~Privacy & Big Data~

Our information, more so privacy of it was a concern for everyone when social media platforms first launched but within the time frame of 5 to 10 years, the concerns over the load of information made available on social media, online in general has been forgotten by the average user.

People believe they have right to privacy but in a world so heavily reliant on social media that is nigh impossible.  For having such a fear of their privacy invaded users are now ignorant to the copious amount of personal data that is collected at every moment.

The data you create when harness correctly is extremely powerful. Take for example Big Data, a mass collection of data that when analysed can reveal patterns and trends of human behavior. Tufekci brought up how is allows a “deeper and direct insight into a person’s opinions, dispositions and behaviors”.

Why does this matter? Because when these datasets that contain your online and networking behavior are compiled and analysed they can then predict attritbutes unique to yourself. Not just generally a large group similar to yourself but you! An individual and they’re scarily accurate.

Big Data is incredibly interesting but ultimately, terrifying.

~Until Next Time~

~Intellectual Property and the Content Control Industry~

Copyright is a term many are familiar with. It is a creators right the authorised production, distribution and commercial use of their creations, protected against unauthorised use.

Nintendo, who by far in terms of copyright laws and general use guideline take the cake in being the strictest gaming company. Their rules cover the use of, creators, theme songs and until recently even game footage if you weren’t apart of their Nintendo Creator’s Program, controversial as it attempted to control user creations on YouTube.

Time after time they have claimed copyright over their products, so much so that they have been called out in abusing YouTubes copyright feature. In fact it wasn’t until recently that they allowed users to monetize their uploaded footage of game play without needing to join Nintendo Creator’s Program that ceased operations in March 2019, a massive win after being attacked by continuous copyright claims.

Nintendo is just one of many that have plans in place protecting their intellectual property and although they have lightened the reigns slightly, it’s very doubtful they will so again.

~Until Next Time~

~Hyper-reality~

When asked the question, what is reality? Can you answer it? do you have a clear idea of what reality is? Westerhoff describes it as “everything that appears to our five senses”– smell, touch etc.

Rolling into Hyper-reality. What is it? In simply terms in is a heightened version of the world around us, created with layer of simulation that become so proficient, it is often hard to consciously tell apart true reality.

In todays world we are being shown more and more examples of hyper-reality. For example, Deepfake. Human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence that as of a few days ago, can create videos from one an image. A single image. The implications behind this technology is incredibly exciting yet also unsettling.

A program able to create fairly accurate and extremely believable depictions of individuals within the wrong hands can cause a very dangerous chain of events.

~Social Media. The Breeding Grounds of Modern Day Art Theft~

Under copyright law individuals works are protected. This is no different on social media platforms. Each platforms has methods and guidelines in place to stop the spread of stolen content.

Instagram for example within their Terms of Use do not allow the posting of content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark. Tumblr’s community guidelines for Copyright or Trademark Infringement state “Respect the copyrights and trademarks of others. If you aren’t allowed to use someone else’s copyrighted or trademarked work, don’t post it”

All of these sites have something within their terms of use that prohibit the violation of another’s copyright. Yet unfortunately, this does little to actually prevent it. For example, Instagram is teaming with art theft, having amazed a collection of hash-tags dedicated to bringing awareness to art that has been stolen and/or being used for commercials purposes against the artist’s knowledge.

Tumblr is much the same, the amount of hash-tags used to spread awareness of art theft would take days, weeks even to dig through. It is clear, even against community guidelines, that there is a massive problem with online art theft that’s only increasing as the days go by. Simply searching the terms art+theft together brings forth many users that have either experienced art theft themselves or someone they know.

The main problem stems from those who upload works without creator permission. The saddening truth about social media art theft is that the ones who are reposting without permission know what they are doing . Often, they hide behind the lie of ignorance, throwing out excuse after excuse but the moment they upload an image onto an account without the express permission of an artist and even worse, do not credit them, they are at fault.

Tumblr user atsumus for example made a bingo chart of some of the excuses used in defense of uploading stolen art. Some claim complete ignorance, others get defensive or outright ignore an artist’s request of removing the work or crediting them.

It’s important to mention why these users upload another’s art. The is no definite answer as each individual is uniques with their own set of ethics and opinions but here  are so reasons, both positive and negative.

Positive 

  • The do as a way to show appreciation for an artist
  • They may run a fan blog for fandom communities and wish to spread content

Negative

  • They want to pass it off as their own 
  • Commercial use (negative without the artist’s permission)

Believe me when I tell you, by not crediting an artist for their work, whether the intention was for good reasons does not help an artist. The general rule is if you can’t find the artist of a work you want to upload, don’t upload it. Better yet, the web is a powerful tool, there a many ways to find the original source of image like reverse searching it on Google. 

Hundreds of artists have reported that they’ve found sites selling their works on t-shirts, prints, mugs. It’s unbelievable and it’s no longer just work from fandom-based communities, but completely unique works that have been taken and sold with absolutely no permission or even communication with the original creators.

These artists from across Tumblr and Instagram, in some shape or from have had their art stolen and commercially used without permission:

  • double-o-doodles
  • fusspot
  • skylerorionx

Double-o-doodles found their design which they have available on their own Redbubble being sold unauthorized on not only petotee but many other sites and that it had been used for advertisement purposes on Instagram gaining almost 15,000 likes once again without permission or credit. From my knowledge the site they first reported the theft for had the seller and item removed but unfortunately there are still many others selling the design.

Again, Fusspot found their design, having been slightly modified, being sold on amazingtee without their consent.

I wish I could say that this has only occurred through unreliable sellers, but there have been many cases where bigger, well-known stores have stolen designs of an artist and used them for commercial purposes.

Instagram user histrionicoleshop noticed that their design on the right had been replicated by the well known online store, FashionNova, on the left. Their work was originally for sale on their Redbubble account about a year and a half and as recently as three days ago, they noticed it had been ripped off by FashionNova, a store that has been endorsed time and time again by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Khole Kardashian. 

Similar case, skylerorionx noticed that target had been selling enamel pins that looked remarkably similar to their own design.

The number goes on and on. These are just some of hundreds, if not thousands of examples of art theft on social media platforms.

As mentioned earlier, social media platforms do have a measure in place to protect users from acts of copyright infringement but if it wasn’t clear enough, these measures don’t appear to be working. It begs the question of whether these platforms should be doing more to stop the spread of art theft. Whether the artist themselves hold sole responsibility to protect their work or accept these actions as a result to uploading their work online.

It also makes me question the minds of the those that steal another’s work in the first place. They’ve been told it’s wrong, clearly know it’s wrong yet they continue to do so. Would stricter measures and punishments even work if those stealing the works already know their actions are wrong?

For an average social media user this may mean nothing, but art theft has a massive impact on an artist, especially those that’s living is supported through their work. When users re-upload art without crediting the source, it doesn’t allow the original artist to receive recognition for their work, something that many spend an undeniably long time creating it.

The best advice that can be given is when you’re faced with work that you know or think has been stolen, ask the the user to credit it’s true ownership and if possible inform the artist of the account using their work. These actions alone, although minor, can offer massive help in fighting online art theft. 

~Until Next Time~

~DA Beta~

As mentioned in my video, my Beta is nowhere where I want it to be. That is entirely due to myself changing my idea last minute and having gotten sick. In saying that my DA has changed from a blog archive of cosplay tutorials to an educational YouTube series on Australian cosplay essentially targeting conventions, reviews and videos on where to get and buy cosplay materials. The reason for this was simple, I wasn’t getting anywhere with the blog, it pretty much flopped and I was no longer interested in it. In terms of cosplay, it feels like Australia has very little to offer in terms of stores dedicated to supplying cosplay materials, unlike many overseas.

My DA is across both YouTube and Instagram. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to edit two of the videos I planned to post having instead posted a very minor DIY just to get some content rolling. Instagram however, I’ve immersed myself more into the cosplay community meaning I’ve been interacting and socialising with other cosplayers, creating polls and posts on my story and from that I’ve noticed two things. My follower count had increased, although a very minor increase,  with other cosplayers so obviously I must be doing something right. Probably the best thing to have happen as mentioned in the video was my interaction with an online American pop-culture apparel store, Mynerdyneeds. I’d notice them liking some of my previous posts after interacting my some of their own, which is great as I have plans of a product review video so to be on their radar is awesome. They also do a lot of mutual promotion with cosplayers, something I forgot to mention in the video.

Although the amount of feedback I have is little, it makes it even more precious. Clearly, I know I need to increase my online presence and increase my uploads which I kind of already knew. I’ve decided to stick with project. There is a gap for what I want to make, and I believe once I’m able to truly upload what I want, it’ll be good.

~Collective Intelligence~

By far one of my favorite outcomes of network participation is collective intelligence. The joint collaboration of individuals, one which the emergence of media platforms has blown up, the level of communication and far spread of individuals is insane.

Hall brought forth the notion of “decentralised authority”, that the advancements of our technology now allows “large groups of individuals to connect directly, make decisions, collaborate and share value amongst themselves,” something I find to be quite incredible.

Just take into consideration the platform Reddit where participation of individuals is a key purpose of the site, relying on user based discussion and voting for its content. The users are just everyday people throwing their two cents in with no middleman.

You can imagine how well this works in uncover dirty dets that is often hidden behind centralised platforms. The mass collaboration has the ability to uncover two sides of story, something I find incredible.

~Until Next Time~

 

~Seeing is believing~

The image above is a remediation of Boston Dynamics SpotMini framed as a Furreal children’s toy, a familiar framing technique to promote sales of children’s toys.

The definition of seeing is believing is that you need to see something before you can accept that it really exists or occurs. But this isn’t always the case.

In fact this old saying is a great way to take a look into human mentality and to see how easy it is to manipulate perception. Simply, the way in which something is framed plays a large part in how in is received.

Take for example Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home devices. Both have been framed to appear as necessary home items, promoting convenience with a friendly family system through the use of familiarity.

In reality, these devices are a massive breech in user privacy, collecting mass amounts of data and information thats fed directly back to the data banks of its creators.

Entman stated that “the concept of framing consistently offers a way to describe the power of a communicating text.” Take this in to consideration with had if either company marketed the items without the glitz and glam, you can believe the sales would not be as high as they are. This is the power of framing.

~Until Next Time~

~Meme Warfare~

The good old humble meme you’d never guess how much of a tool it could be. Memes are the language of the Internet, so simple yet so rememberable and that simple fact makes them dangerous and easily manipulated.

Siegel, for, one believes them to be the “stuff by which reality is made and manipulated” and “natural tools of an insurgency” points I wholeheartedly agree in. What better way to manipulate the perception of others than in a format they are already familiar and comfortable with?

Politically, memes have been used often to mock the opposition, push agenda’s and after the 2016 American election, the Internet was flooded with them, sparking mass debate that stretched internationally! Something so simple as a meme generated hundreds of conversations and instigated and fair bit of public discourse.

Whatever you’re general opinion is on the significance of meme use, personally I believe memes have and are working quite successfully as modern day propaganda.

~Until Next Time~

~Who Controls Your Media?~

When was the last time you questioned who was in control of the media outlets you access? From news to social media, are they really as neutral as you assume, they are? Well the answer is no, not really. No source of media run by human individuals can be truly unbiased.

Considering media ownership, I believe is an incredibly important factor in choosing the outlets in which you gather news and information. With the emergence of social media our exposure to any forms of media is amplified and leaves us open to manipulation and having some understanding on why they source you’ve chosen to trust in has published something can help determine its true intentions. Whether if it’s truly for public interest or to be used as a tool of manipulation.

Data & Society ran a research project on the media manipulation. They found that media “can catalyze social change” and “challenge the stability of social institutions”. It should come to no surprise that if the owner of a media outlet had a certain agenda that they’d they stick between the lines of their content.

Much of the media I myself consume is mostly from online social platforms such as twitter, Instagram etc, most of which are run by independent sources. Otherwise I rely upon networks such as Seven and the ABC for official stories and newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald.

I’d like to say the media I surround myself with is a reflection of myself to an extent. Honestly it wasn’t until very recently due to various events and the constant notion of ‘fake news’ that I’ve truly began to question my trust in the media, more so the individual places in which I view and share content. In today’s society and with the shear amount of exposure to the online community I fully intend and recommend questioning the motives of our media sources.

~Until next times~

~Interpretation & Representation~

An image can speak a thousand words and those words depend on you. Everything has a literal meaning; denotation. But it can also hold universally unique meanings towards individuals, one that is heavily influenced from their cultural experiences and surroundings; connotation.

For an example consider this image here. A simple bathroom selfie with a figure displaying a naked muscled torso. Its context depends on an individual’s knowledge and experience.

Some wouldn’t pay it any mind, but others may jump on the display of what they perceive as feminine qualities of the figure and conclude that this person is a woman displaying a naked image of their breast.

It is no secret that society has an obsession in sexualising female anatomy. Not only that but they limit the freedom of gender expression. How can it be fair for a social media platform to determine the gender of an individual, one that is opposite to that person’s own beliefs and then to further censor the content based on the normalities of societies gender ideology.

This post is of a non-binary actor, Bex Taylor-Klaus calling out social media platforms and their blatant sexualisation of the human body from a heteronormative mindset, forcefully placing individuals in social brackets based on their physical attributes and not what they, an individual identify as.

The image was taken down regarding it having breached Instagram guidelines on the premise of appropriation for an audience. Instagram does not allow nudity including: “photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.” Further including the display of “female nipples.” For anyone that doesn’t identify within a gender binary this action was insulting.

Gender is not a natural born concept; it is a manmade ideology and social construct that has developed over time and generations. Every culture has variations of gender other than male and female and has only most recently began to recognise anything outside these binary notions.

Gender is not a natural born concept; it is a manmade ideology and social construct that has developed over time and generations. Eckert ‘et al’ noted in Language and Gender that “gender is the social elaboration of biological sex.”  Every culture has variations of gender other than male and female
and has only most recently began to recognise anything outside these binary notions. Gender and sexuality a said to be seen more as a spectrum. This is influenced for a wide variety of reasons such as religion, social ethics and so on.

The actions taken by Instagram in the removal of the image is interesting as it brings forth the question of when media, social media platforms especially, will begin to amend their own guidelines? To have them more inclusive for those that do not conform to a binary gender and the ‘social norm’?

~Until next time~