I am Woman, hear me roar.

http://memegenerator.net/instance/35557002
http://memegenerator.net/instance/35557002

The wonders of the online world stop right about the time someone receives anonymous sexual, racial or aggressive threats. No longer can our society grow and become enlightened by technology, instead we end up as cowardly, inappropriate beings, sitting in our pyjamas hiding behind our laptop screens. Quite frankly, how pathetic! These ideas may have come about through a brogrammer community or simply because women are severely under represented in this industry (only 21% in 2010), but these are not justifiable reasons for the degrading the female population has been receiving.

After reading the article by Jill Filipovic, I was appalled to hear of the attacks she received from online users. After being made aware she was posted on the AutoAdmit website, she quickly became aware of the darker side of the internet. Making complaints and attempting to get the attackers to cease only enhanced the fire. When superiors were questioned about the outcome and threats Filipovic received their answer was basically ‘she asked for it’. And why? Because she was a woman, presented her ideas and opinions online. She entered and environment that some have determined no place for a women.

But the question to raise here is, why do people feel it is justifiable to project fear, humiliation and discrimination against others when using online resources? It is their anonymity that is their greatest strength.

Through organisations like FemTechNet, women are fighting back. Through utilising the process of wikistorming (whereby online articles are adapted to reflect a balanced gender representation) women are able to communicate in a more reasonable and hopefully safer environment.

In order for our society to move forward and out of this dark dismissive whole, a change in ideology must occur. One where people stop viewing their opinion as being the only option out there, where we choose to educate others about diversity and where our society is made aware that this harassment is occurring.

References:

ABC 2014, ‘Men call me things: it’s not as romantic as it sounds’, Evans K, http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3659712.html (Accessed 12th of May 2014)

The Guardian 2014, ‘Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men’, Thorpe V. et al, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling (Accessed 12th of May 2014)

The Guardian 2014, ‘How prevalent is online abuse?’, Jowit J., http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2013/jul/29/online-abuse-twitter-social-media (Accessed 16th of May 2014)

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Click-tastic Kony

Activism? Clicktivism? Slacktivism?

In our changing world where developments are occurring rapidly technologically, it comes as no surprise that activism has chosen to go online. This movement is known as clicktivism and it is when organistions or groups use social media to amplify their message in order to bridge gaps between communities that would not normally have access to the information. In particular it can be used to encourage the younger generation to step up and be involved in advocacy and decision making as it speaks on a platform they are comfortable with.

There is the potential however for clicktivism to gain the exposure it needs but then spiral downwards very quickly as in the case of Kony 2012. When the 30 minute video was released, it became a Facebook phenomena with nearly 76m views. However what was the response? It did not encourage actual action and therefore, no significant response was received. According to Henry Jenkins’ article he argued that youth were swayed by emotional output and not actual information.

The movement was incredibly successful in developing spreadability whereby the message is distributed effectively and efficiently and receives a large number of participants. But for online activism to be successful it must demonstrate drilability where members in the organisation are aware of the issues, the results they want to see happen and the action they must take. This was not demonstrated in the Kony movement and therefore it fizzled out. In an article by Mary Butler (pg 4), she raised the question: “Is the 21st Century the age of the dispassionate activist?” In the case of Kony 2012, it was not that those exposed to the information were dis-passionate, it’s that the action to take was unclear, far spread and unorganised.

Therefore for clicktivism to be successful members must feel a sense of community and involvement, they must be aware of the issues at hand, but most importantly they must feel passionate and led enough to take the needed action.

References:

Huffington Post 2014, ‘The Grey are of Clicktivism’, Flaim J, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/javier-flaim/the-grey-area-of-clicktiv_b_4344303.html (Accessed 16th of May 2014)

Indie Wire 2012, ‘Five reasons the internet is blowing up over the “Kony 2012” clicktivism sensation’, Renninger B. J., http://www.indiewire.com/article/five-reasons-the-internet-is-blowing-up-over-the-kony-2012-clicktivism-sensation (Accessed 16th of May 2014)

Clicktivist 2012, ‘Clitivism breakdown: What Kony 2012 says about clicktivism’, http://www.clicktivist.org/2012/03/clicktivism-breakdown-what-kony-2012-says-about-clicktivism/ (Accessed 16th of May 2014)

Remix This.

When thinking about remix, don’t envisage a dank studio where songs are distorted to repeating tempos. Instead consider a vastly adapting, ever expanding culture, one of mass proportions in terms of product out-put, historic significance and prosumer involvement. By definition it “is a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product.”

Just take a look at the group Walk off the Earth, who, through a form of collective intelligence at work remixed 2013’s top charting hit ‘Royals’ by Lorde.

Remix gives us a new way to identify cultures based on historical and social elements adding value to our digital society. It creates a sub-culture of its own allowing anyone with any level of creativity to become their own DJ, no longer bound to old rituals of the music industry. However there is the question of how far culture jamming will occur, referring to the loss of specific cultural identities through the morphing and contribution from different cultures. In this, it is important to be aware that multiculturalism will always shape societies, however intrinsic attributes will always allow the culture to remain unique and dynamic.

Remix can also be used to alter the original message of a text, it is an intervention on the flow of meaning and can change ideologies. It can be used to subvert old texts and create politically aggressive messages, something that has been done long before the arrival of Youtube (here).

Pentatonix, an A cappella group, created a compilation of Daft Punk’s music to create a new idea. The message presented is still in sync with the original, however, new audiences are reached, adding to both the phenomena of remix culture and creating a new hype for the original artist. This is where the success of remix comes from, taking an idea and shaping it to create new levels of exploration that others have not achieved.

Now you all must listen to my story.

As described by Henry Jenkins, transmedia storytelling is a process whereby fundamental elements of fiction are spread and then enhanced across multiple media channels all adding to the original story. It is because of this that a one way narrative can attract new audiences through enhancing their level of involvement. This growth in experience potential has shaped the digital world, creating fan based cultures whereby individuals who would not previously come together are joined by one image or moment in time. This is a form of world building.

Through this, questions of culture and cultural influence on these stories will occur due to the morphing together of different identities and ideas. The influence of Anime in particular is highlighted due to the growth of its popularity and exposure into a range  of new mediums (i.e. Twilight Anime). This allows the story to appeal to new audiences and take on new meanings. This process differs from simply branding as a transmedia narrative is asking its audience to be involved, creating bonds that no clever campaign could ever accomplish.

http://www.allpebble.com/index.asp?p=4&c=C&s=
http://www.allpebble.com/index.asp?p=4&c=C&s=
http://pikdit.com/i/a-pebble-watch-face-with-countdown-until-the-day-of-the-doctor/
http://pikdit.com/i/a-pebble-watch-face-with-countdown-until-the-day-of-the-doctor/

 

http://www.wired.com/2013/05/downloadable-pebble-watch-faces/
http://www.wired.com/2013/05/downloadable-pebble-watch-faces/

 

Pebble can utilise transmedia storytelling by amplifying its platform capabilities. Through the introduction and popularity of its App Store and prosumer app development, users can continue to experience stories on their smartwatches. The images above are examples of users who have developed watch faces as count downs, watch-face designs of favourite movie characters as well as displaying how games can be supported on the Pebble, all of these adding to both the experience of the watch itself, but also incorporating aspects of another story. It is important to note that Pebble, through supporting both Android and iOS becomes so much more than a smartwatch.

“I view Pebble as somewhat of a niche product. But it’s a mass niche product.” says CEO Eric Migicovsky “(Some) may use Pebble because there’s a great app … that classifies which stroke you’re doing … Pebble is not a swim watch, it’s a smartwatch that runs a swim watch app … That’s why the platform is going to take off.

 

Bundle up those Brains

http://www.johnshowaltermd.com/
http://www.johnshowaltermd.com/

The old has gone and the new has come. Who we were and how we interacted with our online world will never be the same again. We are no longer simply the audience, instead, we are complex social formations changing and adapting rapidly across our digital environments. This movement creates a participatory media culture, a form of collective intelligence where many minds join together and shape the world as we know it!

This freedom and growth, is how Pebble came into being. Through using online crowd-funding site Kickstarter, Pebble gained instantaneous popularity, raising their needed funds within hours instead of the expected months. Even now, two years on since the success, they are still the darling of Kickstarter and why? Through this form of produsage, Pebble has encouraged fluid movement (pg 4)  in community involvement, expertise sharing and usage abilities. They encourage their users to be hands on in program development allowing the ‘producing’ stage to incorporate many minds.

This is exceptionally demonstrated on their blog page where readers are made aware of new operating systems and encouraged to participate in development processes. In particular the article about the Pebble’s ability to host games articulates this process clearly (here). This is also a clear example of harvesting the hive whereby individuals who are not directly related to the original sourcing are invited to be a part of development.

Living in this sort of environment challenges old ideologies on who is the producer and who is the consumer. It creates a diaolgic media platform whereby communication flows freely, allowing a multitude of voices to be present in the online community. The foresight for other companies and ideas like Pebble looks bright with this form of environment for them to flourish in.

 

REFERENCES:

Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. In
Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6623/1/6623.pdf  (Accessed 7th of April)

Pebble 2013, ‘Pebble at GDC: Let’s Play’, Developer Blog, https://blog.getpebble.com/2014/03/17/pebble-at-gdc-lets-play/ (Accessed 12th of May 2014)

GDC 2014, ‘Game Developers Conference’, http://www.gdconf.com/ (Accessed 12th of May 2014)

 

Continue reading

I’m speaking to you? You’re speaking to me!

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Ladies and Gentlemen! Roll up, Roll up!

We, as an audience have far more power than we did just a few short years ago. We are no longer players in a technological world run by money hungry companies, we are the designers, the rule makers (and breakers) and the time setters. Companies are changing their products features, the technologies capabilities, the accessibility all so that it appeals the growing needs of its consumer; the all powerful PROSUMER!

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This attitude and in fact, developers reaction to this attitude, is how the Pebble came into being! Due to the the overwhelming response on Kickstarter back in May 2012, the project raised $10 million (100 times its target) and now Pebble has become the front runner for the Smartwatch craze (Trusted Reviews). Developers are now more interested in being actively involved with their buyers as they understand the central role they play in their technologies success and how their audience shapes their brand.

It is understood that consumers no longer use technology as a one way process, it is interactive, conversational and especially self documentative through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is aspect of documentation is explored in the article written by Janey Gordon, where during 3 globally known critical events the use of mobile phones and in particular SMS’s allowed researches to pinpoint the exact measure of the disasters.

Something to consider especially within this changing environment, is that the audience is not always the user. This is true in the case of Youtube channel ‘the Verge‘ who showcase a review of the Pebble and with over 50,000 views, they are both the audience and a platform for audiences. This form of communication between the layers of Pebble’s audience becomes a diaolgic media offering multiple avenues for discussion and experience.

Though the Pebble only offers a monologic method of information access, future developments through the Pebble App Store, creates potential for greater social interaction and broadened communication.

References:

Kickstarter 2014, “Pebble E-Paper Watch for Android and iPhone”, Kickstarter Inc., https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android, (Accessed 3rd of April 2014)

Images:

 

Paleofuture 2013, Novak M, ‘Time after Time: 70 Years of Broken Smartwatch Dreams’, http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/time-after-time-70-years-of-broken-smartwatch-dreams-510651741 (accessed 5th of April 2014)

Comic Vine 2014, feebadger, ‘How to write: Troubleshooting’, http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic-8/how-to-write-troubleshooting-685961/ , (Accessed 5th of April 2014)

 

 

Forecast: Pebble for the win.

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Pebble’s developers “The Dream Team” have a common thread that links them to their consumers: to produce a smart watch that offers ease, adaptability and accessibility for a range of different users. This is the ideology that drives the product to the front of the smart watch field.

Users can expect a combination of both closed and open capabilities in their product, with the basic functionality and look of the watch starting as a closed media. The Pebble comes pre-programmed with a variety of apps available and a platform to support major growth in the future, however the overall design of the product is visually unable to compete the operating format of competitors Sony Smart Watch and Galaxy Gear. Nevertheless the release of Pebble Steel (Jan 2014), ensures that Pebble remains aesthetically pleasing to changing market trends and shows that the brand is able to adapt to global trends and functionality needs.

In terms of open media system the open SDK introduced with the original Pebble allows prosumers to be a part of the development and sharing process, interacting directly with other users and Pebble sites. Also, Pebble’s Bluetooth enables users to link their product to either iPhone or Android operating systems, not being locked into just one unlike competitors. This versatility has adapted to the changing trends of the consumer market, whereby audiences are no longer brand loyal, they are more likely to go with a product or technology that directly addresses their needs.

This will be Pebble’s strength in the future. Though they are not backed by a large company, they are supported by the users (as seen on the Kickstarter pledge results). As long as Pebble remains to function at the core need of a smart watch and continue to adapt the changing smart world, they will go from strength to strength!

Word to the wise:

“Convergence is more than a corporate branding opportunity; it represents
a reconfiguration of media power and a reshaping of media aesthetics and
economics”

Henry Jenkins ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’

 

References:

Pebble 2014, ‘Develop for Pebble. It’s an open platform!’, Get Pebble, https://developer.getpebble.com/ (Accessed 1st of April 2014)

Image:

News Talk 2014, Byrne B, 6 Reasons Samsung’s new Smart watch is doomed,  http://www.newstalk.ie/6-reasons-why-Samsungs-new-smartwatch-is-doomed  (Accessed 5th of April 2014)