Week 8 – Big Politics—The Fate of the State

Word: Organise

Lawrence Lessigs explores the concept of transparency of government. He explains the ‘transparency movement’ will combine the power of media/network technology and government data so the public will be able to easily process and understand it.

To get back to basics, transparency can be defined as something that can be seen, easily noticed or perceived. Something that has no obstacles or objects in its way.

Much of government proceedings and political outcomes derive from public opinion and more importantly social media. Technology is making information easier and easier to access, distribute and publish. Eg Wikileaks is a system designed to provide the public with all government information/documents.

New media has changed the framework of government organisation. Politicians personal lives have always been heavily publicised and scrutinized by the mainstream media. Social networking sites has brought transparency to a new level, with politicians using twitter allowing themselves to be looked at personally and not just professionally.

Lessig also points out that the increase in society wanting to be so thoroughly informed could turn into chaos. There are audiences that are not equipped with dealing with such information and might lead to unnecessary outbreaks/protests that disturb/interrupt the most efficient means of the govt dealing with a problem.

“”not all data satisfies the simple requirement that they be information that consumers can use, presented in a way they can use it.” (Lessig, 2009.)

Barak Obama who uses twitter has over 15 million followers and uses the media platform to address as many age groups as possible. He tweets about government proceedings, news, and sometimes personal things, like photos of his past or with his family. I think its a good example of government embracing and utilising new media, which has become so deeply embedded in all our lives.

The reading on Egypt’s uprising gave way to the concept of a ‘media event’. The world watched as Egypt overthrew the former president in which it was continuously broadcast live on tv. This brought to light social media’s role in the uprising.

Nikki Usher is basically saying that media events has stepped outside the traditional ‘framing’ or ‘framework’ of the past. Compared to monopolistic coverage, the media we have now is segmented. It is all media, online, mainstream and social.

This is especially relevant to my topic on Kony 2012 in which a ‘media event’ occurred. It is a new media ecology that interrelates all new media acting as a catalyst for instant information and reactions and the rapid speed of which it travels.

New media technologies have instigated the way in which the public feels they should have a higher level of access of information on the government. But the overall problem in which Lessig addresses, might cause data revealed to become overwhelming and therefore lead to more harm than good.

Lessig, Lawrence (2010) ‘Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.’<http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/against-transparency?page=0,0>

Usher, Nikki (2011), ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”’, The Nieman Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/>


Week Seven: Framing versus “Transversality”—music, journalism and other ecologies of practice

This week we looked at the concepts of ‘Framing’ and ‘Transversality’.

Framing is described as, “the combination of beliefs, values, attitudes, mental models and so on which we use to perceive a situation” according to Murphy (2006).

So framing to me, is sort of the majority of what society thinks is right and wrong, what is socially acceptable and not. We follow a certain framework in our daily lives, consisting of what we have learnt and what we see from others.

Transversality is put by Murphy as “Simply put a transversal is a line that cuts across other lines, perhaps across entire fields – bringing the fields together in a new way, recreating fields as something else”.

So I guess that transversality can mean it is somewhat of a flexible system that can adapt to new systems at the same time. Having multiple ecologies exist and intersect.

Itunes for example, is transversal in the fact that you can buy music, shows, apps, games all in one place – and further, the fact that you can apply any of these things to multiple objects such as smartphones, ipods, laptops, ipads.. etc But all of this is restricted to a framework, that being the Apple framework. It is only compatible with apple products.

The ‘framing’ of the music industry is that we as consumers buy music from legal distributors such as itunes, amazon etc. But the internet has allowed free music to be downloaded from multiple piracy sites such as the recent limewire which was shut down.. or torrents sites such as piratebay.com. People at home record and upload new songs onto their own websites for download availability representing transversality – where multiple ecologies are colliding with one another. It is no longer restricted to one pathway. It has broken out of the traditional framework.

One example is one of my favourite radio channels, ‘Triple J Unearthed’ where they support and play local bands, giving them an opportunity to distribute their music outside of the traditional and often unattainable framework of first getting signed by a music company.

Or youtube, in the fact that anyone can become famous by uploading a video of themselves singing, justin bieber > case & point. The music industry has definitely stepped out of the old school framework as the years go by, music producers peruse through youtube clips to find their next biggest star.. there are music reality shows in search of new and unheard of talent.. The music industry is transversal, with multiple ecologies co-existing with each other and independently.

Similar to journalism, where the framework was once perceived as being restricted to physical newspapers, radio or tv news etc. It has now extended beyond the framework as the internet continues to grow larger with so many opportunities. Anyone with access to the internet could potentially be a ‘journalist’ putting out news and info of their choice. Social networking has given way to multiple frameworks of journalism, with blogging sites and facebook and twitter – news is instant, showing how the journalism industry represents transversality. It brings me back to an old concept of ‘convergence’ where traditional media ecologies now must adapt to new ones in order to survive.

Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>

Week 6: Data and Media- An Unrequited Love?

Data, for the most part is information. Anything that can be processed. It gives us meaning and direction in our lives. Data is the foundation from which we go about our day to day lives. Eg, shopping, education, maps etc

The increase in technology has enabled us to access data more easily and super accessible, making the relationship between data and media a directly correlated relationship.

They both rely on each other, the media relies on data on delivering statistics, news and information to the public. Data gives us stability, we often rely on statistics to tell us how we feel in a way.

Movie reviews for example, http://www.rottentomatoes.com/ is the biggest movie rating/review site, where professional critics as well as customers come to give their rating and opinion of a movie. All this data provided by pro’s and consumers is recorded and accumulated into one big fat database of information. In turn, I usually jump on this site to check out how a movie is doing before I go to the cinemas to watch it – data influences your choices.

Aside from this, numerous apps such as diet ones, where you record what you eat.. to help you lose weight – or organization ones, where you put in your daily tasks and goals.. weather apps, transport apps, and also my latest one the ‘sleepapp’ where it records your sleep movement. There are multiple ways in which data helps us improve and be more efficient in our lives.

Whether this is right or wrong, I agree with Wolf, when he says we are (and living) in a data-driven world.

In answering the question whether data and media have an unrequited love.. Yes. I think media relies on data, whereas data does not necessarily need media. Data speaks for itself, numbers and statistics are facts, collected from a wide range of sources. The media then uses the data to deliver the information, using it as their basis for whatever they are trying to put out there. Continual data makes it possible for the creation of new technology.. eg enhanced GPS, better models of phones..

Advancing technology makes it possible for us to step outside what our memory allows us to remember, but allows devices to remember and record for us. Smartphones, ipods, tivo, ipads, diaries…

In conclusion, the question put forth to us whether we get along with data is an easy one. Of course, data enriches our lives, it makes it possible for us to make the best choices. And data & media will always interrelate, by working with each other in creating improvements for society.. eg googlemaps

Week 6 word: Transversally

Wolf, G. (2010). The Data-Driven Life. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02self-measurement-t.html. Last accessed 12 April 2012.

Quilty-Harper, C. (2010). 10 ways data is changing how we live.Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html. Last accessed 28th March 2012

Week Five—Reality: Actual, Potential and Virtual

Word ‘what is real’

Reality is a word that could extend to a number of definitions. Virtual reality can be defined as computer-stimulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real and imaginary worlds

Media has allowed us to create a virtual reality that separates us from actual reality. Technology has enabled us to do so, and results in our perceptions and reality being augmented and recreated. This is evident in online gaming (eg sims, world of warcraft) where you create virtual characters where your actual self can be completely independent from the virtual ‘you’.

A dangerous aspect of this is the failure to distinguish between virtual realities and the truth in actual reality. Credibility and accuracy could be lost in virtual space, evident in cyber bulling and ‘fakes’ on the internet. Virtual reality has the ability to bring an alternate world/reality into our minds and bodies. The inability to distinguish what is reality and virtual  is evident in accounts of gamers who play shooting games and then go on to carry out actions from the games into actual reality. This is one extreme but real danger of the power that virtual reality can have on the mind.

On the bright side, virtual reality has the power to brighten our lives. Enhanced digital sound, bright lights, cinemas where the chairs move, fog machines. These are all things to richen experiences and to enhance our senses by creating, a virtual world.

‘Augmented reality’ is ‘a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input’ (Wikipedia, 2012).

An amazing example is the the ‘resurrection’ of dead singer Tupac, at the recent US Coachella music festival. A life-sized hologram image of Tupac was created and showcased on stage –  based on the latest in CGI technology, created by Hollywood effects house Digital Domain. For the thousands of people at the concert, this created a virtual reality in the fact that Tupac who to everyone was dead – was now dancing and singing on stage as a result of incredible technology. People’s reality had become confused. Many people on twitter commented that ‘I can see it, but i cant believe it’ or ‘Felt incredibly sad and happy at the same time’, and ‘IS THIS REAL?!’, This is a result of their reality becoming augmented in a way that had shifted their realities of what was real or not.

Shortly after, the success of the hologram sparked talk of ‘Entire festivals built around dead artists’. This is just an example of how technology has the ability to create virtual realities beyond any of our expectations. We could perhaps one day, see holograms popping out of televisions.

“Welcome back Tupac: How virtual reality brought singer back from the grave”