Archive for January, 2011

Corporate Propriety in a Digital Environment

—Before I start I would just like to point out that when I say ‘corporate’ I am not referring to any one specific corporation, just the general attitude of corporations as set out by Coombe and Herman as well as based on my own opinion which was gathered after researching a bit further. And when I refer to the ‘consumer’ I am not referring to any specific market, but merely individuals who are the intended market of any corporation, so essentially anyone who is marketed to (so really everyone, its a generalized point of view based on the average needs, wants and opinions of the average consumer.)—

While I must admit I do not even attempt to love papers concerning business and commerce, about two pages in I came up with the idea (thankyou Coombe and Herman, you helped me come to this assumption) that the new medium of the digital world provides new ways of advertising to the consumers through an interactive medium. However, with so many ‘new’ ways of advertising, the game of it all becomes remade aswell. So a new advertising game with new rules; mainly centred around the concept that these new consumers may out smart the advertisers. So this game for control over the consumer becomes a gamble to see how many people will be duped.  A way that consumers have used to combat this is to act as the corporate, in other words the consumer sells to the consumer, taking the whole concept of the corporate out of it (see Etsy and http://www.deviantart.com/)

Bakhtinian’s idea of the monologic interaction from corporate to consumer has been rewritten. This monologue has been changed from a discussion in Web 1.0, to a monologue run by the consumers in Web 2.0 which is slowly being turned into a monologue run again by the corporate (I will mention this later.) This struggle for power is a reflection on the struggle for control over mass culture and indeed popular culture, one which the corporate want to control (so as to represent their products in a way which will reflect their profits) as well as the consumer (who wish for freedom of speech/opinion and the ability to interpret products and reflect their opinion on the corporate as a whole based on their products.)

Review websites and consumer based websites such as Etsy (which I wont explain in great detail as I mention it so much, essentially consumers selling to consumers, products which the corporation makes but that the consumer would much rather buy off another consumer) and The Escapist are perfect examples of what John Perry Barlow meant by the shift in power from corporate to consumer. In the examples listed zero punctuation can be found by typing yahtzee into google, and rather than get the board game you get a man who pummels corporations and video games into the dust, the name of the studio and main creator of video games are constantly bashed, (in the following video, which I implore you to watch the first 30 seconds at least), after posting this video yahtzee was contacted by Lionhead Studios and Peter Molyneux(somewhat of a god to us gamers..well..me) But rather than demand the video be taken down, Lionhead Studios instead asked yahtzee to review their upcoming sequel in the hopes that a good review would influence consumers to buy more of the product Fable 2. The approach of lionhead studios was the opposite to coca cola and mattel, in that they recognized the power of the consumer to influence other consumers, which in turn aid the corporate rather than devalue them in the eye of the consumer.

And I have already gone on to long. God dam it! I’ll dot point the rest.

·         Through discourse, the semiotic of a corporations brand name is altered, thanks to the consumers with access to the internet the signified is forfeit based on public opinion, a perfect example of which is the link between McDonalds and obesity, a link which was made on the internet by the consumers without the corporations approval, and yet their logo is slandered internet wide

·         Digital communication is the consumers means of discourse

·         In relation to cyber squatting I was going to talk about the arguments concerning the bioshock.com domain name. In this case the cyber squatters won and bioshock had to move onto a different url, full story http://www.gamepolitics.com/2010/08/25/take-two-loses-bioshock-domain-name-fight

·         Another threat to the corporation is tagging, the mattel’s “barbie” example is perfect, ‘altered barbie’ produces no real matel barbie sites, only art and fan related sites. This ‘threat’ to the corporate is achieved through redirecting search engines by using key words usually associated with the corporation

·         I was then going to use some examples of where fan culture has become popular culture (as suggested by Fiske and Jenkins) through anime and cosplay which have become major events, i.e. Comic-Con and Blizzardcon. Going further into fan culture, the suggestion by the corporate that all fan resources should be submitted to an official fan page and then approved before posting (censorship), which is not cool. So no corporate! Just no, bad way to advertise the whole ‘use this site’ thing, be on the official site and be censored or just make an unofficial fan page. Guess which is more popular?

To Sum up, while it may seem that the consumer has control over the corporate through discourse, this control is constantly fluid, shifting from one to another rapidly. An example of this can be found on the latest COICA news (COICA being Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, now this is a U.S. thing, but is still an interesting shift in power) Government Puts The Hurt On The Internet Essentially this bill is just being considered at the moment, but what makes it scary is that there is a blacklist made of anything which is considered an ‘infringing activity’ so basically any website which is centred around a product of the corporation as its main theme would need to be blocked by Google (goodbye McDonald and Barbie haters.) Though this concerns a comparitive majority of online users, the majority should be more concerned about the problems this would cause for YouTube (and other sharing sites, i.e. Flickr) as it could fit into the category of this black list and be blocked if this act goes through, this is due to some of the materials being shown on YouTube being copyright. The main concern is that this would destroy net neutrality and censor to much material on the internet, quelling the new found voice that everyone just got with Web 2.0.

Reference;

  • Ashe, F., Finlayson, A., Lloyd, M., Mackenzie, I., Martin, J. and O’Neill 1999. Contemporary Social and Political Theory. Open University Press: Buckingham
  • Coombe, Rosemary and Herman, Andrew (2001) ‘Culture Ware on the Net: Intellectual Property and Corporate in Digital Environments,’ The South Atlantic Quarterly, vol 100 issue 4, pp.919-947
  • Jensen, R. 1992. ‘Fighting Objectivity: The Illusion of Journalistic Neutrality in Coverage of the Persian Gulf War’ in Journal of Communication Inquiry, 16: 20, pp. 20-32
  • McNamara, L 2004. ‘Free speech’ in Butler, D. and Rodrick, S., Australian Media Law, Lawbook Co., Sydney, pp. 3 – 23.
  • O’Shaugnessy, M. 1999. Media and Society. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  • Pearson, M 2007. ‘Identifying defamation’, ch. 7 in The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law, 3rd ed. Allen & Unwin, Sydney, pp. 175 – 200.
  • Solove, D 2007. ‘How the free flow of information liberates and constrains us’, ch. 2 in The Future of Reputation: Gossip rumour and privacy on the internet, Yale University Press, New Haven, pp. 17 – 50.
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Remixing the past as a new language form for the media literate generation

After ning screwed me over with my last attempt at this post I will merely say this.. Screw you ning! Fix your publish button!!!

So to start again, and now that I am all worked up and angry at ning, I will take it out on the copy right, so yes this is a bias review, it was in the first place, but then you would know

that if ning didn’t bloody malfunction, so, sorry in advance if it sounds

snappy or rushed!

The whole concept behind RIP is the Remix Manifesto and the battle between copyleft and copyright (with copyright representing the corporate and copyleft representing the consumer.)

The remixer’s manifesto is as follows;

1. Culture always builds on the past

2. The past always tries to control the future

3. Our future is becoming less free

4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past

Considering that the original intent of the internet was to share information and ideas point 3 seems a bit  redundant, if anything with the internet and advances in Web 2.0 one would think that freedom would not be restricted, but it has. The media literate generation that emerged due to the internet’s creation have turned from mere consumers to creators by utilizing the vast amounts of data on the internet so as to express an themselves (through either ideas, art, self expression etc.)

However, with the use of another person’s intellectual property comes the thundering corporate, who tower over all and attach sub texts to the images that they themselves sent forth into both the ideoscape and more importantly the mediascape. It is as if the corporate has led us by the hand sat us down and said ‘look at this image, absorb it, aspire to it, allow it to influence your thoughts, actions and culture, but.. if you use any of our

images, music or media in any way that we do not see fit, which is t say any way at all, and this is published then we will charge you upto $150,000 per mp3 you use, take away part of your soul, offer a 5 year sentence in prison as well as stifle your creativity, your ability to express an opinion and your ability to express yourself, we are legion’

If allowed to go un opposed, these corporations would seek to stop people’s ability to remix their media and

so “generate silence”; which in turn would destroy the new form of literacy developed by the media literate for the new century. From RIP it is clear that the corporate have become an every greedy presence, attempting to shape and influence our culture, or rather, they are attempting to us from shaping and influencing our own culture.

Reference;

  • Reference; reading: Arjun Appadurai 1990, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,’ Theory Culture Society 7: pp.295-310
  • RIP: A Remix Manifestos (http://ripremix.com/getdownloads/)
  • Terry Flew 2007, ‘Global Media Corporations,’ Understanding Global Media, London, Palgrave 5 23 August Global Creative Industries

p.s. I didn’t hate ning, but now I do, haters gonna hate when you go deleting their blog entries, and haters gonna especially hate when you don’t allow me to format!!!




Semiotics And Discourse

After reading Jensen’s paper, ‘Fighting Objectivity: The Illusion of Journalistic Neutrality in Coverage of the Persian Gulf War’ (1992, pp. 20-32) I agree about the use of discourse in the context of war in the American culture, the symbolism in this culture is apparent as well. Take for example the American flag, thirteen red stripes representing the original colonies and fifty stars as the union jack representing all of the states presently within the U.S.

While most if not all countries are patriotic when it comes to their nation’s flag, none stick to mind as much as America. Using the Gulf War example the media was directly influenced by power, using this in the diagram set out in the week 4 lecture, the power was the government, the knowledge in the media. (Ali Tariq. 2007. ‘On War, Empire and Resistance (5/10) .’) Following this discourse more people waved the American flag as they joined the army to ‘protect their country’ even though the war had was not a direct threat to the nation (the war was instigated). War brought honor to the nation, and thanks to the media the symbolism of war changed drastically. From the murder and gore seen in Vietnam, war became glorified through the media, the cultural ideals and recognition of ‘war’ drastically changed to a view concerned with social unity, tradition, honor and something that had to be won at any cost. Continue reading

Postmodernism and Identity

Postmodernism has changed the way in which identity is viewed by moving it away from the concept of a unified self, to one where the self is viewed as a multiple rather than the modern view of it being fixed. This allows the self to constantly construct and reconstruct as an identity (Lyotard, 2004).

Before viewing how postmodernism has reconstructed the concept of identity, it is important to first see how the modern has defined identity. This comparison between modern and postmodern concepts of identity can be best viewed as either a Dionysian approach (excess of a desire) or an Appollonian approach (principle of order). The modern view of identity follows that the Appollonian should be a common factor attributing to identity with the Dionysian resulting in alienation of an individual. This contrasts the postmodern view which reveals the Dionysian approach as being the social norm (consumerism) with the Appollonian being nothing more than an almost imaginary ideal which influences identity but does not shape it to the extent that the Dionysian excess does. (Hollinger, 1994)

Hollinger (1994) further expands by describing the modernist approach to identity as an expression of order, paranoia and conformity which led to his opinion that the modernist view on identity led to a repressed or ‘caged’ identity. This argument was furthered by the explanation of postmodernism as a form in which to break the cage by altering people’s perception of the ideoscape and mediascape (Appadurai, 1990) through discourse (Castells, 2008). This discourse would allow the individual to break away from the modernist’s monotonist approach to identity and allow greater flexibility and diversity in the continual construction of one’s identity (Hollinger, 1994).

In this postmodern re-creation of identity one cannot deny the influence of the narrative, Lyotard (2004) expands on this and introduces the concept of the ‘metanarrative’ (which is reinforced by the values of the cultural narrative.)

An example of the ‘metanarrative’ and its influence on identity is told by Sakamoto (2007), who uses the contextual use of images of the stereotypical western women within China to explain how the narratives within advertisements influence the identity of Chinese women (through self, gender, social and cultural identity.) The changes these images of western women impose on Chinese women greatly altered and if anything broke down the previous gender, social and cultural identities formed through the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) (Sakamoto, 2007).

In the example put forward by Sakamoto (2007), if the image of the western woman is seen as the postmodern influence over identity, it becomes easier to see the ability postmodernism has to change identity as well as influence its constant construction through the use of discourse within a narrative.

 

Reference;

 

Appadurai, A. 1990, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Theory Culture Society 7: pp.295-310

Castells, M. 2008, “The Global Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communication Networks, and Global Governance,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616, pp.78-93

Hollinger, R. 1994. “Postmodernism and the Social Sciences, a Thematic Approach.” SAGE publication Inc. America

Lyotard, J. F. 2004. “The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge” in Drolet, M. (ed.), The Postmodern Reader. London: Routledge.

Sakamoto, R. and Allen, M. 2007. “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’’’ Comic Books: A Sign of New Nationalism in Japan? Accessed Date 2010. http://www.japanfocus.org/-Rumi-SAKAMOTO/2535

Privacy and Facebook – An Essay

Question;

This year the founder of FaceBook, Mark Zuckerberg, claimed that privacy is no longer a “social norm”. Daniel Solove argues that the increasing availability of personal information on the internet undermines our ability to control our own reputation.

Consider how the internet has changed the nature of privacy in recent years.

Is the erosion of privacy simply a reflection of changing social values, which we should learn to accept and live with, or is this a dangerous social trend which should be challenged? Continue reading

Journalism Ethics

Question; The Australian Journalists Association Code of Ethics lists 12 ethical rules for journalists. Summarize any 5 of those 12 rules.

  • Do not place unnecessary basis on race, culture, class, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation etc.
  • Do not plagiarize
  • When presenting audio and visual, be sure that they are accurate, any manipulated audio or visual should be discarded
  • Do not allow personal bias to impact the accuracy or fairness of others
  • Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy and fairness

 

“Cash for Comment”

Question; In 1999 a report on the ABC’s Media Watch sparked what came to be known as the “cash for comment” scandal. What was the cash for comment scandal about?

In the ‘cash for comment’ scandal John Laws and Alan Jones were paid by corporations to speak on the radio and to avid listeners with what was thought to be their personal opinion on matters. But were in fact rephrasing the messages that their sponsors wished them to convey and labeling it as their own opinion, thereby deceiving listeners. This was done without revealing a disclosure informing listeners that the opinions and thoughts being used to sway the public opinion were put into place by corporations.