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Revision notes


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Revision Notes We Media and Online Ages

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Revision notes

  1. 1. Mediain the Online Age SuggestedStructure 1. Introduce and contextualise Media in the Online Age (some relevanthistory but with emphasis on the presentwith contemporaryexamples from the pastfive years – more recentthan that the better). At the beginning ofthe essayyou will be where you reference The Past. 2. Incorporate two theoretical references earlyon to give academic legitimacyto the response. 3. Explain the two media you will be focusing on and your main case studies. Options include music downloading and distribution, online magazines, the film industryand the internet,online gaming and virtual worlds e.g. the decline ofthe console and the proliferation of online gaming,online news provision and declining printcirculation, online television and various forms of online media production bythe public or a range of other online or social media forms. 4. Develop your case study analysis butmaking sure to cross reference with other media texts (and forms) and to incorporate theoretical debate, argumentand your own opinion wherever possible. This will be where you reference The Present and it will form the bulk of your essay. 5. Discuss The Future: you can speculate abouthow your chosen examples mightdevelop in the future e.g. through Web 3.0. Again, try and map theory onto future developments and also personal opinion. Possible theorists:  David Gauntlett: an OCR favourite who has written extensively on digital and social media and who has explored the conceptof the Prosumer – the blurring of boundaries between audiences who consume media,e.g.audiences watching a film and those who produce a fim and upload it onto their YouTube channel or Vimeo or Flickr for example (Vimeo and Flickr have a stronger filmmaking ‘community’).Gauntlett argued in ‘Making is Connecting’ there is a shift from a “sitback and be told” culture to a “making and doing” culture.  Andrew Keen: provides an alternative argumentto Gauntlett suggesting thatthis ‘long tail’ of independentprojects simply creates ‘a world of amateurs’ where the qualityof media production is undermined bythe prosumer.  Chris Anderson: popularised the theory of the long tail which when mapped onto online media consumption suggests there is profit in selling “small volumes ofhard to find items”. Niche products e.g. independentfilms have an enormous untapped audience which can now be reached digitallythrough Web 2.0. As a business model Amazon is a good example of this and can also applyto social networks and viral marketing.  Michael Wesch: describes YouTube as a cultural phenomenon and explores how peer-to-peer sharing has transformed media consumption butalso identityand self-identity.He is interested in ‘digital ethnography’, the study of the effect of new media on human interaction.See ‘Web2.0…The Machine is Using Us’.  Henry Jenkins: disputes a dominant reading (see Stuart Hall) that internet communication has reduced social skills by stating that instead,through interacting with media production and consumption through Web2.0 users develop more skills through active participation and multiple communications and as resultare more media literate. In his book, Convergence Culture Jenkins looks athow the convergence of media forms should be understood less in terms oftechnologyand more in terms of what people are doing with them.This can be cross referenced with Gauntlett’s theorythat the media effects debate is less relevantnow and younger media consumers and much more active and media literate and are less likelyto be victims of passive consumption. Online media presents two distinctarguments in this regard.  David Buckingham: is interested in the use of technologyin everyday life, access to this technologyand the consequences for individuals and social groups.One of Buckingham’s areas ofconcern is children and media access and use,particularly in terms ofidentity – internetidentity through online media consumption is an ideal opportunityfor students to discuss their own examples and experiences.  Martin Barker: explores the notion and that online digital media and its effects is the new moral panic (this argumentcan be used in conjunction with Jenkins and Gauntlett).  Clay Shirky: theories work well in conjunction with Chris Anderson – he writes on the social and economic effects of internet technologies and is a proponentof crowdsourcing and online collaboration.He argues all forms ofmedia are migrating online.  Danah Boyd  Raymond Williams  Marshall McLuhan (Global Village)  Douglad Rushkoff (‘programme or be programmed’) Whenintroducingtheoristsintoanessayyou needtodiscusswhethertheirideasare convincingorunconvincing linkingthe researchtocase studies –do your case studiesreinforce orchallengeyourargument?Whatare the positivesandnegativesof whatthe theoristsuggestsandare the ideasstill relevantorhave theybecome out- dated?Recognisingthe phenomenal pace of technological change encourage youtochallenge theoryasoftenthe passage of time makessome observationsobsolete.Understandingthe past,presentand future elementsof the topic,try and understandwhatthe theoriessuggestmayhappeninthe future intermsof how mediaformsand industrieswill develop –traditionallymediainstitutionshave meantpassive consumption.Finally,andcrucially encourage yourself toavoidthe downloadingof theory; theoretical debate andanalysis must relate to the question.Itis too easywitha topiclike Mediainthe Online Age tolose essaystructure.
  2. 2. We Mediaand Democracy – Many of the theorists for Mediain the Online Age can be usedfor We Media Other theoriststo revise:  Noam Chomsky (The NecessaryIllusion.Case Studies:Cambodia/EastTimorandNYTimes)  Theodor Adorno  Karl Marx (Elite/oligarchycontrollingthe media.Top-Downpower)  Evgeny Morozov(The NetDelusion.Case Studies:NSA/GCHQSnooper’sCharter,WikileaksandEdward Snowden/JulianAssange) General Notes: We Media AmericantheoristHenryJenkinshaswrittenonconvergence andthe digital revolutioninhiscurrentbookquoted above Convergence Culture (2008) and ina formerbook: Fans,BloggersandGamers (2006). He askshis readersto: “imaginea world wherethere are two kindsof media power:onecomesthrough media concentration,whereany messagegainsauthoritysimply by being broadcaston networktelevision;theothercomes through grassroots intermediaries,wherea messagegainsvisibility only if it is deemed relevantto a loosenetworkof diversepublics” (Jenkins:2006). Thisexplainsone of the benefitsof newmediainthe democraticexpansionof ideasandknowledge,andhowthe Internethasgainedmediapowerthroughoutthe 21st century,andhow bloggersare now the “minutemenof the digital revolution”.This isthe ‘we media’where we the publicare notjustconsumersbutare alsoproducersinthis newdigital universe. We are now all able toboth consume andproduce texts,images,videoandaudiowhileonthe move usingour mobile phones,orat home onour computers,or onthe new hybridTV sets.Asindividualswe canbecome personallyinvolvedwithanythingthatis‘outthere’.Itmaybe newseventsthatwe influencebysendingapicture to a newspaperorblog,or our friend’slivesoracommenton Twitter. Individualscanorganize themselvesintonon-traditional associationswhichcansetup petitions,discusspolitical issues,influence companies,orshare opinions,ideas,advice orjokes. Democratisation ofThe Media We can define democratisation ofthe media by looking atthe democratic process in society.As a citizen in a democracywe have a small butimportantinputinto which form of governmentis in power.There are manycountries where this inputis denied.Ideas, information,political manifestos,pictures,opinions reach the electorate via the gatekeepers ofthe news media.Some people argue this means thatcitizens are denied ‘untainted news’. The democratisation inherentin new media means thatcontentand information,from news stories to videos to music,become importantand relevant because ofthe collective vote of the internetcommunity.There are no gate keepers such as news edito rs or magazine editors selecting the stories for us. Democratisation ofthe media means all contenton the web has the same opportunityfor exposure or discovery by an audience as every other piece of content. For example,an outspoken blog,or a school podcast,has the same chance ofreaching an audience as an article in The Times newspaper or a governmentonline site.This is notjusta one way process. Democratisation ofthe media means thatanyone and everyone can have a say - via a blog or forum - in what is thoughtto be important,interesting or relevant or entertaining.There is almostno censorship,other than the laws of the country, and no filtering from unknown voices or institutions.It is the raw data from the people to the people. It is this freedom that is popular.But freedom is rarely free or withoutdangers,and responsibilities.So the internethas authored content such as blogs where you can see one person’s opinion and acceptor rejectit, and unauthored information.You can commenton this contentto correct any inaccuracies,or justsound offwith your own ideas – yes this is democracyof information and opinion.The question is does itaffect any societal process,have any power or influence any governmentpolicies?