These past few weeks have been extremely interesting and have taught to think critically and actively discuss the issues that arise when learning about the media. The media, so vast, we have internet, radio, newspaper, television and social media just to name a few. The whole aspect of media and technology with a Utopian view such as I have or dystopian view as many older generational people do. I see the positive values that media has, keeping us connected, entertained and informed or learning that others may have a dystopian/negative view on media, finding it dangerous and manipulative as ‘we’ the audience were once seen as gullible and influenced by what we are told. The simple communication process of media has been a big issue as it can often lead to controversy or panic in the media. The sender encodes the message > receiver decodes the message but we all interpret things differently based on our culture and values and the message is not seen the same way, where our connotations for things can cloud what we are actually seeing (denotation). The Idea of who controls our media sources is a major factor when analysing media, people like Rupert Murdoch who own popular newspapers like ‘The Daily Telegraph’ are feeding the public their ideologies and pass on propaganda on how societies should be governed. Diverse media ownership is becoming less but media usage and production has increased greatly. The idea of the public sphere by Jurgen Hobermas which was a place to discuss ideas and events in the current world was for the elite or men who owned land has transformed into the current mediated public sphere where ideas and controversial topics have been put out for everyone to connect with with shows like Q & A allowing the audience to becoming a participator, no longer is it just broadcast media we have social media to share our thoughts on all issues in the public sphere.
For a long time the media has been to blame for causing people, often women, especially young women body image and self esteem issues. Aspiring to look like famous models and actresses they idolise. There has always been this obsession to look like them and the media has been anything but subtle in that matter from flawless models on magazines to sex symbols in movies and television, the media has created almost an icon for what the “perfect” woman is supposed to be. The culture that is ‘young Hollywood’ has really come under fire in recent years as many child actors such as Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes & Lindsay Lohan to name a few who have grown up in the spotlight as sweet and innocent character to grown up women that have been heavily sexualised from their teen years and led to role models of Miley Cyrus’s raunchy music videos, Amanda Bynes’ drug problem and Lindsay Lohans general girl-gone-wild attitude. Since social media has become bigger than ever and children often now as young as 9 or 10 are using it more frequently, they are closer to their idol stars more now than ever and on a personal level and they are bombarded with images of sexual selfies and outrageous photos directly on their social network. The ‘selfie’ has become a cultural trend with social media users with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat as the main ones. This cultural trend has made a circus of moral panic as the sexualised images of these young celebrities is supposedly corrupting our young generation and seen as a threat to our children’s innocence. Issues like sexting and provocative images have been in major media headlines in relation to selfies and causing more and more youth to become self obsessed with their body image and harming their emotional well being, in trying to become ‘perfect’ like their favourite celebrity idols. Is there a moral panic here? or is it just girls being girls?
Since it began in 1989, twenty five years ago it has become a pop culture phenomenon. Its more than just a sitcom about a dysfunction middle class nuclear family, it has made a major change in the mediated public sphere. As many 1980’s sitcoms were generally very conservative, had good morals and were extremely family friendly, the Simpsons become the show that pushed the boundaries. The show although animated is not set entirely for children, it had dealt with real adult issues for example Homer and Marge’s marriage came issues of sex, cheating/affairs, separation & conflict, financial issues, self esteem issues, emotional issues and communication breakdowns, I could go on and on. The show heavily uses stereotypes, and as seen in the infamous ‘Australia’ episode which portrayed us Australians as backwards and dimwitted due to our descendants being from British convicts. This is where issues arise in the mediated public sphere as it can begin to offend cultures or people of a certain race and as seen in The Simpsons there are many stereotype characters from Apu the Indian convenience store clerk to Ned Flanders the good Christian neighbour. Some say can be it can be offensive to their culture others say its looking at their culture with a satirical approach, it all depends on how you view the message. Other than domestic and family issues The Simpsons has a lot of satirical humour on political issues and propaganda. It pokes fun at the government system and at Fox News as we saw in the week 4 lecture and their influence to try and control our ideologies and values. All in all The Simpsons has influenced or should I say created a generation in the mediated public sphere where controversial issues can be acknowledged using humour, stereotyping and good old self awareness.
Since the iPhone is an all in one device, it’s how we make phone calls, text each other, surf the net, use social networks, take photos, listen to music and play games, just to name a few. It is the ultimate device of convergence. This being said it has become more than a piece of technology; it has become part of who we are, a cultural commodity (Jiang 2011). We saw the invention of the app, which have seen over 14 billion app downloads from the app store opening in 2008 (Kim 2011). Depending on your device, whether android or Iphone, you are put into a community. Have you noticed a person sitting alone at a restaurant? Or a peak hour train ride? You’ll find that the majority of these people will be using their iPhone or smartphone devices.
The audience or user has formed a bond with this technology which has altered our lifestyles. This technology has branched away from monologic media and become extremely dialogic based, that is interaction and communication focused (Moore 2014). We share our thoughts on social media, our ideas through texts and our emotions through photos.
With this device comes great responsibility, sorry for the cliché, but it’s true, we have much more power than ever, our voice can be heard from social networks from seconds, incorrect text messages can be sent at any time, no longer as much gatekeepers blocking us of our opinions (Moore 2014). Just from the palm of our hand we are truly globalised and that we can tweet or watch a video anywhere we may be is incredible. The iPhone is a cultural aesthetic of our generation.
Kim, R 2011, The iPhone Effect: How Apple’s phone changed everything, Gigaom.com, viewed 2 April 2014, http://gigaom.com/2011/06/29/the-iphone-effect-how-apples-phone-changed-everything/
Jiang, H 2011, Young People’s Adoption and Consumption of a Cultural Commodity – iPhone, MEDIA@LSE Electronic MSc Dissertation Series, Media@LSE London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England
Moore, C 2014, ‘Audiences: Power, access and participation’, Lecture slides, BCM112, University of Wollongong, viewed 3 April 2014
Alamy 2013, Image of iphone used above, The Telegraph, viewed 3 April 2014, http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02561/iphone_2561776b.jpg
The IPhone is so unlike any other phone out there, unlike android systems which can be used on a variety of hardware’s, iPhone has its own hardware for its own software as the same with its iPads and MacBook’s (Moore 2014). Apple products are engineered to work together and often work better. The iPhone and its IOS operating system is a closed and locked environment, all updates are controlled by apple only apps and music/videos can be purchased from their own iTunes and app stores (Moore 2014). This had been Apple’s ideology from the start, a media platform of equality, hardware that is identical and that its customers have all have the same experience in use (Wu 2010). They are excluding themselves from other media platforms and operating systems as all the media such as apps are only accessible on IOS operating systems and only apple products can be synced with iTunes and its privileges (Wu 2010). Though completely different from the rest of the market, Apple’s closed IOS system has been popular for customers for its simple design and layout (hardware and software), its unified experience and has proved to be quick profitable with Apple selling 150.2 million iPhones in 2013 and in having a 43.4% share in the US smartphone market (Smith 2014). Although its easy and simple technology has won over some, it’s been seen as too controlled for others, its aesthetics are too restricted more and more audiences want to do what able they want on their device like customising it to their liking, having a larger support network and being more compatible with other devices (Jenkins 2014). Will we see Apple freeing some restrictions in the future? Or further restricting their audience in order to have more power in the market?.
Jenkins, H 2004, ‘The cultural logic of media convergence’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 7 (1),p 33-43
Moore, C 2014, ‘Platforms, permissions and ideologies’ Lecture slides, BCM112, University of Wollongong, viewed 31 March 2014
Smith, C 27 January 2014, (January 2014) By the Numbers: 102 Amazing Apple Statistics & Facts, Digital Marketing Ramblings, viewed 1 April 2014, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-amazing-apple-stats/#.Uz1Wn_mSySo
Wu,T 20 November 2010, How Apple’s Closed Ways Could Land It Into Antitrust Trouble, TechCrunch.com, viewed 31 March 2014, http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/20/apple-antitrust/