Old and new media: photography and hashtag projects


There are so many of these photo hashtag projects or challenges emerging with the increase in the number of networked photography apps. I take real delight in seeing the results of such a project, and even more in sometimes contributing to one.

The invention of the #hashtag has influenced and made easier the task of crowd-sourcing. It’s funny how one tiny symbol can make such a difference.

Instagram posts a photo challenge every weekend and this past one was #somethingoldsomethingnew. The app blog always posts a few selected photos and one of this week’s submissions totally caught my attention.

The photo above by user markweaver represents so many of my research interests:

  • new media
  • old media
  • music
  • photography
  • representation
  • the visual

Love it.


Guilty pleasurable indulgence: yes, I’m a GLEEK

A few months ago, I posted about my complete immersion into the fandom of HBO’s True Blood, which, alas, has a 12 week season, leaving fans to pine and groan for the remaining 9 months of the year. 

Luckily, I stumbled on to another show that makes me laugh, tear up, that fills me with angsty teenage longing, tap my feet and is related to something I can do with my toddler son: dance around to the fabulous (and some NOT so fabulous) covers performed by the cast of the show: yes, it’s Fox’s Glee, the first show I’ve ever watched on the Fox network.


I thought that True Blood’s world of fandom was crazy. I was mistaken. Glee’s online community of fans, particularly named “Gleeks”, has exploded and makes True Blood’s look like small potatoes. Examples:
  • fanfiction.net: Glee has the 6th highest number of entries contributed by community members: 23, 792 stories written and posted by fans. (I had to join the community to bookmark my favorite stories, to await the next installment of some of the multi-chaptered epics featuring characters from the show)
  • tumblr: I can’t even count how many tumblr blogs there are about Glee, but there is no end of gossip, spoilers, pictures, recaps and commentary about the show to be found on this platform. Some of the titles of the Glee-crazy tumblogs include: 
  • Glee forum: This fan forum where people discuss favorite moments, music, show spoilers, gifs and screen captures, has had 53 million views. 53 MILLION. I’ve never been on a forum with that many hits before. It blows my mind.

Lucky for me, in between episodes, I can peruse any one of thousands of alternative options to get my Glee fix until the next one airs. I felt really guilty at first, thinking I was the oldest person lurking and following these sites, but then I read a few late 30-something, 40-something aged commentators and was relieved.

In the meantime, I have downloaded the songs I liked from the 2 seasons (45 songs, according to my iTunes count) and created a playlist which I have put on endless replay, until my partner comes in the room and turns it off, that is. He was surprised, though, to hear me blasting The Doors, music normally not my taste, in our living room the other day. Only when he came to investigate did he realize it was a Glee cover version.

The point is that there is a wide range of digital media pieces that goes along with any show, and now, most films, albums, even books, that have agents or PR companies behind them. This seems to be the norm, although on a much smaller scale than that of Glee which is an unusually explosive case, for garnering followers and supporters of any entertainment product. Glee is the most obvious example of horizontal diversification of an entertainment product in my personal life and I’m still reeling from it. 

Media Studies 2.0

I thought about my son’s media world compared to my own at his age…….. Between my childhood media world and my son’s there is a chasm.

My son’s world is also my student’s world. I realised this a few years ago when a student came to see me about their essay and handed me a USB memory stick – the first I’d ever seen. I didn’t know what to do with it so I held it up to the light and joked about the weak introduction and poor referencing. It brought home the absurdity of being a media studies lecturer when your students know more about media than you do. We know the discipline and the texts, ideas and arguments but our students surpass us in their knowledge, use and navigation of the contemporary media world: they are at home in it; we’re always playing catch-up. We can always rest on our knowledge and publications but their value is questionable if they no longer relate to our student’s world.

Excellent post about the changing nature of media studies for the ever-changing media landscape.

Remixologist, job description please

This is an event going on at SFU, November 6 this year. It actually sounds terrific and I would go if I were in the Lower Mainland. What caught my eye about the event add, other than the pretty groovy poster design, were some new vocabulary words that made me stop mid-scan. At least, they were new words to me:

Join media innovators, technologists, artists, citizens and the online community at Fresh Media – a celebration of innovation and independent media, and a re-imagining of media and journalism.

About Fresh Media ReMixology:

ReMixology is a new series presented by Fresh Media, where we come together to sample and share ideas in discussions lead by some of Vancouver’s best and brightest media remixologists

Inspired by the growing energy around the ways in which technology, art, media, and participatory frameworks are spurring innovation in the not-for-profit, journalism, and social change communities, Re-Mixology is a great opportunity for citizens and media-makers to come together and connect over timely discussions and presentations that showcase fresh and imaginative examples of media innovation.

I love where it says “by some of Vancouver’s best and brightest media remixologists.”

WTF is a remixologist?

In the Present. Demand Delays

While our culture of technology preaches the gospel of “constant connectivity” with the fervor of a televangelist, there are a growing number of us who have realized that salvation is found the seemingly heretical choice to occasionally be out of the loop, uninformed and essentially delayed in our awareness of the electronically available “now”.

A number of times since I’ve started my course in September, I’ve thought about the value of unplugging. Stumbled across another’s utterance along the same vein, expressed well.

This year the Internet will pass 2 billion users

That’s right, according to the United Nations, there will be more than 2 billion worldwide Internet users by the end of the year.

The UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in a report released today that the number of Internet users has doubled over the last five years, and that 226 million new users have been added just this year alone, with 162 million from developing countries.

Some other findings from the study according to Reuters:

  • 71% of the developed world is online
  • 21% of the developing world is online
  • Broadband is “the next tipping point” to getting people online
  • 65% of Europeans are online, 55% in the Americas, 9.6% in Africa and 21.9% in Asia Pacific
  • 13.5% of people have Internet access at home in developing countries, compared to 65% in developed ones
  • Mobile phones are a far more important communications technology than the Internet

Truly staggering.

What does this mean for our society – the amount of information people all over will be consuming and the ways digital media will effect the way we think and act? how people engage with each other and with “news” and entertainment?

I’m especially interested in the fact that mobile phones are more important than the internet. Well, I’m sure it’s phones connected to some kind of data sharing system.

I am trying to picture the world that my son will be inhabiting, how he will learn in school and engage with his friends and peers and even engage in work when he’s old enough. My mind is picturing a future somewhat like the command centre in Matrix Revolutions and Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

The Reinvention of Print, One App at a Time

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Without a doubt, the World Wide Web has revolutionized publishing to a degree that is impossible to overstate. However, as the web evolves and connectivity becomes ubiquitous — devices become smaller, more powerful and more common — the future of publishing goes beyond just the web browser.

Slowly but surely, the novelty of reading a book or magazine on an electronic screen is going away. The world of auto-refreshing screens and digital newspapers that Steven Spielberg portrayed in Minority Report isn’t really that unimaginable.

While consumers needs and habits are making the shift from analog to digital a priority, it’s innovation and software that is ultimately powering what we can do. This is just the first of many phases in the digital media revolution. Right now, we’re taking older content and making it better and more accessible on a digital device. In the future, content is going to be built specifically for these devices. That’s when the script will really be flipped.

I don’t know about “taking older content and making it better and more accessible.”  

Certainly more convenient to carry and I LOVE my ebooks (over 1000 titles in one device), but accessible? I need to take cords and chargers with me and have to be in places with wi-fi or within a 3G network (ever travelled in rural interior BC?) to be able to use the readers. 

The word I see more and more when referring to the digital revolution is “ubiquitous.” Like the word very much, but not crazy about the implications of just what is ubiquitous: there is an implication that everyone should or would have access to the web and to devices that connect to that web. We know that, like the basic necessities of life, not everyone will. 

So, until that day comes, I really hope that the analog ways still hang around, providing the words and books and ideas, reaching people and places that digital hasn’t yet directly touched. 

Health & Being Online: Reasons to Log Off


These days, many people are always online in some way, via their smart phones, tablets, or via their laptops. It doesn’t matter if you’re not at home, if you want to you can be reachable at any time. For some professions, this is a necessity, but for a lot of others, it isn’t. While we think that the Internet is great, we also think that people should log off now and again.


Oh, absolutely. 

We NEED time to just have mental and digital SILENCE. See the trees. Hear the rain. 

It was way harder for me to enforce a “digital-free” time at home, and it’s not working very well, since I realized that I count music as digital media. But at least being aware of the need for it, and trying to implement it gives me a concrete starting point to be able to NOT surf the information highway and just… BE.