The Internet of Things: things are not going to rebel, aren’t they ?

This week we came up with a really interesting topic of the ‘Internet of things’ which can be defined as “a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction”, according to Internet of Things Agenda.

Personally, I consider it is the notion of how people apply sensors to stuffs around us and we have not only smartphones, but ‘smartthings’. The examples range from bracelets helping us to know our bodies’ status to smart toothbrushes recognizing teeth’s problem or even a smart house. The advantage of this transition is far more than we can imagine such as smart cement monitoring stresses, cracks, and warpages, which is installed after the bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007.

2al2kw3

Despite all those benefits, there are concerns such as lack of privacy or security. Personally, I have another concern. As we have already known, smart devices actually operate based on our habits, which can be understood as following structured actions. So what if one day, they will not follow the same pattern anymore, and do something else ? Or worse, rebel ? Okay, they are just machines, but they are ‘smart’. Recently one of the smartest human-like robots also said that she would ‘destroy human’ so anything can happen.

Tell me guys, they are not going to rebel, aren’t they ?

Advertisements

Online hacktivist: the digital Robin Hood

Once upon a time in ancient England, there was a young, handsome (I don’t believe this), brave, and chilvarious man named Robin Hood. He was famous for his great personality of helping people, fighting against criminals and stealing from the rich to give the poor.

How sweet he is.

It does not matter whether Robin Hood actually existed or he was an imaginative product, but his image did create a belief f0r social equality. Personally, I do not advocate the idea that there should be no rich and no poor, because the differentiation between classes is the base for social development.However, this week topic brought me to a place where I think there is a huge need for Robin Hood, and undoubtedly, it is the digital world.

“Robin Hood is a man who tends to give to others what he CAN claim as his own. He steals right? So he can claim all stolen to be his’, but no, he did not. He stuck to the idea of giving it the poor because that is what really the reason why he did it.”

– Anonymous – (actually anonymous, not the hackers’ team).

According to our lecturer Ted in this week lecture, hacker ethics include ‘sharing, information freedom, no secrets’. Julian Assange, Wikileak’s founder, once said: “Don’t damage the computer system you break into, don’t change the information in those systems, and share information”.

udd3qlf

Finally, the image of Robin Hood makes sense to me.

We are in the ‘attention economy’, where our attention becomes valuable. We are bombarded with massive amount of information everyday, so our attention should be spent on precious information. Therefore, we have the right to approach information that we are supposed to approach, which leads to a free flow of information. Subsequently, there is a need for white-hat hacktivists, who break the barriers and allow cyberspace citizens to get rid of control and regulation, and enjoy the digital equality.

 

BCM240 Blog Reflection

During my study of BCM240: Media, Audience and Place this semester, blogging is an essential part. Throughout nine weeks engaging in this task, I have gained a certain understanding of how to properly write posts, design blog as well as engage with others to build a media place of my own. Therefore, in this short piece of writing, I will briefly explain my nine-week blogging experience.

First of all, one of my important aims when performing this task is to familiarize myself with research blogging. According to Zivkovic 2011, one feature of research blogging is to discover and explain new research. Therefore, I always try to come up with new findings supported by previous research effort in every single post of mine. Thanks to the guidance I received from lectures, tutorials and weekly materials, I am able to partly understand how research is properly conducted to gather information supporting personal opinions to make them more persuasive to readers. Only by approaching readings and sources can I design a good resource to show readers that although my presented opinions are original, they are concluded based on critically analysing others’ ideas. For example, in my final project proposal, in order to prove that my idea approach of making vines is reasonable, I had reached a range of sources from articles explaining the advantages of the genre, posts analysing my choice of platform to ones that inspire me to choose the particular topic for my content. This is also one part of the feedback I received from Task 1 as my tutor encouraged me to include additional sources because they can ‘add weight to my discussion and compliment my insights nicely’. By doing this, I am able to reinforce my own thinking as well as to review and figure out other details to add in and make it better.

blogging

Secondly, I have achieved knowledge of how to engage with readers throughout the blogging process. One suggestion from Connell 2016 is to mention others in my posts in order to create traffic. I find this suggestion really useful in the way that when I link my post to related bloggers, they will be able to know, read and contribute ideas. Moreover, I also have the opportunity to reinforce my existing ideas as well as to approach new way of thinking to enrich my understanding. For instance, when writing about my experience of reading other people’s interviews, I mentioned several peers whose blogs I found interesting and useful. As a result, some of them realized then followed by blog and gave me suggestions. In the feedback I received for Task 1, my tutor suggested me to link my blog to other blogs and websites to improve my media space so I designed one category called ‘Friends and Fellows’ on my blog showing people that I follow and interact regularly with. Moreover, links to other websites that are of my interest are also included. My tutor also suggested me to have additional hashtags, which I found really useful as I used to include hashtags related to UOW and BCM240 network only. By adding in hashtags that are relevant to the topic, I am able to reach potential readers in various fields. According to Connell 2016, publishing content often is a good way to engage with readers. Therefore, I maintain my blogging momentum by publishing at least 2 posts a week in order to be active online. As a result, there are familiar users that follow and comment on my blog quite regularly.

blogging-success-2013-green-wood-1t4tkvs

Thirdly, I have improved the quality of my blog by understanding how to address the problem in a constructive way. Stated by Williams, one attribute of constructive communication is to be problem-oriented. Therefore, in every single blog, I always try to focus on the main problems that are raised. Zenger 2014 also suggests to start with theories as the foundation for further discussion. I found this tip useful in the way that an academic theory will set the base for the post as it provides readers with a general idea about the topic. Another advantage of this approach is I am able to have a reliable supporting argument for my opinions. For instance, when writing about one of my cinema experience and relating that experience to the notion of space and place, I began by citing Hagerstrand’s three constraints and analyse my case based on them. Furthermore, this task allowed me to be more aware of the importance of using examples to support my arguments. Including examples or real-life case studies enabled me to justify my ideas as well as to clarify them for readers. For example, in my blog post explaining the Australian Classification Board and its influence on the idea of media space and place, I analysed the example of the movie Star Wars: The force awakens as a related case.

2836828090_d44f5278bd

Finally, I have gained understanding of how to use my blog to engage with the ideas of the subject. I have been blogging for three sessions so far but before doing this subject, I still considered blog is just a place for one-way communication. However, at the moment I realized that blog is also a media space where information is conveyed flexibly between writers and readers, which also leads to the trend of user-generated content as I am able to gather new content from people engaging with my blog. This is an important transition that turns user into produser (Bruns 2006). Therefore, in order for my readers to feel like being in a real media space rather than a reading website, I have done a lot to improve my blog. For example, in this session I have designed categories on top of the site for readers to navigate easily, linked my blog to other platforms (Twitter, Facebook) so people can have a ‘media convergence’ experience (Jenkins 2006) and included different types of media (pictures, videos, inforgraphics, memes) for users to really engaged in a media space when interacting with my blog.

To conclude, nine weeks of blogging in BCM240: Media, audience and place this semester have been a great experience for me so far. I have been able to develop my skills in research blogging, understand how to engage with readers effectively, gain knowledge about constructively address problems and above all, use my blog as a tool to practice what I have learned in the subject. This will undoubtedly be a memorable and useful experience in my media journey here in UOW, as well as in my future career.

References:

Bruns, Axel 2006, Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production. In Sudweeks, Fay and Hrachovec, Herbert and Ess, Charles, Eds. Proceedings Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology 2006, pages pp. 275-284, Tartu, Estonia.

Connell, Adam 2016, How to boost engagement on your blog (so it doesn’t look like a ghost town), Blogging Wizard, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.bloggingwizard.com/reader-engagement/&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry 2006, Welcome to the convergence culture, The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed October 1st 2016, <http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html&gt;.

Williams, Scott, Communicating constructively, Wright State University, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/communicating.htm&gt;.

Zenger, T 2014, Start with a theory, not a strategy, Harvard Business Review, viewed September 30th 2016, <https://hbr.org/2014/06/start-with-a-theory-not-a-strategy&gt;.

Zivkovic, Bora 2011, What is: Research Blogging, Scientific American, viewed September 2016, <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/network-central/what-is-researchblogging-org/&gt;.

 

 

Social media: gives voice to those not heard.

It is obvious that thanks to the Internet and distributed control, many barriers have been eradicated. One important benefit of this transition is how people are able to communicate their own opinions to those sharing the same thoughts without being blocked by mainstream media. Thanks to social media, communication is now easier than ever.

This huge improvement has fueled revolutions from all over the world where people are restrained by governments which put heavy control and regulation on mainstream media. In places where “free speech” is something impractical, social media appears to be a pain reliever. Such phenomenon as the #ArabSpring or #EuroMaidan can be successful due to the communication network that people created based on online social platform such as Twitter or Facebook. Social media brings about connectivity, which was essential because ‘connectivity is power’, said our lecturer Ted.

ddal7ly

In this post I want to mention another recent phenomena which fit in this context: Hong Kong’s 2014 protests, so called the “Umbrella revolution”. As we have already known, Chinese government has put extreme regulation on Hong Kong, which used to be politically independent from its mother country. Therefore, it was nearly impossible for Hong Kong people to raise their voice through mainstream media. However, the revolution in 2014 was significantly successful thanks to the use of social media, where tweets and posts from students were spreaded out and led to the participation of thousands of citizens who were not students. People also used social media to update about the process, the same as other protests in Tunisia or Ukraine. One of the leaders of the protest was Joshua Wong, who was only 17 at the time, empowered by social media and now elected to Hong Kong’s legislative council.

enhanced-buzz-wide-1455-1411990024-13

Therefore, I can conclude that social media has turned zero to hero, empowered who are not empowered, and given voice to those are not heard.

Media regulation: no longer joint experience.

Over years of development, media all over the world have experienced various types of regulation. The main purpose of media regulation is to decide whether the content conveyed by media is suitable for different types of audiences consuming it. According to this purpose, the presence of media regulation is essential and crucial that it protects audiences from content that may negatively influence them and guide them to content that fits. However, media regulation also has several drawbacks that it may diminish media circulation or limits the interaction between audiences and content creators that producers are not able to reach their desired consumers. Another point that needs to be taken into consideration is the effect of media regulation on the notion of space and places. This blog post will indicate the effect on space and places of media regulation with analysis of the case of Australian Classification Board.

Australian Classification Board is the regulation that gives ratings to different types of media namely films, TV or video games. The ratings varies from E (exempt from classification), G (general), PG (parental guidance recommended) or M (recommended for mature audiences) that decides the suitable audiences for particular contents.

fixing-australia-game-rating-system-au-en

One possible effect of classification board is that it may reduce the ‘joint attention‘ that audiences have when consuming media content with varied types of people in the way they share the same experience and attention with strangers. It is obvious that children are not supposed to watch movies with M (mature) rating. However, there are cases that ratings are not quite true or blurred. For example, in the case of the newly released episode of the Star Wars series called The force awakens. Although I’m not a big fan of this series, I still aware that it is enjoyed by audiences of different generations. However, this episode is given the M rating, which prevents children under 15 to watch it. This movement of the Australian Classification Board also confused parents who ‘saw the first three Star Wars films as they came out as a child’ (Gough 2015). Therefore, it is hard for different generations to consume this episode together in one cinema room and subsequently, they will not have such ‘joint attention’ experience, which they used to have in the past with the previous Star Wars episodes.

Beside films and cinema experience, we can also relate the problem to the aspect of games. It is reported that the new gaming classification system has banned ‘219 games in just 4 months’ (Reilly 2015), which means nowadays a lot of young gamers are not able to play games that previous generations have played at their ages. Therefore, the gaming space could changed in the way that kids may not have the chance to experience playing the same games in the same living room as their brothers used to do, or a mature brother may not be able to play the same game with his little brother in their living room like they used to do. Their experience of the living room in their own houses or gaming centers may change due to this regulation, and people’s ‘joint attention’ experience can also never be the same again.

In a whole, it is essential to have a regulation such as Australian Classification Board, but it needs to be flexible in order to allow people to consume media in the best ways for them and in the places that give them the best experience. Due to the classification board, a mom would have to go hire a DVD of a film with an M rating to watch it and decide whether it is suitable for her children (Gough 2015). It needs to take into account opinions of ones who directly consume media, in order to prevent it from ‘deciding for those it does not represent‘ (Guy 2012).

References:

Gough, D 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Why the M rating is confusing for parents, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed September 23rd 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/star-wars-the-force-awakens-why-the-m-rating-is-confusing-for-parents-20151215-glolje.html&gt;.

Guy, G 2012, Classification board: deciding for those they (don’t) represent, ABC News, viewed September 23rd 2016, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-03/guy-classification-board-making-decisions/3755220&gt;.

Reilly, C 2015, Classification board bans 219 games in 4 months, but clears 150,000, CNet, viewed September 2016, <http://www.cnet.com/au/news/australian-classification-bans-219-games-clears-150000/&gt;.

 

 

From Vines to Twitter: capturing the ‘now’.

Vines create a massive trend throughout the world in just 6 seconds. Only 6 seconds. There are many reasons for this duration. Some can explain that because human attention span has been reduced to no more than 8 seconds so vines can settle down within that amount while others argue that such a short duration is easy to make and people are not hesitant to watch.

Twitter becomes one of the most dominant social networks with a words limit of 140 characters. Just 140. Back to 2006 when it was founded, Twitter was designed to be used via wireless carriers’ text-messaging services with 160-character limit. Therefore, Twitter’s creators took out 20 characters for the user name and there we have the magic number.

Fair enough.

umii6rm

But both of them developed significantly out of expectation and the above arguments. The reason lies in the nature of their usage: capturing the ‘now’. In order to be instant, you don’t need much. You don’t need to many visuals as well as too many words. Therefore, the success of Twitter comes from its origin: text messages. With just 140 characters, you are able to capture your ‘now’ and let people know. Moreover, others are not hesitant to be able to know your ‘now’ by reading a 140-character tweets, just the same as the text message from you replying their text. And with a whole social site with networks of hundreds or thousands followers, you are able to capture the ‘now’ of the whole world.

Multi-media devices attention test

In this digital era, it is obvious that a large proportion of people are experiencing multi-screening, which can be referred to ‘the use of multiple digital devices at once’ (Marais 2013). This results in the fact that human’s attention span on one thing is being reduced and by the time of 2015, the average human’s attention span is just 8 seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds) (Watson 2015).

Young people, or millennials, are among the most likely to multi-screen. According to a Nielsen study in 2015, 92% of millennials surveyed responded that they used a smartphone or tablet while watching TV (Birkner 2015). I myself can relate to this phenomenon as I tend to use my smartphone while watching TV or sometimes the smartphone distracts me intentionally with text messages or Facebook notifications. As a result, people’s attention span as well as the way they consume media have changed dramatically. Therefore, in order to write this blog, I decided to design and implement an multi-media devices attention test with the participation of a person around my age to reinforce and confirm this phenomenon.

The participant in this test is my housemate who is 25 years old and I will call him Justin in this blog (this is his English name). I decided to show Justin the last minutes of NBA Finals 2016 game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The reason I choose this footage is because I consider this is one of the best moments ever in the history of the NBA and it will be able to capture Justin’s attention. Justin also did not know about the game as well as its result because he is not really a basketball fan.

However, I made a little adjustment to the clip as I cut off the last seconds which the Cleveland Cavaliers were about the celebrate their championship and replaced by the last seconds from game 2, in which the Cavaliers lost.The two games were held in the same place which was Oracle Arena in Oakland and everything from the crowd to the players were mostly the same. You can see the transition at 9:36.

While he was watching, I kept texting him to ask about the process and tagging his Facebook in posts that are of his interests such as sneakers or food. I maintained our interaction on Facebook by commenting and replying to him to distract him from watching the game and pushing the activity to its peak at the moment the clip was cut and transitioned. After he finished, I asked him which team won and undoubtedly, he responded the Warriors. I also asked him whether he was sure about his response and whether he noticed any thing abnormal but the decision was kept. Afterward, Justin was told to move the clip back and take a look at the uniform of the Cavaliers and compare it with the last seconds. Not until that time did he realized that they were wearing slightly different costumes as those in game 2 were in deep blue and black in game 7.

This small test clearly showed that our attention is spreaded significantly while multi-screening and of course we tend to pay attention to something more appealing. It is interesting that we are witnessing and experiencing the establishment of the ‘attention economy‘ where there are too many contents around us and therefore, our attention becomes valuable (Ingram 2015).

References:

Marais, S 2013, The Rise of the Multi-Screen Phenomenon: What Multitasking Means for Digital Marketers, Media Vision, viewed September 16th 2016, <http://www.mediavisioninteractive.com/blog/facts-and-figures/the-multi-screen-phenomenon&gt;

Watson, L 2015, Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones, The Telegraph, viewed September 16th 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/&gt;

Birkner, C 2015, Millennials’ Attention Divided Across Devices More Than Other Age Groups, Study Finds, American Marketing Association, viewed September 16th 2016, <https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/Marketing-News-Weekly/Pages/millennials-attention-devices.aspx&gt;

Ingram, M 2015, The attention economy and the implosion of traditional media, Fortune, viewed September 16th 2016, <http://fortune.com/2015/08/12/attention-economy/&gt;