Smartphones and being phone-smart

In this day and age where we are growing up in a ‘new media world’ we need to be more phone-smart than ever.

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The majority of teenagers and young-adults own a smartphone. Most of us also rely upon our smartphones on a daily basis, it’s basically our lives, but I wonder how many of you have actually questioned whether your smartphone is actually your friend or foe?

  • How safe is your smartphone?

This question is one that has been asked since way back in 2011 and since then it’s become a hot topic, especially with the rapid development of technology. It’s important that we educate ourselves on the issue of privacy so that we can inform those younger than us of the potential risks and dangers also.

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“You can extract enough information on a typical person’s phone that you can construct a virtual clone of that individual,” said Elad Yoran, executive chairman of Koolspan Inc., a communications security company. “They are the windows not just into our personal lives but they are equally the windows into our professional lives.”   –>

If we think about it, our phones have embarrassing selfies stored on them,  saved passwords from our internet browsing and all our phone contacts and text messages stored on them. This quotation is scarily true and I think that is something that this module has encouraged me to explore more into. I think it’s important that we take more time to check just what information we’re feeding our phones and ask ourselves whether it’s necessary – will this impact my future in a negative way?  

 

 

You Tube, then I Tube.

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Copyright is a controversial and tricky subject in this modern world. With social media sites increasing in popularity, it’s sometimes hard to remember that such a law exists. We constantly share things over the internet – if we find a song we like, we’ll share it, if we find a funny video, we’ll share it, however, sites such as YouTube have become stricter with their upload policy, in an attempt to prevent copyright to happen.

For example, anyone can start a YouTube channel and upload content, but it’s now stressed that your content has to be 100% original, otherwise, it’ll be removed. This is all good for people who use their channel as a bit of fun, but for those who take it more seriously, and those who generate an income through their videos, life has got a whole lot harder.

If you’re into your make-up and fashion channels, you’ll probably notice how some of the most popular YouTubers use the same ole ditty as background music – coincidence? I KNOW not. YouTube will not provide the money if their video is flagged for copyright claims, and the biggest issue currently is music. New features have been incorporated over the years to make sure that people are acting correctly under the ‘creative common license‘ which means that they have to use music that the artists themselves, have given permission for them to use. This means, you can’t just use a popular ‘chart-topper’ song anymore, you have to use an original, ‘copyright free’ piece that YouTube or even some editing softwares such as ‘iMovie’ provide.

Of course, this law is here for a reason and in this case it’s to protect original content and give credit where due, I personally, don’t have an issue with it. Without this law, music artists would be more reluctant to create songs, YouTubers would probably create more boring music-less videos and people would not be properly celebrated for their creativity.

In this day and age, it’s hard enough to be “orig'” so as annoying as copyright is, it’s for the best so we better just accept it.

 

Catch me if you can…

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When it comes to my online visibility, I am surprisingly impressed. Even my mum recently admitted to having a cheeky Google of my name (she claims it was for my own safety), only to be disappointed with the lack of juicy gossip or drunken selfies that popped up.

It has to be said though, if you search correctly, you could probably find a lot about me. Obviously, Facebook has the largest source of noteworthy information, but second to that I’d say my Instagram and Twitter have the most information about me. Although Instagram doesn’t have much textual information, the pictures are taken at locations local to me mainly, so if you want to find out where to find me ordering a caramel latte on a Friday afternoon…I also find that, although on Twitter I’m more aware of what I post, however, a lot of my friends don’t share that sensibility so it’d be easy as pie for you to check out their profiles and therefore, see what town I live in etc.

Most my account settings are on ‘public’ and in a way I feel this forces me to think carefully about what I post. As for ‘why?’, I don’t think anyone can come up with a worthy answer unless your profile is promoting a business of yours or something official. I think the idea of strangers sharing their lives online is rather exciting and in some cases can be a learning experience as you’re seeing how people similar to our age are living their lives in their end of the world. I think we’d all be lying if we said we haven’t made an ‘internet best friend’ or two in our lifetimes.

When it comes to the internet, I don’t think any of us are completely in control – your friends and family will often post images or information about you that you may not have consented to. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to use nicknames and alter-egos online to help prevent unwanted visitors following your life online, but however hard you try, I  bet that embarrassing photo of you taken in 2008 (or even earlier god forbid) will still come back to haunt you in 50 years time..

 

The Student Room.

We’re all students here, so I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of the online community called ‘The Student Room’ (2001 – 2016).

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I love this site and still use it occasionally, although I found it most useful throughout sixth form when making the ‘biggest decision of your life’ to go to university.

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This online community has such a wide target audience which makes it handy for most teens and young adults. It’s home menu breaks the site down into categories such as ‘GCSE’, ‘A-Level’ and ‘Applying to Uni’ then goes on to feature more pages such as ‘Forums’ where you’re able to discuss absolutely anything (okay, so you should probably keep it fairly P.G).

Usernames are used throughout this site so if you want to remain completely anonymous, you can, whilst still getting the benefits of the site. There aren’t many limitations to this site as it’s regularly updated with new questions, answer and information which makes it so handy when you’re wanting to find out, for example, ‘does the freshers flu  really exist?’ (the answer, for the record, is 100% yes!)

Occasionally, you do get the odd unhelpful comment on forums which can be a bit of a time waster. Also, because the site is aimed for the teenager market, it can sometimes lack a professional feel as there is no strong ‘adult’ presence due to most of the content being comments provided by teenagers of varying ages.

To Tumblr or not to Tumblr?

Tumblr. We’ve all heard about this dark side of the web which not all of us have ventured into. Unfortunately, I’m one of those who did – in 2011 to be exact (the good ole’ days). For those of you who aren’t entirely sure what I’m on about, Tumblr is a ‘microblogging platform’ where you can have your own blog and ‘re-post’ or ‘like’ things as with many other social media sites. Audience participation is the fundamental feature of this site. It’s what gets 120,000 people to sign up daily.

Many celebrities such as Taylor Swift, now have Tumblr and use it to talk to their fans.

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They usually follow a lot of fan-based blogs and this is where they’ll repost most of their content from. Along with the ‘Ask’ feature , Tumblr have newly introduced a ‘chat’ feature (about time!!) where you can instant message blogs that follow you (as long as you’re following them – kind of like ‘DMs’ on Twitter). Tumblr is another platform, that like YouTube, enables the barrier between the ‘star’ and the ‘fan’ to be broken down. There is also a clear sense of community present, as everyone has the option to comment on anything (even though 90% of comments made are immature).

Tumblr users have also used their blogs as a way to express their opinions on the site. As a result of YAHOO buying Tumblr, the site has become hugely commercialised which was seen a negative thing by users. Positives of this, however, meant that users complained about the lack of features and the owners of Tumblr were able to read the protests which led to various updates being made, making the site more user-friendly. This is an example of audience participation and the power it holds.

 

 

Hashtag that.

Those of you who have Twitter will be more than familiar with the term ‘hashtag’.

Media convergence, however, has resulted in hashtags being used not just on one online site, but all over the internet. We now see hashtags appear on Facebook, Vine and even on television programmes.

 

In 2012, Twitter introduced its first television commercial which took place during a NASCAR race (#NASCAR). The movement of convergence enabled the use of hashtags to grow rapidly over the last 4 years. We can argue that the merging of the online world and the television broadcasting industry has been a positive change. For example, when London held the Olympic Games, television advertisements used hashtags to help promote featured events and spread the word, thus creating a greater community spirit.

Similarly, television programmes often use hashtags in the hope to get their programme ‘trending’ online, leading to increased views when their programme broadcasts. Hashtags are also used for ‘Reality TV’ shows where they often publicise their competitions for viewers online.

As for the media industry, this surely must be a good thing – teaming up with a site that has over 270 million active users can’t be a bad thing?  If what they say is true, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so promoting programmes and campaigns via Twitter using the popular hashtag is probably one of the best ideas to come out of the converging movement!

Let’s Talk about Ted

I would like to share an on-line resource that I discovered in Sixth-Form. After two years of Ted-filled tutor times, I’ve only just recently started to appreciate this on-line resource.

TED’s slogan is “Ideas worth spreading” and this is why I thought you might find this site interesting, after all, we’re all studying at University with the intentions of learning more about both our specialist subject and the world.

What I enjoy about this website, is how, instead of having to read lengthy, complex articles, we’re presented with a video, which shows pre-recorded footage of a conference lasting for around 20 minutes or less.

Ted Talks offers a variety of videos, some funny, others more dull (but still interesting) that discuss modern issues of today’s world. This on-line resource doesn’t specifically relate to media studies, but I think it’s all very relevant as for example, if you’re a journalist, you need to know what’s happening in the world (you could even get in contact with one of the speakers to create a further piece of investigative journalism). Similarly, if you’re studying ‘Television Production’ as I am, there is the option on their website to ‘discover’ new topics of interest, which could serve as inspiration for a documentary.

Although, the issues covered range from topics such as ‘business’ to ‘science’, there are some specific TED Talks relating to media. I’ve left the links to some videos that you might find interesting below: