Annotated Bibliography

Assignment 1 – Annotated Bibliography

Name: Joey Gan S3603490

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Blog Reflections

Annotated Bibliography

Selected text 1-Blogging (word count: 630)

Miles, A. (2006). “Blogs in Media Education: A Beginning.” Australian Screen Ed 41: 66-9. Print.

‘Blogs in Media Education: A Beginning’ by Adrian Miles expounds on the importance of blogging and the mechanics circulating it; specifically under the setting of media education. Miles highlights how blogging is a vital classroom tool teachers can utilise to educate their students. Before further exploring the concept of blogging and the benefits it provides, Miles puts forward to readers his academic background and involvement in this particular communication field by stating he has “maintained an academic blog since 2000, and have used blogs on a subject-by-subject basis with university students since 2002.” (Miles, 2006). In addition to this, Miles has been a part of large-scale projects involving student blogging and universities. This extensive background in blogging and media education showcases to readers that he is a very well educated expert on the matter. Due to this, readers can put trust in his thoughts and opinions expressed throughout the text.

Miles discusses the characteristics of blogging as something that is ‘peculiar’ as it encompasses this idea of public writing, where other forms of writing such as diaries, journals and notebooks do not similarly offer. This can be related back to a social media platform such as Instagram as the application provides users freedom of expression and speech that can be accessed by other users to consume. Throughout the text, Miles states that a “blog is a public document, and it is written with the assumption that it has readers.” (Miles, 2006). This point can directly relate to the mechanics of Instagram as any photo or video posted on an account can be publicly viewed by followers all around the world. Instagram promotes a strong sense of connectivity.

In addition to Miles clearly illustrating what a blog is; he goes into great detail about the physical traits individuals can point out to distinguish what constitutes as a blog and what doesn’t. A few physical traits discussed are that most recent posts will be published in reverse chronological order and that each blog provides a blogroll that links to other similar profiles that produce the same content. This can be related back to Instagram as every profile does function under the reverse chronological order and provides a drop-down arrow that showcases similar profiles that publish related content.

The benefits of blogging as stated by the author includes, “encouraging and supporting reflective and process-based learning, assisting in idea creation and providing a record of achievement.” (Miles, 2006). Blogs are also described to be a platform that allows users to store their reflections and life experiences they undergo. This is, in fact, another point that aligns with how Instagram is utilised by users, as the affordances of Instagram allows consumers to publish content that relates to their personal life experiences and milestones.

Miles discusses a sense of ‘online identity’ in relation to blogging. Bloggers can shift and manipulate their true physical identity in any way and adopt a new one to present online. This point relates back to how users of Instagram utilise their accounts, as everyone posts with an audience in mind.

Having this particular text published in 2006 acts as a flaw, as the opinions and findings presented throughout the piece may be outdated, as a concept of networked media is continually evolving. Furthermore, Miles fails to provide any empirical data as all the arguments put forth are purely supported by his personal experiences and opinions; placing it under a subjective lens. Due to his passion in this matter, Miles fails to provide any negative points circulating blogging and purely focusing on the positives. Although this particular text by Miles does not directly address social media platforms such as Instagram, the concepts and features used to describe web-based publications such as blogs, can be simultaneously applied to explain how consumers utilise Instagram.

Selected text 2-Network (word count: 579)

Anderson, C., Anderson, C., Heffernan, V., Heffernan, V., Pontin, J., Martínez, A., DiResta, R. and Mckenna, M. (2018). The Long Tail. [online] WIRED. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2004/10/tail/ [Accessed 10 Aug. 2018].

The article ‘The Long Tail’ by journalist and digital media enthusiast Chris Anderson expounds on the concept of the ‘long tail’ business model. In addition to being a journalist for WIRED; a monthly American publication that specialises in emerging technological advances, culture, economy and so forth, Anderson possesses a personal blog that places its main focal point on ‘long tail’ business models and companies. His intense passion exhibited to readers, allows them to trust his opinions. The article is written in plain language with frequent mentions of popular culture examples to enable readers to understand the concepts that are explored throughout the text.

Anderson first introduces the importance of algorithms for the success of a business through the example of Amazon.com providing its’ users recommendations about other similar content they might like based on their individual buying behaviour and patterns that have been noted and monitored by companies to increase sales. The introduction of algorithms and sales predictions based on a consumers’ buying pattern and preferences allows small businesses and entities to have a footing in the market and ensures a sense of visibility amongst potential consumers. Anderson labels the ‘long tail’ business model as “an entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries” (Anderson et al., 2018) that provides excellent insights to the minds of consumers and being able to predict what they might want next.

The author discusses the difference in entertainment economy from the 20th century to the 21st century as previous to the introduction of new media; consumers were only presented with mainstream products such as ‘brain-dead summer blockbusters’ and ‘manufactured pop’. Anderson outlines how there was a disconnect between what consumers preferred and what they were being presented with “and the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought.” (Anderson et al., 2018). Anderson points out how previous to the increase of new media, the market mainly lived within the physical world, where stores will only provide selling space for products and services that are classified as ‘mainstream’ and will appeal to the mass audience, which left little to no room to appeal to the niche market.

This refers to Instagram less so as a social media platform utilised by consumers to connect with one another, but more as a platform for small business owners with no physical storefront to gain a sense of visibility and increase market awareness. The ability to create business pages and promote products and services with ease on Instagram, allows small business owners to highlight their niche services. The affordances of Instagram, enable online marketing and distribution a process that is effective and easy. With the lack of physical rent space that needs to be paid for, businesses do not need to worry about fails and are more inclined to take risks.

All in all, through a series of graphs, real-life examples and statistics, Anderson provides a holistic approach to the ‘long tail’ business model and accurately describes the benefits it provides for small business entities. It is relevant to the class prompt in regards to how business owners will utilise Instagram and the way they distribute posts to their followers. An array of examples have been provided to allow readers to apply to their everyday lives. A limitation to this text would be the publication date of 2004; thus potentially making it an old source to reference.

Selected text 3-Social Media (word count: 541 )

Hinton, S. and Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. London: Sage Publications.

‘Understanding Social Media’ by Sam Hinton and Larissa Hjorth provides readers with an insightful look into the evolution of new media through the differences and growth from the dot.com era, all the way through to current day Web 3.0. The text provides a summary of the rise of new media and how modern-day users are now given more overall control and freedom of speech on social media platforms. In addition to this, Hinton and Hjorth provide an array of case studies that urges readers to reflect upon their personal experiences when utilising social media. Hinton and Hjorth begin their argument by highlighting the influx and dominance new media has upon the modern day society. They state that connections are infinite and globalised and “if we could see these connections plotted around the globe, the world would be illuminated like an exquisite decoration, shimmering with the mediated social interactions of many of its nearly seven billion inhabitants.” (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013).

A primary argument put forth by Hinton and Hjorth is that within this utopic lens placed upon new age media and how it allows its’ users free reign on what can be said and done online. Nowadays, web-based platforms advertise themselves as entities that invite creativity and self-exploration; a platform for all individuals with differing views and traits to come together and express themselves. The authors state that the introduction of “Web 2.0 can be regarded as internet companies embracing the user and giving them more control over what they can do online” but, “it can also be regarded as a way for the same companies to gain more control over their operating environments by building better knowledge of their users.” (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). Hinton and Hjorth provides a holistic and unbiased view on new media and how the newfound sense of freedom given to users are at the cost of their privacy. By consuming social media, companies are able to gather personal data and patterns to put towards an algorithm for a more personalised experience.

Moreover, Hinton and Hjorth point out that “the danger of participation is that there are hundreds or even thousands of potentially critical eyes watching every entry. A faulty fact will be challenged, a lie will be uncovered, plagiarism will be discovered. Cyberspace is a truth serum.” (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). Despite the fact that the sense of control users of Instagram are given, the posts they present to the public will be subject to scrutiny and critique, which in turn does affect the way an individual chooses what to distribute. The authors point out how it’s common for users to have a separate online account on the same social media platform to present different versions of themselves, depending on the audience.

Having this particular text being in published in 2013 may suggest that some of the arguments put forth could be outdated but overall, the text provides a holistic view on social media; providing readers unbiased information to allow them the possibility to conjure up their conclusions and opinions on the phenomenon. The term ‘user’ has two connotations throughout the text, that being the controller and controlled, which relates to how current day generation are hypersensitive to what they share online.