Links for July 29th 2010 through August 2nd 2010:

  • The Way We Live Now – I Tweet, Therefore I Am [NYTimes.com] – Peggy Orensein muses, in a charmingly disarming way, about the threshold between describing ourselves and purposefully constructing and performing ourselves, when using social media. There’s nothing really new in this short column, but, despite evoking Goffman and citing Turkle, the question is asked in a way which most people will probably relate to.
  • Link by Link – WikiLeaks Turns to the News Media to Package the Information [NYTimes.com] – Wikileaks works more closely with traditional news media to make the leaks count: “The four stages of a political movement, as Gandhi told it, were: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” For the whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks, the release last week of secret field reports on the war in Afghanistan that it obtained from American military sources certainly looked like a victory. Not only did The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel devote hundreds of hours of reporters’ and editors’ time to analyzing and confirming the information in the documents, the three agreed to coordinate publication for last Monday, ensuring there would be blanket news media coverage on at least two continents.”
  • A 21st Century Sherlock [Antenna] – Sean Duncan’s reading of the new BBC Sherlock series (which, from the first episode, at least, looks magnificent): “The Holmes and Watson of the 21st century both engage with modern technology, but unlike Rathbone/Bruce also have their inner thought processes represented in manners that remediate popular media. To be a plausible 21st century Holmes, one must be shown as thinking like a 21st century person, within a network of mobile phones, Internet-enabled devices, and even video games.”
  • MasterChef website racks up 48m page views [TV Tonight] – Biog ratings = TV + web: “MasterChef Australia wasn’t only a hit on air, but a hit online with bumper results for the show’s official website. Page views for the season reached 48 million, an increase of 32 per cent over last year’s numbers, reports The Australian. Video views rose by 44 per cent this year to 13.1 million, according to data from Omniture. There were 233,000 fans on Facebook.”
  • YouTube banned by Russian court [guardian.co.uk] – “Russia’s blogosphere reacted with anger today after a regional court banned YouTube because it carried a single video containing “extremist” content. The court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk region in the Russian far east ordered Rosnet, a local internet provider, to block YouTube as well as three online libraries and a website that archives deleted web pages. The regional ban was made because YouTube hosted Russia For Russians, an ultra-nationalist video which was added to the justice ministry’s federal list of banned extremist materials after a separate court decision in Samara region in November. […] The YouTube ruling is likely to be an embarrassment for President Dmitry Medvedev, who recently launched his own channel on the video-sharing site. Other countries that have banned YouTube include China, Pakistan, Turky and Iran.”

Links for September 22nd 2009 through September 28th 2009:

  • Creators’ Corner [YouTube] – YouTube have just announced ‘Creative Corner’, a series of resources to help aspiring digital video creators learn better techniques, add special effects, and make the most of getting views on YouTube.  Seems like a useful resource.
  • Online Aussies: ‘We won’t pay for news’ [mUmBRELLA] – “A large majority of Australians say they would not pay for online news, a survey suggests. According to a poll of more than 18,000 Australians released today by Pure Profile, only 5% said they would be willing to pay for “high quality articles”. A further 7% said they would be willing to pay if there was no advertising. 10% said they would not pay because the quality of online news was unimportant to them, while the vast majority – 78% – said they would simply refuse to pay for online news.”
  • An Infusion of Another $100 Million Is Seen for Twitter [NYTimes.com] – “…the start-up appears to have chalked up another achievement. Twitter, which has no discernible revenue, is set to raise about $100 million of new funding that would value the company at around $1 billion, a person briefed on the company’s plans said Thursday. … But Twitter’s cash infusion and exospheric valuation are not easily reduced to the level of the blind bets of past dot-com bubbles. In its three and a half years, Twitter has become a magnet for media attention, and its Web site now attracts 54 million visitors a month, according to comScore, the tracking firm. Along with Facebook, it is helping to remake the Web as a forum for the perpetual sharing of even the most trivial bits of information about people’s lives.” (A billion dollars … seems a lot to me.)
  • ‘Nigel the Crazy Noonga’ Website Shut Down | Racism Outrage – “A website set up by a Perth student about a fictional Aboriginal character has been shut down and is being investigated by police amid racism claims. The website, which Radio 6PR reports was created by a 19-year-old Curtin University student, features audio excerpts of a character called “Nigel the crazy Noonga”, who prank calls businesses and fast-food outlets with a fake Aboriginal accent. The portrayal of negative Aboriginal stereotypes has sparked outrage from the Aboriginal community. Craig Somerville, lecturer at the Curtin University Centre for Aboriginal Studies, told 6PR he believed the material on the website had crossed the line between humour and racism. “This is very nasty, rude and bad material,” he said. “It’s not only bad humour; it perpetuates a wrong judgment about Aboriginal people.” Mr Somerville expressed his disappointment at claims the student who set up the website was from his university.”
  • Ubiquitous Media, Rare Earths [sean cubitt’s blog] – “… we act as if computing and network resources were unbounded. But materials, manufacture, use and recycling put boundaries round the materiality of internet and convergent media. The squalor and penury associated with extracting metals, building computers and recycling mobiles, TVs and digital devices are one half of a story which includes toxic waste, toxic working conditions, human waste from the maquilladoras, atnospheric and water pollution in the recycling villages of Africa and China, species and habitat loss . . . Like any other form of organisation, maintaining the negentropy of the internet requires vast amounts of energy, physical and human. It also requires materials that are becoming more strategic and costly by the minute. “
  • US proposes net neutrality rules [BBC NEWS | Technology] – The US has proposed new rules that would require internet firms to respect the principle of “network neutrality”. The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that “all web traffic should be treated equally”. The new rules are intended to prevent firms throttling bandwidth-sapping web traffic such as streaming video. … [The FCC] proposed two new rules to guide the FCC’s approach to network neutrality. The first would prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against bandwidth-intensive web-content and applications by slowing or blocking it. … The second would mean that ISPs would have to be more transparent about how they manage network traffic. The two new rules join four previous guiding principles of the FCC, which state that all consumers must be able to access “lawful” content, applications, and services, and attach non-harmful devices to the network.” (Network Neutrality FTW!)
  • In Facebook Fracas, Beauty School Goes After Student for Online Comments [The Wired Campus] – “A beauty school in Illinois is suing a student for his “defamatory” comments on a Facebook site that encouraged students to vent about their instructors. The Salon Professional Academy of Elgin, Ill., says Nicholas Blacconiere created a site called Tspa RobinHood that looked similar to TSPA Elgin’s Facebook page because it used the academy’s logo. The suit, filed in July, also says that he posted libelous comments about school officials on the site. Print-outs of the Facebook page included in the suit show several posts by “Tspa RobinHood.” The site says it gives “the students a voice, because what happens when we need to be heard? Nobody gives a s___.” It encourages students to send messages to the site, which it says will then be posted anonymously.” (Reputation management: it’s a game everyone can play!)

Links for December 9th 2008:

  • Australia’s census going CC BY [Creative Commons] – “In a small, easy to miss post, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has made a very exciting announcement. They’re going CC – and under an Attribution-only license, no less. From the ABS website…
  • Texting Turnbull catches the Twitter bug [The Age] – “As the Opposition’s popularity slips back to where it was under Brendan Nelson’s leadership, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is bringing digital intervention to the fore. The digits in question are his thumbs. Having witnessed the power of the web in the US presidential election campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Turnbull are engaged in a high-tech arms race to win the hearts and minds of switched-on Australians. While some politicians including US President-elect Barack Obama are content with older model BlackBerry handsets, Mr Turnbull owns one of the latest releases, the BlackBerry Bold. And he showed off the speed of his thumbs as he settled once and for all the question of whether he writes his own Twitter updates. “I love technology,” he told online journalists in Sydney as he added another “tweet” via Twitter as they watched.” To his credit, more personal than a lot of Kevin07 stuff: http://twitter.com/turnbullmalcolm
  • Virtual world for Muslims debuts [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “A trial version of the first virtual world aimed at the Muslim community has been launched. Called Muxlim Pal, it allows Muslims to look after a cartoon avatar that inhabits the virtual world. Based loosely on other virtual worlds such as The Sims, Muxlim Pal lets members customise the look of their avatar and its private room. Aimed at Muslims in Western nations, Muxlim Pal’s creators hope it will also foster understanding among non-Muslims. “We are not a religious site, we are a site that is focused on the lifestyle,” said Mohamed El-Fatatry, founder of Muxlim.com – the parent site of Muxlim Pal.”
  • Facebook scandal shames students [The Age] – “A Facebook network of senior students from two of Sydney’s most elite private schools have offended the Jewish community with anti-Semitic slurs. Students from The Scots College in Bellevue Hill created a Facebook site called Jew Parking Appreciation Group which describes “Jew parking” as an art which often occurs at “Bellevue (Jew) Hill”. The site, which has 51 members, contains a link to The Scots Year 12 Boys, 2008, and The Scots College networks, and is administered by Scots students. It is connected to another network created and officiated by Scots College students with postings that include “support Holocaust denial” and a link to another internet address called “F— Israel and Their Holocaust Bullshit”.” (Racist rubbish, but also another example of supposedly ‘digital natives’ misunderstanding how much of their juvenile digital behaviour will be visible and recorded forever online.)
  • Jean Burgess, Joshua Green – YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture [Polity Press] – “YouTube is one of the most well-known and widely discussed sites of participatory media in the contemporary online environment, and it is the first genuinely mass-popular platform for user-created video. In this timely and comprehensive introduction to how YouTube is being used and why it matters, Burgess and Green discuss the ways that it relates to wider transformations in culture, society and the economy.” (Potential textbook material for the Digital Media unit.)
  • Learn at Any Time – The Open University [Podcasts] – The Open University podcasts website is a very well made example of university-based podcasts that DO NOT rely on hosting via Apple’s iTunes platform.

After getting off to a decent start with my blogging about student creativity this year, I seem to have fallen a little behind.  I’ve had this post in draft form for ages, waiting for some insightful commentary to spring forth from my uncooperative brain, but alas, none has emerged so I thought I’d just showcase a few outstanding examples from my Digital Media (Comm2203) unit last semester and let them speak for themselves! While the first Student News assignment in this unit asked students to make a relatively traditional television news-style story (the best of which were screened on local tv), the final project was rather different as it was designed to provoke some hard thinking about digital media more broadly both in form and content.  The outline for the final projects stated:

The Digital Media Project is designed to explore the affordances of digital video and media in an online context. Working in teams (the same as your Student News Project team), students will produce a 3-minute short digital video piece which critically explores an idea, concept or area which was discussed in or, or directly provoked by, the ‘Convergence & Transmedia Storytelling’ or ‘Citizen Journalism and Participatory Culture’ lectures, readings and seminars.

This project emphasizes (a) research in the area of digital media, (b) clarity in communicating and sharing a research-informed perspective or argument about part of the digital media landscape; (c) taking an innovative approach to creating digital media; and (d) technical proficiency in creating digital media.

Given that the first half of the unit was largely practical – many were first-time users of digital video cameras, sound equipment and non-linear editing software – I wondered if introducing conceptual material from the likes of Henry Jenkins and Axel Bruns might overwhelm students; on the contrary, I found almost everyone excelled at combining their newfound practical skills with wider issues and concepts.  All 28 projects submitted were of a high quality, and everyone who took this unit should be proud of their work, but a few really did stand out amongst the rest and are well worth highlighting here.

The first project I want to mention is ‘Citizen Journ vs Traditional Journ‘ which mimics the style of the Mac Vs PC advertisements, with a stop-motion twist, to explore the changing relationship between traditional journalists and citizen journalists:

In a similar vein but using a really different technique, ‘Something Old, Something New‘ mixes excerpts from a 1940s documentary on being a journalist with contemporary footage to examine exactly how far journalism has changed in the face of participatory culture:

Looking at web 2.0 culture more broadly, ‘A Blog’s Life’ is a comical look at the evolution of blogging, in the style of a nature documentary:

And in a slightly more academic tone, ‘Transmedia Storytelling and Convergence’ gives a pretty good rundown of some core features of Henry Jenkins’ arguments about transmedia in the digital media landscape:

Finally, ‘Joe Bloggs Presents Web 2.0’ is a laugh out loud satire looking at the average blogger (A LANGUAGE WARNING, though: Joe Bloggs swears like an angry trooper!):

And, yes, I did have what can best be described as an awkward cameo appearance in that the adventures of Web 2.0 there – but it was worth if, if nothing else, for that outstanding end credits song! If you’re inspired to see more, 27 of the digital media projects can be found here.  Also, it’s worth mentioning that the majority of students chose to post their work under a Creative Commons license (not all, I should add, but I’m pleased enough that by the end of the course everyone knew enough to make an informed choice one way or another).

Oh and quick shout out: my partner in crime in teaching Digital Media was Christina Chau who was an excellent tutor and whose own thoughts on the unit can be read here!