That whole time I was trying not to trip

945203_10151956973578916_1979946194_nHonestly guys I don’t know what to say, I mean I grew up in a country town with a cow field next to my highschool. The extend of my technology learning at high school was an IT class we had to do in year seven in which all we pretty much learned to do was how to make a printable timetable…groundbreaking I know. I just want to thank Sue, Ted, and Rebecca, I never would have imagined how much I would have loved this subject. And I would like to thank everyone that commented on my posts. You guys help me make it so much better so thanks to maddicook, taraoesterheld, gabriellevking, justdowit, rjpt225, katefrostuowmelissasekulovski, thefreshlyscoopedainsleysappletree, and ohitsthatgirlsblog – you guys were so supportive and super sweet.

Although the bloggies are over I just wanted to give a shout out to some of my favourite blogs: ainsleysappletreejustdowitgabriellevking and jazz tea. I loved your blogs and think you deserve all the awards!!!!


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 –

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.


It may be the alcohol talking

Ads are made to either entice us into buying a product or warn and educate us about the dangers of a product.

But which is more effective? Consider a beer ad and a public health ad about drink driving.

The place yo be from where you'd rather be

“Corona” ads are all brightly lit, showing people on beaches or parties, just enjoying life. With tag lines like “Corona:” from where you’d rather be” and “corona: the place to be”. An audience is more likely to look at these kinds of ads because they are pleasant and represent happiness although that doesn’t mean they are going to buy the product.

“The idea behind the new campaign was to recreate the strong connection between our brand and its consumers, so that when they open a bottle of Corona, they leave everything else behind and start enjoying life in the place they want to be.”

only a little bit dead

Contrast the beer ad with a public health campaign against drink driving. We are shown a very dark ad with a young woman surrounded by debris. We don’t know the identity of the women, but that is how this public service ad reaches so many different people. She could be a wife, girlfriend, best mate, sister, or even daughter. This ad is aiming to target not feelings of self-protection, but the fear of losing someone the driver care about. It is also casting a lot more judgment on the driver than other drink driving ads. The tag line “only a little bit over? You bloody idiot” is really in your face as it doesn’t sugar coat the issue.

But is it really that affective? We remember the funny beer ads because they are just that, funny. But do we really remember and talk about the ads for drink driving?

September 5 2012, the Australian government launched this video about having a plan B. This ad focused not on the consequences of drink driving but rather emphasised making back up plans if you are going drinking. This allowed them to make an entertaining and memorable ad.

Which ad is most effective? Which ad needs to be the most effective?