THIS IS THE END (OR NOT)

I have just submitted my blog project and I’m having mixed feelings about it.

At the start of the course, the thought of keeping a blog was a little dreadful to me but I have come to love my blog, the content I’ve created and how intellectual I sound discussing net communications issues and topics.

So much so that I think it would be a pity to let this blog join the other cyber wastes.

Maybe, just maybe, this is not the end of this blog. 🙂

go ahead, take my creativity but also share yours with others

MAIN BLOG POST: 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.

In this info-communication technological world, time as we know it, has become further saturated than before. There is lesser time for us to produce content that are completely original and soon we are obsolete. Creative Commons license allows like-minded people to open up their works to the ‘Commons’, the community pool where creatives can be reused to be shared, reused to be improved on and reused to be remixed.

I chose to add a Creative Commons license as an indicator that I’m part of the community of people who believe that there should be ‘more access to creative works’ (Garcelon: 2009, 1310) in the public domain such like the world wide web. Having the license on my blog, it has self serving interests as well; to get my brand out when people search on Creative Commons- oriented search engine like Google or Yahoo (Bailey: 2009). Having the license, my blog will receive more attention when people search for content that they can share, use and build upon. As a student, I would also want to tap into the community that is present on the web that is relevant to my field of study, thus people that search for materials that I post on net communications might discuss and share ideas with me as well.

The Creative Commons license i chose was the Attribution- Non Commercial – Share Alike license.

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. (Creative Commons)

As the world wide web is not a tangible domain, laws, regulations and copyright rules that apply to this domain are not clear. Adding this license, I had the intention to present clear copyright rules to users on the web. By clearly stating the rules, I also hope that other users would use my content, remix, tweak and build upon it so that my work can reach its fullest potential, increasing the chance that my blog”s content would be quoted. As a student and sustaining this blog for academic purposes, I would therefore not choose a license that protects the work for commercial purposes as the main goal of the blog is to share, exchange and discuss ideas from the course curriculum. I wish that my work, if used or remixed, be credited to me and the new product also be credited the same way as mine hence i chose the Share Alike license. I wish that if my work was to be remixed, the new product with my original work embedded in it be free for the online community to share, remix and tweak to preserve the original intention and integrity of it. Share Alike feature of the license, I feel, can help sustain that aspect of my work.

Overall i find that Creative Commons has led to more creativity and more resources on the Internet than ever before. As a graphic designer, having access to Flickr’s Creative Commons content really opens up a broader potential in my designs as it would save time and even resources for me to access to certain images. In the instance of music and videos as well, it is beneficial and crucial for the sustenance of the remixing culture.

(544 words)

Reference

1.Bailey. Jonathan, (2009), Blog Herald, ‘ 5 Lesser Known Benefits to Creative Commons’, <http://www.blogherald.com/2009/01/05/5-lesser-known-benefits-to-creative-commons/&gt;, Accessed on 4 June 2011.

2. Creative Commons (2011), <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/&gt;, Accessed on 4 June 2011.

3. Garcelon, M. (2009) An Information Commons? Creative Commons and Public Access to Cultural Creations’ New Media & Society, 11(8): 1307–1326.

giving the 404 ERROR message a boot!

Creative designers have given the annoying 404 Error message you get while navigating through the web a funny twist, just to lighten the mood. Maybe now there will be more happy surfers laughing when they get the error message instead of smashing their keyboards.

The North Face: http://www.thenorthface.com/404

Apartment Home Living: http://www.apartmenthomeliving.com/404.html

Merge: http://www.mergeweb.com/404

For a more comprehensive list: 35 Entertaining 404 Error Pages.

Reference

1. Mashable, <http://mashable.com/2010/09/04/404-error-pages/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box272&gt;

giving the opposition a voice: the case of Singapore’s political blogs

MAIN BLOG POST: WEEK 4

Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: ‘Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?’ (Reader, Page 136) Do you agree? Use examples to illustrate your point of view.

I agree that because of the editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity of political bloggers in Singapore, it has shed some light on democratic journalism in the otherwise mundane and even biased existing authoritarian political structure.

People’s Action Party, Singapore’s incumbent ruling party since the country’s independence has held a tight reign over every aspect in Singapore. It has strived to remain the ruling party and has succeeded with tactics like having strong control over the state media.

‘Motivated by the view that the local media is biased against opposition parties, the online medium has been harnessed by non-political party affiliated groups and individuals to provide information of the opposition not available in the local media’ (Gomez: 2006, 5).

The 2006 election was dubbed ‘Singapore’s Internet election’ with the surge in numbers of political blogs with the intention to adding an alternative voice to the media landscape. Blogs were seen as the most effective tool in communicating alternative political views and lost in trust in the local traditional media led to the discourse that blogs are the real voice of the people and is uncovering the truth for the people.

‘the manner by which some of the stories were crafted and headlined had certainly painted them in poor light and could have influenced voter behaviour’ (Mutalib: 2002, 28).

‘The 2006 general election showed that there was a sizeable discrepancy between that which was reported by the local media and the reality of opposition party activities, thereby pointing a gap in the local media reportage’ (Gomex: 2006, 30)

As a result the influx of citizen journalism and active participation in discussion of politics in Singapore shifted to the online realm resulting in blogs like, The Online CitizenTemasek ReviewMr BrownYawning Bread and many more.

In 2006, Lim Kim Mun (Mr. Brown) and Au Wai Peng (Yawning Bread) blogged about the discrepancy in coverage of the opposition rally in the local and only English mainstream print media, The Straits Times. Full blog posts can be found here and here.

Picture from Yawning Bread on Opposition Rally in Hougang

Picture by Mr Brown on The Straits Times the day after the rally

Drawing on Yawning Bread’s coverage of the Hougang rally in 2006 and its amazing turn out, Mr Brown collaborative blog post showed that there was no mention of this phenomenon but instead a not so glamourous and more defeated portrayal of the opposition during the rally appeared in The Straits Times.

The article (channel-newsasia-bars-dr-chee–again) also shed light on the local news channel’s biases towards certain opposition political group due the leader’s feud with the incumbent party.

There are many examples to prove that political bloggers in Singapore do present a alternative voice that more effectively informs the public during elections, especially more in the recent 2011 elections which brought in social media as a tool for publicity of political campaigns. This example also exemplifies Russell’s (et al.) statement that blogging ‘has taken over the watchdog function of the press’. Having editorial independence and collaborative initiatives, it allows a better representation of voices, wider coverage of the news and in a way more giving voters more diverse materials to evaluate who they should vote for.

(515 words)

Reference

1. Russell, A., Mizuko, I., Richmond, T. & Tuters, M. (2008), ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’, in Kazys Varnelis (ed.) Networked Publics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.43-76.

2. Mutalib, Hussin (2002), “Singapore’s 2001 General Election and its Implication for the Future of Democracy and Politics in the Republic”, in 2002 Perspectives on Singapore, Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies, chapter 2.

3. The Online Citizen (2011), ‘Channel News Asia Bars Dr Chee Again’, <http://theonlinecitizen.com/2011/03/channel-newsasia-bars-dr-chee-%E2%80%93-again/&gt;, Accessed on 2 June 2011.

4. Temasek Review (2011), ‘ Singapore is Taking the First Steps to True Democracy’, <http://www.temasekreview.com/2011/05/11/singapore-is-taking-the-first-steps-to-true-democracy/&gt;, Accessed on 2 June 2011.

5. Mr Brown (2006), ‘ Different Camera’, <http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2006/05/different_camer.html&gt;, Accessed on 2 June 2011.

6. Yawning Bread (2206), ‘On Hougang Field’, <http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2006/yax-581.htm&gt;, Accessed on 2 June 2011.

7. Gomez, James (2006), ‘Citizen Journalism’: Bridging the Discrepancy in Singapore’s General Elections News’. Link to PDF here.

The exhibitionist in every blogger

MAIN BLOG POST: WEEK 7 (b)

Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.

Much like reality television or even memoirs, blogs have risen to be a tool that allows writers to ‘exhibit and put themselves on display’ (Lawrence: 9) . Meanwhile satisfying readers’ tendency to seek out truth through voyeurism, to take a glimpse into the unfiltered lives of other people.

With the introduction of Web 2.0 and the focus on building communities over the internet realm, blogs have sufficed to be a tool to create communities by allowing users to generate their own content, express their own opinions and hold discussions within the communities. So much so that 5 years ago (2006), Time magazine name YOU (the user) Person of the Year.

‘And we didn’t just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.’ (Grossman: 2006)

YOU (we) in Web 2.0 have become more than passive audience(s), YOU (we) have become exhibitionists of your (our) ideas, opinions, even private lives.

‘Technology of the self’ as Foucault termed it is a concept that can be borrowed to explain how blogs are confessions of the self. A large portion of blogs on the Internet domain are essentially diaries, ‘public diary’ (Lovink: 6). The private/public dichotomy of the self is blurred with blogs, as people exhibit details of their lives on the site and the basis of readership is feeding on these exhibitionistic posts.

For example, the blog, http://bleubirdvintage.typepad.com/blog/ who is managed by Miss James. She operates an online business selling vintage pieces and owns a blog which is mainly a portal of daily happenings in her household. While blogging about her daily life, posting snapshots of her children and clothes they wear, products they use, she has attracted a hosts of advertisers on her blog and referrals to her online business.

This blog exemplifies Lovink’s argument that indeed, the Internet is about forming communities but ultimately, they essentially have the sole intention of promoting the user before anything else.

‘No one ever keeps a diary for just himself’ (Lovink: 6)

They are kept to exhibit the self, and in this case of the bleubirdvintage blog, promotion of the self and lifestyle would lead to benefiting in an economic sense for her online business and celebrity-ship in her genre of blogs.

Lovink also argues that blogs are not a new form of journalism (28). I concur with that thought, citizen journalism are clouded with the person’s opinion and interests. It is intrinsically linked to the user’s wish to be the opinion leader (Lazerfeld’s theory) in their community. To be at the top of news, to be the first to inject opinions into daily affairs and to influence opinion seekers while gaining social capital (Burt: 1999). The social capital is therefore the main intention which translates into promotion of the self.

(489 words)

Reference

1. Lawrence. Heidi, ‘Bless Me Blogger For I Have Sinned: Community and Rhetoric of Confession in the Genre of the Blog’, George Mason University.

2. Lovink. Geert, ‘Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, London: Routledge, pp. 1-38.

3. Grossman. Lev, (2006) ‘Time’s Person of The Year: YOU’ in Time Magazine, <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html&gt;, Accessed on 21 May 2011.

4. Burt. Ronald, (1999) ‘The Social Capital of Opinion Leaders’ The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, University of Chicago, Vol. 566, no. 1, pp. 37-54.