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“The New Media Landscape: What Should We Be Most Concerned About?”

May 15, 2010

“The New Media Landscape: What Should We Be Most Concerned About?”

McChensey opening statement, citing from the Political Economy of Media

The FCC was required by the 1996 Telecommunications Act to review the existing media ownership rules every two years, and it had fallen behind schedule.  These rules limited the number of government-granted monopoly broadcast licenses a single firm could own, locally and nationally.  They also put limits on how much other media, specifically newspapers, a company waves could own.  The spirit behind these rules was to have as much ownership diversity as possible.  The long-standing rules were popular with everyone, except the big media conglomerates that were salivating at the thought of expanding and lessening competitive pressures.

The three Bush appointments to the five members FCC all made clear their support for the relaxation of the media ownership rules even before any research had been done, and they had the votes to pass the reforms they wanted.  With Congress also under Republican control the matter looked all but lost in the spring of 2003.

With the frustration with media came forth when people gained the recognition that our media system was not natural, but the result of the policies and subsidies, that had been made in their name but without their informed consent.  This was when the opposition to the proposed relaxation of the media ownership rules exploded, seemingly out of thin air.  Within a year at least two million people, had contacted the FCC and Congress to protest the relaxation of the rules.  The protests came from across the political spectrum and for a variety of reasons; anger against the media coverage of the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was certainly a large factor.  This birth the media reformed movement.

The media reform movement concentrates upon policy activism, it is closely linked to groups creating independent media, which has exploded on the Internet, and to those who provide criticism of the mainstream media.  Those doing independent media need success in the policy realm to assure they have a possibility to be effective while those doing criticism and educational work do so with the ultimate aim of changing the system.  I believe the Internet had magically “solved” the problem of the media.  This is our moment in the sun, our golden opportunity, and as political economists of the media we must seize it.

Daniel J. Solove opening statement, citing from The Future of Reputation:  gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet

Privacy in Overexposed World…

What is privacy and what is privacy in the digital new media age?

Today, privacy goes far beyond whether something is exposed to others.  What matters most is the nature of the exposure and what is done with the information.  There is a difference between casual observation and the more indelible recording of information and images.  A second difference involves the degree of anonymity we expect in our everyday activities.  A third component of our expectations involves our understanding of context.  Fourth, much of our daily lives occurs in realms that are neither purely public nor purely private.

Most of us have moments when we’re in public where we would not want a photo taken of us, much less placed on the Internet.  Most of us have times when we expose personal information to others but do not except it to be shared more widely.  We frequently have conversations in public that we don’t expect to be overheard.  When we chat in a restaurant, we don’t except others to be straining to eavesdrop on our discussion about the din of other dinner conversations.  At most, we might expect one or two people to hear fragments of what we’re saying, but we certainly don’t expect to see a transcript of our conversation appear on the Internet.

Thus merely assessing whether information is exposed in public or to others can no longer be adequate to determining whether we should protect it as private.  Unless we rethink the binary notion of privacy, new technologies will increasingly invade the enclaves of privacy we enjoy in public.  Privacy is a complicated set of norms, expectations, and desires that goes far beyond the simplistic notion that if you’re in public, you have no privacy.

Jonathan Zittrain, opening statement citing from The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

Solving the Problems of Privacy 2.0

Cheap sensors generatively wired to cheap networks with cheap processors are transforming the nature of privacy.  How can we respond to the notion that nearly anything we do outside our homes can be monitored and shared?  How do we deal with systems that offer judgments about what to read or buy, and whom to meet, when they are not channeled through a public authority or through something as suable, and therefore as accountable, as Google?

The central problem is that the organizations creating, maintaining, using, and disseminating records of identifiable personal data are no longer just “organizations” – they are people who take pictures and stream them online, who blog about their reactions to a lecture or a class or a meal, and who share on social sites rich descriptions of their friends and interactions.  These databases are becoming as powerful as the ones large institutions populate and centrally define.  Yet the sorts of administrative burdens we can reasonably place on established firms exceed those we can place on individuals.  The administrative burdens of complying with telecommunications law are well beyond the abilities of a regular citizen.  Similar, we should create regime so complicated as to frustrate generative development by individual users.

Ken Auletta opening statement, citing from Googled: the End of the World as We Know It

Google’s servers now contain a tremendous amount of data about its users, and this database grows exponentially as search and a variety of Google services multiply.  With the latest techniques to discern what really motivates consumers – often categorized as “behavioral targeting” – companies and advertisers will know even more.  Some forms of such targeting are widely seen as helpful, such as when Amazon extrapolates form the browsing and purchase histories of a customer to recommend books.

Google’s web site acknowledges that it collects information about its users, but not names or other personally identifying information.  It does, however, collect the names, credit card information, telephone number, and purchasing and credit history of those who sign up for such features as Google Checkout.  Google said it “will not sell or rent your personal information to companies or individuals outside Google – unless individuals give their “opt in consent.”

My response to McChensey

I appreciate you providing us with the historical breakdown of the media and how the media reform was birth.  Based on my research with the 1996 Telecommunication Act, it has severely affected the minority media ownership and localism.  I definitely agree that the Internet has allowed more diversity among media, however I don’t agree that it has solved the problem with media.  Traditional media as known as legacy media is still the most influential media to reach and influence an audience, a culture.  Yes, more people are going online and producing content but then you run into the problem of creditable – are these content creators trustworthy; the noise of the Internet – finding and searching for “good content” can be very difficult because of all sifting through different sites to see if they are reliable sources.  Yes, the Internet has caused a threat to legacy media but I believe the Internet is next to be endanger by the ownership of “big media”.  With Net Neutrality, the continual theme this year and with the merger of Universal NBC and Comcast, legacy media is figuring out a way to control the Internet.  I suspect that the merger of Comcast and Universal NBC ultimate purpose is to no only limit the diversity of content on mainstream media, but to have their hands on Hulu, which is an online site that post television shows and movies that is a big with Web users.  My question to you is what is the media reform movement doing to protect not only the public airwaves of traditional media but also, make sure the Internet remains an open-source to the public?

My response to Zittrain and Solove

Both of you brought up the reoccurring argument of privacy on the Internet, which is becoming a major issue since the explosion of social media.  Social media is not only becoming a place where individuals to converse, share information, and post pictures but now Web social etiquette is a factor.  Do you believe in the future of the Internet, that moderators and/or Web police will be needed to sift through content determining what’s deem appropriate and what’s not, what laws are being broken with privacy statues, etc?  If so, how will this play a part with the first amendment Freedom of Speech, and is there really anyway the government and control or govern the activities that are going on the Web, especially since the Web a global tool.

SecondLife, a virtual marketing tool?

May 9, 2010

SecondLife (SL) is a virtual culture using avatars to navigate and communicate through this space. SecondLife developed by Linden Lab launching this virtual world on June 23, 2003 which is accessible on through the Internet.

Based on an article from Businessweek.com, companies are thinking twice about virtual worlds and finding more security and flexibility in alternatives.

The article focus on many big name companies, such as Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola (just to name a few) that created virtual worlds in SecondLife all trying to market and attract youthful, tech – savvy customers.  But Wells Fargo, “Stagecoach Island”, pulled out of SecondLife and opted to create its own world, a larger, stand-alone online universe that it can monitor more closely and customize.

According to the article, they stated the Web-based parallel universe is a messy marketplace where you’re as likely to see a bare-chested, rabbit-headed avatar trolling for adult themes entertainment or vandalizing a digital store.  So more companies are utilizing a 3-D virtual world, however their creating it owns their own.

The growing crop of Second Life alternatives is diverse and highly specialized but shares a common focus on security, customization, and control – three qualities that are business-friendly.

So what is SecondLife doing to increase their security and allow businesses to gain more control?

Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life, doesn’t think that building a series of separate virtual worlds is a good strategy, director of marketing Catherine Smith says. The company, however, is working on allowing corporate players to increase security by hosting their own servers that could keep their back-end data separate from Linden Lab’s main server.

So is it worth being on SL?

From an interactive marketing standpoint, a company should only brand their selves where the audience they’re trying to reach is at.  Companies must be an active player in any virtual space not just a placeholder to say “we on all the latest social sites and virtual environments”.

“It’s about conversations. It’s about having conversations with your target audience. It’s about participating in your target’s conversations. It’s about listening in a way that helps you understand your audiences better.”- Jim Tobin, Ignite Social Media

And having conversation on SL isn’t difficult but would be pointless (for a company) if their target audience isn’t there in the virtual space and their not seeing ROI.  Let’s face it; at the end of the day for a business, it’s about making money.  True marketers know that and would research and create a marketing strategy before just jumping at the latest technology.

So to answer the question is SecondLife a virtual marketing tool?  It depends on some many factors to say a “yes” or “no” answer.  It really depends on the company and their purpose for entering this virtual space.

Digital Divide

May 9, 2010

Digital Divide – What is being accomplished to close the gap?

What is digital divide?

Digital divide is a term coined for the disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the technology revolution. Many have feared grave consequences for those unable to access the power of the Internet; however, recent reports suggest that this divide is narrowing, rather than expanding (National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 2000).

Who’s doing anything about this?

There are several organizations that are taking a stand on this issue of the digital divide.  However there is one organization, I will highlight called The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE).

The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. ADE also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives.

The Alliance for Digital Equality maintains that the key to expanding opportunities for all communities is through Digital Empowerment.  Since its founding, ADE has launched 9 Digital Empowerment Councils nationwide: Charleston, SC, Houston, TX, Detroit, MI, Miami, FL, Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA and Chicago, IL, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA to examine the impact of broadband access on the local communities in the areas of civic participation, public health, public safety, urban and economic development, and education.

ADE’s goal is to educate Americans about the benefits of new broadband technologies and be a voice of underserved communities to raise awareness of the importance of new technologies regardless of socioeconomic status.

Last month, Actor Malik Yoba interviews Actor, Author, Activist, and Summit Moderator Hill Harper at the Alliance For Digital Equality’s 2010 Minority Broadband Empowerment Summit on the USC Campus in Los Angeles. ADE is working to empower communities across the digital divide and bring celebrities to join the cause.

Future of Reputation

May 9, 2010

Inspired by the book, The Future of Reputation: gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove

From the beginning of time, people have gossiped, circulating rumors, and shaming others.  Since the birth of the Internet, in our society, these social practices are moving into the virtual world of the Web.

The Internet is a powerful tool, it has given the ability to share information and allow people to stay connected with others.  Nonetheless, the Internet does something that many people don’t think about, it generates and leaves a digital footprint of everything an individual does which could cause harmful damage to the individual in the future.

How many times have we performed a Google search on an individual?

In the book of Future of Reputation, Solove shares an example of a man name Micheal, who severed time in a juvenile prison.  While in prison, he wrote a few articles about his experience in specialize journals. Due to the Web, these articles have came back to haunt him.  Every time someone does a Google search on Micheal, these articles appear and there is nothing he can do about it.

It’s important that people know and understand that when content goes live online it stays there, no matter what!  So what about privacy online or is there such a thing?

What’s the most concerning part of the Web leaving digital footprints of users’ activity is the people who are naive to the social ramification of the Internet…the younger generation.  I wonder if this generation who has been raised in the digital era have the maturity of knowing the effects of posting information online can have a permanent effect?

Growing up my friends and I wrote letters and something were very personally.  Well, kids now are posting things online that can be very personal or hurtful to other kids not knowing the digital imprint it’s leaving.

This book left me with many questions to think about such as:

What are our children posting online?

Do they understand how the Internet works in terms of privacy?

What are parents and teachers doing to educate our youth about the appropriate manners and behaviors online?

The Price of Technology

May 9, 2010

Inspired by class presentation on technology effecting the environment

91 percent of the population who own a cell phone

The production of creating cell phones, computers, and other technology devices have cause great impact on the environment, such as climate change, water pollution, etc.  But the production of technology has not only put the environment in more harm, but it has caused death amongst a nation, Democratic Republican of Congo (DRC).

The DRC has a wealth of natural resources especially one material called Coltan, that is used in cell phones.

This material is being mined and people are getting killed over it.  Coltan to the DRC miners, is like gold.  Below you will see several stories from the BBC about this horrific issue.

Coltan, columbo-tantalite, is a mineral used to make resistors in our cellphones, video games, computers and home electronics.  Likened to blood diamonds, its mining has not only caused ecological damage, human rights abuses, but some say is also fueling the conflict in the Congo. (Global Voices in English)

By Karen Allen
BBC News, South Kivu

In the mining area of Nyabembe, rusting pieces of mining machinery poke out from a thick layer of grass.

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They reflect a time in the mid-1970s, when commercial mining was carried out in this area – a two-and-a-half hour motorbike ride from the town of Lulingu.

Five years of civil war, followed by protracted skirmishes with the militia, saw those operations move out and freelance miners move in.

These men are now exposed to predatory militias and also the military who demand a cut from what they dig.

When they are not exacting local taxes, the gunmen move into the village and terrify the local population – stealing, killing and raping.

“They take what they want, even our women, and there is nothing we can do about it,” sighed Simon, a young teacher who has swapped his school books for a shovel, because it is the only way to make a living.

Global electronics and metals giants now face uncomfortable questions: Are they inadvertently fuelling the conflict in eastern DR Congo? Are they buttressing a market by sourcing supplies from militarized zones (a practice that is not illegal but ethically questionable)?

With mining being the only game in town, radical change is bound to be resisted.

And that is the argument that international purchasers of minerals use, to justify their trade: so many jobs depend on it.

There’s nothing in life for free, there is always a price to pay.  In this case, human lives are being destroyed at the expense of the rest of the world to be connected.

The future of the Internet…

March 31, 2010

In the world of interactive media, scholars, professors, professionals, and students are looking at what the future of the Internet will look like.  Will people’s behavior change and transform with the technology?  Researchers are studying the effects of the Internet and how it effects social norms, relationships, family structures, privacy, etc.

But my thought of the future of the Internet… is what we choose it to be.  In class, we watched a video on how technology has created this multitask generation of people who cannot really multitask at all.  And how video gaming has been an addiction in many cultures where people are having to get clinical diagnosed.  How people have panic attacks if they don’t have their mobile devices with them. How kids already come pre-program knowing how to work computers, phones, etc. How people can’t remember what life was like without a cellphone.

People have allow themselves to get so emerge in the technology that they forget who has control.  On every device there is a powerful button.  A button that can change your world.  It’s called the power on/off button.  Many people only know one side of this button which is the power on, but it has another function as well which is power off.  You may have to hold this button down longer so it can shut off, and it maybe a separate button.  But it’s there, just look for it…I promise it’s on every device.  Try it!

People need to exercise this more often, especially parents allowing this kids to play video games for hours at a time.

I know this is not a profound posting but people need to get real with technology and not let it consume their lives.  I am an interactive media professional and I have technology around me daily however, I’m not tied to it.  I exercise the power off button every evening and weekend.  And if I leave my cellphone at home, I’m not turning my car around to get it.

Life still goes on.

Future of…

March 19, 2010

The future of magazines isn’t iPad or mobile devices.  Yes, these latest technologies are changing the face of publications however, the magazine industry will only be revolutionize when technology and print meet.

Check out this video on the future of magazines…