Surveillance is already here.

The lecture that most I enjoyed during this module was the one about SURVEILLANCE AND PRIVACY. I especially found really interesting the discourse about mass surveillance.

Two quotes grabbed my attention in particular:

 “Surveillance helps to constitute the world as modern” (Lyon, 2003: 161)

and

“Importance of systematic information codification, monitoring and control” for western countries (Ball, 2001:127)

This two quotes are enough to understand how in the modern western countries world mass surveillance takes on an important role for the states and every aspect of people life.  It is incredible how we are under control in every step of our daily life without no even realising it. Pages we visit on the Internet, bank payments, sites we access by mobile phones, loyalty cards… and many more: we are always “under control”.

I have to say that it is scaring, not because we could have something to hide, but because there is a continuous invasion of our life in all of its aspects.

Looking on the Internet for more information about surveillance in general, and above all about  state surveillance, I found an interesting campaign by Amnesty International UK, non-governmental organisation focus on human rights, about stopping the government in UK to put its citizens under mass surveillance. A draft of legislation which would require Internet service providers and mobile phones companies to maintain records of each user’s activity has been debated in the Commons and it looks like the UK government is  moving very much on the direction of the possibility of spying everyone, without any problem.

Surprisingly (or maybe not?) there are not a lot of information about the Snoopers Charter (the data BIll) on the news, even thought it is a very relevant and actual matter.

I leave you the Amnesty UK page link about Mass Surveillance for more information, you can have a look and take place in the debate: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/Mass-surveillance , a link from a The Guardian article from one week ago about this matter: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/14/snoopers-charter-apple-fbi-bill-hacking-gagging and a link to an article about what this law means for the citizens http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/opinion/2451644/snoopers-charter-ip-bill-proves-that-politicians-just-don-t-get-it to get more information about this issue.

Are subscriptions right to protect writers job?

When I read that for this week blog post, we had to find a piece of content that we don’t have access to online unless we pay for it, my mind went straight to newspapers and magazines.

Since I started university, plenty of times, during my researches regarding any issue or topic, I bumped into articles that I couldn’t read, if not subscribing to the site.

I chose to share with you, one of them: The Economist.

The-Economist-logo

Non-Registered users of The Economist are allowed to read two articles weekly and registered, but not subscribed users have a weekly article limit of three. After have read the amount of articles permitted, this screen appears to the users:

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If The Economist could share its contents without asking for subscriptions, of course the advantage could be to have more readers and probably more content sharing on social media platforms and consequent more site traffic. On the other hand, The Economist has a very peculiar target audience that read it, and if it was free, not necessary everyone was going to read it.
The limitations to have its contents shared with the public could be loss of The Economist writers’ intellectual property and, of course, of profit for it: everyone could then, not just share, but also copy their contents easily.

I believe that every newspaper and magazine subscription is right, to defend their writers ideas and job. I believe that, as we pay for reading a book, it is fear to pay for newspapers or magazines, printed or online. A lot of people work on these contents, and it is correct to pay for their work and their ideas. What do you think about? I know it is for all of us annoying when we want to read something and we need to pay maybe monthly subscription for it, but is it not right that people job receive the right fee?

Is privacy on social media really private?

To write this blog post, I first tried to write my name on Google and see what was coming out from this research. I have quite a common name and surname in my country, so my informations are actually “mixed” with ones from other people. It is possible to easily find images of me, just kicking on the images search of Google, though.

I have accounts on different social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. I use them all on a daily basis, so of course there are plenty of information about me available. My Facebook and Instagram account are settled on privacy to just allow my friends can see what I am posting, while Twitter and LinkedIn are opened to everyone.

Facebook and Instagram are the platforms where I share more personal things, as for example pictures with my family and friends, that, then, are visible just to my friends (a part of my profile and cover picture, that are public). On Twitter I hardly share my personal information. I almost just retweet messages from news, celebrities, bloggers, etc. and I use in general this platform to discover what is going on in the world and near to me. LinkedIn is the platform where quite easily it is possible to discover more information about me.

I am quite careful of my privacy settings on Facebook and Instagram, because these platforms are the ones where I share more private things, while Twitter is just a way to mostly receive information and retweet the ones I consider more important or funny. LinkedIn is mostly to get known and hopefully find a job, for this of course plenty of my work information and experience are available. The concept of LinkedIn itself is to share work information on the platform, and for this I am very visible on it.

I know, then, that a lot of information are quite easily available about me, but I try to keep this information the less private I can. I also believe that those information “hidden” to the public on platform like Facebook, are still available to who manage social media platform and to people who know about informatics more than every person who can type my name on Google.

Once some informations are inserted on Internet they are available for much more people than what we know, as a result of the mass surveillance: it is a bit scary, but it is a reality.

Greenwire, Greenpeace online community

Greenpeace as a global environmental organisation have a big online community: Greenwire.

There are 20 different Greenwire communities, one for each different part of the globe where Greenpeace has offices and operates. In each of them the users with interests in Greenpeace projects can get in touch between each other and receive informations about the organisation updates.

In each community there are several groups, with open chats, that the users can join: some of them are about a particular geographic area — for example a certain zone of London or a region/city of the country — and some about a certain interest or job that combine people — like the Social Media Activists or the Legal Support. In each of them people who want to support or be activist in Greenpeace can receive update regarding the projects that are going on in its own area or interest field.

It is possible also to read blogs and watch videos about own experiences in Greenpeace and sharing new ideas regarding the environment, Greenpeace campaigns or possible actions to raise awareness of the environmental issues.

In Greenwire it is possible to recognise all the characteristics of online communities describes from Baym: the users share the online space, practices, identities — they care about the same issues — and resources and support. They create interpersonal relationships based on same interests.

I believe Greenwire is a great example of online community, even though at the moment still have a geographical limitation. It is possible, in fact, to register just in one country at the time. I believe this could be improve, allowing people to join communities from more than one country: for example, I am an international student and I could be happy to be part of the communities in UK and in my home country.

If same of you is interested of discovering more about Greenwire, this is the UK site: https://greenwire.greenpeace.org/uk.

Yahoo! Answers

When I read “Audience Participation” my mind went straight to a site that I believe each of us has visited at least once: Yahoo Answer [https://uk.answers.yahoo.com]. As many of you might know, Yahoo! Answer is a community-driven question-and-answer site. It was launched by Yahoo in 2005 and nowadays operates in 12 different languages. It allows users to submit any sort of question and to answer them. It is enough to register with an account on the site and it is possible to actively participate asking and/or answering questions. On its home page there is a list of the question categories, from where it is possible to realise the wide variety of issues it is possible to submit: business, health, home and garden, environment, society and culture, science… and many more.

It is all driven by people and for this I believe it is a successful example of content shaped by the audience. Its moderation is managed by Yahoo Team, but all the contents are from the users, that are not just readers but active participators of the site itself. Each question become like a little blog where people share their knowledge regarding a certain matter and without users participation it basically could not exist.

MTV – Music Television

Nowadays we have a lot of different kind of convergence…

For this blog post, I wanted then to bring up an example of convergence from few years ago: MTV. Launched on August 1981 in USA, the creation of MTV (Music Television) is a brilliant example of media convergence. It mixed together components of radio and television creating a completely new form of entertainment.

The implication that MTV had on the media industry was of course an increase of the cost of production for the music (from that moment, every song had to have a video also) and the need for competitive strategies.

mtv-logo1With the years MTV changed a lot. The original purpose of the channel was to play music video guided by television personalities known as “video jockeys” (VJs), nowadays the format is changed a lot and it is not just about music, but it broadcasts a lot of reality shows and series.

From 1981 until now MTV became not just an example of media convergence, but also global convergence: MTV, in all these years, has launched numerous native-languages channels to countries around the world, provoking circulation of media content and a diminution of geographically defined audience as implication of the users.

 

 

YouGov | What the world thinks

I believe that one of the most useful online source to use when studying the society and its relation with the media is YouGov: https://yougov.co.uk. It is an international internet based market research firm with operations in Europe, North-America, Middle-East, Asia-Pacific and Africa. It was founded in the UK in 2000, where its main headquarter still is, and after 5 years it became a public company. Its motto is What the world thinks and it is a member of the British Polling Council, association of market research companies whose opinion surveys are regurarly published or broadcast in media in UK.

Starting from their surveys and polls, they publish articles about politics, lifestyle, economics, consumer trends and much more. It is very reliable and I found it truly interesting and useful when writing essays. In fact, it is possible to find a survey about every current and past matter to use as trustable source.

There is also a fascinating section called “YouGov profiles”, where selecting a brand of any kind, it is possible to see the profile of an average consumer. I found this section truly useful when I was selecting the target audience of PR and Advertising campaigns I was working on during the first semester. Here an example of the average profile of The Guardian readers:

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I leave you with one of the article they published last year, based on a survey that shows that British people trust more Wikipedia than journalists. I believe that it can be an interesting reading for us that we study media and how the society relate to any sort of it: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/08/09/more-british-people-trust-wikipedia-trust-news/.