Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fan Culture

Lately in class we have been talking about fan culture and the fanaticism that many people have over pop culture trends. I find fan culture very interesting as it can relate to many people at one time. When I think of fan culture, I tend to think of tweens and their fascination with things like Twilight and Harry Potter. The reason I think that I find fan culture so interesting is that I tend to be one of those people who hears about new movies or books that are popular I’ll look into them. I’m not saying I’m a bandwagon-er but I like to do research on popular culture. I’ll admit when I was in high school I was obsessed with Harry Potter, honestly ask me any question having to do with the books and I could answer it in 5 seconds flat.

I think that fan culture is so important to our lives these days because of things like Twilight and Harry Potter. Instead of giving our lives enjoyment through entertainment, these books and movies become a part of our lives. The books sell in astonishing capacity internationally and when they are made into movies the stars of the movies are seen as gods in their own right.

Take for instance Rob Robert Pattinson, he stars as Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies. Before this movie, he garnered slight fame appearing in the Harry Potter movies as Cedric Diggory, but as a result of Twilight he has been thrown into popular culture. Quickly doing a Google search for him his name receives 17,500,000 hits. How insane is that, he became popular in early 2008 when his name was thrown into the running for playing Edward Cullen and now he gets that many hits on Google.



Fan culture has become a part of our lives… especially if you’re a 13 year old girl. It seems that we associate fan culture with tween girls, but fan culture is spread around a large demographic of people (like fans of Lost).

Why is it that we assume all fan culture consists of 13 year old girls drooling over Robert Pattinson?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Activism, physical or virtual?

With the growing popularity of the internet as a social movement technique, we have continually seen a growth in the use of the Internet for social activism. As our world becomes more of a global village, images, videos and sound clips are broadcast around the world for all people to see. With this overflow of information, organizations are popping up around the world to help spread the message of these activists who were fighting against the corporate ideals. With the use of online networking, protests and sit ins can be organized, therefore many more people around the world can participate and be a part of the action.

This virtual form of activism, I believe has complimented and help facilitate face-to-face coordination and interaction rather than replacing it.

Hackers have also played a large part in helping coordinate movements – with the interception of data and the more information that is being discovered, the activists can be more aware of the causes that they are fighting for.

The idea of an alternative media offers a break from the regular, we see a new form of information sharing. (Emailing, posting, forums, online gatherings of all kinds help these digital media activism )
And at these rallies and protests that are organized online, we see a wide variety of media being produced there, videos are filmed, pictures are taken, sound clips are recorded with the sole purpose of uploading them to the internet in order to get the content international. Cell phone technology

Along with alternative media comes tactical Media (playful parody of corporate advertising ... think adbusters and culture jamming) With the growing popularity of culture jamming and adbusting more messages are being sent to the internet community as this is where these forms of activism are most prominent.


I believe that every form of social activism is effective in its own right. Either with the use of a computer or standing in front of police lines, messages are being sent. There are boundaries that are needed to be looked at, and these boundaries help us understand every motivating factor in the world we live in today.


Activism is activism, I think what we need to be worried about are the messages that are being sent through social activism and not how they are being sent.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creativity on Youtube

Today while I was getting ready for class, I logged onto youtube.com and searched for a song that I really wanted to listen to. After looking through a couple pages of fan made videos I got the idea to write a blog about it.

Searching for anything on youtube.com you can find an abundance of self made videos of people showing their creativity to the world. Over and over again I go onto youtube.com and find videos of people singing and performing to some of my favourite songs. I think this is a great idea; it is a cheap and easy way to get your name out while doing what you love. While some of these videos are not the greatest, they are still a great form of creativity.

As these videos are becoming more and more popular, I had to ask myself: why are artists paying so much money to promote themselves and make music videos for millions of dollars while they could make one for free and post it on the Internet?

Over the past few years the popularity of youtube.com has been on the rise, in its beginning the site had a few followers sharing videos with one another. Now millions of people are uploading and sharing videos with each other. This form of communicating, I believe, will soon become one of the most popular ways to communicate. For now it is fun to just log on and watch the crazy videos that some people upload.

The Internet has becoming a breeding ground for new artists that are trying to get their names out, youtube.com has become one of the front runners in this creativity craze. Some of these videos are becoming so popular that the people in the videos are gaining celebrity status, some good, some bad and some just ugly.


In your opinion, do you think that these videos are a good way of showing off people's creativity or just plain annoying? And do you think that these people deserve recognition for their videos?





Monday, March 2, 2009

Second Life... continued


I’ve been getting some questions about my experiences with Second Life. What do I do on the game? Who do I hang out with?

Honestly, this can all be answered in about a paragraph! Haha...

So basically my Second Life consists of me signing on, getting really bored and going to welcome areas for new comers and helping them out with their avatars and giving them a positive experience with the game. There is nothing worse than signing on for the first time and getting accosted by people who have nothing better to do than to mess with - sorry for the dorky term here – ‘noobs’ (or more politely known as new players). I remember my first week of the game, I had no idea what I was doing, and aimlessly walking around some random area pretending I knew what I was doing. It’s funny to think of my first days like that, now that I have people I regularly talk to.

My friends list is made up of people I have met over the past couple of months, people that, for some reason, I feel the need to check in with on a regular basis. It is funny how you can create a bond with someone who is thousands of miles away, you never meet them in person, but you feel like they are your real friend. I know how dorky this sounds, but really... it’s true. At the end of the day though, it is nice to sit with my roommates and know what real friendship is and have a face to face conversation, this will always be better than signing online and talking to people I don’t even know.

Honestly, I play the game as if it were really me on the computer screen, I am no different from my avatar. I know many people who come online and act totally different from what they would in real life, it is pretty easy to figure out when you see their character and they have crazy attachments, they are not in a human form or they plain just show you a real life picture of themselves and you can clearly see that they look nothing like their character.

Second Life is very similar to things such as facebook and twitter, but because of the virtual world sentiment it is also a very different way to interact with one another. Like I have previously stated, Second Life is basically just a glorified chat room, just as facebook is. With facebook and twitter you go online and update your profile when you have different feelings about things, on Second Life you go online and update you character in order to suit your mood.
I agree with the comment that Xela posted on my previous blog, people make their avatars much more intricate than their real life bodies, and I really do think that people use Second Life as a means to show off their real personalities or the people they wish to be. Maybe it is because they are scared to really show people who they are, or they are very shy.

Too me, Second Life is a game, I go on when I’m bored, I have no ulterior motives, I don’t use real money on the game and I know when I have had enough. I know the difference between Second Life, and the much better option, my real life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Second Life.

I’ve decided that I need to write something on Second Life as I did a couple posts ago make the big confession of playing the game. I have been thinking about this blog for quite some time now, trying to express the way I feel about SL, and the only thing that came to mind is that it is a love/hate relationship.


Why I Love Second Life
Second Life is an escape from the pressure of fourth year, it takes away from thinking about my graduation status, the real world afterword and everything associated with school. Second Life offers a release from the everyday pressure of my insanely packed life at the moment, and for that I am appreciative.


Why I Hate Second Life
While I do have fun on the game, it became a burden. When I need a distraction, I sign online for a few minutes. 10 minutes turns into 30 minutes, and the minutes turn into hours. It is not until around 4am do I realize that I am still pointlessly walking around a virtual world.
When I think of why I spend so much time on the game these days, I feel dumb. It’s a game, it offers no real life advantages other than to ease my mind when it comes to school. So why do I enjoy the game so much?

People are so into this game it amazes me, I remember my first day... the whole time sitting there thinking, “this is dumb, why do people talk about it so much?” Well I guess I know now, its addicting, but there comes a point where it becomes all too much. Recently I stepped back from my computer and saw that so many people get so emotionally involved in this game, it really is ridiculous, people get married in the game, they have children, they date, they spend hundreds of real life money on pixels (don’t worry, I’m not one of the people who does) they do everything you are supposed to do in real life, so why can’t these people just go out and live life the way they are behind the computer screen?
(I know I know, some people cannot do these things in real life, but why take the game so seriously?)

I have to admit, at times I take the game seriously, however now I’m thinking about it like I should, it is a game, purely an entertainment tool.

I pose the question to whoever is reading this blog...

Why are people so obsessed with the virtual world instead of going out and living their life? Why are games such as Second Life so packed full of drama that breaks into the real lives of those who play the game?

Here are some videos I found amusing, just to show the extent of the seriousness of game play in Second Life.





Lastly, take a look at this link, its to an episode of The Fifth Estate about Second Life, it shows the seriousness of some people in the game.

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/strangers_in_paradise/

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blogging


This week in class we discussed what websites that we regularly visited, especially in the morning as our wake up routine. I found it very interesting that a majority of the websites named were blogs, this made me think of my own routine of what websites that I frequent on a daily basis. Blogs have become a massive part of our culture, over the past few years blogs went from a very exclusive past time to one of the most popular ways to post information on the Internet.
Why have blogs become such a popular method of communicating online?
Really the only reason I can think of is because anyone can have a blog, people can talk about whatever they want in which ever context they feel necessary. For example right now, I’m blogging about blogging... now that makes total sense.
I’ll admit that the majority of blogs I visit on a daily basis are filled with celebrity gossip, music or news blogs, but that’s just what I find interesting, it’s a break from my regular school work.
Looking at popular celebrity gossip websites, the first one that comes to mind is of course Perez Hilton (which I do frequent on a daily basis, okay... maybe more than once a day), but really why do we feel the need to know the private lives of people? No one is reading my blog to find out what my real life is all about, so why should I care about the happenings of someone else’s life?

With the majority of blogs out on the Internet why do those filled with the senseless lives of people just like us? I wish I could understand that question.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Online Networking

This is something very new to me. I’m not used to writing a running social commentary on new technologies that help us write said social commentaries. For this class (CS400) we are required to write this blog, this online editorial of our society’s social networking processes.

When I think about social networking in today’s world I think about the phenomenon of websites like Facebook and how popular they have become in the past three years. Thinking back before I had my own Facebook account, I honestly cannot remember what I did on the internet without it. Facebook has become such a major part in almost every university student’s career, it is a time waster, a way to procrastinate writing assignments and even a distraction from those long and tedious lectures that we are required to sit through. It is interesting how big Facebook has become, people now rely on this website to keep in contact with people around the world, this is not a bad thing, but whatever happened to a good old fashioned phone call?

Online social networking has not just crept up over night; we have seen things like chat rooms and online forums since the first days of the Internet. People use these tools to effectively communicate their ideas and thoughts to many different people. The move in social networking from chat rooms to virtual worlds can be seen in games like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These games have brought a new spin on communicating with people around the world.

Hypothetical situation, I know a lot about Second Life, and I played it occasionally.

Okay, maybe that is not such a hypothetical situation, so here it goes, my confession..... I play Second Life. I heard about it in class and I thought, “What is this fuss all about?” So I did the unthinkable and joined the virtual world of Second Life. Now you might be thinking, well that’s weird who would do that? Yeah, I would. I have decided that it is geeky but there is so much to explore and research about this virtual world. I highly recommend it for anyone who spends way too much time on Facebook, its basically like Facebook but you get to play Barbie with your very own personalized doll. I’ll be the first person to admit how geeky it is, but it’s funny and kills time when I have nothing better to do..... oh I mean I play for research purposes.

Our online practices have changed so much in the past decade that it is crazy to think what will be next, what sort of online networking the Internet has for us in the future.