Controlling Relationships Kind of Suck

Why does it matter who controls the media?

We learnt about who the major players are in our media, as in who owns what shares of Facebook and Twitter, who owns which news companies in Australia and all that. It wasn’t surprising to learn that a lot of our media is controlled by only a handful of people. All major newspapers in Australia are owned by either News Corp or Fairfax Media. Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, recently bought shares in Fairfax because she needed to sway opinions about mining – the industry where most of her money comes from. She holds just under 20% of the shares. In the troubled times of newspapers, her money has benefited Fairfax but people are worried about what will go into the news from now on. (Don’t worry, Gina’s been refused to take part in the editorial process, so has no say – at least from what I’ve read.)

The fact that most of our media is owned by a few handfuls of people is worrying because we have no way of knowing what’s true and what’s not. Take for example the recent attempt to introduce new media policies in Australia. It would restrict a LOT of the things journos are able to write about and was ridiculous. It was described as an “aggressive attempt to silence our media” and rightly so. The bill was probably laughed at in parliament and then shelved it. If you take the time to read about the bill, you’ll be appalled at how much control it would take from the media publishers and writers.

The fact that some people legitimately thought that this proposed bill was reasonable and necessary is ridiculous. We as the public have a right to read and know the truth and not some sugar-coated lie. Who controls of the media matters because they will have the power to publish almost anything they want, or at least sway the general direction of the media, such as promoting right-wing politics.

It matters because we deserve the right to know.

Ads and the Big Scandals Most Aim to Cause

So we all know that some advertisements can cause huge dramas and end up getting pretty much FREE exposure because of the scandal? Think of that one TIME issue with the woman breastfeeding her kid.

Now, the advertisement that I want to talk about hasn’t really ‘blown up’ apart from in its own niche market. Rosea Posey, a Tumblr user, recently uploaded an image that got really popular. It features a young woman holding up her skirt and little markers running down her legs which indicate the lengths which her skirt can be, and depending on the length, the markers say “matronly”, “flirty”, “proper”, etc. It’s appropriately titled ‘Judgements’ because it shows that a woman’s clothing leaves her open to assumptions about her character.

Now, the advertisement then done by a lingerie brand called Curvy Kate posted the following image on their Facebook page without acknowledging the ‘inspiration’ behind it as well as trivialising quite a serious photograph and message. The image was taken down shortly after and CK posted an apology, but of course such a mistake is not easily forgiven. Many felt – myself included – that CK was completely in the wrong and immediately started posting abuse on their Facebook wall. Personally, I’m a big fan of Curvy Kate and so will admit that whilst what they did was wrong and a really bad move from their marketing team, we are all human and make mistakes.

I’m going to talk about the denotation and connotation of the Curvy Kate ad because that’s what we’re currently learning in my BCM110 class.

denotation – a literal meaning of the word (or image)

connotation – an association (emotional or otherwise) which the word (or image) evokes

The denotation of this advertisement is clear: it’s a cheeky ad that the lingerie company came out with to – firstly promote themselves, obviously –  brighten their customer’s day (their Facebook page is really lovely and very body positive and they always post lovely things there as well as on their Twitter). When I saw it, I thought it was quite cute and it made me smile.

The connotation is a bit trickier. CK makes me think of rainbows and sunshine (yes really, I just LOVE them) so it obviously made me smile and laugh, but the resulting consequences were a bit darker than my first reaction. They wanted us to probably think about our skirt lengths and say “Oh, I’m flirty, woo!” and then go on about our day. Many people didn’t do that, so their marketing was a bit of a fail on that one.Whoops. It’s clear that they erased the more nasty titles, such as “slut” and “asking for it”.

In the end, CK did apologise for this ad and people DID calm their farms and moved on. This event was like a 2 on the Richter scale of Advertising Scandals, but it did affect me because I did lose some respect for CK and it made me think deeper about advertising, audiences and the reactions the ads can cause.

This Isn’t an Interrogation, Son, But I’ve Got a Few Questions For You

My BCM110 class is an introduction to the course and we talk about a lot of interesting things there, mainly about media. Last week (here is where I insert my apology for the lateness to both my lecturer and tutor) we talked about media and its role in today’s society.

For instance, TV. Man, I love it to bits. For those of you who also love Supernatural, Arrow, Hart of Dixie, Suits, White Collar, Young Justice, Green Lantern, Teen Wolf, Justice League, Suits, Doctor Who, Sherlock and True Blood, I high-five you. I’ll give you another high-five if you happen to love them ALL. (If so, we should be friends.) The role the media has had on me is turning me into an obsessed fan girl and I know a huge number of people who are just like me.

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Why? We do we invest so much of ourselves into people and plots that don’t exist? What is so special about two guys hunting demons? Or a bunch of teens with super powers? Why do I, along with thousands of other people, tune in every week with excitement and anticipation about the upcoming episode? This question was something I was thinking about this week as over the weekend my favourite show had its series finale (it wasn’t renewed, which sucks) and my favourite character was killed off and I spent most of the weekend crying about it. (Young Justice is the show, for anyone curious enough to ask.)

I have two answers to the questions. The long one is these TV shows pull us in because the characters are fantastic (we all have that one character who we want to hug and never let go – and more…), the plot keeps us all on our toes (Sherlock’s last episode? WHOA) and we fall more in love with them as we see each episode. A great TV show will get its audience emotionally invested in it, so entirely that we’ll feel like an emotional train wreck at the end of a particularly dramatic episode. I’m sure Supernatural fans are used to crying their eyes out after every episode in most of its eight seasons! Currently I’m addicted to Arrow, a live-action adaptation of Green Arrow from DC comics. I love it, it’s my favourite show currently and I can’t get enough. The reason? (Apart from the insanely hot Stephen Amell, of course!) DC universe. I have a love of DC comics and anything DC pulls me right in. Also, Arrow’s plot right now is really great, they have one of my very favourite characters appearing and he’s together with Ollie’s sister and ARGH. Can the new ep please come out!?

The short answer, for people who are too lazy to read the above paragraph: these shows are awesome. So just take my advice and start watching a few.

Copyright Law, AKA Me and My Sister’s Weekly Arguments Over Stuff

This week we are learning all about copyright law, which as most of you guys know, is complicated, a TL;DR and means your YouTube videos featuring cool songs in the background will most likely be taken down within a few months of uploading.

A couple of different version of copyright were talked about, including current copyright law, DRM, EULA (End-user License Agreement), fair use and creative commons. For example: I already knew that the happy birthday song was copyrighted, which is why we never hear it sung in movies or TV shows, but I never knew exactly how strict all these laws were. To be honest, its getting to restrictive that soon enough we’ll be limited to using stuff only in the public domain, even if we use the ‘not mine!’ disclaimers commonly found in the YouTube butt bar. Speaking of YouTube, we were originally linked to a TED Talk video (they’re all usually brilliant)  but half an hour later, I was five videos away and landed on this gem, that I had to share:


What I took from our discussions was that people are really touchy about the fact that they created stuff and other people like that stuff and want to use it. Of course, if those people felt like stealing it, then yes I would be a bit peeved off, BUT most people do credit the creators/owners of the work, as they would in a YouTube video by writing “One Direction wrote the trashy song that I used in my video”. As an author or artist, I would want my work to be shared – and yes, it is inevitable that some people would pirate it or forget to add my name to it, but my work is OUT THERE and people are seeing it and those people will be curious enough to ask, “Where is more? I want more!” That’s enough for me, even with the negative aspects of how my work got out into the world.

Did we really need this or the other four movies?

Fun fact: I finally learnt about how the movie-making-and-marketing industry works and it’s not pretty. If we could spare making one movie a year and the money saved from that (an average of $100million) was used to help developing countries, then those countries would be in better shape in a couple of years! I am willing to forgo a few movies a year for that sort of cause. Are you?

I Change My Mind Far Too Often

For my BCM112 class we’re supposed to pick an emerging technology or media platform to blog, Tweet and write about. I had ended up picking something but decided that there wasn’t enough to write about so I binned that post and looked for something else to choose. Something that’s still quite new but is absolutely awesome and fantastic and has heaps of new discoveries going on all the time.

“Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff” – The Doctor

Then it hit me, as I was watching Frankie Muniz’s Agent Cody Banks: nanotechnology. Why the hell not? We still have a heap to discover about it and it’s so cool and interesting! I was reading a news story about it a few months ago and I was blown away by how many things we can do with it.

So yes. Nanotech is my gig now. For those who want to know more about nanotech and aren’t pleased with the Doctor’s fairly accurate description of the technology and its process, here is a pretty good website you can visit.

We’re Not All Pros at This Thing Called the ‘Internet’…

I’m gonna go ahead and say this: I’m surprised at the large number of people who have no idea how to use Twitter and/or WordPress and need to ask really elementary questions about it in lectures. I’m pretty sure the last twenty minutes of my BCM112 lecture was spent with Ted (the awesome lecturer) demonstrating the most elementary aspects of blogging. I had to leave ten minutes in once I realised I knew it all and wouldn’t make my train home in time if I stayed – so someone can correct me if this didn’t happen drag on to the very end of the lecture.

Our lecturer is always telling us how lucky we are to have grown up in this time where the Internet is so popular and we have all this technology at our fingertips for effortless access. Then I look around on these websites and see how so many people are posting “New to Twitter, so confused!” or “Wtf is WordPress, how do I use it?”.

It seems to me that we’re not quite yet that much talked-about generation of tech-savvy teens who know everything to do with the latest gizmos and gadgets. You may say, “Alice, not everyone has a blog or Twitter, just like you didn’t get Instagram at first and don’t have SnapChat still”. (FYI: I have a Windows phone, and both apps aren’t available.) Well, yeah, some of us do have lives (hint: clearly not me) and what I’m trying to get at in this long-winded post is that I didn’t expect so many people to be ignorant of these platforms.

In the lecture this afternoon it was talked about how the cost of production of media has been lowered to zero, meaning we can upload whatever the hell we want onto the Internet and it will cost us very little – plus, if no one likes it or sees it, who cares? We are just another random face on the Internet. This sums up my entire attitude: it’s so easy to get our opinions and creations out there into the big blue sea but some of us don’t do it. Why not?

I’m going to leave a recommendation for you readers: go out there and join Tumblr. On there you will find an enormous array of fan art, gorgeous photos and personal opinions. Do you love a TV show? So do ten thousand other people. And guess what? Some of them write absolutely fantastic fan fiction and make the coolest photo- or GIF-sets or post  their thoughts about the latest episode. It’s its own world there because it’s not just about the hipsters, fandoms and fitness nuts. Just make sure not to scroll through your dashboard in class and come across a large photo of a very naked lady like I did this arvo.

Who Needs Clothes Anyway?

Wow, that girl is wearing the cutest shorts. Oh, look, another amazing dress. Great lipstick shade!

I’m going to admit that my eyes follow the girls who walk past me and I usually have a running commentary going on in my head about what I think of their clothes, hair, make up and whatnot. People watching – okay, more like fashion watching – is one of my favourite things to do as I can get new ideas about what clothes to buy next or what kind of make-up look to experiment with. I’m not the only one, darn it!!

I will also admit that I did spend a fair amount of time agonising over what to wear on my first day of uni and then somehow my carefully laid plans and outfit got thrown aside on Monday morning in favour of shorts and a singlet. Somehow, the morning I was to start my tertiary education (something I’d been fairly keen for for the past two years) I decided not to give a crap. And it’s continued over onto my second day. And you know what? I’m loving it. It’s just so. much. easier. I’m betting that I’ll still be loving it at the end of semester.

So yes, this is my take on fashion at uni and how I never really had anything cool to wear so why start shopping now?

Also, for those curious enough to want to know: uni is going GREAT. I’ve met a few awesome people, have so far enjoyed my lectures and have come home beyond tired. Now I’m off to do something called Start Smart for uni and finish up some readings so I won’t be bogged down with work over the weekend.

Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole

(Am I taking this Alice in Wonderland thing too far? YOLO.)

First day of uni and I find out I need to blog!? Hells yeah! Tweeting and blogging won’t be a problem for this Internet-obsessed chick.

So anyways, my name’s Alice and this is a blog to catalogue all my adventures throughout my time at uni. I’m hoping to not get bored within the first three months, since that always seems to happen to me. This blog will also be used for several uni assignments as I do a Media & Communications course. For my tutors’ reference, I will be tagging those posts under the course name.

Because I have a ridiculously short attention span, I’m not gonna bore you all with a long intro and am just going to give you a couple of  facts about myself!

  • I’m Russian
  • I love to read, so I also review books for a book blog
  • I’m a fitness nut
  • I have a twin sister and we’re frenemies
  • I would love to learn a third language, probably Spanish or Ukrainian

So now that this intro’s over, I’m gonna go have a cup of (green) tea and hurry off to work. (: