Freedom of Speech or just Anonymous Bullies?

In today’s society, famous personalities, celebrities, and politicians are not just seen on our TV screens and on the covers of magazines, but have a heavy presence on our social media sites. This, however, provides an easily accessible, and possibly anonymous outlet for bullying and misogyny. Social media forums were designed as outlets to voice personal opinions. But where is that blurred line between freedom of speech and being a “troll”?

Charlotte Dawson (8 April 1966- 22 February 2014) was a New Zealand- Australian television personality, known for extensive career that included modelling, television host and judge/ mentor on Australian’s Next Top Model. However, due to the circumstances of her death in February, Charlotte Dawson is, unfortunately remembered for her, very public, issues with bullying and depression. The television personality was bullied on various forms of social media, particularly Twitter.

Article from the Eastern Tribune

Article from the Eastern Tribune

 

Before her death, Charlotte carried out an investigation of Twitter “trolls” that led to her confronting six of her online tormentors, of which two men were captured on camera.

Charlotte Dawson is remembered as witty, bold, strong and often controversial woman- qualities that would be admirable if in a man. However, her personality often warranted nasty reactions on social media that led to depression and eventually suicide. The cyber bulling that Charlotte faced was so severe that it is said by her close friends and family that it was the cause of her death. Charlotte Dawson was abused and bullied because of her strong opinions and bold personality, but businesswomen, female politicians and ‘regular’ women on social media sites with these same attributes are constantly beat down. Charlotte’s death has, however, brought the issue of cyber bullying back into the light. I agree that cyber bullying is also an issue among men, especially men in the public eye- but online, men are criticised for very different reasons. It it seems that social media sites are providing a new platform for misogyny.

Rest In Peace, Charlotte Dawson.

Further Reading

If you still unsure about Charlotte Dawson, check out Rebecca Sparrow’s article on Mamamia.

Also, please check out Charlotte’s Last Interview by Sunday Night.

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‘1 Like = 1 Prayer’ ?

Gen Y is frequently referred to in the media as useless, entitled, lazy and selfinvolved. As a member of Gen Y, I am going to have to disagree with the over-arching stereotypes; I believe that members of this generation can be passionate, determined and generous. We just have a different way of expressing ourselves. It is easily recognisable that social media is the platform of Gen Y. We do not just use social media for sharing our drunken escapades… and those beloved cat videos. Many have learnt to utilise the technology at their fingertips to raise awareness, share opinions and enact great change. This is known as clicktivism. Social media is being harnessed to organise protests, rally awareness and bring about change.

There is a campaign circulating Pinterest at the moment that is promoting the sale of t-shirts to raise money for orphans in Asia, known as the Show Hope campaign, organised by the organisation, Sevenly. The photo’s being pinned and shared are direct links to the website where you can purchase t-shirts and make donations.

Sevenly's current Show Hope campaign circulates Pinterest

Sevenly’s current Show Hope campaign circulates Pinterest

 

In March, Facebook was utilised to raise awareness and donations for cancer, through the #nomakeuselfie. The idea started and spread on Facebook, by 18-year-old Fiona Cunningham (Murray, 2014).

However, it is easy to pin, share and like photos, or take a photo without make-up and post it to Facebook. Unless a donation is made, or a real step istaken to help the cause, then the clicktivism turns to an act of slacktivism. Jenni Murray, from Daily Mail’s, Mail Online, expresses her frustration on the attention-seeking selfies that result in no support for cancer research. Social media users need to realise that pinning, tweeting, liking and sharing will not save the world.

Source: unicef, Obtained from: http://www.onegirl.org.au/category/clicktivism

Source: unicef, Obtained from: http://www.onegirl.org.au/category/clicktivism

Although social media platforms can be great for promoting and support a cause, they need to be supported by real and physical revenues for change.

 

Reference List

Murray, J 2014, ‘These selfies make me livid’, Mail Online, 2 April, viewed 8 May, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2595450/These-selfies-make-livid-Why-cancer-survivor-JENNI-MURRAY-angry-stars-helped-raise-millions-posting-photos-no-make-up.html>.

 

I Feel the Need… The Need for Remix

Sitting in the Bunker last Tuesday afternoon, after an already long day, my brain was reluctant to cooperate. So, unfortunately, Dr. Andrew Whelan’s explanation of remix and remix culture went straight over my tired head. So to the Internet I went to seek out a (much simpler) explanation of the concept. This is when I came across The Evolution of Remix Culture, by the Youtuber, normative. I found his explanation and examples really interesting- and frankly… understandable.

He describes Remix Culture as ‘… a platform for collective expression by—and conversations between—social groups’. The one example that stuck with me was the evolution of the mashup of the Brat Pack. Mashup’s represent, what Normative calls, stage one the remix culture. The Brat Pack Mashup by Youtuber, avoidantconsumer is a compilation of  clips from old 1980’s John Hughes movies into a feel-good music video.

Clips from the Brat Pack, Source: mashuphttp://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/35670341.html

After avoidantcomsumer’s video was posted, a group of friends from Brooklyn posted their own emulation of the original, before another group from San Francisco created and posted their own.

The Brooklyn Brat Pack

This created a chain reaction of video’s appearing on the web from all around the world. There is a page on Pinterest dedicated to Brat Pack Mashup’s. There are videos from America, New Zealand, Hawaii and Amsterdam, just to name a few. This exemplifies the participatory nature of remix culture. When people engage in this culture of remixes, mashups and parodies, they are participating in the text and engaging with it.

Like in any case of media interaction, remix culture can lead to legal concerns. Unfortunately avoidantcomsumer’s account has been shut down by Youtube “due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.” …Woops. When participating in remix culture, fair use needs to be considered. Normative also provides the example of a group of colleagues who put together a ‘lip dub’ of the song Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger, who were sued after not gaining permission to use the song.

I recommend that you check out Normative’s video. It is only a short 8 minutes and is very explanatory. He also provides hyperlinks to the examples that I have discussed.

Further Info

I also suggest that if you are after more information on remix and remix culture that check out Larry Lessig’s TED talk, ‘Laws that choke creativity’, Eduardo Navas’ definitions from Regressive and Reflective Mashups in Sampling Culture, 2010 Revision or the TED Blog post, ‘14 Brilliant quotes on remixing‘.

Reference List

Normative, 2010, The Evolution of Remix Culture, online video, 5 February, Youtube, viewed 1 May, 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watchv=4BZ06Kwbi5s&list=UUVMjaD4Mrn1ZSEhN1kDJdrw&gt;.

The Video’s talked about in The Evolution of Remix Culture