The Power of Social Media to Isolate Us

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Everything social media is curated to project a particular image of the poster’s life – whether that image is accurate or not. So, social media is filled with cherry-picked images and stories highlighting positive experiences, whilst negative experiences are disregarded, as they don’t fit the image the poster wants to project.

Everyone wants to pretend they have no issues (financial, health, social, or other), but it’s not realistic. You’d think a travel Instagrammer has never had any problems.

And that might be a problem. With social media you can’t really be blamed for thinking that no one else is having life problems. And the idea that you might be the only person with problems, and not experiencing a glamorous social media life, can be really isolating.

Media Technologies: Cathedral & Bazaar

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When making any piece of media technology (software, hardware, or otherwise), the development process can fall anywhere between 2 extreme styles: The Cathedral & the Bazaar (as written by Eric Raymond).

Cathedral

(Facebook; Apple)

Walled gardens, where developers maintain complete structured control over:

  • production access
  • user access
  • development visibility
  • content

Much more secure for developers, but lack of transparency allows developers to potentially include things that consumers may not be not aware of – such as censorship, or using the tech for surveillance purposes.

Bazaar

(VLC media player; GIMP; Android)

Opposite of cathedral; open gardens with complete transparency and openness of the above listed elements.
Completely open technologies may make their code open-source, allowing users to build  upon or break that base code as they see fit.

More transparent, but less secure. Allows consumers to make suggestions (or to change things themselves) for the tech to fulfill a social utility that the developers hadn’t even thought of.

Transmedia to Effect Industry & Storytelling?

 

https://soundcloud.com/elena-bozic-40326045/list-of-mcu-media

Ok, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe as much as the next nerd but man there’s a lot to keep up with. Considering the transmedia franchise’s immense success and popularity, we need to stay aware of how it may effect the media industry:

  • Large transmedia franchises (like the MCU) can really only be made by large media corporations
  • Huge transmedia stories can make it difficult for small companies, who don’t have any such franchises, to break into the market

On a storytelling level, transmedia franchises:

  • Must stick with simpler narrative themes that can be followed easily across multiple media; like the Good vs. Bad of superhero stories
  • Stories must be left open-ended without a difinitive ending, to allow the possibility of continuation

Is it possible that future media will shift almost exclusively towards huge potentially unending transmedia franchises, while complex and standalone stories fall completely out of fashion?

“Copyright = Financial Incentive for Creativity” & Fan Fiction

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As someone who first came across fan fiction archives when I was 12, the excuse that copyright laws are essential to stimulate creative works (due to financial incentive) is, quite frankly, a pile of crap.

Ok I will be the first to admit that fan fiction quality can range anywhere between ‘amazingly good‘ and ‘absolutely horrendously awful‘ (they are written by mostly amateur authors on unregulated sites after all), but these are all works written by fans, for free (copyright prevents them from seeking any profit), simply because they want to create something.

I mean in February 2014 AO3 reached its 1 million works milestone (and the site has grown significantly since), and the site currently holds almost 85,000 works with more than 50,000 words (for context, 50k words is about the minimum length for a novel).

And copyright holders are still trying to tell us that only copyright can stimulate creative works…

jan

Memetic Warfare – support of trump

 

As the internet become more and more integral to our daily lives, we’ve begun to get a lot more of our news online, with many people preferring online sources over traditional forms of media for their news.

With the proliferation of memes on the internet, its simply logical that users would begin using memes to promote their personal and political opinions; a tactic now called memetic warfare.

Memetic warfare is a weaponized use of memes to intentionally introduce ideas into society […] with a goal to alter the culture and perceptions of a targeted population.

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In fact, the political application of memetic warfare appears to have influenced the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Anti-Hillary meme campaigns circulated (including the #draftourdaughters campaign on twitter), whilst many Trump supporters created memes in his favour. Trump supporters on the internet took it upon themselves to create support and slander campaigns through memetic warfare.

Considering the result of the election, they may have been more influential than legacy media was.

Collective Intelligence & the Trials Evolution Riddle

Through the internet’s allowance of instant long-distance communication, a wide variety of people from all across the globe can collectively use their individual knowledge, experience, and expertise to solve problems that may have been impossible – or just extremely difficult and time consuming – to solve before the internet became what it is today.

Collective intelligence has been used in multitude of forms, from Wikipedia.com itself, to discussing solutions to climate change and designing commercial jet planes, to tracking down and removing a protest flag from an unknown location, so solving an elaborate cross-continent riddle originating in a video game.

I’ll let the video and article speak for themselves, but long story short, a bunch of people on the internet used their collective knowledge to figure out some Morse code, a cipher based on scientific concepts and a couple other things, in order to locate several boxes spread across a couple different continents; a feat only possible due to the sleuth’s ability to communicate with each other thanks to the internet.

This Protest Brought to You by Social Media

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Unlike forms of media past, the internet allows for dialogue between a multitude of users without any form of gatekeeper moderating, censoring, or completely shutting down conversation. This undermines the monopoly of information traditionally held by forms of legacy media.

On a small scale the dialogical nature of the internet allows users to hold simple conversations online. At a large scale, the internet and social media open the doors for widespread organisation of protests.

Social media – particularly Twitter – has been a part of a multitude of protests over the last several years: The Egyptian Arab Spring (2011), #Euromaiden in Ukraine (2014), the ongoing Black Lives Matter Movement (2013-present), and most recently the March For Our Lives demonstration in the U.S. less than a week ago.

The use of social media has assisted each of these protests (and others not listed here) in gaining traction and promoting their message; in some cases even despite government attempts to interrupt and stop them.

new age ~ a e s t h e t i c ~

I think at this point we can all acknowledge that very little on the internet is wholly original content: most things are a mash-up of pre-existing content.

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Take this gif I made (forgive my amateurish attempts). How much internet content over the last couple years have you seen with rainbow or glitch effects? This emergence is a direct result of the forms of media we consume.

The internet’s allowance for rapid prototyping and experimentation allows for a plethora of content that’s just slapped together. With the ability to post this content online for free and to receive instant feedback, mess and failure is inconsequential; we can just slap something else together within minutes. Mess and errors have become the new “aesthetic”.
Rainbow’s from old television test patterns (which would appear during display errors), glitches (from.. any digital error), and the usage of pop culture figures in surreal and incomprehensible ways are all elements of the new internet aesthetic.

The Medium is the Message

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In 1964 Marshall McLuhan (that’s his face up there) wrote that the medium containing a message is in itself conveying a message. In fact, McLuhan thought that the message of the medium was more important than the content of the medium.

I dunno if I agree that the medium is more important than its content, but I can totally see that the medium in itself conveys a message. I mean just looking at the above image can convey several messages about the creator (AKA, me) to an audience.

1. The creator has access to the internet
2. They are familiar with internet memes
3. Based on this familiarity, they are likely of the Millennial generation (or younger)
4. They knows how to edit images and/or use a meme generator
5. They have some familiarity with communication and media theory

These are just from a single meme image! Imagine the possible messages behind a more complex medium!