Category Archives: Network Media


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.

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.

Teaching network literacy to the illiterate – Pt. 2

As much I can agree with Sarah’s frustration and extreme test of patience when it comes to teaching the olds about Facebook, she and I have both since noted that ‘Network Literacy’ is not particularly relevant to this issue.

Whilst most of us aren’t 100% network literate, (hopefully) we’re all on track to grasping this concept in years to come. Further learning, practise and interaction will propel us towards this goal.

Adrian has made it very clear during the last two symposiums that actions such as knowing how to post to Facebook does not make you network literate. To suggest that would be similar to saying that knowing how to write on a piece of paper makes you print literate. To be print literate means you understand the entire process of producing print through means of the physical acts of making that product. From what I can take from the symposium’s, the same applies to network literacy.

Just because Sarah’s dad, Sarah and I can all use Facebook to suit our needs, does not mean we are all network literate. Rather we are Facebook-functions-literate, perhaps?? Aside from this little pickle that I feel we’ve unpicked, Sarah’s post is just too darn accurate. And I know the pain she went through all too well – I’ve just taught my 71 year old grandmother how to use Facebook… need I say more?

HTML exam

In week one of this course we were told we would have to sit an exam on basic HTML formatting.

“Easy, I’ve got this no worries” I thought to myself as I sat with a smug smile on my face in the back row, paying more attention to Candy Crush on my phone than the crucial information being discussed in the lecture.

That evening I got the train home with a friend who studies fine art and therefore doesn’t understand what it’s like to do real work for uni. I complained about my concerns for the onslaught of work I would no doubt face in a matter of weeks. However I very clearly remember making light of the fact that I had an ‘exam’ on HTML.

You see, this friend and I used to very good at HTML back in the olden days of MySpace. Some would say we were too good (and by that I mean that when I wasn’t spending my time playing Sims, I was pimpin’ out my MySpace page. They were very exciting times my friends. My pre-teen years were clearly not kind to me). I occasionally used to make $5 or so for styling my friends’ pages on their behalf. I was almost renowned for my HTML abilities through the smelly, sweaty year 7 corridors.

So of course, keeping in tune with my naivety I had very little concern for this exam. Oh dear. How wrong was I?! Turns out one can (and will) forget all of their supposed HTML wisdom over the 7 years that have been since the MySpace days. It’s now almost 2am on the day I sit this exam and I’m beginning to realise just how extremely naive I have been building up to this. And naturally rather than facing the crisis and potentially even practising (woah that would be insane!) for the exam, I decided to put all of my time and effort in to writing this blog post.

12 year old me is really not impressed with my current day self’s stupidity and rather negligent attitude. Here’s hoping 18 year old me can impress 12 year old me in the exam later on today.

Appreciating the wider world of media

Last week I had a really interesting conversation with a new friend during which we discussed our media-related aspirations. I remember at the beginning of this year I spoke only of wanting to work in radio and refused to even consider other fields. However over the last six months or so, and in particular with what I have learnt in Network Media so far, I’m beginning to realise there is a huge wide world out there.

Studying media at uni doesn’t just have to be about becoming qualified to produce radio shows. It doesn’t have to be about becoming ‘qualified’ to do any specific job. I’m gradually welcoming the concept that rather university is a means of opening our minds to the world and teaching us how to interact with it. How to engage with colleagues, how to express our thoughts, how to develop ideas and how to do all of these things in a broad range of ways i.e. different mediums.

Media to me is no longer just about a narrow-minded radio career goal, rather it’s an ecology of networks interacting with each other. I’m fascinated by the way my entire thoughts and understandings on this have so radically changed in a mere six months. I’m so incredibly excited to see where my mind and my goals will be at at the completion of this degree in a few years.

Week 3 symposium

When this (un)lecture began with what seemed to be a boring discussion between Adrian and the panel of tutors about copyright law, I have to admit I sighed as I prepared to sit through an hour of playing games on my phone waiting for it to finish.

But ten minutes in I found myself totally immersed in the intellectual conversations, and in particular the examples of well known intellectual property court cases in Australia and the US. I was really fascinated by the strange and at times incomprehensible laws surrounding copyright, patenting and defamation. Similarly I was intrigued by who could be to blame for these sorts of issues, in particular in the case of blogs.

I had a few mini freak outs as I look back on my actions online in the last few years and realised there were a few things I’ve done that have probably broken both copyright and defamation laws. In particular I was concerned about a seasonal radio show I hosted earlier this year in which I said some nasty things about a very prominent Melbourne journalist – which have since been uploaded as podcasts to a website I have no control over. I fear that this may greatly impact my prospective employers in future as there is clear proof of me (potentially) defaming a huge personality within the media industry… the industry that I very much hope to work in…

So am I left wondering if and how I can remove this content from the internet. As Adrian, Betty and so many other people have told me throughout my life, once something is uploaded to the internet it can never be fully erased. Is there much hope of me erasing this content in a manner that protects my dignity to employers who will no doubt research my online activity?! I shall research this over the coming days and hopefully in the near future I can write a positive blog post about having eradicated this concern.