“How to leave Facebook”

One of the topics we discussed in this module that really allowed for self reflection and real life application was: online visibility. Having grown up with social media and experienced the rise and fall of several platforms (RIP myspace) I think that my generation has a unique handle on the internet. In some ways we have control over what stays and what goes, we decide what we want in the online sphere and what we don’t want. However, what I have come to realize, with a greater understanding of the “networked self,” is that we usually only get this at a cost. This price comes in many shapes and forms – sacrificing privacy, or risking falling victim to the chilling effect, and countless other regulatory consequences.

As the policies, terms and conditions, and algorithms that dictate our FaceBook activity change at a rapid pace we are no longer in control of the image of ourself that we aim to shape online – defeating the purpose of partaking in social media and having a sense of control over your identity and your networked self.

The video below, by Nick Briz, a new media artist, educator and activist, is a personal essay of sorts and tutorial on how to leave FaceBook because of these costs. As someone who has only had a FaceBook for a few months (but plans of deleting it once I get back the U.S.) I definitely understand the convenience and the entertainment value associated with the platform. But I strongly encourage you to watch the full video and take into consideration what you are giving to Facebook (and more importantly what they are doing with it) in exchange for online visibility. Is it worth it?

 

TIDAL

Most of us have probably heard of TIDAL, but most of us probably aren’t subscribed users since the ad-free, unlimited and HiFi service costs a hefty $19.99 a month. The streaming platform was launched in 2014 and holds exclusive rights to artists and their works from Kanye West and Rihanna to Jack White and Arcade Fire, all whom have endorsed the company publicly. Their aim is to separate themselves from competitors by offering “lossless audio,” high definition music videos and exclusive highly curated corresponding content. The other major component of TIDAL that made headlines and touched on copyright issues is that they claim to pay the highest percentage of royalties to participating musicians, in comparison to sites like Spotify who have gone under fire for how little artists benefit from the streaming site.

While the site has been praised for paying rightful dues to musicians it has also been scorned for the price at which this comes. Due to the high costs, but valued content, some argue that TIDAL has promoted an increase in illegal downloads and online pirate activity. If TIDAL lowered their costs and opened up their audio to the creative commons it would defeat their mission to support musicians, although most signed to TIDAL are already millionaires if not billionaires – i.e. Beyonce and JAY-Z. However, I think a compromise is possible one that would still endorse the idea of paying musicians for their music while still providing listeners with high quality content at an affordable cost, thus decreasing the need to pirate music.

Would you subscribe to TIDAL at this price?

 

Digital Footprint

Even as a media and communication arts student I have always been very reluctant to engage in social media and immerse myself in the digital world. I have gotten away with not having a large online presence for most of my life but this pursuit is becoming increasingly difficult. Up until about two months ago the only platform of social media I could be found on was Instagram – where I have a private account, meaning other users are required to send me a follower request in order to gain access to my images.

I felt comfortable with this level of visibility because I was able to participate in an online community where I controlled what I posted and who was able to see it and I also didn’t have to juggle maintaining other social media accounts – updating statuses, writing bios, or changing my profile photo. However, with the changing landscape of not just sociability but also of my chosen field – journalism – I have been encouraged or arguably forced to put myself on display; gone are the days where articles can stand on their own, they now need accompanying tweets, sharable links and viral content.

I have now had a FaceBook, Tumblr page – two of them actually, one housing my online writing portfolio and the other a production project – and a LinkedIn account for a little over two months. Placing this much access to myself online honestly doesn’t sit well with me, not because I don’t trust the Internet so to say, but rather because I preferred my offline life. I’m sure I’ll get used to friends tagging unflattering photos of me or people messaging me, some of whom I barely know, and knowing when I’ve read it but I can’t help but wish the demand for this visibility both in my personal and professional life wasn’t so high.

SoundCloud

As an aspiring music journalist I’m always looking for new tunes to listen to and potentially write about and the best place for me to do this is on SoundCloud. The site, based in Berlin, Germany, and founded in 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden, describes itself as “the world’s leading social sound platform,” which enables users, mainly musicians, to create and share original audio. As a user of the distribution platform, you are able to record and upload music, and share it both publicly and privately, either with friends or embedded across all social media platforms where it can they be re-shared and re-posted by other people.

The sharing component of the website is what fashioned SoundCloud into a hugely popular online community. It not only gave independent artists the ability to promote their music, but it also allowed for an open dialogue between musicians and between musicians and listeners. SoundCloud encourages collaboration and makes it easy to happen by offering a feature where users can create and join groups and build a common space for content to be shared and discussed.

SoundCloud is the digital land of opportunity for musicians and has been an effective community, with over 175 million unique listeners; it has led to the discovery of independent and underground artists, often leading them to a recording contract or other professional opportunity, all from music shaped by their fellow SoundCloud users.

Highly recommend this video about the history of SoundCloud:

 

 

TBT to MTV’s TRL

While most of us probably were not old enough to be watching MTV around the start of TRL, we all probably remember sneaking into the den, sitting with our older siblings, trying our hardest not to bug them, and catching the latest installment of it. The MTV show, TRL, which stands for Total Request Live, was a pioneer in the realm of audience participation. Hosted by Carson Daley and filmed in front of a live studio audience in New York City, the series revolved around arts and entertainment news and most importantly the airing of the top 10 most requested music videos of the day, as voted by audiences via text or online submission, which has come to influence many music and media related content that we see today.

TRL also always featured in house performances and special appearances by popular musicians and actors of the time, anyone from Destiny’s Child to Snoop Dogg; the show ran from 1999 up until 2008, right around the death of MTV as the hub of music television. The show was the first of its kind to allow viewers at home to play an active role in producing a show that was viewed internationally, thus influencing and cultivating tastes on a global scale. Someone sitting on their couch in Tennessee, or walking to class in Nebraska had the ability to vote Britney Spear’s “Baby One More Time” or Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” to the top of the charts and determine what production professionals in New York were going to work on that day, which is pretty cool if you ask me – Who would of thought, of all places, MTV would be giving the one’s giving the power to the people.

Reminisce and check out these TRL Throwbacks:

 

VICE: Then & Now

Arguably one of the most popular (and controversial) online news sources is VICE.com. You can read about global news, crime, drugs, music, art and nearly everything in between, as weird as you can imagine, at the click of a button – you can retweet them, like their photo on Instagram, share their latest article on Facebook, reblog their posts on Tumblr, watch their most recent documentary on YouTube, and all because VICE has asserted its presence on nearly every media platform available in the year 2016 in efforts to spread their journalistic content across a larger network.

But this isn’t the vision upon which VICE was originally founded. In 1994, CEO and founder of VICE media, Shane Smith, launched VICE as a print publication focused on arts, culture, and news. Smith then quickly adapted his business model, in response to changing times, and added a website to accompany the magazine. Now, nearly 20 years later, VICE media is comprised of multiple divisions that transcend just the magazine and website and include a film production company, a record label, a publishing office, and an in house creative services agency all of which have a social media presence as well.

Today, the success and popularity of VICE.com far supersedes that of their print publication and they have clearly recognized this shift from print to digital journalism, especially for their demographic which is 18-34 year olds, and continue to adapt and converge their media. Although they still put out a seasonal print magazine, they also notably provide access to the publication via technologies like tablets and iPhones and even go as far as to house an online archive, a great resource and result of convergence in my opinion as we get a bit of the past and the future in one place, for readers of the magazine which can be found here: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/magazine

Some may see this as merely a savvy business move, to converge, – one that detracts from authentic storytelling and journalism but that is something that is definitely up for debate.

 

Everything is a Remix

I was introduced to a project entitled, “Everything is a Remix,” by Kirby Ferguson about a year ago during a course about music as media. As someone with a particular interest in the music industry I was fascinated with his work. However, after revisiting his website time and time again I began to fully understand that his main idea was not only about music, or other media forms but that the larger ideas and concepts that Ferguson was introducing all came back to the notion of a network society.

The four part video series and research project revolves around the idea that all media is essentially sampled, implying that due to technological changes in our society the creative process has since shifted – we now copy, transform and combine, nothing is innately original anymore. His aim is not to degrade modern creations or discourage people from continuing to create, but rather to highlight the affects of communities, especially the ones that live online, and how they have amplified how our access to media and our ability to share ideas which has resulted in the changing landscape of creativity, originality and even copyright laws in the digital age as made evident by the examples seen throughout his videos.

I highly recommend taking the time to watch the video series, he has recently added a new case study about iPhones and software patents, it’s both informative and fun, I promise! His reference page also has some great links for further exploration of his theory if you are interested!

Give it a look see down below:

http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

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http://everythingisaremix.info/references/