My Other Half

16Mar09

On Friday, my phone almost died. It literally sent me into a ‘frenzy’ of stressful emtions. These emotions got me thinking about an article posted by Dr. Strangelove that discussed how cell phones are stressing teenagers out. Although I’m no longer a teenager (having the double-deuce b-dizzle in 13 days) I felt like the article just all of a sudden clicked. I am actually addicted to my phone.

Having had a cell phone since the age of 16, the thought of losing my phone threw me into a whirlwind of “what am I going to do” questions. The study done in the article had ‘excessive’ cell phone use at about 15 calls and/or texts per day, I’m not trying to brag, but there are days when I’m probably hovering around 100 texts a day.

Gaby Badre said that “youngsters feel a group pressure to remain reachable around the clock.” This quote really got me thinking about my ‘reachability’ and how long this has been a part of my daily life. As a Generation Y (iGeneration, the Net Generation, etc.) member I realized how I’ve been “reachable around the clock” since I was probably about 12 or 13, when I first became an MSN user. I suppose with the progression of cellular phones I didn’t really notice how much this was affecting my everyday life. Somedays I’ll go to work and realize that I forgot my cell phone and it’s like  my entire world just stops.

Badre also announced in this article that there appears to “be a connection between intensive use of cell phones and health-compromising behaviour such as smoking, snuffing, and the use of alcohol.” This quote made me wonder if intensive use of cell phones is triggered by a more ‘addictive’ personality which would in turn explains the “the health-compromising behaviours” that cell phone addicts such as myself partake in.

Either way, maybe my cell phone ‘dying’ would be a good thing for me for a while, maybe it will help me sleep a little better, not be so restless.
But in the words of a true addict; Maybe one day I’ll stop.

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MeMeMolly

12Mar09

MeMeMolly, a teeny-boppin’ YouTube sensation, with 57 videos and 71 454 subscribers MeMeMolly is Canada’s #6 most subcribed of all time, according to her YouTube stats.  MeMemolly is also ranked as #86 on istardom as a famous Internet entertainer.

As much as I really approve of YouTube and have succumb to hundreds of mind-numbing hours watching videos similar to these Cats Inspired By Cats or Bing Bang it’s kind of got me wondering what really makes someone an ‘istar’? As an experiment I typed into google “online popularity” to gain some insight into the celebrity life of online users, and saw a lot of sights that were geared towards “improving your online popularity!”

In my almost-educated opinion YouTube stars just reflect the usual movie star in terms of what makes who popular, LOOKS! I mean, really. Most of the popular YouTube channels are young, good-looking girls/boys, singing, dancing, i.e. doing irrelevant things in front of the camera, they just look good doing it.  I have yet to see a YouTube channel that just totally entertains me, rather than irritates for the most part.

In a Blog by Tech Digest they have apparantly come up with the 10 best ways to become a YouTube star; 1. Lip Synching, 2. Animals doing funny things, 3. Having an original idea, 4. Fighting strangers in the street, 5. Use your camphone at concerts, 6. Be exceptionally good at video-games, 7. Corrupt children’s characters, 8. Get Drunk, 9. Rip off Japanese cartoons, and 10. Review hot-gadgets in a minute or less.

This is what I watch, people getting drunk and corrupting my beloved childhood cartoons.


The Future of the Internet.

I want an IPhone, seriously.
I want a Mac too.
(This is me, on the Internet CLEARLY NOT conforming to capitalistic wishes, HaHa!)

“i’m a right clicka, not an ibook flippa!” Buttttt I want to be. The Introduction of The Future of the Internet: and How to Stop It sort of starts off with a brief introduction of the IPhone and its functions, as well as products-past, and sort of goes on to discuss how these are “not just products but also services, watched and updated according to the constant dictates of their makers and who can pressure them” (p.05).  It leads into this question of what is comming and how we should handle them.

Zittrain brings up the notion of fear and the computer. Fear of the unknown, fear of viruses, and spam, fear of turning a “standard mobile phone into a roving microphone” (p.04) and the fear of “bad code that can infect huge swaths of the Web in a heartbeat” (p.04). I too suffer from this syndrome, and the more applications, and programs, and broadband that I use the more I begin to consider the consequences of my online actions… but as the saying goes “once it’s done, it’s done!” As we have learned, there is no real way of going back and undoing what you’ve done, even Facebook for example, I’ve pretty much signed my life away (or at least the life I portray online) to Facebook to use, and continue to use even when I ‘delete’ my profile.

This book appears to focus on much of the past of the Internet, of computers, of major networking corporations in order to better predict for the future.  Zittrain brings up an interesting point of re-embracing “thethered appliances” which a “bundled hardware and software that is created and controlled by one company” (p.09) which can severely hinder the “amateur innovation” that occurs. This is a big deal. Right now a huge premise of the Internet is based on the “amateur innovations,” like what I am doing right now. I don’t really know how ready i am to be regulated, and to have the creations of others heavily regulated either. This is the way that new products are going however, even my beloved IPhone.


I believe this right here, this blog, may be my contribution to the “emancipation of humanity!” (p. 200)

I have kind of hated the word “utopic” or “utopian” since reading Orwell’s 1984, but for lack of a better descriptive word I have to side with Pierre Levy’s idealistic “utopic futurology” of the Internet, it kind of makes me feel relevant and excited while I sit here writing this post.  This “utopic futurology” insists that our communicative freedom is a stepping stone  towards “cultural, technological, and moral improvement!” (p. 201) (It’s true that by reading this, I am improving your morale! haha) The main component of this ‘improvement’ is that with the use of the internet and its communicative capabilities, we can ALL participate. “ALL” a word relatively unheard of in former revolutions. I am talking coast to coast, time zone to time zone, kind of “ALL!” 

Levy talks about this globalized communicative freedom that the Internet gives us and believes that it will “produce a new type of universality, a globally shared context of economy, law, meaning, and governance” (p.202). To certain Internet theorists the Internet is sort of becomming very romantic, a “cosmic brain that will blook like an infinite flower made of love” (p.201).  This is evidenced by “how oppositional cultures find a public space within the Internet” (p.212). This freedom is allowing for a revolution, a media revolution that will lead to this utopic Internet future rather than the counter normalizing future brought forth by the Normalization Thesis.

utopia

Bibliography
Strangelove, M. (2005) The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement. Toronto: University of Toronto Press Inc.


The Banana King.
Meeting the Muffin Man.
Return to the Leo Pluredon.
Maple Story Version.

How about Charlie the Unicorn in Spanish?

Charlie the Unicorn and his travels, is an animated YouTube show that has quickly become very popular. 34, 536, 645 views on Charlie the Unicorn travels to Candy mountain.

“It’s a land of sweet, joy, and joyness!”

The show itself is actually pretty humourous, it’s got a kind of candy coated dark obscene humour that is a characteristic of amateur work on the Internet. Dr. Strangelove has expressed in class how amateur culture is “very much uncensored, and more raw” than that of most things produced culturally. He also compares this raw and uncensored Internet movement to certain obsenities that have played an important role in large social movements in centuries past, such as the Enlightenment. He explains this movement as “delegitimizing the santity of the authority’s position.”

Charlie the Unicorn also proves that it’s not only corporations who can produce compelling material, and I think with 35 million viewers that, that statement speaks for itself. Corporations have lost control over us, and over their content.. Actually!

This show brings to mind another Dr. Strangelove lecture that dicussed how the cultural mode of production equals mode of social life, and how it produces a new way of life.

Charlie the Unicorn is compelling, funny, and most of all done by us. With new YouTube shows like this, we are changing the basic mode of production in order to produce a new mode of social life.


The Internet as non-commercial press.

It comes down to a battle between an institutionalized system and a deinstitutionalized system.

The Internet has allowed for all of us to become amateur journalists and put a spin on goings on, or comment and try and sway public opinion from our bedrooms, our desks at work, or from a cafe.  No matter where these opinions are being transmitted from, we are single-handedly beginning to control the news. The Internet’s unruly characteristics and deinstitutionalized life allows for us to take more risks, and be more brash with our newsworthy items and comments and not really fear the repercussions of these risks (if any).

Following the normalization thesis, there are certain theorists and media moguls, such as Robert McChesney who believe that “the media giants will be able to draw the Internet into their existing empire” (p.163).  I personally think this is bullocks!

In Dr. Strangelove’s book, Empire of Mind he refers to this as the “third-major historical shift in the economy, ownership, and structure of news production” (p.166).  He refers to this as the third-stage because it is “disconnected from the constraints of the corporate sector and connected to a very inexpensive global distribution platform (the Internet)” (p.166). This shift describes how never before so many people have been able to reach out and communicate to so many others around the globe.

This non-commercial press is rebelling against the commercial press which serves merely in economic interest. The non-commercial press is done by amateurs and for the most part, is non-profit.

It’s similar to what I am doing here. Discussing the media, exposing truths, all in the name of freedom! (& for class).dp_journalists_iraq_500


A brief discussion about YouTube, and the way that we, the new media are using it. The way in which we are claiming it as our own public space and using it to rebel against our loss of a public voice. This YouTube video was done as a mid-term project for CMN2170B, to discuss a realm of amateur videos and their purpose and effects.  

The YouTube Generation Video.

Bibliography:

 Strangelove, M. (2005). The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy & the Anti-Capitalist Movement. Toronto: Universiy of Toronto Press, Inc.
Strangelove, M. (2009). CMN2170 New Media Lectures. Ottawa: University of Ottawa, Simard Hall.
Video clips courtesy of YouTube.
Photos courtesy of Google & Adbusters.org.
Music: Quiet Please, Cold War Kids