Melindamarie 201

Thoughts on New Media Industries

Sunday, May 11, 2008


and so ends my stint as a KCB201 blogger. From here on out my blog will be free of virtual cultures only inspired content!!!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Power to the people

Citizen Journalism, through mechanisms such as blogging, has forever changed the media landscape (Sambrook, 2007). Politian’s are no longer held solely accountable by official media outlets, but also by members of the general public, who can now communicate on a international level. Not only is this giving individual voice more leverage, but it is acting as a watchdog for traditional media institution (Ward and Stewart, 2007). However whilst a change in the political landscape because of citezen jouralism is obvious, changes in the business and advertising sectors has also been significant.

Recently I have been required to conduct in-depth research into the advertising strategies of the Lynx deodorant company, from an advertising and promotional viewpoint. Whilst assessing current opinion on their campaign a great amount of community outrage was uncovered in regards to its use of an overtly sexual approach, and its blatant objectification of women. Whilst this received a lot of "traditional" media coverage during their Lynx Jet campaign, “Get On and Get Off” it quickly disappeared, without a resulting change in Lynx’s direction of advertising. However the outrage has lived on in the blogging community. Traditional media outlets have abandoned the issue, whilst citizen journalists continue to criticise Lynx’s campaign. One can hope such continued scrutiny and voiced public outrage will result in a more ethical advertising practise from Lynx. General perusal of their website would suggests this as necessary as the ability to undress and view raunchy clips of online characters is disturbing from a company that identifies its target market as 13-15 year old boys in the advertising brief I was presented with.

But Lynx is not the only company being held accountable. Bloggers have commented upon the practises of business as large as BHP Billiton to the local deli in their small town. What this mean for business, specifically advertising and PR faucets, is that their behaviour is being monitored by the wider community, not simply a concentrated selection of national media moguls (Lasica, 2006). Yes this requires more transparent and ethically sound business practises, but it also means direct communication with the businesses stakeholders. Public Relations and Advertising personal can conduct a simple web search to identify the opinions and grievances of customers and stakeholders, concerning the businesses actions and advertising campaigns (Ord, 2004). Such direct and easy feedback can be invaluable in accessing the strengths and weakness of an advertising campaign or business action. Strategies can be created to correct problems are head off potential crisis’s. The constructive criticism can also induce changes which will lead to better future action.

Citizen Journalism may not yet hold the credibility of traditional media coverage, but this does not make it any less significant or influential (Cunningham and Turner, 2006). Individual can now affect and communicate directly with businesses or institution, without filtration through a third party (the media). Collectively these voices have the potential to enact real change in the business environment. And assuming that the communication can be two way there is an opportunity that citizen journalism can be a mutually beneficial relationship for both business and bloggers alike (Cunningham and Turner, 2006).

- Cunningham, S and G. Turner. (2006). The Media and Communications in Australia. Allen and Unwin: Crows Nest.

- Ward, I and R. Stewart. (2006). Politics One. Palgrave Macmillian: South Yarra.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just so you know

i was very apposed to becoming a blogger when first i learned it was to be an assessment item. Who knew i would grow to love getting my opinion out there!

p.s Looking forward to picking my own topics

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Open Source Software

I am a computer dependant person. Of all my worldly possessions my hard drive and my wireless broadband are what I hold most dearly to my heart. My laptop follows me around the house like a favourite pet, even keeping me company in my kitchen when i am forced to cook dinner. And I am not alone, as the two other laptop pets follow around my fellow housemates. However in all my hours of computer use i have never considered my actions unethical. I am still yet to download a song illegally, yet upon close inspection this seemed to be the limit of my moral boundaries of internet use.

I do not download music illegally, but I am unopposed to sharing the downloaded music of others. Somewhat like receiving stolen goods, it’s not stealing but it’s definitely not legal. Open source software is another example of a potential ethical issue I was blatantly unaware of. The fact I can download necessary software for free off the internet is an opportunity I have utilised on many occasion. Wave editors and movie decoders are plentifully available without financial obligation. So why would I bother paying for them. However what i have never considered during these transactions is whether the software I am downloading is truly “open source” or an illegal and inferior copy. In exploring this issue i discover I could download editions of the program Photoshop, an expensive Microsoft program, for free. However these are illegal copies of copyrighted material. Downloading them would be both illegal and unethical. But what for those programs which are less know. How can the average internet user are expected to know which programs are open source and which are illegal copies? And to what degree can users be held accountable for their own ignorance? These are all examples of how technology is accelerating at a rate the law cannot match, and where education of appropriate and ethical computer and internet use may be necessary.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

advertising and produsage

In 2006 Times Magazine names “You” as their Times Person of the Year. The attribution of this prestigious title highlights the growing importance of user driven content in the online environment. Grossman, the magazines editor, describes the choice.

"It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

This environment of consumer driven design and content is having major implications for the worlds of advertising, marketing and public relations. One first such example is the use of blogs and their network to create communities of interest and conversation about brands and products (Wells et al., 2008, p.278). These communities build consumer awareness without cost to the business. However such practise could also have negative consequence. Because the business is not controlling the information sharing or distribution there is the potential for consumers to disrupt the intended brand image or desired perception (Langford, 2007). There is nothing worse than having no ability to influence the communities of your customers (Langford, 2007). Coke attempted to utilise the blogging movement with the launch of its Coke Zero product, establishing a blog “The Zero Movement”. In order to control and shape the information on this site the company posted “fake” consumer blogs and comments. This was met with widespread rage amongst the blogging community, whom went as far as creating a anti coke zero website the zeromovement.

So the questioned is raised, how can companies utilise the produsage movement to further their business advantage? The Converse Shoe Company is an example of a company utilising the produsage phenomenon for business benefit. They have run a series of successful campaigns in which consumers have created short commercial, with thousands of entries submitted (Walker, 2006). Not only is the company receiving an astronomical number of creative ideas, which directly appeal to consumers, they are developing a personal connection with the creators of this content. The press or “buzz” surrounding the campaign was also significant which suggests the genre has some scope in the field of Public Relations (Moskowitz, 2008). Analysis of the ads could also offer an insight into the perception of the brand held by the consumer creators.

Utilised correctly consumer driven design and content can be a promising way for engaging the consumer community and developing hype around a brand or product. But companies beware. The execution of a campaign to include these produsers requires a high level of innovation, and individual appeal. Replication of past successes is not sufficient for future successes (Moskowitz, 2008). But if done right consumer driven design and content may be just the way to reach an increasing fragmented and technologically savvy target market (Moskowitz, 2008).

Langford, A. (2007) The Use of Personalization and Customization in Marketing and Advertising. (as accessed 29th April, 2008)

Moskowitz, R. (2006). Are Consumer-Generated Ads Here to Stay? (as accessed 29th April, 2008)

Walker, R. (2008). Free Advertising. The New York Times. (as accessed 29th April 2008)

Wells, Spence-Stone, Moriarty and Burnett (2008). Advertising Practises and Principals. Frenchs Forrest: Pearson Education

Thursday, April 24, 2008

what is a blog anyway

The night is late; a few too many wines have been knocked back while watching the Friday night movie. Once again my housemates are engaged in a senseless debate over which Aussie soap the main actress is from. Arguments are presented, voiced are raised until finally some shouts…


Four and a half seconds later the laptop is out and within a few short minutes one housemate victoriously announces her point was correct. Game over.

So common is this phenomenon that the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has recently entered the term.

google: to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.

This is an example of how the increased importance of online and information networking has precipitated from the computer elite into mainstream society. Unfortunately not all online networking platforms have received such definition. The constructing of blogs and the blogging environment is a prime example of this. A quick “google” of Blog/definition will reveal the wealth of inconsistencies in relation to defining both the purpose and structural elements of a Blog. Herring et al. (2004, p.1) points out these inconstancies, stating that their characteristics have yet to be systematically described, despite their pervasive popularity. The only real consistent structural description offered relates to the pages list of dated entries, displayed in reverse chronological order (Herring et al., 2004, p.1).

Whilst the majority of blogs are opinion pieces or personal narratives and journals(Crucial Marketing, 2008) there is a growing popularity in academic and industry specific blogging, as well as an abundance of political blogs. Whilst the structure free environment of this medium allows creative freedom in personal blogs, the lack of configuration requirements leaves much room for error and question when constructing an academic or professional blog. If one is not yet immersed in the world of blogging, how are they to know the level of scholarly or professional language necessary to still be engaging to the consumer whom visits or seeks the blogging sites.

Unfortunately this may be a symptom of the user-led content creation or produsage environment which characterises the blogging. These bloggers or produsers are not expert, but ordinary citizens (Flew, 2005, p.65). They have no obligation to conform to traditional models ofjournalism, writing styles or even academic integrity. Whilst the rules to report or essay writing are clear and easily identifiable such is not the case with blogging. In order for a new user to create a blog which is professionally or academically credible, yet still engaging to the blogger audience, the creator cannot simply follow simple set of guidelines. Instead a new user must personally engage in the blogging environment, continuously analysing and evaluating trends and blog successes to model their own blogs upon. And even then its still an inaccurate science, as the environment is as volatile as its users (Herring et al., 2004, p.11). However a positive side effect of the structure less nature of blogs is the creative opportunities it encourages, allowing bloggers to continuously develop innovative means of utilising their web space for creative, intellectual and social leverage (Flew, 2005, p.62).

Another Blog to Note


Crucial Marketing. (2008). Marketing Terms. Retrieved April 20, 2008, from

Flew, T. (2005). New Media: an introduction (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Normanby Road.

Herring, C., Scheidt, L., Bonus, S. and Wright, E. (2004) Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University: Bloomington.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Virtual Cultures... to be or not to be

The technological advances in the new media industries can only be described as incredible. Things once imagined in sci-fi fantasies are now a reality. However whilst the physical technology is extraordinary, what its actually being applied to is far more awe inspiring.

But before we explore the modern cyber world, it is important to back at how far we have come.

Once upon a time…

• You had to write letters, not emails
• You had to get “double prints” if you wanted to share your photos with your friends
• The radio was the only way to listen to music without paying for it
• Students had to take actual notes, and carry around stacks of books.
• Great search had to be taken to find a friend with the same obsession for Star Wars, war hammer or “weird emo music”
• Keeping in touch with friends meant hours on the phone, which, most often, lead to you both drifting apart.

Fortunately these days are long gone. Telecommunication technology is not only enabling our intellectual expression, but is facilitating a new culture of social interaction. Whilst traditional communities and social networks were limited by geographical location, or the slow delivery or The Australian Post, today content, interest and opinion can be shared instantaneously, anywhere, anytime, by anyone (Flew 2005, 62). Unfortunately, as is the case with most change, a fear of these virtual cultures is nested (particularly with balding middle aged men and their wives who often use the phrase “in my day…”), with communities concerned that such technologies are creating anti social and “unruly” youths. Parents often express anxieties centre on the fear that children become socially isolated as a result of online games and activities, and that they come to see the computer as compensation for lack of human contact and friendship (Silnow, 1984).

It could be suggested that such beliefs are simply due to a lack of understanding. Virtual culture, driven by online communities and content sharing is facilitation a level of human interaction which would have been previously impossible. Individuals can seek out users of shared interest from across the global. They can experience cultures, ideas and ideologies that would never have been possible for them in their physical world. Furthermore social networks such as Facebook and MySpace not only invite new friends, but allow users to build upon and uphold existing, physical world friendships, keeping alive contacts which would have died if letters were relied upon.

And it’s only going to get bigger. From email to msn to MySpace and into the future the virtual world is ever expanding, fearing it will not wish it away. so embrace, participate and experience beyond your physical world!