Digital Media Cultures

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The Wrap-Up

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My assessment requirements to blog have come to an end, and I am surprised by how much I’ve learnt simply by reflecting on the content discussed in our seminars.

With a little extra reading and research, I have broadened my understanding of digital media cultures, and the issues surrounding the use of the Internet such as privacy.

Blogging has been a great form of assessment, easily achievable, and perfect to work within a weekly deadline. It really concretes the content, and while adhering to academic standards, it has been a great tool for developing my writing and forming an opinion.

Since starting DMC, it has really opened my mind to seeing how much the Internet is a part of our lives. How it forms the content for news, how it affects us.

The other day I was listening to the radio and they mentioned that a Google boss said the following after privacy remarks concerning Google street view: “If you don’t like Street View, move house”. See here.

The news blast immediately made me think of blogging the story and commenting on the increase risk of privacy concerns in digital media cultures. Ever since I started blogging, every news story that comes up reminds me to construct an opinion to blog. Where will all my thoughts go once the blogging is over?

I have also found the time to read the blogs of my fellow peers, enjoying reading differing opinions on the same topics. While I do read other blogs however, for some unknown reason I prefer not to comment on other blog posts. Does that mean I’m a terrible participant of the online public sphere?

Now that the blogging task is over, I wonder if I’ll continue to blog. This has been a good exercise to see if I can commit to a weekly task, however, it was useful because there was a given topic and sufficient material to sustain weekly posts. Without a theme or topic, I wouldn’t have managed this any other way.

The wiki requirement on the other hand was a slight chore. I found it difficult to write an entry, which is technically meant to replicate an encyclopaedia type reference entry. It’s hard to write something that hasn’t already been said, as it’s based on fact not opinion.

While I noticed that some entries were very similar to already existing Wikipedia entries, I found it easier to browse through my uni textbooks for source content for my wiki entry.

As a collaborative space, it was slightly difficult as many had different font types and sizes, and different styles of writing and referencing, making it difficult to edit it to a uniform layout. Although I did edit some entries, I slightly felt like I didn’t have a right to correct grammar or spelling errors, because I didn’t want to judge another persons work.

I found it harder to monitor and update/edit/add to the wiki compared to the blog, and much preferred the blog assessment requirement.

Looking at the final product of the wiki, I am pleased to see that it has been updated, as I felt that when I included my entry only a handful of others did the same, making me wonder how it was going to work as a group collaborative.

However, it shows that for the sake of each other’s grades, new entries have been posted and edited. Thanks guys!

Overall, the tasks have been educating, challenging and worthwhile. The weekly posts to collaborate an assessment piece made it all the much easier rather than constant essays, which was refreshing compared to other subjects.

Above all, I realised the importance of participation in digital media cultures – the active users, the gatekeepers, and even those who watch from the sidelines, are all major players in cyberspace, to create, add and edit content for our use.


Written by digitalmediacultures

October 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

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Viral Legalities

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So far, privacy and safety on the Internet have been particular issues of focus in my blog discussion concerning digital media cultures.

While Facebook has been a large topic of discussion, due to being the Internet’s largest social networking site and the one I am most familiar with, today I heard about a new issue concerning another digital community, opening my eyes to a whole different aspect of privacy and safety on the Internet.

This morning on Seven’s Sunrise, the news bulletin blast announced that Lara Jade Coton from Tamworth, Staffordshire, received $132,000AUD in her lawsuit win against a US porn film company who used a portrait shot of her 14-year-old self as the front cover of one of their X-rated DVDs.

As the story goes, 21-year-old Lara, a well-known photographer, took a self-portrait when she was 14 and submitted the image on deviantART – an online community of artists, at the age of 17.

TVX Films took this image from the site without her permission, overlooking her copyright clauses, and used it as the cover image for one of their adult films.

Lara first found out about the infringed use of her image back in 2007, when a member from deviantART told her about the DVD. For Laura’s reaction, read here.

Three years on, Lara has finally won her legal battle on the grounds of copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and misappropriation of her image, as well as damaging her reputation. See here.

While Lara was fortunate enough to win her case, this would not be an isolated case brought before the courts, with other likely stories of copyright infringements and defamatory outcomes fuelled online.

While Facebook has an increased matter of privacy concern due to its global reach and popularity, it is important to realise the other aspects of the Internet which could possess damaging effects, with this particular instance putting into perspective the potential misuse of data and file and information sharing amongst digital media cultures.

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October 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm

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Trust Issues

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Remember those trust building activities your teacher used to make you do back in school? Or maybe even your employer makes you do them as part of team building. You know the ones – falling into your partner’s hands and trusting they will catch you, or being blindfolded and having someone direct you to your destination trusting they will keep you away from obstacles in your way.

Consider the following quotes:

You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.
– Anton Chekhov  (Russian playwright)

I’m not upset that you lied to me; I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.
– Friedrich Nietzsche (German scholar, philosopher and critic of culture)

Without trusting the person, you won’t know if they will catch you or not. But sometimes if you take the risk and fall, it can affect your judgement of trust in the future.

The Internet for example, requires a lot of trust, but you don’t have a partner there that you know will catch you when you fall. So when it comes to the World Wide Web, which safe hands do you trust you can fall in?

Back in the day of the social chat room mIRC, my sister’s friend at the time sent a photo of herself and my sister to a social stranger – after all, she felt like she could trust the person after numerous chat discussions. This photo was then uploaded on an adult website with an inappropriate comment, resulting in issues of the law, trust, privacy and resulting in an ended friendship.

I remember back in primary school I used to have different pen pals. The program was arranged by the school and consisted of correspondence with other school students, both in rural Victoria and overseas. While we were ‘pen friends’, I never would go far enough to trust them – with my ‘childhood secrets’ for instance. Even the teachers warned us not to disclose too much information.

Trust online however is somehow defied in cyberspace. Instant messaging and Facebook profiles somehow immediately classify as ‘friend’ status, and the barriers of trust are slowly deteriorated. How can we really trust that the person behind the screen is exactly who they say they are?

Hackers steal privacy information such as bank account details causing fraudulent affairs, and downloaded files require precaution if they carry a virus. Even sellers on the Internet’s largest marketplace, eBay, can’t always be trusted despite saying that the item is new with tags and despite their star rating.

What provokes people to ruin the Internet experience for others? Like with all things online, trust should be exercised with caution.

Written by digitalmediacultures

October 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

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How do you YouTube?

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Love a good movie? Now you can love a good video even more with YouTube.

The video-sharing website promotes itself as “Broadcast Yourself”, appealing to its users to discover, watch, upload and share videos in this digital media-sharing culture.

According to Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, authors of YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture, “YouTube is a site of participatory culture”. Videos are uploaded, and can allow for comments, fuelling discussion and threads to take place. Others also recommend viewers to view their own videos and thus the social cohesion of YouTube is formed, with many uses for this form of media.

Vloggers (video bloggers) use the medium as a new form of sharing and expression, with particular popularity with “how-to” videos such as

I must admit; I’ve previously used YouTube to learn how to pitch a tent!

This year YouTube celebrated it’s 5th birthday, announcing more than two billion views per day.[1] The global phenomenon of YouTube has definitely spread, with traditional news media utilizing it for news content, particularly when it comes to commenting on posted videos.

Cyber bullying for example has been on the rise with the shift of social relations to cyberspace, with many courtyard-bullying episodes filmed and shared on YouTube. These are often brought up within the news media on TV or in newspapers, highlighting the consequences of technology when it comes to privacy, presenting YouTube in a not-so-utopian view.

On the other hand, YouTube sensations can become newsworthy for not-so-severe reasons and can receive attention on a global level. For example, Bieber Fever is a result of the Canadian pop singer, Justin Bieber, being discovered on YouTube.

The increase of video sharing and viewing has become all too easy in this digital media culture, and it seems that this phenomenon is continually rising, particularly after being bought by Google and increasing its empire through advertising and cross-collaborations with other businesses.

iPhones come with an inbuilt YouTube application, so you can watch videos on the go. How often have you been in the situation where someone has commented on a recent clip they’ve seen on YouTube? Conveniently enough, someone in the group is likely to have an iPhone and the clip is viewed and shared and then discussed or laughed about with those around.

Crossing across other social media platform, videos can easily gain popularity by tweeting the link or posting it on your Facebook wall and sharing it with your friends, so even the most ‘unpopular’ video has the potential to reach a mass audience.

Fact: more than 14,899,978 people “like” YouTube on Facebook[2]

In recent news for example, Queensland’s latest tourism campaign has been a hit on YouTube, generating 12,600 views within a week and more than $3.7 million in publicity value for Queensland. See here.

Whatever the future brings for the video-sharing website, for now, it is evident that YouTube remains to be a novelty and popular amongst the masses. So, how do you YouTube?

Further reading:

[1] YouTube marks fifth birthday by announcing two billion views per day


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October 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

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Facebook: Misuse and Abuse

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While I’ve read selected studies researching the uses of social media, there has been a general consensus from a majority of the studied users that social media has somewhat bettered their lives and will continue to do so.

This utopian view is highlighted in Anderson and Rainie’s study, The future of social relations (2010), which found:

Some 85% agreed with the statement:

“In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships, I see that the Internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future.”

Some 14% agreed with the opposite statement, which posited:

“In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships, I see that the Internet has mostly been a negative force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future.”

However, a flaw to the sample surveyed in finding these results, is the use of a non-random sample of Internet experts and users recruited via email invitation, Twitter or Facebook – all avid users who are most likely to react positively to their use of social networking sites.

I recently read the following in October’s issue of Women’s Health magazine:

Big, fat problem?

In a recent ABS survey, most of the overweight/obese participants weren’t aware of their size being unhealthy:

  • 50% reported their health as very good or excellent
  • 31% reported their health as good
  • 19% reported their health as fair or poor

This study demonstrates the biasness we can have towards our own opinions of ourselves. 50% of the obese people surveyed considered their health as very good or excellent, while health experts and their BMI report otherwise.

Therefore, this can be true of Internet users, who feel that they are somehow being productive using social networking sites, and that it is somehow bettering their lives and social interaction.

Back in 2007, before Facebook Chat and the “like” button, internet security firm SurfControl found that “Australian businesses could face costs of up to $5 billion a year in lost time and productivity if one staff member from each company spends an hour or more each day updating their Facebook page”.

What an investment.

As a reformed citizen of face-to-face social interaction after deleting my Facebook account, I think that I now have a bias view to believe that Facebook is a waste of time, a thought that lead me to delete my account.

I was tireless of the constant wall posts of people expressing what was on their mind – I never comprehended why people used to vent that they were stuck in traffic, that they had an amazing gym workout, or that they just went to the milk bar. While I did update the occasional outburst of Melbourne’s bad weather, why would anyone care if I watched the most recent episode of Gossip Girl or that I just had three hours of sleep?

Read: 13 Super Annoying Ways People Abuse Facebook And Twitter

I do however believe that Facebook is a good way of keeping in contact with friends abroad, or while away on holiday, and maybe it does promote social connections – Facebook Places is certainly trying to promote face-to-face interaction despite its privacy concerns.

However, Facebook has been misused, and it is important not to neglect the repercussions of such a widespread global phenomenon.

Being criticised in the past for hosting information on pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia, as well as being used for stalking and paedophilia, as social interaction goes digital, so too does bullying

Back in 2009, a 17-year-old high school student jumped off the West Gate Bridge after receiving death threats online. Facebook has become a tool of abuse and misuse, with the social media site seeing cyber bullying on the rise, with those affected leading into depression, and even worse, bullycide – suicide led from bullying.

Read the latest article on Melbourne’s current cyber-bully crisis published earlier this month, Cyber bullying reaches epidemic levels.

While a majority may think that they couldn’t imagine their lives without Facebook or other social networking means of communication in the digital environment, it is important to think of those who are being mistreated on social networking sites, those who are victims of bullying. Like with all technologies, there is always a downside that needs to be addressed, and cyber bullying is one which requires particular attention before it’s too late.

Cyber bullying has become a serious issue in this advancing digital age, which requires more education and support to address the issue.

Written by digitalmediacultures

September 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

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Facebook – The Social Marketplace for Exchange of Information

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Next to search engine Google, social networking site Facebook tops the list for most popular website globally according to web information company, Alexa.

Originating in a Harvard dorm-room in 2004 between four friends, Facebook has grown in numbers in this digital media culture.

According to the Facebook Press Room:

  • Facebook has more than 500 million active users (users who have returned to the site in the last 30 days)
  • 50% of its active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • The average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

While it has become a platform of social networking and keeping in contact with friends through status updates and additions to your wall and photos, it has also attracted the likes of businesses, seeking to fuel audience reach through minimum expenditure and maximum benefit marketing.

While you think your Facebook profile is set to private because you’ve changed your privacy settings to select and choose what information is disclosed and to whom, privacy in an online marketplace is far from a utopian view of confidentiality.

Can privacy rights survive in an information age?

With the adding of new features to constantly change the social medium, to provoke interest and use, it seems the easier Facebook becomes to use, the more complicated privacy becomes.

I deleted my Facebook account and supposedly de-faced myself. However Google has stored my details in its database, and sure enough, when you type my name in Google images, my old Facebook profile image appears. When you click on the link however, my profile isn’t there and Facebook says:

The page you requested was not found.
You may have clicked an expired link or mistyped the address.

Apparently deleting yourself from Facebook still means you exist on the digital database of the World Wide Web whether you like it or not.

From humble beginnings, Facebook has progressed to a worldwide phenomenon of like buttons, fan pages, Facebook chat, and it’s newest addition sparking privacy concerns – Facebook Places – promoting you to share where you are and to connect with friends nearby: “Never miss another chance to connect when you happen to be at the same place at the same time.”

It has also been utilised by companies to target its audience via Facebook Advertising. Ads are tailored by tracking your clickstream pattern, storing the sites you visit and your page preferences as well as using information provided by Facebook. Remembering genres that interest you, the ads that appear while you’re on your Facebook are directly targeted at you. I remember when using Facebook all the advertising on the right panel featured content regarding journalism and fashion, most of which I thought was a waste of time, and in a bid to avoid spam, I never clicked on the links.

Personally, I don’t think that privacy is realistic on Facebook. After all, Facebook is a business, attracting social capital through social networking and utilising user profiles and preferences to sell to advertisers. I guess it’s a risk we agree to take when deciding to sign up and be apart of this digital media culture.

Some useful articles:

Criticism of Facebook

Why Facebook is Wrong: Privacy is Still Important

Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative

Facebook Privacy Issues Getting Worse

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September 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

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Digital Me. Digital You.

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The other day I was sitting in my study and looking to procrastinate away from my tedious workload. I turned to my bookshelf and pulled out an old photo album. Actually it wasn’t that old, but three years ago does seem like the prehistoric era when looking at paper photos.

I was instantly reliving my last day of high school, the friends that once were, the smiles, the laughter, and the moment when we knew that after high school there was something bigger to face. Looking at the photos I was glad that they were printed and in an album.

More often than not, these days people share their memories on Facebook. However, only selected photos make the cut on the digital sharing hub. In my albums however, there’s a chronological story from the morning of celebrations, to the end of the day when we paraded the streets of the city as closure for the end of our high school era – a tale that wouldn’t have been shared to its full entirety online.

While looking at photos on Facebook has become an easier alternative, viewed on the go on mobile phones, or even viewed on the portable digital cameras, I still love to sit down and immerse myself in my memories and the moments of others. When you’re looking at photos on the computer screen, you’re looking at them. When you’re looking at an album, generally the album is sitting on your knee and you’re looking into them – giving it more thought than those pixelated images.

But, like will all things in this i-everything world, even photographs have changed.

Remember friendships books back in the day? When people used to get their friends to write a page in a book, about themselves, their profile, sharing pictures and drawings, etc? Facebook is the digital friendship book, where even the kid who never had anyone sign his yearbook has many ‘friends’. To your friends on Facebook, you have a profile image, identifying who you are, whereby you’re showing your online friends an image of how you want them to portray you.

Embarrassing baby photos from the photo album are kept amongst their dusty pages, and instead photos from your most recent outings replace these in the digital world. Photos taken from weekends out at clubs are tagged and become your new weekly snapshot – provided the photographer captured your good side.

Portably captured and easily uploaded from your mobile to Facebook, photographs in this digital age easily capture the moments we want to keep as memories. If a fire burned your prized photos they would be gone forever. Even if you deleted Facebook, should you choose to reactive your account, your photos remain a part of you and stored in this digital media memory bank.

They do say however that a picture is worth a thousand words. On the Internet however, these images may be prone to a thousand judgemental words.

Remember the beginning of MySpace and the myriad of self-taken images (by females in particular), often posing in front of a mirror, wide eyed and pouting? These often bear labels of being self-obsessed and other words of an unruly nature. When sharing these photos with the world, they then become public property and are at risk of being judged.

When you share a picture online, do you think of how others will judge you?

Remember the scandals back in 2008 when Miley Cyrus’ MySpace photos showed the world she had grown up from Hannah Montana? While she made headlines in January, she was a repeat offender in April when she posted more images, which cause controversy for this Hollywood teen queen.

Recently, Demi Moore decided to share with the world her bikini body, capturing her own photo and sharing it, a different image than those usually published thanks to the paparazzi. Standing in front of a mirror in a bikini and posing for the self-taken photo, her twitpics continue to make headlines, and were of course mimicked by celebrity gossip guru, Perez Hilton.

However there are those interesting photos and videos, which may have been intended for personal use, which become Internet hits.

JK Keller for instance made news for taking a photo of himself every day for 8 years:

Recently, Kristian Anderson who battles with cancer touched the hearts of many, when the video he created for his wife’s birthday, started off as being shared to his family to being a heartfelt video shared globally.

So while you can delete the photos with heads chopped off before they make it to print, and maybe even choose to not develop your photos at all, the ones that we share online may be amongst the most treasured, with the greatest sentimental value that we want to share them for the world to see.

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September 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

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