Archives for category: Internet

To the great disappointment of my boyfriend, I did it… not minutes ago…I caved. I created a Twitter account (to go along side my Facebook and Myspace accounts). I can’t explain why I did it… all I know is Twitter’s popularity is growing and fast. 

Moments after signing up for Twitter, I received a “Welcome to Twitter” email which instantly inspired me to write this blog. The following is what I received:

“Hello, new Twitter-er! 

Using Twitter is going to change the way you think about staying in touch with friends and family. Did you know you can send and receive Twitter updates via mobile texting or the web?”

Twitter is going to change the way I think about staying in touch with friends and family? A bold statement Twitter, a bold statement indeed. Twitter has balls. No other social networking site has flat out TOLD me how I am going to think. But then again, Twitter is attracting the masses.

The same welcoming email goes on to say, “The New York Times calls Twitter “one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” TIME Magazine says, “Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app,” and Newsweek noted that “Suddenly, it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter.” What will you think?”  

Well, Twitter, why don’t you tell me what to think! (I’m already bitter, Twitter.) Millions of people are currently active users, so I guess the world is indeed a-twitter.

According to Robin Summerfield’s article Compelled to Share: Is Twitter the Future, or the Future of Navel-Gazing? of the National Post, Twitter can be “billed as a social messaging utility, people use Twitter to send mini-messages and give instant updates about their current state of being and doing. People can join any conversation and there’s no friend status required. It’s called micro-blogging and experts say this social networking trend can help you build your business and career.” Beautifully explained.

Journal article Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities states, “Microblogging is a new form of communication in which users can describe their current status in short posts distributed by instant messages, mobile phones, email or the Web.” (Java A, et al) Microblogging is the future, no more of this “wordpress” nonsense. I’ll say what I need to in 140 characters (a Twitter requirement).

Summerfield states that celebrities including Britney Spears, John Mayer, Ashton Kutcher and wife Demi Moore are all active Twitter users. Mike Strobel’s states in his article, I Tweet Therefore I Am – I Thwink that Twitter went from 6 million users in January of this year, to 10 million this month. I told you, Twitter is popular

What is Twitter?

What is Twitter?

 Come follow: http://twitter.com/LauraFalse

Chapter 7 of Michael Strangelove’s text The Empire of Mind introduces its readers to Pierre Lévy, an interesting scholar, philosopher and technology specialist. According to Eurotopics.net, Lévy believes the Internet to have more power than “the printing press, the radio, or the television, because it allows cross communication and better use of collective memory.”

This makes perfect sense: With the Internet, we can be exposed to anything and everything… and nothing disappears from the abyss of cyberspace, memories live longer than we do.

On page 200 of Strangelove’s text, Lévy states that cyberspace “is the catalyst that will perfect cultural and biological evolution and deliver control over our collective identity.” He goes on to say, “through cyberspace we will learn everything that is possible to learn.”  The views of this French philosopher are indeed “breathtaking” as Strangelove states in his text.

Lévy believes  “whomever can formulate a question, all will become visible.” (pg. 200) And I have to agree completely. Through the likes of the Internet I can find the answers to all of life’s undying questions- any tiny bit of information I so desire seems to exist on the Internet  and every time I need to prove someone wrong, the Internet’s got it covered for me.  The points raised by Lévy seem…so true.

Lévy believes that the Internet “will enhance human cognition and make us smarter and better.” (pg. 201) The Internet provides information to us at our every whim. With the Internet we can we find outlets for great amounts creativity: Blogging, vlogging and amateur videos, to name a few prime examples. 

Pierre Lévy is smart, but not as smart as the Internet.

The Internet Wont Disappear

The Internet Won't Disappear

Every Tuesday evening I arrive to my New Media class a few minutes early, and every Tuesday evening I am greeted by a music video being projected on the big screen. Several times it has been Liz Phair, and recently I have noticed that Duffy seems to have caught the attention of my professor’s ear. Regardless of the music video being shown, it is always the same website playing the video: YouTube.

It is safe to presume that thousands, more likely, millions of individuals use the site to watch or listen to music.But with the recent controversies surrounding YouTube and copyright issues, it seems official music videos and even some songs are become more difficult to find on the website. (Unless the artist has an official channel.) Many recall the trouble YouTube went through last year, when Viacom placed a 1 billion dollar lawsuit on the video streaming website due to copyright infringement.

According to an article entitled YouTube, Universal Music Reportedly Talking Business, by Dee Chisamera, “YouTube may be taking a new approach when it comes to music videos, which this time would not imply any more legal threats on copyright infringement. The video site is reportedly in talks with Universal Music, the number one music company in the country, to create a music video website called Vevo.”

Interesting. With the success of NBC’s Hulu, Universal’s movement to online content comes to no surprise. According to an article entitled, Video Use Seen Hitting Eight Hours a Day by 2013, by Daisy Whitney, “the average American 12 and older spends about six hours a day with video-based entertainment.” As a society, we are becoming increasingly more Internet based.

According to researcher and professor, Damien O’Brien, “YouTube, the video sharing website has risen to be one of the most popular and profitable websites on the Internet.” Media giants like NBC and Universal are smart to follow YouTube’s lead.

 

YouTube #1

YouTube #1

In 1990 a leaflet entitled What’s Wrong with McDonalds? was being passed around by London Greenpeace. According to Chapter 5 of Michael Strangelove’s text, The Empire of Mind, the leaflet accused McDonald’s of “exploiting children with advertising, promoting and unhealthy diet, poor labor practice, environmental negligence and the ill treatment of animals.” McDonald’s immediately sent out undercover private investigators to infiltrate the civil rights and environmentalist group. (Strangelove, 2005) Greenpeace was sued by McDonald’s within the year.

As I read the passage in Strangelove’s text, it struck me as odd that such a well-established and powerful company would act so hastily towards the likes of simple protesting.  It seemed that London Greenpeace was correct in their accusations- and this didn’t make the Happy Clown too happy at all.

The judge ruled that many of the accusations provided by Greenpeace were in fact true, “McDonald’s exploit children with their advertising, falsely advertise their food as nutritious, risk the health of their, most regular and long term customers, and are culpably responsible for cruelty to animals… and pay the workers low wages.” (Strangelove, 2005)  Despite the truths in the leaflet, the defendants were still expected to pay 30,000 dollars to McDonald’s.

All of this to say: powerful companies like that of McDonald’s seem to have an insatiable hunger for the power and control of their image- even if opposing view may, in fact, be correct.

The appropriation of images and brands has been an ongoing topic of interest in my New Media course: McDonald’s being one of the most popular targets for appropriation (as well as culture jamming).

I believe there are several reasons for this. McDonald’s is a huge company, which has a history beginning in 1940. At 69 years old the company currently has 31,000 locations around the world, and according to Hoovers.com, in 2007 the company had a net revenue of 22.79 billion dollars.

It seems, the more powerful the company, the more questions will arise regarding its morality and ethics. As a whole, we as society want to be provided with the truth, and the truth is hard to come by in advertising and corporate companies. We are more reluctant to trust large companies- and when we are unsure, the likes of appropriated images, culture jamming and leaflets are likely mediums for protest.

With the prevalence of the Internet, spreading the word regarding one’s view on a company or ad campaign is easier than ever. For example, 4,600 hits on Google arise when the term “McDeath” is typed into the search engine (Strangelove, 2005).  And as shown in class, it is very simple to come across an appropriated image when McDonald’s is typed into the search bar:

McDeath

McDeath

The power of the company is faltering- McDonald’s can’t possibly control the thousands, perhaps millions, of opposing views mentioned online. The Internet provides a means for the alternate views that were once easily suppressed in the not so distance past. Today, we have the power.

Ah yes, the cell phone. The camera. Both of which are incredible advances in modern technology, and amalgamated together is a combination that is quickly destroying privacy; adding to the tirade of viral videos on YouTube. A force to be reckoned with! THE CELL PHONE-CAMERA!

No longer can one pick their nose in the car freely, dance like crazy in their bedrooms or trip down a flight of stairs- without the potential for all to see.

According to the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation, Daniel A. Henderson created the first prototype for this masterpiece in 1993. I suspect no one at the time would have fathomed such an enormous impact on the cellular phone market, on the Internet…  or on the entire world.

The cell phone no doubt contributes to thousands of videos and photos posted online each day. Perhaps the most popular video captured by a cell-phone camera to date was that of the execution of Saddam Hussien. No longer can one be executed without the potential for all to see.

Reuters.com stated that, as of November 2007, “worldwide mobile telephone subscriptions reached 3.3 billion – equivalent to half the global population.” Wow. Half the Earth’s population are cell phone users. I can only imagine how many have cameras integrated within them. Very few people today do not own a cell phone; one being my media professor, Dr. Strangelove. (Kudos!)

The world today is dependent on technology, we need it to connect to information, stay in touch… and we need it to film and document nearly every occurrence in our lives.

Countless celebrities have been captured on cell phone cameras, often in risqué situations, or private moments. Miley Cyrus (or Hannah Montana as the 6 year olds know her) being the current leading example.  Recent photos have been leaked of the 16-year-old star in provocative and personal poses.

Thank God for Cell-Phone Cameras!

Miley Cyrus. I don't think I was supposed to see this.

So is the cell-phone camera movement a good thing? Does society really need to incessantly document every minuscule event that occurs? Memories don’t hold the same merit when one can post their photos online just seconds after they are taken.

Last Night's Dinner. Thank God For Cell-Phone Cameras.

Last Night's Dinner. Thank God For Cell-Phone Cameras.

 

Culture jamming, as defined in the text The Empire of Mind, by Michael Strangelove, can be described as “encompassing a large range of tactics across all mediums, (video, pirate radio, digital photography, billboards, websites, songs) is usually appropriative in that it uses corporate intellectual property without permission… it’s goal is to challenge or destroy all forms of intellectual property.”  In other words, culture jamming is the act of defying and destroying public adverts.

Adbusters is the flagship representation of current culture jamming- an interesting term I learned of only earlier this week during my New Media class. I had always known the concept itself existed, as I have picked up a few copies of Adbusters in the past, but I did not know there was a name for this act of challenging and parodying corporate ads.

According to Strangelove’s text, the term itself was coined in 1984 by the audio-collage band Negitivland, with the phenomenon itself having roots early into the 20th century. 

Interestingly, before the well-known Adbusters, there was Ballyhoo, which “reflected the reader’s disgust with advertising and high pressure sales tactics.” Ballyhoo originated in the early 1900’s, with great popularity during the 1930’s. Funny- that for an entire century, society has expressed disgust in the often-brute tactics of corporate advertising…and yet it still continues today.

A Sucker is Born Every Minute

A Sucker is Born Every Minute

With the ever-expanding Internet, culture jamming has become more prevalent and more accessible than ever before. Simply typing in the term “culture jamming” itself into the Google search engine, I am inundated with thousands of parodies, and manipulated advertisements.

We are torn between the corporate world of capitalism and the anti-establishment world of culture jammers.

Strangelove’s text, quotes Kalle Lasn (founder of Adbusters), who stated, “the next revolution will be, as media guru Marshall McLuhan predicted, ‘a guerrilla information war.’  It will be fought in the streets, with signs, slogans, banners and graffiti, but it will be won in newspapers, on the radio, on TV and in cyberspace…” It appears this war has already begun, we as society are force-fed thousands upon thousands of ads and propaganda telling us what to do, as well as what not to do. Everywhere we are exposed to ads- and it is often those ads supplied by mass-corporations that we are expected to follow.

Culture jamming serves as a great way to get the skinny on what we are not being told; an exposé on the dirty side of advertising. But shouldn’t telling the other side of the story be embraced and praised- why is culture jamming seen as such a bad thing, and in some cases illegal? Shouldn’t we as society be exposed to all aspects of the issues, be them in advertisements, or politics, or religion?  

Culture jammers go forth. Spread your words.

Just Douche It

Adbusters: Just Douche It

 

I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was eighteen and upon reflection, I remember very few of my friends owning a cell phone during High School- this was a mere four years ago. That seems absolutely insane now. Ridiculous. My sister is 15, and she’s had hers for years. Maybe its because I am the oldest and just jealous of how easy-peasy the youngsters have it, or maybe I find this cell-phone generation scary. 

Do children REALLY need cellphones… I mean there are telephones on school property, and landlines inside every retailer. It’s scary. What are these kids saying to each other in these texts of theirs. Secrets. Texting gives children more freedom than the internet could ever provide. With the internet, parents actually have the option of monitoring their kids. With texting, it’s a big mess of sloppy grammar and crazy adolescent secrets. Secrets, I tell you. Cell phones keep kids connected. But I guarantee very little of their cellphone use is with their parents.

According to the University of Washington’s Crispin Thurlow and his article entitled, Generation Txt? The Sociolinguistics of Young People’s Text-Messaging (which observes cellular use among teens, specifically texting),”From a more academic perspective, cite figures estimate that the worldwide usership of mobile phones is approaching a billion.” Wow. Thurlow goes on to state of text messaging, “It seems that these technologies for communication have become an essential feature of both popular and commercial rhetoric about new media cultures and especially of so called ‘global communications’.” Interesting points.

Here is a quote that is actually quite interesting, and further illustrates my point (or rather, rant):

Renee Craig, expert author of Ezine Articles (Do You Really Know Who Your Kids Are Texting) said, “Recent research has linked lowered test scores among 15-year olds with the growing trend of text messaging. Kids are going to school too tired to learn because of the temptation of late-night texting. It seems to have become the latest teenage obsession, ranking at the top of the list with video games.” 

Hmm. Kids are too tired to learn? I’m not so confident in the future of tomorrow. If this generation is already reliant on technology, and completely losing interest in lowly things such as learning and sleep… what will the future bring? And who is to blame?

I truly believe the media affects us. It effects the way our youth act, and it effects the way our parents do their parenting. The media might as well call all of the shots. Because we don’t have control.

EEEEK. Chilldren TXTING

EEEEK. Children TXTING

It’s irritating when people willingly put themselves out there- on youtube, for all to see, and then get upset when they do not receive 100,000,000 comments containing praise and complements… not everyone will care for what an extreme feminist has to say.

A portion of last night’s lecture was dedicated to amateur videos posted on youtube, with specific references to “being a chick on youtube.” I find this laughable. As a female, I have no tolerance for extreme feminists. I find it boring and overplayed. Equality seems prevalent here, where I live. Of course, I am thankful for what women have done for equality rights in the past…bla bla. Not the point. 

Should have put a ring on it..

Should have put a ring on it..

Here is my point- these women choose to go online, and speak their minds. If they are intelligent (which they truly seem to be): they know that people are going to have ignorant things to say… that is the way this world works. It is full of ignorant men (and women) who says things without an ounce of intelligence. WHO CARES.

These women should be happy that the discourteous are viewing their videos, regardless of the responses. Isn’t it better to have 15,000 views than 150? Intelligent men and women will read the irrelevant and stupid comments and know the kind of people who are writing them aren’t worth getting all up-in-arms about. Watching a disgruntled feminist rant on and on only hurts her case. People like me will see it, and roll their eyes.

I know the internet is full of lame-wad-misogynists. We all do. SO feminists move on, focus on something that will make whatever further improvements and changes they feel necessary. No more wasting time. Mine and yours.

Here’s somethings irrelevant, but should cheer you up: 

“Internet culture could continue to persist in the future, or it could die off like the pet rock.”  -Dr. Strangelove

RIP

RIP

I will say this without any hint of doubt: Internet Culture will persist. Persist. Persist. Persist. In the most obnoxious ways possible: Internet Culture will live on, grow and expand. Take over the world as we 21st century beings know it. How can I be so confident? 

 

This is how.

If videos like the embarrassing Scarlet Takes a Tumble generate nearly a million views in a few short months… then the state of Internet Culture can only be that of persistence. In-your-face-persistence. Overpowering persistence. It will not die. It will grow into something bigger and stronger.  Because we, as society, want more. We thrive on what the Internet has to offer.

We watch it. We talk about it. We live it.

We want more overweight youth tumbling over, we want more children getting kicked in the face by breakdancers, more yoga-ball violence. We want it all and we want more- and the Internet satisfies this desire. If we can’t have it, we create it, adding to the more unecessarily necessary videos that the world of the Internet has to offer. 

And of course, it is not just Youtube or Google Video that we all love so desperately. It goes without saying that the youth of today is reliant on sites such as Facebook and Myspace. The internet has taken over our lives. Our essence. Who we are as human beings can be perused and scrutinized in great detail on sites like Facebook, our darkest secrets exposed through personal and detailed blogs. We plan our weekends by writing on each others walls, instead of picking up a telephone. We then post our weekend-party-shots online, for all to see. And we hope they see. 

Authors (as well as professors at the University of Toronto) of the article entitled, The Global Villagers: Comparing Internet Users And Uses Around the World, Wenhong Chen, Jeffrey Boase, and Barry Wellman state,  “As the Internet evolves, its users and uses grow and diversify globally. Social research about the Internet has followed the spread of the Internet itself.”

The Internet expands daily, spreads socially through the likes of YouTube, social networking sites like Facebook, email…the list goes on and on. The Internet is alive and well.