Internet memes

Personally I found this module very interesting. I discovered many new things and had the opportunity to participate in various discussion, hear other peoples’ opinions and see things from a different angle. We took a journey from the beginning of the internet and learned about how it developed and it influences our every day lives.

The most interesting topic from this module for me was the Internet memes. It all began with Richard Dawkin in 1974 and his book The Selfish Gene. He described a new type of transmission device, one that allows cultural evolution and calls it a Meme. With the development of the internet and social networks a new type of internet communication was created. We are all more or less a part of the Internet meme community. We participate, we share them and even create them. The most fascinating thing for me is that Internet memes are on of the first cultural objects that fully depend upon the medium of the internet.

Memes are not only humorous pictures. They raise some important questions about copyrights, a topic we also discussed in our seminars. Finally, memes are a pat of the convergence culture. They are the product of merging of the old and new media.

goodbye

Copyright

Copyright is one of the main types of intellectual property. It acknowledges a persons’ work and allows them to own the rights for things they create in the same way that we own something physical (a house, car, etc.)

An example that I find interesting is watching series/movies on Netflix versus websites such as WatchSeries, Putlocker and so on. In order to use Netflix, you have to pay a monthly subscription and in contrary Netflix owns the rights to the content that it streams. Therefore, it sells the content to you. Although the subscription is not expensive at all, I personally prefer to watch my series online on websites such as WatchSeries. I do not watch TV often and if I find something interesting that I would like to see, I do not want to have to pay a whole subscription just in order to see a couple of episodes. I know that this might be wrong and maybe not completely ‘legal’.

In general, those websites are a big issue and some of them were blocked by providers such as Sky, BT, TalkTalk etc. because of enabling copyright infringement.

Online visibility

As most of us did here, I also googled my name. Luckily not much did come up. Facebook and my recently created LinkedIn profile.

There are no people that share the same name combination as me (or they are not online), just maybe my first name or family name. The most surprising thing that I discovered is an old Myspace profile which I thought I deleted ages ago. There is no information on that profile nor any ‘friends’ I was following, just an empty profile with an old picture. The irritating thing about that is that I have no idea how to delete is as I forgot the email and password.

The privacy settings on my Facebook are quite high so people can see only my profile picture and that’s it. I am very private with my data so I do not accept random people even if we have a mutual friend. My moto is, if we are not friends in real life, I do not want you to be part of my online life, therefore, I do not want you to be able to see what I share with my friends.

Said that, I do not think that my data is private just because of the settings. Facebook knows what I like as well as what I google and sells my data to advertisers who then annoy me with personalised ads.

 

Why so serious?

One of my favourite online communities is the website 9GAG. The website was founded by Hong Kong students in 2008 and as the co-founder Ray Chan states: “We wanted to make a website where people could go kill some time and have a laugh whenever they want”. The site is completely user generated and the content is shared with the whole 9GAG community. The internet memes are divided into categories such as hot, trending, fresh, geeky, GIF and many more. Users are allowed to up-vote, down-vote and comment memes. The community has its own unit of measurement (a banana), Leonardo DiCaprio is currently seen as the King and Emma Watson as the Queen.

The positive aspect of this community is of course that people go there to have a laugh or to share an awkward situation which they were in with the rest of the 9gagaers. There have been also situations were people dealing with depression and having no friend, shared their problems with the community and got a massive support.

However, as there is a large number of memes being uploaded it can happen that no one will see what you put up. A further issue is that beside 9gaga chat (which is a separate app), users can not communicate with each other directly, except commenting a comment, which can be inconvenient.

a97vbOZ_700b_v1

Photograph from http://www.9gag.com

 

Before I die _____

Before I die is a participatory public art project created by Candy Chang. It all began in New Orleans after Chang lost someone she loved and was struggling with channelling her emotions which led to her becoming depressed. In order to share intimately with neighbours and help restore perspective while remaining an introvert, Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood. After receiving permission, she painted the house with chalkboard paint and decorated it with grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to______”. Anyone who walked by could take a piece of chalk and share their personal aspiration in public. It was an experiment, however, the next day the wall was full of responses and it kept growing. It helped her understand her neighbours as well as that she is not alone. After posting a few pictures, the image spread and Chang received hundreds of messages from people around the world who wanted to put up a wall in their area. Over 1,000 Before I die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries.

Therefore, without the participation of the public this project couldn’t reach such an immense global attention and respond.

And if you wan to make your own wall, there are instructions on Candy Chang’s website www.beforeidie.cc

baden2-910x512

Baden, Switzerland. Photograph:www.beforeidie.cc

2015-12-08-08.54.23-910x512

Sombor, Serbia. Photograph:www.beforeidie.cc

 

beforeidie-600x400

Camden Lock Market. Photograph:www.beforeidie.cc

 

 

 

Is the print industry dead?

Convergence can be described as melting together of information systems, telecommunication and media technologies.

The digitalisation of production in media has strongly influenced the organisation and practice of journalism. With the convergence of technology, media and organisation it is completely changed how news is delivered. Radio and television reporters who have been in separate worlds, nowadays work together, cooperating across media boundaries. The foundation of these developments is the digitalisation which enables content to travel across media borderlines. However, all those developments have led to a “slow death” of an industry that has been around us for decades: the print industry.

With our busy lives, on the go lifestyle and demand for easier access to content, the print industry has become slowly but surely dated. People are simply not interested in the classic news papers anymore. Instead of buying papers, nowadays everything is more or less available online. Furthermore, we do not have to wait for the evening issue or next day morning to read the news, we can simply update the app on our smartphone and read it in real-time.

While commuting on the train there are less and less faces hidden behind the news papers. Look around and you will definitely see at least one person on their smartphone checking news headlines on their smartphone.

feeds_400x400

TED Talks

When it comes to online sources, it is always hard to decide which ones to use. There are plenty websites with useful information on almost all topics. The website I find interesting and use it myself is TED talks.

TED which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design runs under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading” and is an online conference website. It was discovered by architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman in 1984. He observed convergence in technology, entertainment and design therefore its name.

The talks address a wide range of topics from science, research, culture as well as on media. The speakers are given 18 minutes to deliver the speech in the most interesting way. Some of the speakers include Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and also many Nobel Prize winners.

ted_billgates

Bill Gates at TED2011. February 28 – March 4, Long Beach, CA. Credit: James Duncan Davidson / TED

No matter in what subject you are interested in there is something for everyone. Furthermore, the talks are free, you can watch them from home, on your flight or your daily commute to work. They are easy to access either from ted.com or on their YouTube channel. You can choose from the most popular ones or browse through different topics or type the subject you are interested in in the search bar. Moreover, they offer subtitles in many languages, which makes it convenient and appeals to a wider audience.

I personally highly recommend it and if you have not used it yet, give it a try!