Real ‘Girls’

The history of history is a very interesting topic to discuss. History, is historically told by rich, old, white men. This means, that in the past what people learned about the world was told from the perspective of somebody who controlled the world. But, during the late 20th century, history began to be told by social minorities such as races different to caucasian, members of the LGBT community, and by women. Not only did history start to be told from a different perspective, but the voices of these social minorities was being heard for the first time, and stories were able to be told. The world changed.

Today, these social minorities’ voices are being heard more than ever, and people are listening. 

Women have fought for a long time to be sen as equals within society and by governments. While women are mostly equal under the law, there is still a long way to go for women to be viewed equally by many people in society, and this is why the feminist movement is still a relevant now as it was 50 years ago.

One notable feminist is Lena Dunham, the creator of the HBO series ‘Girls’. Her show follows the lives of young women trying to get by in New York City. It gives a fresh view on women that differs to traditional representation of women in the media. One example which ‘Girls’ has been compared to is Sex and the City.

Laura Sullivan (2012) makes the comparison, but also states the difference between the two shows.

“The thing that strikes me about it (Girls) compared to “Sex and the City” is that, you know, even with Carrie Bradshaw, she was kind of wacky in some ways, but she was thin and beautiful, and she dated these incredible men, and she had this fabulous life, and she had all this style and the shoes and the clothes, and you wanted to be her. But your characters are so raw, and they are so real.”

It’s refreshing to know that women are being represented in the media now, by women who are just showing themselves as raw and real. The characters in ‘Girls’ are real and that’s why so many women can relate. They’re no longer watching the life of someone so foreign to them like in ‘Sex and the City’, they’re watching a representation which can be seen as “raw” and “real”.

Sullivan, L 2012, ‘Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls”: Still Sex, Still The City, Different Show’, Weekend All Things Considered, 8 April, viewed 28 April 2014, <http://ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/991922209?accountid=15112>

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Jesus and Hitler: A Love Story

With the age of information upon us, enjoying a show or movie has become a lot more than just consuming when we’re told to. Viewers movies and TV shows are now involved more than they ever were before! Viewers don’t want to just be consumers any more, that’s not good enough. They want to be a part of the magic, and add on to and evolve it as much as they can!

This is where fan-fiction comes from. Fan-fiction is exactly that; fiction written by fans. It isn’t enough anymore for a person to simply believe what they are told by an author or a creator and that be the end of the story. For many fans, this is where the story begins!

Fan-fiction is the extension of a story or the telling of a completely new story using characters and worlds of an already existing book, movie, TV show. Basically anything you can be a fan of, there’s fan-fiction for.

But where is the line between admiring somebody else’s work and ripping them off?

One argument for fan-fiction is that fact that people don’t make money off it. They simply do it for the pleasure of it, because they enjoy the work and want to be a part of that.

According to Helen Razer (2004), fan-fic accelerated in the mid-90s after the advent of no-cost publishing. This has since taken off with websites like Tumblr come to mind as a place where fan-fic flourishes. There is even a whole website now dedicated to fan-fiction and the people who write it!

Razer states that fan-fiction pre-dates the internet by at least 20 years, with this type of fan interaction being notable in the late 60s around the sci-fi show Star Trek. “The literary form Kirk-Spock depicted the captain and his ensign in romantic or erotic situations”.

This form of fan-fiction is known as ‘slash’ and it is when two male characters are written by fans to be in romantic relationships. I must admit, I do have a small guilty pleasure for a little bit of slash. Razer is vert adamant in saying that slash “is not tatty porn” and has become extremely popular with heterosexual women, with which a majority of Slash is written by. As with most fan-fiction, if you can imagine it, it’s most likely been written. I even found some slash written about Jesus and Hitler!

With most fan-fiction being written and/or created by fans who are simply trying to engage with the story they love so much, and not even making money off of it, I can’t understand why authors and creators wouldn’t love the attention? After all, it is free advertising all from their fan’s imaginations!

Razer, H 2004, ‘Fanfic: Is it Right to Write?’, The Age, 5 January

A Changing Industry

The world is changing, people are changing, society is changing. Things have always evolved, and things will always evolve. In more recent times, a lot of things that change have the internet to thank for that.

One industry that can thank the internet for it’s change is the journalism industry.

The news used to be about people in a room somewhere, finding things out, filtering it, and telling us what they think. That was the news. But it is no longer the news.
Consumers are now more active with their viewing than ever before. Consumers are no longer passive and are more involved in the news than ever before.
With the aid of the internet, websites like Reddit, Twitter and Buzzfeed are becoming sources for the public to hear the news, as well as contribute to it.
Even the term ‘journalist’ has changed, with websites like the Huffington Post gathering a whole bunch of information on a topic for users to access (x).
News organisations are now using websites like Twitter as sources, because that is where the news is breaking first. This is where the concept of a citizen journalist comes in. A citizen journalist is simply a member of the public who contributes to the discussion surrounding a topic that people are reading about. They’re not getting paid, they are simply spreading information with other people and sharing their opinion on it. Yes, some citizen journalists opinions can be biased and not correct, but that’s where the aggregation of websites like Twitter and Reddit come into it. Instead of one journalist reporting on something with a number of sources, people can now read about something in the news from many citizen journalists and many more sources and opinions.

I believe this is a healthy direction for the news to move toward. The more people sharing opinions, and the more discussion surrounding topics can only be a good thing for a society in general, and more importantly a more democratic and free world.

Get Up & Share!

The use of social media to spread information has always been apparent, but to what extent does social media have an impact over activism and the way people think about things that really matter?

Social media is great, in the fact that anyone can create and access using social media platforms. Some story that gets censored by governments or mainstream news channels can be published and shared online using social media because of the self publishing aspect of it. You can write whatever you want to write, and if it’s worthy enough of being shared it will be shared. This is why when it comes to activism, activists are more and more commonly using social media to spread their messages. Because of it’s grassroots ability appeal.

One example of social media being used by activists to spread a message and gain support is community advocacy organisation, GetUp Australia. GetUp is famous for it’s political advertisements which have the ability to go viral, thanks to the use of social media, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The most famous example of this would be the ‘It’s Time’ YouTube video with over 8.5 million views which promotes the movement toward marriage equality in Australia. When this video was released in 2011, it spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter, and received so many views online, all thanks to people sitting at home on their computer or at a bus stop on their smart phone. And the whole GetUp organisation would not be as successful now as it is if it wasn’t for social media. Even more recently, during the 2013 federal Australian election, this advertisement, which was originally made for television advertising. But this ad was refused by television networks to be shown for whatever reason, and this is where the use of social media came in. GetUp emailed members asking them to share with as many people as they could to get the message out, because the television networks wouldn’t. It now has over 700 thousand views on YouTube.

GetUp is just a grassroots organisation with the aim of spreading information about a number of different issues in Australia. It utilises social media and is a perfect example of an organisation utilising this, because without social media, GetUp would not be near as popular as it is.

Stories for Change

Matthew Shepard was a young boy from Wyoming who was viciously bashed and left for dead in October of 1998. Shepard was beaten because of his sexuality and as a result of his head injuries, died in hospital on October 12, 1998.

The Shepard murder case was extraordinary because it garnered a lot of national & international attention, and it triggered a lot of support in the USA for hate crime legislation. 

The case also showed the number of ways a person’s legacy can be carried on through different and new media. Candlelight vigils were held all around the world in remembrance of Shepard, plays were written, foundations were created in his name, movies were made. These are all examples of new ways a message can be spread and a story can be told.

The Matthew Shepard case was one of the earliest examples of personal LGBT story telling to a massive worldwide audience. This has lead the way, with the help of the internet and social media to gain a wider audience, in the story telling of LGBT issues and it has shown other people wanting to tell their story that people will listen, as opposed to in the past.

One example of an LGBT issue using a different than usual form of media to tell a story and provoke change is the story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom. Bitney Crone and Bridegroom were both young men from small towns in the USA who met and fell in love after moving to Los Angeles. After Bridegroom was accidentally killed, his parents chose to fully erase Bitney Crone from his legacy by not inviting him to the funeral, and practically erasing him from Bridegroom’s life like he was never a part of it. Bitney Crone was not allowed to be with Bridegroom for his last moments in hospital because he was not family, even though the couple lived together, had a business and a dog together and were practically a married couple.

This case is a prime example of using non-traditional media to tell a story. This story has now been made into a documentary entitled ‘Bridegroom’, which was funded by the public after a grassroots campaign.

Both the Shepard and the Bridegroom stories show that stories can be told in new and different ways, and have led the way in the LGBT world to get messages out into a wider public.

APP-tastic Television

Television. Where would I be without television? I’d probably get my uni work done a lot quicker, and for that matter a lot of other things would get done quicker. I can’t help it, I’m addicted to television! The teen dramas, the trashy realities. All of it.
This is why I’ve chosen social TV apps as the technology I will be looking into for the duration of this BCM112 subject.

But the modern television experience is different to the television experience of the 70s, the 80s, 90s and even 2000s. Television has become interactive, and the audience loves it!

How many times have you been watching TV and you see somebody’s tweet roll across the screen? It’d be almost impossible to watch TV now without seeing one!

Twitter has become a part of our everyday lives, and is a new media that hasn’t replaced existing media, but joined with it to enhance the media experience for the audience.

This is called social television, and TV shows all over the world now use social television as a tool to better create shows and appeal more to an audience. Twitter has changed the whole television experience, from creation to consummation.

Television writers use Twitter as instant feedback, and in the case of the show Covert Affairs, frame the series to reflect what the viewers want and what they want to know on the show. The audience is now a part of the creation!

“Viewer behaviour is changing and audiences are multi-tasking” is the view Network Ten COO Jon Marquard has on social television. TV stations have embraced the concept of social TV, with apps like ZeeboxFango and Jump-In, which allow the audience a have a ‘second screen’, with exclusives like extra interviews about the show they are watching, photos, polls – you can even watch whole episodes through the app! Jump-In in particular has made the audience a part of the show Big Brother. Polls are conducted through the app asking viewers to vote for certain things to happen in the house, directly changing the course of the series. “What should the housemates have for dinner tonight?”, “Which team did better at this task?” And whatever the outcome of the poll is what happens on the show.

The audience isn’t just watching the show any more, we are influencing, changing, making decisions and having a direct impact on the shows that we love! We are now a part of the shows!

New kinds of media have emerged and joined forces with older media to make them more relevant and reflective of how we consume. The audience is involved now more than ever, and personally I love it! Especially when Channel 9 and Big Brother reply to me on Twitter – I feel special.
Even though they reply to almost everyone, I checked. Cheating bastards.