Tag Archives: Notes

Podcast Notes: on Facebook and Personal Reality

My Dad, who has quit Facebook (almost), recently posted a link to a podcast on his Facebook page and it is one of the most interesting podcasts I’ve encountered lately. From the ABC program Conversations came the episode:
Facebook and the last days of reality: futurist Mark Pesce

I listened to the episode while knitting, then a few days later grabbed a notebook and took some sketch notes while I listened again. Here are some of my main takeaways:

  • The Facebook Algorithm  acts as a Cognitive Bias Amplifier because showing us what we want to see keeps us on the platform and the more we use Facebook, the more Facebook knows about us, and has a chance to advertise at us. This has trapped Facebook in a destructive cycle with its users, where users get what they want, not what might be socially good for them. If Facebook tires to change its algorithms to distribute socially necessary information rather than a personalised experience, users will move on to another platform that gives them what they want.
  • Emotional Contagion is spread through Facebook because it is a powerful social network. An example of this is the scientific experiment that Facebook did showing users more positive or negative news stories to find out how it would influence them. There is a related RadioLab podcast about this experiment that goes into more detail about how researchers are able to create experiments on a mass scale now thanks to the data that Facebook collects and talks about the ethics of doing so. The RadioLab podcast The Trust Engineers was published at the beginning of 2015.
  • Facebook has become a Reality Trap; it is now a primary news source for many users, and this is affected by the algorithms that show users what they want to see. In turn, this affects how the media both receives and distributes their messages. The Facebook newsfeed essentially curates a custom reality for each of its users and now communicating across realities has language barriers. According to Mark, this is ruining democracy; “Democracy is a social agreement” and Facebook has become “corrosive of consensus”.
  • Data Sets are everywhere, and being collected and sold by everyone. If you buy a couple of complimentary data sets and line them up, although you won’t have a person’s name and exact date of birth, you will have an incredibly rich profile that will tell you what you need to know about a person, or type of person, in order to effectively advertise (commercially or politically) at them. “We live in a knowledge civilisation now,” says Mark and explains that although it used to be difficult and expensive to weaponize  information, now almost anybody can do it because it has become so cheap.
  • Digital Natives use Facebook differently to Gen Xers (thankfully, I’m in between). Where Gen Xers might rely on Facebook as a main way of accessing the internet, connecting with friends and family, and sharing what’s important to them, Digital Natives take a much more formal approach to the platform. Digital Natives tend to use private sharing systems, sharing with a few people in unobserved ecosystems. They approach Facebook as a formal online space, putting up carefully curated content and using it to engage with older generations who aren’t part of the private ecosystems that Digital Natives favour. They aren’t invested in Facebook emotionally, perhaps intuitively recognising the mess that previous generations have made of the social network, and choosing instead to spend their online time in other environments.

    I personally feel that I’m part of the in-between generation. I didn’t grow up with a smart phone in my hand, but I wasn’t part of the generation that built the web either. Sometimes my generation (Gen Y) gets lumped in with millennials, sometimes we get forgotten. I think generally we are also in-between in terms of our relationship to Facebook. At first we were emotionally invested in the platform, treating it like a grown-up version of MySpace, but in the last few years I’ve seen less and less posts in my newsfeed because we are migrating to other platforms, or posting less on social media generally.  The exception to the rule of course is when Gen Yers start having kids, then I have to unfollow friends to avoid a plague of baby photos in my feed!

There was a lot of information in the podcast that I’m still working on unpacking. The podcast was a result of Mark Pesce writing an article for Meanjin with the same title The Last Days of Reality and I have only skimmed it, but it is on my reading list. Wired also wrote an article this month about the past two years at Facebook and how it’s faced backlash for the proliferation of fake news and curated newsfeeds and has had to navigating coming to terms with the fact that it is both a platform and a publisher. Wired’s article is called Inside the Two Years That Shook Facebook—and the World.

I think that all these podcasts and readings are going to link in nicely to my week one reading for COMU2140, another Wired article titled The Web Is Dead. Long Live The Internet which after a quick skim seems to be about how most people access the internet through closed systems like apps rather than through the wide open spaces that occur when using a web browser. The article was written eight years ago but still seems unnervingly relevant.


APA reference:
Ransom-Hughes, M. (Producer), Fidler, R. (Presenter), & Pesce, M. (Guest). (2018, January 30) Facebook and the last days of reality: futurist Mark Pesce [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/conversations-mark-pesce/9354558

Narrative in Still Photography

I recently came across this article about narrative in photography that I think has interesting implications for new media makers.

Why is narrative such a difficult concept for young photographers to master?

The author, Grant Scott, speculates that perhaps young adults who are new to photography aren’t very good at creating narratives in their images because the formal school system through which we progress enforces reading like a chore and therefore we tend to reject “all forms of reading and, as a result, of the narrative” (para 2).

Scott goes on to discuss how short form social media (like 140 character tweets and single image Instagram posts) “reduce both attention span and the opportunity to develop complex and nuanced storytelling” (para 5) and although the platforms can be used to create narrative the photographer needs to have a thorough understanding of how narrative can work on those platforms in order to take the fullest advantage of them. He mentions that young photographers often only see their work on back-lit screens and emphasises the importance of printing out a body of work to analyse it physically in order to learn good editing skills and to make connections between images that might be missed if the images were confined only to the screen.

I think it is important to not only develop an understanding of how narrative works, and how you can showcase it through different mediums (photography, audio, video, anything really) but to also develop an understanding of why narrative is important, of why narrative touches humans on such an emotional level where facts and figures can’t always reach. Once you understand why something is important and that we are using it every day in all kinds of situations, you gain a real sense of exactly why you must prioritise being intentional about it within your own work.

How am I going to work on this in my creative endeavours and professional career? I am going to keep narrative in my mind during the creating and editing process. I’m going to seek out ways to learn more about how to incorporate narrative in my work. I am going to deconstruct the work of others to learn from their creations. What are you going to do?


APA reference:
Scott, G. (2016) Why is narrative such a difficult concept for young photographers to master? Retrieved from: https://witness.worldpressphoto.org/why-is-narrative-such-a-difficult-concept-for-young-photographers-to-master-ccef10fb1064

Reading Notes: “Users of the world unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media”

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681309001232

– Social Media is on the rise

– Firms have less control over what information customers can access

– The event of Social Media is sort of an evolution back to the original point of the Internet: to share information between users (but it’s more than that, and it’s different from Web 2.0 and User Generated Content (UGC)).

– Focus on six types:

  1. Collaborative Projects
  2. Blogs
  3. Content Communities
  4. Social Networking Sites
  5. Virtual Game Worlds
  6. Virtual Social Worlds

So these categories are making me think about Social Media in a way I haven’t considered before.  I’m thinking about how useful it is to divide Social Media into categories. I’m thinking about the six categories above and wondering about the ones I don’t recognise (1, 3, 6) and also thinking about the differences between the ones I do (2, 4, 5).

– Defining Web 2.0 as a place where collaboration became more common/valued than publication. For Web 2.0 to exist it needed:

  1. Adobe Flash
  2. RSS
  3. Ajax (asynchronous Java Script)

– Kaplan and Haenlein consider “Web 2.0 as the platform for the evolution of Social Media” (2010, p. 61).

– Three things are required for content to be considered UGC:

  1. Posted publicly (or to a select group) – so not IM or email
  2. Have creative effort- so not reproductions of other work
  3. Be created outside professional practice – so not created for an audience from a business POV.

– “Social Media is a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technical foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (2010, p. 61).

At this point in the reading, I finally noticed that the references in this article were also hyperlinks. I was slightly disappointed to find that they only linked to the bibliography at the bottom of the article, but I think it’s a good idea to use in my report at the end of semester.

– Idea of Media Richness Theory is that the goal of communication is to resolve ambiguity and reduce uncertainty. More info: Daft and Lengle

Table 1

I’m not sure I agree with the table 100% but possibly because I don’t understand the Social Presence/Media Richness category. Will read the Daft and Lengle article at a later date to see if this helps my understanding.

I started skimming the rest of the article at this point (probably something I should have done before I began reading it) and came across a point later in the article that made me want to check the publication date of this article (also something I should have noted at the start). It’s an important thing to keep in mind, especially when reading articles about technology.

– Collaborative Projects

  • “democratic manifestation of UGC” (2010, p. 62).
  • eg. Wikis, bookmarking services like Delicious, Urban Dictionary
  • the idea behind it is that joint effort produces better results than a solo effort
  • can harm firms: the customer feedback cycle
  • can benefit firms: keep track of/in touch with employees

– Blogs

  • “The Social Media equivalent of personal web pages” (2010, p. 63)
  • usually managed by one person, interaction=comments
  • can be good or bad for firms, obviously?!

– Content Communities

  • eg YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare
  • risk of sharing copyright material
  • but reward of reaching potential customers through customer interactions or sharing recruitment videos/ keynote speeches/ press releases etc.

– Social Networking Sites

  • eg FaceBook, MySpace
  • firms can use SNS to promote themselves and reach customers

– Virtual Game Worlds

  • “Virtual Worlds are probably the ultimate manifestation of Social Media  as they provide the highest level of social presence and media richness of all the applications discussed thus far” (2010, p. 64).
  • eg WOW, Runescape (personal eg), X-box and PlayStation online games
  • not too much interest for firms except in collaborative advertising maybe

– Virtual Social Worlds

  • eg. Second Life
  • lots of opportunities for firms to become part of the VSWs and market to the “residents”

I skimmed the rest of the article “Five points about using media” and “Five points about being social” because I know this information already, as I often read it on creative/entrepreneurial blogs about online presence and branding.

Overall an interesting article to start my semester on, and I’ll be looking further into the Media Richness Theory before too long.

Lecture Notes- IM 1 Week 12

The final week. The summary (?). The end of the road to which we held no map.

Well, not really. Integrated Media One (Won) is not really the kind of subject that has an ending and only in retrospect can I say what we travelled along was a road of any kind. We meandered through a thick web of information, theories and practice only to find at the end we’d been searching for something that doesn’t need to exist (closure). We can trace the path backwards, but it won’t shed the light on the way forward.

Future.

The future is shaped like this:

photo 1 (1)

Which basically means that I can be fairly sure of where I’ll be in one hour from now (still in front of this laptop, but working on an essay instead of a blog). It means I can be pretty sure of where I’ll be in one week from now, less sure of where I’ll be in one year from now etcetera and by the time we get as far out as five or ten years into the future, the possibilities are so wide it can be very difficult to know which point we will be standing at.

It’s sort of like a Korsakow film. When the film begins, the viewer knows they are at the “start SNU” (if one has been set I suppose), but as the film progresses, the choices for how it ends become wider and wider depending on the path they take. And that ‘path’ will change for each view or viewer. Old media is similar, a cinematic film for example has all these options, but the options are only available to the editor who then chooses which ‘path’ they want to give the audience who have no choice in the path they take.

k future

The digital revolution’s already happened. Its not about the digital any more, its about the network. We have to stop thinking in terms of ‘audience’ and start thinking instead of ‘communities of users’ who will interact with out work (whatever that work may be five years from now).

Adrian urges us to do things differently, in a way that makes a difference. “You create the industry,” he threatens (and promises). What a magnificent way to end the semester that began with “do cool things“.

Lecture Notes- IM1 Week 1

The first thing I wrote down from this lecture was “do cool things”, which, I think, is a pretty awesome way to start a semester.

Things that caught my eye/ears:

  • Looking at the web not as a place to publish, but as a place to make, create and interact.
  • No distinction between theory and practice, they are one. Learn by doing. “If you’re not thing of your making in the moment of making, you’re naive.”
  • Professional does not equal money, it equals experience and awareness about the artifact you’re creating.
  • Digital natives are not necessarily sophisticated digital citizens. In fact, digital immigrants are likely to have have more sophistaction if because they have experience with how digital stuff works, rather than why.

Actually, I want to expand on that last point a little. I first learnt of the terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant” when I was studying primary education. As pre-service teachers, we were told that all our future students would be digital natives and if we didn’t use technology to capture and hold their attention in class, they’d quickly lose interest in learning because they are used to being entertained with the push of a button. I never really liked this idea, and it bothered me that we were being taught that these kids would know more about technology than us, or even our parents. I have to say, my dad is technically old enough to be classified as a “digital immigrant” but he is easily a much more sophisticated digital citizen than I am. When Adrian explained the sophisticated citizen part, that made so much sense to me. And I never really like the terms digital native/immigrant anyway!

I like that there’s no road map for this course, it’s instead going to be a mix of making, thinking and learning, with our learning and questions sometimes determining which way we go at a crossroads.

learn-make-think

Some notes on sketch videos:

  • Use ready-to-hand technology, publish online, critique in class, make several per week.
  • Treat them like words: cheap and free!
  • Think of why writers have notebooks, and artists sketch. Learn by doing and doing and doing.
  • Shift thinking from big monuments and statement pieces to sketches and quiet observation, from imposing to listening, from naive to informed.

And finally, a few words about industrial media vs post-industrial media. We will be working in a post-industrial media landscape when we graduate and should think of ourselves as “the engineering media practitioners of the future”. The world is moving from a media that is clean, tidy, quiet, same to a media that disrupts all these notions of what media is. It is becoming dirty, messy, noisy, other.

Same vs Other