Multi Media Essay

“…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” – Adrian Miles.
Over the past few decades, the number of network literate individuals has expanded greatly, in turn this has caused the online shopping trend to boom and online revenue continues to improve year after year. The Australia Bureau of Statistics released data that showed online sales reached $246 billion during the 2012-2013 financial year. There are a number of factors which are influencing online sales, and network literacy is one of these key factors, its benefit for companies both exclusively online, and those with physical storefronts is greater than ever before. The ever-growing online trend, particularly in retail is something that will influence any individual intended to work within the media industry.
Chen and Tan (2004) researched what factors determined consumers acceptance and use of online retailers, issues such as security, privacy, shipping costs, and unfamiliarity all impact on consumers Behavioural Intention (BI) to shop online. It has been found that consumer perception of a product is the key determinant of both online and offline purchasing (Darden & Lusch 1983), but particularly the Perceived Usefulness (PU) of online shopping is effected by this. In this particular study, an online survey was used to asses consumer acceptance of online stores. In relation to the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), the research showed that Perceived Usefulness and Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) has substantial impacts on consumers acceptance of an online store. The results show that the more user friendly, sophisticated, and helpful an online store is, the better it will contribute to the online shopping network. Lohse and Spiller (1998) found that poorly designed digital storefronts would adversely effect sales, something which appears obvious to us as network literate individuals. It provided evidence that the more network literate a web designer is, the better they can create a simplified online purchasing process, and the more the network “flows”. Another hugely influential factor relating to Behavioural Intention and Perceived Usefulness of online stores is price. In order to retain customers, online stores must keep their prices low so as to compete with offline retailers, and other online companies.
Technology Acceptance Model:
A study by Chen, Wu and Yoon (2001) discovered that product reviews online encouraged sales, particular in products that are less popular, or that have little information about them online. Data was sourced from, and showed that products with more reviews sold better than those with a smaller amount, even if that small amount of reviews was largely positive. The reasoning for this is perhaps because consumers base the popularity of a product off the amount of reviews it has, more popular items then receive even more sales, or perhaps it is items with more reviews then become more popular? Online retail can be considered at a disadvantage to offline retail, as consumers do not have the chance to ‘try before they buy’, which is why network literacy becomes so important, as online sellers must be able to give an efficient overview of a product in a simplified way to potential buyers. Search costs refers to the amount of time, energy and money spent by consumers to research a product, the higher the search cost, the less likely an individual will eventually purchase. When information is readily available on a product, consumers are more likely to purchase it, when search costs are too high, consumers often abandon their online purchasing pursuits. Online recommendations are another simple way for retailers to enhance sales, particularly through recommendations like “people who viewed this also liked…” and so on. While the concept has not been researched, it is obvious consumers have perceived trust in the purchases of others online. So recommendations based off other buyers encouraged sales, the more recommended an item, the better its assumed popularity and the more likely an individual is likely to purchase it. It was also found through this study that books with lower prices and a substantial number of reviews were more likely to be recommended to consumers.
While the previous study was conducting using only book related purchases, Gretzel and Yoo (2008) found that three-quarters of people intending to travel considered online reviews while planning their trips. Ye, Law, and Gu (2009) considered this while researching exactly how influential consumer reviews could be for aspects of the hospitality and tourism industry. They discuss the impact of Word of Mouth (WOM) online, which has similarities to Adrian Miles’ quote about contribution online and being able to share what other have provided. For this study they focused on the impact on hotel bookings, based on online reviews on a travel website. They disregarded any reviews that were written over 12 months before the study, to ensure up to date information. The results found that a 10% improvement in online reviews would increase sales by 4.4%. This shows that it is a number of different industries which can be impacted by online reviews.
Forrester Research (Tedeschi 2000) found data showing that two-thirds of online shoppers abandoned their virtual “shopping cart” before completing a purchase. Here is a graph with data showing why consumers stated they stopped before purchasing something online: abandon-shopping-cart-reasons-graph
Grandon and Ranganathan (2001) studied “the nature and extent of impact of various content and design variables” on online consumers purchases, in order to discover what encourages consumers to buy online and how to improve online revenue. A total of 94 companies with an online presence were subjected to analysis in relation to things such as the complexity of navigation, use of search functions, and information available. The results found that the two factors having the most influence on online sales were the frequency that the website was updated, and the use of ‘decision aids’ to help consumers decide what products were best for them, both of which require network literate employees. They also discovered that complex navigation systems and high level use of multimedia had negative effects for online sales, as both hindered consumers in their online searches. The conclusions of this study reveal the importance of user friendly content and its impact on sales. This shows how thoroughly online sales are influenced by network literacy. There is an implication from this study that websites must be made to cater for consumers who are not particularly network literate, as well as individuals who are. However, perhaps the most interesting finding for this study was that more information on the website did not necessarily encourage online sales, but lowered them. This shows that websites will increase their revenue by giving concise and accurate information, rather than lengthy details. A Ted talk by Sebastian Wernicke, gives some insight into the importance of a few words.
Many surveys determining consumers intention to shop online are conducted online, which disregards any aspect of the population which chooses not to use online retailers. Vijayasarathy (2004) collected his data from the results of a mail survey which questioned consumers use, intention to use, and attitude towards online shopping, it also asked questions relating to their overall internet use. 281 of the 800 questionnaires mailed out were returned complete and deemed useable of the study. Surprisingly in a world now so influenced by the intenet, only 88% of the respondents stated that they had ever used the internet. The personal information provided by the respondents revealed that a majority were well-educated, middle-aged, married individuals with a higher household income than the average American. This may account for the low figures relating to internet use, and ignores a large portion of the population which uses the web, teenagers and children who have grown up learning to be network literate. A key finding in this study was that how consumers perceived the compatibility of their lifestyle with online shopping effected their acceptance of it. For example, individuals who perhaps had time constraints, or simply preferred to shop from the comfort of their home, found online shopping would cater for these needs. In addition to these positive findings, there was also evidence to prove the previous points that outdated interfaces, complex structures, and ineffective search engines contributed to consumer frustration with online retailers. Another issue was the perceived security of websites, consumers were less likely to be satisfied with online transactions when they felt their privacy may be breached.
The world we now live in is constantly begin effected by network literacy, while a few decades ago shopping was a purely offline act, now shopping online is becoming more and more popular due to the large amount of research conducted into how network literacy effects online revenue. Almost all retail industries now have some form of online presence, and there are numerous articles relating to how to improve these sites. Only the future can yield the answers of how the online retail industry is going to adapt and grow.

Miles, A. 2007, “Network Literacy: The New Path to Knowledge”. Screen Education Autumn, No. 45, pp. 24–30

Chen, L, Tan, J 2004, ‘Technology Adaption in E-commerce: Key Determinants of Virtual Store Acceptance’. European Management Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 74–86

Chen, P, Wu, S, Yoon, J 2004, ‘The Impact of Online Recommendations and Consumer Feedback on Sales’. International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Paper 58

Ye, Q, Law, R, Gu, B 2009, ’The impact of online user reviews on hotel room sales’. International Journal of Hospitality Management 28, pp. 180–182

Grandon, E, Ranganathan, C 2001, ‘The Impact of Content and Design of Web Sites on Online Sales’. Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Paper 179

Vijayasarathy, L 2004, ‘Predicting consumer intentions to use on-line shopping: the case for an augmented technology acceptance model’, Information & Management 41, pp. 747–762

Symposium #4 – Question #1

How can you judge the validity of things on the internet?

I think trying to judge the validity of things on the internet is quite similar to judging the validity of any opinion raised in society today. Lengthy research must be done. You should never assume that just because someone has posted or said something that they are the trustworthy. You have to look into things for yourself, don’t assume something is valid unless you’re absolutely certain. For example if someone references a study or a quote from an ‘expert’, you need to look into the truth in their words, do your own investigating to see if they had their information correct. The same matters for images, we no longer live in an era when the camera doesn’t lie, thanks to applications like photoshop. An excellent thing about google is the image search option, where you can drag an image into the search bar and find the same or similar images. This is great for finding out where the image originally came from, and finding other sources relating to the validity of an image.

Paul Graham’s ‘The Age of the Essay’

A number of things struck me in Paul Graham’s essay titled The Age of the Essay. Prehaps most importantly, this line: “Above all, make a habit of paying attention to things you’re not supposed to, either because they’re “inappropriate,” or not important, or not what you’re supposed to be working on. If you’re curious about something, trust your instincts. Follow the threads that attract your attention”. What about this particular line, three quarters of the way through this essay struck me? It was because that is exactly what I was doing. I was disregarding his main point and focusing on a tiny error in his writing.
Earlier in this long winded and frequently digressing essay, Graham, while explaining how he hasn’t explained himself well, says “…in the course of the conversation I’ll be forced to come up a with a clearer explanation…” You may notice the simple typo, an added ‘a’. Or you may have breezed over it as many others will, but I have always been rather against any piece of writing that had any spelling, grammar, or punctuation issues.
Again this can be linked to Graham’s later question of what makes someone qualified to write on this subject? At Graham’s simple inclusion of an extra ‘a’, I had automatically deemed him unfit to discuss literary essays. I know nothing of his qualifications, his previous work, or any other aspect of his academic life, but I have already painted the picture in my mind that he is somebody that doesn’t quite know what he is talking about.
I regularly do this while reading, if an article misses a quotation mark, I stop reading, having decided that the journalist is lacking in intelligence, or at least the ability to proof read. If a story lacks clarity in a single sentence, I will skim the rest, having come to the conclusion long ago that stories without good writers are of no importance to me. What gives me the right to act so high and mighty above all other writers? Absolutely nothing. I lack any qualifications, and my own writing is far from perfect. Yet I still dictate who I consider to be a worthy academic by their use of linguistics.
At the start of this essay, I considered Graham’s ideas to have much depth, agreeing with his scepticism of school children being forced to write about literary classics as opposed to something they actually consider relevant, or something they are passionate about. Slowly over the course of the reading though I began to have less and less belief in Graham’s opinions. Perhaps it was his constant digression from the topic, what he would most likely call ‘surprises’ in his essay.
Graham would most likely disagree with my points in this review of his work, but in a way I think he would also be proud of my focus on his finer points, rather than the overall intent of the essay, and my ‘disobedience’ as having no right to make judgement on his work, but still doing so.

Our lives are not a story


Can it be considered, perhaps, that our lives are not an accident?

Who is to say that there is not someone who is dictating our life. A form of fate perhaps?

Is Lady Fate choosing what happens in our lives, all that happens perhaps is chosen, predetermined. The choices we think we made were chosen for us long ago, and we only believe that we are making a choice.

Just think on this concept. You could argue for hours that our lives are story being written by another.