Archive for the ‘ New Media ’ Category

The Morning After, Pillow Talk

This will be the last post on this blog, at least in terms of talking about the New Media course I am in. Today Strangelove held a short lecture basically about everything we’ve discussed already. Big words for simple concepts is the way I see most communication studies, I mean sure the people who think of the majority of these theories are absolutely brilliant, but really it is generally theory, and the problem arrives in social science that it  is impossible to gather natural empirical evidence to prove our theories. Mostly this is because, as Strangelove said, humans are extremely complex, and we are constantly advancing and changing. So the study that some one like Lazarsfield or Luhmann did forty or sixty years ago is almost completely irrelevant now. The internet, and new media, have completely diminished almost all hope of ever being able to empirically study social sciences empirically because the internet is enormous and there really is no end to it. A comedian once claimed that he reached the end of the internet, and Bill Gates came over and shook his hand, obviously this is a joke but it holds some water in terms of my point here. It is literally impossible for anyone to ever see all of the internet, the same as it is impossible for someone to ever see all of the people in the world.

Congratulations friend

What I’m saying here is that because people and the internet are constantly in a state of change, and because both population and the internet are also both constantly growing, it is impossible for anyone to ever make and exact and current study, and use current and exact empirical evidence to prove the hypothesis of their study. So ya that’s how I feel, it’s all just very educated guess work, and obviously it’s extremely difficult to predict something like the internet and it’s future, and I am by no means the man for that job. But what I am saying is that the only futures we do see in the internet are nothing more than predictions, and just about anything can happen.

and I mean anything. Personally I'm banking on this leading to our demise, but that's just me

Any who that was on the verge of being completely unrelated to the course, and it was certainly unrelated to the last lecture. But I suppose this being the last blog, I am allowed a little bit of lee-way and space to rant on about nothing. speaking of which…

Hey look a squirrel!

Alright we’ve reached the end, the part where I give my opinion on the course and then my final words. In short, the course was interesting and I certainly have thought a lot about the world I live in because of it. The video clips and outside sources Strangelove uses in his lectures are always very relevant and also entertaining. The teaching style of Strangelove is like no other professor I have had in my few semesters in University. I really enjoyed the course, and I have gained a new appreciation for blogging, and other “low budget” internet creations. I no longer use the internet to listen/watch/read things endorsed only by big names or popular opinion. And obviously I now have successfully written 22 blogs in one semester, and I understand now why they are so appealing to some people. So thank you Dr. Strangelove, I really did learn a lot from your New Media Course.

And because it’s probably the last time I’ll get the chance to, here is a random music video just to end this bad boy one last time. It’s a good song, listen to it.

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Goodnight travel well

If I’ve done the math right this is the last post I will be writing for class (number 21). I will be posting one last one very quickly tomorrow morning after Dr. Strangelove’s last lecture for our New Media course. Just to recap what he says. Anyways for this blog I thought I’d write about one of the few New Media sources I have yet to touch on, that being blogging.

It’s strange because when I first heard about blogging I hated the idea. I am the kind of person who strongly believes that for the most part I am not interested in anyone else’s opinion (to some extent) and generally the masses do not care for mine either. So obviously disclosing my opinion on a blog for the entire internet really did not appeal to me too much. But I” quickly learned to not judge something until you try it. yes, I’ll admit it, I think blogging has grown on me, and I have to say this whole expressing yourself online thing is actually not too bad, especially when very few people actually read this thing, and almost no one commented on anything. Which leads me to believe that of the nearly three hundred views (in total) that this blog has gotten, every single one of them has agreed with me, that or it was my Grandmother, and she just talked to me about it in person.

I suppose if there was one thing that I would have liked in my blogs was more comments, I would have liked to know A) who’s reading these blogs, because the stats counter does not tell you who it is that read your blog, only who viewed them. And B) to know the readers opinion and what they thought of the subject and its context. I suppose that will all come in good time though.

Anyways I guess as a closing remarks I would just say that I misjudged blogging and the people who blog, I should have tried blogging before I automatically assumed it was just stupid. I have been thinking about maybe even starting up a blog of my own, or just continuing this one, a blog where I can write about pretty much anything and everything.

So yea, thanks a lot, it’s been fun.

Just as a side note, to anyone reading this on the day it’s posted. If you’re at U of Ottawa this morning and you’re in the library (or close to it at least) look out the window facing Thompson, on the lawns between Thompson and the Caf. There are some very inappropriate symbols drawn into the snow on the lawns, it’s really quite funny. Gives me faith in the goodness of humanity.

Do you know who I am?

Does the internet make self disclosure more or less popular among Bloggers? I would assume most people would say yes, it does. This is because typing words into a processor, like I am doing now, or talking in an empty room into a camera, would, in most people’s minds be much easier than talking to real people in real time. I have however been doing some research and essentially what I’ve discovered is that no one really knows. One group of scientist say that self disclosure is more popular online, because of the anonymity, but then others claim it is less popular because writers or producers (depending on whether it is a blog or a vlog) feel that expressing themselves to the entire world is much more difficult than expressing themselves to one or two friends.

this is a little tricky isn't it?

And I would have to agree with the scientist and say that no matter how hard they try I doubt they will ever be able to prove which is the correct assumption. For example here it says that self disclosure in blogs is something most people do more of depending on the subject of the writer, and also the audience the writer is reaching. But how do you prove that this is correct? One of the flaws of studying social science is the idea that the more controlling or “laboratory” our studies get, the further they come from natural or real to life. It is impossible for anyone to know exactly what readers are really thinking about when they write their work because there is no way of reading minds, obviously.

For example, you (yes you, the reader)  are reading this blog, yet you have no idea if what I am writing is even what I am thinking or if I am just rambling on based on what I read earlier this afternoon for a project I had to research. As interested in this subject as I might seem, you have no idea if I would rather be writing about something completely unrelated, like how to BBQ a perfect chicken finger (yes you can do it, you just have to get creative). The point is that it is impossible for you to know what I am thinking about and even if what I am writing is how I feel, or if I am merely writing this blog as a way to get a grade and move on with my education.

To be honest with you I don’t even know why I am writing th is blog, I mean obviously I have been forced to write it for one of my courses, but on the other hand I have to say it has been an enjoyable experience, one that has lead me to actually start another blog of my own, one where I am not forced to write about New Media, or any other specific topic for that matter.

I can write about goats, and how they're so friggin' shifty

I guess my argument, and the argument of most of the people I researched today, is that disclosing online can be beneficial, but like most things it can also be harming. And that most humans choose either to disclose or not to disclose based on a case to case basis, and therefore it really is impossible to really come to any scientific conclusions.

And to end this bad boy with a bang I give you a video that has caused me a lot of time loss this exam season. The man survived just in case you’re wondering…

Don’t be Hatin’ Bro

In the last lecture Dr. Strangelove mentioned how our society (and more so the American society) are still hating on Communism. Now, I am not saying our current democratic system is terribly flawed, I would even go as far as to say we’ve got one of the best systems in the history of man. But I am still able to admit Communism had a point. Under the right conditions I feel Communism could create a very just and almost Utopian society.

is this really so terrifying?

I feel the problem with Communism lies in human nature and size. Communism has failed throughout history because there’s always that one guy who feels he should be the leader, he doesn’t “think with this head” if you know what I mean.

case and point

There’s always someone who just cannot put their faith in the group as a whole. Someone who feels they know what’s best, and with a little bit of support, he turns himself into a dictator.

“Dictator” is a term that does not show up in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, it is not a term involved in “pure Communism”. I am saying that some people are born to lead, it’s not their fault it’s in their genes. And I understand that all systems need some form of leadership, but when it gets out of  hand (as it usually does) that’s when Communism fails.

Yep, she made the face, it's official, things are out of hand

Another reason Communism fails, in my opinion, is because of size. Communism can only work in small populations. Communism in huge groups generally just lead to Bureaucracies or chaos. In order for Communism to work, it has to be segmented into small groups that work together. There needs to almost be levels of Communism, inside the small groups Communism would be practiced and then should the groups need to trade, then Communist values would have to be implemented in the upper trading levels. It’s difficult to explain because, well, I’m a communications major, not a poli-sci major. But that’s how I feel.

That is essentially the closest thing to a political thought your are going to find on this blog, so if you’re looking for more intellectual insight on politics I suggest you move on friend. But because I like to finish this things strong I’m going to end this blog with the ever popular “random song/video of the week!”. Here it is, just in time for the Holidays:

My Adventure(s) on Twitter

The other day I was making triple decker grilled cheese at my buddies house, as per usual Monday night ritual. He told me of the most magical place, all while watching sports, just so you don’t get the wrong idea here, IT WAS BY NO MEANS A DATE. Anyways his story began with an introduction (as stories often do) that went a little something like this:

I give you the manliest of all sandwiches... The triple decker

“Damnit Braydin you burnt the bread again! By the way did you get Twitter yet like I told you?” To which I replied, “It’s not burnt it’s just deeply blackened, and what is this Tweeter you speak of?” “It’s Twitter not Tweeter, and how have you gone this long without knowing what Twitter is?” “Oh, sorry… TWITTER!” I sarcastically mumble, “And I don’t know I guess I’ve seen it on the internet, I just didn’t really see a need for it, what with Facebook and all.”

tweeter

My friend (who wanted to remain nameless for some reason) Chris then proceeded to tell me about one of our other friends who recently got re-tweeted by somewhat of a celebrity. Our buddy tweeted to a Sports Center analyst who was in town signing books (I have no idea why, he told me but there was a mascot dancing in a hilarious fashion on the TV). So our buddy Tweeted him and asked him to come to the restaurant he works at and have some pizza, or “za” as he refers to it as. Apparently, as the story goes, said analyst came to the restaurant and enjoyed some “za”, and not only that but he re-tweeted our friend and claimed that the pizza was “Yummilicious”.

Yummilicious!

Needless to say I was impressed. “That’s the most amazing thing I have ever heard” I said unnecessarily loudly. “I am going to get a Tweeter account right now!”, “Dude for the last time it’s Twitter!” he replied.

Call it tweeter one more time I swear to God!

So I entered into the realm of 140 character status updates and pure narcissism. This took a few minutes because apparently tweeter and twitter are two different things. I eventually got to the real twitter (and I swear that’s the last time i’ll use that “tweeter/twitter” joke) and began following all types of people. People I had never even met (mostly celebrities) and also friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends, you know, like Facebook. At first I liked the idea of being able to see and read what celebrities are up to, I thought it was pretty cool….

Jake_Gyllenhaal tweet: Putting on my shirt... BTW I'm better than you in every way, shape and form

However I’ve now had Twitter for four days, and I’ve quickly learned that it is basically an advertising platform for narcissistic, and generally boring,  celebrities. I began following the famous vlogger “SXE phil” and discovered two things, 1) he tweets way too often (like three or four times a day, and 2) I really don’t care to hear from Phillip DeFranco three times every hour. I prefer to listen to Phil on his show, I don’t need to know that he is obsessed with “the Walking Dead” and Asian girls, mostly because he mentions those things on his show all the time. I don’t see the point of it all?

great internet show, not so great tweeter

When celebrity YouTuber didn’t turn out to my liking, I decided I’d follow a few of my favourite musicians or bands. I started by following Michael Bublé, because he is my man crush. The Killers, because I feel they are a very talented and interesting alternative band. And Katy Perry, because come on it’s Katy Perry, who wouldn’t follow her? I quickly learned that musicians use twitter for nothing other than to advertise new music and products, because apparently the media don’t do that enough. So another follow, another disappointment…

seriously, try and find me a bad picture of this man, I dare you!

I decided to follow a celebrity and actor who if nothing else I thought would give me a bit of a laugh every now and again, Mr. Dane Cook. Although not one of my favourite comedians, not even one of my top tens really, but twitter recommended me to follow him, so I conformed. He had one or two funny tweets, but most were just inappropriate descriptions of his day, essentially information that I really did not need nor did I want. Not too impressed I have to say…

Just. So. Inappropriate.

Alright so there’s one other category of  people I could follow, and that category is athletes. I decided to follow the one and only Wayne Gretzky. Unfortunately it turns out he’s the same as the musicians, all he does is update about stuff he’s in. I feel that his twitter is run by someone else though, I really don’t think “The Great One” really tweets all too often….

I would love to tweet, but my hands are just too busy with these trophies

So I’m now on twitter, with 14 people I follow, and 3 people following me. My three followers are friends of mine, and so far I have made 4 tweets and had 1 re-tweet, so, I’m not exactly the most popular dude on twitter. Which is a little upsetting because as mentioned in an older post, I’m a bit of a narcissist. Who knows though maybe it’s a good thing I don’t understand twitter, I mean can my life really be overly interesting?

"I am going to tweet about that"

I have to get to work, “insert your own witty title here”

Today in lecture Strangelove mentioned the iron cage metaphor of society. How we are, or were at least, once trapped in an “iron cage” society. Meaning that in the 20th century we were locked up and controlled. Now however, some argue that the internet has unlocked, or will unlock, the cage and release us. I would argue against this notion though. I feel that we are still very much controlled by those above us, and the only thing the internet does is allow us to express our complaints about the system in Blogs just like this one.

For example students are completely controlled by the system. I feel electives are a complete waste of time, and they kill your GPA. I’ am a  communications major (and I chose a minor in English just for something to do) and in the four  years I am going to attend University I am required to complete a certain amount of elective courses. Electives are, in my mind a waste of time because they can be completely unrelated to your degree, and they effect your GPA. For example last year I took a music class and a politics class, which had absolutely nothing to do with communication, yet I was still forced to choose something, and most other courses were filled. I understand its good to have a basic education in as many fields as possible, but I feel that at a university level, expecting students to choose electives at random is a little too much, especially because a lot of the time all the good electives are the first to be filled.

If electives were not a mandatory part of most degrees it would take a lot less time to achieve said degrees. For example there’s only so many Communication courses offered at the university and to achieve an undergrad in Communications you are not even required to participate in all courses offered. You only need a certain percentage of the courses to receive a degree. Essentially I feel the university makes electives a requirement because they cost money. If students did not have to take elective courses they would not have to spend nearly as much money or time in school and obviously that would not be good for the annual budget of the University.

I look forward to the day when you sign into Rabaska and this image appears

I Just feel that students are being controlled by the Universities, and I’m sure there is someone controlling the Universities as well, it’s just how the system works. So I feel to think that th e cage has all of a sudden been unlocked because of the internet? I would really have to disagree. I’ mean sure you can put whatever you want up on the net for all to see, but you are still controlled somewhat by “the man”. For example YouTube and most other sites like it have regulations in place that forbid certain content. I’m sure even WordPress.com, the website I’m writing on right now would have a problem if I started writing certain inappropriate things. It is impossible to have your voice heard on the internet is what I’m saying. This is because there are billions of other voices, just like yours, saying similar things, and the only thing that makes your voice louder than the other billion is “the man”. If someone important, or even just someone with a bit of influence hears your voice, and likes it, that’s what will make you heard.

It helps if said voice is that of a twelve year old

The point is that unless you are saying something “the man” likes, and “the man” wants to sponsor and pay attention to, then your voice is no louder than any of the other 2 billion currently on the internet. Using Justin Bieber as an example, mostly because his picture is above, say he had not ever been seen on the internet and “the man” (in this case being Usher and the music industry) had not ever seen him before. I know what you’re thinking, the world would be a much better place right? Well, ya but that’s besides the point, the point is that he was seen and liked on the internet, among millions of other singing YouTube users, and taken from his normal childhood community and manipulated (or controlled) by “the man” into becoming a world wide celebrity. If anything I would say the internet is just making it easier for “the man” to control us, if you want to be seen, you have to be willing to sell your voice to “the man”, you have to let “the man” take control. Even Phillip DeFranco (in my mind one of the most interesting and successful vloggers in history) sold out a while ago. His show is still similar to the way it was before, but now he is sponsored (and he makes a fair amount of money I’m sure) and his show just is not the same as it was. There are references (some more subtle than others) in his “news show” about his sponsors and who  he is connected with. He has been taken by “the man”.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you, "The Man"

I suppose I’ll end this with a video. I saw this on YouTube the other day and thought it was just fantastic, I feel “the man” should look into this talented individual and maybe turn him into a celebrity…

“Look at me I’m expressing myself!” “No you’re being a tool…”

Today in class we discussed where the internet is going. Whether it is becoming a tool of infinite freedom that will perfect our Capitalist system, or if it will become a tool used to control the masses. Now I’m not any sort of expert on the subject, as a matter of fact I don’t even think I fully comprehend it, but I feel that the internet is always going to walk the thin line between the two sides.

I feel that the internet is comprised primarily of original content, public content, that is constantly being capitalized on. The way I see it is that the internet allows for people to create great pieces of expression (and crumby ones as well obviously), and that is the one side, but at the same it also allows the media to take these original pieces and make money off of them. A perfect example of this is the new Trivial Pursuit that incorporates YouTube and it’s “stars”. All of the people on YouTube became famous by creating original videos, videos that people were interested in in one way or another. Some videos are funny, some raise important issues, some showcase a talent such as singing, but the point is that they were all created by average (and I use the term loosely) people, using little to no budget. Half the time these videos are created out of sheer luck, for example the father of Charlie featured in “Charlie bit my Finger” claims it was just luck that he happened to be filming when his children did their thing. “Charlie Bit My Finger” is a prime example of a film that cost literally no money to make, and is fully original, and is being capitalized on by a corporation. Hasbro uses Charlie and countless other videos in their new Trivial Pursuit game, to entice people to buy the game, and in turn make themselves some money. They are capitalizing on an original creation posted and viewed for free on the internet.

Advertisers understand the power of original videos and the influence a “viral video” can have. Corporations use the internet just as much as the average member of society does. Doritos had an advertising campaign recently where they asked YouTubers and internet producers to do their bidding for them. They offered $250,000 to the person who could make an advertisement about their new chip, and have it go “viral”. The winner is here. The video is an example of a corporation walking the line between originality and control. Doritos gave people the opportunity to express themselves in any mode they saw fit, but they also said that in order for the video to be considered in their contest it had to go viral. By enforcing that the video has to go viral Doritos limits competitors creativity and sets up certain boundaries. Competitors now have to keep their audience (the internet) in mind, and therefore have to try and conform to showing the people what they want to see. They are being controlled by the masses, because of the corporation. Basically because the corporation is only interested in the amount of views, creativity takes a back seat, and producers are forced to conform to certain boundaries. So in some sense we are free, but in others there is clearly a boundary in which we cannot cross, at least in terms of this contest. Hopefully this makes sense, I’m finding it difficult to explain today, I am running on a severe lack of caffeine.

That is where I see the internet going, sort of a cross between being a mode of freedom and expression, and a  tool of surveillance and control. I like the Doritos idea of using people on the internet to advertise their product. Clearly someone was using their head when they thought that campaign idea up. I mean why spend hours on end, attempting to create something original, when you can sit back and let the internet and its civilians do it for you?

Because I have not sourced or cited any of this article I should probably do that now. So the trivial pursuit game I saw an advertisement for on CNN while I was at the gym, hopefully thats a valid source, I swear it happened. The Doritos thing is sourced above just click the home page and go to the contest details, you end up here. Charlie Bit My Finger is all over the internet so if you can’t find it I feel you have bigger problems than my sourcing. And finally because I like having pictures in my Blog and because I find pictures for some reason attracts more readers. Seriously there seems to be a correlation between the amount of pictures and videos used in my Blogs and the number of “views” I get.

I'm a narcissist what can I say