Developing a project: Movie Piracy

So many possible topics, so little time.

While I sat trying to decide on a research project idea, I found myself scrolling through JB-HI-FI’s extensive list of movies wondering why on earth Thor costs $44.98. As a university student by nature I am tight on money and can not exactly throw my money at media stores in order to add the missing pieces to my Marvel movies, in this moment it was blatantly obvious and unsurprising as to why so many people illegally download movies in the home and thus my research project came to be.

We all know that pirating movies is illegal but everyone does it anyway, this raised multiple questions such as;

  • Why do we do it?
  • How often do people do it?
  • What makes people change their behaviour and stop doing it?
  • Do they feel guilty?
  • Do they feel like they are breaking the law at all?

I find it interesting that this has become such a norm in todays society and while not accepted by the law is accepted by everyone else. Im curious to find how people interact with their movies content and why they do or do not download as well as what would change their minds about downloading.

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The reflection

Oficina-da-Marca-7-things-to-do-after-writing-a-blog-post-01

At the beginning of the session, when asked to produce a blog I immediately began to feel anxious as I always have in the past with similar assessments. Creating and sharing content on a blog means putting myself out there for the world to see, exposed, but I was determined to improve on my blogging skills nonetheless.

A blog is a ‘regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style‘. There are millions of blogs online, and you can be sure to find one on almost any topic of interest; cooking, health and fitness, fashion, pets, you name it they have got it. With this knowledge alone the main question that immediately began to surface is why would someone want to read my blog? What is it that will interest them and why? What will attract attention and keep it?

Oficina-da-Marca-7-things-to-do-after-writing-a-blog-post-02

Before I begun composing content for the session to come, I immediately scanned over my current blog and begun to take note of it’s layout, design, navigation and general aesthetics, jotting down anything that needed to be changed, edited, added or removed. The aesthetic appeal of a blog is the first point of contact you have with a potential reader and can affect the way people choose to interact with your blog. Upon further inspection I immediately noticed particular aspects that needed to be changed. This included the layout, font, colour scheme and tabs. The overall feel of my blog was too cluttered, messy and unorganised, although the biggest problem was the navigation, or lack there of.

Marie Asselin, the author of Food Nouveau explains that ‘A well-edited navigation menu is essential to a blog. It’s the gateway to everything’. I for one know that if I find a blog visually unpleasing and hard to navigate I will not be staying for long. Using WordPress’s customising function and their numerous editing tools I was able to integrate a more user-friendly navigation system (after much confusion when trying to get the tabs to work) that would allow finding content easier.

The most time consuming aspect of this project was without a doubt the research phase of the blog posts. I myself like to research the topic I am going to blog about. This not only includes reading over articles and relaying back to lectures and class discussion, but also reading other peoples blogs in order to gain perspective and inspiration, as well as generate further questions. Joshua Fields Millburn says that aside from researching your topic in order to ensure your content is engaging and unique you must follow the following steps:

  • Be interesting
  • Be honest
  • Be yourself

A blog is more than just a space to communicate information, your content is not what makes your blog. As Millburn says ‘You are what makes your blog different; it’s about your perspective, your creativity, the value that you add’ is what draws people in. I can say that although I have grown more confident in writing and expressing myself little by little through each post I still have a long way to go, not only have I found that I can express myself through my words but also through the use of images and memes, allowing myself to break up dense content and further engage the reader.

Through the past 9 weeks I have found that one of the most important parts of blogging is to stay connected. One of the main purposes of creating a blog is to gain readership and without staying connected through various means of contact, it is impossible to do so. By linking your blog with social media platforms and sharing your content, you are able to ensure that your blog is visible and accessible. Thus, able to attract an audience. Through the progression of my blog I had begun to share posts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and had further discovered the magic of hashtags. The use of the hashtags such as #BCM240 and #media alone has impacted on my blog greatly, receiving hundreds of views both within and outside of Australia, within months of blogging.

Whenever I tell someone that blogging is a part of my university work they are usually confused as to how it could be considered useful by any means and I can’t say I blame them. At the beginning of the semester I was a little skeptical as to how blogging would help me develop my abilities although quickly found my concerns were misplaced. As my blog continued to grow and develop so did my writing skills, I have found that I am now more able and confident in expressing myself through my writing and sharing opinions, and have also found that I need to pay more attention to my writing technique as it still needs improvement. Blogging these past few weeks has also helped me understand the importance of communication and sharing content, this is one aspect that I hope to improve on in the future. I am not an overly socially active person online, and so I find it difficult to keep up to date and share through media such as twitter and even more so on Facebook. This could definitely help widen my audience and gain more attention. As well as staying connected through social media, I will also look to further interact with other bloggers by commenting on their posts in order to create discussions.

Blogging has proved to be useful in many ways over the semester and there are many reasons for one to blog. For one blogging allows you to improve writing skills, gain confidence and open your mind to new perspectives and ideas. I myself find that reading blogs of a variety of topics inspires me in many ways. Health and fitness blogs inspire me to live healthier, travel blogs inspire me to explore and see the word, academic blogs inspire me to be better and try harder. Fore these reasons I wish to create a blog outside academic purposes where I can express my ideas and experiences, and hopefully inspiring others in return.

Taplin, R 2013, 5 Quick Ways to Improve Your Blog’s Design, Blog Tyrant, viewed 27th September 2015, <http://www.blogtyrant.com/blog-design/>

Asselin, M., 2014, ‘The Five Most Important Elements of a Blog Layout’, Food Bloggers of Canada, 4th June, viewed 29th, September 2015,
<http://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/2014/06/the-five-most-important-elements-of-a-blog-layout/>

Millburn, JF 2015, ‘How to start a successful blog today’, The minimalist, 1st october, viewed 1st October 2015,
<http://www.theminimalists.com/blog/>

Becker, J, ‘15 reasons I think you should blog’, becoming minimalist, viewed 1st October 2015,
<http://www.becomingminimalist.com/15-reasons-i-think-you-should-blog/>

Its classified

I remember all to well back when I was a kid sitting down to watch the Lion King on VCR but not before sitting through 15 minutes of ads and classification warnings that I never really paid attention to.

While we may no longer see these classification warnings before movies (especially since the wonders of the skip button) as much as we had in the past they are still there. The Classification Board of Australia a classification and censorship body formed the the Australian government is a board that classifies video games, music and films.

Through giving these classifications the classification board aims to protect viewers from content they may find offensive or hard to watch, these include themes such as violence, sexual themes, nudity, drug use and language to name a few. These are all then categorised into separate ratings. Not only can the board classify media but it can also refuse to, this means that they can officially make in illegal to exhibit, sell or hire within australia.

As much as the government tries to prohibit viewing of certain media depending on age, is it really applicable at all? Im pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say that none of us have followed the classification system to a ‘T’ growing up. We have all watched a M-rated movie unaccompanied before we were 15 and when was parental guidance really necessary in a PG movie? When it comes to video games it seems that most thoughts on classifications go out the window, for example my nephew and his friends not even 10 years old are constantly playing COD (call of duty) most of which are rated M.

With the easy access we are granted to information and content (special thanks goes out to the internet) it is almost impossible to monitor what children and young teens are doing, viewing and downloading. What about in situations where your child is over a friends house? Or they have decided to take it upon themselves to buy any movie they please (self check out, who’s gonna stop them? The baggage bay?). As much as people say children should be monitored according to the classifications, half the children’s movies out there are classified PG for one, who is willing to take 5 hours out of their day to sit and monitor their child marathon Shrek?! All in all in situations such as these is it really all that easy to monitor what people watch, and the media they engage with?

Commonwealth of Australia, 2015, ‘Media and Student Resources’ in Australian Classification, Australian Government, viewed 25th September 2015, <http://www.classification.gov.au/Public/Resources/Pages/Media-and-Student-Resources.aspx>

Swimming Among the Goldfish

Multi-tasking, a somewhat love hate relationship. On one hand I feel that im getting more done, on the other hand, am I really? As technology continues to advance our ability to multi-task has rapidly increased and improved during the information age, and at the same time it seems our attention spans have somewhat suffered in return.
There has been too many occasions where I have been sitting talking to someone only to realise I have been talking to myself as they are absently nodding in agreement and providing reassuring thoughtful hums while they scroll through their Facebook feed, only to later jolt back into reality (usually when asked a question) and requesting me to repeat what i had said. Sometimes you cant help but to think whats the point, but its even more shocking when you find yourself doing the exact same thing, because of this I understand why many think the millennial generation has a much shorter attention span and are constantly being thought of as being ‘oblivious’ or ‘absent minded’.

Mycroft knows whats up >Ò

As the lovely Mycroft Holmes puts it, sometimes it feels as though we are living amongst goldfish, if only you should be so lucky…

Research conducted by Microsoft showed that the average attention span of a human in 2000 was 12 seconds, which has now dropped to 8 seconds as of 2013, considering goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds its easy to say they have won this round. Although the report displayed that 77% (ages18-24) of those surveyed agreed that when their attention was unoccupied, the first thing they would do is reach for their phone, I find that while I to do this at times it is mostly because I am in fact multi-tasking.

I often find myself doing uni work on my laptop while watching a movie and occasionally replying to messages on my phone in between, and although I myself acknowledge this isn’t always the best way to remain focused when trying to meet deadlines I must say it is not always an effort in rushing to mix work and play. Growing up in a society with such fast growing technology it feels almost ignorant not to adapt to and take advantage of the changes and advancements in technology especially when it is being incorporated in every aspect of our lives. For example at times the uni work I am doing may be a group assessment that is coupled by a related documentary in the background while I am taking part in a group chat regarding the task at hand, this sort of divided attention is called alternating attention. In this retrospect multi-screening and multi-tasking can at times be more effective and efficient.

Sohlberg and Mateer’s model of attention breaks down attention into 3 categories; sustained, selective, alternating. Upon further reflecting past encounters especially in social aspects I find that the level of attention that I myself display is greatly affected by varying circumstances such as, what the topic of discussion is, if I have anything important or pressing to do at the time, and if I am at all interested in what is happening at the time.

In the end I don’t think that the generation is always to blame, our environment is continuously changing and evolving, perhaps we are only adapting to what is happening around us? Or maybe its just harder to keep us interested? But for now here’s a cat meme, because you can never have enough.

need-to-watch-this-bird

Microsoft, 2015, ‘Attention Spans Research Report’, Consumer Insights Microsoft Canada, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/490916/mod_resource/content/1/microsoft-attention-spans-research-report.pdf>

#SayCheese

It seems that in this day and age everyone is their own personal photographer; phones, laptops and tablets, if you have a device you most likely have a camera. All in all this makes documenting a special moment or memory quick and easy, although what about those times when you simply must catch a moment…that isn’t quite yours? Is it ethical?

My position on this matter is at times gray, as I feel that as long as the photographs are not being used in and damaging or demeaning ways it shouldn’t be a problem although feel confronted by images such as these.

shaftesburyave_matt

Matt Stuart

Although street photography such as this can be used to raise awareness of the poverty and harsh conditions many live through it does little to provide a way in which to help and support these people or a information on how to make a difference at all. At times it seems there is an overflow of images such as these that do nothing but gain attention for the photographer and create a discussion amongst passive activists.

If I were to have my own code of ethics some things that would be included are:

  • Getting permission from parents or guardians when photographing minors
  • Do not record without permission
  • Ask individuals for permission to take photos of them
  • Do not take photos out of context or use them for negative purposes

Aside from being able to capture memories I believe that the ethical standard may vary depending on the circumstances and the reasons behind the photograph, for example photographs can be used to relay information or evidence to authoritative figures in situations that may call for attention.

In saying this, I myself feel awkward enough as it is taking a photo of someone without their knowledge and even more so asking their permission, #stalker comes to mind in all honesty.

Kim, E (2011). Are There Any Ethics in Street Photography?. [online] Eric Kim Blog, viewed 2nd september 2015 <http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/01/26/are-there-any-ethics-in-street-photography/>.

A cinematic experience

I’ve always loved going to the movies every since I was a child, it filled me with excitement and a sense of ease and what I once saw as an activity I now see as a relaxing outlet. The tantalising aroma of my personalised brand of cinema heroine ‘Popcorn’, in a room crowded with like-minded people who are in that moment instantly recognised as ‘my’ people (especially when it comes to the Marvel films) and the one place I actually enjoy sitting through 15 minutes of commercials and movie trailers. Having said this being told your next task it so watch a movie, well lets just say ill take one for the team.

Upon initiating the outing to go to the cinemas with my friends, well that where I was met with some road bumps. In the 1960’s Swedish geographer, Torsten Hägerstrand created ‘Time geography’. This identified constraints preventing people moving and acting freely in their day-to-day lives. These constraints included:

  • Coupling constraints
  • Capability constraints
  • Authority constraints

Each of these explores the limitations that impact social planning, decisions we make and our capability to perform or attend and activity.

Coupling constraints
I have always gone to the movies with friends or family and unfortunately syncing up my schedule with that of my friends proved to be challenging and impossible. Usually my friends and I would have had it preplanned the entire night more often then not going out for dinner before had, making a quick trip into Woolworth’s to grab snack and then head on over to the movies.

I always felt it more normal to go with friends not only so that I won’t look like a loner but also for company and that it perhaps keeps me from getting distracted? From past experiences of watching movies at home alone I tend to multitask when doing so rather than focusing on the movie and felt that sitting in a cinema alone for an extended period of time I might get bored, but maybe that’s me trying to talk myself out of going alone.

Authority constraints
Being a uni student whenever I have any assignments or work that needs to be done I constantly feel guilty if I go out for leisure when I know I could be doing more important things. This constant nagging of ‘is it really ok for me to go?’ is one of the major reasons I usually turn down an invitation. Along with this being a student I am characteristically in constant need of money and no matter how much I try not to spend any money on unnecessary things, going to the movies guarantees I will be spending close to $40 for a ticket, drink and popcorn, an instant blow to my bank account (K.O)

Aside from this there is also the guild factor, when knowing that a friend wanted to see a movie together despite not having a compatible schedule do I still go and see it alone without them? And isn’t going alone a bit strange? Pushing this aside I decided to go regardless, after all it was for uni, right?

Capability constraints
Capability isn’t really an issue for me, I live a 10-minute drive from the closest cinema and since I have a car of my own I am free to go when I wish. The only think that would really interfere in my going would have been if my family needed my car or if it was in some way damaged.

All in all going alone was more of an experience that I though it would be. I had gone to watch Antman and since it had been out for so long I was alone, just me myself and another one of marvels greats creations. And although I enjoyed the experience and would go again I did catch myself checking my phone a few times, which I never do in a cinema but regardless the once daunting prospect of going alone was in a was empowering and I would definitely not be apposed to doing it again.

References

Corbett, J 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography’, Center for spacially Intergrated Social Science, viewed 30th August 2015 <http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/29&gt;

The connection conundrum

Growing up I never really interacted with the world of the Internet until 6th grade and even then I remember constantly bickering with my brothers over who wanted to use the landline. It was pretty exciting at first, being able to use the Internet but I must say the dial up connection got real old real fast and looking back on it I am so glad I no longer have to wait for 6 hours for a 30 min video to buffer.

In my household we have 4 data plans and 14 devices with Internet connection between 4 people, now I know what you’re thinking a little excessive isn’t it? Yes, yes it is.

For the most part the current data plan in our house is quite reliable, fast and unlimited (which saves me from losing my mind and stressing the hell out when it comes to tutorial enrolments and assessment submissions).

Recently coming back from a holiday in abroad and meeting fellow backpackers, one comment I often encountered was “have you guys in Australia got internet yet?”, yeah yeah laugh it up buddy, I get it we all get it we’re the but of the joke. It seems as Australia is so far behind other countries in terms of technology it is only natural that the same goes for the Internet connection and speed. Currently Australia ranks 44th in the world when it comes to Internet speed (Donovan,S 2015), which is shocking within itself as many people believe that Australia is far more developed than others and we are apart from technology that is.

After sitting down and discussing the changes and improvements the National Broadband Network (NBN) would bring with my mother, I continued to question her on weather she was at all excited with the change and if she was at all apprehensive about having to learn a new system knowing she wasn’t versed in the current technology as it was.

While my mother mostly uses the internet for communication and keeping up to date with the news, weather, and family, she expressed that faster connection would make it that much easier for her to communicate although was indeed a concerned when it came to learning a new system.

Before I had left for my holiday, upon request I had taken to teaching my mother how to use Facebook (a frustrating process for both of us) so that she could ‘Facebook stalk” me while I was away in order to ease her mind that I was safe. Along with this I had taught her to message and call me via Facebook chat and she later (to her excitement) discovered how to video chat. Knowing the concepts and navigation of Facebook were annoying enough to her, and the constant change in technology I can see why she is apprehensive.

All in all technology and the internet is seen as an important communication tool by my mother, and even though I also find that aspect of it important honestly couldn’t imagine a life without it (as sad as that sounds) as it is so integrated with our lives. As Boyd (2014) states ‘social media has evolved from being an esoteric jumble of technologies to a set of sites and services that are at the heart of contemporary culture’ and so staying in touch with the present is almost impossible without having at least some knowledge of how to use technology.

Boyd,D 2014  It’s Complicated, online PDF, viewed 20 august. viewed online: http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf

Donovan, S (2015), ‘Internet speeds: Australia ranks 44th, study cites direction of NBN as part of problem’, ABC, 13 Jan, viewed 20 August. Viewed online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-12/australian-internet-speeds-rank-44th-in-the-world/6012570