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Wow, time has passed so quickly. It is hard to believe that this will be my last post for this this subject. It kind of feels like it has ended just when I started to get the hang of things. Writing these blogs has certainly been a learning experience for me as I feel they have shaped my perception on several key concepts, given me a wider array of knowledge about the topic of convergence as a whole and have improved my writing ability dramatically. One thing that really surprised me was how much I actually enjoyed writing them. Never in a million years would I expect to be doing homework and loving every second of it but I found that the topics I was able to write about were the very topics that interest me most. My favourite thing about writing these blogs was looking up content to include in them… watching videos on YouTube, finding memes off the net, reading articles on GameSpot, all of these are things I still would have been doing regardless of Uni, so it was pretty cool I got to include them.

My favourite blog to write about was by far, ‘I’ll Tell You What You Want, What You Really Really Want’. I feel this blog was easy for me to write as the ongoing battle between Apple and Android and the whole idea of closed vs open Medias is something that I am quite passionate about. I think that because I really liked the topic, my writing style and ability was at a peak for this particular blog, things just kind of flowed out of me. I also really liked that I was able to able to use a metaphor about The Matrix to further exemplify my rather biased point about Apple being the king of closed Medias. I also think this blog was the best overall because I was able to relate back to my chosen platform GameSpot, making it easier for me to reflect on this topic in terms of my medium

I also really enjoyed writing ‘A Long Time Ago In A Convergent Galaxy Far Far Away’. I believe that this blog is the most personal and the most reflective out of all the others. Because Trans-Media Story Telling is something that heavily influences my everyday life I found I was able to reflect on the topic better, using my own real life experience at Game Traders to think about Trans Media Story Telling from my own perspective. I also got to write about Star wars which was pretty awesome and I think that helped me understand the concept a lot better. I like that I was able to use that as a perfect example of Trans- Media Story telling.

I think my third best blog would have to be ‘Pro-Anti Slacktivism’. For me this blog was a little more challenging to write because I was completely unsure as to whether I believed ‘Clicktivism’ to be good thing or not. This indecision forced me to dwell on the issue more and delve into it on a deeper level and I feel this helped me to better reflect on it. There was also an abundance of memes on this issue that I thoroughly enjoyed looking at and included several of in my blog. I think all the memes in it make it exciting for my viewers and that’s another main reasons why I chose this blog as one of my top three, it’s a lot more entertaining than some of my other blogs.

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It’s All A Troll, Until Somebody Cries

Trolling is an Internet slang term used to describe any Internet user behaviour that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else. (Welcome to the dark side of the internet)

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C’mon I had to include Star Wars somewhere 🙂

The entire point of trolling is to wreak havoc on websites and to annoy, offend, shock, insult or humiliate others for the sake of a laugh. It seems nowadays that Trolling has become a widely accepted practice, due to the fact that it is everywhere. No matter where you turn, there’s always someone waiting behind the virtual corner to ridicule your online activities.

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Most of the time it is just all just fun and games, people being stupid for the sake of being stupid but sometimes it goes beyond that. Sometimes trolling goes too far. Remember when members of the hacktivist group Anonymous all signed into to Habbo Hotel, made identical characters and flooded the game, making it impossible for other people to get into the pool area?  I personally found that hilarious, trolling can be funny when nobody gets hurt, the problem is though, trolling isn’t always harmless.

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There is a growing trend towards hateful misogynist trolling and because of this women on the internet are being tormented, ridiculed and even threatened. It starts with those silly ‘get back into the kitchen’ and ‘make me a sandwich’ jokes but leads to so much more. Female journalists and bloggers have reported serious incidences where they have repeatedly been mooched or abused and even threatened violently or sexually, simply for being women who dare to voice their opinions on the internet.

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There have been cases where Trolling has been used as a form of psychological bullying. Jessica Leonhardt, formerly known as KerliGirl13 on YouTube suffered a severe mental breakdown after her attention-seeking behaviours in her YouTube videos caused her to become the target of a mass scale 4chan raid. People made fun of her, made parodies of her videos and threatened to beat her if she didn’t stop uploading annoying clips. She was only eleven at the time and was affected very strongly by all the negative hype surrounding her. Her Father reacted to this on you tube, only making things worse as his reaction became world famous and resulted in the creation of even more parody videos.

So what is it about internet culture that facilitates Trolling? The answer Anonymity. I have come to realise that people on the internet feel they have the power to say and do what they want as long as their identities remain unknown. With an anonymous identity people aren’t restricted by consequence and without restraints the worst aspects of their personalities shine through. I find it strange that a world like this exists online where people say things that would never be said in the real world. Like why is it socially acceptable to use derogatory language like gay or fag on the net, but not in real life? this is something I will never understand.

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One thing I do understand, however, is that Trolls do what they do in order to get a reaction. They feed off your anger, so the best way beat them, in my experience, is not to acknowledge them, they can’t troll you if you don’t let them.

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Pro-Anti Slacktivism

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It seems everybody these days has the potential to become a social activist. With convergence the way it is, all you really need is an issue and a smartphone.

With your Iphone in hand it’s easy to make that new campaign page on Facebook, spread your message on BlogPress, rally those supporters on Linked-In, organize that mass event on Twitter, record that protest you made and edit it into a hard-hitting, life changing, emotional masterpiece on Imovie and then upload it straight to YouTube where it can be streamed and shared to people all over the world.

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So in a way ,yes, it is true that apptivism (as I like to call it) “has the potential to transform the spontaneous outburst of demonstrations and renewed interest in the radical left into a coherent, highly organized and efficient movement” (Adam Waldron 2010), but at the same time, what we are seeing nowadays is not legitimate and effective activism but rather the creation of a passive ‘slacktivist’ culture in which people would rather like a Facebook page than actually go out and try to make a difference. Micah White argued in The Guardian that ‘digital activists’ promoting ‘clicktivism’ are endangering the very ‘possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes’. This is something that I half agree with.

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The First thing we need to look at when examining the role of ‘digital activism’ is to look at the motives of those involved. When people support these causes are they doing it because they are legitimately concerned about the issue or are they doing to make themselves feel good about doing good. Maybe they want others to think their making a difference, or maybe they’re just pro-anti (supporting or going against something for the sake of supporting or going against it).

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The Next thing we need to look at is the level of impact ‘digital activism’ has. Is it really that effective? I mean yes, it gathers support for issues and yes it has the potential to generate mass awareness, but does it have the potential to generate actual change? Personally believe that yes it can, but at the same time I feel that no it doesn’t and this only because my personal experience with online activism has been witnessing a whole bunch of online communities discussing their concerns but doing nothing about them (This is called slacktivism). How does liking a page on Facebook or re-tweeting a link make a difference offline?

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Don’t get me wrong though, I do believe online activism has potential. Take the Occupy Wall Street protests for example, originally a protest encampment that started out with a few dozen students and unemployed university graduates. Within weeks it inspired thousands of New Yorkers to join, and spawned scores of similar protests around the country. (Click here for Source). And look at Kony 2012, that campaign literally took the world by storm, for a while it was everywhere; it was all everyone was talking about. There is no doubt that it raised awareness on a mass global scale and got thousands of people all over the world involved. However, I still am unsure of whether to call that campaign a success or not because I am still asking myself the question, what did it actually achieve. Other than inform people of an injustice, what political change did it make? and now a year later, no one is talking about it anymore, it seems to have just faded away without any real significance.

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In order for ‘clicktivist’ campaign to be successful I feel it needs to call people to action offline, not just gather support and awareness online, but I can’t deny that it’s a good start and I have no doubt that online activism could and will lead to some major social and political changes in the near future.

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There is a direct correlation between technology, convergence and the creation of a participatory culture and one of the major unifying elements of this correlation is the development of the remix.

What is a Remix?

A remix is where you take something and change it. It is using any element or aspect of a pre-existing thing and manipulating it in a way that creates something new entirely. Here is an example of a remix in which scenes from the Lord of The Rings have been manipulated to create music (Music was not the original intention of these scenes but through the use remixing something new has emerged).

What is the significance of a Remix?

When you remix something, you are essentially taking it and placing it in an entirely different context. By doing this, meaning is changed, which in turn allows us to create new ideas and concepts. So remixing becomes this way of expressing our own interpretations of a text. This makes remixing important because it becomes a tool that allows us to reconstruct something in such a way that its original ideological flow is completely challenged and its authority can be questioned. In turn our own ideologies can be expressed and something new can be created.

For example the authoritative power of Bill O’Reilly is put into question through the use of the remix below. It takes an event in which he lost control of his anger, and exemplifies his anger through repetition as well as places the entire situation into a satirical and comedic context through music. I don’t know about anyone else but to me this forces me to question the professionalism of O’Rielly and his creditability as a political presenter. This shows me the impotence of remixing as a tool of ideological expression and political persuasion.

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So what’s the correlation between Technology, Convergence, Consumer Participation and Remix Culture?

Remixing is a direct result of technology. As technology has advanced it has become easy for people to access a any text (let’s say music/sound for example purposes) at any given moment and download it at will. Technology also facilitates the manipulation of these texts and allows people to create new things with them. Then technology makes content sharing possible through convergence. This leads to the creation of a participatory culture in which people are no longer consuming things, they are becoming actively involved with and are producing them.

Take the Turn Table for example, originally a consumption device designed to play pre-set music. People started using it as a production device, in which they were able to manipulate tracks and remix them to create new sounds.

And that eventuated into this….

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A Long Time Ago in a Convergent Galaxy Far Far Away

So one day I was in Game Traders, casually minding my own business, trying to decide whether I wanted to buy either a Storm or Clone trooper bobble head. When suddenly I overheard a girl say to her friend “Omg they made The walking Dead into a comic now, that’s so cool”. Off course my instant reaction to this can best be described by the actions of this zombie

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But later it got me thinking. The Walking Dead (ORIGINALLY A COMIC) has branched out dramatically since its transformation into a hit HBO television series. Before the show existed the audience base for the franchise was limited only to the likes of comic book nerds and zombie enthusiasts alike. But now it has a vast array of audiences from all walks of life (excuse the pun) who have never necessarily even read a comic before or held an interest in zombies for that matter. How many people are out there who love the show but don’t even know about the comic, or who have never played the games?  This just surprises me that something so niche can become so main stream overnight, simply due to a little something called trans-media storytelling.

Trans-media story telling is the process where integral elements of fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience (Jenkins H 2007).

I feel that in order to explain this I am going to have to use my favourite example of all time Star Wars. Whenever I can’t understand something I always try and relate it to Star Wars. Sometimes I think it’s the only way I can really learn.

Picture Star Wars for a second and think about how much is known about the Star Wars universe that does not revolve around the movies. The characters, the histories, the back stories, the weapons, the planets, the cultures… it just goes on and on. The amount of detail known about the Star Wars universe is unbelievable, there are literally encyclopaedias filled with as much information about the Star Wars universe as there are encyclopaedias filled with information about our own universe.

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So the question is, If this information didn’t come from the movies, where did it come from? The answer Trans-Media Storytelling.

These details have come from the thousands of adaptations that have been created in order to further expand and continue the saga. Star wars is not just limited to the films, it has mutated across many media forms: novels, comics, games, spin off films, television series, toys… ect and with each one of these adaptations a new element has been added to the Star Wars Universe, creating this unified, coordinated, collective intelligence. For example the Aurebesh alphabet was originally a random piece of set dressing in Return of the Jedi. Stephen Crane copied those symbols and turned them into a complete and coherent alphabet, which can still be used today (if you are so inclined).

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After Star Wars was released, it became apparent that my story—however many films it took to tell—was only one of thousands that could be told about the characters who inhabit its galaxy. But these were not stories that I was destined to tell. Instead, they would spring from the imagination of other writers, inspired by the glimpse of a galaxy that Star Wars provided. Today, it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga.
George Lucas,

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