To sheep or to sheep

The human race a technology as it is playing it seems to be one of laziness and apathy. Adaption after adaption enhances our lives by making life easier. With a touch of a button were able to change our lives completely without any strain of more than a few muscles.

We are already governed by media, technology and pop culture, the human race is no longer a race but a hum drum rhythm copies. We are slowly weakening our independence and soon will have no value to us and we’ll just give it away.

The leap or rather small fairy step from where we are now to a world governed not by humans but by objects does not seem to be such a bad thing. It’ll make life a lot easier considering the hardest thing about getting ready everyday and choice rather than the actual process.

To cut out the menial task of thinking.

Could it be that easy.

Could it be that boring?

Oh yes it can and it now comes with 3 new shades of grey. Grey so you don’t need to strain your brain with the option of choice.

Social objects can and do control every aspect of our lives minutely. Hugh Macleod stated in his blog Gapingvoid in 2008 that “the social object in a nutshell, is the reason two people talk to each other, as opposed to somebody else” he goes on to explain that even though social humans need to encouragement, a reason to socialize with people. “that reason, that “node” in the social network, is what we call the Social Object”

Although the lack of control, or even lack of thought, one has in their daily tasks can lead to serious consequences. Although there are always positives even when we’re thinking of the future and the horrors it may hold.

Social objects have lead us to inventions such as the Internet of things, discussed in Teodor Mitew’s “FCJ-168 Do objects dream of an internet of things”

It is through our growth in communication that we can bring together the internet of things described as a platform allowing the categorization of things. No only can this make it easier for individuals to successfully search the depths and come out with what they were looking for, however also enhances conversation as the social objects are infinite.

As it seems the progression of communication is not reducing its speed. And although we can foresee glitches here and there the outcome may outweigh the consequences. So here’s to a better and brighter/clearer voice and tones more cat videos, as social objects, for learning of course.

Macleod, H. 2008 “Social Objects are the future of marketing.”Gapingvoid.

Mitew, T. 2014 “FCJ-168 Do objects dream of an internet of things” The Fibreculture Journal, Open Humanities Press.

My second identity is online 

Social creature by nature, humans have been, since the dawn of tongue, perfecting the forms of communication. Through these new developments we have also as a result formed new identities; from the polite well presented telephone speaking voice to the online presence as a whole.

Human kind has and always will continue to develop the next best thing especially if it involves adapting something that already love to a shinier, faster, more elegant version. This is exactly what we’ve done with our identities online.

Our online presence is no longer a hobby or past time. It is now alive, growing and changing as we do. It needs to be fed daily, petted, washed and pampered, and most importantly its social life.

Through the analysis of Arto in “Understanding Social Networking”, Larsen is able to convey the way in which identity is built, although discussed in a more positive light than I would have liked, Larsen still identifies that youngsters have the ability to ’find’ their identity no only through them selves but also with others. This viewpoint is not something I completely agree with however. Larsen describes the process of manipulating an online identity though positive feedback to be … positive. It would be if we lived in a perfect world, however this site has turned what could be a positive identity construction zone into a fake, directed show. The users of this site are the perfect example of a utopian dystopian online world. Fueling the fire of attainable perfection, molding youngsters into sheep, with little opinion focused solely on being the ‘nicest’ person.

The internet allows users to have a new identity. Through these identities we can change who we are, face little consequence or backlash. The internet in some forms can offer an outlet for individuals struggling to find an identity or even help with those who cannot cope with one they don’t seem to fit.

The progression of the avatar has allowed users to connect with people like themselves around the world without as many barriers as we once had.

The study by Koda, Ishida , Rehm and Andre’ “Avatar culture: cross-culture evaluations of avatar facial expressions” found that there are cultural differences in interpreting avatar expressions. This suggests that even the online identities we create are still highly influenced by our surroundings, so much so that a distinct difference can be seen between Japanese avatars and those of Western origin.

Andre’, E. Ishida, T. Koda, T, Rehm M. 2009 “Avatar culture: cross-culture evaluations of avatar facial expressions” Springer-Verlag London Limited,!st July

Larsen, M. 2008 “Understanding Social Networking” Aalborg University, Denmark.

It’s 1984 all over again

Continuous breaches of the public sphere has increased the urge to make a change. Focused prodominitly in Britain a new uprising of protests have risen concerning the use of personal digital information that, as it seems, is not private at all. Interpret corporations have great access to our information although technically through consent, not all users of the Internet are fully aware of how much of their information can be stored or even how easily it can be accessed without their knowledge. 

Talk of a digital bill of rights has been mentioned and in  ‘The Conversations’ 21st April “What Use Would a Bill of Rights Be?” article this option is discusses in a manner that provoked many questions about the rights Internet users currently have and the potential if their were to be such a change that is suggested. 

The concept of personal information as payment for the use of products was mention in the bill of rights article. This form of payment looks to be the only fitting payment for the use of digital data, one needs to give to receive, however the extent of this payment seems quite unfair. Internet corporations see little value in personal information, where apps and websites store  large amounts of data for one individual and only then does It suffice for the use of one product!

Indeed the Internet is a growing commodity and as it grows so does its expense. Ussrs are required to pay for the information and data they use regardless of how useful it will be to them in the future, that’s right I’m talking about Cary crush and FarmVille. It is the users priority to deliberate whether their time and currency is worth the data they are receiving. The fact that users are paying is not the issue here. The issue is that users are paying for somthing they have deemed as free, so not once it’s too late do they realise how much of their personal data has been used to pay for their addictive ‘gaming’. 

For something that has been running for so long and has had the chance to find a solution for quite some time, the Internet is still stuck in a rut between working for the benefit of its users or its masters. Surveillance is somethig that scares me and should definitely scare more people than it actually does. The extent of the surveillance we are subjected to is unbelievable however it has reached this point because we’ve allowed it to.  We are naive and it’s true we don’t fully understand how valuable our privacy is untill it has been taken away however that should not mean that it is right to exploit us. 

This day and age of data retention and personal survelence reminds me of the classic distooian play 1984. Depicting a world where privacy didn’t exist and people were simply cogs in machine, running purely for a big corporation. George Orwell was able to predict the turn of our technology not through extra terrestrial beings or artificial intelligence taking control but from ourselves. Multiple ‘wars’ broke out every week with a different cintender. Civilians under cinstant watch in case they showed any signs of free will and strictly no leaniency for personal time or pleasure. 

What’s sad is that this horridly depiction may soon be our legitimate future. Orwell showed a world of his worst fears and we have only encouraged its progression. I for one think a bill of rights is a brilliant idea.  Although it may not stop survelence entirely it may hinder its control and bring attention to its harmfulness. The digital and online world of legislation is a tricky place, by creating a bill of rights the these rules and regulations may be combined in one form of legislation to work for the public. At least then will users have legislation to stand on

Are we settling for a quick scratch when we really need a full body massage.

A quick fix is all you need these days, no substance or depth, very little shared love and certainly no care to do it again. Material, platforms, sites and the process of the online in general are the one night stands of entertainment. Fed quick snacks of high energy, low nutrition and a whole lot of junk consumers of these forms of entertainment are deprived and manure he’d. I can honestly say that it has been months since I last picked up a book and even then I read a few pages and was distracted by the ever present whining of my Facebook feed, I’m ashamed to say I am one of them.. 
The further into Dorner’s (1993) “When readers become end-users: intercourse without seduction”, I felt guiltier. I reread the article about three times just to make sure I wouldn’t be one of the readers she was critizing as a skim reader. However soon after the provoked thoughts had left my head I was once again hooked by the sugar soaked easy readings of buzfeed polls and quick step articles. 
It’s a shame really that it today’s society as referred to by Dorner as ‘post modernist’ we fail to appreciate the courtship of true reading. However I. Saying this, the evolution of reading could be at its next bridge. Indeed people feel less obligated or even motivated to feed their minds with a good fiction or well written truths, however what if we are simply evolving to enjoy a different form of entertainment. The world of interactivity has captured the minds of many, a new age banter between other people rather than characters in a novel. In some cases this can be a good form of  nourishment. Take role playing games for example; groups are formed which lead to bonds,  effective analysis of situations, team work, forward thinking, and entertainment. 

In saying that some interactive forms of entertainment has found to has less than a desirable effect of the participants. Schreier “From halo to hot sauce: what 25 years of violent video game research looks like”, (2013)  discusses the effects of long term bpgaming I pm violent stettings. Like most violent forms of entertainment violence fuels violence. However gaming seems to be one of the most effecting forms. Whether this is fuels by the interactive component of simply enhanced I don’t know.  This is not nessasarily somthing that is seen in all genres or forms of gaming it is simply the most popular. Either way I feel the evolutionary progress we are experiencing in front of our own eyes is definitely something that should not be overlooked and spectra in,y not hindered. I feel their change could the beginning of many new forms of entertainment just waiting to spread their positive influence. And I can’t wait!

Free the media

The ownership of media in Australia is unlike any others. Large percentages of our media is influenced by one very powerful man. 
Holding 11 out of 12 news papers Rupert Murdocks’s News Corporation is definitely the governing media group in Australia. 

What’s worse is that back in 2007 the Howrard government gave them even more power by passing legistrlation which allowed media groups to own a 2 out of 3. Meaning in one particular area media groups may own 2 out of 3 media types, ie news papers, TV, and radio. This was brought about as the growing change of media and the influence of traditional media had on the public. This growth in media could have allowed other forms of media to hold greater stakes for in the information world. However after the legislation was passed allowing more control from already too powerful corporations that potential growth subsided. A diversity of voices was expected with the gradual change of media and its forms, however this variety of voices was snuffed before it had a chance. 

This emergence of new forms of media including new  journalists, new platforms and new consumers should have created a larger pool of information reaching the public. What it has infact done is stress the already existing journalists into providing the same voice for an array of forms. Political blogger John Nicholls discussed the issues seen in the US market where this new age of media sshould be unraveling. Nicholls discussed the decline in journalists, stating there are less now than in Turin g the time of president franklin d Roosevelt and the amount of journalists covering Obamas inauguration was less than Reagans. Nicholls has called it a crisis of democracy, the people need to make a stand in order to see any changes. We are governed by media groups who do not always work for our best interests. 

Looking back at the student protests of 2014 against new proposals to cut funding to universities and allow uncapped education, the friendly protesters simply wanted to be heard. Speaking out for their rights to a reasonable priced education these protesters were ridiculed in major newspapers. Said to be dole bludgers and uneducated individuals creating havoc in the city. This obvious manipulation of facts was dismissed and seen as truth simply because of the backing the media group had my the priminister. This is only once instance where we have the seen first hand the kind of influence this group has on the nation. How many other cases of have been reported incorrectly with knowledge that the piece is a lie. How many more do we need to see before we stop it?

Effective journalism takes time, effort and a lot of money. The smaller groups simply can’t compete with the power hungry media dictators that run our lives. It’s about time we wake up to what’s happening around us. Everyday people need to demand a change or no one else will. 

Are we on the right hack, I mean track

Evolution; an inevitable growth of organisms adapting and changing to better suit its environment. At least that’s the natural way. But if given the chance to enhance ones features would you consider it, and how far would you go. Depending on our social constructs our species is and has been manipulating our bodies to better evolve in our environment, the difference between what we are doing now and a futuristic world we all can’t help but dream of is a drastic mass change.
As a species we have grown used to concept of supplements. Associated mostly with gym junkies these days, supplements are used to enhance the body much quicker than if done without support,. However supplements have been around long before the trend of gym selfies with a protein shake were in our faces everyday. Supplements are taken for iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and  vit b, t, c, g and p (not real vitamins). It won’t be long before our species becomes comfortable with surgically enhanced features.. More strange to us now than breast implants and hip replacements. 
Gibson’s (1988) ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ pulls us into a world where the norm is cyborg. A combination of human and enhancements. The enhancements Gibson mentions seem to be necesaity to survive. Survival of the fittest has now become survival of the manufactured. When discussing Gibson’s concepts of cyborgs in ‘The Technopholic Body, On technicity in William Gibson’s cyborg culture’ (2000) Thomas states that “when one is presented with a culture governed by cosmetic and functional alterations to the form and organic structure of the human body, it is not hard to imagine an emerging cyborg species that will evolve according to a different  evolutionary logic” and this is exactly what I wish to make a point of. Who’s to say we aren’t already on track to a world like Johnny Mnemonic’s. The human body is like a computer, and in Johnnys case as walking hard drive,  any computer can be manipulated and hacked.  Body ‘hacks’ are being researched and tested for public use already, take the article “5 Mind-Blowing Ways Science Has Hacked the Human Body” by Eddie Rodriguez. Seemingly impossible acts of God are in our reach! I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but I guess we’ll see.  I just hope we don’t all turn out like our poor friend Johnny

Too bad there’s no vaccine for stupid.

By using both signifiers and signifieds effectively a sensitive topic may be more easily discussed and in some cases even mocked. Satire comics and cartoons tend to use humour to provoke thought about political and current affairs.
Whilst exploring the notion of double entendres in relation to images I came across an cartoon that not only suggested opinions based on current events but also completely mocked the situation with no sign of care.

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On face value this woman just seems to have an issue with peanuts, an over protective mother who’s ruining peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone in the playground. Taking a deeper look and concidering current issues, the message that’s portrayed is infact the opposite. Her kind fragile expression and body language makes the woman appear to be pleading rather than commanding which emphasises the notion that she is protesting for a good cause. A mother who is concerned for the well being of her child but in turn fueling a change in the school system that can make lunch time safer for children with allergies. 

Juxtaposing this attitude in a satirical manner is the paired cartoon depicting the same “caring” mother with a soured face, tightly gripped hands, intimidating body language, and just an down right nasty appearance. This cartoon provokes thought from the viewer on a controversial topic.
Through humour it allows a completely biased argument of vaccinating children to be discussed and certainly not in a fair manner. This cartoonist has done well to show the two sides of a person through appearance and a cleverly introduced comparative pun; hinting that, like the left side’s issue the subject is also nuts. In doing so any validity of the anti vax argument has been removed without even stating an opinion. With such a controversial topic being so widely debated, the artist’s assumption regarding knowledge of the issue holds true. The cartoonist lets the audience build the argument themselves, encouraging a particular oppinion while assuming this view is already supported. 

Time and time again we see completely opinionated and entirely incorrect facts (according to “real” science) plastered in our view, in an attempt to sway us to the side of “correct moral judgement”. That’s right give them a round of applause to the anti vaxer. Shoving inaccurate knowledge into the minds of gullible parents who leave it up to others to tell them how to raise their chiildren. 

Every now and again I hear someone stating (out loud) that they don’t or won’t vaccinate their children because it’s…. Wait for…. Safer! It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary. But the sad truth is that terrible diseases are striking back after what we thought was an eradication, because simple minded people are choosing not protect their kids with medication that is FREE. 

This image makes the audience think. It becomes a catalyst for many discussions to come. By using connotative effects and understanding the audience this cartoons has managed to promote an idea that needs to be in the forefront of people’s minds