There are some terrible people in this world. Seriously, some people are just really mean. The internet is a wonderful place full of rainbows and unicorns, where people can be themselves. Unfortunately when the internet’s freedom to be yourself collides with the fact that some people suck, a Pandora’s Box of hateful, misogynistic, racist, bigoted, homophobic, trolling smut is opened.
A big question at the moment is whether this type of discrimination should be legal. Is freedom of speech an inalienable right, or would consequence beget change? Words can be used eloquently, and being articulate helps to convey the right message, which is why the alteration of a few words in Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act could result in a very different outcome for Australians.
Freedom of information is also very important when it comes to the internet. Currently, all websites are delivered at the same speed, regardless of the content. Internet service providers can’t decide what information deserves to be seen more than any other; whether it’s sexist, hateful comments or a video of a bunny eating raspberries.
This concept is known as net neutrality, and is vital in order to preserve freedom across the internet. Net neutrality isn’t just about keeping Netflix fast, it has real implications for the future of thought. To ensure the internet retains one of its fundamental principles and strengths, we need to be constantly aware of the current events associated with the cause, and willing to fight for free information.
“The best counter to a bad argument is a good one, and the best antidote to bigotry is decency, proclaimed by people engaging in a free and fair debate.” – Tony Abbott
‘Young people are the future’
It’s been said before, and yes, it is relevant and true; but what are young people doing with their lives? Maybe we just don’t know how lucky we are.
BREAKING NEWS! – Things are happening in the world, and these things need our attention. Unfortunately young people are often defined as lazy, utterly self absorbed – it goes on and on. Contrary to this popular belief, if you look hard enough, you can find youth instigating positive change. From Occupy Wall Street, to Kony 2012, youth around the world are collaborating, using social media, to make a difference. This support for good causes is nice, but there’s a phenomenon occurring known as slacktivism. This is “the way of the new style activist who just signs online petitions and shares on Facebook, instead of the banner waving, old fashioned street style, brawling with coppers activist days.” The actual benefit of a lot of internet hype isn’t all that helpful with no action to follow.
We lazy, apathetic young people need to make an actual stand for what is important in this world; we need action now.
Creation requires influence: we can’t introduce anything new, until we are fluent in our domain and we do that through emulation. Unfortunately, this mixture of ideas which creates new ideas is beginning to become more difficult. Producers of content have become arrogant; believing that their ideas are divine forms of pure, original creation. The reality is that all ideas stem from other ideas.
You’ve of course heard a song that has been remixed before, but remix culture extends far beyond this aspect. Remixing is the collecting, combining and transforming of music, video, photos, whatever. To claim ownership of any idea is questionable. Take Disney’s Frozen for example: Filmmaker Kelly Watson claimed that Disney used scenes in their trailer, similar to that of her short film. However, Disney blocked access to Brian Hull’s YouTube mashup video (this has been resolved). It seems conceited to use the work of others, yet disallow the transformation of ‘your’ idea.
Copyright laws often threaten new remixes. Parody of copyrighted work is allowed under fair use, but remixes and mashups in copyright is a complicated issue. We’re living in a very crucial time for copyright reformation. With the development of online technology and collaborative media, the laws of ownership are in danger of limiting creativity for the future.
You know when a franchise spreads across a bunch of different platforms, finding new ways to entertain (and make money from) audiences? – That’s transmedia storytelling. Each medium that the story is shared on is an extension of the experience, offering up new additions to the plot.
The advantage of transmedia narrative is that people can join in from varying entry points, making it easier to gain a following. Multiple companies have incorporated this method into their productions; with large companies like Disney taking advantage of their large franchises like Star Wars and Marvel. This strategy can be used to draw people into a large production, or keep an established audience interested with smaller spin-offs.
From the tens of thousands of fanfics, to the many people playing the graphically-challenged games from the beginning of this millennium, YouTube is home to a vast array of Harry Potter material.
The beauty of transmedia storytelling is the way the audience themselves can produce the bonus content. YouTube allows both the companies, and fans to share unique additions to a potentially massive audience.
Content isn’t a stagnant pool of algae-covered information anymore. Audiences are now actively participating in collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content. People are no longer bound by the fixed narrative of old media, but able to manipulate their experiences alongside millions of others. Online collaboration isn’t only about changing the way you view content, but allowing others to see completely new events and ideas.
Citizen journalism is this spreading of information, which anyone can participate in, whereby news can be shared through multiple, informal channels. Unlike the news distribution of the past, people don’t have to wait for their news to be thrown to their doorstep; they can easily and immediately find what interests them.
YouTube has been greatly influential to the prominence of citizen journalism in recent history. It allows people to post video of without the filtering of networks and producers. People in new media are participants, producers, editors and audiences all mixed together to be active ‘produsers’ of the internet. YouTube allows people to not only share, watch and comment on videos, but to work off the content of others, meaning the content never dies, but continues to morph into new pieces of work for others to do the same. The beauty of this change is that it has only begun to develop, and will continue to benefit audiences in new ways as it does.
YouTube’s tagline ‘Broadcast Yourself’ is no longer a simple invitation to video yourself making a vlog, it’s a challenge to add to the collective knowledge of the world; Broadcast(ing by) Yourself.
With over 1 billion different people visiting YouTube each month, you could say its audience is pretty big. This means that any change that the site makes affects a lot of people; and we all know how people on the internet love change.
Last year, when YouTube announced its plan for Google+ integration into YouTube, it was met with positive media coverage. After all, it promised a cleaner comment section on the notoriously unpleasant site. However, once it began to implement the new system, Google was slammed with a sea of complaints.
There were some problems with the integration:
– It wasn’t really an ‘integration’ of G+; it was more of a forced signup. Not only was a G+ account a requirement in order to comment, both Gmail and YouTube repeatedly prompted for you to enter your full name. Once you eventually complied to do so, BAM! – You now had a (most likely unwanted) G+ account.
– The comment clean up didn’t work. “While the new system dealt with many spam issues that had plagued YouTube comments in the past, it also introduced new opportunities for abuse and shortly after the launch, we saw some users taking advantage of them.”
YouTube does have its issues, but its audience can also be a very constructive and beneficial community. A recent study based on user engagement showed that YouTube viewers were the most active audience for advertising online. The community also has the potential (and uses it) to do awesome stuff globally. Initiatives like the Project for Awesome demonstrate the positivity that YouTube can bring to the internet.
Unfortunately, YouTube is blocked in many areas. Most recently, Turkey banned access to the site, as it did with Twitter. Turkey has done this in the past, and the Twitter ban has been lifted, leading to believe that YouTube access will be back soon. However there are still many countries that don’t allow this wonderful place of constructive community, endless content, and hateful, racist, homophobic, sexist rants of ‘free speech’.
Today, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ was released. Filming began 11 months ago, and the movie is estimated to gross $80 million in its first weekend. YouTube’s ‘PewDiePie’ also released a video today: ‘Demon Simulator – DEMON GOAT’. His clip, posted 18 hours ago, has already gained 1.9 million views. These are two vastly different productions, yet they’re owned by the same mouse.
Yes, Disney, who acquired Marvel in 2009, also bought the YouTube multichannel network ‘Maker’. This deal (initially $500 million) “could end up being as much as $950 million if the company meets certain targets”. Several large production companies have been investing in these YouTube MCNs. Another big player in the field is DreamWorks, which owns ‘Awesomeness TV’, which (as of yesterday) owns ‘Big Frame’.
After Google took over the site for $1.65 billion, it launched its ‘Partner Program’ giving money to popular YouTubers for their content. The advertising revenue in 2013 was estimated at $5.6 billion. There are a lot of big numbers here, but the simple fact is that there’s lots of money to make out of YouTube; no matter who you are.
Time for a quick joke:
Yahoo trying to challenge YouTube as a video platform.
*Everybody laughs hysterically*
Moving on… Clearly there’s quite a bit of fraternizing between major companies online. The test for YouTube will be how it holds on to its individuality. The site, its content creators, and their viewers all benefit from the huge amounts of money being pumped into the platform; however, it must avoid the dangers of over-commercialisation in order to maintain its popularity.