Assessment 3

Locative Media, Place and Online Social Media Sites

Jingyan Liu (440419457) / Thursday 12-2pm- Fiona Andreallo

Overview

The rapid development of locative media is creating greater interactions between individuals and ‘place’ (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 126-130). The scholars Sam Hinton and Larissa Hjorth effectively define place as the human meaning given to space, such a meaning that without would make the space just another geographical point on a map (2013, pp. 126-127). The development of smartphone driven locative media and its adoption by online social media is enabling users to interact with place on levels not previously accessible with past human artifacts, such as maps and photographs (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 121-124). Furthermore, online social media sites through their structure and approach are facilitating ‘localised’ bonds, wherein small groups of family and friends are bounded together through their shared experience of place (Evans 2016, pp. 102-110). Also in rarer circumstances online social media sites become the grounds for large movements, which are the amalgamation of many localised groups loosely united through shared feelings towards a place (Keane 2010). Yet, as online social media sites begin taking greater interest in locative media, the future of locative media will largely be focused on the ordinary user (Wilken 2014, pp. 1089-1098).

Locative Media

Locative media is changing how users understand place. In particular, smartphone driven locative media is creating ever present places regardless of whether the user is actually physically present in them (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 121-124). Through the development of Internet supported smartphones, users are able to use the Internet from virtually anywhere (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 121-122). Therefore, users can be co-present in the physical space, while also being present in online places that are geographically miles away. This copresence in the physical and virtual place is especially challenging to traditional conceptions of place (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 121-126). Before the invention of the Internet and smartphones, copresence still could be achieved through artifacts, such as maps and photographs, albeit in a far limited form. For maps, people were influenced by the structure of the map, seeing distant places as culminations of contours, lines and degrees. The person was simultaneously present in the place the map was found, while also being present in the particular contours, lines and degrees of the place being viewed on the map. For photographs, people were physically present within the photograph’s visual depiction of place, while also being present in their memories of that place, memories which were triggered by the photograph.

Yet, this copresence is limited by the artifact’s bias. The bias is the perspective provided to the user by the technological limitations of the artifact. For example, the map’s bias is the way it presents place solely through contours, lines and degrees. Similarly, the photograph’s bias is how it offers only a snapshot of place, without text or video to enrich it. On the other hand, present locative technology allows users to experience physically unbounded places at anytime through the Internet and in greater than before sensory degrees, including through attached text, video, and sound (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 126-130).

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 02.14.38

(An example of smart-driven locative software)

 

Locative Media and Online Social Media

Online social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide the platforms for virtual displays of place in addition to providing users a platform to share their feelings about such virtual representations of place (Evans 2016, pp. 108-110). User’s feelings are expressed in a variety of ways, all of which depend on the specific structure of the online social media site. These ways include: commenting, sharing, reproducing, photo-editing, campaigning, liking, subscribing and even pirating. These ways of interacting with virtual representations of place were not possible before the invention of online social media. Moreover, online social media through its navigable networking platforms and simple facilitation of shared content enables users to rapidly share with family and friends their thoughts and feelings about the place being represented (Evans 2016, pp. 107-111). For example, imagine an Instagram user posting a video of themselves enjoying the view on the Eiffel Tower. Once the user posts this video, their Instagram friends can then like and share the video. The user’s friends may comment on this video, sharing similar experiences they have had on the Eiffel Tower. A bond then develops between the user posting the video and the friends who commented on it. Instagram therefore has facilitated shared connections to place, which is enabled through its network software and facilitated through its communication programs that let users post, like, share and comment.     

Yet this bond is localised. It is localised because it exists only with the user and their friends (Evans 2016, pp. 102-110). Although other Instagram users may post similar video posts about the Eiffel Tower, these posts will likely be shared only between their own Instagram friends and thus more localised bonds will develop. This is not to say that localised groups cannot be joined together through online social media and become movements, however it is less common.  For example, when the Muslim organisation, The Cordoba Initiative, planned on building a mosque in close proximity to where the World Trade Centre once stood, Twitter became a firestorm of rhetoric for and against building the mosque (Keane 2010). The Cordoba Initiative hired a social media expert, Oz Sultan, to organise people through Twitter who felt the mosque was a positive step towards reconciliation (Keane 2010). Yet, Oz Sultan supportive stance towards constructing the mosque was opposed by prominent politicians representing the views of the 70% Americans polled by the CNN, who all disagreed with the mosque’s construction (Keane 2010). Even fringe groups expressed their opposition to the mosque’s construction through Twitter, such as the Jewish newspaper Haaretz and apparently from even groups claiming to be Amish (Keane 2010).

Therefore, the place where the World Trade Centre once stood in relation to the place where the mosque’s construction was proposed, polarised multiple localised groups from the Haaretz newspaper operating within Tel Aviv to the followers of Oz Sultan and his team (Keane 2010). Although this polarisation of Twitter groups for and against the mosque’s construction unlikely created a unity of ideas, as religious, political, cultural, social and ethical arguments were different focuses of different groups, the feelings of these groups were mutual (Keane 2010). The place where the World Trade Centre once stood is for many people a sombre reminder of the devastation that took place on 911 and those groups opposing the mosque through Twitter likely shared sensitive feelings of anger, apprehension and disgust towards the mosque’s construction nearby (Keane 2010). For people supporting the construction of the mosque through Twitter, they likely felt that the mosque’s construction would be a symbol of reconciliation and reharmonisation between Muslims and Americans and would help heal the rift following 911 (Keane 2010). Therefore, the large culmination of groups for and against the Mosque’s construction shows how in some circumstances localised online social media groups can be amalgamated into movements unified through generalised, but shared feelings. Also, this large-scale Twitter debate shows how place can be a powerful motivator for public protest and divide, as the site of the old World Trade Centre is still a sensitive area.

DSC_2139

(The Place where the Mosque was to be built)

 

The Future of Locative Media and Online Social Media

Online social media is gradually realising the commercial value of using locative media (Wilkens 2014, pp. 1088-1095). For example, Facebook, which is the largest and most successful online social media company greatly recognises the commercial benefit in developing locative software for its site (Wilkens 2014, pp. 1089-1092). Facebook has reaped large revenues from the data it accrues (Wilkens 2014, pp. 1095-1097).  Being the largest and most successful online social media site, Facebook has access to a large expanse of user data. Yet, in recent years Facebook has been challenged by companies, such as Foursquare and Yelp, which has gathered lucrative locative data on the places users are most interested in (Wilkens 2014, 1088-1090). Facebook has come to realise that enriching its data through adding geo-markers to it increased the commercial value of such data would increase. Although Facebook has been slow to recognise the value of locative data, it has recently launched locative software through its release of Facebook Places and its successor Nearby (Wilkens 2014, pp. 1090-1093). Both Facebook Places and Nearby encouraged users to share their location through posts and through users automatically showing their location when signing in through a mobile device (Wilkens 2014, pp. 1090-1093). As online social media sites, such as Facebook place greater value on locative data, their customer base, which exists of mainly ordinary people and advertisers will become the primary targets of future locative software.

(An example of Facebook’s locative software)

It is likely that Facebook will continue developing its locative software, perhaps enabling users to piece together coherent narratives based on their geo-marked data (Evans & Saker 2016, pp. 1-5). However, these narratives can only be produced through Facebook and other sites similar to it retaining geo-marked data and releasing it to ordinary users. Furthermore, Facebook and other online social media sites will probably explore ways to represent this data in ways, which are controlled by the users themselves (Evans & Saker 2016, pp. 3-7). If no software was available for users to organise their geo-marked data, then the users would find masses of time-stamped data senseless. However, if users had access to programs, which can organise this data in flexible ways, then such data would be of importance to the user (Evans & Saker 2016, pp. 7-9). Interestingly, Foursquare has already begun experimenting with data retention for individual users (Evans & Saker 2016, 3-5). Although this data come unsorted, except for being time stamped and geo-marked. Users still have to journal and organise this data manually. The scholars Michael Saker and Leighton Evans interviewed Foursquare users on their views towards Foursquare locative data retention (2016, pp. 4-7). Interestingly, some of the users interviewed, such as Martin and Ellie used this data to journal their lives from a temporal and locational perspective (Evans & Saker 2016, p. 7). Both Martin and Ellie commented on how they want to remember all the significant places they visit, so they can better understand themselves (Evans & Saker 2016, p. 7). For Martin and Ellie, retained locative data enables them to develop their self identity through analysing their day-to-day movements (Evans & Saker 2016, p. 7). Although Foursquare is yet to develop software that allows ordinary users to process and organise their locative data in meaningful ways, Foursquare does offer a window into the future for how users will interact with locative data.

 

Reference

Evans, L. (2016). “Sharing Location with Locative Social Media.” Locative Social Media: Place in the Digital Age. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 86-116.

Evans, L. and Saker, M. (2016). “Locative Media and Identity: Accumulative Technologies of the Self.” SAGE Open, 6(3), 1-10.

Keane, M. (2010). “Social Media Lessons from the Ground Zero Mosque.” Econsultancy.<https://econsultancy.com/blog/6445-social-media-lessons-from-the-ground-zero-mosque/>. (Accessed 23 April 2017).

Hjorth, L. and Hinton, S. (2013). “Social, Locative and Mobile Media.” Understanding Social Media. London: SAGE, 120-135.

Wilken, R. (2014). “Places Nearby: Facebook as a Location-Based Social Media Platform.” SAGE Open, 16(7), 1087-1103.

Images in order of appearance

Google Maps. (2017). “Google Maps Phone.” bhdreams.<http://bhdreams.com/Z29vZ2xlIG1hcHMgcGhvbmU=/>. (Accessed 23 April 2017).

Noel, Y. (2010). “Planned Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center Near the World Trade Center Site Spurs Controversy.” NYC loves NYC. <http://nyclovesnyc.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/planned-nyc-mosque-and-islamic-cultural.html>. (Accessed 23 April 2017).

Jolly, L. (2012). “Locative Media and Anonymity.” A Media and Communications Blog. <https://laurenjolly.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/hello-world/>. (Accessed 23 April 2017).

Uncategorized

Understanding Web 2.0

Tutorial: Kai Soh – Wednesday, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Junxing Li,  SID460068318

“Web 2.0” is discussed in the second chapter of the book Understanding Social Media written by Hinton and Hjorth in 2013. Tim O’Reilly, who proposed this concept in 2005, defined Web 2.0 as an attitude rather than a technology. (cited in Hinton, 2013) Web 2.0 refers to a certain level of change in user practices and the types of adopted software, and it has no difference in the architecture of internet comparing with its former generation. (Hinton, 2013) Before the concept of Web 2.0 actually came out, the expression of Web 1.0 did not exist, so the tag “2.0” attached on internet “is much more concerned with providing users with the means of producing and distributing content”, while “Web 1.0” was “all about reading or watching content” (Hinton, 2013) In addition to that, and in order to make the tag “2.0” more distinctive, the concept of “Web 3.0” has also been developed. According to Barassi and Treré (2012), users’ participation is the basic characteristic of “web 2.0”, while users’ corporation will define “Web 3.0”, new meaning will be created by users’ generated content in a new online environment.

pic 1 2.0

Hinton, the author of this particular chapter, approaches the framework of this concept through a linear logic. At the very beginning, Hinton gives out the basic structure and the topic of the chapter. Then background knowledge such as the concept of the web and the commercialisation of the web is provided. The concept of Web 1.0 is also illustrated in order to make a comparison, and give readers a better understanding of the tag “1.0” and “2.0”. Since the background information is sufficient, the definition of “Web 2.0” is given. The author provides us with not only the evolution of this concept but also a perspective of understanding it. The author further explores the concept by explaining its application in the business area, and the role it plays in creative production. According to Hinton, customers in a business are able to participate in an active manner by using Web 2.0 as a platform. In addition, Web 2.0 removes the technical barriers of creating content online. At the end of this chapter, the author comes to the conclusion that “The Web 2.0 is the more advanced, updated, better version of Web 1.0” (Hinton, 2013)

The most interesting part of the chapter is the discussion of “using or being used”. It is another concept which has a strong connection with Web 2.0. The author demonstrates that users “in the context of social media, and particularly within the construct of Web 2.0” are both using and being used. In other words, they are both controllers and controlled. On one hand, users are able to generate content to the audience of mass media, in this perspective they are controllers. Social media enables an individual to get access to information much more easily, from finding jobs to getting in touch with someone far away from him/her which certainly makes one’s life wonderful. It brings people with more possibilities. It is interesting to notice that social media is also playing its own role in politics. In some countries, governments regard social media as a way to engage their citizens more directly, while citizens are also applying to social media to make their voice heard on some issues. (Shirky, 2009, cited by Hinton, 2013)

control

However, on the other hand, people are also being used or under control in using social media in the Web 2.0 era. In order to join the game, a person has to create accounts for different social media platforms, and they are giving out their personal information online. The information can be collected and processed by the owner of social media platform, and be applied by some companies in marketing campaigns. Andrejevic (2011, cited by Hinton, 2013) argues that self-presentation and the narrative of personal sociality on the internet are engulfed by commercial interest. In addition, many people, especially those in their teens are highly dependent on social media, “even the idea of being without their phone or social media for a day causes great distress.” (Hinton, 2013) This may even lead to psychological problems, and these are all indications of “being controlled”.

Fuchs et al (2010) provide us with further illustration of the concept “Web 2.0”. At the very beginning, the authors note that in many situations, the term “Web 2.0” and “Social Software” are interchangeable which provide us with different perspectives of understanding them. According to Durkheimian (cited by Fuchs et al 2010), as a product of social processes, all software is social. It is a result of social relation of humans, and “it is applied and used in social systems”. In other words, social is the basic characteristic of all software applications, and their social structures are fixed. (Durkheimian, 1982, cited by Fuchs et al, 2010) The second understanding of “Social Software” and “Web 2.0” is their nature to allow human communication through their orientation on applications. To deal with groups, or to interact with people, is the purpose of the social software. (Webb 2004, cited by Fuchs et al 2010) Tönniesian, who focuses on technologies which enable the building of online community, provides us with the third perspective. Connected with virtual communities, social software and Web 2.0 gain new relevance with the rising of Facebook, Myspace, and other social networking platforms. Systems often use the concept of Social Software, in which humans communicate, interact and collaborate with each other. (Alby, 2007, cited by Fuchs et al 2010)

The concept of Web 2.0 is also related to the notion UCC (user-created content) discussed in class. Searching engines enable people to find information quickly and easily. While due to the information overload and accuracy issues, it is kind of hard for the user to get exactly what s/he wants. However, the emerge of Web 2.0 provides a unique solution which enables the users to get exactly what they want, and in both terms of information breadth and depth, the efficiency of this mechanism has been proved by Wikipedia. In this way, “such successful UCC (user-created content) aggregators are enjoying and sharpening the centralization of web traffic”. (Shim & Lee, 2009)

user creat contend pic.jpg

As for our own work in this semester, we also applied our understanding of “Web 2.0” to the social media campaign design for the University of Sydney Conservatorium. Since Web 2.0 is “concerned with providing users with the means of producing and distributing content” and its basic characteristic is users’ participation, we tried our best to get our audience involved. We hope that we truly attract our target audience and they participate in the campaign spontaneously as well as create new content, rather than sending them information in a passive way. The first activity for our campaign is location play, we brought a student who was really good at playing the piano to the hall of Wentworth Building while everyone else was focusing on their own stuff. The moment when the beautiful piano music came out, everyone in the hall was attracted. We put out our campaign hashtag and Facebook page information on the piano, the students there followed our Facebook page and our campaign initiatively. Besides location play, we also shot behind the scene video. We produced funny video, the small mistakes while the musicians were preparing. It also got likes and shares on our YouTube channel. To sum up, we tried our best to get our audience involved.

piano.jpg

Reference

Hinton, S & Hjorth, L. (2013a). What is Web 2.0? Understanding Social Media (pp. 7-31). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Christian Fuchs , Wolfgang Hofkirchner, Matthias Schafranek, Celina Raffl, Marisol Sandoval and Robert Bichler. (2010). Theoretical Foundations of the Web: Cognition, Communication, and Co-Operation Towards an Understanding of Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. Future Internet 2010, 2, 41-59.

Barassi, V. (2012). Does Web 3.0 come after Web 2.0? Deconstructing theoretical assumptions through practice. New media & society 14(8) 1269–1285.

Shim, S & Lee, B. (2009). Internet portals’ strategic utilization of UCC and Web 2.0 Ecology. Decision Support Systems 47 (2009) 415–423.

Assessment 3

UGC & PGC: Which is the Main Trend?

Name: Joshua Chen Sun

SID: 460441739

Tutorial Time: Thursday 12pm-3pm

Tutor: Kai Soh

UGC and PGC ex

Introduction

The main characteristic in Web 1.0 is editing. The contents given away on the website are postproduction works, which is a one-way relationship from website to users. One of the key elements in the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is user participant (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). The role of consumer in Web 2.0 could not only be the browser but also be the producer. Thereupon, UGC (User-generated Content) as a new model has become the one of the most popular hot spots in 21st. One of the most successful UGC cases is YouTube, which was established on the basis of UGC model and has tremendously developed to one of the top websites on the Internet (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). UGC helps users and websites to interact with each other in social media systems. Even a part of the works selected will be featured on official websites which constitute a interactive relationship between users and websites. However, limitation of UGC also exists such as low quality and massive sources could bring a negative emotion to audience. PGC (professionally generated content) is born to satisfy the multiplex demands of audience. Netflix, one of the top streaming media companies, created PGC “Netflix Original” on their services in order to prepaid the copyright of the original shows and sign the contract of two seasons of most series automatically (Kim, 2016). This is more specialized than other competitors to attract and retain their audiences. Both YouTube and Netflix are the leading companies to use user participant content and have already obtained prodigious achievements. This paper will discuss which of the content will become the main trend in the next revolution of Internet development, UGC or PGC?

UGCPGC-01

The Concepts of UGC and PGC

Generally speaking, UGC (User-generated Content) could be defined as the same as UCC (User-created Content). The only difference between UGC and UCC is whether the content is made by users or others. The latest understanding of the term UGC is the depiction of content produced by the consumers and terminal users such as blogs, videos, GIF (Graphic Interchange Format), memes, comments and any other types of contents shared public availably on the social network society (Beal, 2017). As Krogh (2014) declared, not all UGC are created by non-professionals. Those part of contents uploaded by professionals and browsed freely for public should also called UGC. Thus, the idea of UGC could be redefined   as nonprofitable online user-made content.

By the contract, user-generated content creator could be treated as amateur science communicator (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). Which means anyone who is access to the network society is able to be UGC producer. Thereupon, the limitation of UGC is inevitably exposed to full view with low quality, less restriction and lack of professional skills. Up to the commercial level, in spite of the high-yield level and widely-spread influence, UGC is still not the gold-lettered signboard of a considerable income and well advertising for most markets. Hence, a new model comes on stage of we-media era named PGC (Professionally Generated Content).

PGC which is more specialized than UGC is the content created by special groups with professional skills and technique (Ai, 2016). Assume UGC is the sampan, PGC would be more like an aircraft carrier because of the specialized content it has. That means PGC has broader and deeper content for commercialization such as build a corporate image promotion. In general case, content produced professionally by enterprises called professionally generated content (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). While some contents are created by individuals who also have mastery of a particular skill or technique with commerce value and social significance like the contributor. Game company will select brilliant works and purchase the copyright from the original contributors. Contributors even will receive job offers from the game company such as Blizzard Entertainment. Those contents are given away for profit making should also be called PGC. Therefore, the idea of PGC could be redefined as profitable online specialized content.

From UGC to PGC

Knoblauch (2014) states that UGC is more influential than other media (traditional media and other non-UGC media) investigated from 839 millennials (18-36) by Ipsos company and the Social Media Advertising Consortium. Millennials who are born with the invention of the Internet from 1977 to 1994 trust UGC 50% more than other media. One of the most famous millennials could be Mark Zuckerberg, also known as world youngest billionaire who is the founder of Facebook which is a successful social communication system base on UGC mode. One of the most successful UGCs on Facebook is the campaign “share a coke” which has already achieved a huge success. With the hashtag #ShareaCoke, consumers create an online media content and engage into the campaign. Furthermore, nearly 25 million consumers follow Coke-Cola on Facebook. 

share a cokeBoth Facebook and “Share a Coke” show the highly user participation of UGC mode. However, the limitation of UGC still exists. This is also the main reason companies turn to transmit their marketing strategy from UGC to PGC to promote the competitiveness in the rising flood of UGC environment. YouTube was founded in 2005 based on UGC mode and has rapidly become one of the giant streaming media websites in the Internet. After being purchased by Google, the content on YouTube started to transit from UGC to PGC such as YouTube Red, a subscription music streaming service which has obtained 1.5 million subscribers in 2 years (Roberts, 2016). Another content created by YouTube named YouTube TV has already had access to five main markets in America since it has been released on February 28 in 2017.

YouTube Red

Kim (2012) outlined the concern about the future of UGC will end with the rise of PGC. However, according to the Isos survey and the research from Welbourne and Grant (2016), UGC is still the most trusted media content. PGC is also indispensable because of the impure content created by users such as fake news which are supposed to be filtered on the Internet. PGC help companies fit in with the needs of the content friendly network society in Web 2.0. 

Related to The Campaign and Discussion

The main theory of social media used in our campaign could be user-generated content. In our first activity, the pictures taken by our photographer are edited in Photoshop (a picture processing software) to generate the creative memes with meaningful texts. All the memes are used to help introduce the performers and advertise the music concerts on Instagram every week. To engage the audiences and the online consumers into our campaign, the second activity named “Guess which melody I am humming?” launched on our official  Facebook account are required users to hum a melody from the song which is in the list of the concert. Three friends are invited to join in the guessing game and asked to pass on in the same way. The function of Facebook plays a vital role in this campaign. The three buttons “Like, Comment and Share” are the key for the user participation.

Discussion: It seems like both activities are UGC, but our campaign for free music concert is created by a team consisting of editor, photographer and video post producer. What if the audiences are attracted by our campaign and buy the tickets to the other concerts, does that means the content become a professionally generated content or a combination of both UGC and PGC? 

Conclusion

The examples of the YouTube and the contents our group created in the campaign prove the noncontradiction between UGC an PGC. On the contrary, UGC and PGC could be inseparably interconnected. UGC is more like normal students in a comprehensive university studying in variety majors. While PGC could be the top students in different areas. A mature Internet content should be created based on the combination of UGC and PGC. UGC is the key to attract audiences by contributing user participant and flows. PGC would be used to specialize the depth of the content and build the brand promotion at the same time. The combination of UGC and PGC strategy are supposed to become the new step of the next generation of Internet development. 

Reference

Ai, Q. (2016). The transition of China’s video website: a case study of LeEco. Retrieved from https://idea.library.drexel.edu/islandora/object/idea%3A7137

Beal, V. (2017, April 13).  What is the User-generated Content? Retrieved fromhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-generated_content

Editors, T. N. S. (2015). The millennials: Americans born 1977 to 1994 (6th ed.). Amityville: New Strategist Press, LLC.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Participation and user created content. In Understanding social media (pp. 55-76). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781446270189.n4

Kim, J. (2012). The institutionalization of YouTube: From user-generated content to professionally generated content. Media, Culture & Society, 34(1), 53-67. doi:10.1177/0163443711427199

Krogh, P. (2014, April 16). UGC and PGC. Retrieved from http://thedambook.com/ugc-and-pgc/

Robert, H. (2016, November 3). YouTube’s ad-free paid subscription service looks like it is struggling to take off. Retrieved from http://nordic.businessinsider.com/membership-of-youtubes-paid-subscription-service-is-low-2016-11

Welbourne, D. J., & Grant, W. J. (2016). Science communication on YouTube: Factors that affect channel and video popularity. Public Understanding of Science, 25(6), 706-718. doi:10.1177/0963662515572068

Uncategorized

Produsage and the Participatory Culture of Social Media and the Internet

invasion-of-participatory-culture-1-728Name – Megan Brewer (460499660)

Class and Tutor – Thursday 9am, Fiona Andreallo

 

Produsage and participatory culture exemplifies the ways in which social media heralds a return to the true intent and meaning of the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Internet has said that his intention was always for the Internet to be a two-way flow of information, with the ability to access any information source, as well as create information content (Brake, 2014). Social media’s participatory culture has allowed for this original understanding and aim of the Internet to be realised.

Produser is a term merging the words producer and user, which discusses the idea that the user of the internet is no longer simply the audience, but has also become the creator of content (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Participatory Cultures were originally described as having low barriers to participation in expression and cultural activism, with a focus on sharing of a users own creations, and a general focus on the more experienced, passing this knowledge and skillset on to the lesser experienced (Delwiche & Henderson, 2013). It is this participatory culture that has allowed social media to exist and grow so strongly – Social media exists, and is strengthened, because of the content that is created by produsers, Social media and the internet is as much about production, as it is consumption. Produsage and the proliferation of social media networks have allowed for the Internets true intent to be reimagined, and it is through this that produsage and social networking sites have been able to connect to audiences as a whole throughout the world and through different networks. Participatory Culture and produsage really extend through all aspects of Social Media, and many of the themes and focuses of this unit. There are many effects of produsage, but does produsage and participatory culture really benefit all areas of social media?

 

Citizen Journalism has been strengthened by produsage and participatory culture of social media. Citizen Journalism is simply news content produced and shared by non-professionals (Wall, 2015). Social Media has created networks and platforms for everyday citizens to engage in news generating and sharing practices that have become an alternative to mainstream media.  Twitter, and live posts of incidents that are happening around us have enabled everyday citizens to break news faster than traditional media outlets are able to. This is particularly prevalent with the growing universality of mobile sharing and social media communication (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Through participative culture citizen journalism has become obviously user focused, and allowed news to happen as it unfolds, with broader networks being given access to news that they would not have previously faced. Users have become more involved in news, and as such have become more conscious of the world around them, without this involvement, sharing and production of news by users, we would be missing news and events from around the world (Wall, 2015), and the production time of news would be much slower. However, there are always issues that arise from this concept of participation and citizen journalism, namely, a lack of transparency, professional skills or protections that are inherent in traditional news coverage and production (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Whilst the growing trend of citizen journalism is prevalent, there still remains a place for traditional news media and coverage. Social media news production operates alongside traditional news media, and not in place of it.

Social media networks, produsage and participatory culture continue to require traditional news mediums to exist in order to effectively and wholly ‘participate’, without these traditional platforms there would be little place for social media participatory culture – there would be nothing to participate in. Social media networks need to participate in the offline, or outside world, in order to function as an effective means of participatory culture.

Participatory culture in the internet and social media has allowed for the creation of a place of political and social activism, where users can freely express their own ideas and opinions online. This activism that arises from social media, goes beyond the notion of commentary as a means of expressing opinion, and extends into the realm of mobilisation and organisation around a political issue. Users are free to engage with the political and social at any level that they can, ideas can be freely presented, and users are free to engage with ideas (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). People come together through social media to connect with each other on issues that they care about and act with a collective intelligence to more readily attack a political issue or cause in a way that could not have occurred previously.

Participatory Culture has propagated the idea that everything that a user contributes to a message, campaign, and social media platform is of importance; the barriers to freedom of expression are so low that everyone can contribute, and social connection is exhibited (Popescu, 2017). The ease and speed with which political and social activism is now approached heralds a new movement that allows all users to fight for their beliefs any way they can, no matter how small, through social media. Social media has created a way for different cultures, and users from different locations to unite in a common cause in a way they were unable to do previously. Audiences can become active, as they are able to connect with creators of information sources and campaigns more readily, giving them more access to information and activism resources. Creating a sense of unity and a common value that was previously difficult to find and create.

Continuing on from these ideas of participatory culture in citizen journalism and political activism is the increasing focus of fandom and produsage in social media. Fans are now able to bond together with a larger community to pool information, shape opinions and develop a greater self-consciousness (Bird, 2011). Audience engagement has the ability to be enhanced in order to promote the subject of their fandom, fans are able to communicate amongst themselves, but also participate in the creation of digital content (Bird, 2011). It is this engagement of participatory culture and fandom that helps develop a sense of community and belonging. Users are demanding the right to be able to participate within the culture (Van Dijck, 2009). This can be done in fan-based manners, as well as through mainstream methods, such as Wiki’s and Facebook. Wikipedia as it was traditionally created is in itself inherently a tool of produsage, where users can consume, as well as produce content. Fan Wiki’s serve as a documentation of their ‘cultural object’, as well as ‘fancraft’, detailing the intricacies of the medium of the fan (Mittell, 2013). It is these ideas of produsage that helps define the notion of community, and helps users develop as contributors to a community and in their production of content.

Through the ideas of citizen journalism, political and social activism and fandom we can see the ways which produsage and participatory culture have utilised social media to engage with users life’s, and online identity. Social Media has been able to connect with users, and audiences on a larger scale, through the participatory culture and produsage that is promoted. Produsage and participatory culture has allowed social media and the Internet to develop and grow to a medium like no other, creating communities and encouraging users to develop in both consumption and production of news, politics and fandom.

 

References

Elizabeth Bird, ‘Are we all Produsers now?’ in Cultural Studies, 25:4 (2011) 502-516.

David R. Brake, ‘Are we all online content creators now? Web 2.0 and Digital Divides’ in Journal of Computer Mediated-Communication, 19 (2014), 591-609

A Delwiche & J Henderson ed, ‘What is Participatory Culture’ in The Participatory Cultures Handbook (2013) New York, Routledge, Pg 3-9

S Hinton & L Hjorth, ‘Participation and User Created Content’ in Understanding Social Media (2013) SAGE Publications Ltd, 55-76.

Jason Mittell, ‘Wikis and Participatory Fandom’ in The Participatory Cultures Handbook (2013) New York, Routledge, Pg 35-42.

Maria Popescu, ‘Strategic Communication and Social Media in the Age of Participatory Culture’ in International Scientific Conference: Strategies XXI, (2017) Bucharest 3:43-49, Carol I, National Defence University

Josie Van Dijk, ‘Users like you? Theorizing Agency in User Generated Content’ in Media, Culture & Society (2009) 31:1, pgs 41-58.

Melissa Wall, ‘Citizen Journalism’, in Digital Journalism, (2015) 3:6, 797-813

Uncategorized

Put Your Paws Up!

Class & Lecturer: Thurs 12:00-3:00pm, Kai Soh
Student (SID) : Jony Sun (430068410)

For those who are unaware of the phrase mentioned in the title, one may think what I’m about to write has to do with empowering social movement regarding pets or animal rights. This phrase is actually a common catchphrase used within the community of Lady Gaga fans. They called themselves “Little Monsters” and seemingly as the leader figure, Gaga is referred intimately as “Mother Monster”. These are all examples of cultural capitial and by using this relationship, this post will explore the notion of cultural capital and its multifarious facets in the context of a fan community.


(Hair (Instrumental), Lady Gaga)

Simply put, cultural capital has to do with group dynamics and the sense of belonging to a particular group or institutions. Bourdieu describes it as “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition” (Bourdieu, pp. 248-249). There are three key concepts to take away in this definition: firstly, “culture capital” can be potentially indefinitely accumulated, which can be thought of as data accumulation of a database; secondly, such accumulation should have spanned across a period of time and hence, spontaneous groups that are formed for a temporary purpose are not considered; lastly, there should be a sense of intimacy and mutual acknowledgment within the network in question. If put into the framework of Deans’ affective network, cultural capital can be view similarly as the notion of “drive”, which is described as an “acephalous force” that keeps members of a networking from leaving it (Žižek, as quoted in Dean, p. 3). To an affective network, the interaction and engagement, specifically enjoyable ones, among members are both the source and result of the “drive” (Dean, p. 25). Similarly, cultural capital gives members of the network a “collectively-owned capital” and depending on the nature of the network, enjoyment can be derived from being entitled to its cultural capital.

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Figure 1. The Fame Era (Source: http://bloodyxmary.tumblr.com)

One type of cultural capital within a fan community is the fan objects. These may range from books and publications to  media and shows and even the celebrities themselves (Sandvoss, as cited in Click, Lee, Holladay, p. 363). With its constant production of media, the entertainment industry is an apparent source for fan objects. What’s also offer is the notion of “imaginaries”, which is the result of “congealing emotions and sentiments into recognizable sounds, images, and personalities that work to maintain the intensity of emotions” (Marshall, as cited in Corona, p. 727).

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Figure 2. Fans dressing up for Gaga’s concerts (Source: Google)

In terms of visuals, Gaga’s “elaborate performances and sartorial experimentation” (Corona, p. 726) on various occasions, from music videos to award appearances, has produced numerous diverse styles that is then picked up by fans and used as fan objects. It is important to note that the objects themselves do not carry any connotations, instead its meaning are created through fans’ interactions with them (Sandvoss, as cited in Click, et al., p. 363). The main reason that Gaga’s aesthetics are considered as fan objects is that these visuals are often distinctively unique so they can be taken to signify and represent the fan community. Furthermore, the interaction fans have with these fan objects is visualized when they display their desire to embody and imitate these styles while attending her concerts, which has gradually become a norm within the community. Since the uses of these fan objects has led to the formation of an institutionalised practice, they are thus considered as cultural capital as they contribute to the durability of the network.

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Figure 3. The Fame Monster Era (Source: http://bloodyxmary.tumblr.com)

Aside being described as the accumulation of material resources, cultural capital is also understood “socially instituted and guaranteed by the application of a common name” (Bourdieu, p. 249). In this case, this is referring to the name shared by both Gaga and her fans: monster. The term is traditionally used with a negative connotation as it invokes the notion of monstrosity, but in the context of this fan community, it has become “a positive point of identification for followers who wish to celebrate their differences and find strength through association with other monsters, including Lady Gaga” (Click, et al., p. 370). Gaga’s identity as the “Mother Monster” summarises her relationship with her fans: “she is both a maternal safe haven and an eccentric symbol drawing on the current cultural preoccupation with the monstrous” (Click, et al., p. 361). As a form of cultural capital, this sentiment is hence what members of the fan community is entitled to (Bourdieu, p. 249) when they identify with the common name “monsters”.

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Figure 4. The Born This Way Era (Source: http://bloodyxmary.tumblr.com)

There is more to the “monster identity” and this links to another aspect of cultural capital: the profits of membership. The incentive and rewards of being associated as part of the network are the core features that makes membership possible in the first place (Bourdieu, p. 249). One of such profits is symbolic profits, which are derived from association (Bourdieu, p. 249). A main characteristic to the Little Monster identity is “the acceptance and endorsement of Lady Gaga’s messages of empowerment”(Click, et al., p. 368), in which her history of being bullied and messages about “appearance, gender, and sexuality have struck a chord with fans” Click, et al., p. 361) Hence, the aforementioned motherly protective role of Gaga is “based upon a shared experience of being outcasts in society” (Click, et al., p. 368), which is a status that Gaga vehemently and candidly celebrates and endorses (Corona, p. 726; Click, et al., p. 370) Therefore, the symbolic profits of this fan community is then a sense of belonging and acceptance, where Gaga “emphasizes her oddities to give shelter, support, and solidarity to her fans” (Click, et al., p. 361). The monster identity is then for those who “articulated a desire to have their worth affirmed, and to take on Lady Gaga’s strengths to overcome challenges stemming from their own difference and marginalization” (Click, et al., p. 372). This “borrowing” of strength also echoes Sandvoss’ notion that fan objects are mirrors of self-reflection. By invoking courage under the term ‘monsters”, fans are eliding “the boundaries between self and object”, ultimately making this fan object a part of themselves (Sandvoss, as cited in Click, et al., p. 363). This feeling of acknowledgement, which stems from common struggles, and Gaga’s strength are hence highlighted as the symbolic profits offered for the members of this fan community.

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Figure 5. The Joanne Era (Source: http://bloodyxmary.tumblr.com)

Hinton has remarked that “it is important to acknowledge that social media contains offline modes of engagement: it is never entirely just an online phenomenon” (Hinton & Hjorth, p. 3). Although the monster identity promises such positive environment for social outcasts, it will easily fall apart and become an illusion if there’s nothing concrete to back those claims up. Cultural capital may function as a motivation for participants to become a member of the network, but it doesn’t guarantee everlasting membership. Hence, there’s a need for offline interactions so to sustain the symbolic profits brought by the community’s cultural capital. In February 2012, Gaga and her mother launched the Born This Way Foundation in a joint venture with Harvard University (Click, et al., p. 361). Its founding mission is to leverage “rigorous academic research and authentic partnerships in order to provide young people with kinder communities, improved mental health resources, and more positive environments – online and offline” (“About the Foundation”, 2016). Recently, Gaga has also appeared in a video with Prince William for the Heads Together campaign, which aims to “end stigma around mental health” and change the conversation on this issue by encouraging people to speak up about it (“About Heads Together”, 2017). By being so vocal and open about her personal struggles with mental issues in the video and in her open letter, Gaga becomes a “surrogate voice” (Grossberg, as cited in Click, et al., p. 369) for her fans that has been affected by the stigmatization of mental health issues. These offline mode of engagements thus reinforces the ideals that the monster identity encompasses and furthermore, creates more incentives to be part of the community.

Using Gaga and her fan community, ranging from Gaga’s numerous visuals, messages of acceptance and empowerment, their shared common name and her extensive offline social engagements, this post has illustrated the many aspects and functions of cultural capital. It is not simply just material and immaterial resources that are collectively-owned, it also plays a vital part in the fostering and maintaining of a network since it encompasses the incentives to attract new members and also desirable affiliations that ultimately creates and determines an identity that members voluntarily associate with.

Word Count: 1298 (excluding in-text citations and captions)

References:

About Heads Together. (2017). Headstogether.org.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2017, from https://www.headstogether.org.uk/about-heads-together/

About the Foundation. (2016). Born This Way Foundation. Retrieved 20 April 2017, from https://bornthisway.foundation/about-the-foundation/

Click, M., Lee, H., & Holladay, H. (2013). Making Monsters: Lady Gaga, Fan Identification, and Social Media. Popular Music And Society, 36(3), 360-379. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2013.798546

Corona, V. (2011). Memory, Monsters, and Lady Gaga. The Journal Of Popular Culture, 46(4), 725-744. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2011.00809.x

Dean, J. (2010). Affective Networks. Mediatropes Ejournal, 2(2), 19-44.

Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. Introduction to Social Media. Understanding Social Media, 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446270189.n1

Pierre, B. (1986). Forms of Capital. In J. Richardson, Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (1st ed., pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood Press.

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Figure 6. The Artpop Era (Source: http://bloodyxmary.tumblr.com)

On a side but related note, do have a listen to this song Princess Diana by Gaga regarding mental health.

(Click here to back to the top if the music has not finished yet and the song title again to return here)

Uncategorized

Meme – Visualize the words

[Name: Ke Lu] [Student Id: 470315611] [Tutorial: Thursday 3 – 6pm] [Tutor: Cherry Baylosis]

Internet Memes

In the digital age, a majority of people are familiar with Internet Memes, especially those people who are active on social media platforms. They have tried to save the Memes they are interested and share it with friends and family members via social networks, then they become the transmitters. The internet and social media make Meme becomes more and more popular online, because of information spread faster and widely, as well as Millennial are well engaged. However, for some social media freshman or someone doesn’t surf the internet often, they might be confused with this internet culture and disconnected with it. Here are some examples of Internet Meme:

This term Meme was first showed in the book by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who defined it as a cultural unit that moves from one person to another (as cited in Nissenbaum and Shifman, 2017). While, over the decades, this concept has been evolved and completed as ‘Internet Memes’ , due to their way of transmission and the speed of replication (Castaño, 2013). These Memes spread from one digital page to another, and the ideas travel from mind to mind. 

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In addition, an Internet Meme could be and idea, a joke, or a feeling that expressed through different forms, such as an image, a GIF, a word, a video. It always relates to the latest trends, news, political and social issues, and tend to be hilarious and attractive. People can easily and simply understand the humorous messages behind them without trying to analyze (Moreau, 2017), which caused highly shareable. Also, some people post with a Meme to express their current feeling on social networks to attract followers and friends’ attention, this also can be seen as self-represent. However, Nieesenbaum and Shifman (2015) believed there are also some underlying qualities of Internet Memes, which more than just a silly joke to make people laugh as it appears on the surface, it can be seen as a distinctive product of current digital culture. Gill (2017) concluded the concept of Internet Memes either really obvious or really deep.

The main users of Internet Memes are Millennials (aged 18 to 35). This younger demographic are hyperconnected with Social Networks and spend longer time online, they receive new knowledge quickly and happy to share. Moreover, the number of Meme users are increasing, Generation X (aged 36 to 52) and Baby Boomer (aged 53 to 71) users are going to involved in this culture and discover the entertainment fun of spreading Memes to others (Grill, 2017). In fact, these users from all demographics can participate in each Meme group that relates to their own knowledge and interests, and understand the meaning of Memes at the first time. It also associates with another concept ‘Culture Capital’, that people have more knowledge about one topic or trend they will have higher Social Capital in this group. On the contrary, same people might have low Social Capital in another Meme group that they don’t know much about.

Case Studies

People Who Share Common Interests    

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If you laughed when you saw these two Memes, you definitely have watched this popular HBO Drama , which adopts from one of the best-selling book . Although there are many people following this drama and reading the book, you will still be exciting to find someone have same interests with you right?

These two characters are important in the show. The lady on the left Meme is Daenerys Targaryen, actually she is holding a dragon egg on the episode. But in the Meme, the words describe it as Avocado that I think for most people who never followed the show they might agree, and it’s just linked a popular show with our daily routines that purchasing fruit on supermarket with a serious facial expression. When you understand what it is, it’s just hilarious. Same, on the right Meme, the guy is playing an assassin that he told others he doesn’t need a name, he could be anyone to accomplished the task. But everyone knows if you go to Starbuck, the staff will ask your name and write down on the cup for you to recognize, the connection is just between the drama and everyone’s life experience.

Imaging when you see someone sharing it on their home page, then you notice this person are watching this drama just as you do, and you might going to leave a comment, and both of you can quick get into a conversation because sharing the same interests. Of course, for someone never watched it will only be confused and move away from it.

Internet Memes of Political Criticism

As Plevriti cited in Baym and Street (2013) that there is a relation between popular culture and politics, and entertainment can enhance political involvement and provides a way of understanding politics. Social networks make younger demographics start to pay attention to politics than ever before. We are not American or living in the USA, but all of us may have heard a little bit about this year’s American President election, and the two candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Moreover, understand few about what were they doing during the election, this global effect seemed impossible to happen just a few decades ago.

Thanks to the Internet Memes, it reminds us the looks of Trump deeply, and most Memes about Trump are making fun of his hairstyle as well as captured his awkward face. Nevertheless, the primary purpose might be entertaining, but the underlying intention could be seen as against Trump. Because the communicate meanings and ideas are badly negative, people who made the Memes was trying to make the messages spread widely and make the president of American looks like a fool. Surely, Trump’s competitors will get beneficial from it and mock him. From another aspect, these Memes also show the liberal democracy on the internet. Publics can share any views whether good or bad. 

A Distinctive Way of Celebrities’ Self-promotion

In China, there is an absorbing Internet Meme communication culture. When we’re having a conversation with close friends online, we send Memes to each other when it is relative to the topics and straightforward express the meaning with a sense of humor. For example, when you did something wrong, you are going to apologize to a friend, send a funny apology Meme shows more sincere than just a sorry, and the person who received it might be amused and pleased, which helps to get out from the embarrassing situation. 

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Sometimes, for better show the facial emotions behind the screen, internet users always use the funny Memes of celebrities. Tao is a very typical example, he is a former Chinese member of Korea K-pop boy group EXO. After he quitted from the group and went back China to continue his career, there are lots of anti-fans who dislike him, they insult him and satirize him on the internet, and screen shot his strange and ugly look from videos to make Memes. Since these funny Memes spread all over the Chinese social media platform – Weibo and WeChat, many people start to use it even they never heard about Tao, and use it to express feelings like exciting, sad, unhappy, scared, angry, etc.   

WechatIMG76Tao and his team realized this might be a chance, to  attract more attentions from publics and let them know more about him. He spoke out when the media interviewed him that he doesn’t mind people use the Memes with his face, even himself think is very interesting and laughed when he saw it, he also uses those Memes when chatting with friends. After the interview, some people think he is magnanimous, amiable and adorable, they start to pay attention to his songs and television shows, and become his fans.

Conclusion

The internet Memes develop for entertaining, and for internet users communicate with friends and people who shares common interests online. Also, some people use it to delivery underlying messages for their own purpose. For further development, the Memes could be a digital product for self-promotion. 

References

Castaño, D., C.M. (2013). Defining and characterizing the concept of Internet Meme. Revista CES Psicología, 6(2),82-104.

Gil, P. (2017, April 17). What Is a ‘Meme’? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-meme-2483702

Moreau, E. (2017, March 14). What Are Internet Memes and Where Did They Come From? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-internet-memes-3486448

Nissenbaum, A., & Shifman, L. (2017). Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board. New media & society,19(4) 483–501.

Plevriti, V. (2013). Satirical User-Generated Memes as an Effective Source of Political Criticism, Extending Debate and Enhancing Civic Engagement. Retrieved from https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/cp/research/publications/madiss/ccps_13-14_vasiliki_plevriti.pdf