Last time during our class we spoke on the topic of online blog sites, especially focusing on the topic of “news” and we enthusiastically spoke of the vast transformation filters, platforms such as blogs have provided…
Now we started off with the acknowledgement of news as having a stronger cultural burden to be about the dissemination of facts BUT at the same time, it’s yearning to be aesthetically and emotionally attractive.THUS news doesn’t always simply convey factual data.
The credibility of news sources, seems to be given to the already well-known news giants, but within the social realm of news credibility is somewhat dependent on popularity of the particular user, for example on Facebook there are people who regularly post or actively share articles on their wall, ie. peer influence
The sheer amount and speed of information or news:
An analogy from Anthony Giddens given in class got me thinking: ‘in pre modern times, people struggled to gather food, but now Giddens puts it, the word “diet”, is irrelevant because now in the affluent world everyone is on a diet, watching out for an over abundance of food.
From a scarcity we have now shifted to a mode of constant consciousness about how much we intake, we are more aware of and aptly trained to question credibility of sources, a “pick n mix” approach to news has increased amidst this flood of news.
For example, choosing to follow certain people on Twitter shows how we cater what information we wish to be receiving.
This brings me to the next transformation we discussed, has the speed and instantaneous mode of news flow caused a “numbing” effect on us? Has this degraded the value we once held in news?
3. [News] values/ Newsworthiness
The online world has been constantly throwing complex questions towards the values of news.
Going back to the Giddens’ analogy, has news morphed into an explosive food fight?
Are we just being ‘thrown’, and ‘throwing at’ one another news and not being able to properly digest it all? Luke mentioned the ‘push versus pull’ concept of news as a medium, it reminded me of my CNN phone app, to me of course, the constant notifications of “breaking news” which pops up like little text messages made it feel like a push medium, while the YouTube citizen journalists I follow such as Phillip Defranco ,
(here’s a link to one of my favorites) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLE5XUDNHFE
To me Defranco makes news a pull medium, because he packages and presents news in a simple to follow and entertaining format.
5.Ubiquity: ‘ambient journalism’/’ambient news’
Finally, all of the above ties into the question: Has news become background noise?
Lost in Communication
The scene that really struck me from the film, He’s Just Not That Into You was of ‘Mary’ (played by Drew Barrymore), where she speaks of the problem in communication we are faced with today. I have the link to this very clip above, I recommend viewing before you read on!
I would like to call this syndrome the ‘communication disorder,’ a sense of confusion that is present in our lives due to the excessive methods of communication we have been bombarded with through different digital platforms, in addition to what now seems almost “archaic,” the telephone. As you can see in the clip, Mary talks about having to go from voicemail, to email on blackberry, to text and the endless number of portals, yet frustratingly being unable to reach true “verbal contact” which is still far from in-person communication.
I was reminded of this very clever and insightful point put across throughout this film, as we were carrying out an in-class experiment last week of putting together a 3-minute YouTube video on the theme of “my digital life.” A segment of our groups video was devoted to the debatable advent of online communication, whether it has brought us into greater connection or if it has actually disconnected us, in a sense the level of fragmentation which is focal to the online experience (ie. cite: ‘Mary’).
Of course, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum, Facebook and KakaoTalk (instant messaging application for smartphones) have enabled me to be part of the lives of friends overseas but I can also deeply relate to Mary’s frustration, of having to go from portal to portal and almost getting lost, or forgetting the very subject of communication in the process.
This brings me to the cover story of the Timemagazine I came across in 2009 (June 15th issue), which had a 6 page spread on Twitter, titled, quite ambitiously (this is my opinion) as, How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live (in 140 characters of less). My “pathetic” thus failed attempt at joining the Twittersphere may have rendered a doubtful impression on the claims of this article. However fast-forward a year and a half later, it seems that Twitter has undeniably taken the form of a strong tool for mass outreach, like a digital megaphone which can be heard on an immense geographical scale to bring together those who hear the message spoken through the “Twitter-me-phone” in 140 characters or less. Here I have the recent mass-political rallies brought together through Twitter in mind.
Steven Johnson, author of this article speaks of his skepticism at first, ‘a communications platform that limited you to a couple of sentences at most. What was next? Software that let you send a single punctuation mark to describe your mood?’
So I’m left thinking, pondering, questioning about where all of this is headed…
Have online platforms brought us greater connectivity or fragmentation? Is it bliss? Bringing greater room for freedom of speech or simply the freedom to express? Or have they limited and confined us to a mere info page, status update or tweet?
"Confessions of a tech-savvy wannabe"
This being my first blog,
I just had to share this video and not just because I happen to like Sam Grobart’s (featured tech reporter for the NY Times) sheer, yet irresistable dry humour, but because it encompasses so much of what I want to say.
Grobart’s blatantly represented persona as “geek” with the bulgy glasses, short curly hair, knit with shirt collar, the classical music in the background and not to forget the absolute pinnacle of his geek persona, to pioneer the equation: 2xHB =MRUA.
This persona once shunned to the un-trendy borders of society, fast forward a couple of years and now we see the idea of “computer geek” completely born anew which I would like to argue as being updated to the attractive term: “tech savvy,” (as Wiktionary kindly informs me), is a contraction of the term “high-tech savvy” ironically coined back in 1984.
At one point I was seriously suspicious about the whole origin of Apple’s logo, if it’s power is enough to make me drool over simply watching the promotional video of their next product (my newest infatuation, the iPad2), then could it by any chance be suspect to some unknown cult? Could the apple in Apple’s logo be “the apple” which tempted Eve into selling over her soul to the devil? Luckily, my sheepish theory was found to be false and I now simply see it as fetishization.
But this deeply, (I want to say) “innate” desire to be “up-to-date,” in attempt to avoid the horror of hearing “get with the times” from my freshman brother, I find doesn’t just apply to technological gadgets but to all online activity in general. This includes social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging and even smart phone applications like Skype or KakaoTalk and of course the list is inexhaustible.
This practice I find myself engaged in is perhaps a modern day example of what Jean Baudrillard was describing in The System of Objects as a ‘dangerous drive conjured up by the neo sorcerors of consumption, this drive, not to liberate anybody with a rousing call to happiness rather, merely to resolve tensions, a freedom merely by default.’ However, the new will be the new-old tommorrow, simply there is no possible way to keep up, yet I find myself in the vicious cycle of continuously striving to. A tension I seek to be liberated from, which has become my “dangerous drive.”
Does that make me one of the millions that are prey to the all-consuming conglomerates out there?
I’m afraid the verdict is, yes.
So then my hopes of being tech-savvy under the reign of the neo sorcerors of consumption are probably lost. Commonly shared theory is, Apple has probably already made up to iPhone10 but are just taking our money one iPhone at a time.
As Jenkins puts it, we are perhaps just helplessly,
"hoping to get a glimpse of tomorrow before it’s too late."