Why do some people (still) exist?

During this module, I realised that, regardless of my feelings towards them,  new technologies and the internet are important in the way I communicate with people and without them it would be much difficult for me to do so.

I still believe that many of the products available for consumption had no purpose of being created aside from generating capital and that we don’t need to be connected all the time, however I came across a reality that amazed me.

The Democratic Republic of Korea, which of democratic has nothing, is a place where people are brainwashed into worshiping someone with very little value that is commonly known as “The Great Leader”. North Korea’s political regime is a dictatorship however it seems more oppressive than any dictatorship I’ve studied.

It’s arguably the most purposely isolated country in the world. North Koreans aren’t allowed to leave the country, failure in attempting to do so will get them killed in a public ceremony. All its known is that America, China and, most importantly, The Republic of Korea are the enemies.

In my understanding, only a few government officials have knowledge of and access to the internet. Computer majors don’t know of it; getting in contact with the rest of the world is unimaginable.

I can’t begin to imagine how it is to be told what to think; not knowing what critical thinking is. The reality of most North Koreans enrages me not just because they don’t have access to the outside world but because they are treated as slaves.

Below is a video of a North Korean who has fled the country.

*As this post is public now I will be moving to a secure location.

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#FeelingMyself … or anything else on TIDAL

As of 2015, TIDAL became a subscription streaming service where people can listen to music and watch music videos. It was promoted as being the first artist-owned streaming service in which the artist would receive royalties for his/her work.

I’m yet to subscribe to such service as I don’t feel subscriptions fees are reasonable, although I do understand and agree that artists should be played for their work. Content such as Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj’s Feeling Myself official music video, as of now, isn’t freely available online. Versions of this found on online platforms have been distorted in order to avoid copyright infringement.

If this service was free, shareholders wouldn’t capitalize on it without having to resort to advertisement and sponsorships , however  it wouldn’t make sense to relaunch a free access platform where people can find music and videos from their favourite artists: that already exists and it’s called YouTube. Nevertheless, if TIDAL wasn’t so expensive maybe people would engage with it more because it does seems as though it was specifically relaunched to serve people who can afford to buy expensive sound equipment such as speakers and headphones which would enable the consumer to notice the difference in quality to other streaming services.

In my opinion, if TIDAL was free, artists such as Kanye West, who has profusely promoted his latest album, wouldn’t have experienced such a low number in album sales. Were this content more accessible artist would beneficiate more with it both in financial terms, success and popularity.

Copyright exists to safeguard author’s creations so they can be accredited for their work and capitalize when anyone else is inspired and would like to create something similar.

I study Radio Production at Westminster

How visible am I online?

Not very! Name; birthday; photos; previous schools … Just a few people know I exist, though. On Facebook, I only befriend people I know, nevertheless I only interact with a handful. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (to name a few) are about numbers; the bigger they are the better. With some exceptions, when you have 100+ friends/followers, the vast majority doesn’t care that much about you and I’m sure you feel the same way, they’re just another to add to the ones you already have, just like you are and I am!

As a media student I’m force to have a presence online and allow access to information about myself. In my case, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Soundcloud and Twitter are platforms where I upload/share my Smoke Radio shows which contain information such as ‘’I’m a radio student from the University of Westminster’’ and ‘’you can find me on the Harrow campus’’ (not necessarily in these words).

I feel uncomfortable letting the internet know I’m a radio student and it freaks me out that Facebook knows that a few of my ‘’friends’’, in London, are attending an event ‘’near me’’ when on my page I live in Lisbon.

I am a bit paranoid, I admit, but it’s dangerous to publicise private information on platforms that can be accessed by anyone when you don’t really have that much control under them or your own information. The option would be to not have an online presence but I don’t know how beneficial that would be for our careers.

But hey … this is the industry we’re getting ourselves into, everyone!

Broadcast Yourself

In 2005, the online community that became my go-to place for news development, commentary and entertainment was created: YouTube. It’s a positive example of online community because creators get to be themselves and viewers get to enjoy interesting content.

Nevertheless, being online, there are regulation problems when people are allowed to express their opinions whether nice or offensive. However, this is also the reason why YouTube is a reliable source when it comes to personal opinions, because there is no censorship. Being a community, there are issues such as creators abusing their power and influence either by physically harming fans or deceiving them, capitalising on it.

Music is a big part of this platform and copyright was once a big issue, however that has become less of a concern due to Youtube’s copyright policy.

This is a platform where different demographics can find something interesting, where people inspire the creation of content, however many media outlets don’t accept YouTube as a reliable source or give any credit for the success youtubers have achieved or the following they’ve built.

My biggest fear is that YouTube will lose its essence and become just a job for creators. If that happens I’m not sure whether it’ll survive because what draws people in is the fact that they can relate to who they see on the videos. My guess is that people will move on to a different platform.

“I got the power” Actually …WE got the power!

It may seem weird, but the first thought on my mind was Rihanna. Being a fan, I remember when her ‘’active’’ fans asked for California King Bed to became a single and consequently have a music video. Afterwards, I thought that wasn’t good enough to write in an ‘’academic’’ piece however I couldn’t stop thinking about how fans have been shaping the way content is produced in entertainment media. A great example of this is the #1 most viewed YouTube video, or the most subscribed youtuber. Then I remembered that in one of our lectures it was mentioned that Netflix used audience members as metadata and figured out that purchasing the TV show House of Cards and having Kevin Spacey would be a success.

I kept thinking whether these are appropriate examples because the audience is, indeed, responsible for the approach taken regarding the production (or fate if you will) of the content, however in the first example fans had an active voice and asked for what they wanted contrary to the second where the audience’s preferences were know without their conscience approval.

I realised that in both scenarios the audience held the power and was the reason why California King Bed became a single and Kevin Spacey stars on House of Cards. If the respectively audience didn’t want these events to happen they wouldn’t. That’s not difficult to predict. I just wish big companies wouldn’t use data without forcing consumers to agree to the use of ‘’cookies’’ in order to stalk their interests later.

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I’ve got a Minicomputer … OH! Everyone does ….

 

I struggled with this one. ‘‘Give an example of convergence’’ … most things are examples of convergence now: Netflix, Appel products and our laptops. All of these services and tools have a common denominator: the Internet. From work to entertainment, news to education; most things can be found online (and I don’t think laptops would be so essential if they weren’t connected to the internet).

I decided, however, to focus on what I consider the epitome of convergence: smartphones! I don’t think we realise how incredibly advanced technology is in 2016.

Smartphones have become (almost) essential. It’s not imperative to have one but if you do it makes life easier. You can communicate with people from anywhere, arrange meetings, watch television, listen to the radio and the list goes on. This is the result of traditional media’s adapting to the fact that we carry minicomputers around. Mobile applications are the link between us and traditional media outlets. Creating an app enables users to access television, radio, newspapers and other forms of media as well as services designed for smartphones (Shazam and WhatsApp) and social networks (Facebook and Twitter).

Traditional media is still adapting to technology such as smartphones by creating services that allow the public to consume content in an easier way.

SAMSUNG-VS-APPLE2

It’s just an opinion… but it means more than you think

http://podium.me/

Let me introduce you to Podium.me, a website that broadcasts your opinions.

Allow me to further explain: Podium.me is a platform that broadcasts the opinions of the under 25’s which are the most ignored because ‘young people don’t know much’ (when I mention young people I’m referring to 13 to 25 year-olds as that is the age range of contributors and/or journalists working with Podium.me, although mainly teenagers’ opinions get ignored in such way). Anyone can get involved with Podium, however only voices from people under 25 are broadcast on the weekly podcasts.

I consider this useful for the students of this module because platforms like this show how much we have evolved as members of society. Although (often) not taken seriously, young people, now-a-days, are more aware of the world and that awareness turns into knowledge. They become capable of making their own decisions about what they believe in.

I know I might be generalizing and that reality isn’t exactly like this but I’ve got my life experience and I’ve also seen other people’s. Therefore, I do believe that we, young ones, are more clued in than our parents were at our age. If you think about it, however, when were your opinions taken seriously? Maybe when someone needed a hand with his or her new smartphone or when somebody else wanted to buy a new laptop or tablet?

Technology is what makes us aware of the world. That awareness allows us to form educated opinions. Platforms like Podium.me broadcast them and in the near future children will become eduated young people whose voices are heard.