Final Essay

1. ‘It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves—the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public—has stopped being a problem.’ (Clay Shirky, ‘Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable’)

Digital and Networked media – replacing the publishing industry?

“The written word—incised in clay, inked with a quill, printed on presses or transmitted as electronic bits in email—has always been at the heart of capturing and disseminating human knowledge.” (Behar et al. 2011 pg. 1)

According to Mike Shatzkin, “publishing will become a function of many entities, not a capability reserved to a few insiders who can call themselves an industry.” (Shatzkin 2013) As an industry which used to be reserved for those with the resources to publish printed content on a large scale, publishing can no longer threaten writers that its is not possible to put books on shelves or stories in the media without them as an intermediary. This is simply no longer the case with only a quarter to a half of book sales now requiring a publisher to get a space on the shelves.

With the rise of digital and networked media this dissemination has now shifted to e-readers, tablets and other digital platforms which increase the ease of making content public, could be owned by 15-12 per cent of the developed world by 2015, triggering an overwhelming change in the publishing industry and creating new trends in the creation of content. Before the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle and as recently as 2007, there were no e-book sales and over 85% of printed books were sold in stores. (Behar et al. 2011)

The breaking down of the barriers between creating content and taking it into the public sphere is threatening the livelihood of traditional publishing companies.  “The absence of convenient e-reading platforms had protected books from such a revolution until recently. However, the emergence of new mass market devices, such as dedicated e-book readers or multipurpose tablets, has put an end to that reprieve.” (Behar et al. 2011 pg., 2) Shatzkin refers to publishers as anachronisms, estimating that in 10 years from now most of the gatekeepers of the print industry won’t even be working for publishing companies. (Shatzkin 2013) With the expanding online universe of bloggers, independent news sites and aggregators this figure is not unimaginable but almost expected by many.

Despite the fact that e-publishing may have been created to solve the industries biggest headache – ensuring publishers retain the ability to charge for content, (Patokallio 2013) according to author and financial times columnist Tim Harford  “If you let Amazon and Apple lock in their devices, they are going to slaughter all of you. (Budden 2013) Entrepreneur and also a Financial Times columnist Luke Johnson believes that software, particularly that produced by Google, Amazon and Apple, “has become a very serious threat that may well eat” the publishing business. (Budden 2013) Similarly Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarperCollins UK, emphasises “single platform domination” as “the risk”. “I don’t think it was good for the record industry nor will it be good for publishing.” (Budden 2013)

 Although e-books provide publishing industries with huge cost savings on staff and production, it has been destructive on its reputation as the lone pathway to selling printed books. Authors now bypass traditional publishing methods opting to self publish and even those who sign with publishers often focus on digital platform routes requiring much less publisher output and reducing expenses.

“We have authors who sell only 500 in hardback and sell 120,000 in e-books.” Caroline Michel, chief executive of literary agents Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. (Budden 2013)“Even the most sober industry observers are seeing revenues exceeding 50% from e-books in the next two or three years, which would mean that substantially more than half the units of these books are selling electronically. “ (Shatzkin 2012)

 Publishers have now come to terms with the fact that people want quality content in a digital and more engaging format for a better price. This begs the question of how to improve printed content in a way that people are willing to pay for to maintain the industries reputation as publishers of content unlike no other. It has been proposed that adding videos, sound, music and various degrees of interactivity and collaboration to digital reading platforms could be the answer. Long-term value in digital reading will not come from simply converting the physical page into digital text, the greatest opportunity for publishers in the digital revolution involves improved reader interaction and new forms of publishing content. (Behar et al. 2011)

Barnsley predicts e-books will “reinvigorate the novel format, with readers able to select multiple endings or follow certain characters.” (Budden 2013) The possibility that e-publishing could ignite increased passion in reading is supported by a survey of almost 3000 consumers by Bain & Company showed that e-reader owners often read more with the vast majority of these willing to pay for their content. Also, those who have converted to digital formats say they continue to read printed versions, even including those respondents from the younger generations. (Behar et al. 2011)

Things are not so bright however for the press industry. The research showed that most online readers want free content and are only willing to pay for premium content such as financial information, local news and investigative journalism. Regardless of device, consumers today expect ubiquitous, instantaneous and free information. Nearly 90 percent of those we surveyed only read free news content online. For those with digital tablets, only 10 percent say they would pay for news.” (Behar et al. 2011 pg. 8) This means that readers bypass traditional print publishers to access other forms of news which are easily created through networked and digital technology. The notion of receiving news in Australia from sources other than the main media corporations before the Internet was rare.  Converting to news to digital mediums is however just an additional distribution channel and does not necessarily solve the fundamental problems of the press industry and its need to redesign its business model as a whole. (Behar et al. 2011)

Considerations for the future

Clay Shirky argues that various plans of the 90’s aimed to preserve old forms of media in a world of “cheap copies”. The general idea behind all outcomes “save the unthinkable” was that the “existing organisational form of the newspaper as a general-purpose vehicle for publishing a variety of news and opinion, was basically sound, and only needed a digital facelift.” (Shirky 2009)

Traditional media were not caught off guard with the arrival of the Internet, in reality they saw it long before its arrival and knew they need to act fast. To keep the publishing industry afloat there were ideas of partnering with subscription services, educating the public of copyright law, creating new software less capable of sharing, adopting micropayment models, and joining TV & Radio in being reliant on advertising. “Then there was the nuclear option: sue copyright infringers directly, making an example of them.” (Shirky 2009) And so the cycle continues with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: “Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.” (Shirky 2009) This may not however be the case.

Ultimately new technologies have the ability to make or break the publishing industry. Have e-readers killed the book, or revolutionized reading? Can newspapers change their advertising based revenue model to compete with the ease of digital media or do online pay walls solve their problems? (Fenzi 2013) In dealing with digital and networked media, “much is at stake: the redistribution of value among players, a redesign of their roles and, potentially, an evolution in the way content is created—all of which could produce significant new value for the industry in the long term.”(Behar et al. 2011 pg. 2)

Regardless of how much the Internet has changed the world for the better, it has brought along with it a multitude of problems that the publishing industry in particular, could have done without. For hundreds of years paper books and newspapers dominated the knowledge industry. There was simply no other way of efficiently disseminating information, stories or ideas. The Internet stopped this monopoly in its tracks.

Further decaying the publishing industries authority as a sole publisher of content, copyright regulation online and the punitive functions that come along with it at present are simply ineffective. Give someone the option of purchasing a 20 dollar e-book or tell them that with a click of a button they could access this content for free with an almost certain chance of getting away with, its obvious what a large portion of the population are going to choose. Publishers know that it is impossible to enforce stringent copyright laws and punish all offenders. If so it would likely be HarperCollins vs. the vast majority of the  internet community.

Publishers therefore need to consider alternative options to protect their content whilst still generating income. An example can be seen in the television industry with NetFlix. Knowing that that many consumers were streaming illegal content online, Netflix was created, which through its affiliation with Television producers, provides up to date quality content that can be easily accessed at any time. The situation benefits both parties in that consumers can access content instantaneously for only a small fee and in an easier format than illegal downloading and the producers receive payments from Netflix for their content. Although this is not as much as what they would generate from advertising revenue on air, it showed that the Television industry was acknowledging that times are changing and that pragmatism and compromise is crucial for publishing industries to re-assert their dominance in the digital age.

As controversial as they have become, paywalls may be a necessary evil in the survival of the publishing industry. However, not only are customers unwilling to pay for most content, they also don’t have to. With free news aggregator sites sourcing stories from publishers, they effectively achieve the same results without having to do the work. Despite the public’s reluctance to pay for digital content, Dan Gillmor from The Guardian believes that “we need to see every kind of business model, and every permutation of every model, and then learn from the ones that work.” (Gillmor 2011) The paywall, may not be the publishing industries final solution to digital and networked media, but what do they have to lose?

With a declining emphasis on publishers as crucial intermediaries due to the ease of content creation that digital media has created, the concept of Creative Commons may be a projection of what is to come. The Creative Commons provides copyright licenses that give public permission to share and use content under conditions of the publisher’s choice. I.e changing from ‘all rights reserved’ to ‘some rights reserved’.  (Creative Commons) Although this idea is a global community knowledge pooling initiative, rather than a profit raising mechanism, it gives publishers the power to protect their content whilst still sharing it with the world.  It allows the option of non-commercial use and also protects those who use the content, as they are not infringing upon copyright law as long as they abide by specified conditions.  (Creative Commons) Bruno Latour a well-known Sociologist publishes much of his work through creative commons. “Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network,” i.e copy and paste. Creative Commons “creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws.” (Creative Commons)

Adapting to technological changes does not just involve new technology for readers, in order to compete with increased citizen publishing, publishers need to pick up their game too.  Many have criticized the publishing industry’s inability to adapt to web centric media. However according to Sachin Kamdar, “it’s not the publishers that aren’t adapting — it’s their tool belts that haven’t evolved to meet most acute needs…publishers have been running a marathon in a pair of shoes that are four sizes too small. “ (Kamdar 2012)  The use of cause and effect analysis on content as it spreads through the web will not only track performance in a reactive way but also act proactively to help enhance it in the future. You can expect to see a significant effort in the social media space to address the needs of publishers and content-driven organizations.” (Kamdar 2012) In journalism, such technologies will help in designing editorial calendars and provide real-time analytics to show an understanding of the collective interests of readers at that time. (Kamdar 2012)


Under the pressure of networked and digital media the concept of a book will change, similar to how those of magazines and newspapers already are. This does not equal their destruction, it simply means that in order to succeed against the new found ease of content creation in the digital environment they will need to learn new tricks, and if they don’t then someone else will. “There will always be books. The question now is: will there always be publishers?” (Gillmor 2011)



Behar, P Colombani, L, Krishnan, S 2011, Publishing in the Digital Era, Bain & Company, accessed 8 June 2013, available: < >

Budden, R 2013, ‘Publishing Industry roundtable plots a survival story’, Financial Times, May 16, accessed 11 June 2013, available: < Budden R 2013>

Creative Commons, accessed 11 June 2013, available: <>

Fenzi, F 2013, ‘3 Start-ups Out to Change the Publishing Industry’ , Inc., April 24,  accessed 11 June 2013, available: <>

Gillmore, D 2011, New York Times Pay Wall: The faint scent of success, The Idea Logical Company, 4 August, accessed 8 June 2013, available: < Gillmor, D 2011>

Kamdar, S 2012, ‘Why publishers are about to go data crazy’, PBS, January 17, accessed 8 June 2013, available: <>

Patokallio, J 2013, Tools of Change for Publishing, The Publishing Industry has a problem and EPUB is not the solution, accessed 8 June 2013, available:


Shatzkin, M 2013,  ‘Atomization- publishing as a function rather than an industry’, The Idea Logical Company, weblog post, January 9, accessed 8 June 2013, available: <>

Shatzkin, M 2012, ‘Some things that were true about publishing for decades that aren’t true anymore,’ The Idea Logical Company, weblog post, May 28, accessed 11 June 2013, available <ttp:// >

Shirky, C 2009, Clay Shirky Blog, ‘Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable,’ weblog post, January 23, accessed 8 June 2013, available:  <


Internet friends



The ubiquity of Media 2.0 is considerably overwhelming. Not only is there a ubiquity of information but also of relationships and opinions. RSS feeds, filters and other aggregators have made our lives easier however have they simply narrowed our points of view in a world where we believe plurality of information is what we are receiving?

Take me for example, through its trending issues Twitter creates a world of endless information and mind broadening opinions. Instead I choose to niche myself and devote my time to stalking my own aggregated list of fashion designers, magazines and ditzy celebrities. Through Twitter I have every opportunity to explore far beyond my physical realm could ever allow, yet I still choose to stay within my comfort zone. Paradoxically a virtual world with endless knowledge has been hyperniched to create an isolated narrow world.

As Danah Boyd explains in her speech at the Web 2.0 expo in New York, “If we’re not careful we’re going to develop the psychological equivalent of obesity. We’ll find ourselves consuming content that is least beneficial for ourselves and for society as a whole.” (Boyd 2009)

Boyd also goes on to discuss the new ubiquitous nature of relationships in our modern technological world. I must admit out of my 400 something friends on Facebook, I probably only communicate with a maximum of 50 (that’s stretching it) of them online, and even less in the real world. But that number, which is a complete misrepresentation of my actual friendship circle, gives me a sense of comfort in the knowledge that although I don’t communicate with them, they are still there whether they are really aware of my existence or not. A relationship (although completely invalid in the real world) does exist under the guise of ‘Facebook friends’. Boyd refers to this as ‘parasocial relations.’ A relationship that despite its presence online, does not gain any real benefits of social intimacy or bonding and cannot be transferred into the real social realm.

“We want to know what’s happening to other people because that information brings us closer to people. When we know something about someone, there’s a sense of connection.” (Boyd 2009) These connections are often one sided and only valid within the context of which it was created.

The dangers of believing that your Facebook ‘friends’ are real:


Boyd, D 2009, ‘Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media’ Speech presented at the Web 2.0 Expo, New York, NY, 17 November.



For some reason I would like to consider the entire notion of my existence and those around me as more than a social body simply consisting of a collection of bodies and events which consist of a series of relays between different bodies. (Murphie 2013) Not only does the use of the word bodies spark a notion of morbidity but I would also like to think that my life is a little more meaningful and less mechanical. Yet when I think about the world in which we are increasingly entering into, one of keyboard communication and tiny visualisations of our current facial expression, the idea of the social body not being as human as I’d imagined doesn’t seem to far off.

With our increasing reliance on data to structure our lives and give us a sense of self, the public becomes a kind of shifting data in itself, representing an imagined community with nevertheless a real effect. One’s RSS feed says a lot more about them than would an old fashion shake of the hand. The metadata in which we choose to incorporate into our lives becomes the way in which we frame our world and structures the nature of the ‘relays’ between our bodies. We in ourselves are becoming less human and more bodies relying on technology to live.

However, data in its raw form is of no use to most of us who simply see the Internet through Google and peoples lives through Facebook timelines. No, despite our apparent technological literacy, we need something to decipher this metadata for us and it’s not until we see such information in visual form that we will understand its full meaning.

Visualisations are an aggregator of information that concerns the social body and therefore engages us in a much more complex world through much simpler means. (Murphie 2013) For example Climate Change is an issue of extreme social concern yet one which is difficult to demonstrate in an air-conditioned lecture theatre. Visualisations can make the invisible visible and in this case are crucial in influencing how the social body will behave and what they will become.(Murphie 2013)

Seems a lot nastier than a bunch of big numbers and scientific words:

But I’m probably only going to pay attention when cute animals get involved:


Murphie, A 2013,Real-time/modulated publication/publicslecture notes distributed in ARTS2090: Publics and Publishing at The University of New South Wales, accessed on May 13 2013, < >

That’s one crowded room

There’s no denying that I still use my fingers in the simplest of additions, so to say that getting my head around large figures is difficult is definitely an understatement. And I can certainly tell you that if someone told me the entire population of North, Central and South America could be represented individually in one room, I definitely wouldn’t have believed them. Until I saw this…

Not only are these representations forms of data visualization but they’re unlike many that are just simply 2D in their form. They’re tangible representations which exist within our own physical world. The use of the grain of rice is symbolic in that it is a rudimentary aspect of human experience which one can easily put into proportion against almost anything in their own mind.  Through data visualization, they have taken the invisible – the human race (which although is visible, is inconceivable) and created a visible visual register, through which we are able to easily analyse, compare, discover patterns and structure new relationships.

It has a persuasive rhetoric in that it urges us to consider the bigger picture. By creating an abstraction of the human race inside one single room, us mere mortals are able see the world through proportioned lenses and comprehend social issues through a visual scale.

Some other noteworthy visualisations:

Social media advertising firm DBB collaborated with the Polish State Railways to develop an electronic train timetable that measured waiting time not only in minutes or hour but in the amount of McDonald’s items which could be consumed before the trains departure, with the nearest store being a convenient 50 metres away. (Taking a mere number value and turning it into an experience everyone can relate to…I’m lovin it!)

Designed by art and technology student Sarah Hallacher, Beef Stakes, is a data representation of the amount of beef produced in each state of the US in 2011. The height of each steak (only the Top 4 states were created) is proportionate to the amount of beef produced in that state alone ( 1 inch per every billion pounds). The price to produce the beef as well as how much each individual would have had to eat to consume the state’s yearly production is on the price tags. (I usually love my steak but this just makes me feel sorry for all those cow… data visualisation creating social awareness for an issue.)


Figure 1: Beef consumption data visualisation for Kansas (Hallacher 2007)


Figure 2: Beef consumption data visualisation for Texas (Hallacher 2007)

C&A has launched a clothes rack in their Brazilian stores that shows in real-time the amount of likes each clothing item has received on Facebook, allowing customers to see how each item is perceived by the masses. (Creating a numerical value of people’s perceptions in a visual way…reverse data visualisation that works!)


Figure 3: Data visualisation of Facebook likes for clothing items (Unknown 2012)


Hallacher, Sarah, 2012, Beef consumption data representation for Kansas, digital image, Sarah Makes A Blog, accessed 22 April 2013, < >

Hallacher, Sarah, 2012, Beef consumption data representation for Texas, digital image, Sarah Makes A Blog, accessed 22 April 2013, < >

Unknown, 2012, Data visualisation of Facebook Likes for clothing items, digital image, The Verge, accessed 22 April 2013, < >

I’m not listening

My attention span these days is somewhat similar to that of a squirrel. For the mundane it is alarmingly low, but like that of a squirrel and his acorn it does increase slightly if I’m genuinely interested, although not much. I became aware of this lack of concentration sometime last year when I realised I was no longer able to simply sit on the couch channel surfing for hours. Now with my increasingly chaotic life my attention is worth much more. To watch T.V is to take away my attention from something usually much more worthy, and therefore it can’t just be any show, it has to be the best, my favourite, the one I’ve waited all week for. However, even during these shows I find that I have around a 5-10 minute window of pure TV-watching until my mind turns to refreshing Facebook or updating my Instagram (I know, it scares me too!)

When we talk about the commons and a shared collection of resources, it struck me as interesting that the materiality of our experience was also included, I had never thought of it in that way before. Can our attention really be a collective notion? Not just owned by yours truly but also by greedy advertisers preying on bored and lonely souls with a tub of ice cream and a remote on a Friday night?

With increasing mediums for information dissemination, attention is becoming a scarcity and something with monetary value.   “The ‘Attention Economy’ is thus a system that revolves primarily around paying, receiving, and seeking what is most intrinsically limited and not replaceable by anything else, namely the attention of other human beings.” (Kinsley 2010)

When you’re 12 and stuck at home for two weeks during school holidays without foxtel, then yeah ABC cartoons do have monopoly control of your attention, which is certainly not scarce. However as a busy adult I think I have complete autonomy in what I give my attention to, even if it is in a lecture when I really should be listening, I have the choice not to (a choice which I exercise much too often.) I am an “inherently calculative being, always assessing and calculating the worth and value of information” (Kinsley 2010) and constantly sifting through what is brought to my attention and only choosing a limited proportion of what is offered to fill my time. If a show bores me I’ll turn it off, If I don’t want to watch the ads I’ll  watch it online (or set the challenge of unstacking the dishwasher in under three minutes. ) My own attention economy, would not be very profitable.

Michael Ernard in his Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention imagines a world with attention as the measure of worth.

“Single TV episodes would be more expensive to purchase than whole seasons, in the same way that a six-pack of Oreos at the gas station is more expensive, per cookie, than a whole tray at the grocery store.” Things  that ‘cost’ more attention would be worth less as “prices of information commodities are inversely adjusted to the cognitive investment of consuming them.” (Ernard 2009)

A pretty ambitious idea… but not too unrealistic.

How Amazon try to get and maintain your attention:



[online] Kinsley, Sam (2010) ‘Tiziana Terranova—The Bios of Attention’, Paying Attention *

[online] Erard, Michael (2009) ‘A short manifesto on the future of attention’,Observatory, *

Nostalgic Desire

The thought of my children seeing me underage at a Halloween party scantily dressed with an ‘ accidentally’ ill-concealed bottle of alcohol does sometimes cause me to cringe and think, “oh so this is one of those photos I’ll regret in the future.” Yet the thought lasts for a mere five seconds until the much more sentimental response of “but that was such a good night… oh well, future me problem,” takes over and I decide the photo isn’t deserving of deletion. Diagnosis: Archive Fever!  Yes that is correct…I’m a memory hoarder. I never intended my life to be chronologically archived for the world to see but as Matthew Ogle notes, “We’ve all become accidental archivists; our burgeoning digital archives open out of the future” (Ogle 2010) I have a tendency to become emotionally attached to those moments in time, storing them in the archive of my life, Facebook. I have an irrational fear that removing them will lead to their permanent deletion from history into the dark abyss of lost experiences and forgotten achievements.

As Jacques Derrida explains, archives form the basis for what matters in society and even our sense of selves.  Derrida describes my illness perfectly in Archive Fever: A Freudian Expression. “It is to have a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for the return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement.” (Derrida 1998 pp. 91.) Some days I find myself scrolling down my timeline in search of a picture, a memory, a moment in time when some aspect of my life began. I’m constantly plagued with the desire to remember it, re-live it and possibly re-regret it, through my perfectly ordered and reliable digital timeline.

My archive is full of my desires, or as Facebook would like to call them, things that I “like.” Whether they be memes, the worlds craziest videos or a friends photo album, it is a picture of me, who I am and what I place important. As a PR student however, I am well aware that image is everything, somewhat unfortunately, in our society. One can tell more than you think about someone through their Facebook, not only through the things they like but from their patterns of use, communication and most importantly, what is left out. “The Archive is made from selected and consciously chosen documentation from the past and also from the mad fragmentations that no one intended to preserve and just ended up there.” (Steedman 2002 pp. 68) Facebook is a very constructed archive in which we portray a composed window into our lives. Yet as Steedman adds “mad fragmentations” (the occasional drunken pool party photos) do somehow sneak their way in, without which the archive would not be complete nor accurate.

Apparently there is an option to use nostalgic music too, love it!


Derrida, Jacques (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[online] Ogle, Matthew (2010) ‘Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real-time web’,, December 16,  < >

Steedman, C (2002) Dust: The Archive and Cultural Histroy, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press

Making sense of assemblages

Assemblages attempt to explain the relationship between individuals, people, society and technology. The notion of an assemblage can be explored through Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory that presupposes that networks are made up of human and non-human actants (essentially giving agency to non-living entities.) According to Latour each component should be treated equally or what De-Landa describes as a ‘flat ontology.’ The theory suggests that both social and technical agents have the ability to act and affect the world.  The entities within an assemblage cannot be isolated or seen from a solely technological or social standpoint. Depunctualization (the separating or disconnecting of a network’s parts) is likened to a box. “When closed, the box is perceived simply as a box, [a holistic assemblage] although when it is opened all elements inside it becomes visible.” [Both its social and technical actants.]


All of this sociological jargon however can overwhelm the typical 19-year-old second year media student. My first thoughts being, ‘now repeat in English please?’ So I have attempted (attempted being the operative word) to create a more fathomable real world example of this oh so foreign concept ‘they’ like to call an assemblage. So I begin. It is difficult to distinguish whether the mobile phone is a product of technological or social forces. Latour believes that there should be no need to distinguish between the two. The mobile phone is made up of both human and non-human actants, such as a camera, the keypad and the speaker– all of which are technical non-living elements, but which according to Latour still possess agency. There is also the social agents within the assemblage of a mobile phone that are generated by the human actants and reflect social concepts such as texting, making phone calls and browsing the internet. All of these agents work together to create what we know as the assemblage of the mobile phone. Without one, it would cease to function as the network that we know it to be. We cannot view the mobile phone as solely a technological entity as it relies on human agency (the social agent) to function as well as to have purpose and fulfil a need. With all agents functioning in the network the mobile phone is an assemblage, (a box) yet a phone without its user would simply become a piece of plastic containing a camera, keyboard and speaker (an open box.)

A spoof of the Actor-Network Theory created by sociology students:


[online] ‘Actor Network Theory’, Wikipedia,

‘News 2.0’

72– the number of hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute

400 million– the number of devices with youtube access

1 trillion– the number of YouTube views in 2011

35 million – the number of Justin Bieber followers on twitter

750– the  number of tweets per second

Gone are the days when an overweight man with a bell and a feather hat was one’s only source of news. These days the news bombards us at a staggering pace. It fills our bins with paper, our newsfeeds with celebrity scoops and minds with unnecessarily  depressing facts on the inevitability of cancer.

No longer is it enough however to seek such information in one place, or possible in that matter to fill one’s entire scope of interests from a single source. I don’t consider myself much of a news fanatic, (as guilty as this makes me feel as a media student) however I alone read the morning paper, follow multiple newspapers on Facebook and Twitter, receive twice daily emails from ABC news and occasionally indulge in my guilty pleasure, The Project.  Each of these sources serves a clear purpose and satisfies a different appetite. For days when I’m looking for that little bit of crazy in my life I’ll often hop onto Facebook and read the ‘did that really happen?’ news stories for a session of what I like to call –my life is utterly boring, but wow I feel so much better about myself!  At other times when the University guilt creeps in I will go through my ABC news emails (which often build up as I tend to avoid them in fear of falling into a dark pit of depression.)

But one thing is clear, ‘the news’ is no longer run by those who work in ‘the news’.  Fully aware of the imminent new climate, journalists have launched a moral crusade against the guerrillas otherwise known as bloggers, or anyone with a video camera and access to YouTube or twitter really.  Not only has ‘News 2.0’ ignited a fire within traditional newspaper journalists, it has caused considerable financial damage to the industry as a whole. So what did they conclude? If you can’t beat them, join them (but force them to pay)

The Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger believes that forcing people to pay for news content online would disengage news organisations with their readers through removing them from the digital revolution. (Busfield 2010) This puts them at a critical disadvantage when so much news content is so easily accessed for free on news aggregation websites and so on. We are in a time where the news industry no longer monopolises our thoughts, with so much choice, we have become the gatekeepers, we hold the power. Every effort should therefore be made to satisfy the changing needs and habits of those whose say truly matters. Judging by the speed of which people have discovered paywall workarounds for the New York Times via twitter -just 12 hours, (Madrigal 2011) it just doesn’t seem as if people (besides the loyalist of readers) are going to go along for the ride.

Doesn’t seem too difficult. A person gets past a paywall in 36 seconds!

Word of the week: Alphabet


[online] Busfield, Steve (2010) ‘Guardian editor hits back at paywalls’, The Guardian, January 25, accessed 15 March 2013,  < >

[online] Dunn, Jeff 2012, Edudemic, accessed 15 March 2013, < >

[online] Madrigal, Alexis (2011) ‘New York Paywall Workaround Springs Up Already’, The Atlantic, March 17, Accessed 15 March 2013, < >

[online] Youtube, accessed 15 March 2013, <>

A Literary Romance

My 15-year-old sister had never read more than a handful of books in her life. She was a serial adulterer, never being able to commit to that monogamist relationship that a good book deserves. Her love of teen literature began two summers ago when a family friend suggested the now global teen sensation, The Hunger Games. I have never in my life seen someone sit in the same position with the same expression of bewilderment as she did during those next few days. I was truly watching a literary romance blossom. A week later and she had finished the entire three part series.

As the months past and her thirst for vampires, angels and apocalyptic hotties grew, so did the stack of books beside her bed. There seemed only one solution for her ever so increasing first world problem – a kindle e-reader. This small piece of grey plastic took her new passion to soaring heights, as well as mum’s credit card bills! This new platform allowed for an easier and more accessible way of feeding her cravings. Books can now be downloaded instantaneously, from anywhere in the world and it seems, as The Institute for the Future of The Book’s mission statement notes, The printed page is giving way to the networked screen.”

She began finishing books within 24 hours – that would have entailed way too many trips to the bookstore! However the more important consequence behind her new toy is that her increased engagement in literature lead her to pursue other aspects of the more modern book culture. She began to engage in literature on other platforms like YouTube and became involved in new publics such as active ‘fandoms.’ Not only did this expand her publics but also exposed her to new types of publishing and language. OTP (One True Pairing), Shipping (Matching characters together) and Feels (emotions) are just a few of the young adult fiction fandom slangs which I am increasingly noticing is a part of my sister’s vernacular. “Radio, cinema and television emerged in the last century and now, with the advent of computers, we are combining media to forge new forms of expression.” (The Institute for the Future of The Book) Something in which my sister is clearly participating.

Despite her love affair with the ease of the kindle, when questioned about whether she prefers the traditional printed platform over newer technological advancements, she responded, “I prefer reading books because it gives you the feeling that you’ve accomplished something…there’s a sense of euphoria  when you complete a book which you can never have with an e-reader.” In my opinion this notion of truly experiencing a book, going on a ‘metaphysical journey’ with it, trumps any increased accessibility or ease in reading which may be gained through e-readers. Quite simply, and as Jonah Lehrer agrees, there is still no replacement for a good old worn out book.

“Perhaps we need to alter the fonts, or reduce the contrast, or invert the monochrome color scheme. Our eyes will need to struggle, and we’ll certainly read slower, but that’s the point: Only then will we process the text a little less unconsciously… We won’t just scan the words – we will contemplate their meaning. “(J, Lehrer 2010)

The bizarre world of fandoms! (Be ready for the tween jargon! It’s also disturbingly catchy…)

We’re My OTP – Troye Sivan (Internet Vlogger)


[online] Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘The Future of Reading’, Wired, September 8,

[online] ‘Mission Statement’, Institute for the Future of the Book,“>