not only are neon lights and digital signage entertaining and leave you starry eyed, they are solely there for the purpose of advertising. Below them are double doors into three or four story retail stores such as Forever 21 and American Apparel. Standing on the red steps, the same ones Alicia Keys and Jay-Z are standing on in the film clip for Empire State of MindI discovered the Forever 21 digital billboard above the store was actually a huge camera. Hundreds of meters above the ground, this billboard would film all the people standing in Times Square. Tourists were bustling through one another trying to make themselves noticeable on the giant screen, and every 10 minutes or so, a Forever 21 model would appear on the screen, take out a poloriod camera and snap a still image of all the people on the ground.

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I personally found this amazing and was overwhelmed with the emergence of technology and the creativity behind the concept. I ran into the store and raided the first, second, third and fourth floor. At the time, I didn’t think of the advertising tactics behind it, but now I’ve come to realize, I haven’t been aware of the advertising strategies I’ve succumbed too throughout my entire life until studying this topic. And that’s what makes advertisers clever, they use subliminal messages tap into your unconscious state of mind.

In our lecture, we were introduced to a number of concepts and terms which I find super relevant to this topic. With the increase of public screens in public spaces, places are turning into mediums. For example, my local shopping center is flooded with plasma screen TV’s in the food courts and retail stores. This ‘Shopping center media’ turns the actual space into a medium. Another concept which I found excellent referred to advertisers and how they are ‘stalking the escaped viewer’. Most advertisements are aimed to reach their target audiences in their homes where they have access to the Television, Internet and other platforms. However, as time progresses, technology emerges, lifestyle changes are made and social norms are reversed, leading individuals to spend more time out of home. By using public spaces as the setting for advertisements, advertisers are finding a new way to reach their target markets – bombarding them with endless amounts of media when walking down the street.

Now the next issue raised is, how does this make us feel? The Television or just any digital screen in general, has become a significant feature in most households today. Do we feel as if we are being evaded with advertising messages, that have the power to subliminally persuade us into purchasing a product? Public screens can be found in bars, gyms and restaurants nowadays, and are also increasingly appearing in private spaces too, such as bedrooms. Our culture has become so comfortable and used to the television since its introduction to Australia in 1929, that we perform daily activities in front of it while still being exposed to it. An example of this is my mother and ironing. The act of ironing in a laundry for anytime longer than 30 minutes drives her insane. To resolve this, she  moved the ironing board into the living room and watches her favorite shows, the news or whatever else is on TV while ironing. She has been doing this for several years now, and I followed in her footsteps by “doing” my homework in front of the TV when I was in high school.woman-watching-tv-in-50s-007

And then there are those who rely on the television screen and have a relationship with it, an example being, my father and every Rugby League game. If you ever come over to my place on a Friday night (Football night), and hear my father screaming, either the Roosters have scored or the refs have made an unfair call. I wouldn’t even try to ask my father a question during a Roosters game, as I know he will be too engaged with the TV screen.

Now the only thing left to figure out is the solution. How do we find a healthy balance between advertising, entertaining media and living carefree lifestyle without subliminal messages influencing our every move?

Although television, digital signage and other public screens can produce many cons, they are also fine examples of the incredible technology emergence in the world today.

References

Edwards, J., 2013, ‘Here’s How Much It Actually Costs To Buy One Of Those Times Square Billboards’, Business Insider Australia, viewed 21/09/2013, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-it-costs-to-advertise-in-times-square-2012-12

Lee, R., 2003, Linking a Nation: Australia’s Transport and Communications 1788 – 1970, Australian Heritage Commission, viewed 21/09/2013, http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/commission/books/linking-a-nation/chapter-9.html#tv

Travel and Leisure, 2011, World’s Most Visited Tourist Attractions, Travel and Leisure, viewed 21/09/2013, http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-most-visited-tourist-attractions/2

Turnbull, S., Bowles, K., 2013, ‘Week 8 Digital Signage, Advertising and the Search for New Audiences’, Lecture powerpoint slides, BCM240, University of Wollongong, viewed 16/09/2013,
https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/122031/mod_resource/content/1/BCM240%202013%20week%208.pdf

Copycats

This is probably my third or fourth discussion on the topic of Copyright, and sadly, it doesn’t get anymore interesting. Although it isn’t as exciting and engaging as other topics in media studies, it is one of the most important.

In class, we were asked to express our opinions on copyright, piracy and the dilemma of digital audience practices. Most of my peers agreed on the same thing:

If you were to create something, i.e. an image, other people can use it and edit it as long as they –

  • Do not make excessive amounts of money off of it
  • Do not take complete credit for it, and
  • Do not decrease it’s value

Sounds pretty reasonable, don’t you think? However the issues of copyright and piracy go far beyond this and aren’t as simple, with debates over personal morality and the survival of the film industry. By watching the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars online, I am slowly taking away the many dollars Hollywood deserves to be earning.

This topic brought me back to a video which I was shown throughout my first year of my studies. A YouTube account named “Bad Lip Reading” uses already made music film clips and movie trailers and changes the audio and dialogue, solely to create parodies for entertainment purposes. An example of this YouTuber’s work is Michael Buble’s music film clip Haven’t Met You Yet, where the YouTuber has created a new song called Russian Unicorn and has tried to make the lyrics in-sync with Michael’s.

Personally, I find the song quite catchy and the whole video hilarious. However, this YouTuber has attracted over six million views, created a fan base and has also managed to have their Russian Unicorn song available for downloading on Itunes and Amazon. Now the question is, who should be receiving the credit for this? The YouTuber who created the ‘Bad Lip Reading’ video or Michael Buble, whose music film clip is being used? Shortly after this video was uploaded to YouTube, it eventually got the attention of Michael Buble himself. Michael describes the video as “one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen” and said he was “very proud to be apart of it even though I had nothing to do with it.”

Other YouTuber’s commented on Michael’s reply video, stating how he basically thanked this anonymous person for stealing or using his video.

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There have been extreme cases in the past where music artists and copyright holders have taken copyright to its extent. For example, in 2007, Stephanie Lenz uploaded a twenty-nine second video clip of her children dancing to the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince onto YouTube. Later that year, YouTube removed the video, as the copyright holder, Universal Music Corporation, claimed the video was a copyright violation. Stephanie Lenz requested for the video to be re-uploaded as she stated it was protected under fair use. Lenz sued Universal for misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Prince and Universal released statements outlining their intentions on removing all user-generated content involving Prince from the internet to reclaim his art.

So to go back to Michael Buble and Russian Unicorn, it is pretty cool of him to admire the work of others, even if they are reproducing his original work. In my opinion, if you’re willing to present your work or “art” to the public, you should be aware of the consequences and that others can use it for other purposes. If everything was strictly copyrighted, how would we be able to be inspired to create our own work? And lets be honest, the anonymous source behind “Bad Lip Reading” isn’t nearly as famous and successful as the original Michael Buble himself.

To watch more videos of “Bad Lip Reading”, visit the YouTube page http://www.youtube.com/user/BadLipReading

References

BadLipReading, 2011, “Russian Unicorn” – a bad lip reading of Michael Buble, online video, 11 July, YouTube, viewed 10/09/2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjaZNYSt7o0

Collett-White, 2007, ‘Prince to sue YouTube, eBay over music use’, viewed 11/09/2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/09/14/us-prince-youtube-idUSL1364328420070914?feedtype=RSS&feedName_InternetNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2007, ‘Lenz v. Universal’, viewed 11/09/2013, https://www.eff.org/cases/lenz-v-universal

Michael Buble, 2011, Michael Buble Video Reply: Russian Unicorn, online video, 21 July, YouTube, viewed 10/09/2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5DvQgIKe2M

Stephanie Lenz, 2007, “Let’s Go Crazy” #1. online video, 7 February, YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KfJHFWlhQ

When Fans Attack

This week’s BCM240 Lecture was on Active Audiences, speaking about Fandom. The lecture confronted the stereotype of the typical ‘fan’, explaining how a fan is often perceived to be a crazy, fanatic and obsessive individual. However, perfectly ordinary people engage in fan activities of one sort or another regularly that don’t show any relation to the characteristics of a typical ‘fan’. So this got me thinking, who originated the idea of the ‘fan’ and its behaviours? And also, how far is too far? The attitudes and behaviours of number one fans who ruin the title for everyone.

My initial thoughts of who could of created, “the fan” were of Stephen King’s 1987 novel, Misery. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the novel, Misery tells the story of Paul Sheldon, a famous Victorian-era romance writer who is popular for his creation of the character Misery Chastain. During his travels, he gets caught in a blizzard and experiences a car accident. He is recused by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse, who transports him back to her home in the middle of nowhere and nurses him back to health. She claims to be Paul’s “biggest fan” and talks a lot about him and his novels. However, once reading Paul’s latest book, Misery’s Child, Annie is outraged that Paul has decided to kill off the main character, Misery. Being severely injured from the car accident, Paul cannot escape Annie as she decides to hold him hostage and punish him by abusing painkillers. She demands for him to write a new book, changing the story and bringing the character Misery back to life. The rest of the story gets pretty gruesome, which is a well-known quality of Stephen Kings’ books.

Perhaps this was the beginning of the idea of the fan and their characteristics – violent, possessive, crazy and melodramatic. I then looked into a more recent event, the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. An enormously famous superstar who had been in the lime light since the age of eight. Through the many ups and downs in his career, MJ would always be front page news, so it’s no surprise that when he was found dead in his Los Angeles mansion that fans all around the world were devastated. However, the term devastated could be an understatement, as many fans were reported contemplating and committing suicide after the King of Pop’s passing.

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From the shocking, violent, obsessive and life threatening stories of fans, there’s also just the plain creepy. A 39-year-old male from the UK, Carl McCoid, separated his wife in 2009 and found an overcoming by obsessing over the most talked about pop star yet, Miley Cyrus. After Miley’s recent raunchy performance at the 2013 VMAS, Carl stated in an interview “I watched it live and have been watching reruns since, I can’t stop watching it. She is just being true to herself.” – Danny Longhorn, Hull Daily Mail 2013. Carl McCoid has a total of 19 tattoo’s on Miley Cyrus on his body, including a portrait of her face. When asked about the obsession, Carl doesn’t really know the answer himself. “The obsession really kicked in during the divorce. It [the obsession] has got stronger and stronger,” he states in an interview with the Hull Daily Mail. Being Miley’s number one fan has even made Carl McCoid a local celebrity, featuring on radio stations and Television programs in the United States.

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An excellent book on the Fan culture and Popular Media identifies and explains many concepts and theories of Fandom. It also addresses the negative stereotypes and labels of deviancy fans are associated with, however acknowledges that we are all ‘fans’ to different audiences.

There are consequences to defining fans as abnormal ‘others’, irrationally obsessed with particular figures or cultural forms, capable of violent and destructive behavior. To consider these consequences, we need first to discuss why this kind of stigmatizing definition have been developed and why it continues to dominate the literature. What purposes does such as conceptualization serve? – The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media

To conclude my post, I believe being a fan does not mean you must portray all of these stereotypical characteristics. Your level of participation in being apart of an active audience is an individual, personal choice. In fact, I find being a fan of something or someone healthy! It shows you have an interest in a particular activity or style and can create hobbies or even lead you to your career choice. It is the extremity people go to in some cases that starts to become concerning.

References

Huffington Post, 2012, ‘Carl McCoid, Miley Cyrus Fan, Tattoos Cyrus on Body (PHOTOS), Huffington Post, viewed 07/09/2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/carl-mccoid-miley-cyrus-f_n_1638357.html

Lewis, L., (ed.) 1992, The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane, London, EC4P 4EE

Longhorn, D., 2013, ‘Divorcee planning 20th Miley Cyrus tattoo despite outrage over her raunchy VMA show’, Hull Daily Mail, viewed 07/09/2013. http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Divorcee-planning-20th-Miley-Cyrus-tattoo-despite/story-19716576-detail/story.html#axzz2emHzNkqm

Sky News HD, 2009, ‘Grieving Jackson Fans ‘Commit Suicide”, Sky News HD, viewed 07/09/2013, http://news.sky.com/story/704137/grieving-jackson-fans-commit-suicide

Monkey see, Monkey do

Moral Panics have always been one of my favourite discussions in my Media and Communications course. There is just so much content, so much research and so many theories and concepts explored as to why moral panics exist.

There’s no surprise that new technology, which has increased over the past decade, is one of the biggest perpetrators of moral panic. But the forever debatable question is, whether or not new technology and the content it displays actually has an effect on audiences.

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Recently, my brother did a high school speech on Video game violence. Him, being a massive gamer playing MA+15 rated games at the age of 12, opposes the controversy enormously. While I was supposed to be pre-reading his speech, I ended up watching the documentary of the Columbine Killings online. For those of you who aren’t aware of the Columbine Killings, two teenage boys on the 20th of April, 1999, entered their high school armed with guns, bombs and explosive devices with intentions of killing staff and students. The two teenage boys murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. After they’re attack, they then both committed suicide. The documentary goes into further detail about the boys individual lives, their plan of attack, the massacre and the aftermath. To watch it, click here.

Getting to my point, the two teenage boys were big video game players. Their behaviors and attitudes were found to be associated with the stereotypes of gamers – anti-social, awkwardness, outcasts in society and so on. It was also believed that the pair would release their inner anger into the virtual world of video games, which then horrifically was unleashed into the real world. This was the beginning of the sparked controversy that video games influenced the Columbine High School killers violent acts.

When I used to play two-player on the PlayStation or Nintendo with my younger brother, we usually engaged in Mario SuperBrothers or The Simpsons Hit and Run. As we grew older, there was the occasional picking up prostitutes, going to strip clubs and killing multiple people for money and drugs on Grand Theft Auto. What made the game so stimulating was that its graphics were so realistic and  life simulated. Just like one of the most successful games of all time, The Sims, GTA let you control the characters actions as they portrayed criminals.

*Note: The only comparison I am making between The Sims and GTA is their real-life graphics and simulation. The Sims is not a apart of my discussion on video games influencing violence.

Just as some people use music, sports, or art to relax and mentally escape from the real world, some use video games as their serenity and enjoyment. It is acceptable for video game playing to be your hobby and something to be a fan of, however in this case, its a matter of monkey see, monkey do. When you see a violent act on screen, do you go out and replicate the entire scenario? I know I don’t. Though that doesn’t mean others don’t either.

I’m going to link this topic with another issue – cyber bullying. During the time when I was a twelvie, before the term “twelvie” even existed, MSN and Myspace were the popular media platforms. It was insanely common and easy to hide your identity online and become a keyboard warrior. Many school yard arguments between friends would then continue online after hours. Not only would kids spend a whole day at school being bullied or avoided by their own friends, but the real nasty words would come out in a Myspace inbox or MSN tab after 3 PM. The name calling would follow you home and make its way into your bedroom on your personal computer. There was and still is no escape from cyber bullying, unless you ban social media platforms all together.

So what I’m getting at here is the invasion of new technology platforms in the home. Playing video games and using social media are both activities usually done at home. A home is supposed to be about family, security, peace and privacy. With new technologies emerging and displaying violent, vulgar and just plain wrong content, one can become consumed with negative energy – even when they think they’re not. The accessibility to this content is also on another level, which refers more to the regulation of media and censorship.
To conclude, I personally believe the home should be your safe haven. A place that smells of freshly baked cookies and surprises you with new sheets on your bed. A place of family interaction, comfort, safety and happiness. Not anti-social behaviour, negative emotions and sedentary living.

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References

Battersby, L., 2013, ‘Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens’, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 31/08/2013, http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/parents-underestimate-risk-of-cyberbullying-for-teens-20130802-2r4wh.html

FULLEHQ, 2012, Zero Hour The Massacre at Columbine High, 20 May, Youtube, viewed 29/08/2013,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV7qca3gbOw

Gross, D., 2013, ’10 most controversial violent video games’, CNN, viewed 31/08/2013, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/26/tech/gaming-gadgets/controversial-violent-video-games

Korach, B., 2012, ‘Violent Video Games Promote Violence’, The Report Card, viewed 31/08/2013 http://education-curriculum-reform-government-schools.org/w/2012/12/violent-video-games-promote-violence/

Reilly, R., 2013, ‘Violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto DON’t harm children – and could actually be theraputic’, Daily Mail, viewed 31/08/2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2403032/Violent-video-games-like-Grand-Theft-Auto-DONT-harm-children–therapeutic.html

 

The Silver Screen

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Like most people my age, our parents were born in the era where a television was a big. fat box which flashed moving pictures on a silver screen, sometimes even without sound. Before my mother’s family got their first television in 1972, my mum and her older sister used to run to their neighbors house to watch the music channels Countdown at 6PM every Sunday night. It wasn’t very common back then for every household to own a television. Now, in Australia, almost every family owns two or more television sets in their home.

My mum’s favorite television shows back then were: The Benny Hills Show, Hogans Heroes, Countdown, Hey Hey It’s Saturday and Gilligan’s Island. Although some of these shows are still running repeats on cable TV, my first memories of watching television were quite different. They were of Austar. I remember the Foxtel worker coming into my home and setting up a magic box on top of my TV. We were given a new remote and the channels were all three digits long. And, just like that, at the click of a button I discovered Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. I had unlimited access to hundreds of shows like Sponge-bob Square-pants, Rugrats, Rocket Power, Ahh! Real Monsters, Looney Toons and Dexter’s Laboratory. It wasn’t until I hit high school that I started to become more interested in Channel V and MTV, but even then I would still watch episodes of Hannah Montana before dinner time.

My house operates differently to most of my friends. Before my family renovated, our dining room was situated at the back of our house. With parents coming home from work at different times and myself with sporting commitments, it seemed easier and more entertaining to eat dinner in front of the TV every night. Everyday at school, the boys and girls in my class would laugh about last night’s The Simpsons episode. But nope, not me. My parents strictly watched the news at 6 PM every night. By 8:30 PM, my dad and I would watch Seinfield on channel TV1. Years later and we still watch it from Monday to Friday, even after seeing each season about three or four times. My mother wasn’t a fan, and therefore would get comfy in bed and watch her Law and Order or CSI type shows on a smaller television.

Now, living in a bigger house with about five TV’s all in different rooms, not much has changed except for where we eat dinner – on the dining room table. The older myself and my brother get, the less interest we have in watching television on the actual TV. Instead of coming home from school and watching MTV’s Parental Guidance at 4 PM then doing my homework, I come home from University and either go to work, the gym, or do some chores. When I want to watch a television series however, like Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl, I turn to my MacBook Pro. Free online movies and TV series at my fingertips in the comfort of my own bed. No advertisements, no disruptions in my private space, and no waiting for the next episode to air in Australia. Speaking of disruptions, there are what you call “codes of behavior” which exist around watching television. For example, I wouldn’t bother trying to ask my dad a question during a live streaming horse race or NRL Roosters game. When a movie or show is being played and the lights are out, your instinct is to be quiet and tip-toe into the kitchen for that late night snack to avoid disturbing the TV watching atmosphere.

It really is amazing how much even the smallest of things can change throughout time. I still have old videos of Cinderella and Pippy Long Stockings lost in my house somewhere. From rewinding videos after every use, to clicking play and pause on a disc and now just simply clicking on a link. Technology emergence has not only changed our quality of life, it has changed our way of life, especially in the way we view television.

References:

Manning, B., 2013, ‘We watch TV when we want’, The New Zealand Herald, 24 August, viewed 24/08/13, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11113611&ref=rss

Singer, M., 2010, ‘Televisions are breeding faster than Australian households’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July, viewed 24/08/2013, http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/hometech/televisions-are-breeding-faster-than-australian-households-20100718-10g3k.html

2013, Timeline 1970-1979/TelevisionAU, TelvisionAU, viewed 24/08/2013, http://televisionau.com/timeline/1970-1979

 

Infront of the Big Screen

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These days, If I wanted to go watch the latest Hollywood flick, I would just call up my friends, buy some tickets, order some popcorn and go to the local movie theater. Preferably on a week night, as going to the movies on a Saturday night isn’t exactly considered a ‘night out’. However, after informally interviewing my mother about her childhood movie cinema experiences, I discovered that going to the movies in her day was a luxury, family affair and a big ‘night out’.

Unfortunately, my mother’s first cinematic experience didn’t involve drive ins, sneaky quickies behind the bush during intervals, and Sandy and Danny lookalikes. While living in Queensland, her parents took her and her older sister to the movies to see Oliver Twist.

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My mother explained how going to the movies was a special occasion for her family. The cinemas were bigger, the movies longer, due to an interval and a man playing an organ to kill time, and everyone would buy Jaffas to roll them down the aisles giggling. Going to the movies was an escape from the real world – no one could bother you while the movie was playing, it was dark, private and personal. This description made me realize how unpopular going to the movies has become over the decades and as we grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE movies, and there’s nothing better than having a large popcorn and coke on your lap as you sink into those big red chairs – but the older I get, the more the appeal of going to the actual movie cinema fades. Is this because we are maturing? Or is it the result of the rise in technology and piracy? I can easily access over thousands of movies online at the touch of a button in the comfort of my own bed, for free. Why would I go to the movie cinema and pay that hefty $12.00 for a movie ticket, let alone food, when I can do that in my own home? As I mentioned before, a ‘night out’ in my books is, going to dinner and having a few drinks with the girls, or going clubbing. Whereas the movie experience for my mother when she was a child could be compared to going to the Opera. Okay, maybe not THAT big, but you get my gist.

As long as Hollywood keeps producing the goods, and by goods I mean starring Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling topless, the local movie theaters will always have my vote. I believe a  cinematic experience is different for everyone, especially of different ages.

A recent online article by Colin McGuire on PopMatters really delves into the concept of going to the movies for its experience and discusses several interesting points:

  • Going to the movie theater is a communal experience (this could refer back to my previous post, about the movie cinema being a public yet private space).

“…the way crowds laugh together during a comedy, scream together during a moment of horror, cry together during a dramatic turn or think together during the confusing parts of a plot-heavy thriller.” – (McGuire, 2013)

  • Viewing sneak peaks of coming soon movies is more exciting when previewed on the big screen with surround sound, compared to a quick 30-second ad on cable television.

“…previews become far more interesting whenever they have the time to spread out and explain themselves for a few minutes before the main attraction…Action flicks seem more explosive. And blockbusters seem more unavoidable. Previews hold far more purpose than a simple grace period for late-comers who don’t want to miss the opening credits, and without them, a significant portion of the exclusivity that goes into seeing a movie in a theater would feel incomplete.” – (McGuire, 2013)

  • Replicating movie theater popcorn is almost impossible. The smell of movie popcorn adds to the cinema-going experience.
  • And finally, the posters that decorate the walls of the cinema, as well as the life sized cardboard cutouts of famous characters.

For more online articles about movie-going experiences, check out my references below.

References:

Bergamini, D., 2010, Why Going to the Movies doesn’t suck, The Deleted Scene, weblog post, August 29, 2010, accessed 17/08/2013, http://thedeletedscene.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/why-going-to-the-movies-doesnt-suck/

Goodwin, D., 2013, Going to the movies in Belgium, Things You Didn’t Know about Belgium, weblog post, Sunday, August 11, 2013, accessed 17/08/2013, http://belgiumshock.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/going-to-movies-in-belgium.html

McGuire, C., 2013, ‘In Defense Of…Going to the Movies’, PopMatters, accessed 17/08/2013, http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/171128-in-defense-of-going-to-the-movies/

Tuttle, B., 2012, ‘Most People Rarely—Or Never—Go to the Movies Nowadays’, TIME, accessed 17/08/2013, http://business.time.com/2012/02/16/most-people-rarely-or-never-go-to-the-movies-nowadays/

Shh! Public versus Private

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In week 2 of BCM240, we discussed private versus public spaces, and how “moving pictures were initially a form of private viewing.” The movie cinema. It never really occurred to me how private attending the movies actually was until this lecture, and what got me thinking was this question: “What is culturally specific in our values about public and private space?” Sound! or more appropriately, silence. The amount of volume in a particular area can somewhat determine whether the atmosphere is public or private. In a movie theater, it is common sense to be quiet when entering the cinema, and you are almost always asked to turn your phone off to avoid any disruptions. The darkness, comfort and silence while awaiting for the big screen is similar to the privacy of your bedroom while sleeping. Your bedroom is your private space, when you are asleep, the lights are off, the door is shut (well, mine always is), and your family members try to tip toe around your room so they don’t wake you up.

In the UK, the Prince Charles Cinema has their own movie “ninjas.” These ninjas are disguised in dark colored morphsuits and appear randomly to “…silence the loud takers, halt the never-ending texters, and generally improvate the movie going experience.” – Kavner., L, Huffington Post, 2012.

So to answer the question from before, the volume of a particular place can be an aspect of public and private space, as well as being apart of our cultural values when it comes to the topic.

References:

Badger, E., 2012, ‘How Smart Phones Are Turning Our Public Places Into Private Ones’ , The Atlantic Cities, accessed: 10/08/2013, http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/05/how-smart-phones-are-turning-our-public-places-private-ones/2017/

Burnham, S., 2012, ‘Private vs. Public: Space, Sharing, Trust and Design, – A Talk at Social Cities Amsterdam’, Scott Burnham, accessed: 10/08/2013, http://scottburnham.com/2012/02/private-vs-public-space-tension-trust-and-design-a-talk-at-social-cities/

Kaver, L.K, 2012, ‘Movie Theater ‘Ninjas’ Will Destroy Rude People, Or At Least Quiet Them Down’, Huffington Post, accessed: 06/08/2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/movie-theater-ninjas-will_n_1889046.html

McDonald, B., 2010, ‘Picture this: private space in the public sphere’, The Sydney Morning Herald, accessed: 10/08/2013, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/picture-this-private-space-in-the-public-sphere-20100314-q5yh.html

S.,J.,D..C, ‘How to Stay Quiet During a Movie’, WikiHow, accessed: 06/08/2013, http://www.wikihow.com/Stay-Quiet-During-a-Movie

WDRB News, 2013, ‘POLICE: Man arrested for not being quiet in Cinemark Theater’, accessed: 06/08/2013, http://www.wdrb.com/story/22753417/police-man-arrested-for-not-being-quiet-in-cinemark-theater

Wi-fi with fries on the side

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In BCM240’s Week 1 lecture, we were introduced to the two concepts of: ‘Media audiences’ and ‘media spaces.’ During Sue’s discussion of how people use the media and where, my mind recalled an experience I encountered recently at my local McDonald’s. As most of us are aware of, McDonald’s presented its customers with free Wi-fi in 2008. Not only was the franchise one of the first fast-food-chain outlets to provide the public with free network coverage, but it started a trend, with big shopping centres such as the QVB and Westfield also offering the service.  However, it wasn’t the everyday school kids who would run into McDonald’s to check their Facebook profiles that surprised me, it was the men and women in business attire on their laptops. I observed a middle-aged man in a suit have an informal meeting with who I assumed was a colleague. He even had his laptop charger plugged into the wall.

I understand wanting to escape from the office, having a sneaky big mac in a 15-minute break and wanting to double-check your E-Harmony friend requests without your boss filtering your e-mails, but to conduct informal meetings, charge your laptop and actually complete work in a fast food store? I wasn’t aware of how common this had become since free Wi-fi hit more public areas. It was also a reminder of how much technology and accessibility has changed over the years. Internet was once a dial-up tone which could only be used on your family’s home PC. Now, with network businesses growing and technology emerging, you are able to do anything online almost anywhere.

References:

Kidman, A., 2009, Making The Most Of Free Wi-Fi At McDonald’s, LifeHacker, accessed 03/08/2013, http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/01/making_the_most_of_free_wi-fi_at_mcdonalds/