BlackBerry Central

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The purpose of this blog is to inform readers about the new and improved BlackBerry Z10.  This is a long anticipated product and the real question is is if it was worth the wait.  Some are thrilled, however others are skeptical.  It is now released in Canada and the United States, and both launches were by majority vote disappointing.  Could this have affected the amount of sales?  My blog will provide links answering these questions as well as live tweets from BlackBerry themselves.  I feel that this is an important topic as it not only is related to my PCUL 2F00 course I am taking with regards to social media and technology, but is something that has effect on the global economy at large.  Technology has advanced rapidly throughout the years with BlackBerry once being a leader in the industry to now barely tagging along.  Who’s to say the future of this company, I guess we will soon find out.

 

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My name is Carly and I am a produser.

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Image of me taken in British Columbia, checking my phone for Twitter updates by any means necessary!

This course has provided us with the opportunity to explore what social media has to offer.  Before taking PCUL 2F00 I was definitely more of a user, using sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  I did not have the knowledge on all the possibilities there was for me to not only express my thoughts and opinions, but also edit, share and engage in topics of interest and real world news.  I have been introduced to blogging, editing Wikipedia, creating podcasts, making videos and uploading them to YouTube, creating a Storify account, engaging in discussions with fellow classmates and many more.  The advances in technology seem endless and I can now say that I am both a producer and user within social media, hence the term “produser”.

As defined by Bruns (2006) the ‘produser’ phenomenon is specific to the Web 2.0 environment, representing ‘the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement (Bird, 2011).  This course has definitely enabled us to become produsers, using such methods as Wikipedia to edit existing content in order to further improve what online users were seeing across the world.  This allowed us to feel a sense of connectivity with those around us as well as a sense of purpose and empowerment.

Leah Lievrouw mentions in her article the ‘mean world’ Internet.  She describes incidents of political sabotage that the Internet can create; however I immediately thought of sabotage of everyday users.  This is what originally turned me off of wanting to contribute online, as there are those out there who consistently hack databases, create and share spam, and overall add negativity to the Internet world.  This course has without a doubt shed a new light on the Internet age for me, as I was not only a witness, but also an active member of those who contribute and increase resourceful knowledge and insight.

Sterne states, “The issue here isn’t that we need a pure space from which to critique capitalism—for you as reader and I as writer are always already compromised. It is that we need some occasions for reflection that aren’t simply subsumed under the sign of participation.”  (Sterne, 2012)  The pressure to constantly participate in social media looms over our heads; does this take away from our true inner identities?  One of my first blogs talks about people who use the Internet world as a place to invent another identity and to escape from real life around them.   I worry there are produsers who are produsers for reasons only to satisfy their needs, which could ultimately cause harm to other users.  I also worry that our generation was rushed into using technology and therefore lack online decorum.

It is often difficult to keep up with the current technological trends, which leaves some of us ignorant to both the positive and negative aspects that are presented.  Knowledge is key with technology, and this is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in this course.  Lunenfeld states: “other technological dreams that sprouted up at the same time – that Popular Mechanics future of flying cars, robot butlers, and thousand story skyscrapers – never made it, this vision of a machine that can simulate any other is now a widely shared reality. Teenagers watch videos on their cell phones, old ladies taking power walks in the mall text message their friends about upcoming sales, ubiquitous grids create wireless hotspots in the middle of Medieval town centers.”  Flying cars and robot butlers seem so futuristic, but so do some of the things technology has to offer.  You can literally find an app for anything, and I often rely on my trusted friend Siri to assist me when I need it.  It seems appalling to remember just years ago we were limited to flip phones with no Internet access, where texting was the biggest feature.

I have to admit that I am still not completely confident in becoming an active produser after this course is finished.  However, I now have the beginners knowledge to begin my journey to become one.  It is safe to say that technology is not going anywhere but up and I am excited to see what innovations are in store for all of us.  The opportunities that are presented to our generation are limitless and it would be foolish not to take advantage of them.  Everyone is entitled to his or her own voice and opinion, and we can state them within seconds to people across the entire world, that is, it’s a small world after all.

Lievrouw, L. A. (2012). The Next Decade in Internet Time: Ways Ahead for New Media StudiesInformation, Communication & Society. 15:5. pp 616-638

Bird, S. E. (2011). ARE WE ALL PRODUSERS NOW? Cultural Studies. 25 (4-5), pp. 502-516

Lunenfeld, P. (2007). History as Remix: How the Computer Became a Culture MachineRue Descartes no. 55: Philosophies entoilées. Online

Sterne, J. (2012). What if Interactivity is the New Passivity? FlowTV. 15.10. Online

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Technology versus Citizen Journalism

Social media has enabled us to become involved in real time with what is happening around the world.  Taking this course for example has opened my eyes to what an individual is capable of.  I can say I have contributed to information shared on the World Wide Web using sources such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Storify, Wikipedia, producing podcasts and many more.  Just to think that not too long ago the only source of information about current events was the radio and newspaper, I couldn’t imagine living in that era while knowing the potential technology has.  Thoughts and opinions can be shared with the click of a button, which allows those who struggle in having a voice in face-to-face environments the ability to express themselves openly on a social media platform.  Social media has given us a great opportunity to become involved in things that didn’t seem possible before.

Some however feel that these platforms have allowed those who are ignorant to specific topics to express an opinion that is either not accurate, not substantial, or in blunter terms just plain dumb.  Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn state, “Yet despite such signs of change, some commentators expressed disappointment, convinced that the public was not yet ready to participate in the cyberdemocracy they had envisioned.”  I agree with this statement, for example during the presidential election I witnessed comments on Facebook and Twitter that were completely biased and based off influence from other social media voices.  People are given the opportunity to read what others have to say and a potential downfall is that they lose their own voice while following what others say. 

I found Lawrence Lessig’s quote to be rather interesting: “Cyberspace is unavoidable, and yet cyberspace is unregulatable. No nation can live without it, yet no nation can control behavior within it. Cyberspace is that space where individuals are, inherently, free from control by real space sovereigns”.  This quote greatly reflects my recent use of Storify.  I used the Blackberry Z10 as my topic of discussion and while reading over comments and stories related to this I found that it was difficult to decipher between real facts about the new Blackberry versus strictly opinions about it.  I find it humorous when it comes to brands, particularly cell phones, that consumers either love it or hate it and will get offended if another consumer is against them, as you can only either be “team iPhone” or “team Blackberry”.  Online users often leave out real facts about a product or any other topic of discussion and base their comments off hearsay.

Alfred Hermida introduces Twitter as ambient journalism, where “multi- faceted, real-time digital networks enable the flow of news and information in the periphery of a user’s awareness. As ambient journalism, Twitter provides a mix of news, information and comment, usually connected to current reality, but without an established order.”  Twitter and other social networking sites give users a sense of entitlement and professionalism despite being actual experts on the topics.  I can imagine how distinguished journalists feel about this, and often will not participate in debates that occur online due to this problem.  Arguing often leads to each individual wanting to prove that their opinion is right over others, as it becomes a fight over who can one-up who more.  There is no established order when this occurs and facts often fall between the cracks of the keyboard.  This also reminds me of one of our previous modules where people often take information from a source and restate it as their own without acknowledgment of where it came from.  This makes it more difficult to interpret facts and fiction, and frequently leads me to only rely on established sources such as CBC.  Saying this is however ironic as their information also comes from social media sites, but these are sources I will often re-tweet instead of saying it in my own words.

Technology has played a significant role in being a distributer as well as an enabler.  Both provide opportunities to become citizen journalists.  Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield provide an example within their article Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism of how one news organization used their readers to help sift through thousands of documents and annotate and highlight information within the documents that would help uncover instances of corruption and wrongdoing.  This shines a positive light on citizen journalism as users are given an opportunity to collaborate and help with a higher journalistic power.  This reminds me of one of our assignments to add and edit content on Wikipedia.  Knowing that I had the ability to provide information to people across the world gave me a sense of power and influence.  Storify also can be reflected upon as I was able to share a single platform that included information on a topic from several different sources across social media. 

As pessimistic as I appear about how citizen journalism can affect social media, I have to agree that it gives an opportunity for individuals to have a voice on real-time news and share information that others find interesting and beneficial.  I myself find it encouraging and enables me to contribute to sharing information online.  I can read news without getting out of bed, which is exactly what I did this morning as I found out Netflix’s stock has shot up due to news of social ties with Facebook.  The surrealism to what social media offers is astounding and keeps me wondering what else does it have to offer?

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References:

 Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32. 

Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verificationJournalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668.

Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn. Introduction: The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy. in Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn eds. (2003). Democracy and New Media. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. p1-17. 

Image courtesy of foratv.org  

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Can We All Just Get Along?

I decided to choose this passage because it brings up an interesting discussion between two co-mingling cultural practices and if they are inevitable.  It made me think about the way in which I listen to music with today’s technology and whether the extremes between the law and consumers can reach a neutral agreement.

The audio includes references from:

http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0603/05-bradley.php

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Think Before You Watch!

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The accessibility to online content has grown to astounding lengths.  We have the ability to access almost anything online from television shows to new music.  With this capability we often forget that most of the content we are viewing is copied from someone else’s work.  Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix videos verifies that a vast amount of songs we listen to have been copied from previous artists, as even the infamous Led Zeppelin were known to “borrow” from different artists.   Does this mean that they are not creative enough to come up with their own content, or that they are given the ability to take something old and make it new and exciting?  The main problem at hand is society today, more specifically those who participate in the online world.  How can online communities of “producers-consumers” literate in new media work toward building a robust and freely accessible cultural commons in the face of restrictive copyright laws? 

Raymond’s blog states, “Yes, copyright laws are scary and no one wants to get implicated.  However, people online still want to show appreciation and loyalty to particular content, such as a TV series.”  There are several ways in which people can watch a missed episode on television.  DVR and Netflix give us access to this problem while following copyright laws, however there still is the ability to go online and search for a link of the episode streamed.  Some people who do this do not stop to think about if they are violating laws, which makes me think of the saying ignorance is bliss. 

The Internet is a primary source and culprit of violating copyright laws.  However it is hard to look negatively towards such an invention as it has helped people, businesses and the economy as a whole in so many ways.  Jenkins states; “convergence alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences.”  YouTube alone has affected the media industry as a whole as it has turned into a place to be discovered.  Take Justin Bieber for example, as he started off singing covers of different artist’s songs and is now one of the most famous pop stars of our time.

In pearlsglitterandpolish’s blog, she mentions how it is a popular trend to be entertained online versus having to pay for monthly cable fees.  This brings me back to Netflix (clearly I am a fan) and how it has become so popular in America.  It has become a trend for media convergence as well as the economy.  Shares for Netflix shot up from $97 to $147 in one day alone, and now rests at $169.56 (until the market re-opens tomorrow)!  How did it become so popular?  The industry is continually changing.  In the long run, the most critical factor is competition.  Amazon is now offering a broader content for subscribers of Amazon Prime, and they have a lot more back-up cash than Netflix to keep the fight alive.  Granted, Netflix has a first-mover advantage in the business as being focused on streaming, but Amazon has a bigger bank.  Another competitor is Hulu, partly owned by Disney, NBCUniversal and Fox.  Not yet a big competitor, it is offering streaming service around the same price point as Netflix.

 The online content streaming distribution is a relatively easy business to replicate.  It seems like only a matter of time for online streaming subscriptions to go up, prompting viewers to find their own resources online.  Manovich states: “In modern societies most of the objects which people use in their everyday life are mass produced goods… People build their worlds and identities out of these readily available objects by using different tactics.”  This emphasizes the fact that consuming online media content is done a lot more than producing.  Reasons can vary such as time, effort, ability, or self-esteem to produce one’s own video.  Why make something that is already out there?  I know I do not have any time in my day to set aside for producing purposes, which is probably the same for majority online users (or just sheer laziness).

 Sean Caley’s blog states, “I also know that many users on YouTube whom upload songs alter the sound pitch to try to avoid having a copyright infringement.”  As there are some who completely ignore copyright laws, there are some that will go out of their way in order for their video to be both legal and original.  This seems like a lack of creativity, but our generation is now exposed to mixing old songs together to create something new and innovative.

 The amount of laws surrounding copyright is quite extensive and it takes someone truly passionate to take the time to produce online content without breaking any.  It is hard to build a free cultural commons with everything surrounded by copyright, which is why many people tend to stick to watching videos instead of producing them.  As for me, I will stick to the little laughs I get from videos produced from the lives of others. 

 

http://pearlsglitterandpolish.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/my-online-consumption-vs-production/

 http://seancaley.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/youtube-in-my-life/#comments

http://allenmendelsohn.com/2012/03/copyright-infringement-is-a-dangerous-crime/

Manovich, l. (2008) The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43

 Everything is a Remix  from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

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Production and Consumption of Online Content

It is no question that my online consumption outweighs my online production.  Manovich states in his article The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life that a statistic in 2007 showed that “only between 0.5% – 1.5% users of most popular media sites (Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia) contributed their own content.”  It is safe to say that I am not the only one who takes and does not give.  Currently I am an active user of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress (for this course specifically) and Wikipedia (again for this course specifically).  There is not enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything I have to while contributing to the online production of content.  It is not my first priority to do so as my selfish means come first. 

YouTube is one site that I find hard to resist, as there is a limitless supply of videos that range from sports clips to someone signing a famous cover song to a dog snoring on the couch.  “Within a few short months of the streaming video’s website’s public launch in December 2005, tens of millions of visitors daily used the site to access television clips online and, in many cases, to post some of their own” (Hilderbrand, 2007).  Now, one music video alone called Gangnam Style has over 1.2 BILLION views.  That is an outrageous number, yet shows how we are all able to connect across the entire globe all with the click of a mouse.

The ability to access almost anything online raises the question of what the future holds for us.  Large companies such as Blockbuster have already gone out of business due to the ability to watch videos online.  Will cinematic theatres be next?  Or does the enjoyment of a night out trump the ability to download the movie within the comfort of your own home?  Such devices as the iPad and Kindle Fire allow us to have access to hundreds of features including NetFlix and iTunes.  Both the production and consumption of online content continue to grow by the second and it is safe to say that it is not stopping anytime soon.

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Oh how the times change…

Some may say that virtual communication has tainted society’s natural way of face-to-face interaction.  As this may be true, I would be without a doubt lost in life without my trusted sidekick: the iPhone 5.  Apple continues to create new ways to make my life easier; as a new semester of school is upon me, and so is the lineups for over-priced textbooks.  A quick download of an app and I am able to scan my old text books and see which ones Brock is buying back and for what amount.  This certainly saves me the convenience of lugging textbooks around just to get a quick rejection of sale.   This example is one of hundreds in which mobile communication and direct Internet access has made the world we live in today as quick and painless as possible.

 In Cass’ blog she states: “I feel the contemporary need to communicate.  Whether it’s with my family via text message, my followers via tweet, or my friends on Facebook – I feel the constant need to update people on my life.”  I couldn’t agree more with her need to communicate with those around us, but I have…sorry I seemed to have lost my train of thought as I was compelled to check a tag I was in on Instagram…anyways, as I think I was saying, I have tried to limit myself on updating the world around me on what I am doing.  This can be a difficult task to some, as Campbell states in his article Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society, “…information and communication technologies of the 1980s and 1990s nourished a shift in social organization characterized by decentralized, flexible, network nodes based on shared interests rather than shared geographic space.”  The way in which we communicate has changed entirely, as I now have the ability to talk to someone across the globe on such networking sites as Twitter.  Thinking about this concept seems baffling, yet is both standard and expected in the way we live today.

There are still people out there however who don’t care for the latest in technology, as “followemc”’s blog states: “I had it in my head that there were pretty much only two kinds of phones out there. A Blackberry or an Iphone. I have to say I didn’t want either of them. I wanted a phone as simplistic as my LG. A phone that would get the job done, allow me to text and call. I didn’t need any bells and whistles or other embellishments.”  This to me and I’m sure others as well seems odd.  Why not have the latest if it is available to you?  It could be that the transition between an outdated phone to and iPhone or Blackberry can be overwhelming, as even I find it hard to keep up with the latest.  This statement also proves that there are still people out there that do not depend on social networking and constant communication, and society could possibly be taking advantage of all that has been given to us, and forget about all that has always been there.  As nice as a “J” may look, it cannot compare to someone’s smile in real life.

Adaptability has also become essential in communication.  “The iPhone is an especially interesting case but it is such a strong adaptation – indeed, Apple has actively tried to present its device as marking a break with the mobile phone” (Goggin, 2009).  This made me think of Katie’s blog, as she states that “The emergence of global communication has increased throughout the decades – such as the advances in the development of ‘smartphones,’ the typical cell phone one would now call a mini PC.”  Upgrades seem never ending, and the features are constantly tweaked in order to adapt to the communication culture and certain trends within it. 

“With the expansion of the telecommunications networks have to offer, including the Internet as one of its dimensions is yet another place that is superposed to the urban territory, namely, the digital locus” (Josgrilberg, 2008).  Not having Internet on a mobile device would make me feel incapable of everyday tasks as we have grown accustom to having this privilege.  The expansion of mobile communication has changed society as a whole, and has given us many benefits to stay in contact with friends, family, and ultimately everything that is happening around the world. 

The ability to have hardly any limited capabilities with mobile devices has advanced mobile communication and changed how we communicate with others as well as companies and services.  The convenience and adaptation has given us the opportunity to move forward in innovations and become accustom to “having it all”.  Some may argue that it has created a culture for always wanting more, but it is human nature to want to be accepted by others, strive for knowledge, and have the best.  If we did not have these commercial and governmental products we would be extremely limited in both communication and information.  You must also consider the economic effects, as businesses, jobs, income etc. would be greatly affected without the communication we have today. This gives us a contemporary need to communicate, as it brings the billions of people on earth together.

As distracting phones can be at times, the post-PC era is what my generation has been brought up to live in and it seems anything but ordinary to think that the way we communicate now is changing for the worse. 

I will now leave you with an image of my very first cellphone, and what I currently use today…look at all that has changed in only 7 years!

Then…

 

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Image…now

 References:

 Campbell, S. W. and Park, Y. J. (2008), Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society. Sociology Compass, 2: 371–387

Goggin, G. (2009). Adapting the mobile phone: The iPhone and its consumption. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 23:2, 231-244.

Goggin, G. (2011). Ubiquitous apps: politics of openness in global mobile cultures. Digital Creativity, 22(3), 148-159.

 http://katiebenedict13comm2f00.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/ubiquitous-mobile-communication/

 

http://followemc.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/module-4-minor-blog-the-smart-phone-market/

 

http://cassgiorgio.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/enabled-personally-constrained-socially/

 

Images provided by Google

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