Why is Milk Called Milk?

May 18, 2010 by

To be honest I found this reading to be one of the most interesting to date. It reminds me of all those times when you are having a conversation, and a word gets repeated one too many times, and then everyone stops to think about how unusual the word really is. For example, the other week my roommates and I were talking about milk. A normal, everyday, product somehow became the center of our discussion when we discussed the proper pronunciation which then led to the “what a weird word, I wonder where it came from” comment.

In both the Schirato and Yell article, Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction and the Clark article, The Linguistics of Blame, I found the notion of violence in relation to language to be extremely interesting. Schirato and Yell’s argument that words can adapt new meanings based on context is something I had never really given much thought to before, but it is so true.  Changing the tone or context of a word allows the speaker to convey many different messages. The Simpson example is so prevalent to our media and use of words today- what is violence? Our definitions differ greatly depending on each person. It is also rather intimidating that these words can be portrayed to be much worse (or more mild) depending on the speaker. For example, the “violence” of the British against the aboriginal people was down played to simply helping out the “savages.” Although to many people this would appear to be a highly inaccurate description of the events that occurred, to those who had no prior knowledge of the events this may be accepted as fact.

The Yell article also brings up some interesting points about how we can use words to convey messages in many different ways. The example given of naming an attacker in either a sub-human way (beast, monster, ripper, etc) or allowing the attacker basic human acknowledgement (name, address) was rather interesting. The media has a great tendency to use words to make stories gripping, terrifying, and intriguing. Since we wrote our first fairy tale we have been programmed to use descriptive words to make stories more interesting, and that  is obviously what the media does, yet have they taken it too far in some instances.

Finally, it seems that in these instances the words are doing more damage than good. I know if I read the story of a “monster prowling the streets” I would be terrified to take out my trash. Similarly, if I read about how the British came to Australia to help the savages I may be viewed as naïve and ignorant in the ways to the world. Yet how can I help but believe some of these stories- they are rather compelling right? In all it is rather intimidating to think about the grip words and language has over us, and it all comes from some dairy farmer naming milk milk.

I leave you with this video, at first you think the mother and daughter are having a typical fight over cell phones- listen closely to the words though and you will be surprised!


Who is watching you?

May 12, 2010 by

I finally just finished 1984 and it seems highly appropriate when considering ways to monitor audiences these days.  The moment you actively realise how diverse the term ‘media’ is the more you realise how surrounded you are by it.  The problem in monitoring audiences when the media is so diffused is that out attention becomes the commodity, and unlike dollars and cents it’s impossible to measure.  http://www.noseyinnewtown.com/ is a fantastic blog that I think truly illustrates the notion that we are all performers if we so choose.

Despite me saying this, I don’t feel as if the power is as evenly distributed as Couldry would have us believe.  Taking into account Foucault’s conception of power I do think as an audience with the technology available we have a lot of potential power but when you consider the dominating strength of the mainstream, I don’t believe we are taking advantage of it.  Instead of focusing on T.V I think music is a huge example of this.  In 2007 The Presets performed a free show at the Roundhouse to a disinterested crowd for a uni event.  Less than 2 years later the very same band played a sold out show in the same venue.  People paid money.  We had the technology and the means to know who they were, and yet it wasn’t until they were recognised by the powers of the mainstream (traditional media forms – T.V and Radio) until they were truly appreciated.

Since doing my assignment and monitoring the life of an alternative 20-something year old living out of home, I would have suggested a belief in the downfall of mass media.  She doesn’t own a T.V and watches what she wants online.  But living at home with my parents and watching facebook and twitter updates during the week still showed most of the people I know were watching Masterchef on commercial television.  Sad truth.  Maybe it’s a matter of generation X vs Y?

Just a little fact (ok so I’m using the word fact very loosely) before I leave you: 1 in 4 Americans have been on T.V.

Lost Part of Me and I Feel So Alone

May 11, 2010 by

First of all, so sorry for the late post. Upon returning from a weekend away I came home to find that when I turned on my MacBook Pro that the screen just remained black. Obviously this led to much panic, a hasty rush to the apple store, etc. Upon arrival there the happy news that my data was not lost, was quickly overshadowed by the fact that they need it for about two weeks. As anyone else that has been in this situation can attest, it feels as if I am missing a very important part of me (I am still going through shock/ withdrawals, not knowing what to do with myself without my computer). Going back many weeks- I suppose this is one more example of how my media and technology controls me.

Anyways onto this weeks readings, as I type on this foreign computer I cannot help but think about the Haddon article, “Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape” and the ways in which media and technology affect our communication. Haddon points out that when the internet emerged there were concerns that those who dedicated their time to things online were being anti-social. However, these people had simply found a different way to be social that no longer involved face-to-face contact. Now as I sit here without my own computer, I am the one feeling anti-social. Common sense would tell you that me not having a computer would force me increase my face-to-face communication with those around me but that is not so much the case. As communicating via the internet has become so common place, it feels  less comfortable to call a friend or even walk down the street to visit. We now use our media as forms of personal communication that was once only achieved via actually speaking out loud. Without my computer I feel as though I have lost a part of me, and I feel so alone without it.

In the article Haddon discusses how technology has changed the way in which we may communicate, updating our techniques, but the messages are generally the same. I wish to add something to this- much of the time our communication is rather personal, we do not like to share what we say with one individual with others, and therefore we create ways of keeping this communication secretive. For example, as I use my roommates computer I have not logged into ichat which I would normally do on my own. Although there would not be a way for her to read the conversations once I log out it still seems rather personal and therefore something that should be reserved for my own laptop. Similarly, we hardly share phones with one another except in emergency or dire situations (whereas in the past family lines were the norm). Therefore it appears as though with the emergence of more personalized individual technologies comes more secrecy and privacy.

This shift in communication, as Haddon points out, is not making us any more anti-social, simply we are communicating in new ways that are not necessarily traditional face-to-face methods. The textual examples of internet gamers or hanging out online in chat rooms are perfect examples of this. Although I may go hours without talking to someone out loud, it is very unlikely I will not have been socializing via texts, email, chats etc.  Haddon points out that social constraints and factors affect how we chose to communicate, with whom and where, largely impacting the secrecy or privacy of this communication, yet having little effect on the amount of communication overall.

One final comment/ critic on the Haddon reading, although I agree there are many good points made about the repertoires of communication practices as Stuie pointed out, I was a little frustrated at times with the fact that the reading felt slightly out of date and out of touch with our society. The quote regarding emails being an unreliable method of reaching someone on short notice was especially odd to me. In this day in age just about anyone who would be setting up last-minute meetings (especially business people and students) have nearly constant internet access. Although I cannot speak for everyone, it seems as though most people are constantly connected via cell phones, laptops, wifi networks, and the various other ways to access email. Perhaps it is time for Haddon to take a look at her communication channels and analyze how they may need to be upgraded with the changing times.

Hiding in the web

May 11, 2010 by

This weeks readings talk about Media Audiences, and i think Alyson was right to ask, “Where are they?!” I know there may be a trend in my blogging focus on social media, but i think we can’t go past it. Again this week I feel that it is the clearest indication of how the diffused audiences exists within society, and how we find them. As discussed in the Couldry reading, these three different audience types have evolved over a number of years and decades to what we have now, Diffused Audiences. These highly developed and constantly changing audiences are something of what seems like a temporal and evasive group of identities.

Reality TV as outlined in Couldry’s reading, being almost voygeristic in it’s nature, is quickly becoming the most watch genre of television. And increasingly so, we are seeing shows that a produced in the vain of reality TV, the genres of television and entertainment are blurring. I have started watching “Modern Family” which is about to start on Australia TV very soon, however, like I have just mentioned, this series is taking characteristics of reality TV and imprinting them within a sitcom framework. It is a one camera comedy, it involved interview styled debriefs between scenes or stories.

My point comes back to this idea of reproducing reality. Being such a diffused audience, we are the ones creating reality through social media. Think of Kate’s Party again (albeit a hoax) it was ordinary people signing up for this online event that made the news. You didn’t have to be anyones friend, you just needed to be online and watching. However, don’t go off feeling too empowered just yet. Remember that we are still a slave to facebook, addicted to checking what’s happening, whether out of boredom or necessity we are still online everyday.

I posted a similar video towards the start of the semester, however this focuses much more on the social media aspect of what we are being exposed to, the corporate structures behind the online marketing.

experience is the new reality

May 10, 2010 by

Hey guys,

After reading Leslie Haddon’s piece, Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape, i breathed what i found to be, a rationalist breath of fresh air. Her article primarily deals with viewing the media not so much as an entirely new entity but rather as a continuity of human use and experience. Of course its a narrow view to (and as Leslie puts it, ‘conservative’) simply judge every new media as simply ‘a fad re-worked’, however many gains in researching the ‘evolving communications landscape’ can be made by simply comparing them to the past.

Leslie looked at what she defined as our ‘media repertoire’, which in her study focused on mobile phones, emails and the telephone. She argues that in some ways this ‘new media’ revolution is simply a greater expansion upon the technologies that were current 40-50 years ago. And by simply assuming a conservative stance she therefore argues that patterns emerge from use, such as young male teens playing early computer games become most likely to adopt new technologies such as peer-to-peer playing experiences.

However overall what Leslie touches on, and what i would like to focus on, is the repertoire of media that we have present at our fingers. I would argue personally that this repertoire is quite paradoxically expanding and contracting – expanding our choice whilst contracting our devices (Mr. iphone everything anyone?) This in turn relates heavily to last weeks topic of convergance, however in Leslie’s article she chooses not to “discuss the social consequences” but rather set out the framework through which we can establish a valid set of data.

I’d like to show you guys this video entitled “prosumer: experience is the new reality” which offers massive food for thought. It has become quite controversial (as you will probably see) because it is essentially forecasting the future – something most people i believe, end up saying we will have flying cars in 2 years when it really takes 40/none at all. So after about halfway in the vid i tend to disagree and it is german so some context is that broadband internet is free there and second life is massive.So, enjoy!

so yeh, pretty massive guesses taken there but an interesting opinion into just how far our new media repertoire can take us.

Someday im gonna be famous…

May 10, 2010 by

The “Media Audience”… who are they? Where are they hiding out? What are they doing with their time?

Once again we are hearing Nick Couldry’s thoughts, this time on the topic of the media audience. He delves into the concepts of the “diffused audience”, “media culture” and the “extended audience”.

The “diffused audience” is a modern concept that observes the blurred line between the audience and the performer; i.e. people “are simultaneously watchers and being watched”. What better example can we see than that of Big Brother in which television watchers become the ones being watched. This example is of modern audience narcissism at its best, where ordinary people feel they are interesting/exciting/shocking enough to become media spectacles.

This idea of narcissism also extends to the concept of “media culture” in which new media technologies has allowed us, as individuals, to become the producers and broadcast our own lives out into the public domain as Couldrey describes it as the “process of self-commodification as self-expression”. In a sense new media audiences have generally lost their inhibitions for the desire to become the performer; inevitably everyone wants, and essentially feel they deserve, their fifteen minutes of fame. To back up this idea we can look at the YouTube phenomenon where any individual, young, old, pretty, unfortunate looking… have the potential to be famous and no matter what, become the performer whilst also being a part of the audience. But yet, even with this ability to become the performer we, as audiences, are still in awe of media personalities, why else would media-set pilgrimages occur in order to see a set of something we see every day in our own living rooms. Even with these technological changes there is still this distance that exists between us and the performer, hence the popularity of magazine media commenting on celebrities.

This final concept of the “extended audience” is the one in which I agree with the most. The “diffused audience” fails to recognize the power of media institution. I argue with Couldrey in that although we, as an audience, have increased power (as a result of new media technologies, e.g. TV. programming to our own schedule, web blogs, etc) we still live in a media saturated world where, often subconsciously, we are consuming media. Ads on the side of buses, pop-up advertisement while surfing the net, televisions blaring in shopping centres and shop windows…the list goes on. So we come back to the “extended audience” which is a mix of the “diffused audience” whilst still recognizing the power relationship between media institutions and the audience.

I’ll leave you with some of the lyrics to the Brad Paisley song clebrity.

Someday I’m gonna be famous
Do I have talent well no
These days you don’t really need it
Thanks to reality shows
Can’t wait to date a supermodel
Can’t wait to sue my dad
Can’t wait to wreck a Ferrari
On my way to Rehab

Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
You can act just like a fool
And people think you’re cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can throw a major fit
When my latte isn’t just how I like it
They say I’ve gone insane
I’ll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with….
Being a Celebrity

Playing with the List

May 6, 2010 by

First of all, sorry that this is so late and that i wasn’t in the tute, i’ve been attacked by a vicious flu and am bed bound for another day or two. But on the bounce up, i’m taking the opportunity to catch up on my overdue blog love.

I’ll be focusing mostly on “Programming Your Own Channel”. I hold a particular interest in networks, mobility and the use of space and time, and this reading really fascinated me. I have a confession. I am a TV addict. Not in a “spending my whole night watching crap”, but every night before bed, often when i’m doing work, or just conducting life admin, i will be watching something. Whether it be Brothers and Sisters, Bondi Rescue, The Zoo, Royal Pains or How I Met your Mother, I appreciate the power and creativity of good TV. Unlike previous couch potatoisms being thrown around, i do not feel guilt, remorse or shame for this constant TV watching. Rather i put it down to a well planned, scheduled day. I can watch what i want, when i want, how i want and why i want to. And i have playlists to thank for that.

According to Rizzo – I am able to defy time, i am empowered by choice and i can personalise my viewing experience. Therefore life is dandy! But I don’t think this would work for everyone. My personalisation revolves around evolving drama series, sit coms, and reality based events of little “newsworthiness”. However, if it was my brother subscribing to my media habits, then things would be different. He would know the Sports scores before he could watch it, his friends would’ve already told him what happened in underbelly, and the news stories would be broadcast across various media platforms that what is record would be irrelevant. However, what if my brother was much more reliant on mobile media devices rather than tv and playlists, his network preference differs, but suits him and his tastes.

No matter the changing network choices, the flow remains a constant issue, we are both being advertised to constantly. Even when i’m watching catch up episodes on the channel 10 website i’m exposed to advertising in breaks of my shows which i have no control over. Much like my brother browsing the web on his phone, there is a constant flow of advertising and strategic messages customised for our network choices.

Either way, these networks are well constructed and thought through processes of which there is a constant understanding and deliberate architecture of flow. So, Rizzo, am i really empowered?

“Just found 20c under the sofa! = D” – Communicating for Communication’s sake

May 4, 2010 by

This weeks readings i found to be a little divisive from each other, however i will focus on Manuel Castells’ paper, “Informationalism, networks, and the network society: a theoretical blueprint”. Whilst i for one can wholeheartedly admit this reading could at times do quite well to lose the reader, although in turn did raise points that i personally wonder with the advent of such ‘conveniant’ new technologies.

Castells’ theroising on how networks operate and the value nodes have on the goals of the network, makes me wonder about the benefits of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. What is the goal in this respect? To connect? If so, i would say that they achieve this quite resoundingly. My use of facebook has indeed made me closer to some people – but is it for the better? Am i now so close that ‘close’ is too close for comfort? should i keep asking rhetorical questions when i dont have the answers? (on a small side note here i noticed as i was reading in my head my voice getting higher with each question.)

Castells is quoted:

“The ability of networks to introduce new actors and new contents in the process of social organization…increased over time”

Here in this paraphrased quite i would like to particularly acknowledge “new actors and contents”, as it displays in essence what i am doing right now! every blog has the potential to introduce new actors, whilst many, many others drift off into the virtual stage left. Blogs allow us to siphon power away from the traditional media sources, yet is all of it good?

Castells’ also goes on to say that “the new culture is not made of content but of process. It is a culture of communication for the sake of communication.” And here comes the crux of my argument: social media as mundane as Twitter is simply fulfilling a role we shouldnt have to fill. It is in my opinion communicating for the sake of communicating, and of course is not entirely bad, however fulfils that category as well. Heres a video on how twitter really does make our lives beautiful. /sarcasm

Castell’s reading not so much condemned the new social media networks as anaylsed their role, which is undoubtedly increasingly influential. Twitter is by all means a fantastic medium, i mean c’mon, 20 cents!

Changing the Flow

May 3, 2010 by

Teresa Rizzo’s “Programming Your Own Channel” ties in nicely with what we have been talking about all semester in terms of the ever-changing roles of media with the emergence of new technology. I found it particularly interesting the notion that the television, once designed to bring families together to watch programmes in the “family room” is now outdated as televisions have adapted the new role of creating separate spaces for family members.

I know in my house the television in the basement is the “kids” tv. This means that my brother has mostly taken it over, especially since I am hardly home. It is assumed he is down there playing Playstation or watching ESPN. The living room is still the “family” tv and the one I will use when I want to watch something. I can generally control the remote for prime time shows such as Grey’s Anatomy. Around dinnertime and on Sunday nights the remote here belongs to my dad. 1. For the nightly news and 2. For Sunday night football. The television in my parents room is the one my mom uses primarily, mostly because she does not have an opportunity to have control over the other remotes. Although I never thought about it before it is amazing how routine these roles are.  In my household, the remote is a way of controlling what we watch- whoever has the remote gets to choose. To add to that, as stated in the article, the remote is “a way of asserting control over the viewing experience.

Our methods of watching television have changed greatly since the 1950s. Now we can get it any time anywhere and we do not need to wait until a certain time of day to watch our favourite show. Our lives are no longer dictated by what is on television when. Rather we dictate what is on our “playlist” when.

In regards to the playlist notion I particularly liked the section on “flow” and now wonder how we are changing this notion of flow as we create our own playlists. It is easy for me to relate this to making a playlist for my iPod. All the songs I have bought are part of some well thought out album and here I come along and pick and chose songs, mix up the order and throw them together in a completely different fashion than was originally intended. Obviously I enjoy this more as it is personalized to me but what are the effects on the music producers? The television producers? The flow they have created is designed to keep me watching, yet if I am just taking bits and pieces of their flow to create my own playlist will I watch less? Probably not. But it does lead to an interesting predicament for television producers. Their current models may not be working as well so they will need to adapt to consumers creating their own flows.

Overall I thought this article tied in well with the previous readings, especially those concerned with how television has created new roles in the family and new spaces and times for those of us who view television programmes in our own way. I am especially curious what everyone’s thoughts are regarding the “flow” argument and how flow may be changing in the next coming years. As more people continue to disregard the flow created by broadcasters in favour of creating their own personal flows how will broadcasters react? Let me know what you all think!

Networks- time to party?

May 3, 2010 by

The Castells reading “Information, networks, and the network society: a theoretical blueprint” opens up conversation on the emergence of network societies “whose social structure made of networks powered by micro-electronics-based information and communication technologies”.

Now, who in our and younger generations can say they have never associated themselves with network societies? Few and far between would be my guess. This point reflects the importance or even necessity to understand and grasp the components of network societies since they are a major contributor for information and social connection. Facebook, MySpace, MSN, Chat rooms, blogs, the list goes on and on.

These social structures allow a global connectivity which essentially give individual’s the power to distribute and gain knowledge and information which may have previously been limited to them. “The right combination of information and communication technology, development of human capacity to take advantage of the full potential of these technologies, and organizational restructuring based on networking becomes the key to ensuring productivity, competitiveness, innovation, creativity, and, ultimately, power and power sharing.”

We have the power. Is this good or bad? In a way I can see network societies as the falling of a wall in that we, inevitably, have access to many people, and sometimes this access can be detrimental. Point in case: “Kate’s party”. Here is an article by news.com.

Kate’s Party hoax takes aim at Facebook privacy


A screenshot of the original hoax “Kate’s Party” event on Facebook. It eventually gathered more than 60,000 confirmed guests. Source: news.com.au

ADELAIDE prankster David Thorne says his latest stunt to make waves in the digital world highlights problems with Facebook’s privacy settings.

Thorne last week created a hoax event listing on the social networking site that appeared to be a private birthday party for one “Kate Miller”.

The event was to take place at Miller’s apartment and had, seemingly, been left open to public viewing instead of set to private by accident.

Pretending that he had stumbled across the event, Thorne sent a link to his Twitter followers urging them to “hit attending & give the host an aneurysm”.

More than 60,000 people RSVP’d to the event before it was taken down by Facebook.

Thorne said he created the hoax to show how quickly events could go viral through sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s like throwing a pebble into a pond and watching thousands of people jump in after it,” he told news.com.au.

So we come back to Castells’ final comments: the concept of network society “helps us to define the terms of the fundamental dilemma of our world: the dominance of the programs of a global network of power without social control, or, alternatively, the emergence of a network of interacting cultures, unified by a common belief in the use value of sharing”.

Like anything, some people will abuse the power they have but in the end, I see networks as powerful social structures that allow us, as an ever-growing global society, to deliver and recieve an abundance of information to better understand our own everydaylife and the world (and people) around us.