Week 8 – Networks

May 10, 2010 by

Castells, M. Excerpts from “Informationalism, Networks and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint” From The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective.  Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, pgs. 3-7 & 36-45.

Manual Castells suggests in his article “Informationalism, Networks and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint”, that the concept of networks has become essential to understanding the organisation of contemporary life. Indeed, networks “constitute the fundamental pattern of life”. One of the benefits of the network is in their “ability to introduce new actors and new content to the process of social organization, with relative independence of the power centres, increased over time with technical change and…with the evolution of communication technologies”.

Castells discusses the concepts of “nodes”, which I interpreted as points in a network where information intersects. He also discusses key concepts such as the “space of flows” and “timeless time”. The “space of flows” is not placeless but consists of networks and nodes, “…of places connected by electronically powered communication networks through which flows of information circulate and interact…” In the network society it is not as if there is no time, but rather that connection is immediate. Indeed, as Castells discusses the sequence of time is negated by either compressing time or blurring its sequences “…the space of flows dissolves time by disordering the sequence of events and making them simultaneous, thus installing society in structural ephemerality” or “timeless time”. In the tutorials we discussed the ‘Casino’ as one instance in contemporary society in which it is easy to ‘loose track’ of time.

The other interesting discussion in this article was on the notion of the “hacker ethic”. Castells discusses some of the key issues surrounding the sharing of knowledge and discovery, theorising that “the culture of the network society is a culture of protocols of communication between all cultures of the world, developed on the basis of a common belief in the power of networking and of the synergy obtained by giving to others and receiving from others”. This notion of “sharing” knowledge and resources is highly contentious and one that I find very interesting. In many respects I think it’s impossible to define hacking as either “good” or “bad” but merely a natural consequence of the quest for information and increased autonomy in contemporary networked societies.

Week 9: Media Audiences

May 7, 2010 by

This Image is a media audience from the 1950’s watching a 3D film.

This image is from (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2009/03/28/2009-03-28_3d_flicks_take_off_on_movie_screens_mons.html)

Couldry, Nick,. “The Extended Audience: Scanning the Horizon.” In Gillespie, Marie, Ed. Media Audiences. Berkshire: Open University Press, 2005, Pgs 185-209.

We all have been a part of an audience at one time or another, whether it is a play, concert, sporting event or even at home watching television.  This weeks readings show us that there are different types of audiences including

1. The ‘simple audience’ (e.g. for books and theatre) (Couldy 2005, p. 186)

2. The ‘mass audience’ (e.g. newspapers and television) (Couldy 2005, p. 186)

3. The ‘diffused audience’ (e.g. new audience as media has now become diffused) (Couldy 2005, p. 186)

I thought this reading was very informative and it made me consider how I can use this information in my research paper. Which audiences or ‘fan communities’ (Shaner, Week 9 Lecture slide 18, 2010) do they belong too? This is a point for further investigation.


Week 8: Networks

May 4, 2010 by

In his writing, Castells core argument revolves around the concept of networks, the network society and social networks, which have evolved through the informational paradigm and lead to social transformation and the emergence of a new social structure involving shared communication between cultures.

In this reading I found it interesting how the author makes some clear connections with concepts studied in preceding lectures and tutorials including the convergence and mediation associated with time and space and the transcendence of barriers associated with these latter two concepts (time and space). It is noted that “technologies are increasingly diffused” (Castells 2005, p.7) or rather there is a convergence of communication and information technologies which support the emergence of the new social structure of the network society.

Castells also notes the “two emergent social forms of time and space” which “characterize the network society” (Castells 2005, p.36). Like previous authors such as Moores and Scannell, Castells highlights the ability of technological evolution to enable the possibly of simultaneous practice and time sharing in networked spaces. However it is interesting to note how the author furthers these concepts by demonstrating their ability to foster a networked society and a culture of shared communication.  Castells notes the importance of communication as the cornerstone of the network society: “The culture of the network society is a culture of protocols and communication between all cultures in the world, developed on the basis of a common belief in the power of networking and of the synergy obtained by giving to others and receiving from others” (Castells 2005, p.40).

The concepts of convergence and mediation associated with time and space in the creation of social networks and communication amongst cultures can be seen in examples such as YouTube as noted by Rizzoe in her writing “Programming Your Own Channel” and the Apple iPod. File sharing, and downloading different types of media, both of which can be undertaken on these devices, as well as the concept of mobility which is enabled through devices such as the Apple iPod, is an example of the changing communication and social networks “encouraging new forms of interaction” (Rizzoe 2007, p.129) and shaping cultural forms of practices associated with older basic technologies such as the analog television.

Tut Post 8 Network

May 4, 2010 by

Network is use to connect individuals.

Now, we can connect to other person via phone, internet or mail. These are decentralize medium, which means the message is not dispatch from a single source, but generate and transmit freely through different individuals, call ‘node’ in a network.

Internet and mobile technology raised from the past 20 years. Before that, message are dispatch centralize. Like the pager. You need to call the panel and say the message and the panel will transfer it to the person. Message must work through the third party, and that process limited the content of message (From verbal to text). Although voice transmits through phone also process by third party, there is a reproduction of the medium (from sound, to electronic signal, and then sound). The recipient receive the message as it dispatch.

Another centralize example is World Expo. The first World Expo is held in UK in 1851, at the peak if industrial revolution. The reason to organize this expo is to let all factory owner, or machine maker, have a glance and choose the new invention and affordable products, in order to mass production in the minimum cost. At that year, lack of interpersonal communication network, the only way to gather buyers is by such expo. But now, every company can advertise on internet, by google adword, and attrack buyers online, all over the world, without the physical appear in the shop.

Some word for the lecture: Although the train network is not covering to UNSW, the bus network is. We move from one network to another in order to go to out place.

Week 8: Networks

May 3, 2010 by

Castells, M. Excerpts from “Informationalism, Networks, and the
Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint.” From the Network Society: A Cross Cultural Perspective. Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, pgs. Pgs 165-172.

Human beings are connected to each other through technology, these connections form a group and this group can be described as a network. We see it in its simple form everyday on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. We are joined together through a society which is not necessarily physical. The way we communicate has evolved with technological advances. I think this week’s reading makes us question how ‘cultures’ (Castells  p. 186)are formed through networking. It makes me wonder how the participants interact with different networks and if one aspect would be changed would it affect the whole network?

Week Six – Mobility

April 28, 2010 by

Volker, Clara. “Mobile Media and Space.” In Goggin, Gerard and Larissa Hjorth, Eds. Mobile Media 2007. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2007, 135-142.

 Ito, Mizuko. “Mobile Phones, Japanese Youth, and the Replacement of Social Contact.” In Ling, Rich and Pederson, Per, Eds. Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere. London: Springer – Verlag, 2005, 131-148.

 According to Volker ‘Space’ can no longer be merely divided into the digital and physical as new technologies, such as the mobile phone or ipod, often bridge the two realms. Semapedia is one example of the way in which technology can provide interaction between the virtual and physical worlds. The project allows users to create “cellphone-readable physical hyperlinks” (or barcodes) placed at a physical location which provide access to information on a Wikipedia page. According to the Semapedia website, “Our goal is to connect the virtual and physical world by bringing the right information from the internet to the relevant place in physical space”. Socialight is the second example Volker employs to demonstrate how “…virtual connections between subjects and other subjects or objects are being mapped, transferred into digital virtuality, and reintroduced as virtual spaces into physical reality”. Socialight allows users to create digital messages or ‘Sticky Shadows’ which can be attached to a physical object. Other users are then able to track down and receive the comments/messages attached to this object.

 Both of these examples reminded me of a performance piece by Blast Theory called ‘Can You See Me Now?’ (2001) which also aims to bridge the boundaries between the physical and virtual world.

 Can You See Me Now? is a game that happens simultaneously online and on the streets. Players from anywhere in the world can play online in a virtual city against members of Blast Theory. Tracked by satellites, Blast Theory’s runners appear online next to your player on a map of the city. On the streets, handheld computers showing the positions of online players guide the runners in tracking you down.

With up to 20 people playing online at a time, players can exchange tactics and send messages to Blast Theory. An audio stream from Blast Theory’s walkie talkies allowed you to eavesdrop on your pursuers: getting lost, cold and out of breath on the streets of the city.

Can You See Me Now? draws upon the near ubiquity of handheld electronic devices in many developed countries…As the previously discrete zones of private and public space (the home, the office etc.) have become blurred, it has become commonplace to hear intimate conversations on the bus, in the park, in the workplace. And these conversations are altered by the audience that accompanies them: we are conscious of being overheard and our private conversations become three way: the speaker, the listener and the inadvertent audience.

Can You See Me Now? takes the fabric of the city and makes our location within it central to the game play. The piece uses the overlay of a real city and a virtual city to explore ideas of absence and presence. By sharing the same ‘space’, the players online and runners on the street enter into a relationship that is adversarial, playful and, ultimately, filled with pathos.

With the advent of virtual spaces and, more recently, hybrid spaces in which virtual and real worlds are overlapping, the emotional tenor of these worlds has become an important question. In what ways can we talk about intimacy in the electronic realm?


 Semapedia, Socialight and even the game ‘Can You See Me Now?’ each demonstrate ways in which virtual space has become “…increasingly embedded into real space. Due to their wirelessness and transportability, digital informational spaces are no longer restricted to fixed places and cable networks…” At the same time, I agree with Volker’s suggestion that new digital media “…do not threaten ‘reality’…they augment real space and thus cause displacements in the conception of space developed under the influence of cabled digital media”.

 I found Ito’s study on mobile phone usage by Japanese youth provided a fascinating insight into Japanese culture as well as a clear example of how a mobile phone technology has been domesticated by a specific social group. Ito discusses how power relations of different kinds of space are enabled by mobile communication. Furthermore, she argues that although the mobile phone “can indeed enable communication that crosses prior social boundaries…this does not necessarily mean that the device erodes the integrity of existing places or social identities”. Instead, the mobile fulfils a social need. It is expensive to have a home phone in Japan and small houses make socialising amongst groups of young people virtually impossible. The mobile phone, therefore, can be seen as a “way of overcoming the spatial boundaries of the home, for teens to talk with each other late at night and to shut out their parents and siblings”. In addition, mobile phone usage does not “challenge or reshape the power geometries of the home”. Instead, Ito suggests that it has become a “…tool for circumventing the normative structures of the home with minimal disruption to its internal logic”. I found this article, really useful when considering notions of space and the ways in which an individual might incorporate a specific technology into their daily routine.

Week Seven – Convergence

April 27, 2010 by

Nightengale, Virginia. “New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence”. In Nightengale, Virginia and Tim Dwyer, Eds. New Media Worlds: Challenges for Convergence. Couth Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press, 2007, 19-36.

 Jenkins, Henry. “Buying into American Idol: How We are being Sold on Reality Television”. In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, NYU Press, 2006, 59-92.

 Nightengale’s article, “New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence”, quotes Jenkins’ definition of Convergence as “a situation in which multiple media systems coexist and where media content flows fluidly across them. Convergence is understood here as an ongoing process or series of intersections between media systems not a fixed relationship”. Nightengale suggests that many media industries, such as television, face a combination of ‘disintermediation’ and ‘deconstruction’ because of their slow responses to the challenges of ‘internetisation’. Nevertheless, linking their offline activities to online ‘enhancements’ is one way in which television has utilized the convergence process to meet these challenges.

I found Jenkins’ example of the reality television series, American Idol to be a particularly interesting example of the issues of convergence. Firstly, the show clearly uses ‘enhancements’ through the building of online communities in internet forums as a way of increasing the popularity of the show. The structure of the program itself is designed to turn casual viewers (“zappers”) into dedicated viewers (“loyals”). ‘Cliff hangers’ are used in each episode and the show itself is a “snowballing phenomenon” with contestants eliminated each week until the show reaches a dramatic climax with the ‘final verdict’ revealed in the Grand Final. Audience participation is another important element of convergence, with weekly voting via mobile phone SMS or ‘phone-in’. This helps to create “love markets” which build strong audience allegiances to individual performers and establishes a fan base for contestants’ ‘post-idol’ careers’. This, in turn, is designed to translate into strong music sales.    

Jenkins suggests that in order to understand American Idol’s success we need to understand the notion of “Affective economics”. Affective economics has both positive and negative implications in that it allows “advertisers to tap the power of collective intelligence and direct it towards their own ends but at the same time allowing consumers to form their own kind of collective bargaining structure that they can use to challenge corporate decisions”. In the case of American Idol, as Heyer discusses, the various entertainment media are brought together creating multiple contacts between brand and consumer through advertising. In many respects, this could be seen as one way in which television has used convergence as a way of expanding its ‘richness’ and ‘reach’.

Week 7: Convergence

April 26, 2010 by


Jenkins, Henry. “Buying into American Idol: How We are being Sold on Reality Television”. In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, NYU Press, 2006, 59-92.

This week’s reading focus that on media convergence, particularly that of American Idol. It says argues that media has more power when it spans across many mediums. American Idol utilises, television, advertising through the coca-cola brand, use of home phones to vote and well as texting, music singles and albums, concerts and even movies. This article also discusses how we choose what we want to watch these days, with the power of the remote advertising has to be particularly effective, interesting and persuasive to work (Jenkins 2006.p, 64). Questions it raises for me are: Is this that way media will be used in the future? Is single use Media on the way out?

Tut 7 posting Convergence

April 24, 2010 by

Before go into this weeks’ topic: Convengence, I would like to share a video about how media can be use to put private opinion into public:

There is English Subtitle and English is avaliable at time 1:30.

Convergence appear when we move from analog to digital, mechanic to electronic.

For example, we can view photos, edit or even send to internet on a digital camera. A decade ago, ‘film’ was still the main photographic  medium.

Camera was from the word ‘camera obscura’, means ‘black box’.

In the 60s, exposure meter, which determine the correct amount of light, is build in cameras.

In 70s, auto exposure is widely seen in camera, which the camera make the decision for the shutter and aperture for a suitable exposure .

In the late 80s, auto focus because possible.

In the 90s, the combination of all technology above merge into one body.

Year 2000 onwards, the photographic medium shift from analog to digital.

All the retouching  process now is replace by computer software, like ‘Photoshop’.

Apple Inc’s main concept may conside to be ‘convergence’.

The famous ‘iMac’, merge the screen, CD-driver and hardware together.

The iPod wheel controller, fuse all control on one wheel and the central button.

iPod Touch and iPad, use touch screen to nevigate.iPod Touch is portable music player, as well as pocket computer. This terminates Sony WalkMan to popular in  portable music player,

Convergence  makes media cross platform, like Apple Inc. introduce iTune to sell music.

In publish industry, print media, like Monocle, launch online audio and video service in order to attract more readers.

Week 6 Posting

April 21, 2010 by

Here is Ito’s core arguments:

This chapter argues that the mobile phone can indeed enable communication that crosses prior social boundaries, but this does not necessarily mean that the devices erode the integrity of existing places or social identities,

This charter argues that characteristics of mobile phones and mobile communication are not inherent in the device, but are determined by social and cultural context and power relations.

Mobile phone can be used as a creative tool.

First is ‘mobile novel’, which origin from Japan. The majority of users are train passengers who spend an hour two to travel to work. Commuters type the novel using mobile and send their work via text message to particular site to publish their work. Subscriber can read the novel through mobile. Novels were considered as hard to write but this proved that everyone can, unless you don’t open your creativity. However, in Australia, while many still drive to work, they no long have the commute time to write.

Besides, mobile phone can be transform to a photography tool. The book, the best camera is the one you have is photo by an IPhone. Althought digital camera can be fit into your pocket, it is not as handy as the phone. Because mobile phone almost become a part of our body. Besides of convenience, mobile phone camera has another advantage: it is not as aggrieve than any camera. Usually, mobile phone cameras do not have the lens zoom out, and no annoying shutter noise. Distraction can be lowered. More, mobile phone cameras do not contain any complex control, same as Kodak’s slogan, ‘you push the button and we do the rest’. This helps photographers to concentrate on composition.