Network Media Creative Critical Essay

Network literacy is not merely knowing about this, it is doing it. It is in this doing that we can understand that literacy is an applied knowing, or if you prefer a knowing through doing.… It is being comfortable with change and flow as the day to day conditions of knowledge production and dissemination, and recognising that all of this may change, and appear differently in six months. What underlies such change, however, are the principles of distributed content production and sharing, folksonomies, trust networks and having access to skills that let you collate and build with these varieties of content and knowledge….. Network literacy means recognising that there are no longer canonical sources and having the skills to find what it is you think you want, of being able to judge it, and then of being able to incorporate this, in turn, into your knowledge flows. Finally, networked literacies are marked by your participation as a peer in these flows and networks — you contribute to them and in turn can share what others provide.

Miles, Adrian. “Network Literacy: The New Path to Knowledge.” Screen Education Autumn.45 (2007): 24–30.

 Network literacy is the future for all media makers, no matter the background or context to our careers. Working in the media isn’t just about being a cameraman or a radio presenter anymore; the industry is rapidly shifting towards multi-platform production and multi-skilled personnel in every role. To refute a dire need to grasp the concepts of network literacy would be to sabotage one’s future in the media. Technology is developing and changing at such a rate we could have never predicted just a few years ago. We must incorporate digital sharing, creating, collaborating and learning in to our professional lives if we hope to be a part of the change.

The definitions of media and its practicalities have moulded towards online connectivity in light of rapid technological development in the last decade or so. When we think of television, for example, not only is it just about the actual show that airs once a week. Television shows now function largely around audience activity online, whether it be the freedom to catch up on the show at their own time, audience polls, discussion boards, etc etc. We have the freedom to engage with the world, not just the television set in our living rooms. A similar notion applies to learning nowadays too; gone are the times of having to refer to a physical book or an encyclopaedia in a library that you have to purposely travel to for the purpose of seeking information. Online learning has become so predominant that we can now even get a degree through education via laptop screens rather than actually attending an institution. We have technology and information at our fingertips through our smartphones, tablets, laptops and even gaming consoles and televisions. It’s not surprising that companies and corporations are beginning to realise the full potential of this connectivity around the world, with campaigns such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge using this notion to raise over $1.5 million simply through the power of social media.

ALS Facebook page

ALS Facebook page 26/10/14

Despite all of this freedom to communicate, interact and engage with the media and people worldwide, it’s all done in such a rigid manner that I find to be bizarre and confusing. Majority of internet users fear the possibilities and the powers of the internet, and therefore often conduct themselves in a professional manner in order to refrain from damaging theirs or anybody else’s integrity. Even in using social media and blogging platforms, parents, teachers, friends and even complete strangers have told me I must act professionally and consider my actions. But why is this? Why does the internet have this power over us? Before I had a laptop and a blog, I had a journal where I could write as freely and as personally as I pleased. Print writing gave me a freedom and a choice, but writing online is intimidating and has the power to determine my future as a media maker. Why is this? Why can’t peers, tutors, lecturers and future employers read anything that I chose to put online, as ridiculous or as personal as it may be?

Network Media has taught me to question everything I do online. For the most part I feel this questioning most often applies to my use of social media, or lack thereof. Often in symposiums and tutorials my educators have reiterated what I’ve already heard a thousand times before: act responsibly and professionally on any online platform. Yet this message seems to have come with a unique spin that leaves me wanting only to repel this notion. My generation seems to have a desperate need to document their entire lives’ online, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or some form of blog. I seemed to have missed the memo on this, or forgotten to get on the bandwagon. It seems unnatural to say the least. Or perhaps it’s the constant drilling in of ‘think about what you do on the internet’ from everyone around me over the course my youth that hit me a lot harder than my counterparts. Not only do I refrain from posting content potentially deemed immature and damaging to my future as a media professional, but I refrain from posting anything at all. Whilst that might be considered counterintuitive to everything we’ve learnt in this course, personally I’d rather have people judge me on my actual physical self and the way I present myself in person rather than something I may have posted on social media ten years ago. I’m fully aware this is somewhat ignorant and goes against all the concepts of network literacy, and I’m trying to coerce myself into being a bit more active online, but it’s difficult to break past the fear of everything I post potentially damaging my future.

Social media provides a new means of updates and photojournalism never before seen in the age of print literacy. Natural disasters are documented through the camera lenses of smartphones, every day citizens can break news through a status update and organisations can use media sharing services to spread videos to the world. This is perhaps best exemplified by extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) using YouTube and Twitter to share propaganda, recruit members and bring light to their activities. Clever employment of popular hashtags, widely used social media platforms and invading forums are some of the most notable actions of ISIS who are rapidly developing and spreading because of these means. Regardless of the many varying opinions on this group and what they do, it’s difficult to deny they have a solid grasp on network literacy and have used their thorough understanding of online connectivity and interactivity to promote themselves. My own understanding of this issue comes from social media again, through Twitter and Facebook I am able to keep up to date with all the latest breaking news and what’s happening around the world. My interactions with the internet media sources absolutely dominate that of print media – I haven’t held nor read a physical newspaper in months.

ABC News Twitter updates on ISIS

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen discuss the future of social media, technology and the internet in their book ‘The New Digital Age’. They suggest and hypothesise that print media be entirely wiped out, replaced by technology so advanced and so liberating to its users that scientists in today’s technology landscape haven’t even begun to plan or construct. The following video discusses many of the issues our future faces with technology and the possibilities they may bring. It’s impossible to predict just how users and audiences will interact with media in the future, but it’s a terrifying thought that it may have the power to completely change and revolutionise all that we know today.

The future for media makers no matter the sectors we choose to work in, is inevitably going to be dependent on online networking, global connectivity and being multi skilled in order to succeed. This isn’t just the case for media students at universities around the world, even professionals with established careers in the industry must prepare for an unpredictable and rapidly changing media landscape. Personally I believe that social media will continue to boom to unprecedented levels – right now we could never predict how this sector will continue to dominate society in five or ten years.  It isn’t just the issue that the internet provides a means of connecting us to anyone and everyone around the globe, rather it allows us to form tight and concise connections with the exact person we may be looking for. Before the internet and social media gave us this power, networking was merely a case of finding someone via your already established connections with people who in turn may be linked to the person you’re trying to find. This is discussed and theorised in the week 8 reading, explaining the kind of impact and accessibility we gain from being able to network online. Media makers have the power to change society; audiences and users are heavily invested in all kinds of media products and behave accordingly. By interacting with audiences we can shape the future of the media to satisfy their likes and needs. Similarly we have the power to produce fair and accurate products, whether it be unbiassed and realistic representative news, or films and televisions that actually represent a dynamic and multicultural society as opposed to the common casts of caucasian heterosexual characters seen too often in today’s media, or websites and applications that continue to benefit us in such a way never possible by the limitations of print media. Should we be scared of the future? Should we be scared by the unpredictability of the expanding freedom and power of the internet? Some may argue that yes, we should fear the unruly behaviour and liberation that the internet may provide to users. As stated by Alexander Galloway in the week 11 reading, “It is common for contemporary critics to describe the Internet as an unpredictable mass of data”. But I don’t believe that such unpredictability is to be feared, rather perhaps we should embrace it and learn to use it to our advantage. These are exciting times full of opportunity, not only for those studying to or already working in the media industry but for everyone around the world with access to the future of the media.

Network literacy is a matter of action that we must all learn and begin to make more and more as technology changes. As print media slowly but surely loses its place as the online world dominates, this concept of network literacy and comprehending all things internet-based as we once did for all things print, will become second nature. Social activity and online enterprise is a must for media makers, a concept I’m slowly coming to terms with despite all my instincts telling me otherwise. Through such actions we have the freedom to create and collaborate on a scale never before seen.

Word count: 1650


Barabási, Albert-László, 2002, The New Science of Networks, Perseus, Cambridge MA

Galloway, Alexander R, 2006, “Introduction” in Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentrilization, The MIT Press, pp. 8

Blog essay update

Hey turns out I didn’t do too badly with my essay! It seems there is a place for my at-times quirky style of writing in the world of academia – and dang, am I happy about it!!

I’m not sure what my plan of attack will be for the final assessment, I’m a little anxious about conjuring up a ‘multimedia creative critical essay’. 1,500 words plus the mandatory inclusion of audio, images and video. That’s just downright madness.

“Terrorist attack”

As a human that was by chance born in to a white-skinned body immediately symbolising privilege, I feel almost ashamed to be part of a race that, in this nation, is so concerned with shunning those humans who were born in to bodies with ‘coloured’ skin. In saying that, I know that I must be grateful for the privilege associated with being caucasian and I am fully aware that many people of colour would do anything to experience such privilege. Privilege which in itself is just so darn unjustified and bizarre.

What seems almost more unjustified and bizarre to me is the death of a young man in what is now being labelled a “terrorist attack” by the sensationalist commercial media outlets. I’ll admit I’m no terrorism expert, nor am I particularly informed on the issue of ISIS nor even Islam or muslims. But personally I feel it is so wrong for the media to be calling the tragic death of a muslim man during a violent confrontation an act of terrorism.

What if it had been a white man who had stabbed the police officers? Would the media still be calling it a terrorist attack? Would Australians still be applauding his death? I think not.

So what’s the deal with the media attacking muslims at the moment? It’s not a direct attack, and nobody is encouraging caucasians to turn against muslims (which itself is a strange thing to say given the former is an ethnicity while the latter a religion). But the sensationalism about Islam bookshop owners in QLD being arrested, raids of muslim communities in NSW and again this alleged terrorist attack in VIC is obviously instilling fear in some Australians; I’ve witnessed it in my very conservative and at times blatantly racist family. And this will only cause further divide, and by extension perhaps it will cause even more tension between the two ‘sides’.

Sure there are extremists out there who take their religion to the next level of intense violence and threats. But the same goes for Christianity (i.e. KKK, Westboro Baptist Church) and just about every religion out there. I just think the Australian media and the government is handling this all so awfully and making minorities feel isolated, excluded and unwelcome. Those are the exact feelings described by one of my best friends, who belongs to the minority. Having seen the identity crisis they face at the moment, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this issue. Hence this blog post.

I just want all 7 billion of us humans to come together for one big group hug. It won’t solve any problems but it would be really nice, wouldn’t it?

Too much heterosexuality in the media

Lately I have noticed that absolute domination of heterosexual relationships in mainstream media. In decided to investigate this further over the last week or so, I exposed myself to dozens upon dozens of commercial television shows to gauge just how accurately the media represented the wider population. And I kid you not, I did not see one single homosexual couple. And there were only a handful of homosexual individual characters, most of whom merely acted as a token.

I don’t think I have to explain this any further. It’s only in the last few years that commercial stations have begun to represent other ethnicities than caucasian which is in itself a very concerning issue. But the fact that it’s 2014 and we are at the height of changing laws in the Western world to accept homosexuality yet don’t represent this in the media is pretty awful.

We live in a world where the media can write B-grade articles on things happening on different planets ( yet they can’t represent society realistically and honestly. I think I’ve found a purpose/goal for my future media career.

Symposium week 8

What stuck with me most from this hour of discussion was the opening topic of online media, in that everything now works around the internet and online accessibility. Gone are the days of analogue mediums, i.e. photography and Kodak.

On a totally different note, the issue of technology neutrality was bizarre (the hammer example was a strange demonstration of why technology isn’t neutral) yet Adrian’s theory that technologies can be used for a variety of ways yet have some uses that are much better than others (i.e. using a hammer to build, as opposed to using a hammer to eat for dinner). This started a wild train of thought in my mind as I explored this idea of different ways we could experiment with technology and use things differently to what we traditionally believed. As an extension of that, I wanted to further explore the many uses of the internet, and within these uses there are even more uses. More than any other technology, the internet is endless.

Reading 7.1

Once I recovered from the initial fury upon reading my least two favourite words; ‘Technological Determinism’, I managed to find the courage to continue on with this reading.

This Potts Murphie seemed more Communications Histories and Technologies than it is Network Media. I’m finding more and more that each course we study at uni share similarities and overlap, with good purpose and meaning. To reiterate what we’ve learnt so far in Network Media, this often online industry is very interconnected and works as one big community. This was further expressed in the reading.

Also touched on in the reading is the concept of technology growing with society. Having already considered this idea in the Communications course, I found this easy to reinterpret and grasp in relation to Network Media.

Blog Essay

Yes okay, I know we submitted these more than two weeks ago but I figure it’s better late than never to write a blog post about my essay that was about my blog posts.


Look if I’m going to be honest I’m really dreading getting our marks back for this assignment. While it was a pretty easy task – write a short essay with critical analysis of blogging – for some reason this turned out to be really quite unsettling for me. Having only graduated from high school last year I’m so embedded in that traditional style of essay writing that gets drilled in to us for six or seven years. But preceding this assignment I really got the vibes during Network Media tutorials and symposiums that we weren’t meant to tackle this essay in the traditional sense.

So me being the over-tired, smart ass ingenious that I am decided I’d write the essay almost as if it were another blog post. At the time it seemed like a really clever and innovative idea however I’ve since realised this could (and probably will) turn out pretty badly for me. But hey, at least I tried to break the boring blah blah essay writing tradition!

Stay tuned for an update on how badly my tutor disagreed with my ‘innovative’ writing style.

Sorry blog pt. 2

I’m back with another apology to my emotion-less, computerised and rather impersonal blog that I’ve been so cruelly neglecting.

As I’ve already whinged about in previous posts, I’ve been a little busy with having teeth cut out of my face and stuff. Which is hardly an excuse, as realistically I’ve been sitting at home doing nothing for two weeks in recovery mode which would have been a perfect opportunity to catch up on all my mandatory Network Media blogging. However things did not pan out this way as I chose instead to procrastinate (as I do so very well) and sleep all the time. Also my cat got really sick and had surgery and I was at the vet’s 5 times in one week so that’s kind of a legitimate excuse. I apologise for not blogging at all about any of the readings – despite having actually read them! I guess I did do a few productive things in my time off.

I’m also very sorry for neglecting to post non-Network Media related things. I really enjoy rambling away on the internet with my thoughts that are of no real relevance to anything at all. Again also sorry that I haven’t posted any more cat videos despite previous promises of doing so.

Despite my poor history with keeping internet based promises with myself about my blogging responsibilities, I’m about to make another promise which I’m almost certain I can and will fulfill.

I promise that on later this week I will go on a blogging binge in which I will catch up on several weeks of readings, Network Media ideas, media ideas in general, personal feels and maybe even some novelty cat images/videos just to tie it all together nicely.

And that’s the truth. I promise.

Nude photo hacking scandal

I know I’m late to the bandwagon, but as previously noted I was a little preoccupied having teeth removed from my face (and binging on Game of Thrones).

This new scandal among a vast history of similar issues terrifies me to my very core. Aside from the fact that I’m not a celebrity nor do I have any nude photos out on the big bad internet, this scandal really drives home the message of just how unsecure the internet can be! The fact that a total stranger could hack on to the iCloud account of the countless famous female who were attacked and access their private information is frightening. What else could they have accessed on those accounts?

In my home this scandal has been a huge point of discussion among my family. My mum’s used it as a means of teaching my younger sister how important it is to consider every piece of information (be it a photo, message, video, etc) you put online and that it may very well be seen by anyone in the future. My 17 year old brother has taken this as an opportunity to be an arrogant bad human and blame the celebrities for taking the photos in the first place. Me personally, I’ve been busy freaking out about the lack of privacy we have on the internet.

I guess in summary it’s just a huge learning experience for all of those using the internet for any personal means, because nothing is ever really secure and safe from the eyes of strangers!

New found appreciation for the internet

You’d think having four wisdom teeth out at once would be an awful experience?

For the most part, you’d be correct.

Last Friday I was lucky enough to have four impacted chompers extracted in hospital (also very appreciative of anaesthetics). It wasn’t the surgery that had me concerned, it was the week that followed that stressed me out.

The surgeon had stressed time and time again that I was to spend a week minimum at home resting in order to recover and avoid infection or damaging stitches. A week?! One day inside makes me insane. How was I meant to endure a week?!?!

It wasn’t until I had an intense light-bulb moment in which I grasped the full potential the internet could offer me during this week of inevitable cabin fever. Gone are the days of isolation and being cut off from my social life!

With the power of social media I’ve been able to keep up to date with group assignments for uni, keep in touch with all of my friends, (almost) feel a part of a group outing celebrating a pal’s birthday through picture messaging and annoy my mum with countless videos of cute cats.Not only this, but I’ve been able to (legally) download tonnes of movies and TV shows to entertain myself.

There’s hardly been a moment of boredom! 20 years ago this would never be possible. In the spare seconds in between my various modes of entertainment, I’ve come to appreciate the internet so much more than I could have ever imagined. A week resting in bed has been bearable, and at times enjoyable!

But the diet consisting of nothing but mush has been anything but good…