Media convergence: into the communication maze

A 15-year-old unknown boy becomes a world popstar or an unknown cat becomes the face of Uniqlo, these two cases have one thing in common: they got famous from home-made Youtube videos. They are just two of a thousands examples of self-created contents that spread out in a global scale. All of them are the proof that now people are able to control the media and that is part of what we call ‘media convergence’.

Thanks to globalisation, we have the Internet. Thanks to globalisation, we have more media platforms. Those two factors contribute creating a significantly interactive communication system around the world.

At the moment, people can read different newspapers with different categories, watch various movies of various genres or listen to many songs of many kinds. They can do all those stuffs just in a single tap. They are in our smartphones. We have the world in our pocket and access to it on our fingertip.

That is media convergence: we have what we want.

At this moment, I am writing a blog that can be read by the whole world. At this moment three days ago in my lecture, I was tweeting for the whole world. And in every single minutes, other people are creating contents for the whole world themselves.

That is more of media convergence: we create what we want.

The media power is shifting from the producers to the audiences. It is a business so the providers have to satisfy the users. Users want something, then they are provided with it. ABC readers want to read news on their laptop besides watching on TV, they have an ABC web version. Then they want to access news on their smartphones, ABC makes an app version. In other points of view, media power is holding still. It is the role of people using it which changes. From the examples mentioned above, it can be seen that users produce what they want to consume by themselves. User and producer, we have ‘produser‘.

In this bright side, media convergence is a positive movement. In another not-too-bright side, it can be not-too-positive that contents can be overloaded. Everyone has the power to create contents and disseminate to others so the amount of information is massive. Interacting with that huge amount on a daily basis affects the way we think and develop our own ideas. Therefore, in this media convergence era, it is essential for users not to get lost in this communication maze and create the right content as the key to get out of it.

Reference:

Adib, D 2009, Pop Star Justin Bieber Is on the Brink of Superstardom, ABC News, viewed 2nd April 2016,

<http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/teen-pop-star-justin-bieber-discovered-youtube/story?id=9068403&gt;

Gianatasio, D 2012, Maru, the Internet’s Top Cat, Goes to Work for Uniqlo, AdWeek, viewed 2nd April 2016,

<http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/maru-internets-top-cat-goes-work-uniqlo-143343&gt;

2015, Henry Jenkins, online video, 21st September 2009, Youtube, viewed 2nd April 2016,

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibJaqXVaOaI&gt;

2016, ABC News, viewed 2nd April 2016,

<http://abcnews.go.com/US/fullpage/abc-news-app-iphone-android-windows-29054814&gt;

2008, Produsage.ord, viewed 2nd April 2016,

<http://produsage.org/produsage&gt;

 

 

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Media ownership: what really matters ?

It is clear that media plays an important role in people’s life especially in this digital era. Beside providing information, media enables us to develop our own perspectives since we interact with different points of views in various aspects. However, media is experiencing a significant transformation as they are converging to the ownership of fewer individuals and private organisations. Opinions have been proposed of whether this change makes any difference.

First of all, let’s take a look at the benefits this change brings about. Media concentration also means that regulation is less strict so it stimulates democracy and the freedom of speech. Communication channels convey the opinions of not the government but the people owning it and those people represent the grassroots so the contents are less filtered. Media is an industry so its main purpose is to serve the customers – the audiences. Therefore, people are able to see what they want. In this way, the consolidation proves to be positive.

Does this shift result in a negative outcome ?

As mentioned above, the opinions transmitted are those of the people owning the media. Those ideas are personal ones of those people or of others that are supported by them. Consequently, media contents are not contested. People’s mind is directed in certain ways that media owners want. Moreover, because media belongs to private owners and it is becoming an industry, its main target is profit so the contents selected are those can generate great revenue rather than those with high values. Under these perspectives, media ownership change is not beneficial.

But does it matter  and create any differences ?

Let’s take the example of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul, the media godfather. It is undoubtful that he is one of the most powerful people of the media world as a huge communication system is under his procession. And Murdoch also shows that he does use his tool to convey his personal points of view which are really controversial such as denying climate change. He even bought the National Geographic Channel to support him in this debate. However, the evidence of climate is so obvious that people do not have a blind trust in this case. It proves that people are not absolutely affected by the change in media ownership instead they have their own reasoning.

It does not matter who own the media, but the views they hold and the purpose they want media to serve. The most important, is people’s interpretation of media.

Reference:

Goncalves, R 2016, SBS FINANCE | Government discusses media ownership, online video, Youtube, viewed 26th March 2016,

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUO4KwBTVyo&gt;

Jardin, X 2015, Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists, Boing Boing, viewed 26th March 2016,

<http://boingboing.net/2015/09/09/rupert-murdoch-just-bought-nat.html&gt;

Nuccitelli, D 2014, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t understand climate change basics, and that’s a problem, The Guardian, viewed 26th March 2016,

<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jul/14/rupert-murdoch-doesnt-understand-climate-basics&gt;

Solanski, P 2016, Pros and Cons of Media Consolidation, Buzzle, viewed 26th March 2016,

<http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-media-consolidation.html&gt;


 

Media text: reading text, reading world

The world we are living in is a really complex world. Therefore, everything we interact with contains lots of complexities. Those differences are shaped by many elements from demographic to culture. That’s why in different situations and issues, people’s views vary in many distinctive ways. This diversity is an important part of communication of which the main purpose is to convey meaning and reach common understanding. Communicators, in particular advertisers and marketers, have exploited this variation to create creative visual products that are able to convey different meanings. Let us take a look as an example.

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Above is a picture in Nike’s promotion campaign supporting England football team in the 2006 World Cup.

First of all, we can see this is a really impressive picture with an eye-catching expression. Featuring in the image is English striker Wayne Rooney, half-naked with his common goal celebration. On his body is a red cross which looks like paint or blood. Nike’s logo and slogan ‘Just do it’ is located on the bottom right corner. It can be seen that Rooney’s expression is really incentive.

This picture can be explained in a way that it supports England football team as the red cross and the white background (both the real white background and Rooney’s skin) represent England national flag. Rooney is the core factor of the team as he is a raising star and a great scorer so his influence is significant. His goal celebration also means victory which is the aim of England team in the World Cup.

Another explanation could derive from Nike’s slogan ‘Just do it’. The red colour of the cross can be related to strength and enthusiasm which are the attributes that Nike wants its athletes and customers to have. Moreover, the material of the cross looks like blood, which represents the efforts and dedication of people to thing they do. ‘Just do it’ – no matter it can be difficult or paintful. Wayne Rooney at that time is a young, talented athlete who can be a great model for the optimistic, fearless spirit that Nike wants to convey.

The example above is just one of a millions creative products that convey different meanings. The variation means that effective communicators have to aware of the similarities as well as the differences of the environments they want to engage with. How people read media texts is how they read the world. They are different because our world is just awesome.

Reference:

Alan 2015, #TBT June 2006 | Nike put the St George’s Cross on Wayne Rooney, Footy-Boots, viewed 19th March 2016,

<https://www.footy-boots.com/rooney-nike-shocking-marketing-image/>&gt;

 

Consuming media: be smart or get smashed ?

So another week passed by and I come back to my blog. It’s been a great week that I finally (or partly) recovered from jetlag and got familiar with a new sleeping pattern (it’s the 90-minute rule if anyone is wondering). That means now I can wake up early on Wednesday morning to attend BCM110 lecture which is way more interesting than listening to it online. However, Game of Thrones is becoming a tradition of this class and I still have no idea of it.

It is obvious that the media are becoming an essential part in our lives that we interact with them on a daily basis. We may use many different forms of media (TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet) or only one but convergent form – the smartphone. The increasing usage of media raises anxieties that whether it makes us better or worse ?

One  problem mentioned in the lecture that I am really interested in is about kids that grow up online. It is pretty shocking to me that this problem seems to emerge around 10 years ago, but actually it has been anticipated since 1995 (when I was born). This problem can be seen anywhere as anytime I babysit my 2-year-old niece, she asks me to show her Youtube videos (Ju-Tut – according to her babbling voice). It is truly a light headache that she is so cute asking me that I can’t deny but the BCM110 lecture taught me that it is a real problem caused by the media.

And here the question is, do the media change our behaviours, or do we ourselves ?

Come back to the example above, ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ is my great baby sitting tool that I can just open it on a tablet and give it to my niece then enjoy one hour in peace video calling my girlfriend. In other hand, it’s gonna be a real Hunger game: me, my niece, fighting for the tablet. She has a real weapon, her tears, which neutralizes all my attributes. Do I even have a choice ?

HaThu2

The media do influences me. And I got to thank them for that.

However, we have to take a look backwards. Do the media have the power to force us to do things we don’t want to ? Do the media invent themselves ?

No, they don’t.

It is us ourselves who give up our own power to control and authorise that power to the media. We blame the media because it is never easy to admit it subjectively. Honestly, I am totally able not to show me little niece any Youtube videos although she may cry. However, I can find other ways to satisfy her such as taking her out to the playground, letting her play with my cat or even singing Twinkle Star myself (not smart actually, I sing terribly). The underlying cause here is people’s laziness, both mental and physical.

HaThu1

Media are great extensions of ourselves. Therefore, take full advantage of them wisely. Use them smart, or get smashed by them.

 

 

 

 

 

The journey continues

So finally i came back to the University of Wollongong after a three-month summer holiday that I spent in Vietnam – my home country. I am still eager to learn, eager to write and eager to discover but it cannot be denied that such long vacation did hold me back so I am still not into the studying stuffs.

Coming back to school, is never easy, at all.

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I just made a fees payment to the University yesterday so that movement really brought me back to reality, that I am using up a big amount of money here so I got to focus on what I suppose to do. However, it is the University and the Communication and Media studies course my greatest motivation that I finally found something that I love to learn and love to do.

The first week was amazing that as far as i know, the subjects I take this session really into the practical field, which is really different to the foundational ones of the previous semester. One more great thing is that I can come back to writing blogs, which was just a new experience to me since I studied BCM111 last year. Hoping I can make this a new routine from now on.

The BCM112 lecture was interesting that I partly understand what ‘convergent’ in the subject name actually means. It is cool to figure out that media are changing from analog to digital forms, that we are having a ‘convergent’ medium in our pocket – the smartphone which is called by a Japanese name (that i do not really remember the spelling) meaning the ‘always with me’ (thumbs up for Professor Sue Turnbull for providing this in the BCM110 lecture, I will bear this in mind). However, I still wonder that which types of medium are defined ‘analog’ ? Is it possible that maybe in the next century, when we have a much more superior device then the smartphone will be listed ‘analog’ ?

Anyway it is just the first week so I consider it a warm-up week and this first blog is the first getting-ready movement. Australia is a big journey to me, and let it continues.

I will still be eager to learn, eager to write and eager to discover.