Thursday, 28 March 2013


I have always been interested in technology. Seeing the barriers that are brought down by various technological advancements is outstanding and remarkable. Technology has changed so many aspects of our live and society that it is hard to absorb at times. Although not all of these changes can be seen as good, as some believe that the reliance on technology is overwhelming.
We were asked to transform our blog to the topic of our storify article. I did my storify article on the new google glass project by the google company. It has been all over the technological world as of late and has even tapped into other worlds such as the fashion world, where we got to see models walking the runway sport the new google glass face wear. The blog is meant to cover all the new and relevant news that relates to google glass.

Friday, 22 March 2013

The Road Ahead

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We are now at the end of this course and we have been asked to produce our last blog entry relating to new media literacy. Through out the course we have consumed various readings that critically analyzed various topics as they related to new media. We engaged in such readings like that of the California Ideology concept that argued the origins of technological convergence. We then took our attention to readings on social media and various aspects of social media, most notably privacy in the social media world. We then tackled ubiquitous communication and devices, where we critically reflected upon the capabilities of the devices we carry in our pockets. We were then fascinated by the Vimeo productions by Kirby Ferguson, who opened our eyes to Hollywood and the Recording industries capability to remix. Then we were tasked with giving our opinion on our pirating ways, and the ethics behind such action. The last readings we indulge in are on the unification of the producer and consumer. 

The guiding question of this weeks module ask if we feel inclined to become a produsers after the various tools we have used in the course. To reflect on these various tools that we have used in the course, first of we have twitter. I can say that twitter has thus far been an enjoyable tool. In module 7, we were given the opportunity to critically reflect on Twitter. Overall I enjoy the capabilities that Twitter provides over other social media applications. The Wiki editing was a task that I think helped us to see the holes in the Wiki collaborative system. Video editing in popcorn maker was a tedious assignment the application seemed to be very limiting, that is without considering the limits of my creativity at the time. The audio podcast was an interesting task; it showed me just how important it is for users of an audio podcasting tool to annunciate properly. The more obvious use of blogs in the course was a very simple way to communicate our thoughts to one another. Last but definitely not least was the Storify application, by far my favorite tool we engaged with. I especially enjoyed the way all the various media came together in the Storify article.

Just for the sake of a formal response to the question brought up initially. No I do not feel anymore inclined than I did before enrolling in this course to become a produser (other than the occasional contribution to the twitter verse, or an occasional sharing on google plus). The article from this week’s module by Lunenfeld, P. (2007) brings about some interesting points about the issue of producers and costumers coming together as one. He instead talks about downloading, pulling in data and uploading, transferring data. He makes a bold statement that makes one stop and think when he writes, " Understanding and consuming culture requires great skills – ask anyone who has taught a child to read – but failing to move beyond downloading is to strip oneself of a defining constituent of humanity".  As someone that just recently proclaimed that I do not necessarily feel inclined to become a produser this makes me ponder whether if there is an ounce of truth in that. I wouldn't go as far as proclaiming a lack of an individual’s contribution to culture a failure to humanity, but I do not fail to see the long term effect of a larger populations lack of contribution.

As I read the Rheingold, H. (2010) article, I am forced to reflect on my original response to the guiding question brought up about if I feel inclined to become a producer. Rheingold brings up a scenario that didn't come to mind as I dove into my direct response to the question earlier. In his article he discusses five social media literacies, one of those literacies was that of collaboration. He brings up the scenario of national disaster and the response of the victims and non-victims through the use of social media. He talks about the use of blogs, wiki's, and craigslist to aid in locating separated family members. I believe that in a situation where simply contributing to a task like that, which could benefit the bigger community would in fact incline me to become a "producer". 

Lunenfeld, P. (2007). History as Remix: How the Computer Became a Culture MachineRue Descartes no. 55: Philosophies entoilĂ©es. Online [PDF]

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media LiteraciesEDUCAUSE Review. 45:5. pp. 14-24

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Activists and Journalists

I'd first like to reflect upon my use of the Storify, the web based application my course required me to use for an assignment. I was quite impressed with the simplicity of the software allowing the less computer savvy individuals to find Storiify easy to use and navigate; A key hurdle for web developers of today. My Storify article was called my google glass exploration. The glass project by google has been gaining more media coverage lately and my interest in it continued to grow, so it was only fair that I chose to "explore" it. There seemed to be news about google glass popping up daily, from Sergey Brin's wife testing the device on a TMZ reporter, to articles about google glass in the workplace. Storify made it possible for me to bring all the updates about google glass together in one place almost instantaneously. These updates include tweets, Facebook posts, youtube video, hyperlinks, images, and audio sound clips; all the components of citizen journalism in one place.

 It is safe to say that Storify gives individuals like me the opportunity to participate in citizen journalism. Almost instantaneously I was able to comment on any news about google glass, although it was more of second hand reporting if anything. Although If I did happen to be the first or one of the first to hear about any google glass related news, social media applications such as Storify would makes it possible for me to report it to an audience (depending on how many people I have following me). Now even before reading the Hermida (2012) article, I recognize the problem with this sort of power (as I like to see it). Hermida talks about the opportunity that twitter affords to eyewitnesses of breaking news, mentioning "tweets by eyewitnesses help fill the new vacuum that often occurs after breaking news". The article then goes on to talk about the problem with this affordance being the process of verification. Journalism, a profession that is based on verification of information, has to compete with social media, which in no shape or form needs to be verified. It is for that reason l think it is a good reason that major news networks have their own twitter accounts that provide a brief summary of breaking news. I strongly agree with the news vacuum filler, because there are times during breaking news when news outlets shy away from giving details about what is going on. I also understand that speculation can be very dangerous in our world.

 The article by Bruns and Highfield (2012) gives us an example of how social media gives individuals opportunities to be social activists. The article talks about the protest against the WTO in Seattle, where the website was used as a clearing house for protestors. In anticipation that mainstream media coverage would paint them as anarchists and hooligans, protestors took to the website to share first person reports, photographs, sound recordings and video footage. This serves as a great example of the opportunities that social media gives the general public. The Jenkins ad Thorburn (2003) article also gives a great example of the opportunities social media provides for social activism. Jesse Ventura a former wrestler won the election for governor of Minnesota. His website created a community for his supporters to follow his campaign and communicate with one another.

 Both the above-mentioned articles show us how members/citizens have used social media as a tool to inspire change. It is difficult to say that these new opportunities have encouraged me to participate in citizen journalism/ or social activism. The very few times that I use social media to express myself are usually through second hand updates. I see something somewhere else that sparks my interests and I decide to share it with who ever cares to view. I cannot remember any time that I have used social media as a tool to inspire some sort of change. If I was to do so I can imagine how difficult it can be if you do not have a large audience, because the most popular social media applications restrict our reach to our followers/friends. I wonder if it is a way to controls the reach of some of us, or simply an organization mechanism. I sure the latter seems much more practical.

 Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verification. Journalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668

Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site []. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.

 Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn. Introduction: The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy. in Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn eds. (2003). Democracy and New Media. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. p1-17. NOTE: this link takes you to the entire book (online). You only need to read the introduction.

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Monday, 11 February 2013

Pirates That Share Podcast

The podcast I recorder was based on an exert from the module 6 article by Ian Condry. I wanted to focus on the motivations for online piracy, more specifically sharing. I thought the argument about sharing being a motivation to be a very strong one, because as I could relate to it and I assume many of my peers also can.  

Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and JapanInternational Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67 

image courtesy of

Sunday, 3 February 2013


I have to say I found Kirby Ferguson’s four part documentary; everything is a remix most intriguing. I mean the way he opened our eyes to the lies Hollywood has been feeding us unintelligent movie goers and music listeners was like no other. That previous statement was very much an exaggeration, but either way I found the documentaries very fascinating and entertaining. I especially loved when Quentin Tarantino’s kill bill was the topic of discussion. When scenes from game of death, once upon a time in the west, Lady snowball and so on, were put along side scenes from Kill Bill I was amazed at the similarities. I must say that being a mash up king like Quentin Tarantino takes a lot of work and creativity (the very word that brings about so many debates). At the end of Kirby Ferguson’s videos he then asked so politely if you -- the viewers -- could donate a little money for the production of the next part to the documentary.

Now there is a reason I mention Kirby’s request, not just because he was so polite with his request, but something much more relevant than that. How many of us viewers at the end of that video felt the obligation to donate money to Kirby Ferguson’s next video. As much as I enjoyed it I must say it would take a little bit more motivation for me to f make a donation whether small or large. I don't feel as if this makes me a bad person, its just the way us viewers tend to react more often than not. Now this is not the first time we have seen such pleas, on a similar but not so similar angle many of us can remember the plea by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales for donations that was on top of every Wikipedia page not to long ago. How many of us felt the obligation to donate to any of the various pleas we have encountered by the creators.

As little as the decision of whether or not to donate may sound, I feel it plays such a big role in copyright issues at hand. That decision is what feeds at a consumer when he or she has to decide whether to buy a record or illegally download it; buy a movie or illegally download it. Hana posts, “I have to admit, that I wait patiently for my favourite shows to be posted right after they air on third party websites; links that are posted in violation of copyright laws” and Jordana adds, “That being said, I myself have probably not been the most ‘ethical’ consumer. I am saying this in regards to my consumption of music (the first thing that comes to mind when I think about copyright and the internet).  For years, I have downloaded music without always paying for it. I understand this is considered illegal, yet when it is available in every which direction, and done so commonly, it is difficult to pay for it.”

These are the words of the consumers themselves; these are the very people that you the producers are hoping will support your creativity by purchasing (donating in some cases) what you have created. I do not intend to shy away from myself, because just like Hana and Jordana I mentioned earlier,  cannot bring myself to buy an entire album or movie when it is so easy to retrieve without a cost. Maybe in our confessions are the solutions to the problem. Maybe me saying that I will not purchase because it is so easy to find elsewhere is the solution. Maybe continuing to find ways to crack down or these file sharing sites is the solution. I know what I am writing is not news to anyone but understanding the consumer is so important to working towards a solution. I am not far when I say this because number seven of the nine sites Henry Jenkins writes about reiterates my claim. Jenkin’s states that in the games industry, the major success have come from franchises that have responded to peer-to-peer technologies by establishing feedback from consumers during product development rather than through legal action and name-calling like the recording industry (Jenkins 2004).

Convenience and affordability are key obstacle to overcome. I believe that more people like myself have began to make gradual changes to the way they retrieve the media they consume. In the past 2 years I can say that I have been purchasing many more songs from itunes than ever before, I am beginning to take a relativist approach to my decisions on media intake. I believe that the subscription-based model that Jenkins talks about is also key to working towards solutions. As you can see in this article by GQ’s Nancy Hass, Netfilx is already changing the game for everyone.

image courtesy of

I also hold that another approach to a solution is a drastic move to make a statement by either the consumers or the producers such as boycotting. While I am well aware that this is not a very viable means to an end, it sure would be interesting. Who am I kidding no one is going this route as long as money needs to be made.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Online Contribution

I usually start of by navigating to my favorite sports website, that is the nation basketball associations website ( I check out highlights from the previous game of my favorite team (, from there check out any news on the teams websites, about trades or trade interests, post-game interviews and so on. Then I do the same for other interesting teams in the league. I then get on my favorite online magazines for fashion arts design and culture, such as hypebeast, gq. From there I check out a few of my favorite bloggers websites. I then browse for new music on sites like hotnewhiphop, thisisrnb and so on. I will from there navigate to my favorite new outlets such as cnn, nytimes, yahoo.

It does not just stop there because from these individual websites there are links to things that catch my eyes. From there I get navigated to another site where I can find something even more interesting. This is just a brief synopsis of how I can easily accumulate hours on the Internet browsing. I didn’t include architectural sites, or tumblr pages, or youtube vdeos, or social networking sites (twitter specifically).

Through the brief synopsis it is quite evident that my contribution to online content is slim to none. As Lev Manovich (2008) put it I can be considered the 98.5 % of people that are consumers to the most popular social media sites. Although at one point I must say I manage a tumblr page. Also the blogger page I use to this course can be considered a contribution to online content produced.

Teresa Rizzo’s talk of the exhibitionist tendency, which often times leads to spontaneous postings on video-sharing sites, is unappealing to me. Unlike many today transparency through online content is a concern to me. Our reach online goes much further than in real life. Making a video and posting it on a site like youtube is  a very brave move, due to the fact that the viewer more often than not is not someone who know or will ever know.

Balance and Adaptation

 This article targets the youth of today, those primarily between the ages of 16 – 25. I want to tell you the importance of keeping a balance. Not a balance financial life or a balanced spiritual life, a balanced virtual Life. So many of us (I fall into the age bracket as well) are forgetting the importance of face-to-face communication. We are forgetting how relationships are built, how trust is instilled. Instead we are building up our virtually identities. Everybody knows what John is like on Twitter and Facebook, but do you really know what John is like in person? Sperrier686 mentions that “with people so focused on their cell phones that they almost forget the real world around them”.

Could there be some truth in the Leung and Wei (2000) argument that the major motives for mobile phone use are for fashion status? We would hope not, what happened to functionality. I believe at some point functionality was an important aspect of mobile phones, but the world has come far from that (some parts of the world). There are still some areas where the basic functionality of the mobile phone is the main purpose. Many of us are victims of the trade off factor  (Campbell & Jin Park 2008). We know that option A can do everything we need it to do, but option B looks slick and can almost do everything we need.

To an extent it is almost uncontrollable to not be part of the virtual world. When changes in the real world are being made to accommodate those of the virtual world compromises have to be made by the resisters. For example businesses that force customers to make appointments via a social networking tool, or a course that makes top hat monocle mandatory for the students. Top Hat Monocle is a participation system where students/users must text in or log on to answer a question correctly. Benedict mentions how she almost feels alone when she does not see that red light blinking. How many of you blackberry users feel the same way? I can assure you she is not alone on the issue. Participation in the virtual world is almost uncontrollable. Balance is key.

“I hate that I need”, says susiemedia  as she talks about her relationship with her smartphone. This is the attitude that those of us that understand the problem at hand take. They dislike the idea of being to reliant on their smartphone, but understand that it is in a sense necessary. Access is the problem at hand and in some way the revolution. A simple citizen has access to so much from the little smartphone device they pocket. I have to ability to translate a language I have never learned instantaneously; I can tell you what time it is on the other side of the world instantaneously (close to an instant depending on what mobile network you are on and how Siri might be feeling today). We the people have power than ever before.

Goggin talks about this power that I speak of, “the appearance of multimedia mobile phones-especially so-called "smartphones", kin to other ubiquitous "smart" technology (Kuniavsky 2010)--had increased the space, power flexibility on such devices software development" (Goggin 2011).

Now can we overthrow the problems that have come with this social system that has been created through the world of mobile devices? Can we save our youth from the pressures of the digital locus as Fabio Josegrilberg calls it? I believe the answer to that is no, to me its not about saving anyone, its about balance as well as adaptation. It is now up to individuals to realize the importance human to human intimacy. As I mentioned in a previous post, as human beings no matter where we go and what we create, whether a newly discovered planet, virtual world, a mobile device, along comes all the social issues we face in the present world.

Campbell, S. W. and Park, Y. J. (2008), Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society. Sociology Compass, 2: 371–387

Goggin, G. (2011). Ubiquitous apps: politics of openness in global mobile cultures. Digital Creativity, 22(3), 148-159.

Josgrilberg, Fabio B. (2008). A Door to the Digital Locus: Walking in the City with a Mobile Phone and Michel de Certeau. Wi: Journal of Mobile Media. Spring 2008 (10).