MEST 3:B - New Media
What is ‘New Media’ ?
What is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 Applications
The Big Ideas of Web 2.0
A History of the Internet
The Wisdom of the crowd in Pop Music
What do people get out of ‘New Media’?
Cyber Critics: Virillio & Kroker
Case Studies: Research one of the following (or make your own proposal) Use your research to answer one of the sample questions on page 33. •
From Napster to iTunes to Spotify: The Music Industry Impact
The Election, Political Blogs & Podcasts: Citizen Power?
IPTV & Video on Demand: The Challenge to Broadcast TV
Moral Panics & Social Networking ( eg Facebook & Suicide)
The impact of New Media on Local Newspapers & Local TV News
Skins on C4: A successful use of Social Networking to build audiences?
What’s ‘New’ about New Media? In some ways media has always been ‘new. If we take Cinema as an example, the medium may be over a hundred years old, but almost every aspect of the Film industry has changed since the 1890s. At the most basic level ‘New Media’ is the convergence of Computer and Media Technology. As Manovich explains: ….New media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computing and media technologies…. in the middle of the twentieth century, a modern digital computer is developed to perform calculations on numerical data more efficiently; it takes over from numerous mechanical tabulators and calculators already widely employed by companies and governments since the turn of the century. In parallel, we witness the rise of modern media technologies which allow the storage of images, image sequences, sounds and text using different material forms: a photographic plate, a film stock, a gramophone record, etc. The synthesis of these two histories? The translation of all existing media into numerical data accessible for computers. The result is new media: graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces and text which become computable, i.e.simply another set of computer data. Lev ManovichThe Language of New Media What things have been combined in your lifetime to create a new media?
In New Media: A Critical Introduction, Martin Lister gives six ways in which New media differs from its predecessors; New Media offer: New Textual Experiences New genres and media forms (such as computer games, multimedia & hypertext)
New ways of representing the world Such as Virtual Reality and Geo-tagging
New Relationships between subjects (users & consumers) and media technologies Such as ubiquitous, mobile and ‘wearable’ devices.
New experiences of the relationship between embodiment, identity and community. Through Social Networking sites, MMORPGs and global ‘virtual communities’. New conceptions of the biological body’s relationship to technological media: Cyberpunk Science Fiction ideas of ‘Wetware’, Meatspace’, Cyborgs and Cyberspace (as in ‘The Matrix’) New Patterns of organization and production Changes in the media industries, the economy (see ‘Wikinomics)
What is ‘Web 2.0’?
All technologies tend to be used in ways that were unintended by their inventors. The internet was originally developed as a tool for scientific, academic and government communications; whilst the web was envisaged as a giant hyper-textual library. The combination of commercial exploitation and audience usage, have created what has now become known as ‘Web 2.0’. Web 2.0 is not a new technology as such; rather it is an acceptance of the web into the texture of ‘everyday life’. The label ‘Web 2.0’ stresses that the web has seen a continual incremental development. Technologically, one of the chief outcomes of the web has been the end of ‘milestone’ software releases and the ushering in of an era of 'perpetual beta'. New media are an important part of the global economy and are at the heart of modern media corporations. As with previous developments in media technology, the new media have accelerated the process of 'remediation', bringing about changes in the function and practices of all existing media platforms as a response to the 'new kid on the block'. The new media have also challenged the business models of traditional media producers. Some media pundits (such as Tapscott) have seen the new media as a potentially radical challenge to globalisation and corporatism; other more critical commentators have described the ethos of Web 2.0 as being a way in which Billionaires can make money, by making people feel good about working for nothing. The apparently counter-cultural values of open source applications such as Linux obviously depend on an abundance of free 6
labour from a willing pool of enthusiasts; but even social networking sites such as MySpace only work by harnessing the time and personal data freely given by its users. What is now retrospectively called 'Web 1.0' or 'eMedia', are the many forms of media distribution and computer application that were made possible by the Netscape 'Browser'. The development of the browser gave users the ability to capitalize on the 'hypertext' language invented by the ‘father of the web’, Tim Berners-Lee. Another Tim (Tim O'Reilly) gave a name to what has now become known as Web 2.0. This new set of applications is powered by the same technologies that allowed the emergence of the 'Google' search engine, but more importantly it is motivated by new ways of thinking about the web. Applications cited as typically 'Web 2.0' include: Social Networking sites such as ‘MySpace’, User Generated Content sites such as: ‘YouTube’ and new participative media forms such as Blogs, Podcasts and Wikis. All these types of application have existed since the 1990s, but by the 2000s they were being used by a 'critical mass' of consumers. This usage was partly due to the increase in broadband access, partly due to power of the 'Google' search engine; but principally it was because of the many small, useful and entertaining applications that made the web a part of everyday life. By bringing the web into the domestic sphere, media usage began to be transformed in a way that was largely unanticipated by the big players of the media industry. In using technologies that detect 'The Wisdom of the Crowd', Google began to 'level the playing field' of media production and distribution. ‘Killer applications' such as ‘Youtube’, emerged rapidly and without the need for the prolonged and heavy marketing that earlier ‘dotcoms’such as Amazon had required. These new applications arguably continue to challenge the Media Industry at every level of the supply chain. Media corporations now had to ask serious questions about: Regulation & Control (How do I stop people downloading stuff?)
Finance (How do I get people to pay for stuff?
Production (How can I make a living when everyone's doing it for free?)
Distribution (Where has my audience gone?)
Web 2.0 Applications (Paul Anderson) 7
Blogs & Microblogs
The term web-log, or blog, was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 and refers to a simple webpage consisting of brief paragraphs of opinion, information, personal diary entries, or links, called posts, arranged chronologically with the most recent first,
Wikis A wiki3 is a webpage or set of webpages that can be easily edited by anyone who is allowed access (Ebersbachet al., 2006). Wikipedia’s popular success has meant that the concept of the wiki, as a collaborative tool that facilitates the production of a group work, is widely understood.
Tagging and social bookmarking
A tag is a keyword that is added to a digital object (e.g. a website, picture or video clip) to describe it, but not as part of a formal classification system. One of the first large-scale applications of tagging was seen with the introduction of Joshua Schacter’s del.icio.us website, which launched the ‘social bookmarking’ phenomenon.
One of the biggest growth areas has been amongst services that facilitate the storage and sharing of multimedia content. Well known examples include YouTube (video) Flickr (photographs) and Odeo (podcasts). These popular services take the idea of the ‘writeable’ Web (where users are not just consumers but contribute actively to the production of Web content) and enable it on a massive scale. Audio blogging and podcasting
Podcasts are audio recordings, usually in MP3 format, of talks, interviews and lectures, which can be played either on a desktop computer or on a wide range of handheld MP3 devices. RSS and syndication
RSS is a family of formats which allow users to find out about updates to the content of RSSenabled websites, blogs or podcasts without actually having to go and visit the site. Instead, information from the website (typically, a new story's title and synopsis, along with the originating website’s name) is collected within a feed (which uses the RSS format) and ‘piped’ to the user in a process known as syndication. Social Networking
Professional and social networking sites that facilitate meeting people, finding like minds, sharing content—uses ideas from harnessing the power of the crowd, network effect and individual production/user generated content. Aggregation services Gather information from diverse sources across the Web and publish in one place. Includes news and RSS feed aggregators and tools that create a single webpage with all your feeds and email in one place— uses ideas from individual production/user generated content. (Google News)
Web services that pull together data from different sources to create a new service (i.e. aggregation and recombination). Uses, for example, ideas from data on epic scale and openness of data. (Housing Maps, Spotcrime)
Tracking and filtering content
Services that keep track of, filter, analyse and allow search of the growing amounts of Web 2.0 content from blogs, multimedia sharing services (egTechnorati, Digg,) Online Software
Web-based desktop application/document tools these replicate desktop applications and may lead to ‘cloud computing’, where local data and software is no longer needed. (Google Documents) Crowd Sourcing
Seek ideas, solutions to problems or get tasks completed by outsourcing to users of the Web. Uses the idea of power of the crowd.
The 6 big ideas behind Web 2.0 (Tim O’Reilly/ Paul Anderson) This section covers the six 'big' ideas, based on concepts originally outlined by Tim O’Reilly (who coined the word ‘Web 2.0’),these explain why Web 2.0 has had such a huge impact. These are ideas about building something more than a global information space; something with much more of a social angle to it. Collaboration, contribution and community are the order of the day and 10
there is a sense in which some think that a new 'social fabric' is being constructed before our eyes.
User Generated Content
'I have always imagined the information space as something to which everyone has immediate and intuitive access, and not just to browse, but to create.' Tim Berners-Lee, 1999, p. 169 'We don't hate the media, we become the media' Jello Biafra Eric Boucher, 2001 In the 1980s the punk rock adage of "I can do that" led to thousands of young people forming local bands and writing their own fanzines. Today’s generation are pressing ‘record’ on their video cameras and hitting their mouse keys. With a few clicks of the mouse a user can upload a video or photo from their digital camera and into their own media space, tag it with suitable keywords and make the content available to their friends or the world in general. In parallel ,individuals are setting up and writing blogs and working together to create information through the use of wikis. What these tools have done is to lower the barrier to entry, following in the same footsteps as the 1980s selfpublishing revolution sparked by the introduction of the office laser printer and desktop publishing software pioneered by Apple. There has been an out-pouring of production on the Web. Much of recent media attention concerning the rise of the Web 2.0 phenomenon has focused on what’s been given the rather ugly moniker of user generated content (UGC). Alternatives to this phrase include content self publishing, personal publishing and ‘self expression
The Wisdom of Crowds
The Wisdom of Crowds is the title of a book written by James Surowiecki, . In it, he outlines three different types of problem (which he calls cognition, coordination and co-operation), and demonstrates how they can be solved more effectively by groups operating according to specific conditions, than even the most intelligent individual member of that group. As an example, Google is a better spell checker than the best commercial spell checking software because it aggregates all the successful searches from millions of users.
Crowdsourcing: the rise of the amateur 11
The term crowdsourcing was coined by Wired journalist Jeff Howe to describe a processof Webbased out-sourcing for the procurement of media content, small tasks, even solutionsto scientific problems from the crowd gathered on the Internet. At its simplest level,crowdsourcing builds on the popularity of multimedia sharing websites such as Flickr andYouTube to create a second generation of websites where UGC is made available for re-use.
ShutterStock, iStockphoto and Fotolia are examples of Web-based, stock photo or video agencies that act as intermediaries between amateur content producers and anyone wanting touse their material. These amateur producers are often content with little or no fee for theirwork, taking pride, instead, from the inherent seal of approval that comes with being‘chosen’. The most commercially powerful example is the ‘open source’ operating system and software created for LINUX. The web itself is almost entirely run on servers running this software.
Folksonomies The term folksonomy is generally acknowledged to have been coined by Thomas Vander Wal, 'Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one's own retrieval [sic]. The tagging is done in a social environment (shared and open to others). The act of tagging is done by the person consuming the information. The tagging of photographs on ‘Flickr’ as an example make the site a far better resource than one in which categories are decided by ‘experts’.
Data on an epic scale
In the Information Age we generate and make use of ever-increasing amounts of data. Some commentators fear that this datafication is causing us to drown. Many Web 2.0 companies feel that they offer a way out of this, and in the emerging Web 2.0 universe, data, and lots of it, is profoundly important. Data is captured by Web 2.0 companies and turned into mighty rivers of information. A recent article in Wired magazine emphasised the staggering scale of the data processing and collection efforts of Google when it reported on the company’s plans to build a huge new server farm in Oregon, USA, near cheap hydro-electric power supplies once used to smelt aluminium. Google now has a total database measured in hundreds of petabytes which is swelled each day by terabytes of new information. This is the network effect working at full tilt. Much of this is collected indirectly from users and aggregated as a side effect of the ordinary use of major Internet services and applications such as Google, Amazon and Ebay. These services are ‘learning’ every time they are used. As one example, Amazon will record your book buying choices, combine this with millions of other choices and then mine and sift this data to help provide targeted recommendations. Anderson (2006) calls these companies long tail aggregators who ‘tap consumer wisdom collectively by watching what millions of them do’
Architecture of Participation
At a basic level this means that the way a service is actually designed can improve and facilitate mass user participation (i.e. low barriers to use). 13
At a more sophisticated level, the architecture of participation occurs when, through normal use of an application or service, the service itself gets better. To the user, this appears to be aside effect of using the service, but in fact, the system has been designed to take the user interactions and utilise them to improve itself (e.g. Google search).
Network effects, power laws and the Long Tail
The Network Effect is an economic term used to describe the increase in value to the existing users of a service in which there is some form of interaction with others, as more and more people start to use it. This can be seen in the development of social software technologies such as MySpaceâ€”as a new person joins a social networking site, other users of the site also benefit. Once the Network Effect begins to build and people become aware of the increase in a serviceâ€™s popularity, a product often takes off very rapidly in a marketplace. See diagram over
Power Law: In addition to the physical network effects of the telecoms-based Internet, there are also Web specific network effects at work due to the linking that takes place between pieces of Web content: every time users make contributions through blogs or use services that aggregate data, the network effect deepens. This network effect is driving the continual improvement of Web 2.0 services and applications as part of the architecture of participation. The Power Law means that when the network is very large this increases the chances that users will find some material that is very useful to them. The fact that some data is very useful to specific users can be seen in ‘the long tail’
The Long Tail:The Long Tail is the title of a book by Wired Editor, Chris Anderson (2006). In it, Anderson demonstrates the economic and social implications of the fact that the distribution of many facets of life on the Web is unequal and follows a power law. To help understand this concept, Anderson provides an example from the process of selling music albums to explain this process in the context of retailing on the Web. If one maps the number of albums sold in a particular week – the frequency – against the name of the album,it will be possible to see that the left hand side of the graph is dominated by huge sales of the popular, chart-listed albums receiving radio air-play. Often, but not always, these will be the newest albums. As one moves towards the right of the graph sales drop off dramatically, roughly according to the power law curve. The curve continues falling away to the right,but, and this is the crucial point outlined by Chris Anderson, only if there is no artificial barrier to people buying less popular albums. Artificial barriers include things like physical shelf 15
space, which is limited and expensive, which means that only the most popular albums, or those receiving the most promotion, are stocked in shops. In a digital environment, there is no real limit to ‘virtual’ shelf space, so there is also no real limit to the number of albums that can be ‘stocked’. Up until now, the presence of artificial barriers has cloaked the extent of the long tail.
Sarnoff's law states that the value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers. It is attributed to David Sarnoff. Metcalfe's law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).
Reed's law is the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.
The Long Tail in Music Chris Anderson. This is the Long Tail. WIRED , October 2004
For too long we've been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. The main problem, if that's the word, is that we live in the physical world and, until recently, most of our entertainment media did, too. But that world puts two dramatic limitations on our 19
entertainment. Hit-driven economics is a creation of an age without enough room to carry everything for everybody. Not enough shelf space for all the CDs, DVDs, and games produced...This is the world of scarcity. Now, with online distribution and retail, we are entering a world of abundance. And the differences are profound. With no shelf space to pay for and, in the case of purely digital services like iTunes, no manufacturing costs and hardly any distribution fees, a miss sold is just another sale, with the same margins as a hit. To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service (owned by RealNetworks) that currently offers more than 735,000 tracks. Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for the top tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the amount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero - either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store. The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country.
The development of the Web has seen a wide range of legal, regulatory, political and cultural developments surrounding the control, access and rights of digital content. However, the Web has also always had a strong tradition of working in an open fashion and this is also a powerful force in Web 2.0: working with open standards, using open source software, making use of free data, reusing data and working in a spirit of open innovation. An important technology in the development of Web 2.0 has been the open source Firefox browser and its system of extensible plug-ins which allow experimentation . Copyright Web 2.0, like open source software, is starting to have an effect on intellectual property rights (IPR) and how they are perceived. One obvious example is the role of copyright. As Chris Anderson points out, the influx of ‘creators’ at the far end of the tail, who do not rely on being paid for their content, are choosing to give up some of their copyright protections. At the same time the scale and reach of Web 2.0 aggregators means such systems may be republishing material for which the process of assigning the rights has been obscured. New forms of copyright are being developed such as ‘Creative Commons’ which allows material to be used ‘freely’ for non commercial purposes.
“The Age of Remix” (Lev Manovich) The combined effect of these six features in Web 2.0 is to create a new cultural paradigm. New Media expert Lev Manovich calls this ‘Remix Culture’ and sees it as tool of creativity.
‘It is a truism that we live in a “remix culture.” Today, many cultural and lifestyle arenas - music, fashion, design, art, web applications, user created media, food - are governed by remixes, fusions, collages, and mash-ups. If post-modernism defined 1980s, remix definitely dominates 1990s and 2000s, and it will probably continue to rule the next decade as well. The Web in particular has become a breeding ground for variety of new remix practices. In April 2006Annenberg Center at University of Southern California run a conference on “Networked Politics” which put forward a useful taxonomy of some of these practices: political remix videos, anime music videos, machinima, alternative news, infrastructure hacks.iIn addition to these cultures that remix media content, we also have a growing number of “software mash-ups,” i.e. software applications that remix data. .. The twentieth century paradigm in which a small number of professional producers send messages over communication channels that they also controlled to a much larger number of users was replaced by a new paradigm.ii In this model, a much large number of producers publish content into “a global media cloud”; the users create personalized mixes by choosing from this cloud.iii The arrival of a new paradigm has been reflected in and supported by a set of new terms. Twentieth century terms “broadcasting” and “publishing” and “reception” have been joined (and in many contexts, replaced), by new terms that describe new operations now possible in relation to media messages. They include “embed,” “annotate,” “comment,” “respond,” “syndicate,” “aggregate,” “upload,” “download,” “rip,” and “share.” Software takes Command: Manovich
Wikinomics According to Canadian author Don Tapscott, Wikinomics is based on four ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally. The use of mass collaboration in a business environment, in recent history, can be seen as an extension of the trend in business to outsource: externalize formerly internal business functions to other business entities. The difference however is that instead of an organized business body brought into being specifically for a unique function, mass collaboration relies on free individual agents to come together and cooperate to improve a given operation or solve a problem. This kind of outsourcing is also referred to as crowdsourcing ,
200 million heads are better than one, so join the crowd ‘Wikinomics’ is the new force that is bringing people together on the net to create a giant brain Martin Wroe (Sunday Times 2007) Could a computer game save us from a global pandemic? It might sound unlikely but scientists in America have been tracking the path of an infectious disease through World of Warcraft, a game played by some 9m people around the world.
One thing scientists can’t usually build into computer models is human unpredictability – which seat you choose on the bus or which shop you enter to buy your morning newspaper might determine whether you pick up a cold. In WoW, players create an avatar of themselves and move around at will. Two years ago the game’s creators decided that anyone attacking the winged serpent Hakkar the Soulflayer would be infected by his corrupted blood, potentially losing several hundred points in the game. Even standing too close to Hakkar could cause infection. Newer players could be killed in seconds. Before WoW’s creators realized what they’d unleashed, a full-blown epidemic had broken out. But if it was a problem for them it was a boon for medical science researchers. They realized that this online world had accidentally been converted into a virtual laboratory where for the first time they could study the spread of a disease – without anyone actually contracting it. 23
If the idea of computer games defending us against a pandemic sounds futuristic, that’s because the future is arriving earlier than predicted – according to Don Tapscott, the Canadian “cyberguru” who coined the term the Net Generation. The next big thing is Wikinomics, he says, and he is being taken so seriously that Barack Obama, the US presidential challenger, has a Wikinomics working group.
A wiki is no more than a piece of software that allows thousands of people to edit the same website. It’s what they do with it that has extraordinary possibilities. We always knew that two heads were better than one, but 200m heads could be much, much better, according to Tapscott. “If people from all over the world can get together to create an encyclopedia – Wikipedia – that’s a challenge to Encyclopaedia Britannica, what can’t they create?” Software, a mutual fund, new medicines, the means to reverse global warming? Yes to all the above, he argues, citing the example of his neighbour Rob McEwen, who ran a goldmining company on 55,000 acres only to discover that his expert geologists couldn’t tell him where to dig. So he decided to do a little online prospecting, putting up $500,000 in prize money for anyone to tell him where to mine for gold. Ideas came not just from geologists but from students, mathematicians and military officers. The worth of McEwen’s company went from $100m to $9 billion. The point is, says Tapscott, that your own experts don’t always know the answers – but if you go “open source”, if you’re prepared to collaborate, you will find someone who does. Wikipedia, he says, illustrates the new dynamics perfectly. Companies are now realising that many of their products can be created and developed – outside the company. It’s called “crowdsourcing”, a kind of speculative outsourcing to the masses. Procter & Gamble began looking for a molecule to 24
remove red wine stains from clothing. Instead of turning to its own research and development department, it created a website called InnoCentive where scientists from anywhere in the world could look at this problem (and scores of others) and be paid for coming up with solutions. “Are they going to find the solution with the 9,000 chemists they have in the company or with the 1.5m that the web connects them with?” Tapscott asks. “It will be the retired chemist in Taipei or the graduate student in London who gets the $100,000 from P&G – while P&G get the fabulous new product.” Similarly, an “open-source motorcycle company” in China has seen hundreds of small firms, each making different parts, collaborate online and meet in tea-houses, rapidly become the biggest motorcycle company in the country. Believers in the “old paradigm”, says Tapscott, are still arguing about the accuracy of user-generated entries in Wikipedia, while missing the real cultural shift that is taking place. Tapscott is visiting London to announce that 30 governments worldwide, including our own, have each invested $150,000 in “Government 2.0”, an online experiment in collaborative democracy. The ambition is to see if a new kind of “digital conversation” can throw up solutions to the apparently intractable problems facing the 21st-century world – and to revitalise the relationship between government and people. The guru of Wikinomics is optimistic. “It may turn out that the killer application from mass collaboration may actually be saving the planet,” he muses. “It was Mark Twain who said that everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it – but now we really need to do something about it and maybe we can find the solution together online. Maybe this smaller world our children will inherit can still be a better one.” Maybe science fiction can really become science fact.
UsNow SYNOPSIS http://www.usnowfilm.com
In his student flat in Colchester, Jack Howe is staring intently into his computer screen. He is 25
picking the team for Ebbsfleet United's FA Trophy Semi-Final match against Aldershot . Around the world 35,000other fans are doing the same thing, because together, they own and manage the football club.
If distributed networks of people can run complex organisations such as football clubs, what else can they do? Us Now takes a look at how this type of participation could transform the way that countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks whose radical self-organizing structures threaten to change the fabric of government forever.
Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes with strangers.
The founding principles of these projects -- transparency,self-selection, open participation -- are coming closer and closer tothe mainstream of our social and political lives. Us Now describes this transition and confronts politicians George Osborne and Ed Milliband with the possibilities for participative government as described by Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky amongst others.
â€˜â€™Zopa is a marketplace where people lend and borrow money to and from each other, sidestepping the banks. 26
It's a smarter, fairer and altogether more human way of managing your money, where both borrowers and lenders get better ratesâ€™ http://uk.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/ â€˜CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. 'Surfers,' or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because 'surfing' lowers the financial cost of exploration.â€™ http://www.couchsurfing.org/
IPTV IPTV stands for Internet Protocol TV. For practical purposes, this means television content distributed over the Internet.There are number of Internet-based TV services on offer in the UK. These offer TV programmes and movies "on-demand" over the Internet using Broadband. Some of these services are available for viewing on your TV, and some on your computer. Some of these services are described below: BT Vision: A Freeview service with a huge library of on-demand TV shows and films. You can view on-demand content on your TV either on a pay-per-view basis or with a monthly subscription. With BT Vision, you get a high-powered BT Vision box that records over 80 hours of TV and supports Series Link. Virgin Media: If you're served by cable TV operator Virgin Media, take a look their digital TV service as this offers a huge library of movies and programmes that you can access whenever you like in addition to your normal telly channels, with some content available in high definition. With the Virgin Media On Demand service, you're not tied to specific start times as the library of programmes and movies are always available. Slingbox: A slightly different solution, but a really useful one. If you have Broadband at home, with a Slingbox you can access your home TV setup and watch TV or recordings over the Internet. Great for if you're away from home and want to watch TV shows or recordings from your own home setup, or perhaps if you want to set your Sky+ box remotely. CinemaNow : is a US-based legal movie download service. Launched in 1999, it is completely authorised by the major movie studios such as Disney, Fox, MGM, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. With CinemaNow, you can download movies via Broadband, legally. Forget going to Blockbuster for your video rental, this online service lets you access movie on demand over broadband. Search and select a movie from their large database, pay the rental fee, download the movie. You're allowed to watch the movie for a 24 hour period from the moment you open the movie file. You don't need to be connected to the 'Net while you watch. (radioandtelly.com) Advantages of IPTV: (Wikipedia) The IP-based platform offers significant advantages, including the ability to integrate television with other IP-based services like high speed Internet access and VoIP. Bandwidth: A switched IP network also allows for the delivery of significantly more content and functionality. …. Content remains in the network, and only the content the customer selects is sent into the customer’s home. That frees up bandwidth, and the customer’s choice is less restricted by the size of the “pipe” into the home. (This also implies that the customer's privacy could be compromised to a greater extent than is possible with traditional TV or satellite networks. ) Expense: Most Cable operators use 2-3 channels to support maximum data speeds of 50 Mb/s to 100 Mb/s. However, because video streams require a high bit rate for much longer periods of time, the expenditures to support high amounts of video traffic will be much greater. …. Adoption of IPTV for carrying the majority of this traffic could save the industry approximately 75% of this expense. 28
Some media critics see IPTV as a move towards a totally controlled internet.. The democratic possibilities of the Internet, with its â€Ś.appeal to new forms of global communication, might have been the seduction-strategy appropriate for the construction of the digital superhighway, but now that the cybernetic, grid is firmly in control, the virtual class must move to liquidate the Internet. It is an old scenario, repeated this time in virtual form. Marx understood this first: every technology releases opposing possibilities towards emancipation and domination. Like its early bourgeois predecessors at the birth of capitalism, the virtual class christens the birth of technotopia by suppressing the potentially emancipatory relations of production released by the Internet in favor of the traditionally predatory force of production signified by the digital superhighway. . Data Trash ArthurKroker
A short history of the internet (Sean McManus) 1969 - The first node is connected to the internet's military ancestor, ARPANET. . 1971 - Michael Hart begins Project Gutenberg to make copyright-free works electronically available.
1972 - Bolt Beranek and Newman computer engineer Ray Tomlinson invents email . 1973 - University College of London is one of the first international connections to ARPANET. 1984 - Joint Academic Network (JANET) built to connect UK universities to each other over the internet. 1986 - Internet newsgroups are born. Rick Adams at the Center for Seismic Studies releases software enabling news transmission, posting and reading using internet-standard TCP/IP 29
connections. 1989 - Tim Berners-Lee and the team at CERN invent the World Wide Web to make information easier to publish and access on the internet.
1993 - Marc Andreesen of the National Center for SuperComputer Applications in the US launches web-browser Mosaic. It introduces proprietary HTML tags and more sophisticated image capabilities. The browser is a massive success and businesses start to notice the web's potential. Andreesen goes on to develop the Netscape web browser. 1995 - Digital Equipment Corporation's Research lab launches search engine Alta Vista, which it claims can store and index the HTML from every internet page. 1994 - Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web is renamed Yahoo!and receives 100,000 visitors. In 1995, it begins displaying adverts. 1995 - Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com, an online bookseller that pioneers ecommerce. 1995 - eBay is launched to enable internet users to trade with each other. 1996 - The browser wars begin. Microsoft sees the internet as a threat and integrates Internet Explorer with Windows. Netscape and Microsoft go head-to-head, intensively developing and releasing upgrades to their browsers.
1998 - Google arrives. It pioneers a ranking system that uses links to assess a website's popularity. Google's simple design is soothing while existing search engines cram their pages with animated
adverts. 1999 - Shawn Fanning launches Napster. The peer-to-peer software enables internet users to swap MP3 music files stored on their computers and to find each other through a central directory. Record labels are furious. By July 2001, they had effectively stopped Napster operating. (See my history of file sharing). 2000 - The dotcom bust. After several years of venture capitalists throwing money at proposals with 'internet' on the cover, it all starts unravelling as many of these businesses fail to find a market and others realise they don't have a business plan. 30
2001 - US regulators approve the merger of AOL and Time Warner. Shareholders of relative upstart AOL own 55% of the new company. AOL started in 1985 and grew its modest internet connection business into one of the world's biggest media companies. 2003 - Nearly half of us are connected: UK telecomms regulator Oftel reports that 47% of UK homes have internet access and 58% have a PC. Of those online, 15% use broadband and 92% are satisfied with their service. 2004 - As broadband becomes more popular, media companies start selling music and video online. Napster relaunches as a paid music download store. It's up against iTunes, Apple's download store for its trendy iPod portable music players.
2004 - Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook at Harvard University. Within three years, the social networking site has 30 million members. By 2009, Facebook boasts of over 200 million active users (those who have logged in in the last 30 days). 2004 - Photo sharing website Flickr is born, coinciding with the rise in digital photography. (Kodak discontinues reloadable film cameras in Western Europe and North America in this year.)
2005 - The internet starts to threaten television and telephone companies. Youtube launches to enable people to easily publish videos online. Within a year, Google acquires Youtube for $1.65 billion despite owning its own video site. At the time, Youtube users were uploading 65,000 new films and watching 100 million clips each day. Meanwhile, phone companies are threatened by free internet-based phone calls. Skype enables two million calls at any moment, and has a user base of 53 million. eBay acquires Skype for $2.6 billion (£1.4 billion), although it later fails to incorporate Skype into its core business successfully.
2005 - Old media has been slow to catch up with new media. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp responds by buying Intermix Media, owner of Myspace.com, for $580 million (£332.85 million) and ITV acquires FriendsReunitedfor £120 million (about £8 per user). 2006 - Twitter is created. In stark contrast to the proliferation of lengthy blog posts online, Twitter 31
messages are limited to 140 characters. 2008 - Google's tenth birthday. The company that began with a search engine now also dominates online advertising and has a leading presence in online mapping, webmail and online document collaboration. Google's search engine indexes 1 trillion unique URLs and there are several billion new webpages published every day. Google encroaches on Microsoft's territory with the launch of the Google Chrome browser. 2009 - The BBC announces its iPlayer will go high definition. It was first launched Christmas 2007 and is used to stream programmes over the internet for up to a week after their television broadcast. Two thirds of Britons have broadband access at home , and there were 1.5 million new broadband subscribers in 2008.
The Wisdom of the crowd in Popular Music The wide use of file-sharing sites such as 'Napster' has already undermined the financial structure of the music industry. The recent demise of 'Woolworths' and 'Zavvi' are some of the latest consequences of the 'free' digital distribution of music. Along with this economic change there is a parallel change in the culture of popular music.
The 'directories' or 'canons' of pop music (what Tim O’Reilly calls the ‘taxonomy’) and the musical genres that have been produced by 'experts' such as Music critics, A&R men and DJs; are gradually being supplanted by the Web 2.0 practice of 'tagging'. Tagging is part of what Tim O’Reilly calls ‘folksonomy’ or ‘The wisdom of the crowd’. Tags work by collecting data about the decisions and preferences of individual computer users and turning them into a powerful predictive tool. The Web 2.0 audience is made of a collection of the individual ‘tag clouds’ that describe personal and collective patterns of media consumption.
Using ‘Tags’, sites such as 'LastFM’ and ‘Spotify’ produce personalized 'music radio ' which both caters for the user's tastes and offers suggestions for new choices. Commercially this opens up a 'long tail' of products that can be recommended to listeners. The use of tag generated recommendation has already been exploited commercially by Amazon. Some Social Music sites offer an eclectic alternative to the mainstream (although many more do not) Economically such sites provide many independent artists with small incomes, rather than providing large incomes to very few artists as does the traditional mainstream model . The experience of 'iTunes' however, seems to indicate that this long tail of artists can diminish once a site becomes popular. The mainstream, commercially marketable artists reassert their dominance. Arguably the lack of ‘expert’ taste-makers can make online music sites random and unsatisfying. Sites such as ‘HypeMachine’http://hypem.com/about address this by aggregating
therecommendations provided by 'Music Bloggers'. Music blogs are written by self proclaimed experts and enthusiasts, they also the source of an astounding quantity of 'free' music, which may be the main appeal to the average user. A&R men in record companies certainly do comb the blogs for the 'next big thing'. The 'blogosphere' seems to be the new form of journalism in the field of music, just as it is in other cultural fields. Web 2.0 applications such as ‘Technorati’ even automate the process of finding where the ‘buzz’ is on the web. At present Music Blogs offer a huge diversity of opinion, although we may soon see the 'must-read' musical equivalent of 'The Drudge report', 'Ain't it Cool'? or 'Popbitch'. Looking at the Web's impact on popular music does not mean having to discount mainstream marketing initiatives such as 'The X factor'. Arguably the rise of TV talent shows is part of an industry response to the 'death of the single' brought about by new technology and the internet. This is an example of an important concept in New Media, remediatiion
What do people ‘get out’ of New Media? Modalities of user involvement and participation According to Aarseth, both the Web and games are ‘Cybertexts’ and can be read using similar techniques. One of the characteristics that they share is ‘multi-modality, they can be read in a number of very different ways according to how they are used. Modalities map the different ways in which texts and behaviour can be meaningful to those who participate in and or use a particular media .
Gordon Calleja’s model of ‘game involvement’ uses six modalities in order to interpret the 34
experience of game-playing. Whilst Cajella’s model was designed to be applicable to videogames, it can be usefully applied to many Web 2.0 applications. It is important to note that this is a model of player involvement. It assumes that there is a multimodal complexity at the heart of the game playing experience; rather than seeing players as being passive consumers of the game experience. Cajella identified six modes of involvement: ● ● ● ● ● ●
Tactical Performative Affective Shared Narrative Spatial
Tactical Involvement & Ludology ‘tactical involvement represents engagement with all forms of decision making made within the context of the game. This includes interaction both with the rules ...with the broader game environment and other players’
This form of involvement can also be called 'game-play'. It is argued by ludologists that this ‘ludic involvement’ is the core of the game experience, an experience which has its own distinct set of rules within a 'magic circle' of significance. According to this theory, games are not essentially 'narratives'. Unlike narratives, games do not have to 'mean' anything, they do not have refer or represent anything outside the internal coherence of their game-play. The ludological approach is rooted in the work of Johan Huizinga. The 'magic circle' metaphor so often cited by those who follow his approach is found in the following passage: The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen....are all in form and function play-grounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart) Whilst games are the 'purest' forum for tactical involvement, any media text with a degree of interactivity or problem solving, demands the exercise of some tactical skill. As an example, the skilled use of a search engine, website or database requires the participant to understand and 'play by the rules' in order to achieve an outcome; and whilst the outcome may have some utility, there is satisfaction to be gained by 'winning 'the answer. .
â€™Performative involvement relates to all modes of avatar or game piece control in digital environments, ranging from learning controls to the fluency of internalized movement.â€™ Cajella (2006)
One of the areas of computer-gaming that has received much academic and media attention, is the issue of personal identity raised by games avatars. Cyber-theorists such as Donna Haraway have argued that Avatars are self-constucted 'post-modern' identities that incorporate man and machine in a new 'cyborg' form. Controversy about role-playing in persistent game-worlds such as 'Second Life' is generally around the tiny minority of players who obsessively identify with an unrealistic ideal persona. Research into players in MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) such as 'World of Warcraft' has tended to show that experienced players tend to choose their avatars according to their gameplay attributes (what they can do) rather than their attractiveness as personalities. Players in open ended games (called 'Paidia' games in ludological terms) like 'Second life', may well use avatars differently to those in 'Ludus' (strictly rule based) games. Again, it is possible to apply the performative involvement idea to Web applications, particularly to Social Network Sites. These sites often involve the elaborate construction and maintenance of an online identity. Media coverage has tended to focus on the capacity for misrepresentation and deceit in social networking; research into 'normal' users of SNS show thatmost people use them to keep in contact with people with whom they already have face-to-face dealings; this indicates that the capacity for deception is generally limited by the 'self-policing' function of SNS.
Affective Involvement ‘The practiced effort required to engage with games places particular emphasis on the need for them to be compelling enough to sustain this effort…The cognitive, emotional, and kinaesthetic feedback loop that is formed between the game process and the player makes games particularly powerful means of affecting players’ moods and emotional states. Cajella (2006)’
Involvement in a game involves an emotional investment that is facilitated by the design of the game. The visual aesthetic 'beauty' or 'realism' of a game-world or the kinaesthetic pleasure of well configured movement controls add to the tactical pleasure of game-play to produce a rich gaming experience.
As with many pleasurable experiences, to the outside observer game experiences seem to have elements of compulsive behaviour or 'addiction'. Much research has been directed at the cognitive and affective effects of gaming on young people. As with much 'effects' research, findings are often sharply divided between those that find harm (Anderson & Bushman) and those that find benefits (Buckingham). 37
The two research camps are generally irreconcilable due to the fact that they come from different theoretical perspectives, use different research methodologies and have different standards of 'proof'. Generally internet usage has escaped widespread demonization, due to its association with information and education. Social Networking Sites however have begun to suffer similar negative stereotypes to those attached to video-gaming and MMOGs.
Shared Involvement ...human-controlled agents allow an infinitely wider range of communication as well as responding in more unpredictable ways, making the shared involvement more intense when other humans are present in the environment, whether they are being interacted with directly or act as an audience to the player’s actions. Cajella (2006)
Many online games such as MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) offer players the capability to interact, communicate and cooperate with other players (or at least, their avatars) Games such as World of Warcraft have developed elaborate social networks within the game through the use of 'forums', 'guilds' and shared missions. The appeal of the new 'persistent virtual worlds' such as 'Second Life’ is almost entirely due to their capacity for social interaction. Popular social networking sites are of course entirely constructed around various forms of shared involvement. Any member of a SNS is continually asked to join in with various social activities such as quizzes, games, discussions and forums as well as making their profile and diary available to other site members. The willingness of SNS members to publicly share personal information has been the cause of some 'stranger danger' fears in the media; but perhaps just as much of an issue is the willingness of participants to share their personal information with the organizations that provide 'free' SNS services in return for this valuable personal data. ‘Today, marketers can even learn about the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves; they are represented in the profiles of our social networking sites ...young people don’t mind so much that they share their “friends lists,” conversations, and navigational habits not only with their acquaintances but also the companies who interpret much of this data. With these firms (and possibly government bodies) as daily confidantes, latent possibilities for total control have opened up.’ Scholz (2008)
Narrative Involvement Game Studies theorists such as Aarseth and Juul have fiercely resisted the application of literary or cinema derived narrative theory to games and 'hypertexts' (the web). According to these 'ludologists', the underlying structure of a game is a set of rules which has very little to do with story structure (what is the 'narrative' of 'Tetris'?). According to Juul (2003) games are defined by six common features. These can be framed as questions that can be used to investigate any game: What are the rules of this game? What are the possible outcomes? What are the most valued outcomes? What makes a player 'care' about the outcome? What (if anything) does the player 'get out of' the game that relates to his/her own life? Despite the ludological objections to attempting to apply ready made narrative theories such as those of 'Propp' or 'Todorov' to games, some genres of game do seem to have a strong relationship with classical narrative. Role playing games such as 'World of Warcraft' self consciously refer to existing mythic or fantasy story-worlds such as 'Middle Earth'. Other popular games relate to movies, or even to 'real-life' scenarios. It does not seem difficult to come to the conclusion that there can be; games with no narrative, games which also have narrative, but never games that are only narrative. Cajella suggests that we can usefully look at two kinds of narrative: Some theorists have suggested that if there is indeed a dominant narrative form in games, then it is a spatial narrative (rather than a temporal narrative, as in literature and film). The 'designed narrative' of a game can be compared to a detailed map of the whole story-world. The 'personal narrative' is the individual journey through this world.
Spatial Involvement ‘Typically, videogames create ‘worlds’, ’lands’ or ‘environments’ for players to explore, traverse, conquer and even dynamically manipulate and transform.’ Newman (2004) p108 Games and the Web produce computer generated ‘virtual’ spaces for human minds to inhabit. The possibilities and perils of such interaction have excited the imaginations of Science Fiction writers, one of whom. William Gibson coined the term ‘cyberspace’ to describe this new territory. A spatial narrative may take time to traverse, but it is not a time-based narrative; rather it is a progressively revealed ‘map’. Jenkins (2004) uses film theory to suggest that there are four ways in which this ‘map’ can be used to create a satisfying narrative. • • • •
Evocative Spaces Enacting Stories Embedded Narratives Emergent Narratives
Evocative space is created by ‘using pre-existing narrative competencies’ , referring to story-worlds that the audience is already familiar with, either from other media texts, media platforms or genres. Thus ‘GTA’ can evoke American city-scapes by reference to classic crime thrillers. Evocative space is somewhat akin to movie ‘Mise-en-scene’. Enacted space
Enacted space is the spatial narrative created by the pursuit of a goal, the overcoming of obstacles and the resolution of conflicts. In a traditional ‘platform game’, 41
an enacted spatial narrative would be resolved on the completion of a ‘level’. Again this space has an analogous film-studies concept. The work of Joseph Campbell inspired Hollywood script-writer Chris Vogler to create a ‘map’ of the ‘Hero’s Journey’. In the classic heroic narrative the hero’s quest involves the navigation of this territory.
In film theory there is a distinction made between the time-limited ‘plot’ of a film and the virtually unlimited productivity of the ‘story-world’ from which the plot draws its elements. Like film, games can create enigmas that refer to and reveal glimpses of the larger storyworld. Emergent space:
In one important respect computer games (and some web applications) are more game than text. Players are often allowed to interact relatively freely with virtual environments and the objects in them in order to produce ‘creative’ outcomes unanticipated by the author of the cybertext. ‘Second Life’ and other ‘Sim’ games are ‘virtual toy-boxes’ in which participants can individually or collaboratively have a cumulative impact. Cybertexts and Ergodic Literature Aarseth however has pointed out that this apparent interactivity is limited. In the cybertext, navigation is ‘ergodic’ (translatable as ‘path-work’) meaning that instead of being ‘read’, it requires the participant to make a sustained effort in order to follow a 42
particular path through a ‘labyrinth’ of alternatives.
Like someone in a maze, the player must work out a path through the text. According to Deleuze&Guattari, a labyrinth can have a simple ‘linear’ structure, an apparently open ‘net’ structure,or an unpredictably organically branching ‘rhizome’ structure. How the apparently open cyberspaces are navigated therefore is largely determined by the initial design of the space. The different ways in which players navigate their way though the cybertext are determined partly by the different game genres.
Cyber Cultures Cybernetics The word, cybernetics, derives from the Greek term, Cybemetics, referring tomechanisms of steering, governing, or control. The term was first used withreference to “human engineering” by MIT mathematician, Norbert Wiener, duringand in the years immediately following World War II. Wikipedia
Since then the prefix ‘Cyber’ has been attached to a vision of a future dominated by computer technology.
Cyberspace Cyberspace ..is the global domain of electromagnetics as accessed and exploited through electronic technology and the modulation of electromagnetic energy to achieve a wide range of communication and control system capabilities. The term is rooted in the science of cybernetics and Norbert Wiener’s pioneering work in electronic communication and control science, a forerunner to current information theory and computer science. Through its electromagnetic nature, cyberspace … 43
generates a virtual interactive experience accessed for the purpose of communication and control regardless of a geographic locationâ€Ś. As a social experience, individuals can interact, exchange ideas, share information, provide social support, conduct business, direct actions, create artistic media, play games, engage in political discussion, and so on. The term was coined by the cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson. Now ubiquitous, the term has become a conventional means to describe anything associated with computers, information technology, the internet and the diverse internet culture. Cyberspace is recognized as part of the US National Critical Infrastructure Wikipedia
Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding. Neuromancer: William Gibson
Cyberpunk Cyberpunk is a literary movement, born in the 1980s, that seeks to completely integrate the realms of high tech and of pop culture, both mainstream and underground, and break down the separation between the organic and the artificial... The works of cyberpunk science fiction writers are the birthplace of the concept of "cyberspace". This concept was first introduced to the world by writer William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer", probably the most famous cyberpunk book ever. "Cyberpunk literature, in general, deals with marginalized people in technologically-enhanced cultural 'systems'. In cyberpunk stories' settings, there is usually a 'system' which dominates the lives of most 'ordinary' people, be it an oppressive government, a group of large, paternalistic corporations, or a fundamentalist religion. These systems are enhanced by certain technologies , particularly 'information technology' (computers, the mass media), making the system better at keeping those within it inside it. Often this technological system extends into its human 'components' as well, via brain implants, prosthetic limbs, cloned or genetically engineered organs, etc. Humans themselves become part of 'the Machine'. This is the 'cyber' aspect of cyberpunk. However, in any cultural system, there are always those who live on its margins, on 'the Edge': criminals, outcasts, visionaries, or those who simply want freedom for its own sake. Cyberpunk literature focuses on these people, and often on how they turn the system's technological tools to their own ends. This is the 'punk' aspect of cyberpunk." Erich Schneider mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org The Cyberpunk Project.
Cyberfeminism & transhumanism Sadie Plant and Sandy Stone are perhaps the two best entry points into contemporary cyberfeminist theory. It is Plant's view that technology is fundamentally female--not male as the legions of geeks, computer science teachers, and Wired magazine editors would have us believe. Stone, on the other hand, focuses on how virtual communities produce things like bodies, identities and spaces. Plant â€Śargues that power structures, which have unequally favored men and male forms in society, should be made more equal through a process of revealing overlooked female elements. The book turns on the story of Ada Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer. Ada's history is enthralling. As assistant to Charles Babbage, Lovelace helped build early calculation 44
machines such as the Babbage's Difference Engine. Clearly not enough is known about this figure and her interesting place in the development of computer society. Plant's goal is to recuperate this lost female origin from within the history of technology... Plant prophesizes that "Masculine identity has everything to lose from this new technics. The sperm count falls as the replicants stir and the meat learns how to learn for itself. Cybernetics is feminisation." Donna Harraway: A Cyborg Manifesto Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century” is the ‘locus classicus’ (classic text) of cyberfeminism. .. and it is often quoted in transhumanist works. The manifesto was written as a rebuttal of eco-feminism, a philosophy that views technology as inherently patriarchal and advocates communism and deep ecology as a counterpoint to what they see as the Western capitalist patriarchy. Drawing partially upon Foucault ..), Haraway argues instead that the very forms of power used by hegemonic forces can be used for resistance and liberation. Haraway co-opts hegemonic power through her figure of the cyborg. She begins by defining the cyborg as a blasphemous, ironic, rebellious, and incomplete entity that undermines the categories we so cherish in Western society: animal-human, organic-machine, and physical-nonphysical.
The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity. In a sense, the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense - a 'final' irony since the cyborg is also the awful apocalyptic telos of the age…The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence. Kyle Munkittrick
Post- Modernism: Baudrillard, Baudrillard was a social theorist and critic who is best known for his analyses of the modes of mediation and of technological communication. His writings have been heavily used as the inspiration for such ‘Cyberpunk’ films as ‘AI’ and ‘The Matrix’ Baudrillard asserts that the post-modern condition is one of “simulation,” where reality has disappeared altogether. This historical process has been one of “precession of simulacra”: representation gives way to simulation, through the production and reproduction of images. He writes in Simulcra and Simulation (p6): ‘These would be the successive phases of the image: it is the reflection of a profound reality. it masks and denatures a profound reality. it masks the absence of a profound reality. it has no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum. In the first case, the image is a good appearance—representation is of the sacramental order [i.e. not a simulacrum]. In the second, it is an evil appearance—it is of the order of maleficence. In the third, it plays at being an appearance—it is of the order of sorcery. In the fourth, it is no longer in the order of appearances, but of simulation.
Remediation One of the big controversies in looking at 'new media' is how the 'new' has an effect on the 'old'. This idea of 'remediation' had two articulate champions with two very different points of view; Marshall McLuhan and Raymond Williams.
McLuhan was a 'techno optimist' who believed that remediation increased human capacity in an almost organic way. â€Śafter more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of manâ€”the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society
Raymond Williams 'Father of British Cultural Studies'; took a more pragmatic/pessimistic (and Marxist) view. The physical fact of instant transmission has been uncritically raised to a social fact, without any pause to notice that virtually all such transmission is at once selected and controlled by existing social authorities. Raymond Williams (1974) Although their debates took place long before the internet era, their arguments are still applicable and have recently been much used in the debate between different schools of thought in relation to new media.
‘Hypermodernism’: Paul Virilio
Paul Virilio is best known as the protagonist of “dromology”; the science of and study of speed , sees immediacy and instantaneity as presenting problems to contemporary society. He has many studies on the importance and place of speed, which has a nonstop and changing structure in history. The author divides this article into three parts: giving a general introduction to the issue, and two subtitles; “A Fundamental Loss of Orientation” and “Narco-Capitalism of the Wired World”, he warns public about not being so passive against the accelerated pace of technological progress in a globalized world. Virilio complains about the velocity of globalization and he claims that speed is the main source of threat. Today real time is superseding both real space and the geosphere. Furthermore, Virilio claims that the construction of information superhighways causes a loss of orientation among people therefore this will cause a deep crisis which affects society, and hence democracy. He explains that we are deemed to live in a “one-time-system”, because the only thing effectively globalized by instantaneity is time. History has taken place within local times, local frames, local regions and nations so far, but now for the first time it will unfold in global time. Distances and surfaces are not relevant anymore. He suggests there is no need to separate the terms as “global” and “ glocal”, because together with the multimedia and cyberspace, global time is dominating locality, so they are much more integrated now. Trying to attract our attention to the dangers of unlimited information and the fast progress of technology, he 47
states that modern science is evolving into techno science and bringing many losses with it. He claims that no information exists without disinformation and now we are face to face with a new type of disinformation that has to do with some kind of choking of the senses and poses a major risk for humanity stemming from multimedia and computers. He predicts a generalized accident after the globalization of telecommunications and believes that globalization is a way of directing to tyranny with the potential of computer communication. Virilio concludes that a computercommunication narco-economy is building up fast and new communication techniques could be useful for democracy if we are critical, otherwise we are addicts to the game, nothing more.
Virtual Class War: Arthur Kroker
Arthur Kroker is a left-wing Canadian Media Pundit who believes that the Internet is being taken over by a new ‘Virtual Class’, in the same way as previous technologies. In ‘Data Trash’, Kroker writes that….
The democratic possibilities of the Internet, with its ….appeal to new forms of global communication, might have been the seduction-strategy appropriate for the construction of the digital superhighway, but now that the cybernetic, grid is firmly in control, the virtual class must move to liquidate the Internet. It is an old scenario, repeated this time in virtual form. Marx understood this first: every technology releases opposing possibilities towards emancipation and domination. Like its early bourgeois predecessors at the birth of capitalism, the virtual class christens the birth of technotopia by suppressing the potentially emancipatory relations of production released by the Internet in favor of the traditionally predatory force of production signified by the digital superhighway…. the virtual class seeks to exterminate the social possibilities of the Internet. These are. the first , lessons of the theory of the virtual class. Kroker sees individuals as being isolated and trapped in ‘matrix-like’ virtual prison. What appears as “empowerment” is a trompel’oeil, a seduction, an entrapment in a Baudrillardian 48
loop in which the Net elicits information from the “user” and gives it back in what the selectors say is an appropriate form for that user. …lonely telematic individuals huddled around terminal event-scenes (computer screens, TV sets, high-performance stereos) willing themselves to become members of a virtual community. A technologically generated community that has no existence other than as a perspectival simulacrum, Kroker sees that these lonely individuals are unable to organize any opposition to this situation. There are neither ideological nor institutional alternatives to capitalism for the first time in history; no resistances to check it, no independent criticism of it to keep it honest and on its toes. Capitalism is on its own and must confront alone its homicidal double: fascism. Capitalism, here, is not a model of production or consumption, but something very different: Nintendo capitalism. Virtual capitalism for the age of wired culture .
Kroker sees the internet being used to move money to the rich and to reduce services to the poor. The poor now subsist on cheap electronic entertainment that gives them the impression of ‘progress’ whilst in fact they are materially worse off than their grandparent’s generation. The state, under current conditions of pan-capitalism, functions to administer austerity to a population that has been conditioned in hi-tech consumer economies to desire a virtual paradise. No longer an economy any longer, it represents the vanishing of the economic into a global virtual space of telematic transactions. The wired economy quickly dissolves products into relational processes, labor into networks of cybernetic knowledge, and consumer “purchasing power” into political opportunities for policing interventions by the austerity state through consumption taxes. In the age of virtuality only the speed of circulation matters. A nomadic economy that is already post-economic: where capitalism is preserved as a mise-en-scene distracting the eye from the liquidation of the real material relations of production, and the triumph of the virtualized commodity-form. Finally the new technocratic class eliminate the old industrial class for whom they have no need. The technological (virtual) class must liquidate the working class. It does so through alliances forged with political representatives of the global technocratic class. The working class is grounded in localized space; the technocratic class wills itself to float away in the virtual zone of hyperspace. The working class has an objective interest in maintaining steady-state employment in the production machine of capitalism; the technological class has a subjective interest in transcending the rhetoric of employment to “creative participation” in virtual reality as an ascendant life-form. The working class depends for its very existence on shielding itself from the turbulence of the nomadic vector of the recombinant commodity by securing its political foundations in the sovereignty of the nation-state; the technological class, politically loyal only to the virtual state, thrives on the violent passage of the recombinant commodity. The working class, grounded in social economy, demands the sustenance of the “social welfare net”; the technological class flees the inertial drag of taxes on its disposable income by projecting itself onto the virtual matrix.
Activities What is ‘New Media’
Make a list of the major technical and social changes in cinema since 1900. Make a list of the major technical and social changes in radio since 1900. Make a list of the major technical and social changes in Newspapers since 1900. Compare Cinema and the Internet. Apply Lister’s six differences. What is Web 2.0? Imagine you are running ITV. How can you adapt to the Web 2.0 world? Regulation & Control (How do I you people downloading content?) Finance (How do you get people to watch adverts or pay for content? Production (How can you compete with ‘free’ content?) Distribution (How can you get in contact with your ‘online audience?) Web 2.0 Applications Which of these Applications do you use? How do you use them? Look at the Applications (Like Galaxy Zoo) that you don’t use. The Big Ideas of Web 2.0 What 'User Generated Content' have you contributed to Youtube? What 'UGC' do you watch on YouTube? What proportion of your viewing is UGC? Choose a subject/topic that you would like to illustrate with a photograph. Search 'Flickr' and 'Getty Images'. Which one provides a better selection of images? Imagine you are a magazine Journalist. Look at /www.google.com/trends/hottrends What would you write about that would catch 'the zeitgeist'? Pick the most 'mainstream' album you can think of- look at the Amazon sales Now pick the most 'obscure' album you can think of; Look at the sales. What percentage of the Mainstream artist's album does it sell? What makes this album 'obscure'? What are the 'lowest common denominators' that make the mainstream artist popular? What is 'Creative Commons'? Look at http://creativecommons.org/about/ Look at the CC Website 'Jamendo'. What advantage to the musicians is making their work available on CC?
‘CouchSurfing’ is an example of Wikinomics in action. Watch ‘UsNow’ and then visit the website. Find a couch in a place you’d like to visit. Would you be prepared to trust: a) Someone visiting your home? b) Someone providing you with a bed? IPTV What are the advantages and disadvantages of IPTV? Is IPTV better than VOD services such as iPlayer? The Wisdom of the crowd in Pop Music How did each of these technologies effect how audiences consumed music? The invention of recorded music (on ‘Wax’) The invention of Radio The introduction of the Vinyl Album The introduction of the CD The Walkman Napster The iPod iTunes Spotify What do people get out of ‘New Media’? Think of a Video Game or other New Media experience for which the involvement is: Mainly ‘Tactical’? Mainly ‘Performative’? Affective? Shared? Narrative? Spatial? Find an activity that includes all these modalities and produce a ‘Bar Chart’ Showing the relative importance of each. Cyber Cultures Look at the extracts from ‘Cyberpunk’ Movies (Blade Runner, Terminator, AI, The Matrix) . How are the following represented? And/or What is being represented by the following? • • • •
Cyberspace Cyborgs Artificial Intelligence Hackers 52
How do these representations compare to our experience of these technologies? What do you think of the ‘Transhumanist’ idea in ‘AI’? Is ‘AI’ a Simulcra? At what stage? Is the ‘Matrix’ a Simulcra? At what stage? Remediation Choose a media industry (Cinema, The Press, Radio, TV) In what way is it changing to meet the challenge of New Media? Cyber Critics: Virillio & Kroker Research either Arthur Kroker or Paul Virillio: Write a short critique of YouTube and/or Facebook from their perspective. Exam Questions The development of new/digital media means the audience is more powerful in terms of consumption and production. Discuss the arguments for and against this view. (48 marks) “The new generation of UK media power players are going straight to their audience via the web” www.mediaguardian.co.uk Monday July 14 2008. How have media institutions responded to the opportunities offered by new/digital media? The development of new/digital media means the audience is more powerful in both consumption and production. Discuss the arguments for and against this view.
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