They liked like so much they named her like, I like that.

17 May

You can really see the effect Facebook has on society’s day to day life when someone names their daughter after a Facebook function.

A couple have named their daughter ‘Like’ after the like function on Facebook because they believe it is the new version of love.

Not only has Facebook had such a great impact that people are naming their children in relation to aspects of it, but it is also changing the way people conceptualize love, be it romantic, platonic or familial.

Yikes, Facebook really is taking over the world!


Twitter…the next CIA agent?

14 May

This article,
Twitter Promises to ‘Protect the Safety of Any Person,’ but Will It Hand Over Taliban Info?
by the Times Magazine questions the nature of Twitter’s privacy clauses. It brings up some valid and interesting points about the fundamentals of privacy issues and when privacy should be ignored in favour of national security interests…?

You be trolling for some ideas son…

13 May

Week 10:

Following week 10 tutorial’s exercise, explain why you chose the Creative Commons license that you added to your blog and discuss the relevance (or not) of adding the license.

The creative commons license I have decided to use is ‘Attribution-Share Alike’. According to Creative Commons this is what that means:

“This license lets others distribute, remix and build upon the work, even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties) and license any new creations based on the work under the same terms. All new derivative works will carry the same license, so will also allow commercial use.
In other words, you agree to share your materials with others, if they will share their new works in return. This license is often compared to the free software licenses, known as ‘copyleft.’”

I chose this particular license over all the other combinations because well, it’s pretty much free advertising, isn’t it? Others can duplicate and re-distribute my work but I still get the credit for it. Some money would be nice considering how poor I am, but credit is still good. I don’t really know how much derivative work someone is going to get from this blog but hey, the option is there…

Now that’s all well and good, but excuse me for a moment while I rant about the idealistic nature of Creative Commons and copyright in general.

There are SO MANY ways to circumvent these licenses. New software is being produced at rapid rates to manipulate almost every copyright and license available. While I believe that an artist/author/owner has every right to reap the rewards they so rightfully deserve from putting all the hard yards in, I am a major skeptic.

I’m going to use the example of ‘Fanfiction’ to illustrate my points. I’m going to preface this by saying this will, to a degree, be a slightly hypocritical rant as I have read some fanfiction. I just have an issue with the copyright side of things. Fanfiction is a database of derivative works from TV shows, comics, cartoons and even the Bible. It is a creative outlet for people who may be unsatisfied with the ending of a program or book or for people who just felt that the original work needs some character extension.

The characters can be placed in ‘OOC’ (out of character situations) or in-character situations. They can be ‘canon’ paired (i.e. paired with their romantic interest as per the original work) or non-canon. There can even be storylines where characters from different works are crossing over. For instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer could suddenly appear in a love triangle with Romeo and Juliet.

The derivative author can choose to do whatever they want- it is completely up to them. So while the author, or publishing house (depending on who owns the rights) may have the technical ownership over the work, people are free to extend this work on independent writing websites. As the slogan of ‘fanfic’, as it commonly referred to, states- “Unleash your imagination”.

The popularity of fanfic is astounding. When this blog post was being written the two most popular ‘fandoms’ Harry Potter and Twilight had 515,922 and 180,789 stories, respectively.

And even more astonishing is the fact that the more popular original works have separate websites dedicated purely to their ‘fandom’. For instance, a search on ‘Twilight fanfic’ brings up 8 separate and independently run Twilight fanfic sites alone of the first page of Google.

Fanfiction is completely and utterly un-publishable work. It is not original in any way and copyright, copy left, or copy-whatever cannot be claimed. No matter which way you twist, turn or manipulate the characters the fact remains that they were not yours to begin with. No matter how much you truly believe that Stephenie Meyer left Bella as a completely blank character with no development purely for you to play with and put into different situations, the fact remains ‘Bella’ is not yours, and never will be.

So when does it become your own writing? There have recently been scandals in the Twilight fandom where derivative authors have attempted to publish their fanfictions in the ‘real world’ publishing industry. After realizing they would essentially be stealing someone else’s work they then tried to circumvent the system by self-publishing on sites such as Omnific. This website is essentially a place for authors to sell their stories independently, with a copyright attached to them. However, most if not ALL of these stories are derivative works. While the majority of these stories have changed minor details- Edward becomes Evan, Bella becomes Beth and they both reside in a town called Spoons… the facts basic facts and characteristics of the stories remain the same…

When does copyright or Creative Commons kick in?? Or shouldn’t it have already taken effect…?

One user on LiveJournal was quoted as saying, “As much as I love reading other peoples work, fanfiction is essentially a waste of time.” MTE. (My thoughts exactly- in LiveJournal speak).


/rant over.

Real-Time Web

12 May

This article is fairly interesting. A relatively old, but still interesting article- particularly when you can now see “trending topics” emerging as a way of organising information on ‘real-time web’.

Oh baby ready or not…express yourself!

10 May

Week 9:

Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269).

YouTube’s slogan is ‘Broadcast Yourself’ and by God do people take that statement to the extreme. Everything from people having a running commentary on a film, to a goat who sounds like a man, is posted on YouTube as a way for society to have a creative outlet.

Sometimes, you strike gold and there is a serious talent on YouTube; be it comedic talent, musical talent or otherwise.

You have to have been hiding under a rock for the past 5 years or so not have have heard of at least one celebrity who has not been made famous by their YouTube or MySpace and become a celebrity mogul.

Whether it is THE BEIBS, Susan Boyle, The Lonely Island or Darren Criss- everyone knows of one!

Darren Criss shot to fame for his role in A Very Potter Musical performed by the theatre troupe Team StarKid from The University of Michigan. When videos of the performances were circulated on YouTube, Criss started getting recognized for his acting and singing abilities.

The exposure that came from his stint in the play uncovered his talent for all of the internet and general society to view.

This led to Criss being picked up by Glee producers in 2010 to play Blaine Anderson, the lead singer of The Warblers.

On a slight tangent, the opposite can also occur, where a pre-established celebrity can have their personal life (and incident like a crew member walking into your line of sight while you’re saying your line), plastered all over the internet and have it reproduced and mocked to the nth degree on YouTube. Like Christian Bale. In this case, a celebrity’s reputation is tarnished because the scope of YouTube is so wide. While Christian Bale may have used more creative words, than creative efforts, his celebrity status was solidified by how much exposure the YouTube videos garnered.

Back on topic, as Burgess and Green stated, even though a person may become famous thanks to their creative talents, they “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Burgess and Green, 23). This is because YouTube does have limits when promoting talent. To a certain extent they foster creativity on the world wide web, however the mass media does ultimately have control over what is accepted in mainstream society as genuine talent.

As stated by Burgess and Greene, ultimately the “marker of success for these new forms [of talent], paradoxically, is measured not only by their online popularity but by their subsequent ability to pass through the gate-keeping mechanisms of old media- the recording contract, the film festival, the television pilot, the advertising deal (Burgess and Green, 24)”.

As seen by Darren Criss, his popularity was certainly marked by the ‘views’, ‘likes’ and ‘rates’ on his YouTube videos but his celebrity status and his passage into the system of celebrity and his remaining status in this institution is only solidified by the mass media. That is, his television contract with Glee and subsequent benefits such as advertising deals, interviews etc.

Without the mass media, thousands upon thousands of internet sensations who may have worthwhile talent fall to the wayside because they don’t have the structuring to support them that the mainstream media provides. YouTube and other internet sites that work to foster creativity are a “monumental marketing platform (Giuffo)” for molding ordinary people into inhabitants of the mass media.

A lot of internet sensations have had fleeting success whereby their popularity has diminished as soon as the next speaking goat video pops up. The propensity of an internet celebrity to become a ‘real life’ celebrity ultimately comes down to where society’s attention span leads them. If they heavily star in people’s social networking arena and gain a wider following with higher ratings, and appear in the ‘suggestion’ box then they may have a chance of lasting in the public eye and gaining a mainstream following.


Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, ‘YouTube and The Mainstream Media’ in YouTube: Online and Participatory Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009, pp.15-37

John Giuffo, ‘Ten Videos That Made YouTube Famous’, Forbes,, accessed 9 May 2011, dated 30 April 2007

Metaphorically speaking…

10 May

Week 8:
Alan Lui discusses the use of visual metaphors from older media in Webdesign and argues that such metaphors “naturalize the limitations of the new medium by disguising them within those of older media” (Reader, page 228). Discuss while giving an example of a website.

A visual metaphor on the internet means that a website is representing a new system through the visual attributes that relate to an older system. These attributes would be familiar to the user.

An example of a visual metaphor from older media in web design being used in new media is the Apple logo.

The Apple logo changed from a rainbow coloured apple to a smooth and continuous black filled apple. This change is in keeping with some of the aims of graphic design: asymmetry, informational clarity and overall unity. It still maintains a key feature of the old website (the basic apple) but by filling it in with black colouring allows it to take on a more flawless look. This enables the new website and its limitations to be disguised within the older media.

The font used within many websites is another key metaphor is relation to disguising new media. The font Comic Sans is a casual script designed by Vincent Connare (Lialina 2009, 4) and has been supplied with the Windows platform since Windows 95. This font typeface is a key indicator of not only amateur web designers but also of the designers who are in keeping with old media functions and functionality.

The fact that it is so easily accessible means that the limitations of new media are disguised within the older media. As web designers persist in using this font it naturalizes the bridge between the old and the new.

It is these exact reasons why many now possess a strong hatred towards this typeface. The website ‘Ban Comic Sans’ is evidence of this.

By designing web pages with influences from old media the limitations of the web page can be explained or covered.

Going crazy without my mobile

9 May

I remember the feeling all too well. Palms sweating, hands shaking, eyes darting all over the place.

Yes, that is what I experienced on day 5 of my involuntary technology ban. Volunteering during the summer holidays meant that I had to relinquish control of my hand held device for the entire duration (a WHOLE 7 days!).

My mobile not only connected me to my family and friends through calls and texts, but enabled me to feed my inner Facebook junkie.

It was a torturous week and by the 5th day I felt completely disconnected from the ‘outside world’.

Now, I have been known to frequently misplace my mobile, but I never panic because I know within twelve hours it will be back in my possession. This was a completely different situation. My phone was locked up in a safe keeping box and I couldn’t get to it. I had no way tosee what events I was invited to, what was happening on my news feed, what the latest celebrity shenanigans were or even the weather forecast! I had to -gasp- stick my head outside the window to see what the weather would be like that day!

Needless to say when I finally had my phone back I probably did a dance similar to this…

The article ‘Gen Y finds that life goes on without technology’ takes a look at the lives of highly connected young adults and what happens when they are forced to ‘disconnect’ from the world. It was an interesting read and I can definitely agree with statements like feeling bare when leaving home without a phone. I think one day I will try the ‘joy of being disconnected’ but for now I am quite content being able to reach my friends anywhere, anytime.

Olding, Rachel. ‘Gen Y finds that life goes on without technology’, The Age,, May 7, 2011,