The Panopticon, designed by Jeremy Bentham, can be defined as a type of institutional building that allows all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be watched (-opticon) by a watchman. The concept of the design doesn’t allow the inmates to know they if they are being watched or not. Because of the uncertainty, inmates act as if they are being observed at all times thus their behaviour is controlled. The centre represents the ”inspection house” where everything can be seen and around it are the inmate cells.

The Panopticon was designed to be a physical structure but can be treated as a metaphor for disciplining the modern society. Bentham believed the concept could be used in any environment that requires supervision such as schools and hospitals. The principles of the Panopticon can be found in contemporary forms of surveillance such as CCTV. The key is uncertainty. People will act differently because of the constant threat of surveillance.

I find the concept of the Panopticon quite frightening. The thought of having someone watching us at all times unsettles me even though I don’t do anything illegal or wrong. In spite of this, I believe surveillance is necessary for our protection. If there were no CCTV, there would be nothing stopping criminals. I am not saying the world is crime-free but  the concept of Panopticon creates uncertainty and people change their behaviour due to the thought of being watched and the repercussions that could arise, therefore they might be less likely to commit a crime.

What do you think about Panopticon and surveillance?




Academic writing

You know that moment when you are doing research for an essay for example, and you stumble upon an academic essay/journal with a title and an abstract that would be perfect for your essay but this is as far as you can get without paying? I hate that moment. While reading the abstract your imagination runs wild and it feels like your essay is already done* but then you look at the price. Nope, still researching.  This doesn’t happen often though because our university has subscribed to many publications and we can find loads of academic writings for free.

If these academic writings that are under strict copyright control would be shared under a Creative Commons license and free of charge the readership numbers would rise significantly seeing as the price of a subscription is not affordable. This would be very helpful for students because they would have access to reliable information faster, instead of spending hours browsing through unreliable information online.

Looking at this from the writer’s point of view providing academic writings for free and not getting anything in return for his/her services might feel like wasted time and thought.If journals/papers were shared under a CC license, the risk of having their work stolen or tampered with might increase.

What do you think? Should academic writings be free of charge?


*Note: By no means do I mean plagiarizing.

Not much of a social media person

Facebook is the social platform where most of the information about me can be found. Information such as name, birthday, photos, country, city, university and course. On other platforms such as Instagram there is little information to find.  I have a private  account on Instagram and people who follow me can only find my name, not even my whole name (same on Facebook) and a few pictures.  I chose to share both my Facebook and Instagram accounts with people I know because I feel more comfortable this way. A while back I thought my ”friends” on Facebook are people I know, and one day I was browsing through them and ended up deleting hundreds because I didn’t actually personally know or heard of them.

I am sort of a private person, I rarely share photos on both my social media accounts and I never post stuff on Facebook such as statuses about my day, a bad thing that happened to me, etc. Social media has never been my thing. I set up my Facebook account a few years ago just to play Farmville.

Although social media give you a sense of privacy and control, as you can choose who sees what and you can delete your accounts at anytime, It still feel like the information you provide is not gone completely.

Recently, I googled myself and the only thing I found was the college I attended. I guess that’s good, right?


Cowbird- a witness to life



Cowbird is a great example of a positive online community. It is a community where people share their life stories with other ”citizens”, as the member of the community are called. The community  describes itself as a ”public library of human experience” and their mission is to gather stories and to preserve them in order to provide life guidance to those in need.Cowbird was created in 2009 by Jonathan Harris and there are currently 66,749 authors and 86,416 shared stories. People can use tools such as text, images and audio to create their story.  There are 28,217 topics that include love, family, travel and many others.

This community gives its members the opportunity to open up and read wonderful stories about a multitude of topics. When I browse through the stories, I don’t know which one to choose because they all look and sound so interesting. The most recent one I read is called ”The soft wisdom of 100 winters”, a short but touching story about something you have to find out for yourself because I don’t give spoilers.

I think a challenge that this community faces is the not knowing if the actual stories are true because on the Internet everyone can pretend. A limitation to this community is the possibility of being anonymous, making it harder to create human connection and easier to lie. Another limitation as well as challenge is created by the lack of video. Without videos, facial expressions and gestures don’t exist and this can lead to miscommunication.

If you would like to check out this storytelling community here is where you find the website.


9GAG is an example of a website completely shaped by its audience. 9GAG is a social media website where users upload content found on other websites or user-generated content. The content is referred to as memes, the users are called 9gaggers and they can up-vote or down-vote and comment on a post. 9gaggers love cats, Star Wars, food, Emma Watson and Leonardo DiCaprio, so if you want to become 9gag famous just post something related to at least one of them.  The website is divided in sections but I for example only browse ”hot” and ”trending” where you find the most popular and diverse ones.  Some of the other sections are ”funny”, ”geeky”, ”cosplay” and so on.

The website is constantly updated by users and the newest posts appear in the ”Fresh” section waiting to be up-voted or down-voted by other users. If users didn’t post, vote or comment, 9GAG wouldn’t exist but I don’t see that happening anytime soon since the website is very popular, with 164 million visitors in December 2015.The founders, Ray Chan and others have also developed a mobile app and a game called ”9GAG Redhead Redemption” and I use the app because it is very convenient.

Out of all the social media sites, 9GAG is my favourite because it is very entertaining and it is also a source of news. The majority of the posts are funny but you also find posts about what is going on in the world, cultures, gadgets, movies and much more. The slogan is ”Go fun yourself” and if you want to have a good laugh, 9GAG is the right place.


The digitisation of The Independent

An example of  convergence is The Independent.The Independent is a national morning newspaper that was launched in 1986 and it was found in both print and online version. The website of the national newspaper is the UK’s fastest growing quality newspaper site and the revenue is expected to grow by 50%.

Recently, The Independent have announced they will become an online-only publication and the last paper edition will be published in March 2016. The Independent is the perfect example of convergence seeing as the old media (the newspaper), can be accessed online (the website). In addition to this , The Independent can  be found on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The complete digitisation of The Independent has created implications for  content providers. Content providers will no longer have to worry about manufacturing components since everything is online, but a need for competitive strategies will develop. Since the newspaper will be available only online, other newspapers will have advantage when it comes to the audience . A part of the audience of The Independent reads only the printed version and since the newspaper is going to become an online-only publication, this can lead to a loss of readers. Some people will move on to reading other printed newspapers instead of reading the online version because of possibilities and preferences.  Thus, The Independent should create a strategy to attract the usual readers of the printed version to the online version.

I personally don’t like the idea of online-only newspapers and books because there is something special in reading a printed newspaper or book. What do you guys think?

The article of the announcement can be found here. The title refers to a digital-only future. I found it quite scary.Does the idea of a digital-only future sound good to you?



A networked society

The Networked Society Blog is a blog created by Ericsson and there is more than one author updating it.This blog provides a critical insight on a multitude of areas such as business, people, society and technology. It discusses the emergence of a ”networked society” a term used by the Information and Communications Technology to describe a future ecosystem in which changes to communities and individuals are driven by the Internet.

I think this is a useful blog for media students because it shows how crucial technology is in our day to day lives and how some people are completely dependent on technology, how the Internet promotes change in individuals and communities and it includes the positive and negative side of the emergence of a networked society. It also links with some of the topics we will be discussing this module.For example, I found a post that I believe links with the lecture on Privacy and Surveillance and it is called ”Why excessive fines for data protection violations are bad for a thriving European digital economy”. The post discusses the  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was proposed for Europe. What i like about this post is that it doesn’t solely focus on the individual’s right to privacy, it is also c0ncerned at a bigger scale. If you would like to read the article you can find it here and the URL of the blog is this one.