What We Produsers Really Feel

As heartbroken as I am, this is the last blog I will have to write for this class. I had lots of fun exploring various media platforms such as WordPress to express my ideas online. I would have never considered blogging until I took this course. Moreover, I enjoyed using other media functions there were exposed to us throughout the year. For instance, we had to produce a podcast for one of the modules which I had plenty of fun doing. It was different to say the least. In addition, we had to produce a movie using a program of our choice. I used Mozilla Popcorn, which was so simple, yet effective. Lastly, we were required to produce a Storify article about a topic of importance to ourselves. I would have never known that these programs were looming on the internet if it were not for this online class. In addition, I would have continued to envision that Twitter and Facebook were the only tools of online communications, which is clearly wrong. Simplicity was a notable trait shared among these platforms discussed. Because of this, I think that I would start to become more of a produser in the near future. My view towards online productions has also altered throughout this year. I used to despise producing a blog every month but now, I do not mind it at all. In fact, I enjoy it and find it such a relaxing task to do. It is not often that we are asked to express our opinions freely about a certain topic, as well as using this particular style of writing.

Facebook and Twitter were the first two social media platforms that I was introduced to. Lievrouw states that, “The relational Internet, as pointed out previously, has become a venue for interpersonal interaction and personal expression, not only straightforward information-seeking or the consumption and appropriation of media products.” I believe that this is the primary intent for these social media platforms. We use these programs because it is difficult to stay in constant touch with our friends. Most of our friends are probably away for school and these real-time updates are useful to remain updated in their lives. You can also communicate via text message but Facebook makes it easier to remain updated to all of your friends.  These options are popular because these platforms are easily accessible using our mobile devices. It is unlikely that most of us do not own a WordPress App to blog every day, nor do we have a Storify App to create articles on the go. It seems that we are used to the apps installed on our phones.

Becoming a citizen journalist through Storify was interesting and simple to say the least. Almost anyone can gather information from various sources and make a creative story out of it. Simplicity is attractive for many individuals and it could pose to be a key feature to encourage many to become produsers in the future. This may not always be the case because producing something of this nature may not be of interest for many. Moreover, this media platform could also become a problem. The key factor to consider is that anyone can easily create an account on Storify. An average individual without any credentials could create articles freely and this will get us to start questioning who and what we being to trust online. I know that professional reporters use Storify to produce content. A couple weeks ago, a story on a Mike Brown, who was a former Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player, was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. When scrolling down on Twitter that day, a few professional reporters attached links in their tweets to Storify. Yes, these were stories created about him using this website. If both professional and non-professionals are easily capable of creating such content, we have to be wearier of what we begin to trust online because of the credential issue.

Even if there are plenty of methods currently available that allow us to become online produsers, we may still feel inclined not to utilize them. Let us reflect back when we used Wikipedia in an earlier module. When I was reading Bird’s article, I couldn’t help but to notice the following quote: “Key examples for such produsage can be seen in the collaborative development of open source software, the distributed multi-user spaces of the Wikipedia, or the user-led innovation and content production in multi-user online games’ more explicitly equated ‘produsage’ with fan activity, as fans were able not only to communicate amongst themselves about media but also to participate in the creation of digital content, problematizing further the notion of the audience.” On the surface, Wikipedia does sound like an appealing tool to utilize. Therefore, it is expected that there will be plenty of participants. Wikipedia allows users to create an informative page, which technically combines the knowledge of multiple individuals. However, due to the nature and anonymity of the internet, it is difficult to tell who wrote the context. We once again have that credibility issue. There were five university students in my group in charge of editing the “Coors Light” page. I doubt any of us had expertise in this product but it was simple for us to create an account and edit the page. Why isn’t there more participation?  Maybe it is the fact that we do not have the knowledge about the particular topic, nor we wish to participate generally. We would normally go on Wikipedia to seek information we are unfamiliar with. We are consuming the information most of the time, rather than produsing it.

There are many other limitations to consider that I have yet to mention. Lunenfeld states that “An overabundance of downloading, to the exclusion of uploading leads to what I characterize as cultural diabetes”.  This illustrates the fact that we are normally consumers on the internet. It is definitely much easier to consume than it is to produce. When it comes to YouTube, we normally consume most of the time. I think that we get more entertainment watching videos than it is to make them. It is too much work to create these videos generally. In addition, some are more motivated to produce creative videos than others are. Moreover, there are individuals who are qualified to produce content such as articles and other related content. Since it is their responsibility as a professional to produce such content, we may feel unmotivated to do their work for them. This discussion also relates to copyright laws, which was also discussed in one of our previous modules. There have been strict rules recently imposed due to recent copyright problems, which discourages individuals to participate. Individuals fear that any resemblance of original content would be considered as infringement, even if it were unintended. This could lead to plenty of legal problems in the future. Obviously, these could or could not be deliberate infringements but it is difficult to distinguish. There is also the possibility that something you would be willing to produce could be done better accomplished by another individual. The list goes on and on. I guess it all depends on personal preference and what satisfies our needs. Some of the restrictions are legally imposed but others are mentally imposed. It is ultimately our decision as to whether we continue to produce or consume.


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Citizen Journalism…. Not For Me

As far back as I can remember, I have always watched television because it was a great source of entertainment. I would watch the line-up of my favourite cartoons every night before I went to bed. If they were repeats or a boring episode, I would flip the channels. Normally, I would end up watching TSN, Sportsnet and news channels (i.e. CNN and CTV News). These were always great alternatives. The reason why I would watch these channels is that they were always reporting an interesting event. You would always remain informed about current events and sports information. Moreover, these channels put the report segments on repeat, which is effective. If you happen to miss the original reporting segment, you would eventually be informed by watching the repeats. Nowadays, I watch all my television and movies online.

The internet and technology has immense impacts in our lives today, even if we don’t realize it. Almost everything today is different than it was years ago because much of what we do now is digitized. Newspapers were so essential when I was growing up because that was an effective way of keeping informed of current events. Nowadays, the newspapers are becoming obsolete because of the internet and the digital era. It is much more efficient to read the news on your phone or computer. It is faster, convenient and cheaper. Moreover, the internet is efficient and timely. You are able to access the information where you want and when you want with today’s technology. The services are faster over the internet and people can share and access the same information at the same time, instead of having to share the newspaper.

Furthermore, we now have active and popular social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Once again, this would not be possible without the capabilities of the internet and technology. From our phones, we can tweet about a particular event, as well as upload pictures and videos about anything. Likewise, there is also the option to go on Facebook and post what you want. You are allowed to post pictures or even express a thorough opinion about a topic. For instance, my friend Flavio just recently expressed his opinion about the rapper Drake. Using a Facebook status, he expressed his hatred thoughts about the fact that Drake does not help the society by means of charity, among other things. This resulted in plenty of  comments and interaction with his peers. In a sense, using social media makes us citizen journalists.

There is the option to create blog accounts, which is exactly what we did through this communications class. Once we have posted our work, it has become available for access on the internet. Anyone could be reading your work at this moment! Though it was based on a specified topic because it was for school related matters, nothing prevented us from writing a blog about our interests or an article that would have otherwise been completed by a professional reporter. I believe that most of us fail to do so because we don’t want to do it. We have become citizen journalists’ without even being aware of it.

Dahlgren’s article stated that, “An important attribute of the net (broadly understood) is its capacity to facilitate horizontal or civic communication: people and organizations can link up with each other for purposes of sharing information, providing mutual support, organizing, mobilizing or solidifying collective identities”. This quote should remind us of a recent assignment we were asked to complete. Let us consider what we did with Storify. We had to pick a particular topic that appealed to us and collect elements that related to the topic. The information that we were asked to collect was available from internet sources. Other individuals produced this content and access to this information was essential to communicate our topic. If information could not be shared, there would be no evidence to support our viewpoint, which would result in weak arguments. After completing your story on Storify, did you realize that we started to become citizen journalists as I previously stated?

Consequently, this whole idea discussed in the previous paragraph will tie into Hermida’s article. There is the issue of credibility when it comes to using resources for professional journalists. Individuals are able to report on anything such as events, people or any other topic of choice. As a result, there may be the issue that there are more individuals reporting, whom of which are not journalists. Nonetheless, the internet is a powerful tool to aid professional journalists and other individuals in the collection of useful information to produce quality work. After experiencing the capabilities of Google and recently Storify, it is apparent that there are plenty of tools available to journalists.

Even with all of these new opportunities, I would most likely fail to participate in citizen journalism. The idea of doing so does not appeal to me because I rationalize that other people would do a better job than I would. In addition, there are professionals who are responsible for journalism.  There are no benefits associated if I were to contribute to citizen journalism. For instance, there is no monetary incentive which I think is important. Who doesn’t want money for something they spent time doing? Time is money. The most value I would receive without monetary rewards is the satisfaction of expressing my opinion on the internet. However, I doubt that many people are going to read my work because people have better things to do and they probably do not care for what I have to say. As harsh as that sounds, it is the truth.  As a result, I am better off keeping my opinions to myself. Social media would count as citizen journalism but I don’t see it that way because I use it primarily for entertainment purposes. I don’t consider my posts as contributions because I didn’t intend it for those purposes. Call it what you want but I’ll continue to consider my tweets as an ordinary daily entertainment. Journalism is not of my interest, nor is it my forte. It is something that I am going to be surrounded by for years to come.


Source: http://world.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/why-write-620.jpg

Do you remember Napster?

Well, this is it. This is my podcast about the music industry and piracy. This issue is fairly complicated and the debate can go on forever. I used this article, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music Distribution” by Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart as my substantive reference for the module. This article was chosen because I have a lot to say to such an issue since I am an avid music listener. I support some aspects more than others. I have talked a little more in-depth about recording companies and artists in terms of income and other key aspects. This was quite an interesting debate with myself (seriously). Have a listen!


Image from: http://rooftopagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Napster-logo.jpg

The Emergence of Communities

It does not matter what you do, there will always be restrictive copyright laws. These laws cannot be avoided because it is necessary for protection. If any person can go around claiming that he or she was the original composer without consequences, the world would be a chaotic place. This is especially applicable to the internet and the content posted. It is difficult to manage everything because there are millions of people contributing online daily. The awareness of the consequences of copyright implications is crucial. In doing so, people will be careful of what they produce in fear of the consequences. Moreover, these copyright restrictions do not prevent most people of contributing online, such as YouTube. If this ever did scare individuals, there would not be as many videos produced as there are today.

Yes, copyright laws are scary and no one wants to get implicated. However, people online still want to show appreciation and loyalty to particular content, such as a TV series. Other individuals with similar affection towards a series would react the same way by creating their own re-edited content of images and videos. Manovich states that “Regardless of the particular sources used and their combination, in the majority of AMV video and music comes from commercial media products. AMVs makers see themselves as editors who re-edit the original material, rather than as filmmakers or animators who create from scratch.” (Manovich, p. 5) In stating this, it is evident that anime fans in this case, re-edit original content. These individuals for example create videos that highlight memorable scenes using actual footage from the show. They haven’t really created anything, just reorganizing the footage for a particular reason. Furthermore, it is common today that there are associated fan websites created by loyal viewers with integrated forums. They may discuss matters, such as characters and favourite parts within the forums. It may even a place where they may post fan images or videos. Those are a few ways of contributing to cultural commons. Through this mechanism, a community of fans are attracted, resulting in constant interaction with each other. This is a place they go, even if it is online, to talk about a common interest. A classmate stated that “The means in which I contribute and engage with online content primarily revolve around personal, educational, and social interests. Typically, I contribute and engage with online content that appeals to my personal interests, whether it is participating in forum discussions.” This is one of the mains reasons why these websites are created. People around the world with aligned or unaligned interests come together to discuss and share different views.

Rizzo states that “Clips that promote or are designed to function primarily as attractions are extremely popular on YouTube.” She further states that “They are decontextualised and recontextualised by users for the purpose of attraction.” This is fairly common in relation to AMV’s stated in the previous paragraph. In my recent search on YouTube out of curiosity, there are plenty of renditions that are incorporated with music. In some instances, there were videos of syncing music with the characters and personally found it amusing. After watching a few other videos, it is apparent that the creator(s) of these renditions had fun creating it.  Moreover, this is beneficial to the creators of the show. These videos are promoting the show to both current and potential viewers. These YouTube videos may attract new viewers because they enjoyed what they watched, leading to greater exposure and sales for the original creators. This may also lead a larger fan base.

A potential concern may arise within online communities for a robust cultural commons. Many people, such as myself, constantly consume but never produce. In relation to fan based websites, it may be apparent that the same people are constantly producing, while others are not making the effort to stimulate the growth of the community by contributing themselves. Some of the reasons are portrayed by my peers. For instance, Carlye states that “There is not enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything I have to while contributing to the online production of content.  It is not my first priority to do so as my selfish means come first.” On top of that, we have our education to worry about, which already takes up a lot of our time. It is much easier to consume on the internet because of our busy schedules.

Another student, Garrett, states that “What inhibits me from producing my own content is a general sense of contentment with the content that is already on the Internet, as my online skills and tastes have developed to the point where I can easily find content that I like and ignore the content that I do not like.” As many of us agree, some people are fairly gifted with skills such a movie making. Some evidently excel over others, which may discourage us from trying to create something of our own. We are satisfied with what is already online and there is no need to waste our own precious time to come up with something better if we think we can’t. It may not even be as fun as other people find it.

Hilderbrand states that “With all the attention YouTube has received as the central portal of web video clips, it has seemed inevitable that some media conglomerate or other would sue YouTube for copyright infringement. If anything, it actually took longer than one might have expected.” (Hilderbrand, p. 9) YouTube appears to be beneficial because of its potential benefits, such as being used as a source to promote an artist’s music to the mass population. These artists have created accounts to post their music videos because showing them on TV is not as popular as it was in the past. Many people have access to the internet nowadays, which appeals to a bigger audience. It is common to see that artists will post the link to their music video via Twitter or Facebook to promote their albums. These artists are trying to get support from consumers, as well as other artists. The internet is seen as a beneficial source for success. Since YouTube is so popular, it is a free and efficient way to expose these artists and their music. YouTube is an essential tool. Without it, these artists will have to find another effective way to promote their music, which may not be comparable to YouTube’s current popularity. The benefits definitely outweigh the costs. This might be a reason why any legal concerns are not as common as expected.

I personally do not see any issues with the strict laws of copyright infringement because it is necessary to facilitate the internet and its content. We are placed in a position of trust to use and cite information responsibly because it is difficult to facilitate everything online. Working towards building a robust and freely accessible cultural commons in the face of restrictive copyright laws is difficult, but we are slowly getting there.


Image: http://www.echoditto.com/sites/default/files/online-community-networking.jpeg

Unexpected Nostalgia

When it comes to the internet, there are plenty of things we can do. Most of us surf the web to burn time and entertain ourselves. One of the well-known sites we like to browse on is YouTube. This website has numerous videos uploaded by many people all over the world for us to watch and enjoy. In addition, it has plenty of types of video material present. I personally do not upload videos because I think it’s too much work and not really my forte. Moreover, there is a great chance that something I would have created is already online. Lev Manovich used Anime Music Videos (AMV) as an example in “The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?” He mentioned that he searched for “Anime Music Video” in the search bar on February, 8, 2008 and the results reached over 250,000 videos. This search result is fairly similar for any other type of video on YouTube.  With regards to the AMV search, there is a good chance that what you are looking for is already uploaded; you just have to search for it. Why waste your time when someone else already has something similar already uploaded? It’s just going to crowd the search results. I know others may find the fun in creating it but, it’s not for me.

I am an avid user of YouTube and I do appreciate the time that the creator vested in making the video. The least I have done to show my appreciation was supporting by using the like, comment and subscribe features on that person’s video and channel. It isn’t a big deal to me but, it is to the maker. They have a chance of making the video popular and making some money!

Hilderbrand stated in YouTube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge that “YouTube has given renewed public lives to thousands or even millions of now- “classic” moments from television.” He also went on to state that “This internet library has fed scholarly as well as nostalgic uses.” This is true and that is why I love browsing on this website. Every day is a new find and you may stumble upon videos that you never thought existed. I personally do not use it for educational purposes but, I do like to use it for entertainment. I found a video about “The Best of the Simpsons” the other day and let me tell you, it brought back so many nostalgic moments. From the awful graphics during their earlier seasons to the memorable moments throughout, it made me think back to when I was sitting in front of the television set as a kid. I don’t regret in the slightest the amount of time I spent watching. Though, it made me feel really old at the age of 21.Simpsons-Sofahttp://www.simpsonschannel.com/screenshots/Simpsons-Sofa.jpg

Are We All the Same Way?

When it comes to mobile usage, we normally do not regard or factor in the government control over these communicative practices. When we tweet something or post something on Facebook, we won’t pause for a moment and wonder if the government will come to your house and punish you for posting something they consider inappropriate. Rather, we are more concerned about what our family and friends think because they are ultimately the ones who are going to view what you post. For instance, we will post vacation pictures so that others can comment, as well as share the memories and what you saw.  Smartphones and other handheld devices make viewing such content easier. This is capable today through the purchase of apps in the App Store that Googlin explores in his paper. Through these apps, these handheld devices now have the capabilities of a computer in the palm of your hand, and it is quite affordable. You no longer have to go through the hassle of logging onto the internet on a PC to browse on Facebook! As Christian stated, “Smartphones have brought our favourite social media sites to the palm of our hands; we can see everyone’s tweets and status updates at virtually any location instantaneously.” Since you know that your friends and family can view what you post almost anywhere and at any time, you are more concerned about what they see.

When it comes to the usage of my phone, it is difficult whether or not I need to communicate or not. Of course there are times when I actually need it such as having to make a call to your parents or another individual for a particular reason.  Other than that, when I text or browse on social networking sites, it is normally when I am bored or when I need to burn time.  I personally don’t have to constantly communicate because I prefer face-to-face conversation. However, I have started to constantly communicate with my friends via text messaging. The main reason for this is because I am away from home to attend school and keeping in touch through text messaging is the easiest way. It is difficult and expensive having to arrange times to come back home to talk to my friends. Thus, wireless communication is the effective method. As Campbell and Park stated, “Adolescents and young adults are known for their distinctive uses of the mobile phone to establish, maintain, demonstrate, and reinforce social network ties.” Though the use of my cell phone, I can stay “in the loop” with my friends back at home and be notified of anything important. Keeping in touch is important because it maintains the strong relationships with my friends, even if it done wirelessly. It’s the best I can do right? Also, it makes me feel less of a stranger when I am home for a holiday or break because I have talked to them recently. Thanks to cell phone capabilities today, my relationships are still intact.

Handheld devices may have an effect on an individual’s social skills, which could cause a problem. By getting used to these devices, face-to-face communication is less frequent. I have a friend who is socially awkward and does not like to talk, mainly because he is shy. However, when he is behind a computer or Smartphone, he can talk forever. It honestly difficult to tell if it is him or not! As a business student, I have to get used to talking to someone directly because it is an essential tool for success in building business relationships. It is also an essential tool for teamwork and success. Can you imagine trying to build business relationships or working with a team via text? As Anthony stated, “Our phones thus represent us as people interpret the way we are simply by reading our text messages.  This constrains us from knowing one another by our true selves as we are judged upon written words rather than our face-to-face words and actions.” You do not know who you are doing business with or who your members of a team really are unless you meet in person. If you do not have the proper social skills, you may leave an impression that does not reflect who you really are. Therefore, it will lead to failure.

Smartphones have now advanced from its intended purpose of only texting and calling. As Campbell and Park stated, “This shift in the relationship between communication technology and society manifests not only in the style of mobile communication devices, but also how they are used.”  IPhones for instance now have many purposes such as social networking, playing games, checking our bank accounts and taking pictures. As Chad stated, “the IPhone is an “all-in-one” tool, combining a phone, a computer, an mp3 player and much more.” Many of us rely on these devices. For instance, a crucial purpose is the function that allows us to store important dates and appointments. These phones also notify us of these dates so that it is impossible to forget. This is quite the handy tool because there is so much going on in our lives that it is easy to forget. These phones serve many different purposes for the user because of its wide variety of function it can provide. This is essentially why the product is so successful.

The emergence of the IPhone and other similar devices has changed our society and who we are. These devices have become a part of us now and have become a necessity for daily function. I still don’t prefer to use text messaging or calling over face-to-face communication but, convenience is huge factor to overlook. Most of us will continue to depend on these devices and as these IPhones advance, so will our lifestyles.