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Lawrence Lessig brings up a lot of ideas about intellectual ownership in his book Remix and I’d say I would have to agree with most of them. I mean after the information is out there who technically ‘owns’ the intellectual information? After all it is a little ridiculous how you don’t have to ask for permission to cite a quote but have to worry about copyright issues when using media clips for bigger projects. The whole reason someone is able to borrow a quote, is because they are using it in their own different context, for an entirely different purpose than it was originally meant for. The same is done with media projects like a mash up song; one might use a part of a song from a particular artist but you are usually using it in conjunction with other clips to create a new piece of music and not trying to take credit or profit from the original.

I guess the whole problem stems down to the issue of financial profit. After all you can borrow all you want from pieces of literary intellectual work for a piece of new written work because odds are you won’t be able to sell you work to make any money. However, if you do the same with media property, profit margins go down for corporations. Like Lessig, I agree that this is an outcome that is a consequence of a lack of policy to accommodate users in this new age of media. I mean at one point, the VCR was thought of as a pirating device. Now that is not the case, just as DVRs and mp3 players are no longer thought of as pirating devices, but devices that make the sharing and usage of media more convenient. While we might not see a compromise to this copyright issue anytime soon, I think that a gradual improvement will be made towards a more open policy for sharing information. Availability and usability of media technology is only going to get easier for society as time goes on, so it is natural that practices will change and evolve with the development of these new technologies.

Earlier this week, during an econ exam I read an article that said that this year’s winter Olympics was the most tweeted about Olympics in history. But the statement in itself is a little deceiving after all what does that even mean? First of all Twitter has only been around for a year or so. So, doesn’t that make this year’s Olympics the most tweeted about simply out of default, since this is the only Olympics in which people have had the option to use Twitter.

With that in mind, what is the use of saying that something was the most tweeted about or such and such had a record amount of hits online. After all these so call records are fleeting; they are bound to be broken with the simple passage of time as more and more people pick up the new technology everyday. For example, someone might set a record for being able to hold their breath for 5 minutes and there is no guarantee that someone will break that record. However, I guarantee that the next time the Olympics role around, those games will be the most tweeted about in history, simply because by then more people will be on Twitter. So given the relevancy of the previous statement, does that mean that records like these hold no sense of accomplishment? I guess it all depends on who you talk to, but anyways it’s just something to think about.

Chat Roulette!

Well, I must admit something a little embarrassing first. So I had skimmed over professor Mittell’s post about chat roulette without watching the video and had made a mental note to go back later, I must have forgotten the name of the application. Earlier today I was doing research for a Chinese essay and stumbled upon an article about chat roulette, in Chinese, which lead me to search for chat roulette, which lead me to discover it in all of its glory. Needless to say I was flabbergasted by the invention and its combination of genius and complete ridiculousness destined for failure. I then got really excited about sharing my discovery and went to mother blog to share it with everyone. Needless to say I was both epically disappointed and embarrassed that everyone had already heard about it, including myself.

Anyways, my point is, if I unknowingly stumbled on chat roulette how many other people have done the same, especially given the amount of press that it has been getting recently. After watching that charming video I have also come to the conclusion that chat roulette is actually a pretty cool idea, you know given the fact that the perverts and pedophiles don’t take it over. It’s pretty much like an interactive twitter times ten, and with that said; I think that it would be a pretty entertaining thing to try. While it is still too early to tell I can definitely see chat roulette becoming the new web phenomenon, especially given the overall curiosity and bored-ness of the general public.

Boyd’s article Why Youth ♥Social Network Sites” brings up a good point when saying that who we are online is not really who we are in real life. Specifically Boyd means that our online personas are much more carefully constructed, exaggerated, and sometimes even fabricated.

While we have pretty much moved on from Myspace to Facebook I can still recall the days of Myspace. Back then the “Myspace picture” was pretty much the quintessential example of how one’s online persona is a false representation of the real thing. It was a widely recognized concept that one’s Myspace picture was not a clear representation of how you really looked. With Myspace you controlled all of the images that appeared on your site and people saw you how you wanted them to see you. This is great in terms of the online community but I think that it is easy to get caught up in the exaggeration. Sometimes people forget that while we have a life online, we live in reality and at the end of the day you still look the way you do and act the way you act.

I think that Facebook is a progressive step towards getting closer to the truth. Friends are able to tag unflattering pictures of you, and follow your comments on the news feed to get a better understanding of who you really are. I guess I understand the appeal of having complete control over your image and persona, but we should also be aware of how easy it is to create an entirely different identity altogether.

Facebook as a tool.

As I checked my Facebook profile today I was reminded of what Shirky said about how people can use the internet to gather people into a specific group or cause like with the case of the missing sidekick. I saw a real world example of this in a picture that two of my friends were tagged in.

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Needless to say even from a thumbnail it was easy to tell that there was something up with the photo. 

After clicking on the picture I came to see that this wasn’t a joke but a serious case of a missing girl in the community. The comment below the picture also called for people to tag themselves in the picture to spread the message, and make it their profile picture as well. As opposed to joining a group like 1,000,000 for against prop 8, amongst others, this is an example of an interactive campaign for something on Facebook. Cases like this one are seemingly normal these days, for example the recent disappearance of actor Andrew Koening has been very active in the news recently and when people were still looking for his whereabouts friends and family took to twitter. I recalled seeing messages asking for help in finding his whereabouts last week. However, seeing this picture on Facebook really cemented the new use of the internet as a tool because I felt that this time I was part of the audience.

Really, Podcasts?

Personally podcasts are not my forte. A mix of radio and blogs, podcasts are for those who have an hour-plus to dedicate to listening to the opinions of one or a few people. Podcasts are an uninterrupted continuous stream of sound, unlike radio there are no commercials, but it is also prerecorded so you are unable to call in to respond. Similar to blogs, you are only able to affect the content of podcasts by leaving comments, in a forum, message board, etc.

In my opinion the average person listens to radio shows when it is convenient, i.e. when they are in the car, at the gym, or the occasional obligatory listen to their friend’s radio show. In the age of iPods where radio is pretty much fading into the background, who must ask: are podcasts really necessary? I mean who is going to take the time to download a podcast before they hit the gym when they can just listen to their own music or the radio. Podcasts lack a level of accessibility that is essential in today’s fast paced world of snap decisions, so for a podcast to be especially popular I feel like it needs to add something that other mediums lack and as far as I can tell it doesn’t.

Who knows maybe I will change my mind in the future but for now I am not a fan of podcasts. For those of you that like podcasts, check out this one about pop culture issues http://www.keithandthegirl.com/, it’s actually really popular, like multiple people have tattoos of the podcast’s logo. I don’t get it, personally if I have an hour and even when I don’t I’d choose television over podcasts anyday.

Response to Shirky

The most relevant point that Shirky brings up is how new media has opened up the channel of communication. Whereas previously information flowed only one way, i.e. TV, film, print, the internet has allowed those that consume that information to respond. Unlike radio, in which listeners have to call in at the right time to voice their thoughts, there are little constrictions to voicing your opinion on the internet.

The internet has opened up a whole new level of choice for the consumer of information. You can choose what you want to digest and when you want to digest it. You can also choose the level of participation. The internet throws out all conventional notions of organization. As Shirky points out, there is a lack of management of the internet and one can contribute as much or as little as they want to it without consequence or reward. The internet is also one of the few places where one can communicate with someone famous, with the possibility of them communicating back.

The internet can also turn its users into pseudo inquisitive journalists for day. In the example of the stolen sidekick and Wikipedia, Shirky points out that users are now using the internet as an open medium, where they can publish information, thus making them journalists in a way. Shirky also points out how simple it is for a user to gather a large group of people and direct them towards a specific cause. As shown with the stolen sidekick example, the internet can be a powerful media tool that, if used in the right way, can solve all of your problems.

I have always known that you can change a lot about an image through Photoshop and last week’s tutorial only cemented that theory. However Photoshop has also had negative effects on the community as well.  It has made people a little paranoid when it comes to looking at pictures. For example, the summer before freshman year I took a family trip around Europe. So after the trip I of course uploaded pictures onto Facebook. There were pictures of me at the Eiffel Tower on a nice sunny day and I had noticed that one of my friends had commented on the picture, it simply read: Photoshop. After reading the comment I was actually really offended that my friend thought that I was the type of person who would take a picture of myself, set it to the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, and put it on Facebook. I’m sorry but I like to think that I have better things to do with my time. The whole ordeal made me think, has Photoshop changed the way we look at images? Do we need to make sure that all of our photos are slightly flawed so that there isn’t any suspicion that they’re fake?

Comics are pretty cool.

I agree with Toren about Ong’s article  “OMG Why Writing Sux.” It focuses way too much energy on criticizing the written word and his points are pretty outlandish. McCloud’s Understanding Comics on the other hand, carries a completely different tone. McCloud’s book is the first solid positive piece of literature we have read so far about media. Ong thought that the invention of media was slowly degrading our senses, and McLuhan thought that the invention of media was throwing our senses out of balance. McCloud presents another theory of how you can use media as an extension of general awareness by transposing yourself into the context.

McCloud’s book really opened my eyes about how we view images and how the combination of pictures and words can affect our senses. Comics, are a medium that combine sequential images with text. It is this mix of two mediums that makes it a truly unique form of expression. I find that even though you only utilize one sense, sight, when reading a comic, it feels as if you are also using sound as well. When reading a sound like ‘Pow’ in a comic is seems as though you are hearing it, and the fact that you are able to illustrate sound this way is really interesting. Comics are also unique in the fact that they are not confined by the same boundaries of form thatother written works are. For example, when you are reading a piece of written work, there are certain forms that you must abide by, you read from left to right, top to bottom, and beginning to end. In contrast, McCloud illustrates in his book that a story in a comic can be presented in a variety of ways.  For example, a reader can read the text in a different order, depending on how it is juxtaposed on a page. Plot can be present horizontally and vertically on the page or it can even span across the top portion of a two page spread. Similarly comics can do things with images that film cannot. In a single image a comic can express the passage of time, whereas in a film the shot has to change as time changes.These aspects of comics are particularly interesting but because they are pretty unique to the medium I think that it would be unlikely to extend them to other media.

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