Lest we forget

Anzac day poppy

It’s time to remember their sacrifice and it’s something we shouldn’t take lightly. I have always had the heart that no shops should be open on Anzac day. As the world needs to remember the cost of war, especially with North Korea threatening everyone under the sun.

This year I want to challenge you, go to a dawn service if there is one near you. We have been going to the dawn service near us for the last 7 years and I think we will continue to go. It’s freezing and means you don’t get a sleep in, but if it is all we can do to say thank you to those young men and women who gave up their dreams so that we could live out ours, well then it’s worth the early morning.

To all the brave soliders, In Australia and New Zealand, those that have fought and for those whose wars are about to begin.

Thank you! 

Wilfred Owen – Dulce Et Decorum Est.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Amazon Buys Social Media Book Site Goodreads

Lara's Book Club

If people read books and then post reviews online — and don’t have their own blog, like this one! — there’s generally two places they’ll post them: Amazon and Goodreads. But now, the two are becoming one.

According to Salon, Amazon has bought the social media book site Goodreads. For more than a year, the site has used Amazon Product Advertising API for book data. Ever since then, Amazon has had somewhat of a grip on Goodreads, forbidding Goodreads to use that data in its mobile app. But now Amazon has tightened the reigns.

The terms of the deal were not made public. But people in the book industry are comparing this to Hitler and the Nazi invasion of Poland, which doesn’t bode well for Goodreads, authors, or its users.

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BAM! said the lady, another best seller for me

For a market that is constantly losing its viewing to the internet, there is an popular trend of enhancing your content by creating it in several different mediums and in doing so, giving something to your already dedicated audience as well as possibly attracting a new audience. The television show ‘Castle’ has done an incredible job of transforming itself from a single story into transmedia storytelling, meaning that instead of focusing on one platform fans of  castle now have a universe to explore.

Promo - Season 5

For those who aren’t familiar with ‘Castle’ let me give you the run down. Richard castle is a famous murder mystery novelist who has just killed off his character ‘Derrick Storm’ and is searching for a new character to base his next set of books on. Detective Kate Beckett is investigating a string of murders that greatly resemble the way Castle killed some of his characters in his book. Long story short, Castle ends up basing his next character on Detective Beckett and shadows her cases…Ta Da we have a cop show.

But what is so special about this show? Andrew Marlowe has created a show that is not restricted within the television format. ABC has actually created the novels Castle writes in the show. ‘Heat Wave‘, ‘Naked Heat‘, ‘Heat Rises‘, ‘Frozen Heat‘ and the newest novel to come out later this year ‘Deadly heat‘ are all novels about Beckett’s persona ‘Detective Nikki Heat’ which the audience can actually buy and read. The brilliance of this is that in the books Castle and Beckett’s personas are together (Jameson Rook and Nikki Heat) while on the show they were still doing the romantic dance all shows do with their leads. This meant the fans were getting the best of both worlds which has only increased its popularity and dedicated fan base.  Not only have ABC created the Nikki heat novels, but they have also fleshed out Castle’s previous novels about Derrick Storm and turned them into graphic novels: ‘Deadly storm‘, ‘Storm season‘ and ‘A calm before the storm‘; as well as creating ‘Storm Front’ into a novel. Surprisingly the books are having phenomenal real world success:

The Nikki Heat series is no stranger to the New York Times Best Seller list; the first novel, Heat Wave, debuted at #26, while the second, Naked Heat, debuted at #7. With Heat Rises debuting at #1, it only solidifies proof of Castle’s success in both television and fiction. – The Examiner

This year ABC took it one step further by creating a board game and trading cards. They have even created castles own brand of coffee (for the fans of the show, that is possibly one of the most exciting creations for the castle universe) with flavours like ‘Brewing storm’ and ‘writer’s roast’.

What was once just a television show is now several series of novels and graphic novels, board games, playing cards, calendars, coffee and an increasing amount of merchandise. With multiple fan made merchandise and websites like castletv.net and castle-fans.org (which are run by fans of the show) as well as a growing library of fan written castle fan fictions. The fans have been given a world to explore and a story that is not limited to one platform.

I’m Sorry…Were you still using that?

One of the major markers, I’d argue, is in the participatory capacity of digital media: the ways in which the distinction between producers of media and consumers of media begins to collapse…Once you start contributing and sharing and connecting with the work of those who connect with yours, you’re engaging in something called produsage. You’re in the network. – theory.cribchronicles.com

Welcome to the produsage age! Where every man and his dog have the ability to create and consume. Everyone has the power if they wish to use it. People now have the ability to create new images and ideas and share them over the internet, then have other users change them, re-develop them, make them something greater. Of course the downside to that is if they didn’t want it edited, that’s the cost of sharing intellectual property in the public sphere.

The one of the best examples I have seen for the new relationship caused by produsage is between John Green (author of the ‘The Fault in our stars’) and the Tumblr community. He created the novel, his artifact, which was then made into a painting, which in-turn was transformed into a poster they could sell and was all done by people from different parts of the world. This transaction wouldn’t have been possible with the previous relationship between producers and consumers in that so many people could connect and create. This gives the audience a new gateway to participate with their favourite content whether it is: books, movies, TV shows, comics, YouTube channels, bloggers. They are able to create their own content, whether its GIFs, Fan fictions, or fan art, the produsage age has created a new brand of audience.

Talking bout the blogger in the mirror

I was surprised by how much of this course built on knowledge I gained from the ‘Society and Culture’ in the HSC, especially about looking beyond what you are presented. Although we weren’t taught with such detail about who controls the media, we were always taught to question what we are shown. Without realising it I have started to look at the end of the credits to see who owns this TV show or news report. One concept I never really heard about was the ‘public sphere’. Although it’s not what is put into the public sphere that’s important, it is what the audience reacts to – which in-turn causes debates and conversation – that is crucial to society. I never understood why it was so important about who owns the media, but whoever owns the media is controlling the content that is entering the public sphere. That is why it’s important to have a variety of voices…That is why there is such a high value on blogs today.

It’s crazy to think that it was only a month ago that we started these blog posts. I have always been a bit of a micro blogger on Tumblr, which has been helpful in that it has helped me adjust to using WordPress but at the same time it might have restricted my audience. What I mean by that is, I am use to writing to a specific audience on Tumblr, it has shaped how I address issues and even my writing styles. To have your own writing style is really important when blogging, I have learnt that from reading everyone’s blog posts, as you need to have your own voice to stand out. The problem I faced during these last couple of weeks is that I hadn’t found a way to both sound sophisticated as everyone else had managed to do and still use my writing style.

Shipping it publicly

Before you hit me with your keyboards, give me a chance to explain. I’m over twilight as much as the next person BUT it is a really good case for the public sphere and how something can cause so much debate. Firstly, the public sphere is where people can openly discus issues and ideas. The Internet has become the most popular place for these discussions of increasing variety; Politics to technology, movies to health concerns.

Look at the debates on the Internet about twilight. As soon as those books were released Fandoms were screaming out for team Edward and team Jacob. Yeah great no one really cares about that but there still was a lot of debate caused over it. As any good shipper worth their keys, they began to write fan fictions (Shipper: the term “shipper” comes from supporting a ship. To ship something means a person wants two characters to get together and/or shows support for two characters already together – Urban Dictionary) One writer in particular gained massive popularity for her twilight inspired fan fics, so much so that they were made into our beloved 50 shades of grey.

50 Shades of Grey changed the landscape of the literary world, being placed at #1 for 50 weeks straight on some best-seller lists. What has been the impact on the public sphere due to the books popularity? Fans trying to recreate scenes from 50 shades of grey, have in many cases had very damaging effects on their relationships:

British woman is divorcing her husband after he refused to re-create scenes from E.J. James’ best-selling novel…”The woman had been reading the book and wanted to spice up her love life,” the wife’s attorney, Amanda McAlister, said. “She thought their sex life had hit a rut — he never remembered Valentine’s Day and he never complimented her on her appearance. So she bought sexy underwear in an attempt to get her husband more involved. She said, ‘Let’s make things more interesting.” [1]

If you were to Google 50 shades of grey how many results would you get? When I googled it 83,700,000 results were found! Articles like:

What does the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey Say about our Sexuality

Why women Really like “50 Shades of Grey”

Explaining ’50 Shades’ wild success – CNN.com

50 Shades of Grey is best-selling book of all time – Telegraph

50 things I hate about 50 Shades of grey

And its about to be reintroduced to the public sphere in even more formats: a movie, soundtrack, television show, even a musical have all been suggested if not already in production. And just think all of this was started because Twilight was introduced to the public sphere.

I’d risk it all for the truth doll face

I wish journalism still held the same thirst for truth as it did in the 1940’s. Maybe it’s just a stereotype but I love the concept of seeking truth not popularity. Certainly within Australia’s nighttime news programs (such as “today tonight” and “A Current Affairs”) are competing both with other news programs and television shows for ratings. The “news” stories are often very emotional, which recently is causing speculation that the stories have been twisted or manipulated to create more ratings. Recently there has been great concern over the ownership of the media. Who owns the media? Who controls the content? The problem is someone will always own the media; it’s how much they own that is the problem.

If the audience is not allowed different perspective, different information, then there is only one thought they will hold. Their thinking is controlled; and I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… Why doesn’t the government take a bit of control back from these corporations? The issue then is your have the government controlling stories about themselves and their policies. Consider the restriction of the media in China. In Mao’s leadership he used the media dramatically with his propaganda.

the cultural revoultion propaganda the cultural revolution propaganda

So what does this all mean for consumers? We can’t just trust the government to control what information is given to us and we can’t trust the corporations that own the media now to give us all the facts and all the stories, not just the ones they want us to see. In high school we were taught to make ourselves socially literate…Well what does that mean? There are 8 areas people can improve to make themselves socially literate:

  • Empathises with people of different societies and cultures
  • is capable of informed decision making and takes considered action on social issues
  • shows critical discernment towards the media
  • is interested in, observes, and asks questions about the immediate (micro) and wider (macro) world
  • is self aware, with a sense of personal, social and cultural identity
  • shows concern for the welfare, rights and dignity of all people
  • understands continuity and change and the implications for the future in a global context
  • communicates effectively [1]

What that all means is that you become someone who doesn’t simply accept the information they are given. Yes what that report said on the news this afternoon may all be true, but what is the other sides opinion? What aren’t they telling us? Even though we aren’t given the truth at least we can learn not to accept that it may not be true.

[1] http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/pdf_doc/society-culture-st6-syl-from2010.pdf

Hold on to your mouses, icarly could really happen

I have always had a fondness for childrens television shows, but icarly always annoyed me. As if three teenagers could become celebraties from vlogging; but what does it all actually mean? More than likely you would have heard of Youtube channels like , the Janoskians, Jenna Marbles and Pez films. They all made videos and started posting on Yotube, getting views into the millions like these videos below.

As a result of their popularity the Janoskians have been picked up by Sony (who knows why) and Pez films has been hired to make stop motion ad’s for company’s. All this was achieved without publishers and agents.

This creates opportunities for people like me. I have created and written my own television show and I’m currently doing the circuit trying to get it signed. IF I CANT I can make webisodes post them on youtube and other social media platforms and try to build the popularity online and get it noticed that way. Even twitter is changing the relationship; now you can trend a topic and tag the actor, writer, producer, someone you have never met and there is a good chance they will see it. If you were to do that without twitter, you would have to go through agents, and second in commands etc. It is changing the creative industry as we know it; Artists, writers, film makers, comedians, poets, dancers. They have all been given a platform to express themselves and be heard in the world.