Tiana got a shock, so let’s back track here. I get to play bad cop, Brian, Jasmine and Elliot good cop. Most of our graduates get good jobs, just mostly not directly making stuff for money. A lot end up in what I think of as creative middle management, they are production managers for a postproduction company (all around the world), or they are the person in charge of DVD development for a distributor. That means you don’t make the DVDs, you engage a design house, give them a brief and budget, and give the OK for their work. You work with marketing, distribution, and so on. These are very good jobs, and a growth area. Our students get these because you can talk to makers, and managers (remember my ‘T’ shaped people talk earlier?) Most don’t stay trying to make because the insecurity of employment and income is, well, insecure, you want a regular salary, holiday pay, superannuation. Some recognise the things we teach, and more sideways, portable.tv was created by two RMIT media graduates who paid attention to subjects like this. It’s a service, an experience, a series of events. The shock you need to get is that today you have the capacity to make this happen, and that is how it works. You have to take it to the world, rather than enter at the ground floor and work your way up (the world coming to you). So please, don’t panic (you have two more years here that will help), and realise the opportunities you now have, and take them.

Lauren picks up the experience media and content observations from symposium 0.1.

Lectures, Yep, Presence

Ashleigh picks up some concerns with the structure of the subject. I’d suggest killing two birds with one stone. Blogging, or if you’re serious, use Medium for your writing, is where you learn how to write, get a profile, a voice. There are already people in the course who have paid gigs writing online content. As the journalism teacher said, there are no jobs, and experience is what counts. They might say work placement, but you’ll have to take it on trust that these days a lot of people get their first gigs based on what they’ve proved they can do, online. So your blog posts are your rehearsal for the journalism position you want. Or, at the end of three years, get some people together and create the online journal you and your friends would read. Hook up with advertising and marketing students, build the entire team, now.

And no, being present to a lecture matters. Yes, it is old fashioned. The experience of it matters. However we can’t run a symposium with no one there, co-presence is an important part of the model, and of learning – which is why you have enrolled in a degree with classes and not just doing your course via Open University. But just ask someone to hit record on their phone, and the job is done. Again, you don’t need me to do this. I have asked you to attend, as has the university. If you can’t, the responsibility is yours to ask someone to record it. I don’t understand why this is no different to getting you ready for your professional careers. If you can’t get to your job you are expected to find a way to get the work done. later, by someone else, it all depends. But you don’t expect your employer to just solve this for you.

Yes, we expect a lot. The argument I’d like to hear is why we shouldn’t.


Have added a menu item to the blog called ‘kernels’. They are key nuggets, ideas, the primary take aways that I (just I) think matter from the 75 blog posts written so far. Think of it as a high level filter.

Beta Symposium 0.1

The questions that will be used a prompts for discussion for this weeks symposium:

  • What is the practicality of design fiction for people who are not designers? What separates it from science fiction? (some debate about the second part of this question, as some believed it is already answered in the readings, but in the end they wanted to keep it there)
  • As content producers, is it more important to speculate far into the future or pay more attention to the present?
  • How is a network influenced by its constituents, and how does it influence them?
  • What do you think the future of networked media will involve, and how will it benefit us?
  • How have mobile devices changed the way blogs are produced and consumed?

My Double Loop Learning

Second lecture. Ask you to ask questions (in the language of the network this is called crowdsourcing). In the spirit of ‘model II’ learning and risk taking I invite those that didn’t ask a question to put up their hands. You did. I then told you why you’d been wrong to not ask a question.

That was me reverting to my mental map and not my espoused theory. My espoused theory includes things like “I will encourage and support students to contribute, to be peers in this learning, to experience trust, to take risks, that risks and errors will not automatically be criticised” and so on. My habits are that I am an academic, I have always questions, I always wonder about everything, and my golly goodness everyone else has to too since, well, isn’t that what has to happen? (You can see the mental model is just messy and full of assumptions – ‘governing variables’ – that collapse pretty quickly when made visible.)

The unlecture model is for all teachers to contribute and participate. I answered all questions and said everything. I never once stopped and asked the teaching staff, or you, what you thought. This is partly my narcissism (there’s a certain moment of self deprecation there but also some home truth), and again is my mental model. While I publicly advocate (and believe) in diversity and debate and getting a mix and variety of ideas in there to make things really rich, I default to the spectacle of me as academic expert. Mode I. It is easier for me, it is defensive, , it is trying to control things, and to ‘not lose’ rather than just hang out with the ideas.

I did the same thing in the tute too. So to change this takes an enormous effort on my behalf. Not physical or even intellectual, just to notice it, and then to let something else in. The double loop is to recognise the gap between my espoused theory and what I did this week in practice, and to then see that my ‘governing variables’ can be questioned. IN that moment I have the potential to become a better teacher, a better researcher, a better practitioner. By noticing, and having the know how of what to try and do next. Try to do next. A risk, another experiment. It might not work, again. But that is not a reason to not do it, is it?


(image: On Classical Blog. The Guardian. March 3, 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/tomserviceblog/2009/mar/02/classical-music-great-orchestral-debate)

Today’s Age has a story about Barry Palmer (Hunters and Collectors guitarist, oh, that’s my middle age talking, isn’t it?) and a new app come service that lets you view live concert footage. The app and service is soundhalo. This is cool. However, the point? On TV and radio what carries the most value (in terms of audience interest and $) are events that are live, where the liveness matters. This excludes drama, game shows, and the like. It does include the new forms such as ‘reality’ game shows as they are designed and intended to be live. Sport is the biggest of them all (one billion Australian dollars to broadcast AFL), but music is the next biggest.

Sport matters because seeing it live is part of sport. You don’t want to watch it a day, a week, later. Not only because you will now the result but because sport’s pleasure is in its performing in the now. Um, that’d be the same for a concert, wouldn’t it? Rupert Murdoch understood this many many years ago when he paid a then unprecedented sum for the rights to the English Premier League (people thought he was mad), then stuck it all on SkyBSB. This is what made Sky viable. People will pay for live sport. And people will probably pay, or at least enjoy, seeing live music (can’t get to Glastonbury, then live is next best). So this app and service could be a winner simply because it can leverage what matters, which is the liveness.

For us, outside of the specifics of networked media, this is another nail in the coffin for heritage media. Not only does soundhalo offer an alternative revenue model for bands, but it reinforces the fact that the traditional power of TV was its control of time. If you wanted to watch your favourite show you had to be in front of a TV set at the time it was on. This meant they could charge lots of money for advertising since you had to be there to be part of it (in front of the TV). When was the last time you made sure you were at home, in front of the TV, to not miss something? That wasn’t a live event? I never do this for drama. Ever. The opposite of this was once normal. Just like we think those images of the family gathered around the radio to listen to something are, well, sepia quaint, this was my childhood, adolescence and early adult life for television. Not any more. If you can’t guarantee audience, you lose the basis of your revenue model (advertising). Things are changing, have to change, and will change. You will be at the vanguard of this.

When I Was a Media Student

People smoked in class.

In the first unlecture Adrian touched on the some of the changes in media since he was a student (in the pre-digital dark ages of the mid 1980s). One of the things mentioned was how the video camera was large, very expensive, and that the format was U-Matic (Betacam was broadcast quality, U-Matic was sort of next best). The edit suite needed two separate large video players, one as source the other as destination, and you had to load, fast forward, rewind, to the clips you wanted. Each tape held 30 minutes of video, so if you’d shot several takes you might have 4 or more tapes that would need constant loading, unloading, fast forwarding and so on. Since you edited from one tape to another and tape is linear, you nearly always did butt edits, as an insert edit meant putting video over the top of what was already there and so erasing whatever was ‘under’ it. This often meant re-editing everything from that point onwards, again, so you really only did it if it was so important that it just absolutely had to be done.

So things are, obviously, much smaller, and an order of magnitude faster and easier to do. However, the other thing is that because you dubbed from one tape to another, and it was analogue media, the edited copy would, by definition, not be as good as the original. In analogue media every copy introduces noise and so is less good than the original. Once you’d edited, then made a VHS quality from the original tape, the decline in quality was already noticeable if you looked hard enough. This meant the original tape was treated as something to be guarded, protected, and only used sparingly, as even watching it caused damage (which you would have to admit was taking things a bit far, you can watch a tape 100s of times before the video player heads – which are rapidly spinning metal drums – would wear out the tape) and you never paused it because the tape might have been stopped but the drums were still spinning madly!

So, first enormous now forgotten-take-for-granted of digital media. Infinite reproducibility with no loss of quality. You can copy a video file 1, 10, 100, 1,000,000 million times, and it is the same. Always. This means there is no essential quality or attribute given to the ‘original’ in digital media, since each version, being identical, is the same. (This second point is seriously radical if you think – speculate – about it, we have a culture that privileges the first as what matters, first place, first at something, first in line, first in the class, first film that did x, and in media this continued so the original copy mattered because it was the master that had to be preserved so future copies could be made. There is no longer any privilege, in the artefact – the object – in being ‘first’, does that mean the idea of first as best or better will slowly erode, or change?)

To see the difference, the YouTube clip above illustrates just how much quality is lost each time a VHS video tape is copied.