Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mobile Media: the communication revolution

Mobile media is anything that is based on mobile/portable technology so if we look around us almost anything that we use to communicate, work, study or entertain ourselves is in fact mobile media. Right now as I started writing this Blog Post I looked in my bag and found three mobile devices plus the one I’m currently using  (iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Laptop). This makes mobile media not only the most common thing in pockets and handbags but also a revolutionary concept in terms of communication.

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During this week we read an article published in the book ‘A Companion to New Media Dynamics’  by Gerard Goggin called Changing Media with Mobiles and it explains how during the beginning of the 21st century “mobiles were commonly recognized as a pillar of media and communication” and this was in fact correct.

Today, mobile media has altered how we understand time and space. It has changed the world as we know it by redefining privacy, modifying how humans relate to one another and even transforming our entire body.

Smartphones and social media are a good example to illustrate how mobile media has revolutionized communications, technology and connectivity. In the article Goggin writes:

“Smartphones have proved – for a few years at least- a powerful force in mobility, upon which much emotion energy, connection and capital is being concentrated…Most strikingly, social media as the two leaders – Facebook and Twitter – are increasingly accessed via mobile devices, making mobile social media the new face of the contemporary Internet”.

Today whether we are on the bus, out for dinner at nice restaurant or sitting at the beach, we look around us and everyone is looking down at their mobile devices. I often wonder what do people do staring at a screen for hours like nothing else exists? but then, the answer is right in front of me in my iPhone and guess what? We are all doing the same thing! Recent studies have shown that 80% of the time spent on mobile devices is inside apps, and more specifically social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter .

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At present, 65% of Australians use Social Media and the 2013 Yellow™ Social Media Report found that social media users are increasingly using mobile technology (smartphones), more that laptops or PC’s to access Social Network Sites. The report shows that users using smartphones to access social media increased by 67 per cent (up from 53 per cent in 2012), while laptops decreased to 64 per cent (down from 69 per cent in 2012).

Every day, life happens all around us and we are too busy on our smartphones to notice the changes that online and mobile media has managed to achieve in our daily routines.

With the possibility of accessing the Internet and therefore social media through apps on our smartphones, checking our Facebook and Twitter accounts has become part of our daily routines. 37 per cent of users admitted checking social media before getting out of bed and 42 per cent before going to sleep.

I feel bad to admit that I am part of the 44 per cent of individuals that have slept (in my case, every night) with their phone next to them so that they don’t miss phone calls, text messages and notifications.

So how does this permanent connectivity make us feel?

Before, when people first started checking their emails on mobile phones a lot of them felt relieved and thought they could have more time to themselves because of the possibility of receiving information no matter when and where.  Mobile phones and mobile Internet felt like freedom to many:  the days of setting behind an office desk were over, they could all go to the beach, play golf or stay at home because they could be reached anywhere.

Nowadays, we all complain because our bosses, clients and friends expect us to be available 24/7. The sense of time and space changed and we are no longer free.

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In this particular case, Social Media makes us feel connected but in fact individuals are becoming more disconnected than ever before. Human relationships no longer require the effort of making phone calls, meeting for coffee or remembering your best friend’s birthday.

I am a believer that social media is making us less social, we are becoming lazy and human interactions are no longer a priority. Younger generations that grew up in the digital era have no knowledge of how to relate without social media. Recent studies have shown that Generation Y was socialized in a digital world and that it is a generation with high technological skills but that lacks social skills.

 One of the many complaints about Generation Y in the workplace is their lack of social skills and experts claim that it is due to technology. This has become an issue for employers since Individuals are having trouble engaging in simple social tasks like doing proper phone calls, making eye contact and even having face-to-face conversations.

I believe that if social media affects our behaviour to a point where getting a good job is going to be hard it is time for us, (“Generation Y”) to re-think our relationships and the fact that we might be loosing something that we take for granted: our social skills.

If you found this post interesting and would like to know more about mobility and social media the following links might be useful:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-moeller/new-study-mobile-phones-p_b_1927945.html

http://www.news.com.au/technology/australians-now-using-social-media-in-bedrooms-and-toilet-cubicles/story-e6frfro0-1226650573429

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-mobile-social-networks-have-become-2013-77

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Dear Citizens, please help journalists do their jobs

 “When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism”

Jay Rosen

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Citizen Journalism has become a topic of discussion that has practitioners in the field re-thinking their position and re-evaluating the definition of today’s journalism.

In the article “Preditors”: Making Citizen Journalism Work published in 2008, the authors Wilson,  Saunders  and Bruns , point out that with the emergence of citizen journalism, established news organizations have successfully worked with users to generate content.

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With more than 1.08 billion smartphone users in the world individuals have in their pockets an incredibly powerful tool for news making. Owning a smartphone plus being in the right place and the right time can make a common citizen into a journalist that can capture news as they happen.

The convenience of having 24-7 journalists in every corner of the world is of great advantage for news companies. An example of this put to practice is the “Guardian Witness” program launched by The Guardian on April this year. The program, invites users to download an application on their smartphones or access it or their computers and upload videos, stories, photos and contribute to news making.

Another example of participatory or citizen journalism is CNN iReport which also encourages CNN’s audience to participate and generate news that if approved can become a part of CNN coverage.

The fact that user-content is being published and that citizens have legitimate channels to publish information has made the news business gain a bigger audience, more coverage and ultimately, made the journalism industry of greater importance to the general public.

As we discussed in last week’s lecture, the main formats of participatory journalism include polls, message boards, comments on news stories, blogs and now social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social media

It is a fact that individuals that had no relation to journalism and absolutely no interest in publishing and reporting have now become key elements in news making.

With technology as the main tool people can now report breaking news often faster than official media. We see examples of participatory journalism all the time particularly when it comes to accidents, natural disaster and unexpected terrorism.

Last week I was going through my Facebook Newsfeed and I saw someone update their status to “I am currently in my house northeast of Bogota and something just sounded like a bomb does anyone know what happened?” not even two minutes had past when another user replied “It was not a bomb, I’m next to the accident is located in Tenjo, is 30 minutes away from your house and it was a mine explosion caused by an accident, ambulances are already on their way.” In the next hour Facebook users had built the whole story and knew every single detail of it before the nation’s main newspaper could publish the accident on its webpage and social media accounts.

Citizen Journalism occurs almost everyday somewhere in the world and when it comes to major disasters or accidents it becomes a very useful tool for the media as well as the general public. Let’s take for example the plane that landed on the Hudson River in 2009 where basically anyone with a view of the river and a phone reported the accident immediately. Even tough this was four years ago, the coverage given to the accident via Twitter was efficient, instantaneous and well managed by the audience.

“My brother just saw the US Airways #flight1549 slowly land in the Hudson river from his office in 35th floor in Times Square,” said user “gregheadz,” using the Twitter hash code to add the message to a group. 

The plane

Social media and specifically Twitter has become one of the most frequent channels for citizen journalists changing the way news are produced.  The following is a TEDx Talk by Paul Lewis that discusses how citizen journalism has helped him as a professional journalist to uncover stories and reveal the truth to the public.

Despite the negative implications that citizen journalism brings to the profession such as inaccurate information, unverifiable sources, poor writing skills and low resolution audio visual aids, this form of participatory journalism, in my opinion, is very helpful for professionals working as journalists. As I see it, citizen journalism allows big news companies to have worldwide coverage almost every minute of the day. With technology, smartphones, Internet and Social Media there is always someone watching. (That last phrase sounds paranoid but I find it to be true).

If you wonder what citizen journalism has achieved and contributed to relevant news stories and good journalism, the following links provide you with good examples:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/03/opinion/ireport-awards-hawkins-gaar/

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/09/syrian-citizen-journalists-set-ethical-example-focused-on-dignity-truth/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/28/best-citizen-journalism-o_n_405195.html

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