Adieu Net Communication

One semester of the subject Net Communication is now officially completed.

A great semester!

photo by Amani Hasan – Creative Commons License

We need to reflect on what have we learnt. But, importantly, we need to think how we’re going to apply and use the knowledge we’ve learnt.

I think what’s important in tertiary education is how we can use the knowledge we’ve received throughout our education for the goodness of the society.

The new media is a truly exciting field. Plenty of opportunities. New kinds of occupations may emerge when you graduate from the university.

And the new media is evident in our daily lives. The Internet. Twitter. Facebook. It’s something we all can relate to.

I, for one, have learnt so much from the subject. Prior to taking the subject, I had been taking the technology for granted. But the subject has expanded my horizon and now I look at the new media and the technology differently.

Undeniably, the new media is an important aspect in the field of media and communications. I believe that print media will continue to thrive – at least in the decades to come. It’s impossible for the new media to completely replace the traditional print media because of the digital divide occuring in so many countries. However, the new media is important for us, media students.

To conclude, thank you Marcos for teaching the subject, thank you Nicole for being the nicest tutor one can ask for, thank you to everyone whose works I have used in my blog posts, thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my blog posts and thank you to everyone who has supported me in this blog project.

God bless.

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The Importance of Piracy

Week 11

B) Medosch argues that: “piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions” (Reader, page 318).

Medosch (2008: 318) once said, “…piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions…”

Do you agree? Or not? I embarked on a vox populi to find out what people actually think about Medosch’s statement.

Piracy – Good or bad?

photo by aloshbennett – Creative Commons License

Wen Jie agrees with Medosch’s statement. “Piracy can actually motivate those commercial enterprises to innovate to tackle piracy. For instance, they could lower the price of their products [CDs or DVDs],” he says.

“I actually think it’s better if the companies lower the price of their products. But they want to get maximum profits. The companies should try to accommodate the needs of the financially needy people, ” Wilson gives his opinion on the issue.

Lisen says he agrees with Medosch. “Some countries could not afford the media products. For example, in Indonesia, can students afford Microsoft Word, which costs around $700? Perhaps it’s not a lot of money in the developed countries. But, for the Indonesian standard, it’s a lot of money. Most students in my home town probably could not afford buying softwares, even operating systems, which mean you would not know anything about computer. Similarly, movie and music products are expensive too,” he says.

Is piracy theft?

photo by jorel314 – Creative Commons License

Medosch (2008: 318) goes on to say, “It gives people access to information and cultural goods they had otherwise no chance of obtaining … those who capitalism treats merely as cheap labour can use piracy as a counter-hegemonic force by giving them a chance to empower themselves through obtaining information, knowledge and sophisticated cultural productions.”

An example of the cultural importance of privacy could be found in Hanover Park, a poor neighbourhood outside Cape Town. Since the residents’ options for audiovisual media are often limited to free radio and TV, pirated films on CD are popular (APC, 2011).

According to the study by Association for Progressive Communications (2011), a majority of the people in the community got their pirated films through a family member or close friend. Hence, the piracy networks are dependent on trust (APC, 2011). Dr. Bosch, who leads the study, says that access to pirated media feeds practices of viewing and sharing that reinforce links across families and within communities. Moreover, according to the study, in Hanover Park, watching films or television series on CD is a social activity occurring among family and friends (APC 2011).

There you go. The study gives a truly different alternative perspective to piracy. Instead on focusing on the negative aspects of piracy, the study portrays privacy as something that bonds families and communities together.

Another important point raised by the study is that pirated goods may diversify the media environments (APC, 2011). Importantly, the primary function of South African primary networks is to spread popular culture and media culture to impoverished areas (APC, 2011).  In addition, the study suggests that having access to contemporary films by piracy is part of ‘an increasingly powerful experience of inclusion in a globalised media community’ (APC, 2011).

But perhaps Dr. Bosch, in the APC (2011) report, sums it up aptly, “Such forms of inclusion are especially powerful in countries like South Africa, where real and perceived marginality – geographic, economic, racial, and other – is written into daily experience on many levels.”

To conclude, Medosch’s statement brilliantly portrays the state of piracy today. We can no longer naively condemn piracy by saying that it infringes copyright or steal products. Piracy, on the other hand, provides an option for those who might not otherwise be able to afford the contemporary cultural products.

References

Armin Medosch, ‘Paid in Full: Copyright, Piracy and the Real Currency of Cultural Production’, in Deptforth. TV Diaries II: Pirate Strategies, London: Deptforth TV, 2008, pp. 73-97.

Association for Progressive Communications (2011), Pirated DVDs in a South African township mean access to culture and social inclusion, 3 June, [date accessed].

Old celebrities, new celebrities

Hello everyone, here is my video for Week 9 Question. The question is: A) Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269).

Few random facts:

– The music is ’32 Songs in 8 Minutes’ by Fredde Gredde, which was a popular YouTube hit.

– It was compiled together using iMovie.

– All the pictures are ‘some rights reserved’.

Please feel free to give your feedback!

Using blogs as your public relations managers

Week 7

B) Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.

Blogging blogging blogging!

photo by Annie Mole – Creative Commons License

Frankly, I’ve never liked blogging. Don’t get me wrong. I like writing. In fact, I love writing. But it’s just that I didn’t see the point of spending your time writing posts which, honestly, might not attract any audience AT ALL.

But I do have friends who like to blog – something I didn’t understand. However, after completing the subject, I begin to have a better understanding of what motivates the millions of bloggers to write on the web. After all, Lovink aptly summed it up: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self.”

Yes, while there are those who see blogging as an activity that relates to the wider community, blogging is actually employed by bloggers to ‘manage themselves’. ‘Managing themselves’ refer to ‘expressing your self’ and ‘be your PR’. Hence, instead of serving the wider community, the primary use of blogs is to act as a platform for the bloggers to express themselves.

To understand the concept, you’ve got to consider what Boyd, who has thoroughly examined the various and contradictory uses of the term ‘blog’, has to say (Ekdale et al., 2010: 221). She says that early scholarship and media coverage used the metaphor of online diaries or journals to conceptualise blogs (Ekdale et al., 2010: 221). Moreover, McCullagh says that regular readers of a blog can identify the ‘voice’ or ‘persona’ behind the posts (McCullagh, 2008: 3). Hence, over time, a blog archive read like an evolving portrait of the blogger’s interests and experiences (McCullagh, 2008: 3). Sound familiar?

Blog everywhere!

photo by Irish Typepad – Creative Commons License

A similar opinion was voiced by Herring, Scheidt, Wright, and Bonus (as cited in Huang et al., 2007: 473), who say that most bloggers actually use blogs for individualistic expression and communication.

The bloggers speak:

“Yes, I think it’s a tool to manage the self because you can post anything you want and in a sense, it’s a reflection of your life,” Marcella Purnama

“I think those who write to express themselves in their blogs make them feel relieved, knowing that other people know what they are thinking about,” Wilson Chandra

My contention is not without evidence. There are some previous researches that support my argument:

– Herring et al. found that the majority of blogs were of the personal journal type: ‘in which authors report on their lives and inner thoughts and feelings’ (McCullagh, 2008: 8)
– In a study by McCullagh (2008: 9), 62.6% of the respondents said that their main reason for blogging was ‘to document their personal experiences and share them with others’ and 50.9% of them said that their main reason was ‘to express themselves creatively’.
And bloggers are concerned about their privacy too,

But, you might ask, isn’t the concept describing bloggers as vain individuals?

According to Huang et al. (2007: 475), bloggers who are motivated by self-expression are motivated to express themselves through blogging as well as to receive feedback from other people about themselves. I think Huang et al.’s argument gives a better description of bloggers’ motivation.  I would say, bloggers are motivated to express themselves and to seek self-improvement.

Finally, examples of these kinds of blogs are perhaps Twitter, the Internet’s beloved mini-blogging platform. While there are those who use Twitter to get information and updates or for networking, there are those who use Twitter to express themselves, documenting what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I hate to point at specific Twitter accounts, but I’m sure you know what I’m trying to say.

However, after all, McCullagh’s (2008: 19) study sums it up beautifully: “Most respondents in this study described their blogs as the personal diary/journal type which indicates that blogging provides a unique opportunity for expressive privacy and furthermore allows bloggers to work out their reflexive project of the self in new ways, despite the inherent privacy risks posed by this medium.”

References

Ekdale, B, Kang, N, Fung, T, & Perlmutter, D 2010, ‘Why blog? (then and now): exploring the motivations for blogging by popular American political bloggers’, New Media & Society, 12, 2, pp. 217-234, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.

Chun-Yao, H, Yong-Zheng, S, Hong-Xiang, L, & Shin-Shin, C 2007, ‘Bloggers’ Motivations and Behaviors: A Model’, Journal of Advertising Research, 47, 4, pp. 472-484, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.

McCullagh, K 2008, ‘Blogging: self presentation and privacy’, Information & Communications Technology Law, 17, 1, pp. 3-23, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.

Gotta Share!

Thank you to my friend Kenny who shared the video on Twitter!

For those of you who haven’t heard about Improv Everywhere, it is a New York City based prank collective causing scenes of joy in public places. Its recent video, called ‘Gotta Share!’, aptly muses our dependence on the Internet.

Any thought?