Trandall6’s Blog

Archive for April 2009

Castells, M 2005, The Network Society: A Cross Cultural perspective, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK.

 

Hi guys this week I will be talking about the Castells reading. The author is addressing the labelling of today’s society as belonging to the “information age”, exploring the horizontal or vertical organisation of society and the effect that communication technologies are having on society.

 

The author argues that we now live in a network society meaning our social structure consists of people communicating with technology. These networks consist of nodes, the things communicating such as a computer, and flows, the information travelling between the nodes. Previously people lived in a society based on vertical top down communication due to technological limitations. For example getting a message to someone hundreds of kilometres away would have been done by a runner, therefore it would have been practically beneficial to organise from a higher positioned centre. However when more advanced communication technology exists horizontal, network communication is the most efficient way of organising society as the changing of nodes as little effect on the network as a whole. The existence of these technologies in today’s society has the effect of the decentralisation for power. I have even witnessed this in my life time with the declining popularity of broadcast media as a result of the creation of technologies such as YouTube. Moreover I believe this raises questions of political implications.

 

The author explains that these networks influence geographical area as it now is defined by its role in the network. An example of this would be an American call centre in India. However the author argues that a networked society would not lead to a “multicultural melting pot”, explaining that people that belong to a certain group use this as their sense of identity and fight to emphasise their uniqueness despite belonging to the same network as others. I feel that this has negative consequences, for example an immigrant may come to Australia to be better positioned in the network and find themselves being discriminated against.

 

The author presents the main thesis towards the end of the text, which is that the overall culture of a networked society should consist of protocols of communication between these different groups within the network, as throughout history people have benefitted from communication with others. Furthermore it is explained that when people occupy the same social space that can not communicate with each other negative events arise. While I feel that the author argued the thesis quite convincingly I do not completely agree with it. I tend to lean more towards the melting pot theory of a networked society. This is because by emphasising differences the author’s communication aspirations could be difficult to achieve. Overall the fact that we are moving a horizontal network type of organisation never occurred to me and it is something that I find exciting.

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H Jenkins 2006, Buying into American Idol, NYU Press, New York,.

 

Hi this week I will be talking about the text “Buying into American Idol”. The text begins by explaining that reality TV is the first major use of media convergence, which is when a group of previously separate media outlets are used for a common purpose. The American Idol series is used as an example of this as it contains albums, books, live events and internet material. Moreover material such as news reports keeps people interested when the show is not airing. This is described as being based around a theory of “affective economics”. This theory acknowledges the importance of fan communities that are attached to a certain product and attempts to profit off it, in American Idols case by shifting this attachment on to its sponsors. The text explains past model of audience engagement are outdated due to the proliferation of media distribution outlets that has divided viewers into small chunks rather than a singular viewing mass. I have noticed this manifested in the area of music where you see acts with niche followings such as heavy metal or country acts reaching the top of the charts. It outlines evidence that suggests that these fan communities are more likely participate in expression which is to pay attention to the program and its advertisements and inform others about it. I frequently find myself in conversations that I can not join into. I therefore later watch the program so I can.

 

Furthermore the text analyses the effects of such emotional investment that fans have. It explains Kevin Roberts’s theory of “lovemarks”, which is the love and respect one has for a brand. People with such feelings make far more purchases. I agree with this as I often see people with types of product that the brand is not associated with e.g. Harley Davidson T shirts. Loyalty gives this fan group a degree of power as the company must please this profitable group. In addition the text explains the different types of television viewers: zappers: people that scan through the channels until they find something that they like, casuals: those that watch specific programs although irregularly and loyals: the fans described above. American Idol has devised numerous means to turn zappers and fans into loyals such as explaining what happened in previous programs so people can easily catch up. I have personally been drawn into American Idol mid-season so I am aware that this works.

Thanks for reading.

 

Tim Randall

 

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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r

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