Blog Reflection.

Throughout the process of studying BCM288, I have come up with a range of topics which provide me with a comprehensive knowledge about transnational media and culture. In this blog, I will briefly summary my understanding achieved from the course.

First of all, I have understood the meaning of this field of study to media audiences. This is the era where communication is so developed that people are no longer want to stay solely within their native culture and network anymore. Beyond that, they want to approach a range of different cultures and perspectives. Therefore, it is witnessed that different types of media with various content and origins are being enjoyed by audiences with diverse backgrounds. MasterChef, an Australian series creating a huge wave in India or If you are the one, a Chinese dating reality show being famous in Australia are several dominant examples. This phenomenon sets the foundation for ‘intercultural communication’, in which media content is able to approach a massive and diverse amount of audience by conveying universal values. It is understandable because according to Rohn 2009, universal values ‘can be detached from any culture’.

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Credit: Photobucket.

Secondly, knowledge about transnational culture and media is also beneficial for media producers. Due to the fact that audiences are looking for transnational media product, producers have to seek ways to satisfy that demand. As a result, cooperative events such as film festivals are established to provide producers with chances to meet, interact and exchange ideas (Stringer 2001). These kinds of events also promote co-production, which can be understood as the collaboration of producers to create hybrid products once they have achieved a common understanding. Film festivals varies from large and broad events namely Cannes, Berlin or London film festivals to small and centralized ones in Busan or Istanbul. Moreover, co-production can also attract government’s investment on cultural and media industries as producers are able to show their potential by working together (Kwon and Kim 2013).

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Credit: 48hourfilm.com.

Finally, I am taught to overcome barriers to be a part of cosmopolitanism. According to McLuhan 1964, with the help of technology and the Internet, the world is transitioning into a ‘global village’ where global citizens communicate across barriers. Stated by Waldron 2000, cosmopolitanism is when “all human beings belong to a single community”. Therefore, the Internet and other digital communication tools are providing me with not only opportunities but also responsibility to know, sympathize and support what is happening around me in a large scale. Wider news coverage about world issues raises the awareness of people about being more updated to be able to realize, understand, maintain what is good and fix what is not.  Virtual cosmopolitanism is a great movement for young people to turn social media practices, which used to be considered daily activities, into something really meaningful by broadening their network, achieving cultural understanding and forming new ‘third cultures’ (McEwan and Sobre-Denton, 2011).

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Credit: wslr.org.

To conclude, studying BCM288 allows me to understand the importance of transnational media and culture, which is essential to me as a person and in my future career working in the field of media. The subject raises my awareness that although there are still gaps and challenges in co-production or media piracy, the benefits of being actively engaged with intercultural practices to be a cosmopolitan and a global citizen are still significant.

References:

Kwon, S H and Kim, J 2013, ‘From censorship to active support: The Korean state and Korea’s cultural industries’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 24(4), pp.517-532.

McEwan, B and Sobre-Denton, M, 2011, Virtual cosmopolitanism: ‘Constructing third cultures and transmitting social and cultural capital through social media’, Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 4(4), pp.252-258.

McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding media: The extensions of a man, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.

Rohn, U 2009, Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content, Peter Lang, Frankfurt, Germany.

Stringer, J 2001, ‘Global cities and the international film festival economy’, Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, pp.134-144.

Waldron, J 2000, ‘What is cosmopolitan?’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 2, p./pp 227-243.           

 

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Twitter hashtag: a new level of cosmopolitanism.

We are living in a world of cosmopolitanism, which can be understood as “all human beings belong to a single community, based on a shared morality” (Waldron 2000). This ideology can be reflected in many aspects of our lives, from entertainment to politics. People with different backgrounds from various geographical areas are turning into global citizens in a “global village” (McLuhan 1964) to be more aware of events happening all around the world. With the help of high technology and the Internet in particular, cosmopolitanism has developed significantly both in form and scale. This short piece of writing will explain the matter of cosmopolitanism in term of social media practices with the case of one of the most dominant social network, Twitter.

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Credit: discoursesonliberty.blogspot.com.

With the development of the Internet, social media are becoming a great way for people to gather information in order to stay updated to latest news and events. Furthermore, social media also function as a tool to express sympathy, advocate and support others. Twitter, a dominant social network beside Facebook, is a great platform for such activities. Each tweet (or post) is limited in 140 characters only, which makes it seem to be worthless at first sight. However, Twitter has another small function but is able to create huge influence, the hashtag. By simply attaching the keywords with the letter # in their tweets, users are able to connect with others using the same hashtags and follow the topic created in real time. Short posts allow instant information update and with a huge amount of short posts with hashtags, people are able to capture the big picture in seconds.

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Credit: resourceaholic.com.

Thanks to Twitter and hashtag, cosmopolitanism is developing significantly by crossing many boundaries. People are allowed to connect to ones that are millions of miles apart from them by using the same hashtags. Time can be saved as one single message can be disseminated to a huge amount of people tracking those hashtags. As a result, the influence does not stop at the virtual aspect. Let’s take the example of Ukraine protest since 2014. By using Twitter and the hashtag #euromaidan, protestors are able to connect to others in a massive scale (Bohdanova 2013). People supporting the revolution from all over the world are kept informed by reading tweets posted on a secondly basis. Support from money, food, equipment to medical assistance are gathered by messages sent through Twitter. As a result, the protest exists and develops healthily in spite of government’s pressure (Bohdanova 2013).

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Credit: xoxol.org.

To conclude, cosmopolitanism can be promoted through not only formal channels like conventional media but also informal ones such as social media. In the case of Twitter and the #euromaidan, it can be seen that cosmopolitanism can totally develop significantly in term of citizen journalism. What it needs is the medium, or connection, and the hashtag is a great tool to utilize it.

Reference:

Bohdanova, T 2013, How Internet Tools Turned Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Into a Movement, Global voices, viewed November 1st 2016, <https://globalvoices.org/2013/12/09/how-internet-tools-turned-euromaidan-protests-into-a-movement/&gt;.

McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding media: The extensions of a man, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.

Waldron, J 2000, ‘What is cosmopolitan?’,The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 2, p./pp 227-243.              

 

 

Media piracy: on the bright side.

It is obvious that in order to create high quality media content, the producers have to spend a lot of time and effort on the work. Therefore, they are deserved to receive in return what is respective with their dedication, in terms of both materiality and mentality (Karaganis 2011).

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Credit: The American Assembly.

Currently, media producers are struggling with a phenomenon when their products are being distributed in a massive amount, at a low cost and most importantly, without their awareness and permission. This is what is defined by Karaganis 2011 as ‘media piracy’. ‘Media piracy’ is more likely to happen in developing countries where policies against copyright infringement are not as effective as that in developed nations. Furthermore, even in developed countries, media piracy still exists in the form of consumer goods in grocery stores, especially those of immigrants. For example, in Australia, it is totally possible to buy un-authorized DVDs with a relatively low price in, for example, Asian or Indian grocery stores (Athique 2006).This notion is serious in the way that media content is made available at a much lower price than what the producers want and the money earned is not going into their accounts.

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Credit: WordPress.

However, this situation can also have a bright side. According to Karaganis 2011, ‘high prices for media goods, low incomes and cheap digital technologies’ are the main reasons leading to media piracy. As mentioned before, media piracy is more popular in developing countries, where have lower living standard so people have to spend their little earnings on many expenses, which makes official, copyrighted media products something too luxurious.  Therefore, the question is: “Do people have unequal right of consuming media content because of their different circumstances? “. In this way, media piracy brings about the ‘mentality’ return (mentioned above) to producers as it promotes media circulation and distribution by giving chances to more audiences to consume (Jenkins 2004). This argument is reasonable in the way that without exposure, or audiences, media content is just worthless regardless of the quality because no one realizes or even knows about it. Therefore, media piracy can be considered a trade-off for media producers.

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Credit: MakeUseOf.com.

On a whole, if media producers want to create high quality, not just ‘high grossing’ products, this is what they want to achieve. With a larger amount of audiences, media producers and their products are more likely to be known and recognized. This explains why nowadays more and more artists are choosing to distribute their products publicly on digital platforms for free. Latest hits or music videos with high quality are released online requiring no fees for audiences. In this way, media producers promote their reputation both in number and scale, which can earn them money in return from advertising activities or concert.

References:

Athique, Adrian Mabbott 2006, ‘Bollywood and ‘grocery store’ video piracy in Australia’, Media international Australia, no. 121, pp. 41-51.

Karaganis, J 2011, Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, Social Science Research Council, United States of America.

Jenkins, H 2004, When Piracy Becomes Promotion, MIT Technology Review, viewed October 24th 2016, <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402969/when-piracy-becomes-promotion/&gt;.

 

 

 

BCM240 Final Project reflection.

For the final assignment of BCM240 this session, I have conducted a Facebook-based vines series focusing on Asian stereotypes. During the development process, I have narrowed down the topic to the differences between Asian and Western college environments. The reason leading me to this change is really simple. As an international student in Australia, just like other international students, I encounter several common problems namely language, cultural and lifestyle differences, etc. Moreover, before starting studying in Australia, I had experienced two years of college in Vietnam, my home country, so I have obtained a certain understanding about Asian college life. Therefore, I decided to start this project in order to help other international students like me to overcome the problems and adapt to their new lives better. Furthermore, this is also a great chance to introduce my culture to other Western friends and last but not least, to digitally tell the story of my journey. In this short essay, I will provide an overview of my project.

First of all, I will explain my method used to conduct this project. My main research type is to based on my personal observation and experience. By observing every event happening in all of my classes and compare them to the same events but happening in my former university in Vietnam, I figure out the differences and use them as ideas. The advantage of this method is that all the details are reliable because they are what I experience myself and they fit in the context of storytelling. I am telling my own story so my personal experiences are definitely the most reliable source of information. However, the drawback of this method is once I decided to make a vines series by generalizing all the observed details, they can turn out to be untrue for every case. For example, something I experience in my class in the Law, Humanities and the Art faculty can happen differently in classes of the Business faculty so audiences can think that I take them for granted. About my platform, I decided to choose Facebook rather than Youtube although Youtube is considered the best platform for video sharing. The main reason is, with Facebook, I can exploit my personal friends network so I can obtain an initial support which leads to regular exposure. Moreover, Facebook allows better interaction with viewers as they can comment, comment with picture or tag their friends directly.

Secondly, this project benefits my significantly. Due to the use of Facebook, I have learned the right time to upload my videos to gain the most attention and exposure. I normally share my vines at around 9.30pm because that is when people have finished all their work of the day and start social networking. I also gained more digital literacies as now I have had a certain understanding of basic editing, which I have no idea before I conduct this project. Shooting, trimming, applying sound effects or filters are the dominant skills that I have gained through the process. This project also allows me to realize my strength in visualizing the visual parts of the videos before I even start shooting them. This helps me to save a lot of time and to test a range of ideas without having to actually work on it. However, I recognize one weakness in filtering ideas because I came up with a lot of ideas but I struggled to choose which ones are feasible to turn into real products. Moreover, my collaborator, Mitchell and my audiences provided me with a lot of feedback. I have tried to improve every single video by including music, sound effects and even subtitles, because lots of my audiences are Vietnamese having unequal English proficiency.

Finally, I will mention my evaluation and future plan for the project. In general, I consider this was a successful project as I received a good exposure. On average, each video gains 1500 views and reaches 5000 people on Facebook with a lot of shares. Moreover, feedback from audiences show that they benefit from my contents not only on the entertainment aspect but also on the social angle. My friends who are both current and potential international students from all over the world are now more confident and prepared to solve the problems thanks to my sharing. Moreover, they also share back their own experiences in other environments (US, UK or Europe). Therefore, I will try to consult more people to receive more ideas and may be collaborate with them for more products of this topic. I will also extend my project to other topics such as love, everyday life or sports. With this project, I have learned to do something I like with all my passion and dedication, but in a professional way.

Notes:

My Prezi summary of the project (it takes time to load because I embedded videos): http://prezi.com/8c8r-j_unz0d/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Attention economy: the new drugs market ?

The Internet has eliminated barriers and made people’s online interaction more comfortable. This transition enables online platforms to develop state-of-the-art recommendation systems to match niche products with niche markets, which is called the ‘long tail‘ effect, proposed by Chris Anderson. Therefore, consumers are bombarded with tons of contents and that abundance leads to scarcity of attention which makes our attention become valuable, according to Kevin Kelly in our weekly reading and our lecturer Ted.

Subsequently, users receive recommendations of everything they consume and their attention will never be stopped from getting caught. The idea of ‘You do not know what you are missing‘ of users is exploited significantly and they get addicted of relevant contents suggested.

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This explains why people are addicted to their smart devices. No they are not ! They are addicted to the contents which are connected by them via devices. Eventually, those contents are becoming the new type of drugs, the digital drugs.

Media convergence turns passive users into active produsers. That explains why most of the contents on Youtube or Facebook are user-generated. This reality matches the above discussion: the attention economy is the new drugs market, and we users, are new drugs addicts, and also drugs dealers.

Harry Potter: the world outside the pages.

In this digital era, it is witnessed that there is a trend called ‘transmedia‘ which can be simply defined as different stories of a content are disseminated across multiple platforms, according to Henry Jenkins in this week reading. In this post I will examine the case of the Harry Potter series to justify this issue.

As we have already known, the Harry Potter series include 7 books in total. Besides, Warner Bros picture has established its film versions with 8 movies. These two are the best well-known categories.

Although the latest movie were released in 2011, the story of the-boy-who-lived has not stopped. One website called Pottermore is established and operated by the author J.K Rowling with the purpose is ‘for the audiences to explore the wizarding world themselves’ – said Rowling. This website is where author Rowling released some sideline stories related to the original ones. Moreover, this July in London, Harry Potter fans will have the chance to experience a different point of view with a play called ‘Harry Potter and the cursed child‘. And in November, another movie of which the story takes place not in England anymore but America long before Harry was born will reach the audiences.

As we can see, Harry Potter is a great example of ‘transmedia’. In the Soundcloud podcast below, I will indicate several implications of transmedia.

 

 

Media half-convergence

It is clear that media convergence has brought about a free flow of information across multiple platforms. People are able to publish various types of contents through various channels and those contents can be produced by themselves. At first sight, freedom of speech is significantly stimulated and all barriers have been demolished.

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In other hand, I still believe that this converging process has not reached its vantage point. The main reason here roots from the ‘Gatekeepers’ who plays the role of controlling the flow of contents, according to our reading for this week from Henry Jenkins. It can be said that nowadays the unconventional media (blogs, personal channels) are so developed that it overplays traditional forms. However, I personally think that orthodox media still have a strong position because they act as a recognition for contents published. For example, when the soccer transfer market opens, there are a lot of news and rumours from everywhere. However, those news, even they are correct, are only recognised once it has been confirmed by the official sources such as football team webpages.

In this way, gatekeepers are holding back the convergent process of media.