The last one.

This module has illustrated both sides of the spectrum in terms of how the internet can be used for good and bad.

Online communities, a platform for debate, a platform for change, and a platform to learn are just some of the major positives o the internet that have been further illustrated during Network Society and the Media lectures/seminars.

But what about the bad?

There are a few different negatives I could focus on, but i’ve decided that the one with the most direct relevance to me is probably that of privacy.

The internet can be used to learn an astonishing amount of information about users. Appearance, friends, interests, hobbies-even where they are and where they live. Can this really be right? Well actually, yeah.

Everybody that uses the internet is agreeing in principal to share their information. Every site that uses cookies will notify you, anything that you post through social media is instantly no longer yours-it belongs to the internet.

There is a genuine need to be vigilant in what you are doing online. This is now abundantly clear. This shouldn’t mean no longer taking in all the benefits of the internet, but recognising the need to be thoughtful is very important

 

 

Memes and activism

one of the highlights of this module for me was the discussion on memes and in my own digging how they can be used in internet activism.

this topic about whether or not memes contribute to governmental change is still an ongoing debate where some believe that creating memes and inserting them as the opening page of a petition is just as good as going to downing street and waving a protest banner outside. on the other hand some call this slack-tivism, which means for avid Facebook and other social media platform users clicking like, sharing or signing the petition is deemed lazy and pointless.

however in an article written by Kristina Mauric on MTV.com said that in January  2015 japan responded to a hostage ransom of 2 million dollars with a “meme-fest contest”.

“The hashtag associated with the posts, #ISISクソコラグランプリ, roughly translates to “ISIS crappy collage grand prix,” and has been used more than 67,000. To lend humor to the otherwise grim image, the photo was enhanced with everything from selfie sticks to llamas and lightsabers to Mickey Mouse ears.”

ISISmeme-1423508660

although the people had a funny response to an awful situation, the meme ultimately showed isis that the people of japan will not negotiate with them.

so from online friendly humour to online internet activism, the future of memes could have a positive outcome in the way people use them for various things.

 

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.

privacy-risk-sign

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.

smartphone-iphone-attack-vector-threats

“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?  

 

 

Slaves to Technology

Studying this module has encouraged me to look at the power structures behind our ‘network’ society, also the positives and negatives of the internet. Technological change is at the root of the ‘Network Society and the Media’ module. The rapid rate at which technology has advanced has altered the way we live our everyday lives, it has also changed the way the government and other institutions interact with us.

Cellphone_timeline

Mobiles have evolved from bricks to advanced handheld computers in just 8 years. 

On the upside, technological advancements are responsible for the convergence of many media industries and lead to the launch of new media channels. It has brought us into the information age, where we have free access to ‘unlimited’ knowledge and are free to communicate globally. However, it is important to sometimes look past this liberal allusion, as every move we make online can be tracked, often without us knowing. The internet is funded by advertising, meaning our data is no longer ours.

As the media landscape which we are familiar with today is still in it’s infancy, we cannot predict how much things will change in the future.  The media industry will no doubt change but at what rate? Will all the content we are studying today still be relevant in 10 or 20 years?

Memes

A topic covered in this module which captured my interest is memes (and remix culture). Mainly the fact that a meme is actually non-genetic behavior; to put it in context, genes determine physical characteristics of an organism and memes determine the behavior of an organism. A debate that was brought to my attention due to the module was whether memes and viral remixes have a positive impact on society. As mentioned in the presentation, the likes of Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson (Bed Intruder Song) extremely benefited from these viral remixes.

Kim K with money

 

Disney Gasp GifWhilst internet remix culture only started within the last decade, remix culture has been around since the early 1900s. A major culprit of this is Disney, for example, most of its classic films are remixes of older stories. As we all know, the actual stories are quite grim.

 

One of the arguments against memes is the fact that creators disregard attribution and metadata, however the main argument is anonymity. Similar to YikYak, the anonymity allows people to be racist, sexist and promote other means of discrimination without having to deal with the repercussions. Could of the use of memes turn from being funny jokes to serious bullying?

 

The young, the naive and the predators

Backlit keyboard

The internet is it’s own little world where people can escape from the reality of their everyday lives, like in any world there is always a dark side. Linking back to the subject of online privacy no one really knows how safe they actually are on the internet and what kinds of people are looking at their social media accounts; which is why internet safety is an important topic of discussion, you never know for sure what kind of people are on the internet and what they are capable of; even know all this may seem obvious for someone more mature but for young children it isn’t so obvious.

Sadly for some their naivety is fatal, Breck Bednar was one of these people who wasn’t aware of such dangers. Breck who was 14 at the time of his murder had no idea of the dangers of online predators and was befriended by Lewis Daynes (aged 18) who he thought was his best friend, but Lewis’s one priority was to find a victim through various gaming platforms. Even if you think you know someone online you will never know their full intentions; especially if they’re a stranger you have never met. People have become more aware of this over the years because of these types of crimes.

Facebook is a big platform where a lot of people do not care or are not aware when it comes to how much information can be shared around for all kinds of people to see, I see a lot of young children have no filter about what they post, some even posting their phone numbers and addresses. There are thousands of predators who scroll through such sites to try manipulate the young and naive, these children are willingly posting information without privacy not thinking who could potentially see it.

Murder games: Spotting the signs of online grooming

 

Netflix: Have they lost their customers?

As a long-standing Netflix consumer of about three-ish years, maybe more, I have suddenly lost a lot of interest in the streaming website. Why, you ask? Because Netflix have introduced a VPN proxy ban. Granted, its understandable that Netflix would only want those in the United Kingdom, for example, to access shows only available on the UK Netflix, but with the announcement, there has been a huge amount of backlash and honestly, people (including myself) are not happy about it.

The VPN proxy does not stop users from paying for Netflix. We still have to pay for it, it just means we get more for our money because the proxy masks our location and we get to access different country’s Netflix selection. I think it’s fair to say that the Netflix selection in the UK is lacking compared to the United States.

With so many people completely outraged at Netflix’s decision to block proxy servers, I wouldn’t be surprised if the popularity of the streaming website decreased dramatically.

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So with Netflix deciding to shut down proxy servers, do you think they’ll risk losing out on a lot of customers? Do you think shutting down the proxy servers was worth it? Is it really worth it when in a few months there will probably be new technology which can make consumers access all countries of Netflix again? Luckily for me, Full House, which I was marathoning on the US Netflix has just been added to the UK one!

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