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Broadcasters beware! Internet is disruptive; Advertising shifting to customer, not Television 04/10/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Future, Media Industry, Social media, Television.
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“The tech world is best understood, not as a business cycle, but as a messianic movement. We promise something great, we evangelize it, we’re going to change the world.”

Peter Hirschberg On TV and the Web


I tried embedding the video above, but I couldn’t. I included an hyperlink to the video for all to watch in it’s TED talk glory.


In a very interesting TED talk video, Peter Hirschberg talks about the disruptive power of the computer.It was embedded in the machine from the beginning. As soon as the first game was created for a computer, the machine became not a simple calculation tool, but an entertainment device in it’s own right. From the 1950’s until today, the interactivity of the computer helped transform the device into a force to be reckoned with. He explains that the technology world is not just a business, it is something that is elevated to an almost divine figure. He sees that the main discourse in the technology industry is that the new thing will always be better than before, even though that might not be the case. But this is still something that drives the technology industry to this today.


Hirschberg also talks about how the movie industry’s model was disrupted by the radio and television models. The computer is no exception. It is a disruptive force that could potentially destroy the incumbent media corporations business model. He mentions that this has already happened when television arrived and the same thing is happening again with the internet. It is interesting to note that no new media has replaced the one that came before. They all coexist in a new hybrid environment.


Peter Hirschberg also talks about how the nature of the web 2.0 is helping advertisers to go online and connect with people. Nike is not a shoe brand anymore, but a network of customers. The audience is important and advertisers understand that the audience is moving online, so to reach them, they have to go online. This means that the television is losing money and will be losing money for some time still. His uses of the quotes of Marshall McLuhan to explain that new mediums are using the content of the old medium “Books used to be the content of movies and movies are the content of television”.  The audience is online and eventually, something gotta give. He concludes that these are interesting times indeed. It is a time of great rennaisance for media and television will lose it’s place of importance and will be replaced by something new and different. Maybe those crappy TV shows like “Two and half men” and “CSI:Whatever” will be replaced by something good. Maybe I’ll even see the death of laugh track in television in my lifetime. Who knows.


This actually remind me of a quote from Parker Posey. She’s an actress and during an interview for an independent movie called “Price Check” who will be released soon she said: “Now movies aren’t making money. That’s no secret. They’re not making money. So now we can go back to being more experimental, and maybe we can have conversations about it again, be more authentic . I think the whole Occupy Wall Street message is really about the individual. About not being judged by how much money you make. Hopefully there is more to this. Because you know what? I really like movies about human beings, I’m tired of laughing at people pooping and throwing up, and being gross, and I want to hear a new voice. I want to see something more human and charming, and I don’t want to see people try to shock or provoke me.”  —Parker Posey


To know more about Peter Hirschberg, visit TED website

Corporation circumventing traditional advertising by including it in the content of television program 04/06/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Community, Future, Media Industry, NBC, Popular Culture, Television.
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I saw an incredible video from “Vision 2020: Future of television” in which, spoke persons for the television industry are explaining what they believe the future of the television will be. One of the most striking sentences I heard in this video came from Melissa Lavigne-Delville. She is the Vice-President of Trends and Strategic Insight for NBC Universal. She says that “The idea of shopping while you’re watching is something that we’ve only scratched the surface of. If you are creating a show like, let’s say “Gossip Girl” and you strategically place a fashion item that really makes sense for the character and really make sense with the plotline, well, quite frankly, why not?”


We will include advertising in the actual content of the show where it makes sense to do so because, why not. Characters from Friends will no longer order a coffee; they will order a Starbucks Grande Moka. Characters from 30 Rock will no longer go to a restaurant, they will go Arby’s or whatever. NBC appears to frankly believe this is the future of television. I have seen it happen last Thursday on Community. I’ve embed a clip below to show you what this is about. The reason for this is obvious. Advertising revenue counts for so much in the television industry and losing money is not something those media corporation wants. If the audience does not watch the advertising that they are supposed to watch, the broadcasters will include those ads in the content.




In Community, students are attending a community college. It’s hilarious, it’s smart, and quite frankly, it’s my favorite television show on TV right now. Popmatters declared Community the second best show on television in 2011 (Link HERE). One of the characters, Shirley, is a mother of two who is trying going back to school to learn how to be a small business owner. She tried opening a small sandwich shop in the school, but as the Dean of the school said: “Sorry, it’s going to be a Subway instead”.


Last week’s episode revolved around the fact that only student could manage and operate the schools shops. Enter Subway, a corpora-humanoid who is called Subway. Since the government approved over a hundred year ago that corporation were people, Subway decided they could also have humans who were corporation. This episode was both including this new model of advertising in the fabric of the show and a critique of it. Community once again shined by comparing this practice to the Orwellian horrors of dehumanization of life and culture. By simply pointing to the nonsense of corporation control over people, they managed to make irrelevant all further attempts at advertising within this show. The only problem that remains is that the issue is not resolved and Subway is still in the show. Will it disappears eventually or is it here to stay? Only time will tell. As for the practice of including advertising within the show, I believe it’s here to stay. Let’s just hope that if it is done as well as Community managed to do it. I doubt it ever will be.

Cord Cutters 04/06/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Future, Media Industry, Television.
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I recently decided to cut the cord. No more cable TV in my household. It’s expansive, it’s a hassle and I don’t even get what I want, which is, HBO and Space channel. I decided to stick it out for a few more weeks, but the thought of cutting the cord is very appealing. I spend most of my time online anyway and I barely watch anything at the regular schedule. According to a Deloitte study, I’m not the only one who is thinking about this, it turns out 20% of cable customers are thinking of doing the same. According to Chris Upbin in Forbes in an article from Forbes, the reason is simple. The price. An average American cable subscriber pays an average of 100$ a month for cable, excluding all the premium channels and extra perks. This means that the cost of cable television is over a thousand dollars annually. This is insane when you know all the alternatives customers have. Netflix, Hulu, CBC watch now, tou.tv, Playstation network and Xbox 360 downloadable movies and tv show on a pay per download basis. All of those cost a lot less than cable television, so why pay the high price tag?


The problem of channel bundles is also mention. As I mentioned before I want two channels, HBO and Space. I’m a Rogers cable subscriber. If I want HBO, I need to get the package with 10 channels at a price tag of 21.26 a month (Link here). For all my sci-fi needs…well Rogers doesn’t offer me anything since Syfy and Space are not offered by Rogers. I also want to add that it took me no less than 25 minutes of intense browsing on Rogers ludicrously complex-built website to get the information above. So, for basic cable and HBO, it would cost me over 65 dollars a month. This is unappealing for customers when there are other options in the market. I can hardly believe that there is only 20% of cable subscriber who wants to cut the cord. Bruce Upbin mention that one of the only things who is keeping people from cutting cable is sports programming. I am not a sports fan, and I have no incentive to keep my cable to watch the Ottawa Senators play Hockeyball against the Detroit Supermen (I really don’t know sports). Hopefully, one day, the channel bundling and high price tag of cable as a business model will be crash and burn into oblivion and customers will finally get what they want, which is of course, science fiction and Game of Thrones.


To read Chris Upbin’s article from Forbes


Community is back: Now with animated short video 04/05/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Community, Future, Henry Jenkins, Media Industry, NBC.
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I’ve talked in this blog about fans and convergence culture (Read post below). This is a follow up of sort on that post. One of the most imaginative and brilliant comedy of our time is back on television since Thursday March 15th. Along with it comes a new animated short webserie about community. This webserie arrives in the wake of the fan initiative to create an inspector spacetime crowd sourced webserie based on a joke in the show community.

It is difficult not to see the irony of this when the media company who produce community take the idea of an animated short series with the character and uses it after menacing a fan not to do that. This leads me to a quote from Dr. Michael Strangelove who says that “Media Corporation doesn’t care if we watch more of their products. They want to control what we watch, how we watch it, and when we watch it. They want the audience to watch their advertisements, because this is how they make money.”  He is saying that in the end, it doesn’t matter for media corporations if 20 million people are watching their show through .torrent or streaming their television show if there is only 150 000 people watching it on television. They need consumers to fit in their model and they will have to be coerced into it. This means that projects like inspector spacetime webseries will always be taken down because it doesn’t benefit the media corporation. Even if a million people watched the spacetime show, they would still be unhappy because they don’t control how it is used if there is something related to their product, they want to control it.

This is similar for many media corporations, although some are better at integrating what the fans wants in their production. The video game company “Bioware”, famous for its role playing game franchise Mass Effect and Star Wars Knights of the old Republic; seamlessly integrated some fans demand into their game. Their video game series “Mass effect” is famous for the amount of choice it gives to players. One of these choices is the opportunity to pursue a romance story with one of your squad mate. In the first game, you had the option of three characters to romantically engage with. By using the website “Deviant art” as a basis for fan input, they realized that a lot fan art was created showing the main protagonist Shepard and the alien named Garrus. It was not in their plan for the players to become romantically involved with an alien, but they eventually integrated this option in the game without receiving any request from the fans. Some companies do understand the power of the audience. We could say that the video game industry is a competitive market and they have to bring players by giving them what they want (Which would explain the endless Call of Duty cycle). But let’s not be too cynical, let’s assume they understood the audience. I think Henry Jenkins had a point with convergence culture, now we’ll see how the media industry integrate the active audience in their business model.

To watch community’s webserie follow this link: Community webserie: Abed’s master key

To see how Bioware integrate gamers feedback, follow this link: IO9 10 things you don’t know about Mass Effect

The genesis of Big Brother 03/18/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Media Industry, Social media.
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I stumbled upon an incredible by Alexis Madrigal in the Atlantic yesterday about who is tracking you online. I wrote a post earlier on why 2012 starting to look a lot like 1984 (Read it HERE) when I found this very interesting article on who and how companies are tracking us online. All sorts of privacy issues have been raised over the last few years about what companies can do to data online and this article gives a comprehensive look at who does it and how. The answer is more complicated than simply “Google is keeping our search history” and “Facebook track who we “Like” on their website”.

Madrigal explains that whenever we visit a website, information on us is being captured by advertising companies. They gather data and use it to show you advertising you are more likely to click on. This means that our search history is being analyzed at all time. He made a list of companies who tracking his movement in a 36-hour period and discovered that well over a hundred companies were capturing data on him. Big companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook were showing, but also more obscure companies, like AdMeld, AlmondNet, AppNexus, ADC Onion, Adbrite, Adara and others. He only mentioned those with the letter A. He says that at the moment, most of what we have ever looked online is kept somewhere for the purpose of selling advertisement. Right now, no names are collected or attached to the data. With all this data accumulated on our “digital self”, as he says : The line separating all that it might say about you, good or bad, is as thin as the letters of your name. If and when that wall breaks down, the numbers may overwhelm the name. The unconsciously created profile may mean more than the examined self I’ve sought to build. The concern he raise is legitimate and important. What is privacy if all that we are and do online can be traced back. What if the line is blurred and our personal information are openly public. Who decide what is private and public? Is it the users, the people, or is it advertising companies?

Madrigal follows by describing how companies are collecting data and to what end. They are three basic categories, Targeting, retargeting and exposure. Targeting means that ads are targeted based on certain variables (behaviour, demographic, geography, social proximity) and these ads will appear on websites you are most likely to visit in real-time. The second technique is retargeting. A website you are visiting will drop a cookie on your computer while you are browsing and ads are sent to you later, knowing you have an interest in what you visited before. The other category is exposure. Certain companies verify that the person who bought the ad is getting their money’s worth. They capture data to make sure the ads have been seen or clicked on.

Madrigal also reveals that there is no real defense against this type of data collection at the moment. Some mechanisms are in place to prevent advertising to reach you, but your data is still being collected by advertising companies and other companies for various purposes. But using this data and collecting it is quite different. Is prohibition of information usage enough to make us feel safe? At the moment, users are only able to stop data from being used. Should we also be able to prevent data collection? If advertisers and other companies are only accumulating data and they are publicly saying that they will not use it, then why collecting it in the first place? And if the data is collected, then who is responsible for preventing excess?

Madrigal also talks about the reality of the moment. Those databases are not linked together and no name is attached to the data collected. However, putting those database together would produce a fully fleshed out portrait of who you are, regardless of whether or not your name is attached to those data. Companies can follow your behavior and cross those data with other offline data, the value of your house or your shopping habits like Madrigal said and your name no longer matters. He also explains that the thin wall between the digital self and the actual self will break down eventually if we let it happen.

Madrigal’s tone is far from being alarmist. I’d say cautionary is a better word. He concludes by saying that since money is the issue for advertisers, if the business model of targeting fails, then it will inevitably disappear.

For anyone who wants a portrait of privacy issues related to the internet would do well to read this article. It is a comprehensive look at the advertising industry’s practice.

To read Alexis Madrigal’s article in the Atlantic

Is it 1984 yet? 03/07/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Future, Media Industry, Popular Culture, Social media, SOPA.
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I’m a huge science fiction geek. I’ve always considered George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave new world” to be the greatest sci-fi book of our times. Two visions that are in perfect opposition, and yet complete the other at the same time. Aldous Huxley talks about a future where we are controlled by forces outside our control that have drowned us in so much information that we can’t sort what matter and what doesn’t anymore. As a result, we couldn’t see the reality anymore and the world moved independently of the people. George Orwell talks of a different kind of control. He talks about a future in which totalitarian regime took control of information, free speech and liberty and is controlling its citizen through fear and repression. Individuals are erased under the regime’s propaganda and rebels are tortured or killed. Out of those two visions, I’ve always thought that Huxley was the closest one to reality. With the arrival of the internet, social media interaction, peer-to-peer, discussion forums, blogs, and other tools, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of different opinions emerging. I thought that if any of those visions become true, it would be Huxley’s future we would see. Although, I’m beginning to think I was wrong. Which lead me to this question:

Is it 1984 yet?

In 2012, we have seen some dramatic trends which lead me to believe that perhaps we are getting to closer to Orwell’s vision of the world. First of all, the United States have seen SOPA (Stop Online Piracy act) and Canada have seen similar legislation with Bill C-11 on copyright law. I won’t go into details about those two things here because I’ve already talked about it and because SOPA has been defeated for the moment. These threats are very real and we should not ignore them. SOPA would have transformed copyright laws and disrupted the internet as we know it now to allow corporations (or anyone owning a copyright on something) to have a website shutdown on allegations of copyright infringement. This would have completely shifted the power from the users, who create, share and distribute content, to the copyright owner at all time. With all the nonsense attached to it. Getting closer to corporation and government control over culture and the people

We have also seen what could be described as the “End of privacy” with Bill C-30. This bill would allow online surveillance to just about everything you do online without a warrant. The repercussions of this are massive as they would allow the police to have access to all your information without having to prove that something is dangerous. This is starting to look a lot like a police state. Minister of (security?) Vic Toews used all sorts of logical fallacies to defend this law (If you’re not with the government, you’re with the child pornographer, If you’re afraid, maybe you have something to hide). The logic behind this however is control. Most of us are already giving out our information for free without any further thoughts on social media site like Facebook or Twitter, however, I highly doubt that people would be as comfortable with having their entire web browsing history, their medical record or school transcript available. Jesse Kline noted in the National Post that this is a growing trend worldwide. The UK will soon legislate on a law that would grant the government access to all telephone calls, text and e-mail sent by one person. And with the ever decreasing cost of memory, it is possible to keep all the record from a person from birth to death without requiring massive memory hard drive.

Perhaps it is the end of privacy and we are walking closer than ever to 1984. But I don’t think all is lost. Protests have made the government withdraw SOPA. I understand the need for policies and laws for the Internet. But we need something to help, defend and protect the users, not something that constricts them or, even worse reinforces the wants and needs of angry media corporation who lost revenue sources due to the internet. Help real person, not corporate person.

To read Jesse Kline’s article from the National Post: From Bill C-30 to DCMA: How long will our free and uncensored internet lasts?

Dragon slayers, complicated plans and taxes: A Dragonslayer movie review 03/06/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in Dragonslayer, Movie Review, Popular Culture.
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I watched a movie with the best complicated plan ever. I am trying to find an equivalent, and as of now, I still can’t think of any other movie with such an overly complicated plan.

What is that movie you say? Dragonslayer! That’s right, it’s supposedly a fantasy adventure movie for the whole family from the 80’s. There is magic, there are knights and dragons, a princess in distress and all the cliché fantasy element we all came to love or hate. Is it family friendly? Hell no, there is murder and death and all the colours of the scenery are dark grey and dystopian brown. Was it good? Well…it was long. Who is in it? Peter McNichol (Famous for his role on …sigh…Ally McBeal. He was the guy saying Poo…poughkeepsie all the time) Here is a review

The plot: A dragon is threatening the land of “insert medieval-sounding city name here” and a group of lads from the kingdom are looking for the last magician powerful enough to vanquish the dragon. Please note that by threatening, I mean that the dragon ask for 1 virgin a year to eat in exchange for not destroying everything in the land. I’d say that’s a pretty sweet deal. 1 sacrifice a year to avoid total destruction We can also assume that since there are dragons and sorcerers, there is probably a whole lot more monsters out there, but we don’t see them because they’re afraid of the dragon. So she provides protection against all the other monsters as well. But, like a bunch of right-wing extremist, some people are saying the socialist dragon is not entitled to receive tax benefit from the villagers. Oh, and there is also slavery in this land, which means that these people view human life as currency, reinforcing the fact that giving a dragon a virgin is really like paying taxes, and these people don’t like no taxes. Also, the dragon is not evil, she is the mother of three baby dragon. She’s a single mom who ask nothing more from the system than one virgin a year, she’s not a freeloader, she’s defending the land against other types of monster. She definitely is not exploiting the system, she’s a veteran. But, the peasants think she is not entitled to welfare benefit and must be killed.

Anyway, the group of lads travel to faraway land to ask a magician to kill the dragon. A dragon assassin…a “Drassassin” if you will. Then, this magician, in order to show how powerful he is, ask a guy to kill him. The man kills the magician…and the magician dies for real…Wait what? Yep, that happened. The conversation in a real world (instead of fantasy land) would have looked like this:

–       Hey James do you know how to swim?

–       Yeah I know how to swim.

–       Prove it!

–       Okay, I’ll jump off this plane and swim in the ocean for 90 days. Will that do?

Seriously, what the hell? Anyways, so the magician dies and the sorcerer’s apprentice decides to carry the mission. He’s not really powerful, but he can still level an entire mountain which is pretty sweet in my book. He goes around with this group of people who refuses to help the dragon. Eventually, he has to fights soldiers of the King, because they are saying that the kingdom has a duty to help the dragon each year with equalization payment totalizing one virgin a year. I assume the king’s accountant calculation of Employment insurance for the dragon looks like this: 53 cows+ 22 pigs+ 11months of harvest = +/- 1 virgin. Our magician is unsure of his destiny, and he doesn’t even think he should be a magician. He is doubting is own ability to slay a dragon, with a weapon appropriately called “Dragonslayer”, how obvious. He gets kidnapped and tossed in jail by All the King’s men and loses his amulet of power.

Meanwhile, a riot is going to break out, because it’s the annual lottery to decide which virgin will be tossed to the dragon. The group of lads goes to the princess to tell her that the lottery is fixed and her name is probably not even in the ballot. So the princess does the stupidest to make everything fair. She replace all the names in the ballot and only puts her name in the ballot. So, she goes to the dragon’s lair. Oh yeah and the hero escaped and is equipped to slay the dragon or something. He has to fight one of the king’s men and tries to convince the princess of not doing the stupidest thing ever. Please princess, don’t waste your life like this, the fact that you put your name in the ballot proves you are a good person who cares about your kingdom. Don’t die now. So the princess is not attached or anything, she is free to leave, but insist on walking in the dragon’s lair alone and unprotected, even though the legendary magician who is supposed to slay the dragon and end all of this is like right there.

So the magician defeat the soldier, then goes in the cave and find the dead princess and kill all the baby dragons. The princess was really useless, these monsters were the size of your computer screen and died with a kick to the head…Yep, that’s true. Then the dragon is upset at the loss of her kid and goes on a frantic rage against the drassassin. She was just upset this guy invaded her private property and murdered her family. So they fight, and they both retreat after being wounded. They say the dragon is licking her wound, I say she’s mourning the loss of her entire family child who was brutally slaughtered for absolutely no reason.

Oh yeah, remember the dead magician from the beginning? He’s NOT dead. His plan was that everything I said before happened so that the dragon would be angry enough to leave it’s lair and tries to eat him so he can explode mid-air and kill the dragon…WHAT? That’s the plan? If someone asked me to think of ways to kill a dragon, exploding in the dragon’s mouth is not my first choice. Couldn’t he think of anything better? Oh yeah, and before ding he tells the apprentice that he shouldn’t be a magician and that he used him to carry out his kamikaze plan from the beginning.

What a sad movie. This was a really depressing family movie.

I give it 7.5 depression out of 10

Spice World and the corporate construct 03/06/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in Uncategorized.
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It was recommend that I watch the movie “Spice World”. The Spice girls movie. I have to admit it’s hard to even try to watch a movie like this. I understand that the movie industry is a massive multi-billion dollar business. They are planning to make money and ever increasing profit on a daily basis. However, movies tends to start with a certain creative impulse that drives it. The corporate values and usually intertwined within it, but as I said, it starts with something creative. So it’s tough to swallow this movie. The band itself was made from scratch with random individuals selected to reach the largest possible demographic and make money. A movie with this corporate construct is just another money making attempt. From what I heard, a lot of girls fell in the trap and spent money to see this unimaginative, cliché movie about a carefully engineered band with committee approved music.

Here is my review. I didn’t watch it. I tried to. I really did. I went on Netflix, entered “Spic” in the search menu and clicked on it to watch it. Unfortunately, this image is more or less what I saw. The face was a lot more blurry than I made it out to be.

I couldn’t watch the film. We can still draw parallel with the movie itself and the colour bars.

1: Media corporations made this movie to please as many people as possible to maximize profit. Therefore, everything is in it. There has to be something for everyone.

2: The colour bar: Everyone has a favourite colour and therefore, because all the colours are in the movie, you are bound to love at least one colour of the movie. There is a colour for everyone

3: The movie is a sequence of images and sounds in a chronological order with a plot that is easy to understand for everyone. This is not “The usual suspect” it is an easy movie so it doesn’t confuse anyone.

4: The colour bar was moving as the movie tried to download on my ps3. The colour bars created a sequence of colourful imagery and strange sounds. There is no chronological order, but everyone with a good sight can understand the spectrum of colours and not be confused by it.

5: The movie has cameo appearances by famous actors and musicians.

6: The colour bars have appearances by recognizable colours and sounds.

7: Before the movie started, I thought the movie was going to be funny and tongue in cheek. There is potential to laugh at least one minute.

8: When the movie started and colours showed up, I laughed for at least one minute.

That’s it

I ended up watching another, better movie called “The romantics” with Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Silk Spectre from Watchmen (Malin Akerman), Pacey’s girlfriend from Dawson’s creek(Katie Holmes), and Sookie Stackhouse. Katie Holmes loves a guy, he’s going to marry Sookie Stackhouse, he’s still in love with her. She’s upset, the wedding is called off or something. It was all right. Nothing great. There was no ending though. Just a lots of confusion in the last few minutes of the film. I gave it 7 primary colours out of 10 colour wheel.

I give spice girl no notes. I was green with jealous rage and blue with anger when I couldn’t watch the movie. I should have red a book instead.

Convergence Culture 03/01/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in CMN3165, Community, Henry Jenkins, Media Industry, NBC, Popular Culture, SOPA, Star Trek.
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I particularly enjoy my Media Industry class. Especially when we talk about one of my favourite media theorist, Henry Jenkins. In a book called “Convergence Culture” Jenkins describe the process of converging audiences. He argues that the audience is moving closer and closer to the producer of content in a symbiotic relationship. The audience will synchronize with the media corporations and adjust their values accordingly. Audiences won’t defy or challenge the corporations; it will no longer be rebellious.

Jenkins’s messages have been understood by media corporations, who are hiring him regularly as a consultant. However, this symbiotic relationship is not necessarily what is happening right now. We are seeing this to some extent. Henry Jenkins talked about this in his book .Convergence Culture. In another one of his book, “Fans, bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture” Jenkins describes this relationship and how the fan community and activists were able to influence the creators of Star Trek: The next generation to include episodes dealing with the issue of same-sex couples. However, this success was not as important as the activists hoped because it didn’t fit in the vision of the media corporation. After more than two years of struggling and being denied time and time again, two episodes of Star Trek dealt with the issue of homosexuality (The Host and The Outcast), although, not very openly.


We have also seen this more recently with the fans of the show “Community” (who might or might not come back next year for a fourth season). NBC removed Community from its Fall line-up and it created an endless series of memes, twitter # (#Thisisthedarkesttimeline, #Sixseasonsandamovie, #savecommunity) an ever increasing amount of fan art (Community X-men, Community Batman vilains) and it even generated a crowd sourced Inspector Spacetime animated web series. NBC is bringing back Community on March 15th, but this success doesn’t apply for every show. (See Firefly, Caprica, Torchwood, etc.)

What we are also seeing is that even though media corporations are happy that the fan community is getting involved, they want to control everything. Through various policies they want to see implemented and lawyering fans into submission, they are not going the way of the people, but they are trying to protect their own interests. I have talked about SOPA and Copyright policy before. The industry wants the audience to consume their products at any costs regardless of what the audience thinks because there is so much at stake.


I wrote this post on the morning of March 1st. I learned the existence of the Inspector Spacetime web serie on February 29th. By the end of the day on March first, before I even had time to finish writing this post, Travis Richey, the man behind the initiative to create the webserie received a cease and desist order from NBC’s lawyer. Perhaps Henry Jenkins is right and we are trying to get in a symbiotic relationship with media corporations…but they are making really hard for us to do so.


Follow this link if you are interested in seeing the Inspector Spacetime webserie


Teenagers avoid parents detection by using Twitter 02/25/2012

Posted by Philippe_Leblanc in Uncategorized.
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In a recent article in the Globe and Mail on January 31st, Martha Irvine explains a new trend for teenagers. Over the last two years, the percentage of young people aged 12 to 17 using Twitter has substantially increased. It went from 8% in 2009 to 16% in 2011. Twitter allows users to use pseudonyms instead of their real name, which help teenagers circumvent their parent’s watchful eyes.

The different uses of Twitter allows teens to choose whether they want to follow celebrities they like, monitor news in their field of interest or just say what is on their mind. Another beneficial aspect of Twitter is the increased privacy it brings to users. Their profile can be completely opened and public or private. Since there is no process of “accepting” someone as a friend, which is used on Facebook, teenagers feels less constricted with Twitter than they are on Facebook.

Irvine is right to remind readers of the “mythical privacy” of online users. She says that if a user with a private profile tweet something that is retweeted by a friend, then this tweet is no longer private, and is available for all to see. The other, and most important thing to remember, is that online information leaves a trail, a “digital DNA” of public information. This digital DNA is available for all to see and could be mined by universities, employers, law enforcement and advertisers because it is provided voluntarily. This is a complex issue that teenagers might not be aware of. Teenagers might not have the reflexes concerning privacy they should have. Media literacy is very important, especially since our social interactions (and a good part of our lives too) are moving online.

A good online tool to learn about best practices online, social media uses and other subject concerning new media literacy is the Digital Media Literacy central. Follow this link to their website (DMLcentral.net) or follow their twitter @dmlcentral

To read Martha Irvine’ article, Click HERE