Transcending Television: Public Media Screens – [BCM240]

As we continue to move forward through the information age and technologies become faster, smarter and cheaper to produce, so too does the number of public media screens that consume our attention on a daily basis. Everywhere you look, it seems as though, what was once just an activity confined to one room of a house or shop front, has now become a social norm amongst society.
Since the 1980s, the rollout of digital networks, the proliferation of mobile phones and the installation of large electronic screens in urban centres have created novel forms of mediated interaction within the public sphere (Maguire, 2009). From creative advertising to simplest forms of delivering information, public screens have fast become increasingly relevant amongst society. As I walk through the city centre of Wollongong, I am bombarded with screens all trying to capture my attention. From ads selling big and expensive high involvement products to even the smallest screens directing citizens to the nearest railway station. Public screens occupy each end of the spectrum.

It was interesting to note that although there were countless media screens bombarding my brain trying to cause a sensory overload, very few of them actually received my full attention. Although I have never visited the media screen spectacles of New York’s Time Square or Tokyo’s Shibuya, these two places typify how powerful media screens in public places can be. If you were to recount a list of landmarks that you wish to see in New York, Time Square with its monumental media displays would be as equally as high on the list as Madison Square Garden. These electronic screens have been used to extend and amplify the notion of the urban spectacle. We are all so immersed with content on televisions and media devices in our homes that we just accept that the spectacle will spill out into every aspect of our lives.

For some the proliferation of media screens throughout society can be seen to increase social engagement.

At present count my work place contains 42 television screens broadcasting a comprehensive array of sporting events, gambling advertising and club promotions. However, at 5:30pm Monday to Friday the main media screens are all tuned into one station to watch the Channel 9 game show, Millionaire Hotseat. Club members (mostly 55 to 90 year old males) gather around their tables enjoying a few brews after a hard days work to sit and analyse as a collective, which answer it could be. To some this could be seen as a very uninteresting aspect of work life however, the way in which each question stimulates social interaction and generates discussion about issues within the public sphere is a very interesting occurrence. At 6pm the news is shown, generating more debate and conjecture. In its simplest form this form of social interaction through public media screens, to those who are seeking social interaction at the last half of the ‘innings’ is priceless.

Here are a few example of media screens that I took around my workplace. As you can see the gambling industry has capitalised on the shift towards the proliferation of media screens and media content.

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Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

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I’m Your F.A.N – [BCM240]

When you think about fan culture you are immediately drawn to remember those peers you went to high school with. The one’s that dressed up as their favourite characters, collected all the books, DVD’s and what ever remaining merchandise that had their favourite characters emblazoned upon it. Having been at high school from the early half of the ‘naughties’, I remember the biggest trend that drew a tremendous amount of fanfare was the Harry Potter craze. Students and staff alike were not only engaging in talking about the series, it had almost become a part of our curriculum.
Just as the Harry Potter obsession raged through my school, the history of fan culture has a long and interesting story. In particular the early nineteen seventies ‘doowop’ rock and roll era. For those of you who are unaware of what a fanzine is, it is a publication put together by fans of a particular interest.
Prutner explains, that at the beginning of the 1970’s the fanzines were created “to meet the needs of the fans of music that were not being expressed by mainstream media” (1997, pg.11). “They created the magazines because the real story of rock and roll wasn’t being told” (1997, pg.11). Again in the early 90’s grunge era, fans were creating their own publications to tell their stories about the artists and bands they admired.

Fast-forward to today’s current fan culture and you will find the same publications with one exception. They are now digital, with content strewn throughout blogs, Facebook fan pages, aggregated story telling domains and devoted fan websites. If there are dedicated fans, you can be assured to find related content on the Internet.
Pearson states “The digital revolution has had a profound impact upon fandom, empowering and disempowering, blurring the lines between producers and consumers, creating symbiotic relationships between powerful corporations and individual fans, and giving rise to new forms of cultural production” (2010, pg.84).

However, what the Internet giveth, the Internet taketh away”.
Jenkins reminds us “The differences between the ways corporations and fans understand the value of grassroots creativity has never been clearer”. As always at the heart of the debate is the economic value of fan works. Should the incredibly talented authors/illustrators and lovers of a particular show/film/artists have to pay royalties to the creators of the original works? After all these are adaptations of story lines created by someone else. As Jenkins points out in the article above, most fan fiction is “a labour of love; they operate in a gift economy and are given freely to other fans who share their passion for these characters”.

Until media industries begin to see the real value of user generated content, the debate about copyright and fan fiction is sure to be a point of great interest through many eras One Direction, Miley Cirus to come.

References

Pearson, R 2010, ‘Fandom in the Digital Era, Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, Summons Database, viewed 5 September 2013.

Pruter, R 1997, ‘A history of Doowop fanzines’, Popular Music & Society, 21, 1, p. 11, Humanities International Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 September 2013.

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

What’s that Sound? [BCM112]

So you have finished your track.

It’s a masterpiece (well at least you think it is, after all that’s what really matters). It’s prime and you want the whole world to know about, discover what you see in it and share it with who ever wants to listen to it.
So what’s your next step? Burn the track to CD? Nope! Too costly and inefficient. If only there was a way to distribute your pride and joy to a wider network of listeners, that share the same interest and passion for your music as you do.
As strange as it may seem in 2012, this was the dilemma that I personally faced just over four years ago. Having to burn constant copies of my mixes for my listening audience was highly inefficient and not to mention, burning a deep hole in my pocket!

Enter the revolution of SoundCloud.

Established by creators Alex Ljung and artist Eric Wahlforss in Berlin, Germany in 2007, SC had within a few months of operation, began to challenge the dominance of MySpace as a platform for musicians to distribute their music by allowing recording artists to interact more nimbly with their fans.
With now over 10 million registered users, SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.

The crux of SoundCloud, is the genius way that the sound platform allows you to share your sounds across any social (Twitter) or blogging (Tumblr) network by giving each track a distinctive URL, Thus allowing the prosumer the ability to share their message and grow their brand to a wider audience.
Further innovation has now seen SoundCloud branch into the applications market allowing users of smart-phone/tablet technologies, the power to access and share their works on a mobile level.

SoundCloud not only allows users to share their own works but allows you to create a network of likeminded people and access and share any body of work, the same easy and efficient way as you can share your own.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the way forward for the future of digital music. With a user base that is exponentially growing by the hour, SoundCloud is the answer to music distribution through social media and the like.

And the key to their success and survival in my opinion is this. SC has integrated itself so well across every popular media platform and continues to adapt to the evolving world of the prosumer. Something that its main rival in MySpace Music has failed to do.

For example.

How many of you have seen this logo on Facebook or any other social media network? (please answer in the comments, your feedback would be awesome).
Did you know what it was? How many of you have an active SoundCloud account and use it on a regular basis? I’m tipping that everyone has come across this logo at some point in their foray into social networking and if you haven’t, I urge you to have a look.

No matter the sound, you will always find something in the cloud. 🙂