Look Up

I’ve already read a couple of blog posts talking about the idea of ‘anti-social networks’, and people seem to be on both sides of the debate regarding technology as good or bad. I certainly agree that technology has given us the ability to be more social in terms of allowing us to contact more regularly others that we may not be able to see on a daily basis, and we are no longer confined by the constraints of our physical space/location. However, the number of people glued to their screens continually perplexes me. I catch the tube to and from uni each day, and as I look around majority of people are staring at their screens for the entire ride. No one looks up, no one talks to one another, people don’t even notice when someone is trying to get past them because they’re so fixated on whatever is going on in their phones.

I tend to look judgementally on these people; can’t they just sit and think for half an hour? Do they really need to be continually stimulated by social media or whatever pointless game they’re playing? But how do I really know what they’re even doing on their phones? I have no issues with people sitting on the train reading the paper, but perhaps the people on their phones are reading the news. As we know it has transformed these days and we no longer rely on hard copy information. Maybe they’re using an app to learn a language, I wouldn’t look upon phone users so negatively if I knew they were trying to learn something worthwhile. I guess when I really think about it my issue isn’t so much with people being glued to their various devices, but rather with people numbly wasting their time and being incapable of sitting and enjoying a moment in their present reality.

I am grateful for Internet and technologies’ ability to aid communication and help us maintain and build friendships, but I am concerned with people’s overuse of it and their inability to switch off and just be in the moment. I’ve linked a short video that you should watch, it certainly got me thinking…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

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Jenner vs Minogue

kylie-jenner-kylie-minogue-split

Something that I found really interesting with copyright is the ability to copyright a person’s name when it is associated to a business or has the ability to damage an individual’s reputation if used in the wrong way. Recently, Kylie Jenner has been battling to copyright the name ‘Kylie’. However Kylie Minogue, an Australian pop icon, is fighting Jenner for the rights. When I first heard about this I thought it was ridiculous for Jenner to think she could copyright her first name, but looking further into copyright of names people like Sting and Steve Borden have their names under copyright law. If Jenner’s name, ‘Kylie’, represents her entire brand (which consists of clothing, makeup, accessories etc) should she not be able to copyright it the same way other brands such as ‘Prada’ and ‘Chanel’ have? Minogue’s argument, and rightly so I think, is that she has been associated with the name Kylie for far longer than Jenner, and has her own empire and brand tied to that name that supersedes Jenner’s. I can’t believe that people are so protective these days, and so afraid of having their reputation tainted, that even a rather common first name could be copyrighted.

Friends of friends

The only online platforms that I have a real presence on are Facebook and Instagram. I like to think my settings are relatively private on both, though it’s most likely only my Instagram that has some real privacy.

My Facebook account was made when I was around 14 years old. It is private and people must add me to see most of my content. I do not have my age, address or where I live on there. However, friends of friends are able to see photographs that I put up. Therefore there are people that are strangers to myself, but ‘friends’ of the person tagged in my photograph are able to scroll through my pictures that I post.

My Instagram is a private account, therefore people cannot see my photographs unless they have requested, and I have accepted, for them to follow my account. There is no further information on there other than my account name, which is made up of my first and last name. For some images I post I add the location at which they were taken, that would allow my followers to know where I am/was when the photo is taken. I also have far fewer Instagram followers than I do Facebook friends. Every one of my Instagram followers is somebody that I know. I think that because I was a lot older when I set up my Instagram I have been more careful with my privacy and more selective with whom I want to see my pictures.

I tend not to worry about privacy all that much online because I don’t believe I’m giving too much info to strangers, however I’m sure when I’m older I’ll look back at some of the pictures posted of me by friends on Facebook and wish that the internet wasn’t able to hold on to them forever.

HelloGiggles

http://hellogiggles.com

This week’s blog post idea had me stumped for a little while. Sure I’m part of online communities, such as all my social media sites, however with an emphasis on ‘positive’ I struggled to think of one off the top of my head. Social media is inundated with an endless stream of negativity from anonymous keyboard warriors, and I’m not really signed up to many other online communities. So I decided to actually go hunting for one online, and what I came across was a website created by actor/comedian Zoe Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi. It’s called HelloGiggles, a space aimed at connecting people creatively in an entertaining and supportive environment. Deschanel points out the abundance of negativity online and in response has helped to create this website with a ‘no gossip’ policy. HelloGiggles explicitly defines itself as a ‘positive online community for women’ and works to provide mature, inspiring and creative content to its users. I find it quite refreshing to see there are websites that really focus on providing safe and positive space for users, when many others provide platforms for negativity through their efforts to encourage user freedom (not that I’m implying users shouldn’t have freedom online). Anyway if you want to read some interesting stuff and watch some cool videos, check it out!

PLGRM

http://plgrm.com.au

PLGRM is an Australian website that presents stories to its audience by way of documentary style videos. PLGRM is a media network committed to presenting ‘real stories to our generation’. Based in Melbourne, the site is run by a group of young adults aged 19-25 years old that look locally to source inspirational, thought-provoking and unique stories. They aim to be an open-minded and uncensored voice. A large part of this websites content is influenced and created by its audience. They encourage people to contact them with stories that they find interesting. There is a ‘your story’ section on the website, where members of the audience are able to share their ideas for, or their own personal stories. The team then takes these suggestions, conducts further research and then creates a video post for their audience. In this way the audience’s participation is extremely significant to the PLGRM website as it tends to curate the content they produce and present by providing them with initial ideas of what to go on and explore. This ensures that the website stays relevant and exciting to its audience, which helps to maintain readers/viewers attention and continued participation.

Kardashians Parody

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X4cUYytKs8

This video is an example of ‘cultural convergence’. Someone who would have previously just been an audience member has made a parody of the TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, therefore the ‘audience’ has become the ‘user’. By appropriating this popular reality TV show they are making a commentary, and then recirculating the content by posting it on YouTube, which then made its way to Facebook and so on. This kind of convergence has many implications on the users or original content creators, as well as the audiences. Looking at this example, the original users (the Kardashians themselves) are still associated with this video as it is appropriating their original work, however they had no input into this video’s creation. It promotes a particular persona of the Kardashians that they have not been able to curate or control, yet may still be associated with them by the audience that watch this parody. The original users are thus permanently affected by the audience’s ability to appropriate their work. They must focus more on how they initially portray themselves to avoid negative scrutiny in a very public and critical online media world. Cultural convergence places a lot of power in the hands of the audience, in a way that audience members never had before. They would view things in a new light with the knowledge that they are able to publicly make a commentary on what they see and get support and circulation through online media platforms.

Free Speech Debate

http://freespeechdebate.com/en/

The ‘Free Speech Debate’ is a website that explores the notion of freedom of expression; encouraging free speech but also understanding and investigating the need for limitations and regulation at times. It is part of a research project for the University of Oxford. The ‘Free Speech Debate’ revolves around ten principles; lifeblood, violence, knowledge, journalism, diversity, religion, privacy, secrecy, icebergs and courage. Each principle comes with a short explanation, and is then explored and unpacked through various voices and mediums posted on the website. It has created a space for debate where free speech experts, lawyers, political theorists, theologians, philosophers, activists and journalists from around the world can discuss the issues surrounding free speech. New voices are constantly showcased on this website from a wide range of place, expressing a wide range of viewpoints. Content comes in many different forms, such as video, podcast and text. The website also provides the opportunity for users to get involved, so you can have your say on any given topic. The ‘Free Speech Debate’ is a really interesting website that you could probably spend hours exploring. It highlights a lot of interesting points that really get you thinking about the notion of ‘free speech’ and how society should best approach this concept.