Archive for October, 2010


Amateur Videographic Representation of Politics, Religion, and Warfare

There is a war for people’s minds. There is a massive fragmentation of the audience, which is a problem for ideology, or a public that all thinks or knows the same information. In the mid-20th century the audience had unity and saw the same content and message consumption.

The internet fragements us and capitalism and the state must find a way to continue to influence public opinion.

The media portrays the interests of private companies, as if they are our interests. For example profit driven initiatives such as oil, are being marketed as being good for the public, despite the dangers that are caused.

Youtube also shows wars between different ideologies, for examples Christians vs. Atheists. There are also race wars. As well as political wars. On YouTube the audience tends to say really crude and offensive things, because they are hiding behind their computer screens, so their anonymity protects them.

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Control of Representation

Whomever controls the media system controls the representation of the message.You get your message of who you are through the media and how they portray how a particular type of person should behave. For example the mafia or homosexuals, or black male youth (ganster hiphop culture), or blonde haired youthful girls (preppy Paris Hilton). As mentioned in class it tells gay people how to act stereotypically gay. For example, the change in voice or the bending of the wrist when walking, or the linguistics which should be used. It is also totally branded. For example assumptions are made about a person based on what they wear. For example the sterotypical Paris Hilton type, will wear seemingly high fashion clothing, with sunglasses and possibly carry a small dog in their purse.

Society gives us the myth of freedom, by offering so many different options. However there is a lot of freedom you don’t have. For example you can wear whatever you want in certain places, but you will have consequences or repercussions or won’t be treated as well. Therefore you don’t have true freedom.

If you arn’t represented in the media, than you don’t exist.

There is a representation of the media and power. Control of the representation is control over the social order.

There are categories in the social order and society classifies them. In the social order there are always things that don’t fit and are seen as dangerous. The anomaly is the place where things can happen. The internet is an anomaly, and represents things that usually don’t fit. The internet has the potential of destructing or disrupting the social order, by normalizing things that weren’t seen as normal.

At the same time in my opinion the normalization process is natural with the evolution of human society, with or without the internet. For example in the past women didn’t work, now it is normal for women to work, and that occured without the help of the internet.

Corporate Control

In the political economy, there is a corporate attempt to control amateur cultural production. For example when you put a video on Youtube that may contain some lyrics or images from a corporate entity, your video may be removed because it is considered to go against copyright law. However what about the rights of fair use?

Media has the biggest influence on cultural production. Thus there is a control by the power elites of society, and the power holders decide what people will believe and how they should act. As Karl Marx said, “the people who own the means of production, also control the production of ideas”.

Social media has challenged corporate media, and there is now two competing systems for the attention of the masses.

Our values and actions correspond to the needs of the political system. They perpetuation of the status quo and inequality is maintained in the social structure.

When I heard this lecture I thought about black people and black identity, most specifically in North America, or the United States of America. For example the Power holders such as Viacom which now own B.E.T. which stands for Black Entertainment Television; Continuously plays videos on repeat which show the “thug life” or “gangster culture”, and are constantly “pimping out” black women. For example if your a child and you grow up watching that stuff on a daily basis and you come from a poor background, there is a high likelihood that you are going to strive to live like how the people on t.v. live, especially the ones who you feel you can relate to. These people are seen as rolemodels because viewers feel that they went through similar struggles. Overall the message that the media sends black youth, in my opinion promotes their oppression within modern society. If they showed a lot more black people on t.v. who were successful and overcame their oppression through education, I think you would start to see more black people raising their socio-economic status, and then the dominating perceptions and stereotypes of non-blacks towards blacks would also change.

Everyday millions and millions of people post and watch videos on Youtube. What I think is very interesting is how people will form topics of conversation and then there will be dialogs and replies by several Youtube members, thus creating a discussion. For example there is a topic of “interracial relationships” and there are many videos of people posting their opinions. And what is even more interesting is how a lot of people think their opinion actually matters and that their opinion should be considered when telling a complete stranger who they should or should not date.

The online video community created by Youtube has created a great outlet for freedom of expression and debate.

New Media and Publicity vs. Privacy

We like to be watched for publicity and we like to watch others, even if that means invading their privacy. 91% of children have a presence online by the time of two. When watching the videos of Miley while we were in class, and watching the video of the woman giving birth on YouTube, I was quite disturbed. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a woman would feel it was necessary to film herself giving birth and post that to the whole world. What happened to the wanting of one’s privacy. I do understand that giving birth is a natural process, however I think it can be agreed that filming and posting it online is unnatural. I am also very concerned for Miley and for this new trend of parents posting everything about their children online. In my opinion they are making it much easier for someone to abduct their children. As well as giving a million suspects the ability to have enough knowledge to lure their children away.

Miley and her parents are creating videos that can be used in the future by sociologists, historians and researchers about child rearing practices of our time, and the sociolization practices of our time. Through the videos of Miley growing up, the acquisition of skills are showed. This could be a general reflection of our society, of how parents try to keep their children competitive. It also reflects different social classes and their child rearing practices. More talking and conversations with children will lead to better vocabulary development and thus smarter children.

In terms of privacy, new social media programs reduce our privacy. For example Facebook gives you the option of posting your job history, your city (past and current), date of birth, the highschools and universities you attended, your relatives on Facebook, who you are in a relationship with, your sexual orientation,  and what you look like. It makes things like identity fraud much easier, and it makes it much easier for people to find out any kind of information about you. As you post your photos, people are able to see what you look like, where you shop, where you vacation, who your friends are and the group you hang out with.  It makes it quite simple for anyone to find things out about you. Or even where to turn if they require more information. Another thing is that I remember when the Elliot Spitzer scandal broke a few years back. Newspapers went on the Facebook page of the call girl, stole her photos and published them on the front page of newspapers. If the girl didn’t have a Facebook page, the media wouldn’t have had access to photos to identify her, or would have needed the help of paparazzi’s. As well as should there be something in place that makes the stealing of photos off facebook, especially for malicious purposes or for profit illegal?

The Place of Women in New Media

Throughout history, women have been considered a subordinate group. There is a hierarchy in colour and gender in all societies. We live in a patriarchical culture where men are dominant. White men contain most of the wealth and power within almost every aspect of our society. In terms of media, White men are most of the directors and screenwriters, the producers and CEO’s. A man gets paid more money for doing the same exact work as his female counterpart. Here in Canada a woman makes .70 cents to every dollar that a man makes. There are clear discrepancies of equality and oppression facing women and minorities in everyday life.

The media does an overall good job in reflecting the attitudes and socialization of our societies. The media objectifies and is misogynistic towards women. According to Bell Hooks who is a Black feminist, she argues the misogynist men and white male supremacists work to maintain their own position. I completely agree with this as well, I work for the government and one of my white male co-workers wouldn’t fill out the self-disclosure form because he believes it discriminates against “the white male”. Like give me a break, and get over your own insecurites.

I believe that human beings are products of their society, so that if young girls are taught to act and behave in certain ways, they are likely to do it. It is also a normalization process, for example if you live in a certain culture where it is common for women to become nurses as opposed to doctors, you will have more women aiming to become nurses. Not because they are not intelligent enough to become doctors, but because they are doing what is expected of them.

In Youtube, some women act toward the objectification of women, and other women fight against it. There are some women who make videos on Youtube where they are naked or almost naked, and are objectifying themselves in hopes of attracting the male gaze. While you have other women who are probably more educated, and fight for women’s empowerment in society. Youtube becomes a dialogic medium where people are able to combat each other’s opinions on a women’s place in society. A woman’s self-identity is being defined by the culture.

We use videos to challenge the dominant meaning and also to reinforce them. The representation of everyday life is reflected in everyday media. There is a new meaning system where meanings will come from the internet. As well as the internet knowledge gained off sites like Youtube, reflect your average person, recanting their actual opinions, it is usually not scripted, so it reflects the actuality of what a person’s thoughts are. As opposed to the censorship seen on television, or on television there is a tendency to say things that are politically correct so as not to offend people.

Diaries-Video Diaries and Self Presentation

Confession used to occur mostly in an institutional context such as the law or church. Previously it was done towards authority. Confession is important as a normalizing process where one repents what you did because it doesn’t fit in with societies expectations. The internet is deinstitutionalizing confession by removing the authority factor from it. It is releasing the abnormal.

As the internet releases the abnormal, the way that we construct what is real in society is changing.  The more real vs. the more constructed. The unitary self vs. authentic pluralism.

When we create new contexts we create new opportunities for the self to emerge.

John Bodrillard: The death of meaning, losing touch with the real and the hyperreal.

Fictionality of theory and the factuality of everyday life. We often mistake our ideas for reality itself. What we think is true might actually not be, a perfect example are generalizations and stereotypes of others. We are also concerned with the individual structures which influence our lives. The internet is possibly changing peoples perception on reality because if we change the medium, the message is changed.

It is bad that 39% of kids think information online is always correct. Because anyone can publish anything online. And it is possible that there are going to be further implications in the future, with the new generation of children online.