BCM240 Reflection

For the past nine weeks, in fact, for the past two years, blogging has become a concept that I am extremely familiar with as it is an integral part of media and communication education. BCM240 explores the links between media, audience, and place and the ways in which they challenge and complement each other for different purposes and in different times. The BCM subjects are generally quite different from any other University subjects as they focus on technology platforms and encourage student to interact with them in new and current ways, allowing student to get a hands on experience that better prepare us for our future employment.

The primary aim in getting students to maintain a blog is to encourage them to be continually engaging and reengaging with the subject material as well as with other students’ thoughts and opinions on that material. In general I would say that the engagement between students has significantly decreased over the blogging period. It stated with people reading and commenting on each other’s writing and tweeting sources and encouragement, however, as the semester wore on and workloads stared to increase and time became scarce, commenting and further engaging with others seemed less important. As a BCM student I am taking three BCM subjects this semester and in one of them bogging, commenting, and tweeting are mandatory and count for a percentage of our marks. Due to this, I feel that I am fulfilling my obligation to connect with fellow students and although I continue to read BCM240 blogs I have less motivation to comment on them.

Blogging not only improves your writing ability but it also takes dedication and discipline to sit down once a week and research, plan and write a blog post. Although this BCM subject contains many areas of study that other BCM subjects contain, revisiting and reengaging with past content and learning new ways to approach content broadens students understanding of key features of our degree. Researching for blog topics and content ranged from reading scholarly sources to sitting down with the family to discuss cinema and televisions experiences. This academic learning combined with personal thoughts and anecdotes create an extremely unique learning experience giving us insight into the changes and advancements in technology and technology platforms from individual perspective and from the industry itself. 

Although every time I find myself in a subject that requires student to blog, I dread sitting down and typing out a four hundred blog post once a week. In the beginning it seems unnecessary, and at times inconvenient, however compared to other learning styles that contain heavy reading and multiple tests I feel that this is continuous engagement with material is a far superior method of retaining information. After reviewing my blog statistics (I’ll admit for the first time since creating it almost two years ago) I was surprised by the amount of international attention it had received.

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Now, I’m not on my way to becoming an influential blogger or anything, but seeing that people in North America, Eastern Europe and even Brazil have been viewing my blog is kind of mind blowing. As much as I would love to attribute this to the caliber of writing and research, alas, more likely it is due to tagging key ideas and categorizing related posts as well as tweeting about my blog. These essential blogging components (as shown in the above image) can be extremely useful in getting your voice out there and more importantly getting your voice heard over the cacophony of other voices on the Internet. This image also concludes that although we may think that we are only writing a blog to fulfill subject requirements, through the speed and accessibility of the Internet these posts can be (I’m a realist after all) accessed and read from all corner of the globe for a myriad of reasons whether it’s for recreational or research purposes or just to connect with another human being.

After almost two years of posting my thoughts and opinions in the form of a blog and more specifically, after nine weeks of researching and exploring the connection between media, audience and place I am constantly reminded that media is not a single entity but rather a combination of thousands, if not, millions of voices that define the way humanity develops, learns and interacts with each other and the world around us. As a reflection of a global society media changes to accommodate for technological advances according to the way in which people interact with it. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we have entered into the technological age where media creation and practices are fundamental aspects in current and future life.

Television in the Public Space

Although we tend to think of television primarily as a household fixture, TV monitors outside the home are widespread: in bars, laundromats, and stores, cafes, bus and train stations, airports; conveying flight arrival and departure times; uniting crowds at sports events and allaying boredom in waiting rooms; and helping to pass the time in workplaces of all kinds.

The roles television has played in different institutions vary from efforts to transform waiting room populations into advertising audiences and the use of point-of-sale video to influences brand visibilityand consumer behavior. While the capacity for cultural infrastructure such as flagship museums to break cycles of urban and regional decline is now familiar through the ‘Bilbao effect’, the potential for public screen technologies to address social and urban issues is yet to receive sustained critical attention. The ‘Public Space Broadcasting’ project in the UK utilizes a growing network of large screens predominantly based in northern urban centres such as Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. The project involves a series of partnerships between the publicly funded national broadcaster, the BBC, various city councils, cultural and educational institutions and technology providers.  It recognizes the potential for large screen technologies to play a key role in urban regeneration by providing a new dimension of public space and civic agency.

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Within a policy framework of urban regeneration, public screens are becoming policy tools for a variety of purposes, from enhancing social cohesion, emphasizing the role of culture in constructing positive urban images, developing the tourism industry, attracting inward investment, and strengthening the competitive position of host cities.  From this perspective, it can be seen that public screens represent a new intersection of social and economic interests in the public realm, bringing together diverse stakeholders, including different levels of government, cultural funding bodies, arts institutions, artists, broadcasters, media hardware companies, local businesses, technology providers, content makers and audiences. These partnerships need to be mapped, and their outcomes critically assessed.  The capacity of large screens to contribute to a robust and inclusive public culture needs to be evaluated.

Australia behind the times. . . Again

The TV and movie piracy issue seems to be causing many to take sides, but according to Jonathan D. Rose, intellectual property litigator with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, a law firm in Nashville, the issue may not be entirely as cut and dry as some think.

On the one hand, there are real dollars being lost to piracy with an Independent U.S. film distributor, Wolfe, has had its profits halved due to piracy and costs to mitigate damages from piracy, according to The Wall Street Journal. But, according to Rose, in the larger picture, a free stream of a show or movie does not necessarily mean the viewer would have paid for the show had it not been available for free. The rise of streaming video content hubs like Netflix, Amazon and iTunes has, to a certain extent, recaptured some users that may have resorted to piracy because in previous years there was no other way to find an instant feed of a movie or show without resorting to piracy.

However, for Australians there are many reasons we resort to watching TV shows, most notably, Game of Thrones, online. First and foremost, the time difference. Australians often have to wait months for an American or British TV show to be broadcast on our networks and with the Internet creating a global village, we feel ripped off and so seek other methods of keeping up to date on recent episodes. Platforms like Netflicks (which is not available in Australia), Amazon and iTunes do not make the episode available for purchase until it has been broadcast on Australian networks and the cost is another major reason for illegal online viewing. The technology juggernaut often charges different prices for content on its digital media store in Australia, compared to the pricing on the same content in the US. At times, Australian consumers have had to pay more than double the prices for the same content that is available in the US.

As for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the most popular free-streamed show of 2012, director David Petrarcam claims It’s a not a big deal. In the 24 hour after the Game of Thrones season three finale aired on Sunday, one million people illegally downloaded it and at one point 170,000 people were sharing the episode simultaneously on BitTorrent, breaking the show’s own piracy record set after last season’s premiere, TorrentFreak reported. Shortly after season two’s DVD set a record high for the network, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly piracy wasn’t hurting revenue. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” he said. “The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

Fanatics?

The concept of fandoms are a truly weird phenomenon. Based on 20 years of varying degrees of involvement in famdoms I can see both positive and negative behaviour of fans as well as positive and negative ramifications for individuals and entire fandoms. According to Lisa Lewis in her book ‘The Adoring Audience: FanCulture and Popular Media’ heavy involvement in fandoms involves writing fanfiction or articles for fan newsletters, attending fan get-togethers, calling other fans on the phone or writing emails to them, participating heavily on mailing lists, and most importantly thinking about or engaging with material on a very regular, almost obsessive level.

Lewis discusses that peripheral involvement consists of recreational engagement with a topic such as reading occasional stories, checking the occasional website, talking about that particular show only if it comes up and she attributes this semi-participation as the reason it’s possible to see the shows, and fandoms, from the ‘outside’. Lewis adds that observing fans and fandoms from an outside perspective allows us to easily separate negative fan behaviour and trends from positive. Fans with a great passion for a TV show, movie series, games, novels, comic book, etc, can also become competitive and often cruel, forming cliques and shutting out ‘newbie’ fans o order to prove their own dedication. Now of course, I understand that this happens in real life as well, however, it’s not so easy to detect and much easier to ignore, with the mind set that as long as it doesn’t directly affect me ‘what do I care?’

On the other hand, Internet fan community communication resembles gossip in a small town: it gets around. This goes for both positive and negative trends and with the latter it’s easy to see when ‘fannish’ behaviour mirrors the worst behaviour from the real world. Fandoms are extremely enriching endeavours when wanting to connect and share with other enthusiasts, however, I think many fans participate in and perpetuate the ugly side of fandom without even realizing it. We should be aware of our actions in any given fandom so that we don’t make the mistake of subscribing to a clique or mob mentality without even knowing it. I will now leave you my personal favourite fandom and the reasons it will never die.