Week Nine – Social Organization—Micropolitics, Networks, Designing for and Living in New Communities

This week we looked at how new media technologies is changing social organisation. It is shifting the structure and framework which we are organised in, into something else. Perhaps better.

Our organised society is changing, social media has allowed us to ascend into new levels of engagement. New communities have been allowed to form thanks to online public sphere. People with common interests converge online and form a new community.

Social organization can now take place online with people forming groups to fight for what they want or to voice their opinions. eg marriage rights protest. New media has allowed for more voices to be reached and heard.

Thomas Jellis introduces the term ‘micropolitics’ defined as  “the creation of techniques for collaboration, involve experimentation and an openness to be experimental” So I guess this means, its the opening up of new communities to be trialled and formed. It is the use of power by the people outside the large organizations, (macropolitics) in achieving goals within their own constructs of an organization.

The internet for example has allowed ‘micropolitic’ communities to break the framework put up by government and large organizations. There are every-day people doing citizen journalism, reporting on news that might not be covered by mainstream media, therefore putting such info and news online on their own websites to be seen by the public outside of typical framing. Developments in social media means we all have access of ‘governing’, we have resources and we have data if we seek it.

Social organization has changed the outcome of goverment’s actions, through the collaboration of ideas by communities. It demonstrates that micropolitics is a transversal system. The control by the goverment in Terranova’s reading is weakening because there are so many networks that are thriving together. Technology is making is harder for anyone to control data or information, but is also the best place to begin in creating new social organizations.

Jellis, Thomas (2009) ‘Disorientation and micropolitics: a response’, spacesof[aesthetic]experimentation, <http://www.spacesofexperimentation.net/montreal/disorientation-and-micropolitics-a-response/> (read only the first bit, until the paragraph just under the quote)

 Terranova,Tiziana (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ In Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age London: Pluto: 101-106


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”

week 4 “Global Mnemotechnics”—Globalising Memory, Thinking and Action

This week, we looked at memory & mnemotechnics. ‘The extended mind’ reading by David Chalmers, argues that cognitive processes aren’t all in the head. Today, we’ve got so much technology that exists that enhances our ability to ‘remember’. So much so, that you can say technology pretty much dictates the way we live our day to day lives. What would we be without our iphones? that has our to-do lists? or our contact numbers? without access to the internet?

To help myself understand this issue better – this week I wrote down everything I did, as a way of showing that memory is technologically-driven. So I’ve discovered my mnemotechnologies consist of my iphone, laptop, desktop computer, diaryplanner and ipod. They all act as a giant USB for me, its like having an ‘extended mind’ as you will – and  providing me with extra storage for my memory. As human beings, we are limited to how big our capacity is to store memories in. These technologies enable us to store & free our memory for further information. My phone reminds me of errands i need to run eg ‘buy work shoes’ – my alarm wakes me up every day – & my diary planner lets me know that I have to do 3 blogs by the end of this uni week! I actually left my phone at home this week, and I had uni AND work that day. It was a complete struggle to get through the day, not only did I forget what lecture I had on because I didnt have my phone to look at my timetable – I went to work at the wrong time because I forgot exactly when I started.. it was a bit chaotic and I never felt so disorganised being without my ‘memory aids’. Considering that we live in such chaotic environments these days, ‘mnemotechnologies’ are necessary and I believe, help us SURVIVE in this crazy media world.

While these technologies enable us to lead easier lives by means of organisation – the Brain Blogger article explores the concept of brain washing. It is true I guess, that we are swept up into a media world by means of what we choose to look at or surround ourselves  in on a daily basis.The media is collectively showing us what we need to think about that day, the newspapers show us what is most newsworthy on any given day and social networking sites and other forums like radio and magazine is constantly telling us what we should be thinking about. Is it serious enough to to label it as ‘brain washing?’ Perhaps, but to an extent – it is quite accurate. We are growing up in a generation of ever-advancing technology and we come to rely on the media excessively – for information and news, for a sense of purpose in our days. There is no hiding from it – we live in a technologically driven, media environment and we have already adapted to it through our excessive use of technologies.

Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’, Brainblogger.com, December 28 <http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>


Chalmers, David (2009) ‘The Extended Mind Revisited [1/5], at Hong Kong, 2009’, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S149IVHhmc>


Week 3 – Ecologies

This week, we looked further into understanding the concept of ‘media ecologies.’ Neil Postman explains it simply as ‘how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival. The word ecology implies the study of environments: their structure, content, and impact on people.’

Basically, what I’ve learnt this weeks lecture and the readings suggest that society today is governed by our media environments. My reflection from this week is an easy one, my life is completely governed by the media because i constantly live in media environments.

‘The New Media Ecology’ by Milissa Deitz questions the value of today’s contemporary media. This is because we now have almost limitless resources available to us and also, easily accessible. To help myself understand this, I looked around this week, and observed and pinpointed my own media ecologies and how they differed from place to place. In the comforts of my own home, my media ecologies are THRIVING. Surrounded by limitless internet, television, my iphone, ipod, radio, books, magazines..
But then suddenly, I’ll be in my car, and my media ecologies/environment shifts – there is no 24/7 access to the internet anymore, & if you’re with shitty vodafone like I am, then you’re pretty much doomed. So there are times, when i feel the sense of being cut off from the social world, when i am stuck in traffic with no reception. and therefore my interaction with media suddenly diminishes as opposed to the home where it ‘facilitates my survival’ (postman) – it gives me structure and a sense of control in knowing i can access anything at my will.

Something I found very accurate is the way Deitz describes this ‘new media egology’ – as open and unstable. My own interpretation of this is that this comes from the instability of the multiple media technologies and platforms that exist. A contemporary example that I can think of, is how fast one phenomenon can being and how rapid it can decline. Social networking sites for example – sites such as myspace and bebo garnered up much popularity, but as fast as one begins, it only takes something else to bring it down. Facebook, pretty much caused the demise of existing social networking sites, and new sites such as tumblr and twitter had to re-invent and adapt to new ideas to co-exist. It also made me think of how people use to rely on traditional media, such as newspapers to make sense of their media environment. However, traditional media gave way to new media. It is ‘open’ due to the fact, that anyone with access to the internet can distribute information into the public and which is causing the blur of boundaries of who can be defined as a ‘journalist’ or what can be classified as ‘news.’
As our environments change, society will continue to change alongside it. The social impact of the internet enabled what most of our lives now consist of every day – communication on multiple platforms through new forms of social interaction, activities and organization which our days revolve around. Today’s media – however, has proliferated the magnitude in which we communicate, accelerating beyond lines of basic communications and information on whole new levels. One limitation though, are developing countries who dont live in media ecologies or barely come into contact with it.

Word: ‘Embodies’

‘Media Ecology’, Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ecology>
Media Ecology Association ‘What is Media Ecology’ <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’, On Line Opinion: Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate <http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1>

Final research project note – understanding media ecologies has been interesting, a paper on how different places created different media environments could be a sound idea.