Hello, Goodbye

5 Jun

To quote Frank Sinatra: and now the end is near (Sinatra/Anka, 1969). Because I’m currently procrastinating the three other assessments due tomorrow, but da internet iz justt saah funnn, this’ll be my last post, not the sort that you play on a trumpet, but now that’s running through my head like a soundtrack which is ridiculous because this is a University assessed blog project and not, you know, Anzac Day.

I could summarise what I’ve learnt this semester in Net Comm. But it’s Sunday and the lectures were all two hours long and to be honest, all my knowledge has congealed itself into this big fuzzy mass of words like “interactivity” and “produsage” and “Bruns” and since our week on piracy I haven’t been able to stop singing this. (click at your own peril)

I’ve complained about Net Comm, but I actually kind of enjoyed being able to be all self-indulgent and rambly for no real end and talking up Jessie J ad nauseum, because I really really do like her and you should too. Really.

So I won’t leave you with any wise words and tips and things I’ve learnt, other than a) hope you’re Beatles savvy by now, b) I feel like I did a crash course in IT: we all know what an interface is now! and c) I’ve got a real licence. And it’s got a cool abbreviated conjoined name. Aren’t I special.

I thought I’d leave you with some of my favourite things on the Internet. Just because.

1) This. Bad grammar and spelling have never been so awesome.

video by YTMND

2) Joseph Gordon Lewitt is a winner. And beautiful. And LOOK, NOW YOU CAN MAKE MUUUUSIC

3) One of the most wonderful songs ever and jesus, girl can sing.

video by  Jorge and Alexa Narvaez

4) Hours and hours of fugly entertainment.

5) If you aren’t suffering from a severe case of wanderlust after flicking through these you haven’t got a soul.

6) Look I know you probably don’t like cat videos BUT THIS ONE’S DRUNK AAAAH

video by nizedk

7) This dress.

photo by Alexis Mabille

8 ) Kanye West on Twitter.

“14th Feb: NINJAS…YESSSSS!!!!!”


9) This site. Aaaaah.

Audreyfredanthonypauljohnkeithmichaeljimimarlonfrankelizabeth I don’t even.

10) Dawson crying.

video by Alex

Summing up exactly how I feel right now. Not really actually, mostly I just want a long nap and a tub or two of cookies n cream, but what can I say, Net Comm, it’s been a ride, now she’s handing back her ticket.

Oh yeah, now comment my damn blog.


Across The Blogiverse

29 May

Briar Lloyd: in addition to having really super nice hair and a wonderful accent, girl can write.
This post is a comprehensive look at the growing association with brands and blogging in the sphere of fashion.  Briar shows the comparisons between the growing numbers of blog viewers to that of, obviously, the massive amount of fashion consumers. She shines a light on the changing industry along with the development of the new “social” Web, and asks important questions as to the morality of hidden or concealed advertising via blogs. Briar also uses hyperlinks like a boss (the ones linking to examples like Coach and directly related videos especially pertinent), and manages to link all her ideas in with previous lecture content. I liked this post and I think it was a brilliant idea to cover the topic matter she did, as there are so many females who do Net Comm and who are to be quite honest, a little sick of the COD references and macabre parodies of piracy videos.

So check it out. Because she really does have cool hair. And can write.


New Zealand ,”Hobbiton”: photo credit – © Edwin Hayward

Come together, right now, over me.

23 May

…possibly my favourite Beatles song ever if only for the line “he got toe jam football”. He got…what?

In the spirit of being honest and non-piratical and having a legit license and not doing illegal things online, I thought I’d share with you briefly something a little embarrassing.

There is a YouTube video that sometimes (read: always) makes me tear up (read: sob). No, it’s not Friday. No, not Casey taking that bully the shit down. It’s not even the Free Hugs Campaign.

It’s Where The Hell Is Matt? and this is it.

video by Matt Harding.

I don’t know why this has the effect it does on me and possibly the 181,093 other people who thumbs upped it. It may be the song “Praan” sung in Bengali, which makes us hear the melody, not just the lyrics. It may be the fact that we catch the most fleeting glimpse of Melbourne’s Fed Square among Seljalandsfoss and Timbuktu. It may be the ridiculousness and sheer freedom of Matt’s dance itself, or it may even be the kid in red at 3 mins 21 secs.

But mostly, I just like the way it brings people together. And it’s not fake. It’s not people acting or saying lines or using all sorts of high-tech thingamajigs like…I don’t know…iPhone video calls, or photoshop. It’s just simply people from all different countries, cultures, walks of life, being brought together by Matt’s stupid beer-chug-esque jig. It’s silly and trivial and pointless but it’s wonderful. It shows we don’t need Facebook or Skype or interactive Fifa or whatever it is that guys love. We don’t only need to like the same page as someone else or be following the same celebrity on Twitter to feel an affinity with them. Sometimes, all you need is a momentary surrendering of dignity and an amateur video camera.

Matt dances with Japanese Harajuko girls, with Parisians in front of the Eiffel Tower , with Papua New Guinea tribesmen. He even dances underwater with the whales in Tonga. How many of them do you have on Facebook? How many people do you feel like you’ve met, because you’ve seen them at their most vulnerable while having a serious boogie? I know if someone from another country was going to see me in a video, I’d like to be dancing, rather than speaking or anything else. Aren’t the most exciting encounters on Chat Roulette those you can convince to dance for you? The ones you can convince to stow away genitals that is.

So none of this new-fangled social networking and sharing technology for me, thank you very much – I’m happy watching Matt for the 15th time. Sometimes, all you need is an old fashioned video recorder and a way of sharing it to the world. Now excuse me while I go practice my jig.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Pirates Club

23 May

Trawling around on wired.com (as you do as a procrastinatory activity – that, or Vampire Diaries or food blogs, and wired.com makes me neither salivate over Damon nor dumplings so it’s the safest option) I was surprised to find an archived post from 1999. The Internet existed then!? Jks. I have done a semester of Net Comm. It existed, we were all too busy watching ABC Kids to bother about it (Johnson and Friends? Animals of Farthing Wood? Freaky Stories!? Aaah)

photo by Film Australia/ABC.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this post which bemoans the breaking of DVD encryption, right on the cusp of the momentum of Internet movie piracy – at the tail end of 1999.
“The worst fear of movie studios has been realised”, says Patrizio. “The hack opens up illicit online trading of DVD movies”.

While the author and those who sympathise feel the then creation of the DeCSS program was a huge step backward for conventional consumerism of DVD’s and subsequently the movie studio industry, programmers at the time seemed more lateral and unfazed, claiming the technology for DVD ripping had been available for some time, if not widely.

In 1999, the DVD was still a fairly new form of media. My 90’s were spent watching repeats of aforementioned ABC shows, taped on good old-fashioned VCR. Mum was struggling with putting a CD on in her car. We had a computer…we played endless hours of that DIY Dollz game. DVD’s in no way functioned as a big a part of life in 1999 as they did 10 years or more later, and yet the advent of DVD ripping may have been a turning point in the exponential take off of movie piracy itself.

Is it the same thing? Well, no. Ripping can be legal if it’s your own DVD – but, you know, whats the point of that, you’re clearly going to rip those 5 movies that you borrowed from the Rowden White or that R rated flick you borrowed surreptitiously from a friend – then return both of them, of course. You’re no thief, or anything…

When it comes to downloading of movies from the Internet, the wired article listing this as a “growing problem” in 1999, it seems now it could be considered more of a Grawp sized pickle. “I don’t do that!” you claim. “I don’t even know what a torrent is! It makes me think of rivers! And I’m not a great swimmer!” And then you realise you’ve got Vampire Diaries season 2 episode 20 open in another tab on Megavideo and you watched last weeks Sex and the Screen movie online instead of going to the screening and you feel kind of bad and want to go plant a tree or feed the homeless.

Fast forward ten or so years, and this is where we’ve ended up now. Piracy rampages through society; pirates are shiverin’ timbers every which way we look and pillaging their treasure by way of illegal downloads. But they’ve (we’ve) got safety in numbers and anonymity because we’re a motley crew, and we wear eyepatches. Not that last one so much, but everyone does it without thinking of the consequences because they’re not within our view – how do we know if that boom mic operator will lose her job when we download Love Actually? What’s another unemployed SAG member when Keira Knightley and her amazing facial structure are on our screens right now? Human beings are more important, but often it’s the shiny pretty Hollywood ones that we can instantly observe that we care about, not the ones who put the hard work into making them look shiny and pretty. We will continue to be pirates as long as Keira continues to be babeing. Yarrrrrrr.

Can’t Buy Me Love…or me work.

15 May

Following week 10 tutorial’s exercise, explain why you chose the Creative Commons license that you added to your blog and discuss the relevance (or not) of adding the license.

Well this is awkward.

I thought I could be all sneaky and subtle and add my license without anyone questioning why I chose the one I did. But then, oh hey blog question asking me to reveal my inner selfishness. How you doin’.

Yeah, I’m selfish. I don’t like to share cups or desserts or beds…well, mostly. I don’t mind sharing beds but I wouldn’t like it if you took an experimental bounce on my mattress, looked thoughtfully around the room, then went to Ikea and bought me a futon and a whole new linen set. I mean, what the shit, thats my bed! I sleep there! Similarly, I also don’t mind sharing my work. In fact, like aaaaaall the bloggers and twitterers and singers out there, I write online in order for my writing to be read. Everyone wants, on some little level, to be the blog that’s talked about or the singer that’s linked around on Facebook.

But, give me some credit. I’m a vain creature. It’s not novel. Most of us are. To all of you out there, we know you’re not contemplating the dark tunnel outside when going through the city loop on the train. You’re checking your reflection out. Come on, its obvious, THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE EXCEPT BLACKNESS, just accept that you’re a bit up yourself like everyone else. So anyway, being vain, I guess I don’t like the thought of my work being altered and reproduced with the possibility of it being passed off as someone else’s original. Just coz you changed names and facts a little does not make it yours. It makes it mine, and it makes you a bit of a douche.

With this in mind, I chose the CC BY-ND license for my blog – Attribution NoDerivs. This means that what I put online can be redistributed commercially or non, but it has to be done so unchanged and giving credit to me. So, the passer-onner can’t alter or build upon the work unless permission is given, which is unlikely if it is a stranger asking. Or the guy who sits next to me in Net Comm. Which is actually usually Perry. It might be alright for you, Perry.

Anyway, I put this license on my blog, and now myself under the limelight because if I’ve published something online, I’m generally proud of it and have put thought into it. If I’m proud of it, I want feedback by others on whether they like it or not. One of the best things about WordPress as a blogging platform I think is its feature of not letting you edit a post after a certain number of days – drafting facilities mean that you should have thought about it in enough depth to not regret (hopefully) anything you have written.

So isn’t the point of WordPress and other blogging sites to give people a chance to write and retain their own work? No matter if it offends or shocks or pleases people. While imitation might be a form of flattery, there are other more appropriate forms for the internet and indeed any sort of writing or artistic work. Think about how much you want to punch people in the teeth when they copy you in real life. A poke on Facebook just doesn’t feel quite the same.

Baby, you can drive my car. Yes, I’m gonna be a star…

15 May

Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media”. Discuss, giving an example of a YouTube video.

We’re transient by nature. We are fickle, we are goldfish. Similarly, the online “star” system functions as a fleeting, let’s-move-on-now, goldfish type trait of society. We’ve short attention spans and grow bored easily, and we look for something to take us from the space of familiarity and routine into that of novelty. And this is when we use the Web, something still fairly novel, as transportation.

Yet we aren’t the single dictators of “celebrity”. Neither is it merely the mass media, now with a platform for itself firmly established online, that defines and controls the functioning of online celebrities. Communal society habits that spread via social networking sites (as well as word of mouth) work in tandem with the mass media –  YouTube relies on advertisement via social media and mass media alike (Wallsten 2010, 167). Testament to this lies in the number of videos, people and time wasting that has been a result of discovery via Facebook’s news feed. Or, how newspapers now often include a section where online videos and stars of the week are discussed (eg. mX) or columns making reference to them.

The fact that we obtain links to videos, and hence make people “celebrities” via view count and talking-point, means that the media (both social and mass) play a crucial and complex role in regulating and defining online stars (Wallsten 2010, 163). The widespread circulation of media is synonymous with the widespread circulation of who is online doing what. And so, the system of celebrity is defined by media and its sheer global reach – yet the reach is of much greater magnitude than the time span of celebrity. Just like most news stories in the media, a “celebrity” is only news of the minute, or news of the day. It seems that celebrity in the online sphere functions like our attention spans, and perhaps thanks to them – fleetingly (Oshiro, 2009).

Though Green and Burgess (2009, 24) define the “economy of attention” of YouTube, I disagree with their claim that the celebrity experience on it is different to the “short-term flare” of a Big Brother contestant. Like a one hit wonder singer-songwriter from the 80s, how many YouTube stars’ sequels do we remember? The Star Wars kid never did Return Of A Jedi, or if he did we don’t know about it.  Disappointment often strikes when they fail to step beyond the very high bar they have set for themselves. The lofty heights become less obtainable the more views the original work gets (Oshiro 2009). An example of this in the online system of celebrity is seen no clearer than the “Numa Numa Guy”.

video by Gary Brolsma.

Gary Brolsma’s infamous dancing and lip-syncing has made almost 15t million people happy, and yet Gary met the cold grip of high expectation when he tried to follow up his original video. He encountered an immense amount of backlash, and then, disinterest; Gary was no longer a star. His second video did not get nearly as many views, and the online fame monster chewed him up and spat him out again, a nobody in New Jersey.

As Green and Burgess say, the system of celebrity that gains momentum from the media is that which requires ongoing participation of the same level (2009, 23). Sequels must outdo originals. The nature of fame everywhere is mounting expectation, and often, disappointment and discarding.

“The marker of success…is their ability to pass through the gate-keeping mechanisms of new media – the recording contract, the film festival, the television pilot.” (23)

The media ensures that we keep validating the “demotic” hopefuls by watching not only people who are worth a look, but those that are talentless (van Dijck 2009, 52). It seems, by way of analysing the mass and social media’s sway, that the trick to negotiating the system of online celebrity is to not become a solely “online” celebrity, boxed in within the virtual walls of YouTube, but to use online to progress to the outside world. Using sites like YouTube automatically brings public attention that is mirrored in the media and brings a type of success – it is the talented which can use this to lead to further, more permanent success.


Burgess, J & Green, J 2009, “YouTube and the Mainstream Media”, YouTube: Online and Participatory Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, pp.15-37
van Dijck, J 2009, “Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content”, Media, Culture and Society, vol. 31, pp.41-58
Oshiro, D 2009, “YouTube to Help Monetize One-Hit Wonders”, ReadWriteWeb, at < http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/youtube_to_help_monetize_one_hit_wonders.php&gt;
Wallsten, K 2010, “Yes We Can: How Online Viewership, Blog Discussion, Campaign Statements and Mainstream Media Coverage Produced a Viral Video Phenomenon”, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, vol. 7, pp.163-181

I Get By With A Little Help From My Online Friends

8 May

While discussing YouTube, José van Dijck argues that the site’s interface influences the popularity of videos through ranking tactics that promote popular favourites (Reader, page 94). How do ranking tactics impact on the formation of online ‘communities’?

Whether post-midnight or plied with cups of tea and muffins, most of us frequent YouTube as a liberal, accessible way of providing online video. YouTube being an inherently “Web 2.0″ application means that interactivity as a label is applied, through facilitating of produsage and participation (Bruns 2008, 2). Hence, the millions of user-uploaded videos: 1.6 million alone by typing in “me singing” paint a vivid (and tone-deaf) picture of the site’s breadth.

YouTube’s deliberately transparent nature means that what is most viewed, top rated and most talked about is all highly visible on the interface. Those videos that we all know and love are often found in “trends”, “most popular” and “recommended for you”. YouTube ranks videos by popularity, and by making them the most visible creates a perpetual routine. Knowing what is most popular and most watched will only make us validate and increase their view count by watching. Promotion forms a community and a community promotes – a cycle.

The viewers of the most watched become a broad tour de force of nameless millions. A shapeless online community in the virtual world is formed that crosses over into real life, at the question “Hey, did you see that video…?”. Social networking sites connect users, and enable them to form communities not just online (Rosen 2007).

In addition, YouTube recommends videos they assume you would like to watch. This means that among the diverse viewing audience, specific subgroups and “communities” are created. Niches are extended through viewing of more of the same genre or topic; kitten videos lead to puppies lead to piglets. YouTube typecasts you, but you’re too busy ogling at the cute kitty to notice.

video by Sabrina Angel.

The increasingly participatory nature of the site means we can “like” videos and “thumbs up” comments, making it more like a social network than a simple video platform (van Dijck 2009, 52).
Van Dijck states all of these features of YouTube are integral in participation and produsage, hence it being a hallmark of the Web 2.0 age (48). Social networking is being weaved in to otherwise dormant sites, which now provide facility for interactive use and conversation.

Ranking tactics such as those discussed pigeonhole the audience in the gentle, trustworthy way YouTube does. Sure, we might be being manipulated into what to watch, but how can a site that everyone uses with such ease and trust lead us wrong? We trust YouTube and its integrity, and enjoy being part of a community that, no matter produser or passive observer, so many people use.

People will always be interested in what is considered the best, the favourite, the funniest, in order to feel part of something. Facebook ranking tactics also become a tool in this: “oh, the Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society! I like that too! We should be friends!” We feel the same thrill of belonging in a group that someone else does, that satisfaction that we have something in common. We like when we have an affinity with people halfway across the globe, as they too marvel at Jessie J’s vocal prowess.

video by Jessica Cornish/Arcade 44 and Giant Step.

Ranking tactics are a way of showcasing online communities and links with each other particularly through YouTube, and their ability to provide interactive experiences shared with others. We all feel connected and in the know, and we feel savvy to what is the “best”. It seems prudent to relate to Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on privacy – people sharing information and videos and other online content means that we are more open and connected (Zuckerberg, 2010). We all love being part of a community, and YouTube makes that so easy to do.


Bruns, A 2008, “The Future Is User-Led: The Path Towards Widespread Produsage”, Fibreculture Journal, vol. 11
Rosen, C 2007, “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism”, The New Atlantis Journal, Summer Issue, at <http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/virtual-friendship-and-the-new-narcissism&gt;
van Dijck, J 2009, “Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content”, Media, Culture and Society, vol. 31, pp.41-58
Zuckerberg, M 2010, “On Making Privacy Controls Simple”, The Official Facebook, US, at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWDneu_w_HQ&gt;