Internet-savvy and sad

A few months ago, I had to explain to my grandparents that all my coursework I can submit using a computer, without even having paper and a pen. Then I started wondering how they’ve spent a lifetime with no relationship status updates and not using the pizza emoji to say “I’m hungry!”.

I thought they’ve missed a lot but actually it’s our generation that is missing out as back then people were busy living. i-want-my-life-back-social-media1

They didn’t have WhatsApp to text their friends, they were just meeting them at the playground or elsewhere. For those who lived a long-distance away, they were sending letters and postcards. Today you can send an instant message to your e-pal in Japan but he might choose to ignore it because he’s playing Candy Crush with his other virtual friends.

The Internet offers so many opportunities to connect with other people but I think it makes us more distant because we take all these means of communication for granted and neglect the conversation itself.

My grandmother doesn’t know what Facebook is but she and her friends were sharing all their experiences and secrets in person. She was luckier than me for living at that time. That makes me sad and the fact that I am more Internet literate than her cannot cheer me up.

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BRIT Awards: unavailable in Britain

imagegenA recent experience I had with copyright restrictions was when I tried to watch the BRIT Awards live on YouTube. The really annoying announcement that the uploader has not made this video available in ‘my’ country was there on the screen.

At first, I was quite surprised because I have always been able to live stream the awards show back at my home-country. Being banned from watching it while a few miles away from the place where the event was actually taking place was strange. It struck me then – TV licence!

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The ITV was broadcasting the event live (it wasn’t available online on their website) and if I wanted to watch Adele performing at the BRIT Awards I should have paid for the TV licence – not to mention that I don’t even own a TV. Still, people in other countries could enjoy the star-studded ceremony.

That makes me think that they lost quite a big audience because many students like me, for example, were not able to watch and therefore tweet or post on Facebook on things that they’ve just spotted. That’s still publicity after all and the BRITS lost it due to copyright agreements with ITV.

My privacy, my choice – not anymore

Iinternet-privacyn previous blog posts we had our say on what we think about the Internet and some of the content on it. However, today we have to check what the Internet has to say about us which I think is even more interesting.

Some of you might think “What’s there on the Internet, is all the data I’ve consented to share myself.” But it’s not true. At least not for me.

Typing my name in Google using UK keyboard, there’s not much you can find about me. All the information shown – LinkedIn, Tweeter or 192.com profiles belong to a relative of mine who happens to bear the same name and surname as me.

However, when typing my name in Bulgarian I was surprised to find information for me disclosed which I never consented to share. For instance, the result of my driving licence test was there. (Thank God, I passed it.) I could also see the grades I’ve received in some competitions. My date of birth was right next to my grades. None of this I would like to be seen by random people or stalkers. But is it even my choice?!

ME heart it

What better example for an online positive community than one called We Heart It?!

The best thing about We Heart It is that it is a visual free-for-BKLx9ZM7all. Also, users can share everything from landscape photography to funny image macros, from Disney movie stills to outfit photos. After a quick sign-up everyone is free to endlessly scroll through the site’s kaleidoscopic fare, clicking on the ones they like to “heart” and save them. Yes, you can actually save them unlike Instagram.

Apart from a tagging system, there are no words allowed on the website. Members communicate purely through visual expression. To some extent, maybe this is a limitation as people sharing an interest for fashion or photography, for instance, cannot connect to each other.  However, there is a positive side to it – no bullying, offensive or teasing comments under pictures.

For those looking for something in particular, various sections or ‘Inspirations’ are made to facilitate the search. Fancy photos from the Academy Awards? Oscars section is there.

Combining Pinterest’s image-sharing platform with Tumblr’s teenage appeal, We Heart It is a perfect storm of what becomes viral success on the visual Web. It has a hit with 20 million users, who just can’t get enough of it.

Just for Laughs: Gags

just-for-laughs-gags-16Just for Laughs: Gags is a Canadian silent comedy television show. The series uses a hidden camera, playing pranks on random subjects while hidden cameras capture the subjects’ responses. It is still audience participation, even if it’s unsuspected, right?

What is more, the show has now its own online channel for hidden camera pranks. As with most YouTube channels, people there can to a certain extent shape the content they have just seen by giving a thumb up (or down). Leaving a comment is also an option.

Will it be a praise that the granny who is acting pregnant is really funny or a brief criticism like “bad prank”, producers must be following what the mass says in order to make their gags more and more watchable. The audience can also share their ideas on what they would like to see in future: “more videos featuring dogs, please”.

With its silent format and no translation required, Just for Laughs: Gags has been purchased for use in over 100 countries throughout the world as well as in airports and by airlines. Reactions to the gags range from “inane” to cross-culturally funny.

“Gangnam style” convergence

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If you look up what ‘media convergence’ means in the dictionary, you will find the following definition: a phenomenon involving the interconnection of information and communications technologies, computer networks, and media content. But this is a convoluted way of describing a much simpler process. Remember Gangnam Style? Yes? Now that’s a contemporary and an understandable example of what media convergence is.

The music video, which was revealed to the world on YouTube in 2012 in South Korea, not only gained extreme popularity in Asia but also managed to make the headlines worldwide. The hyperactive singer, the catchy beat and the obnoxious dance moves were in the spotlight of entertainment industry. From July to the end of December, the song became a household name.

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That, of course, meant the industry earned loads of money as “Gangnam Style” became a trademark and started merchandising. Bobble heads, t-shirts and phone apps became available to the consumers. The audience and specifically the online community, didn’t miss the chance to have their say on the story – parodies, reaction videos, and vlogs were all over the Internet.

So, not only did PSY become a story-telling money-maker but he also helped me understand what media convergence is. Cheers, PSY.

News republic – all views covered

News-republicNowadays people are inundated with all kinds of information and news throughout their daily routine. It’s scientifically proven that most of it we can’t even bother to remember. However, we all know that Media students and people who want to work in the field not only do have to pay attention to what’s going on but also to be able to critically analyse it. So reading the news and being able to develop a critical angle is essential.

In my opinion, News Republic is a really useful app for Media students as it has news from wide variety of sources gathered at one place. The Guardian, for instance, is a left-wing paper and The Daily Telegraph is a right-wing one but via News Republic a person can easily spot how the same news are presented by newspapers with a different stance.

It makes the comparison between opposing points of view significantly easier as we do not need to look for the webpages themselves. All the things that are on the news agenda and students need to know are now at the end of their fingertips. “It’s time for a thousands of news perspectives – global, credible, personalised.”