Autoethnography, you are foreign to me!

The word Autoethnography is something completely foreign to me, but through a fair amount of research I have finally come to understand what this long word means! Basically, it’s your recount on an experience and how you understand what you are being exposed to. Containing a blend of features that are found in autobiographies and ethnographies, it reports in detail what you are thinking and learning and your thought process during this time that you are experiencing something new. The writer identifies ways that their personal experiences influence the progression of research. Instead of being objective in what we are researching and our findings, we have the opportunity to share personal emotions and ways in which what we have experienced influence our exploration process. It is a much more personal format and displays intimate and one-on-one accounts. A researcher who is to write a autoethnography, will write about thoughts that derive from having a specific cultural identity and being part of a culture. They will then analyse these experiences and uncover how their perception on the topic has been shaped. Something that I personally think would be interesting to conduct and something that writers of Autoethnographies do is comparing and contrasting personal experiences with current research. This will allow readers to understand relevant cultural artefacts and link them to the writers own experience.

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Instead of “telling” or recounting experiences, autoethnographies should “show” readers what the writers thoughts and emotions were to create a richer experience for the reader. The use of conversation in showing, enables writers to make procedures appealing and emotionally deep. Autoethnography has been criticised at times for being too hypothetical, and too emotional. Furthermore, in using personal experience, at times autoethnographers are thought to use biased data and be self-absorbed. However, I believe that if done correctly and in an informative way, autoethnographies can allow us to understand that different kinds of people will have very different interpretations of what they study and how they study topics. I generally find that other research types can be dry and do not explore how and why researchers come to certain conclusions about the topics. They are backed up by data and other sources but are very impersonal and detached from the researcher. When looking into topics about culture, I think it is important to get an individual and personal recount. It allows us to have a much more personal insight into the way individuals learn about different cultures and how their personal experiences contribute to their overall exposure and understanding of this.

OMG its Gojira.

When I first heard that we would be watching Godzilla in class I was genuinely excited to finally see the film after only ever hearing about it. As a child my family and I frequently travelled to Asia, so I have always had an interest in Asian culture. Now that I am learning Mandarin at university, I am trying to watch films in Chinese and I have exposed myself to a whole new world of Asian media that I never knew prior to my studies in Mandarin. I visited Japan for the first time when I was 17 but I never came across anything to do with Godzilla! As a child I had first heard of Godzilla through Toy Story when the dinosaur character ‘Rex’ mentioned the beast in a brief scene; and also in the Austin Powers ‘Goldmember’ movie where there is a scene when Japanese civilians screech in terror at the sight of a pre-jurassic creature.

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Throughout the screening of the film, there were times that I found the film to be very boring and all I could think about was ‘When will it end..” (sorry). I found many of the scenes very dramatic and over the top which was surprisingly entertaining to me. Especially the scene where Serizawa shows Emiko his experiment and she becomes mortified. She proceeds to cover her face and cry hysterically (my favourite part of the whole movie!). The music and sounds effects were very effective and I thought that they did a good job at building suspence especially in the scenes where Gojira reveals himself. The film raises awareness against atomic testing and the use of atomic weapons and I think that Godzilla is culturally identified as a strong metaphor for nuclear weapons.9d13deeb3680533fbb9d1a87f1cdd5ee--funny-things-funny-stuff.jpg

There were many unnecessary scenes that didn’t add anything to the overall plot, however I enjoyed the story line and thought that is was very relevant for the time period considering it was post WW2 and the aftermath of the war was significantly evident. The whole idea that man had created the atomic bomb and now nature was going to take revenge on all of mankind was something that I enjoyed as an anti-war advocate. I really appreciated all of the special effects especially for the time period. I actually got curious and found my self in the deep web trying to figure out how they created and filmed Godzilla himself. In all honesty I don’t think I would have watched a 1954 black and white Japanese movie in my own time, so I’m really glad that I watched it in class where I had no choice but to!

V is for, Ven-det mask coming off?

Admit it, we’ve all done it. Carefully selecting the perfect Instagram filter, getting just the right pose and going on scenic adventures just to get a good Insta pic. We pick and choose every element of our online presence whether it be intentional or unintentional. This selection and way of presenting ourselves is our online persona, and we show the world only what we want them to see. Masks generally have negative connotations, concealing our true nature and aiding us to be someone we are not. The film “V for Vendetta” for example, shows us that masks can liberate and aid us to fight against oppression. In that scenario, masks are not negative thing at all, instead they provide the courage and identity needed to defend a society in crisis.

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The word persona itself derives from the Greek word “prosōpon” meaning face or mask. So it’s safe to say that our personas are in fact our masks. Not to say that the mask isn’t the real you, but it projects what you want your audience to see as the real you. The fiters, touch-ups, makeup, clothing are all things that we use to change our appearances in hopes to change other people perceptions of us. Although I mentioned that our mask/persona can be a positive tool, I personally believe that we are trapped in a world that values how awesome of a person you are by the number of Instagram followers we have.

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The duck-face phase and doggy-filter uploads to Instagram are a thing of the past (at least for me) and I am now one of those boring Instagram users whose profile is on private, only uploading once a week (sometimes less) with pictures of views, family and friends (the occasional selfie of course) and our family dog. I’d rather be boring than pretentious and I am all for being natural and true to myself. But if you think about it, even that is my online persona. I still select which images I want my friends to see. I don’t take pictures of my-self doing boring things like applying pimple cream to my face while waiting for the iron to turn on; instead, I upload pictures of myself on a tropical getaway on Waikiki beach.
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I realise that the term ‘mask’ seems a little dramatic and that it has negative connotations, but I honestly believe that technology and social media is trapping and luring users into a pretentious world and giving people false impressions of what life really is about. Yeah sure, some people can really use their photoshopped bikini snaps and full faces of makeup to their advantage, but its not real life and I assure you those people do not ‘wake up like that’! The online galaxy has great powers of bringing people from all over the world together and connecting us, but how can we distinguish between who we actually are and who we want the world to see?

Iphone vs. Android

When I first heard of the phrase ‘hardware platform’ I immediately thought of a big box for a computer hardware on a platform. Don’t laugh, I’m not tech savy! What it really is, is a set of compatible hardware on which software applications can be run. Programs must be built specifically for a platform that involves a standardized type of processor and associated hardware pieces. For example, Instagram announced that they will be making an app for Android smartphones which is an example of convergent media platforms favouring generative platforms as opposed to locked appliances. This is because it enables apps such as Instagram to widen their market share over other applications.

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The IOS operating system that Iphones have is called a closed or locked system, which means that the user of the phone does not have the ability to customise and change things. This is a factor that many phone buyers consider and may be a reason for people to not choose IOS systems.

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However this locked system gives some consumers (such as myself) a sense of comfort, knowing that there isn’t really too much than can be fiddled around or tampered with!

after-having-an-iphone-since-day-then-recently-switching-to-an-android-phone-22230.jpgAndroids on the other hand are open and unrestricted
and you can change almost anything according to your needs. I personally have always preferred Iphones over Android because of how easy they are to navigate but I can understand why people don’t like the limited adaptability of it.

Its creative, Comm’on!

So imagine yourself typing away at your keyboard trying to finish that essay due tomorrow morning. You’re super duper tired and you have run out of idea. Lets be honest, we have ALL turned to Google for some sort of help. Then you find a sentence or an idea that you like and want to put in your essay so you copy and paste it because why not? Well hey, thats illegal. But do not threat; Creative Commons licenses are there for the rescue! Creative Commons are a set of copyright licenses which tell you what you can do with content licensed. There is also material available that you can use without infringement. Moving away from academic situations, copyright can potentially strangle creativity.Unknown.jpeg

Memes are the simplest example of this. Matt Furie’s Boy’s Club is the comic series where Pepe the infamous internet meme came from. So imagine if they sued every single person who made a Pepe meme….not likely but possible.

pepe-the-frog-o-shi-meme-lord-dat-boi-dup-2415775.pngTake 3D printing for example, if a certain design that you want to print is protected by copyright, you are infringing someones copyright by printing it and companies can sue for damages if someone recreates and shares their design. So printing a Storm Trooper could bring you face-to-face with a serious law suit. Since using multiple mediums is so popular these days, is it even possible to get the same message across without using a common image/phrase/material? I really don’t think it would be as affective and as engaging if people didn’t have a common means of knowledge.

Transmedia = $$$

With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other forms of social media, users now have an expectation of engagement. We want to be able to feel engaged in what we are being exposed to. Theres no doubt that you have heard of 50 Shades of Grey, but did you know it derived from an online FanFiction? This is an example of Transmedia which is telling a story or experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital.

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By creating other outlets for user engagement multiple points of entry are created into the story world of the franchise. For example after the film ‘Matrix’ was released several games were created for further fan engagement. Several parts of the game included cut outs directly from the film. In traditional hollywood, money is spent on traditional advertising methods and is only recouped through conversion. The box office sales are the only way to recoup marketing dollars. Transmedia creates multiple payoff possibilities for marketing dollars because money is spent on transmedia marketing and not only recouped through conversion but also through the individual sales of the transmedia components. Everything we are exposed to in the media is designed to sell us something, and with the extensive rise of Transmedia, people are lead from one medium to another.

JPZxNge.jpg.png So if a Star Wars fan sees an advertisement for a new Star Wars video game, they are likely to go out and purchase it. Thus, connections breed interaction, which breeds community, which breeds excitement, which breeds the big bucks!

Adele not a ‘Million Miles Away’ after all…

Cultural artifacts are always susceptible to reproduction. Much like many things nowadays, technology has allowed for this to be made easier. The saying “good artists copy; great artists steal,” attributed to Pablo Picasso, revolves around a lot of modern technology. Is it safe to say that Mashup and remix culture is a form of copying? It involves using existing songs and rearranging their order, but in doing so creators are essentially making their own piece of music because they put in all of the effort to re-create the existing pieces into something else. Many questions have arisen when it comes to copyright protections in mashup and remix music.images.jpeg

As a musician it would be in your best interest to protect your creations from being used without your permission. However, as a mashup artist, you would need to make sure that you are creating your work without getting in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Using different song samples to create an entirely new song could be considered critical commentary; in this case, mashups could be seen as a form of free expression protected under fair use. Nevertheless most people who create mashups know that the original artist could question their work at any time!

On social media, many fans of Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya have accused Adele of copying his music. There were noted similarities between her song “Million Years Ago”, an

d a song from Kaya’s second album. Fans of the Kurdish-Turkish singer claimed that Adele’s song is ‘not a million miles away’ from Kaya’s 1985 song “Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain)”. Although this is not a mash-up or a remix, it still goes to show that there is a fine line between the validity of original and existing work!

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BCM112 #draftourmemes

The conceptual sphere has changed into a viscous reality of information through pixels, shifting it into something that is more trackable because of its ability to be copied rapidly. This idea is inclusive of images, gifs, videos, texts and sometimes a mixture of all of them! Its crazy to think that by typing some text on an image and sharing it with friends, we have a voice capable of reaching a critical mass. Thus, memes were born. Meme warfare offers people a chance to gain control of media production from corporate interests. The birth of memes allowed for a open-source medium that allowed people to have their voice heard in a comical way.images.jpeg

Hillary Clinton voiced her support for legislation, requiring women to register for the draft on 16 May of this year to support gender equality in the military. However, the result has been a se
ries of fake #draftourdaughters campaigns that promote the false message that Clinton wants to send females to their deaths in a war against Russia. The images had disturbing quotations such as “He died for his country. Now, it’s her turn” and the colours and logo were made identical to the original, so much so that it is almost impossible to tell them apart. 15ylbc.jpg

Its becoming easier and easier to spread lies and fake news on a global scale and the online platform has quickly become a theatre for virtual conflict. A whole group of people who have never met each other before have the ability to form groups or spread their opinions and ideas across. This ability for readers to also become creators of content is a concept that is very new to us, but the dangers of not being able to distinguish the true from the false can be detrimental and severely mis-leading.images-1.jpeg

BCM 112 The Power of Us

The internet makes us active makers, users, and participants in the process. We have stopped being consumers and we have started to be produces aggregators of the conversation. You could say that we are now “The viewers who picked up a camera”. – Jay Rosen. It takes the same amount of time to look at what the NY times is saying as what you are saying online. The “lamestream media” is losing their grip on reality, and this is  because they are losing their power and control of the narrative.

9379cd89cccf151642ae47d7bbeb25df_you-have-no-power-here-u-have-no-power-here-meme_550-229.pngFor example, Wall Street Journal had a recent debacle over PewDiePie, a YouTuber star and the reason behind why they were attacking was not because of virtue or all that jazz, but simply because of the power that he holds. His influence and popularity reaches millions, and it could be argued that it is more than anyone at the Wall Street Journal. Felix (his real name) gets millions of views per week, and he is just some Swedish guy playing video games in front of a camera. Major corporations are afraid of people like you and I because your/our message is probably more real and less fake then theirs and has the ability to be seen by millions, which is what can make us so powerful! *insert evil mastermind laugh* Ua-ha-ha. And this is profoundly unsettling to them because we might broadcast a different message which does not resonate with them.

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CNN, and many other established media platforms have long supported the US-European funded “Syrian Civil Defence” known as the “White Helmets. Not to mention, they won an Oscar for best short documentary. It can be noted that unlike what it would be like in real life, the people who were rescued by the “White Helmet” have no deep visible wounds, no missing limbs, and lack burns or trauma that would be associated with devastation of mass bombings. The alternative media however, has been trying to expose the “White Helmets” for a while now, stating that they are one of the largest war propaganda operations conceived by Western powers in their efforts to change public opinion in regards to efforts for regime change in Syria. Once the alternative media raised these concerns and cornered the “White Helmets” establishment media platforms like CNN finally decided to react to a story that they would have otherwise ignored.

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Back in the day we would buy a publication in the hope and expectation that it would contain truth and up-to-date information in its writing. The publisher was the guarantor of quality. However now, there is no established authority. We don’t need to trust the authority of news corporations and publishers anymore, and it is safe to say that the only authority we have is ourselves!

BCM112 Uggh lifes a Glitch!

“The medium is the message” carries a much deeper meaning and communication theory. Our understanding of this phrase is that the medium through which we select to communicate with holds just as much, if not more, significance than the message itself. In today’s world website designers (and even ordinary people like you and me) are able to program services, communities and tools for users with the assistance of their chosen medium! Out of every single medium in history, the internet has got to have the MOST powerful reach, and as a result of this it also has just as large implications for its status as the message.Unknown.jpegThe medium through which a message is experienced shapes the user’s perception of the message and medium can actually be the message within itself if it is presenting content that would be impossible to access otherwise. With distorted visuals and manipulated images, glitch art provides a trend that expresses our current digital society. This trendy new style is made with purposeful digital alteration that results in a distorted visual setting of irregular patterns and colours. It has brought a groovy-ness in visual aesthetics and embraced the beauty of errors. It is safe to say that this Glitch trend in a vision of the unexpected and has challenged and disrupted the smooth and clean lines of the new digital age!

Nowadays anyone and everyone has the power to craft and design their own content, but as we do this we mustn’t forget to give credit to and consider what medium we choose to present this in, as it plays a critical role in how our audiences interpret our work(s).