Hashtag #activism #notallBS

For this week’s blog post, the lucky last one, i’m going to be discussing the power of hashtags and hashtag activism, as well as the #bullshit that comes along with the concept of hashtags. For starters, what is a hashtag? According to the Urban Dictionary:
hashtag haʃtaɡ/
1. To put it simply, a hash tag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #LOST (or #Lost or #lost, because it’s not case-sensitive), you’ll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won’t get are tweets that say “I lost my wallet yesterday” because “lost” isn’t preceded by the hash tag.
The concept of a hashtag holds hands with many other ideas and concepts including #activism. Here are some notable examples for hashtag activism:
Kony 2012 was a short film that addressed the Invisible Children of Africa, its purpose was to put an end to the Aftican cult and militia leader, indicated war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive, Joseph Kony.
In 2014 when Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, this hashtag began to trend in an attempt to keep this story in the news, as well as creating international attention to it.
This hashtag was an attempt to support and women with cancer. According to  from Time Magazine “The movement has tapped into aspects we love about the Internet—selfies, hashtags, self-congratulation, scrolling through pictures of other people looking a little worse than they normally do. Plus there’s the added bonus of letting all our friends and followers know that we’re doing something good, like donating money, and that we’re not so vain that we need makeup. It’s basically an ad for our own best selves, complete with photo.” Ironic huh.
This hashtag began in 2014 after a number of video game consumers began to criticise what they felt was corruption of ethics in video game journalism. This lead to discussions and controversy covering sexism, misogny and culture wars within the video game industry and community.
In essence, hashtags can be extremely useful to follow trending and important conversations surrounding topics on an international forum. HOWEVER there is also a huge amount of crap that comes along with hashtags. So what do you think? What are the positives/negatives of hashtags? #hopeyoulikedmyblog #byenow

Digital Fashion

As technology increases so too do our opportunities to expand and develop the artistic world. No longer is art (as in physical art such as painting, drawing, crafting etc) limited to the physical world. Art now has the ability to be digital and have a digital presence- ie 3d printing.

But there’s something exciting coming to the idea of digital craft, and that’s digital fashion:

Here’s the description: “Accenture and interactive fashion house CuteCircuit have launched a Proof of Concept that allows users to control the design of specially made fashion garments via an application on their mobile device. With built-in location, social, and analytics capabilities, the technology-enhanced clothing could provide retailers with an opportunity for ongoing customer engagement and marketing beyond the point of sale”.

How cool is that! So basically you can program your garment of clothing to look exactly the way you like. No more trying to pick out the perfect fabric to match those boots, now you can pre-program your garment to be exactly what you want. Wowser!


CitJour- the rising phenomenon

My name is Gemma, I am German by blood, I was born in Australia, but moved around a lot as a kid, I’ve been to 7 countries, Christian by upbringing, a rebel by teens, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend, an editor, a writer  and a journalist. Curious by nature and an adventurer at heart.

Founder of Articulated Transference & ProBono Exploration, writer for BULLSH!T & Hijacked, intern and contributor for Concrete Playground  and editor of UOW’s student magazine, The Tertangala.

I’ve done all this, but i’m not qualified, and with my personal endeavours, i’m unmonitored.

I have a smart phone, a Nikon, a laptop, internet connection and a voice. I have all the ingredients to citizen journalism within reach.

Cit·i·zen Jour·nal·ism
[sit-uh-zuh n, -suh n] [jur-nl-iz-uh m]

The collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet.

Citizen journalism is a piece of news which is recorded by anyone at any given moment during any situation and put onto the internet. It has no editor or someone to control what is said and published. Before the Internet, only professional journalists had access to the technology and organizational infrastructure to publish their work to a large audience. If the average citizen wanted to contribute to the news cycle, he or she could write a letter or email in… But today, armed with a computer and a high-speed Internet connection, absolutely anyone can share newsworthy information and opinions with a worldwide audience.

Anyone can be a reporter. If you are taking information with your mobile phone and uploading it to the internet- you are reporting it. We don’t want the news told to us, we want to be part of the process. Consumers are becoming active in the processing and developing of information.

Sorry journalists, your job is about to get a lot harder. The very notion of ‘breaking news’ is broken. According to journalist and New Media Producer Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, “there can be a symbotic relationship between citizen journalists, activists, netizens- people who are on the ground, who understand the culture, they can fill the gap a parachute journalist, you know someone who comes in when the story is hot or trending or whatever, can’t potentially add to the story.”‘

It doesn’t take much to find examples of citizen journalism. Take for instance Tumblr. All I have to do is type in Baltimore, Ferguson, Syria, citizen journalism, journalism, voice for the people,  in the search bar and thousands upon thousands of examples of citizen journalism appear.

And the crux of it all- human rights and justice. To show and engage the world about what is happening, about what the conventional media has their hands tied to show. In the words of Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan

Journalism is just a gun. Aim it right, & you can blow a kneecap off the world”. 
For this blog post i’ve recorded an interview of myself for the job of ‘Citizen Journalist’ (if this were a job you could apply for). In this, i’ve outlined how simple it is to become a citizen journalist.

Dat 6 Sec Loop, Yo

Known as ‘The Amen Break’, It was and arguably still is the most important 6 second loop in all of history.The beginning of remix culture some might say. According to an author of the Economist,

“Amen also has certain sonic qualities that set it aside from its rivals. Rather than keeping time with a hi-hat, Coleman uses the loose sound of the ride cymbal, filling out the aural space. And the recording has a “crunch” to it, says Tom Skinner, a London-based session drummer: “That quality is appealing to beatmakers.”

Whats interesting about this is that this 6 second loop has been remixed so much, I guarantee it is familiar to even the most musically-lacking people. Adapting over time, as you can tell below, this loop has become iconic in the eyes of DJ’s throughout the world.

Similarly to Axis of Awesome, which shows the same three cords used continuously throughout the majority of pop songs- as you can tell below, it seems that as an audience we seek out familiarity.

As our access to technology continues to increase, the idea of produsage becomes all the more popularised. This refers to the idea of producer and user combining to create something new- a remix. One example of this is the meme I created for this week. I have used an already created image, and created something new with it. I have become the produser.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 6.13.10 pm

The Active Audience Call to Arms

Why be a passive audience member, when you can have your voice heard today! No longer is journalism restricted to newspapers, radio or television, anyone can be a journalist.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your opinion heard.


Image credit: Brandwatch

Technology to Blame!

How gadgets are developing our society is quite the interesting question in terms of technological convergence, permissions and media transference. It is the ever-growing ubiquitous connectivity, whereby the trajectory of technological convergence is on an steep incline.

Technological convergence is the big one here, where technology is no longer limited to a single medium. For instance, your smartphone can be a camera, a voice recorder, a internet browser and also a portable phone.

However, despite making our lives easier, technological convergence and advances in technology have made us complacent- therefore loosing some vital skills. According to journalist, Thorin Klosowki “It’s easy to cry wolf and lament for a time that used to be. People argue that before technology ruled our lives, we were happier, smarter, and better at general living. That utopian vision of the past is a bit too rose tinted, but the point remains that we’ve lost some basic human skills over the years”

In particular our skills in navigation, memorisation and communicating with strangers have all been lost at the cost of technology. So in essence, despite obviously making our lives easier, is technology making us lazy or useless?

According to blogger, Loud and Jaded, it is.

Copy Cat

So what’s the deal with copyright? Yes  it’s a footnote, following on from ‘the medium is the message’, but seriously what’s the deal?

The idea of ‘copyright’ comes down to ownership and control. Before copyright content creators had no property claims on their intellectual work, basically anyone could steal your idea without any ramifications. Without copyright, who would bother publishing anything if it can just be stolen straight away?

It comes down to crediting. We can share all content, “copy” if you will, however the problem lies in claiming another’s words as our own. Not cool. But where do we draw the line?

During my poetry-writing phase, I read a poem by a friend and was inspired to write my own. After publishing it, she contacted me crying wolf and saying i’d copied her, despite no content being the same. Although it was quickly sorted out once she understood she’d inspired my idea, and i’d agreed to do a promotional blurb at the end of the poem, it was all good.

So what’s the line between being ‘inspired’ by another’s work, as opposed to breaking copyright laws?

From a design perspective, these lines are blurred. It’s common practice for designers to check out a number of sources previous to creating their own. According to Irene Zeitler, “As legal advisers on copyright law we are frequently told by people involved in the clothing and footwear industry that in order to avoid copyright infringement all you need to do is:

  1. change the colour of the design
  2. change 10 per cent of the design, and/or
  3. leave some elements out of or introduce some new elements to the design.

The answer to the question of when ‘inspiration’ becomes copyright infringement is complex”.

No, it’s not easy to determine subtle issues of copyright such as in design, unless the work has been blatantly copied. And then how does one even begin to address the other points surrounding copyright, such as appropriation, satirisation, and claiming that you were the first to come up with the idea?

Its definitely fair to say that copyright is a huge and complex web of ties and laws which all seek to determine who owns what and who controls what.