baby-with-cell-phoneThe most interesting topic of this module, and what has made me stop and think the most is the idea behind our separate online and real lives. Do our real lives exist without our online persona’s or are they two separate parts of our personalties which exist independently, and if so, how far removed are they from each other?

The idea links in well with theories of convergence also, its interesting to see as we become more connected to our devices, apps, social networks and ultimately each other, if we become more and more detached from our ‘real’ lives. Baudrillard wrote a theory about this called ‘simulation and simulacra’ which can be used to support many topics in this module.

Another interesting question that stems from this idea is if our friendships with each other are becoming wider spreading, but shallower than relationships and friendships in the past. Dating apps, instant messaging and social media have made keeping in contact with people so much easier, but at the same time communication between individuals could seem more trivialised or ‘gamified’. This could be seen as capitalist ideas taking control of the way that we communicate, commoditizing relationships, making human emotion more efficient and time manageable. This is a feature of the network society that could be potentially damaging to the fundamental principles of society as it destabilise what is real and meaningful to collective populations.

These ‘distractions’ detach our conscience, rationalisation and empathy for other people through desensitisation. By removing the human aspect of communication, I think it is clear to see that society will become less willing to help each other, more selfish, more determined to ignore the real challenges in the world and in my eyes may contribute to the world becoming a less enjoyable place to live. Think about the refugee crisis and ask yourself if this is not already a reality.



The not so world wide web

Content copyright laws do not allow for all media that is posted on the internet to be shared world wide, despite being an intentionally world wide platform.


This has always baffled and frustrated me. Basically all video content rights are negotiated for one territorial region at a time, this is the reason why we cannot access american Netflix (which has a lot more and better content) from the UK unless we used a VPN (virtual private network) service that directs the internet traffic and tricks the system into thinking you are watching within the specified region. we are even sometimes restricted by region when watching content on YouTube.

I suppose there are some benefits to regional access limits, a reverse example would be that people outside of the UK who have not paid a TV license can access all of the free content and services on the BBC websites. That would be unfair, yes?

Copyright also is useful for protecting the consumer profits of intellectual property such as much and films. but we all ignore this anyway as it is so easy to download music for free, and so little moral consideration.

An easy way to get around all of these copyright barriers which are annoying for both owner and consumer, would be to set up a large scale streaming site similar to Spotify or Netflix that would contain all content available for free on the internet. Most of the audience I believe would pay the relatively incremental cost (£5 -£10 a month) for full easy access. that way everybody wins and copyright becomes less of a barrier and more of a way to make money easily. A massive communist style system perhaps would be the solution.

Would the world be a more advanced or intelligent place if all information way shared and distributed freely? Or would it have negative effects as there would be no money made/ no money invested back into supporting more content?

Loose Women shock tactics

To me, online visibility is something that is discussed on Loose Women to scare mums. “Ooh imagine what they’re getting up to online! Goodness gracious!”

In reality, we are all very aware that we need to keep our personal details exactly that, personal. Minus the occasional young person showing off their new customised Barclays bank card on instagram..

..we understand that we have to keep some elements of our lives undiscoverable.

Our names and our date of birth are information that is personally associated with us, but I would not regard it as personal information in the sense that it is critical we protect it from prying eyes. All of this information we make visible without a second thought, which is fine, because if somebody really wanted to find it out they could very easily without the use of the internet.

Our home towns, schools and places of work are all visible from our Facebook profiles. Relatively harmless information. If you have a car and post pictures of it, people know your registration number – perhaps a bit more concerning. More important to protect yourself is to destroy all correspondence from your bank.

At what stage does the information that is visible to others online become a threat to our security and safety?

On a side-note, people take online visibility to very odd extremes. For example, why even bother having a twitter account if you’re going to make it private? There is no logic in that.


Freelance Mecca

JournoAnswers is a closed group on Facebook set up to help freelancing journalists, of which the majority of the industry now are, communicate with each other, outside industries and find collaboration projects or work.

“It’s aim is to open up dialogue between writers on work related issues, to help increase income and tackle the isolation common to many freelancers”.

Started by BBC journalist and lecturer Susan Grossman the group now has over 1400 members of whom contribute to the site looking to engage, ask questions and become better at their job.

This is a brilliant idea and there are several more online communities like this over many different social media platforms. Being a freelancer has its benefits as well as its challenges, not being able to rely on a fixed income or salary can be a very daunting prospect and something we may all have to face in the future. These communities make that process easier and can benefit multiple areas of the creative media.

Another of these similar sites is Blogging Network, also a closed group on Facebook this page hopes to encourage communication between different genres and styles of blogger. By being visible on this online forum it is easier to learn from other bloggers, professional or amateur.


Audienece particpation or life?

Damn Daniel


Any online movement, protest or engagement with a popular topic is an example of audience participation. Without pinpointing a particular game app or website, which I think is mainly focusing on audience participation from a consumerist point of view, we can look at how people connect not with a product, but through a product/ network as a medium.

As we all know Kesha, -the creator of questionable music- is currently suing her manager, claiming that he has sexually assaulted and raped her on multiple occasions. Because of this she is asking that she is released from her contractual obligations.

News of the judges decision to block her from voiding her contract so that she can continue with her life went viral around all major social media platforms. Other examples of online controversy include #FreeTheNipple, #BlackLivesMatter and #JeSuisCharie. This is audience participation on a massive scale. Real life events are driving participation and engagement through the internet.This is real people investing their own time to participate in real life scenarios. You could argue when famous people are involved in these social media storms that the celebrity and their brand is the product we are all engaging with.

A more light hearted example of audience participation is the Damn Daniel video which exploded over twitter. Soon after many parodies of the video were uploaded as with any viral video. To be honest i’m not sure if this really is audience participation in the sense that we mean it, or whether it is just people being people. Is there any difference?


Snapchat get banged


Snapchat came into the world with simple intentions as a weird form of social media that allowed you to share a few ugly or otherwise explicit images with your close friends. In a sense it was an anti-social social network.

As with any successful app, overtime the developers realised the potential of what they had created and added more and more, and more features. Naturally there was a chance for money to be made on a completely new platform that had never been seen before.

A convergence of media outlets, news channels and entertainment brands such as MTV all happened via this relatively new and experimental app. I think the inclusion of the ‘Discover’ section works very fluidly with the snapchat experience and is proof that online media content is able to converge so easily and creatively thanks to the internet.

Snapchat is not the only example of this of course. Facebook reigns supreme in the news media market with both news corporations and Facebook itself making millions from each other every year. Sites such as AJ+ gain the majority of their site interest and traffic from posting direct to Facebook.

The consumer is ultimately the winner when using any social media service that is integrated with news, after all one major purpose of journalism is to reach the masses. If this is what is allowing untouched corners of the population to become engaged with the news and current affairs I fail to see how this could be a negative by-product of convergence. Convergence in my eyes is progressive.


Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a brilliant way to keep on track of what topics interest you most, what topics you have recently written about and who is talking about what on the internet. They can be seen as a massive, free focus group.

Trends are clearly visible from Google Alerts and can keep you easily informed on buzz surrounding an article or video you have posted. Journalist Jay Baer writes about how “like most other marketing professionals” he uses alerts to track searches surrounding his own name, the company he works for and any topics which interest him in his line of work.

These alerts are invaluable for media professionals; they can help online content headlines more likely to be seen by analysing what the consumer is searching for in their Google browser. This is widely referred to as Search Engine Optimisation. Baer also mentions how it allows him to find other bloggers who have linked to his posts and develop online networking skills, building contacts or challenging other opinions.

As with any large collection of data, the more specific your alerts are the more useful they can be. Alerts can aid your research, allow easier following of breaking stories or find out what people are searching for online. Throughout the media content creators can use this information.

In future careers individuals may find their work or themselves well known on the Internet. Google Alerts are the perfect way as a professional to see how the audience are responding to your work and how they think of you/ your brand.

I think this is a very powerful tool that we can all benefit from at some stage.