The Power of Pinners

In this digital age, the role of the audience is changing and evolving. Audiences and users are now not only observing the content, they are controlling it. User empowerment is becoming a powerful force. Users are now generating and contributing to the content that they interact with, which is one of the trends in convergence that Henry Jenkins has identified.

This has been recognised by creators of social websites and has influenced the infrastructure of websites such as Pinterest. User’s not only interact with the website but also determine it’s content by pinning and sharing.

I have created my own online identity through the determining what I pin, post and share.

I have created my own online identity through the determining what I pin, post and share.

The growth in social media websites, such as Pinterest, shows the growing popularity of user empowerment.  In 2013, Pinterest’s international growth rate was 125% (Smith 2014). Now with more than 70 million users world-wide (Slegg 2013), Pinterest has even surpassed Twitter in popularity (Chan 2o13). Users want to be in control of their online identity, and participate in the creation of the content in which they interact with. Social media sites, such as Pinterest, allow for this, and this is evident in the time spent on the website.

Source: comSource

Source: comSource

No longer is the audience simply their to observe. Sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Youtube promote citizen journalism; giving users a multitude of forums to voice their opinions, ideas and feelings. This is a very powerful tool, in which the power is held by those who have a voice. For a deeper look into this issue, check out Clay Shirky’s: How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make historyClay Shirky's How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history

Users of social media sites are not just observing the world around them but creating a virtual presence that leaves a digital fingerprint. Social media users are controlling and creating the content in which they interact with.  In this digital age, the audience has more power in what they consume then ever before.

Reference List

Smith, C 2014, By the Numbers: 59 Amazing Pinterest Stats, Digital Marketing Ramblings, 31.03.2014 <http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/#.UzkHKK2SyPU>

Slegg, J 2013, Pinterest Tops 70 Million Users; 30% Pinned, Repinned, or Liked in June, Search Engine Watch, 31.03.2014 < http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2282835/Pinterest-Tops-70-Million-Users-30-Pinned-Repinned-or-Liked-in-June-Study >

Chan, E 2013, LinkedIn, Pinterest more popular than Twitter: study, Reuters, 31.03.2014 < http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/30/us-twitter-study-idUSBRE9BT0QO20131230 >

 

Tensions and Conflicts: Permission to Post?

With the evolution of technology, users have more freedom and opportunity to do what they wish. If we have the technology available to us- why should we not be able to fully utilise it for our benefit? With this ideology emerging, conflicts are arising between media platforms and permissions of use.

With the progression of convergence, Jenkins has recognised three main tensions between restrictions, channels and the audiences. Digital technology means that it is easy to navigate around the set restrictions.With new channels emerging, the traditional channels such as television stations, are becoming less profitable due to audience’s abilities to gain information on their own demand. With new channels emerging, it is becoming more difficult for the flow of content to be restricted. Social media sites, such as Pinterest, allow for information to be shared in an instant. Pinterest is a medium with free-flowing digital content which allows user’s to not only interact with the website but also determine it’s content by pinning and sharing.

The last point of conflict is the audience, or the people formally known as the audience. The audience is now apart of the creation, distribution, marketing and advertising process. Pinterest has recently been seen as an effective marketing tool, with Marketers…using the sites to drive “social shopping” and inspire people to collect and share pictures of their favourite products(Benady 2013).

My "Inspirational Looks' Board, where I collect images of clothing that I like.

My “Inspirational Looks’ Board, where I collect images of clothing that I like.

The audience of this site, or the users, are also people that want to get their products and ideas out into the public domain. It is estimated that over 500,000 Pinterest accounts are business accounts (Smith 2014).

These conflicts exist between these three stakeholders because those setting the restrictions, those controlling the channels and the audience each feel entitled to their own rights. Restrictions are put in place to protect intellectual property but audiences feel that if they have the technology to access and post information, then they should have a right too their own digital identity.

Reference List

Jenkins, H 2004 Technological and Cultural Convergence

Benady 2013, How Marketers Use Pinterest and Instagram To Win Customers, The Guardian, 30.3.2014, < http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/04/how-marketers-use-pinterest-and-instagram-to-win-customers >

Smith, C 2014, By the Numbers: 59 Amazing Pinterest Stats, Digital Marketing Ramblings, 31.3.2014 < http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/#.UzkJJa2SyPV >

Waking up with the Sunrise

Let me begin by saying, that I am not a morning person. But if my alarm doesn’t wake me up then, the grinding of the coffee machine and Kochie’s voice chimming from the living room usually does. Of late though, my morning routine of making my coffee and sitting mindlessly in front of the TV, with Sunrise on, as I try and wake up, has changed. Being a CMS student, I have been encouraged to not only watch the media but to analyse it. And this has gotten me thinking about the media that I engage with on a daily basis.

Sunrise, one of Australia’s leading breakfast shows, is broadcast and owned by the Seven Network. The Seven Network is currently owned by Seven West Media Limited. Seven West Media is “the leading, listed national multi-platform media business based in Australia” (Seven West Media). Seven West Media prides itself on the success of its branches:

We comprise Seven Television, the leading free to air capital city television network; Pacific Magazines, the country’s second largest magazine group by readership; Yahoo!7 one of the nation’s most successful internet platforms, as well as Western Australia’s leading newspaper, The West Australian and associated WA regional newspapers and radio stations.

I had always known the Seven Network owned the Sunrise breakfast show, but after a bit of investigating, I found it interesting to see the monopoly that the Seven Network is apart of. Who owns the media’s that we use, makes a big difference. I believe that whoever provides the funds, provides the voice. Seven West Media and the Seven Network would have a prominent voice over the governing of the television show but what I do enjoy about Sunrise is that it is a balance of new, opinion, and entertainment. The news and issues are presented in a way that allows for opinion and discussion, between presenters, guests and the viewers. For example, this Friday’s segment on Koshie’s Angels, there was a discussion on the new Snicker’s ad and the opinions of the public.

Seven West Media is a major monopoly in Australia’s media landscape. When further investigation is done, it is revealed that the media landscape of Australia is not as diverse as one might think, dominated by major players, with prominent voices.

Reference List

2014, Seven West Media, 28.03.2014, < http://www.sevenwestmedia.com.au/ >

2014, Sunrise, 28.03.2014, < http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/ >

2014, Controversial ad shows tradies in a new light, Sunrise, 28.03.2014 < http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/22219747/controversial-ad-shows-tradies-in-a-new-light/ >

Controversy and Connotations

Photo by Richard Drew

Photo by Richard Drew

For me, there are few images as powerful and controversial as Richard Drew’s, ‘The Falling Man’. New York Times ran this photo in their paper after the attacks, leading it to be branded as “disturbing”, “exploitative” and “voyeuristic” and then was struck from the record for two years before reappearing in an article in the Esquire in 2003 (Young 2013).

The actual image in the photograph, the denotation, is simple, described by Brian Anderson, author of the article ‘The Most Famous 9/11 Photograph No One Has Seen’ as “a quiet, intimate image” (Anderson 2011). But the connotations and the signifiers associated with the image are diverse and complex. These images of people falling to their deaths, and this Falling Man in particular, depict the heartbreaking decision that about 200 people (Young 2013) made that day; to jump rather than be consumed by the chaos inside the Towers. However, the connotations that I have with the photo will differ from those of others because of my culture and personal experiences. For example, I was only 5 at the time of the attacks, and as an Australian student I have only experienced the event from an analytical point of view. Although I find this image heartbreaking, I do not have the personal connections to the victims that the American people do- not only as friends and family members of the victims but as an affected nation.

This photo also is a represents the connotations of the countermemory of the 9/11 attacks. The photographer, Drew, had called it “the most famous photograph no one has seen.” As the years have progressed, photos and images such as these have been brought back into the light to remember this tragic aspect of the event, “The Falling Man was unidentified, yet he encapsulated the day’s horror. And even without a name, he personalized it too.” (Anderson 2011)

Reference List

Anderson, 2011, The Most Famous 9/11 Photograph No One Has Seen, Motherboard, 23.03.2014

<http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-most-famous-9-11-photograph-no-one-has-seen>

Young, 2013, The Story Behind The Most Powerful Image of 9/11: The Falling Man, news.com.au, 23.0302014

<http://www.news.com.au/world/the-story-behind-the-most-powerful-image-of-911-the-falling-man/story-fndir2ev-1226717247792>

Curation of Content

In my previous blog I discussed the growing ability of audiences to create their own content. This idea leads me into this weeks post about control and ownership of that content.

Pinterest is a medium for which users can “pin” links, photos or articles onto their personal profile as part of a compilation of their online identity. Although each user acts as curator for their “boards”, the content that is collected to create them is usually pinned from another user’s account or a foreign website. This brings into light the issues of content ownership, not only for Pinterest users but also for directors of foreign websites.

The functions of Pinterest operate in such a way that is designed to maintain the origins of Pins. When users pin directly from a website, a link is formed to the original source, which allows other users to gain further information, pictures, ideas et cetera and at the same time allows for credit to be given to the original website. Even the function of re-pinning the pins of others usually allows the original link to be kept in tact. These functions enable control over content and allow credit to be given.

Pinterest’s Terms of Service and Copyright compliance encourages the use of their site to be done with content ownership and intellectual property in mind. Pinterest “respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same… In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998… Pinterest will respond expeditiously to claims of copyright infringement committed using the Pinterest website…” (2013 Pinterest) With Pinterest’s respect for intellectual property, the website and its users may benefit from sites that use of an open content form of licensing from which to Pin from, such as Creative Commons so no copyright infringements occur.

Further Reading 

A fellow BCM112 student, Jarrah Bowley, tweeted this link, which I found very interesting and relatable to this blog post.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/magazine/pinterest-tumblr-and-the-trouble-with-curation.html?_r=0

Reference List

Pinterest’s Copyright Compliance: 2014, Pinterest, 23.03.2014 <http://about.pinterest.com/copyright/>

Evolution of the Medium

Henry Jenkins (2006, p.2) refers to Convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences”. The Internet has developed as a major stakeholder in the way in which people access content, with multiple media industries using it as a platform to engage with an audience that spans the globe. My chosen technology, Pinterest, is a great example of the way in which the Internet has been utilised to cause a migration of audiences.

Pinterest describes itself as, “a tool for collecting and organising things you love” (Pinterest 2013). It allows people with similar interests to connect via common content. For those who have not heard of the website or would like more information, Megan Tietz has a great blog explaining the purpose of Pinterest and information on how to navigate the website.

To elaborate, I would describe Pinterest to be an online, interactive pin board for people to share their finds from anywhere on the web. Before the Internet, before Pinterest, pin boards could be used to broadcast information & news, to advertise and to share. These pin boards were only seen by people in the vicinity, and viewed in a passive way. The creators of Pinterest have recognised migration towards the utilisation of the Internet and have created a medium based on the trusty pin board, but with modern evolutions. Pinterest has turned the idea of a pin board into a medium that can be interacted with, by anyone anywhere in the world. It is a technology that has changed audiences from passive consumers to active participants (Moore 2014).

As a medium, Pinterest allows its users (the audience) to create and share their own content, which means that not only has the medium evolved, but the role of the audience has as well.

Further Readings

Megan  Tietz’s Blog, “Pinterest:  A Beginner’s Guide”  http://www.sortacrunchy.net/sortacrunchy/2011/05/pinterest-a-beginners-guide.html

Reference List

Moore, C, ‘Trajectories of Convergence’, Lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, 11.03.2014

Henry, J 2006, Introduction: Worship at the Altar of Convergence, New York University Press, USA.

2014, Pinterest, 17.03.2014, <http://about.pinterest.com/>

Is Media Really to Blame?

In today’s society, the media has become an overwhelming and highly influential presence and, in the words of Elaine Napoli, “a contemporary factor in our everyday living”. Technology is constantly evolving and because of this, the media has more channels and accessibility than ever.

Although I accept the media as a very influential force, there are a number of factors to consider before blaming the media for all of societies faults. The media is constantly being held responsible for increasing levels of violence, laziness and anti-social behavior. For example, in 1993, when two-year old Jamie Bulger was abducted and brutally murder by two ten-year old boys the media and violent video games were accused by the masses to have influenced the actions of the killers. What was not widely recognized was the context of the killer’s home lives, which included family dysfunction, poverty, alcoholism, neglect and bullying.

In some cases, the media is blamed for societal dysfunction because they are the easiest culprit to blame. In the case of Alfred Bandura’s studies of Aggression he posed that watching violence’s promotes violence. The studies were carried out in a lab and involved children watching an adult hit, kick and abuse a Bobo Doll. When the children were then given a Bobo doll they exhibited the same behavior as the adults on TV. I do not credit this behaviour as violence caused by a media form, but merely impressionable children mimicking the figures that they traditionally learn their behaviour from- adults.

When learning about these case studies in our lecture, Myth Busting: ‘Television makes you fat’, I felt encouraged to inspect the underlying factors of a situation before jumping to conclusions and blaming the media as the culprit.

I have included further reading that I found interesting when considering the topic of this blog:

References

Napoli, E, Media in Today’s Society, 16.08.2009, viewed 16.03.2014 ,<http://elainenapoli.hubpages.com/hub/Media-in-Todays-Society>

Turnball, S, 2014, Myth Busting: ‘Television makes you fat’, lecture slides, BCM110, University of Wollongong, 11.03.2014.