Thursday, May 15, 2008

Does gender dictate our place in virtual cultures and Internet use?

No matter what part of the world you are in, how old you are, the job you have or the life you live, you are always going to encounter a gender debate. Gender has often been a key point of difference and inequality in access to online media (Flew 2004, 75). In the online/virtual cultures debate, “men have traditionally dominated the technology and have compromised the majority of users of computer networks since their inception” (Herring, 1994). However, in recent years women have begun to ‘catch up’ to men in the world of virtual cultures and new media technologies, and, especially in terms of Internet access, the ‘gender gap’ seems to be diminishing (Flew 2004, 75). I myself have experienced this lack of ‘gender gap’ first hand. As a female partaking in a Media and Communications degree, attending many classes based around virtual cultures, new media technologies and the creative industries, I have not once felt outnumbered or intimidated by male fellow-students. In most classes I have taken, the female to male ratio is relatively equal, and some are even predominantly female.

In December 2001, Neilsen/Net Ratings found that female Internet users made up the majority (52%) of the Internet population in the USA (Flew 2004, 75). A 2005 study by
Deborah Fallows of the Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled How Women and Men Use the Internet found that although the percentage of women using the Internet was slightly lower than men, “women under 30 and black women outpace[d] their male peers”. From this it is clear to see that, as Terry Flew (2004, 75) suggests in his book New Media: an introduction, the ‘gender gap’ in virtual cultures, the Internet and ICT’s is diminishing, and at a rapid pace.

However, although women are closing the gap, and in some cases overtaking men, are men and women using the Internet for the same reasons and with the same motivations? Or does our gender influence the way in which we use the Internet? When I consider the ways in which the men I know use the Internet, compared to the ways in which I and fellow females use it, my immediate thoughts are quite simply – no.
How Women and Men Use the Internet proves this, highlighting the many differences between male and female Internet use. One aspect that particularly interested me was women’s response to online communication and virtual cultures. The report states that “men like the internet for the experience it offers, while women like it for the human connections it promotes” (Fallows 2005). It goes on to say that women are more enthusiastic online communicators, and use email more frequently, on a more personal level than men. Women are also more likely to experience satisfaction with the role email plays in their lives, especially when it comes to nurturing and enhancing their relationships (Fallows 2005). Furthermore, a large-scale social networking study conducted by Rapleaf found that overall, women spend more time than men on social networks, building and nurturing relationships, and in turn making more ‘friends’. Alternatively, the study showed that men are mainly “acquiring relationships from a transactional standpoint” (Rapleaf 2008).

And so it seems that gender does play an influential role in virtual cultures and Internet use. However, doesn’t it always? To me the role of gender in online environments simply mirrors the role of gender in the ‘real world’ - the ‘gap’ between men and women has been rapidly diminishing in recent years, and in many cases, women are becoming the more dominant sex. And no matter what the activity or task at hand, men and women are almost always going to behave and react differently. I feel that if new media technologies are a reflection of the way in which society and human behaviour has advanced, then it is only appropriate that online human behaviours reflect this advancement too.


Flew, T. 2004. Virtual Cultures. In New Media: an introduction, ed. T. Flew, 61-82. Melbourne: OUP. Queensland University of Technology: Course Materials Database (accessed April 8, 2008).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How are new media technologies transforming the way in which we use media? Part 2: Mobile Communication

Mobile communications and mobile phones have also played a significant part in the transformation of media and communications. The mobile phone started historically as communication device for carrying the human voice, however it is beginning to open up a world of entertainment, used to access a variety of media and communications (Tooth et al. 2006, 1). Much like the Internet, mobile communications technology has grown significantly over time. Although consumers are slowly beginning to use mobile Internet, Wireless Access Protocol (WAP), media and communications industries were powerfully affected by the phenomenon of short-message services (SMS) (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 274; Flew 2002, 4). SMS allowed non-verbal text communication which could be read at leisure and saved for future reference. It was also seen as cheap, fast and effective, and was wholly embraced by young people, creating a new form of media use (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 274). Further to this, multimedia messaging services (MMS) were developed shortly after, allowing mobile phones the capacity to send and receive pictures and short videos. Gerard Goggin (cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 274) notes that these mobile communications technologies had an unexpected impact on the media and communications industries, as SMS and MMS services have become an important and lucrative “path for interactivity” in television, offering voting in reality television programs, text strap-lines and video downloads. Much like the Internet, mobile communications devices provide television audiences with a tool for interactivity. As well as voting and downloads, audiences have the opportunity to respond to questions and topics via SMS or MMS, again with programs such as Sunrise. Mobile phones are of course also still used for traditional calling in to television and radio shows, being more convenient than a landline as calls can be made almost anywhere, at almost anytime.

Although mobile communications are not directly related to virtual cultures, I decided to make reference to the way in which they have transformed new media technologies in conjunction with the Internet as they play a relatively equal role in today’s society. I don’t think I know anyone without a mobile phone – even my 10 year old cousin has one. Also, people are increasingly using their mobile phones to access the Internet, particularly with the introduction of the 3G network,
BlackBerry and iPhone.


Flew, T. 2002. New Media: An Introduction. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Goggin, G. 2006. Chapter 15: The Internet, online and mobile cultures. In The Media and Communications in Australia, ed. S. Cunningham and G. Turner, 259-278. NSW: Allen & Unwin.

How are new media technologies transforming the way in which we use media? Part 1: The Internet

In the field of media and communications, advances in new digital media technologies are continuously transforming the way in which we use media. Traditional media industries, such as print media, radio, cinema and television are all being influenced by new digital media, such as the Internet, and vice versa (Flew 2002, 4). New media conglomerates are beginning to have controlling interests over the entire entertainment and media industry. Viacom is one media company which has spread itself over a variety of media and entertainment, producing “films, television, popular music, computer games, websites, toys, amusement park rides, books, newspapers, magazines and comics” (Jenkins 2004, 34). The content of digital media is often derived from already existing, traditional media, and reproduced in digital form, generating new content (Flew 2002, 96). For example, audiences have traditionally been invited to call radio stations via telephone during talk-back programs to respond to comments and offer their opinions. Today, using a similar idea, audiences have the option to call, or alternatively email or SMS their responses using the Internet and mobile communications. Similarly, television programs such as Sunrise and Today allow audiences the opportunity to respond directly to the topics and questions of the day, giving viewers the freedom to interact and react to the program from the comfort of their own home. Consumers now have more choice in regard to how and where they spend their time and money on entertainment and media, and they have a voice (Tooth and Liebmann 2006, 3).

Perhaps one of the most influential digital media technologies is the Internet. The Internet has greatly influenced media and communications industries, opening up a world of opportunities in a variety of fields. Although the Internet was officially launched in 1969, it was not until the 1990’s that the Internet began to be the international networking system and communications technology that it is today (Schell 2007, 1-18; Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 259). By the beginning of the 21st century, the Internet was not only a highly useful and important new medium, but became a significant factor in the transformation of media and communications (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 259). Today the Internet is being used for a variety of uses, including email, shopping online, and recently, as a new source of traditional media. Consumers are now able to receive local and international newspapers, listen to podcasts of a variety of radio shows and stations, download movies and stream television programs, all via the Internet. Furthermore, the Internet has developed a variety of other technologies allowing consumers to communicate and view media. Apart from the traditional uses such as email and search engines, consumers can also use the Internet to access chat rooms, use instant messaging, blogs and peer-to-peer applications (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 265-272).

Right at this moment, many of you reading this probably have a number of browser windows open on several different web pages. Almost everyday I use the Internet to manage my life, for example, right now as I am posting on my blog I have
QUT Webmail, QUT Blackboard, my Gmail account, my Hotmail account, my Facebook page,,, and all open on my taskbar… all of which I am currently using and jumping from back and forth. I now use the Internet to do a large majority of things that I would normally do via traditional media – check my mail, communicate with friends, banking, listening to music, reading the latest news updates, shopping, etc… and I am sure that many of you will agree that your lives reflect a similar pattern. The Internet is clearly influencing, and in many cases, replacing traditional media technologies, and is transforming the way in which we use media.

(Also… see my posts on citizen journalism which add to this!!)


Flew, T. 2002. New Media: An Introduction. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Goggin, G. 2006. Chapter 15: The Internet, online and mobile cultures. In The Media and Communications in Australia, ed. S. Cunningham and G. Turner, 259-278. NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Jenkins, H. 2004. The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1):33-43.

Schell, B.H. 2007. The Internet and Society: A Reference Handbook. California: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Am I a produser?

Being a student of Media and Communication, I am constantly learning, studying, analysing and basing my university life around concepts and new media technologies such as Web 2.0, blogs, wikis, social networking sites, produsage, etc... and being in my fourth year at uni I feel like I know a whole lot about all of this. However, sometimes I sit back and think... am I really a produser? Sure, I participate in social networking sites, I have a Facebook account, but who doesn't these days? And sure, I have a blog (obviously)... but if I weren't required to do it for this subject, I wonder if I would have ever got around to making a blog on my own terms? Although technically I AM a participating in new media technologies, when I am constantly learning about the wide world of Web 2.0 I realise that MY personal use of these technologies is quite slim. Don't get me wrong, I find it all extremely interesting (otherwise I wouldn't be doing this degree)... it is more so that I have so little free time to participate actively in these sites and technologies. Even something as simple as my Facebook account gets regularly rejected... imagine if I was part of a fandom site or user-generated Creative Commons style project! So tell me people of Web 2.0... how do you find the time to so actively participate in your "real world" and your "virtual world" at the same time? Because I am finding it extremely difficult...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How do communities evaluate quality in citizen journalism?

When individual members of a community are evaluating the quality of citizen journalism, many will hold their own personal opinions on what they consider quality journalism. However, a simple, general way to assess and evaluate the quality of citizen journalism, and any online, information-based content, is by applying the CARS checklist, that is Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness and Support.

Firstly, CREDIBILITY. This should be applied to both the content and information, and the author. In order to evaluate the credibility of the content and information, communities need to consider whether or not the information is based on sufficient, factual evidence; and whether or not enough evidence and information is provided to substantiate a reasonable conclusion. Secondly, communities need to establish whether or not the author is a trustworthy and reliable source of information. Although citizen journalism allows journalists the freedom to express their opinion more openly than mainstream media, quality articles still need to be supported by factual information and credible support. Citizen journalists with a wide collection of articles and archives will most likely be credible sources, especially if they are supported by other credible sources. The
McGraw-Hill Online Learning Centre for Student Success suggests these checks for author credibility:
  • Author’s education, training, and/or experience in a field relevant to the information. Look for biographical information, the author’s title, or position of employment
  • Author’s contact information (e-mail or postal mail address, telephone number)
  • Organizational authorship from a known and respected organization (corporate, governmental, or non-profit)
  • Organizational authorship reflecting an appropriate area of expertise
  • Author’s reputation or standing among peers.
Next, communities need to assess the ACCURACY of the content. The main goal of this is to "ensure that the information is actually correct: up-to date, factual, detailed, exact, and comprehensive" (McGraw-Hill 2003). This relates not only to the information and content, but also to the way it is written, including spelling and grammatical errors. We need to remember that although anyone CAN be a journalist with citizen journalism, that is not to say that everything they produce IS journalism (Wilson 2008). Generally, frequent bloggers will produce higher quality journalism and writing as they have more experience in the field.

Thirdly, to evaluate quality we need to assess REASONABLENESS. This is difficult to assess in citizen journalism because, as mentioned earlier, a major appeal of citizen journalism is that it allows journalists to express their opinion and be biased. However, the journalist still needs to present a fair, objective, moderate and consistent argument (
McGraw-Hill 2003). The argument should be balanced and reasonable, and although authors can voice their own opinions, they should also consider the other sides of the story, especially when presenting to a mass audience.

Finally, we need to assess whether or not the journalism has been SUPPORTED by reliable sources and information. Links to other stories or sources supporting their opinion and information are proof that they are presenting reliable, quality information. All major claims should be supported by citations and references, and documentation of these sources should be supplied. If a citizen journalist has sufficient support to there argument, then it will most certainly be a quality source of information.

By applying this general assessment, communities will be able to differentiate the quality citizen journalists, from those that BELIEVE they are journalists, but really really aren't....


Wilson, J. 2008, May 08. Week 10 Lecture: Citizen Journalism. Brisbane: QUT. [Lecture: KCB201].

NB: this may not be the correct name for the lecture… when the slides are uploaded I will change it accordingly!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How are today's youth engaging with news media?

Young people’s engagement with news media has come a long way from simply reading a newspaper or watching the news on television. Since the introduction of Web 2.0, news has become available in a variety of forms, including blogs and podcasts. However, contrasting to traditional forms of media, audiences are now able to not only absorb news in a one-way relationship, but comment on and respond to news, and even develop and compose their own news stories, forming a two-way relationship. Web 2.0 has transformed journalism into a practice that anyone can engage in, not just a profession. A university degree or employment with a media institution is no longer required – all that is needed is something as simple as a computer or a video phone.

One example of this is citizen journalism - media made by non-professional journalists, and can include things such as blogs (such as
Investigative Blog and Online Journalism Blog), podcasts (such as The Pod Lounge) and the use of YouTube. Although there are many criticisms questioning whether or not citizen journalism is real journalism, I believe that it helps young people to engage with and develop a better understanding of the news and public information, especially journalism which recontextualises and reversions existing information. This is what Saunders refers to in his 2006 thesis, Citizen Media and Investigative Journalism as Hartley’s notion of redactive journalism - journalism that is made by editing, and makes sense of publicly available information. This may include anything from the cut-and-paste of bloggers to the remix news of political satire programs such as The Daily Show (Saunders 2006). Not only do the creators of redactive journalism engage with the news, but readers and those participating also engage with it, perhaps gaining a better understanding of the information than they would with a more conventional news source.

I believe that although it may not always be the most RELIABLE source of news, the new wave of citizen and redactive journalism can be far more informative than traditional news sources. Not only are they more easily accessible and cheaper to produce, but they allow audiences to ENGAGE with the information, responding, recontextualising and editing information, providing their personal opinions and interpretations.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How is open source work (as an example of community produsage) different from commercial production?

In the world of media and content production, open source software has provided an entirely new and open platform, allowing users to collaborate, share and remix content to produce new or alterted content in an online environment. Axel Bruns (2008, 37) comments that "open source software development provides one of the earliest present-day examples for produsage in action". Open source software gives users the freedom and power to collaborate, alter and build on the work of others.

Bruns further comments on open source software as produsage, identifiying four key principles:
  • open participation, communal evaluation
  • fluid heterarchy, ad hoc meritocracy
  • unfinished artefacts, continuing process
  • common property, individual rewards

From this we can see that open source production as an example of community produsage is social and holds little structure, with all content being open for interpretation, editing, or completely altering.

Alternatively, commercial production holds very different principles. Production often complies to a rigid, closed structure with defined goals, coming to a very final conclusion. Participation in commercial production is only from those directly involved in the project, and owned solely by a certain group of people. Quite simply, as open source software and community produsage are very 'open' in nature, commercial production is very 'closed'.

My two previous posts expand on this thought, and discuss the ways in which the community produsage and commercial production are becoming interlinked with open source software and Web 2.0.

Bruns, Axel. 2008. Open Source Software Development: Probabilistic Eyeballs. In Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, ed. A. Bruns, 37-68. New York: Peter Lang.

Commercial production, community produsage and the ways in which the two intersect...

Since the development of Web 2.0, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define the differences between commercial production and community produsage. As demonstrated in my previous post, the introduction of new media technologies that emerged with Web 2.0 allowed the roles of media producers and users to mesh and share responsibilities, with many users or fans producing and altering content, and many traditional media producers becoming fans or users of this content. Production is now collaborative and participatory, enabling all participants to become users and/or producers of information and technology. Axel Bruns describes this new hybrid of people as produsers, those who “engage not in a traditional form of content production, but are instead involved in produsage – the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement”. This collaboration between users and producers has blurred the differences between commercial production and community produsage; however there are still key differences between the two.

Traditionally, consumers had very little, if any, influence over commercial production. Content and distribution was solely controlled by producers and distributors, not necessarily adhering to consumers’ desires. Furthermore, content was produced and copyrighted in discrete versions, which were not to be altered by third parties and released at the decision of producers (
Bruns, 2007). Generally, the main focus of commercial production is to make money. It is usually produced for a mass audience and created in a professional environment, developed and edited only by those directly involved in the production. Commercial production often involves an “all-controlling, coordinating hierarchy”, and has predetermined alliances with specific companies, social communities and audiences (Bruns, 2008).

Alternatively, community produsage is far more social and with very little boundaries. Community produsage is often driven by enjoyment and recreational factors, rather than industrial, money-making factors. Much community produsage takes place in social networking and open source environments such as YouTube, Wikipedia and MySpace. As mentioned earlier,
Bruns describes produsage as “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement”. Those partaking in community produsage alter, edit and contribute to existing content, collaborating with others in an online environment to create new and original content.

However, as commercial producers are beginning to recognise the growth in popularity and benefits of embracing community produsage, the two concepts are beginning to merge, developing user-led content ‘production’ (
Bruns, 2008). User-led content ‘production’ is “built on iterative, evolutionary development models in which often very large communities of participants make a number of usually very small, incremental changes to the established knowledge base, thereby enabling a gradual improvement in quality which— under the right conditions—can nonetheless outpace the speed of product development in the conventional, industrial model” (Bruns, 2008).

Commercial production is now being influenced by community produsage, whether it be through fandom (as mentioned in my previous post) or through collaborative, user-generated productions such as
A Swarm of Angels. Thought of as ‘Cinema 2.0’ or ‘Open source cinema’, A Swarm of Angels aims to bring filmmaker and fan together into entertainment communities, making a film based on artistic choices rather than marketing ones. It combines the concepts of traditional filmmaking and user-generated content, allowing anyone to contribute and influence the creation of a professional $1.8 million feature film. Using the flexible digital-age copyright of Creative Commons, the project encourages people to download, share and remix the feature film and all original media created for the project. The project is gathering a community of 50,000 people to assist in the funding and making of the film, and pushes traditional boundaries, refusing all offline media.

Although there are still key differences and separation between commercial production and community produsage, we are increasingly seeing projects emerging which combine the two concepts to create user-generated productions. As Web 2.0 and new media technologies continue to develop, we can only expect to see more collaboration between the two concepts, for both commercial and recreational purposes. As the two concepts begin to blur, it makes me wonder whether many of these productions are still ultimately about making money, or whether the idea of community produsage is used to embrace the wide variety of creativity it encourages? Is it about business figures, or quality of production and creativity?

Audiences and media producers.. who holds the power?

With the introduction and development of new media technologies, especially those revolving around the Internet and telecommunications, a significant change has occurred with the way in which audiences consume media. As Jenkins (2006a, 13) has observed in his studies of new media, "the roles between producers and consumers are shifting". Audiences now have a more considerable and noteworthy relationship with media producers, having more choice and influence over which media they consume and how they consume it. Fans of particular media products can now interact and discuss their opinions and suggestions with people interested in or involved with that product from all over the world, via online forums, chat rooms, fan sites, mobile phone alerts and more. Furthermore, media producers are redefining the way in which they decide what content to release, influenced more by quality of audience engagement rather than the quantity of viewers watching (Jenkins 2006b, 63).

The relationship between media producers and audiences is “undergoing a significant transformation”, and thus entities such as fans, consumers, audiences, producers and corporations are individually in the process of being “restructured and reorganised” (Banks 2002, 190). Traditionally, there was hardly a relationship between media producers and audiences. Media provided audiences with content in a one-way approach, believing that most audiences were not interested in interacting with the media content, and would prefer to just sit back and watch (Jenkins 2006b, 59). Although there have always been fans, the extent of fandom in the past was not necessarily significant enough to influence media producers. Historically, networks and producers ignored fan bases in regard to media decisions, considering fans as unrepresentative of the general public (Jenkins 2006b, 76). Before the introduction of the Internet, fans communicated on a friendship basis, via telephone or face to face; or through fan mail and newsletters via postal service. However, as Jenkins (2002, 189) argues, if fandom was already established before the Internet, why is it that upgrading to a digital environment has so significantly affected the relationship between the fan community and media producers?

Jenkins (2006a, 21) describes modern fan cultures as "a revitalisation of the old folk culture process in response to the content of mass culture". Within the new digital environment of the Internet, fans no longer need to rely on the postal service or telephones. The Internet increases the speed and range of fandom, allowing audiences to interact and discuss episodes or movies immediately after viewing, or even during commercial breaks (Jenkins 2002, 190). Fandom generates audience interest and takes their involvement to a new level, providing a platform for viewers to inform each other of recent developments, allowing them to keep up-to-date constantly, even if they happen to miss an episode. For example, Lost-TV is an unofficial fansite for the TV series Lost, which includes the latest announcements and exclusives on the show, information, episode-by-episode synopses, transcripts, spoilers, pictures, an online forum and much more. Media producers have embraced this, ensuring that audience loyalty remains even if they are unable to religiously watch the program. In addition to this, fan networks provide producers with an insight into how audiences feel about the content of the program, suggestions and speculations that are being made, and any other discussions surrounding the program. As a result of this, many fans expect that producers will now “actively listen to, engage with and support” their opinions and ideas, building a collaborative relationship with them (Banks 2002, 195). As fandom becomes increasing popular, it is becoming more influential over producers, and providing them a greater insight into audience desires and expectations.

The growth of fandom has resulted in audiences and media producers no longer being separate entities. Many producers are themselves fans, participating actively in fan networks on the Internet (Banks 2002, 195). This also works the other way, as many audience members and fans are now becoming producers, either of original content, or by editing and reproducing current media. Examples of this include A Swarm of Angels, Fan Fiction and 365 Tomorrows. Over the past few decades, emerging technologies such as home computers, video cameras and VCRs have “granted viewers control over media flows, enabled activists to reshape and recirculate media content, lowered the costs of production and paved the way for new grassroots networks” (Jenkins 2002, 167), the most common and simple example of this being the development of YouTube. Pierre Levy (cited in Jenkins 2002, 164) comments on the future of media, “The distinctions between authors and readers, producers and spectators, creators and interpretations will blend to form a reading-writing continuum”. Many producers support this theory, and by using fan sites they have identified audiences’ need to interact with, interpret and reproduce content. Therefore, room for improvisation and participation is being incorporated into many new media franchises, and television producers are becoming extremely knowledgeable about their fan communities, often responding and expressing their support through networked computing (Jenkins 2002, 164). In doing this, media producers have given audiences a degree of social control over media, allowing them the grounds to produce their own content. Thus the relationship between media producers and audiences has indeed changed, with the two entities meshing and overlapping responsibilities.

Personally, I feel that regardless of the extent of power or influence audiences have over media producers, in the end those with the final say will be those with the money - the media producers. Unfortunately, as much as people may try and think otherwise, we are living in a material world and money tends to equal power. Even fans fear that the role of media producers is still too controlling - Jenkins (2006a, 20) points out that American Idol fans "fear that their participation is marginal and that producers still play too active a role in shaping the outcome of the competition". In terms of professional media productions, which ultimately aim to make money, producers will ensure that regardless of whether audiences are involved or not, the final product will be whatever they believe will be most successful... and make the most money. Produsage, user-generated content and fandom have all provided audiences with much more power than they ever had traditionally, however I believe that ultimately, the real power will always lie with media producers (and their money).

For more info on fandom check out:

  • Online Fandom -Nancy Baym's blog on fan communication and online social life
  • Random Fandom - a podcast hosted by Joanna, sharing her thoughts and opinions on fandom including music, pop culture, movies, etc
  • Fan Forum - as it suggests, an online fan forum allowing fans to communicate and share their thoughts on their fandom

Banks, J. 2002. Gamers as Co-creators: Enlisting the Virtual Audience – A Report From the Net Face. In Mobilising the Audience, eds. M. Balnaves, T. O’Reagan, and J. Sternberg, 188-212. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.

Jenkins, H. 2006a. Introduction: Worship at the Altar of Convergence. In Convergence Culture: When New and Old Media Collide, ed. H. Jenkins, 1-24. New York: New York University Press.

Jenkins, H. 2006b. Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality Television. In Convergence Culture: When New and Old Media Collide, ed. H. Jenkins, 59-92. New York: New York University Press.

Jenkins, H. 2002. Interactive Audiences? In The New Media Book, ed. D Harries, 157-170. London: BFO Publishing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How is Web 2.0 different from Web 1.0?

Quite simply, Web 2.0 was the rise of the user. The development of Web 2.0 has significantly changed the way in which we use technology. Rather than technology dictating the extent to which it can be used, as in Web 1.0, the development of Web 2.0 allows the user to lead and drive technology, using it as “a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter” (Grossman 2006).

In 2006, Time named the general public, the Web 2.0 user, as its person of the year "for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game"
(Grossman 2006). The article modestly captures the progress and advances that Web 2.0 has made compared to Web 1.0, the development of user-led technology and the difference it has made to society and the way we live.

The advances of Web 2.0 and user-led technology are also captured in
Mark Pesce's (2007) theory that "the network is us mob, a mass of individuals connected together in ever-evolving configurations of purpose, with ever-expanding capabilities". Web 2.0 has given users the capacity to connect with almost anyone in the world, through a wide variety of networks, with a wide variety of activities, programs, etc. Further to this, Axel Bruns quotes Tim O'Reilly's definition of Web 2.0, stating,

"Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them".

A post on Joe Drumgoole's Copacetic blog from May 29, 2006, gives a simple comparison of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, identifying the key differences and advances in technology between the two. They are:

Web 2.0 vs Web 1.0

  • Web 1.0 was about reading, Web 2.0 is about writing
  • Web 1.0 was about companies, Web 2.0 is about communities
  • Web 1.0 was about client-server, Web 2.0 is about peer to peer
  • Web 1.0 was about HTML, Web 2.0 is about XML
  • Web 1.0 was about home pages, Web 2.0 is about blogs
  • Web 1.0 was about portals, Web 2.0 is about RSS
  • Web 1.0 was about taxonomy, Web 2.0 is about tags
  • Web 1.0 was about wires, Web 2.0 is about wireless
  • Web 1.0 was about owning, Web 2.0 is about sharing
  • Web 1.0 was about IPOs, Web 2.0 is about trade sales
  • Web 1.0 was about Netscape, Web 2.0 is about Google
  • Web 1.0 was about web forms, Web 2.0 is about web applications
  • Web 1.0 was about screen scraping, Web 2.0 is about APIs
  • Web 1.0 was about dialup, Web 2.0 is about broadband
  • Web 1.0 was about hardware costs, Web 2.0 is about bandwidth costs

Image source:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hoorah for Henry

As per usual I am up until the wee hours of the morning doing assignments.. I seem to work much better at this time.. and as per usual Henry Jenkins is making my life so much easier. So this is just a thank you to Henry Jenkins, for writing material on almost EVERYTHING relating to Creative Industries.. that man seems to pop up in every subject I do. Hoorah for Henry!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How do online communities organise themselves?

Why online communities?

There are a variety of suggested reasons as to why people choose to join online communities. One of the earliest definitions of online communities described them as "social aggregations that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions [using the Internet] long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace" (Rheingold 1994, 5 cited in Flew 2004, 62).

Virtual communities have longevity, and can widely be used for functional reasons, such as knowledge and information sharing, promotion, research and business networking. Alternatively, many use online communities as they allow users to share emotional connections, giving them a sense of community (virtually), involvement, influence and acceptance.

Originally, interest in online communities was from social activist communities, setting up a network to inform and express opinions, and share these with others in an online networking environment (Flew 2004, 62-63). As technology has progressed, online communities have been formed by a variety of groups, whether it be to just keep in touch with friends or promote an upcoming product release. One common variable for online communities, however, is that they are created for people with a shared interest, thus creating a community. In regard to Education Queensland's A Learning Place Showcase site, David Potter from The Netride commented,

"The site is not the community. At the end of the day, it is up to the people in the community to build the community. The site should support community-building activities. It is a vehicle for people to travel to centrally located sources of information and to be able to add/edit/delete information whether it be text, images, video clips, panorama images or sound files. Communities are built by people for people with shared desired outcomes. The vehicles and tools aid in the processes of achieving the outcomes." (David Potter -
The Netride).

Examples of online communities include: