Category Archives: Social Technology

Spreadable Media Artefact 3

For my third Spreadable Media Artefact, I am writing about the Research Project on Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) that i explained in detail here. This is a research on viewers perception regarding the future of S3D. For this project my classmate, Sharon and I have chosen to get our primary data through a qualitative research method. For this method, we formulated a questionnaire in the hope of getting opinions from respondents. When this survey was ready and passed by Dr Patera, the next task was to get responses. For this kind of research to work out well, it requires a substantial number of responses to validate the results. At the time, an online survey seemed to work well with the time frame that the survey had to be filled in, result analysed and then write a journal paper on the the subject. Lectures from Social Tech module about spreadability came in hand. The survey was pushed on Facebook, Twitter and email just to mention a few. I asked my followers on twitter to re-tweet the survey  using hash-tags; #3D, #stereoscopic #mscret.  within 72 hours a hundred responses were realised and an online magazine 3Droundabout and Stereoscopy News picked this up and within 5 days they both had made articles in their magazines about why the research was being carried out and where to find the survey. Through social sites, relevant and influential people were able to pick the survey and they further increased the spreadability by positing on their website.This process proved very useful on the research by reaching a different crowd from my social sites of probably more friends and family rather than a different one, perhaps consisting of a professional crowd. Since carrying out this survey, I have had tutors and classmates forwarding links related to S3D, for example there has been a call out for a journal paper here,

I am considering sending one or both.

P Woods, Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth, 2006 http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/qualitative%20methods%202/qualrshm.htm.

Spreadable Media Artefact 2

I have been searching for companies where I could perhaps get a work experience during my Masters degree year and among the searches, there is a company that stood out to be what i could fit in. A Television (ATV),  an independent television production company which was launched in April of 2012 focusing mainly on African programming. Its mission is to promote citizen media. The company’s overview is that; it is a project that contributes to the growth of media in Africa and believes that by doing so ATV  will be contributing towards openness and the development of African voices. I started following the Executive producer Crispen Sachikonye on twitter and requested him to be one of my connections on LinkedIn so that I could understand what really goes on at ATV. ATV broadcasts to its African viewers through satellite for a few hours a day. All the content ATV broadcasts comes from its viewers, the main communication between ATV and its viewers is through their Face book page found here where the majority of them are active. Viewers send their greetings, photos, stories, own tracks of music and short films. All this constitutes to the content to be broadcasted for the day. The criteria of which artefact will be featured on say the ATV’s Face book page as well as on the TV channel is through nomination of best among a number of posted daily. ATV’s daily news bulletins are posted on YouTube as well. Some of the artefacts that gets broadcasted on ATV are; ‘Model of the Day’, ‘Usay’, ‘Picture of the Day’ among others.

With a level of professionalism associated with linked in, I saw it fit to communicate to Crispen  through LinkedIn despite the fact that he is affiliated to most social sites. The email that I sent to him was basically asking to find out more about what ATV does as a company and getting to know how they are making the use of social media to carry out their work. He asked me to visit their office at the Dock House, Salford Quays for an informal tour. Upon entering their premisses I recognised their News room background, I had actually seen that on YouTube in one of their daily news broadcasts but did not know the connection to ATV prior to my visit. I then explained my background to Crispen including past and current projects and what I was currently studying. The talk of ‘Social Technologies’ part of my MSc degree is what caught his attention, from my explanation and what he has gathered from following my blogs was of some interest to ATV.

Crispen asked me to work with Mark Cockcroft and Michael Rudolph, staff at ATV to launch ‘Story of the Day’. This is whereby viewers send  a story to ATV via face book or tweeter or email for a chance of it being published as a Story of the Day on ATV’s Face book page, as well as the TV channel. Now ideas and inputs on how this is going to be possible and efficient will be communicated in the next blog post.

The Wilhelm Scream REMIX

One of the Three Media artefacts that I am supposed to post as part of my Social Technologies module, ‘Spreadable Media’ artefact 1 assignment as mentioned here in one of my blog posts, I chose to do a super-cut video Remix of the Wilhelm scream from any film scenes that used the sound effect.

From an Audio background, video is a bit of a foreign entity to me, I have cut and pasted audio but have never really tempted to do video editing. I first of all downloaded all the videos that I thought would be very useful for this operation. Now that i had files sitting on my hard drive, next step was to start the cutting and pasting process. It hit me that my files were in a .flv format which is a format not supported by the editor software I was going to use to create this supe-rcut. There are lot of free video converters on line but most of them support PCs and my interface is a Mac, now free Mac compatible are available but some of these will imbed their watermark on your converted file and this is not what i was wishing for. To make it worse some links online will actually mislead that the converter is compatible with a Mac or free but after downloading and installing I would realise that this is not the case.  After hours of trial and error I approached one of my class mate Natalie Smith, whose speciality is Film, she really helped me find a suitable convertor and recommended a manageable editor software for a novice on video editing as well as a really uncomplicated converter. With all videos converted I had to start editing out the “screams ‘ and putting them together in a sequence I thought would make desirable viewing below is the REMIX video that I managed to come up with;

The Wilhelm Scream REMIX

Spreadable Media Artefact 1

One of the requisite of my Social Media Technologies module is to create media content that can be spread through social media platforms. The media content could be anything ranging from an image to a video to a photo. The content should be decent enough to get views/hits on the social media platforms. I could team up with another student who has their idea that can easily work together with mine. There is a risk that this content may not get so many likes and hits from viewers. My idea is; To create a super-cut video of the ‘Wilhelm Scream’ cliché.

“One sound effect that has found a following with many sound editors and observant movie
fans is a distinctive scream named Wilhelm.” (Lee Steve 2005 on Hollywood Lost and
Found.
Steve Lee (2005) through Hollywood Lost and Found, said that in 1951, the Warner Bros produced a film ‘Distant drums’ which was directed by Raoul Walsh the scream was recorded for one of the scenes in the film then Ben Burtt used the scream in the Star wars and named it Wilhelm after the character that let out the scream-Wilhelm. Today there is a Wilhelm Scream Store with T-shirts, tote bags, mugs and other memorabilia on sale featuring the official Logo of the sound effect.

The Wilhelm Scream Logo

Creating a super-cut video of the Wilhelm Scream may be quite challenging considering that some compilation videos have been produced already. It means that I have to try to match the others and/or even produce a different ‘feel’ altogether. This project will actually involve a lot of work,

  • At least I have already picked a topic
  • I have to locate sources of material, now I have found a list of quite a number of films that have used this scream in one or more scenes. This is well and good but I will need original footage of the films.
  • I have to download the video or rip a DVD. I have to work on legalities here, some of the footage or films maybe copyrighted and I need to research more on how to solve this issue.
  • The next stage will be to choose a video editor software, cut the clips line them up and finalise on the order of appearance. I think here that is the stage were I have to use my creativity. Which films from the list can I use for this? Am I going to use text on the screen for every clip? Am I going to cleverly choose a sound track for the video, bearing in mind that I do not compromise the original sound on the clips. Am I going to use narration at the beginning of the video? Do I use a screen with rolling titles of the films where the clips have been taken. These are just thoughts I have been pondering on, what the end product should look like will depend on my creativity.

Compilation video of this Cliché with that has the most number of view

For now this is my only idea and I have to keep thinking of some more.

Bibliography

Lee, Steve. “Sound Effects – The Wilhelm Scream.” Sound Effects – The Wilhelm Scream. N.p., 17 May 2005. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/wilhelm/&gt;.

Baio, Andy. “Making Supercut.org.” Waxy.org: Andy Baio Lives Here. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://waxy.org/2011/05/making_supercutorg/&gt;.

Internet Research Ethics

Halfway through the semester, the Research in Emerging Technologies: Social Tech class has curated content from all blog posts on Ethics of Internet Research by the class and information from #mscret touching on this topic. This collaborative work has yielded a database of different thoughts on areas covered in this module. This curated media is what I will be discussing about in this post, backing up with other sources and citing my own thoughts about the subject.

A progressive change of the Internet has seen a shift in to its application by users.

“…as the Internet has evolved into a more social and communicative tool and venue, the ethical issues have shifted from purely data driven to more human-centred.” (Buchanan, Elizabeth A. and Zimmer, Michael 2012).

The wide usage and accessibility to the internet and provision of instant information has contributed to on-line researches. The use of emails, forums or instant messaging(to mention a few) offers direct contact to relevant people in the line of research or subject area expects. This research may range form ‘looking something up’ on the web, for example the meaning of a word, to gathering information for personal understanding for example, how far in mileage is Oxford from London, to students researching for an academic paper/journal. However the authenticity of the information gathered can be a problem, but this depends on the skills of the researcher to filter unnecessary data and identify the authors’ credentials. For a scientific research method involving gathering measurable evidence by conducting test end experiments on humans and animals. As discussed earlier about ease of internet accessibility, direct contact to relevant individuals in the area of study has resulted in some human subject based test or experiments carried out on-line. This may seem as arguably an easy way for large samples of human subjects testing with a possibility of diverse crowd rather than an area limited group whose data is automatically coded reducing human error not forgetting cost effectiveness. However, there is risk of repeated participation, subjects dropping out of the test, or start the test, stop and join after a while or even rush through the test. To overcome some of these detriments an email address can be requested from subjects at least to lessen multiple participation but not so much of a solution with individuals having more than one email account. For a ‘dropping out’ drawback, an incentive could be offered to the subject, if they agree to give their contact details they could be entered in a draw to win a prize. In one of our guest Lectures, Professor Trevor Cox in his talk Psychoacoustic Testing: Web vs Laboratory to my class, gave us an exercise to fill in an on-line questioner on Speech in Noise Experiment and at the end of the experiment there was a choice of entering into a draw to win an Amazon voucher. Some researchers may suggest that subjects give email addresses if they are willing to take part in other experiments in future or interested in knowing the result of the experiment and this email address will be the only link between the subject and researcher..

  • The honours now is on the researcher to ensure that the information presented to them is used appropriately and contacts stored securely. The researcher should ensure that privacy is maintained with the data captured because some experiments will ask sensitive issues from subjects and if there is no anonymity then data confidentiality should be in practice so that there is no harm to subjects by exposing their sensitive information.
  • For ‘cloud computing’ based experiments for example where information is shared on an on-line drive for example Google docs or on-line sharing platforms like Drop box,steps must be taken to ensure that only authorised individuals have access to the ‘cloud’.
  • For Experiments involving Minors there may be need for parental consent depending on which country the experiment is being carried out in.
  • Briefly giving a clear and understandable explanation of the purpose of the research and why the research is being carried out and how the data is going to be used before hand then subjects will have to willingly agree to be tested on and have a choice of opting out at any time probably without having to explain themselves.

For our research project, ‘Is stereoscopic 3D the Future of Film making’, Sharon and I have made a given out an information sheet and consent form, explaining what the research is all about, confidentiality and safety data giving an opt out option with out any explanation if subjects do wish so here.

Bibliography

Buchanan, Elizabeth A. and Zimmer, Michael, “Internet Research Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/ethics-internet-research/.

Spreadable Media

Digital creative, event organiser, speaker, 15 years at the BBC Hugh Garry gave my class a talk on Spreadable Media. Very inspirational presentation which covered a lot and I managed to understand and pick on a few ideas concerning this topic.

We have come a long way in terms of media production and consumption. Since the advent of Radio Broadcasting by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901 and later Television catching up, this was just a one way communication whereby the ‘Consumer’ would listen or watch content from the broadcaster. Then came an era of the ‘Contributor’ were the consumer was able to contribute to the broadcast content through phone-in programmes or even writing to the editor in the case of print media. With advancement of technology, the era of the ‘Circulator’ followed, here the consumer was able to pass on some media through different platforms because of ease of technology. Then came the ‘Influencer’, for as simple as a product reviews posted online by shoppers, one’s decision on purchasing a product can be influenced by these reviews. Sometimes it only takes one person to post a critique on Twitter and a whole movement can begin. Then came the ‘Producer’ by now the consumer could produce own content and broadcast it themselves, a good a example is YouTube, I have explained how this process works in my previous blog post here. The evolution does not end here, we now have the ‘Financier’, here individuals are sponsoring(monetary) ideas they believe are worth developing for example Kickstarter. This is a funding platform for creative projects. These range from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others. Last but not least , Media Proprietor’, such as Netflix or Hulu, these platforms offer instant watch of films or television episodes streamed over the internet to your TV via a PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 or any other device or on mobile phones, tablets or computers. But some of these eras overlap in time of happening for example, social media movements are still happening to date as well as the era of media proprietor or financier.

The eras I have discussed in the paragraph above are part of today’ s Media circulation. This is only possible if there is active participation in passing on content among individuals or between a television show and its audience or between product manufacture and consumers. This permeability will allow constructive critisim of say a blog post, feedback on a television series or product reviews. Such interaction is important to improve a product or even a next blog post or get feedback on what the audience wants for the next series of a Television programme. If these are implemented well, a retention of followers may be possible or better still increase on the number of followers.

In content posting by individuals, fear of failure is the main contributor to hesitation but then again if you do not try how can you measure failure? Hugh Garry reiterated on how important it is to try and post any content on any platform even on twitter and how a 140 character count post can be able to change a situation, only when attempted in the first place. He also gave an example of how way back in the time of ‘Dub tape’, it could only take ten playbacks of a demo on dub tape before quality begin to deteriorate and maybe pay another £50 for a new one but technology these day can allow online hits even 200 as much as it may seem not many but miles better than 10 dub tape listens. Then stressed the point with this quote;

“A day in the wild is worth a month of guessing” Mike Krieger (co-founder of Instagram)

In 2011/2012 Arab uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, Twitter showed how social media is an interactive and ongoing conversation type of communication. Tweets helped to let others know where protests were taking place, and reach large numbers of people at once. In most areas media coverage was often censored and foreign journalists were not welcome, Twitter provided a way for protestors to share their unfiltered experiences with the world, and helped capture international attention and support. This may indicate that Spreadable Media is not only about marketing oneself but could be a way to get feedback on any subject and contribution to any Art and may very inspirational. Not all spreadable media is a success story but if it fails, then it may be a very good way of learning why and comeback with a better way next time, like a game. Overall this gives a chance to be part of a bigger network of bloggers, Instagramers and any other platform.

YouTube Culture

Since the founding of YouTube in 2005, it has grown so big that it is the third visited website on the internet and up to five million videos are viewed on this platform every month. Very interesting statistics can be found here. Most renowned Television stations are failing to match this for a number of reasons and I will briefly explain a few. Now YouTube tagline ‘Broadcast Yourself’ says it all, anyone who wants can broadcast themselves on this platform countless times. YouTube does not discriminate against quality of video or its content(needless to say that some posts have a very good quality), this alone is a passport for home video makers to post any video regardless, even from a mobile phone. As we all know producing a high end video will require a number of factors ranging from reasonable time input to decent cameras usually a bit costly (to mention but a few). Already its clear that probably more than twenty home videos can equate to, say  a half hour television programme in terms of cost or time. Individuals, even from their living rooms are able to broadcast themselves anytime of the day posting any subject area, we can safely say that to some extent boundaries do not exist unless if the posts are offensive in another context in which case YouTube admin will deal with that.

What content then do we find on YouTube? there are a lot of ‘How to’ videos, humour/fun videos, protest videos, parody videos, the list is endless. I have to confess that I have sometimes searched for videos on how to do my hair. 🙂 This kind of content seems, is what the population of today wants,  we need our hands held for certain tasks, in my case doing my hair, we need to laugh after a long day at work, we need to watch a favourite band live on stage for a show we could not attend, and the list goes on.

So YouTube becomes a source of free information of almost any subject area one can think of the same kind of set up as conventional Television stations(old media) differing on other aspect that i will not mention on this topic. The different channels on Television can be equated to the different channels on YouTube that post different subjects areas. Individuals package their little video and post it on YouTube and we can safely say become producers or journalist because they are telling some kind of story. Since this is directly linked to the traditional way of media coverage in the sense that we have a producer then we have the platform then consumer whereas  with YouTube(new media), is more or less using the same concept as old media but the consumer becomes a producer of content already there is a blur in consumer-producer relationship which Henry Jenkins has described as ‘Media Convergence’ here and is another big discourse area that i will not touch.

Why do individuals broadcast themselves on YouTube? The content type will determine how many views one will get on the post. The more a post gets viewed then sponsors get attracted and opportunities crops up for example appearing in advertisements as the face of a product since already there is evidence of a command of followers. This is just one example and some people are actually making a living by getting paid for advertisements featured on their video posts. Some people are just talented and they want a platform to showcase their Art and may just end up celebrities because their content has attracted so many viewers and those who just want attention from a lot of people or just want to have a bit of fun/laugh. According to YouTube, 72 hours of video is uploaded daily, what then do these numbers mean for individuals who uploads videos? Simply put, there is steep competition, there is need for that distinction whereby some videos can generate so many hits due to content or how the video is spread. This spread of content to the extent of up to a million of hits for a specific period is what Henry Jenkins explains in detail here, the theory of ‘Spreadable Media’. In some cases YouTube users linkup with other fellows who are doing well on YouTube, produce content and this may just increase their audience and hits.

There is also another side to this ‘glorious’ operation, the fact that thoughts, feelings and even identities are put out there for the whole world, it means YouTube users are at a vulnerable position to stokers, or disturbing comments on this platform. This is the reason why there is a number of people who are sceptical about signing up to internet sites because of fear of such happenings. But after all said, I was impressed with how, what someone may call a silly video can change another person’s life, Cory William who has 516 006 subscibers and a total of 228 899 880 YouTube video views says in ‘Butterflies YouTube Documentary Movie’ here, his ‘Make Poop’ video helped an Australian girl stop herself from committing suicide. This is quite positive in my opinion how a YouTube video can influence someone’s actions. Where YouTube is going and what may happen in a few years or months time is something we can predict.