“We had it good”

My Dad recalls his early memories of the television, growing up in 1960s Scotland.

The scenes on the television were a far cry from the reality that greeted my Dad outside his window. In 1968, Mexico hosted the summer Olympics – my Dad recalls waking up early to watch the events, “it was always sunny”. This resonated with me, knowing that his childhood in Scotland was often cold and bleak. My Dad, not yet a teenager then, used the television as a form of escapism, running into the living room to watch the athletes compete under a blazing sun which was all too foreign in the place he grew up in.

Technology today grants us myriad entry points to discovering new information – for example, if we wanted to know what the weather was like in Mexico we’d simply use our iPhone app or Google it. However, for my Dad, Television was the portal to a whole new world, unimaginable sights brought right into his family living room.

A smug grin washes over his face as he tells me of when the family bought a Philips TV; “It even had push-buttons…we had it good”. Feeling proud of his accomplishment, he adds, “I also found out you could tune those buttons manually”. Qualifying as a mechanic in the late Seventies, his early memories of tinkering around with the television tuners contributed to my perception of him as a young man.

Right up until his late teens, when technology granted portable televisions, Dad reminisces that watching television was a communal, family event with everyone enjoying the evening programs together. Shows like Bugs Bunny, Walt Disney classics and Z-Cars are among some of his earliest memories. I prompted Dad to think of when it was that the television, for him, started to be seen less as a tool in orchestrating ‘family time’. And, like me, that began when he became old enough to come and go from the house as he pleased; he recalled coming home from nights out to his Mother and Father watching programs, where he would sit and talk with them for a while and then go to bed. This is extremely similar to our household today, when we often play catch-up on each others days when everyone gets home, sitting around the TV with a tea.

I asked him when it was that having two or more televisions in a household became commonplace. Today, having a television in every room isn’t thought twice about, but back in the 60s and 70s when television started to grow exponentially, a new TV was only purchased after the old one died. My parents adopted this behavior well into my childhood– I remember having only one TV growing up, being left behind as all the cool kids got shiny silver flat-screens whilst our boring, black Panasonic sat inside its clunky cabinet (with convenient doors that hid it away from sight).

– Orcadia 🙂

flux (n) – continuous change, passage or movement.

Lots has happened since the beginning of time. Dinosaurs have roamed, civilizations have thrived and subsequently collapsed; all the while, people carry on with their daily business. I’ve lived for 19 years, a very brief moment in the grand scheme of things. But up until now, my life has been in a constant state of flux. Things change, people come in and out of your life, but most interesting (to this blog anyway) is the numerous jobs that I’ve had.
When I was 15 I got my first job at a local egg farm (think Napoleon Dynamite but worse) – I sorted through eggs that were spat from the barns onto a conveyer belt and much to my Mum’s dismay, would come home smelling worse than the household bin. Have I painted a picture yet?

After my brief stint in the poultry industry I became involved in volunteer work through the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, helping out at the Appin Historical Society , mainly doing admin and design work for a few hours a week. Then I finished high school and moved out of the area, quickly falling into a job at a kiosk by the beach. I still work there, as well as a few clubs and bars around town – all the while trying to overcome my deep-rooted fear of chickens 😐

My point here isn’t to keep you up to speed with my resume credentials, but to show that just as Mark Deuze explains in ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work’, “…careers are a sequence of stepping stones through life, where workers as individuals and organizations as collectives do not commit to each other for much more than the short-term goal, the project at hand, the talent needed now.”  It’s this constant employment uncertainty that Zygmunt Bauman has coined ‘liquid life’ (Bauman Z, 2005). So, my life exhibits liquidity and flux perfectly up until now, but when will it end? Can we all expect our careers to span through a continual state of flux and impermanence?

– Orcadia 🙂

Sources:

– Bauman, Z (2005), Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, 2nd edition. London: Open University Press.

Old Media: ‘No really, I’m fine.’

The internet has undoubtedly changed the way we interact socially, broadcast ourselves professionally and is [arguably] taking over traditional media outlets. Making my way home on the train today I was handed a copy of mX (a free publication that I wish I had appreciated far sooner than now), which featured articles that continually peaked my interest. I knew my deadline for this blog-post was looming so kept my eye out for stories of interest – unfortunately I didn’t strike gold with a story on how to publish a whirlwind blog BUT, i did notice that many of the articles discussed new forms of media – a hot topic for someone studying digital media & communication! #woo

photo-7

A quick collage of today’s stories in mX covering or utilizing new media.

In a world where slander of the ‘new-technology’ takeover is commonplace, I had never realised that old media (for example this newspaper) is not only still thriving, but also using new media forms as the basis for its popular stories and segments. Some of the stories discussed new media forms and surrounding issues, such as Melissa Archer’s page. 5’s article on the legal implications of the misuse of twitter and social media.

“We’re all publishers now and subject to the same laws as media”, author and Journalism professor Mark Pearson said, which made me think more about how the internet has revolutionized the way we, as humans, live. The internet itself was initially introduced as a form of communication; one that could not be damaged or removed by attack – and from the internet stemmed social media. We are all now publishers of our own content, responsible for what we say and do online.

So it seems that old media, feeling threatened by the cultural blessing we call ‘the internet’, has used it to their advantage. With fixtures informing people of what great tumblr’s to follow and the latest trends on YouTube, newspapers and magazines have tapped into the needs [internet] and wants [more internet] of society.

– Orcadia 🙂

Here’s a shilling to go down to the pictures!

This week I asked my Mum to recall a specific time she went to the cinema. As she was giving me her answers (some of which were surprisingly specific), I thought to myself how much has changed in terms of cinema within our culture. Today, going to see a movie is pretty much a non-event. Let’s face it – most of us do it when there’s simply nothing else to do. So when my mum recalled details of her 8-year old self’s movie experience, I enjoyed the nostalgia.

Mum grew up in northern Scotland in a small fishing village. It might just be a generational thing, but the details she recalled were very simple. I don’t think this was just a recounting technique; rather, that’s actually how life was in 1967 – simple.  Kids weren’t spoiled for choice and safety wasn’t so heavily ingrained in their minds.

She laughed when I asked how they [my mum and her younger sister] decided on what film to see. She explained that “back in her day” no one had to decide on what film to see – cinemas would run one movie for about 2 weeks at a time. So, as opposed to our generation, flooded with the choice of at least a dozen showing movies, back then it was as easy as getting a shilling from your Uncle and skipping down Kinnedar Street to see The Jungle Book.

220px-Thejunglebook_movieposter

My early memories of cinema differ greatly from my Mum’s. Growing up in western Sydney suburbia, safety was paramount. In the space of 40 years, kids were taken to the cinema by their parents or dropped at the front door at the very least. So, perhaps disappointingly for research value, my Mum’s experiences are pretty similar to the stereotypes of her generation – #safe, #happy, #simple.

 

– Orcadia 🙂

Are you really who you say you are?

A high school friend of mine (lets call her Mini) once quipped, “Don’t you know who I am on the Internet?” It was a pretty funny one liner to a group of girls in year 11 (she was really into blogging) – and it became a running joke slash comeback for a while there. I hadn’t really thought too much about Mini until I started studying Communication and Media, and it struck me that my friend, a well-liked, witty but often withdrawn girl, had an online personality that none of us really knew anything about. A few times she mentioned that she had heaps of ‘followers’ and I had a peak at her tumb1r once but wasn’t really into anything more than Facebook back then.

After reading Lessig, I started to wonder what online persona Mini had created and how true it was to her real life character. I’ve come to learn that becoming someone completely different is far too easy when you take a stroll in Cyberspace.

Lessig’s, ‘Four Puzzles From Cyberspace’, explores various issues that surround the online community that is cyberspace. Broadly defined here as a realm that encompasses all electronic interaction, it can also be said that Cyberspace is a place that exists only notionally (it’s not physical) however, it can easily become a secondary reality for users. People utilise cyberspace to create avatars via their online games or social media, providing them with an alternate reality; a place where they are not restricted by their physical appearance, or how people in their ‘real’ lives perceive them. It is essentially an escape.

Lessig explores in the story, “Jake’s Communities”, anonymity and how far-reaching cyberspace is in terms of its audience and participants.

Jake utilized the Internet to publish stories of unthinkable horror – rape, torture etc. – but no charges eventuated due to U.S. citizens being protected by the First Amendment.

The point I’m trying to make is, frequently people use cyberspace to express a part of their life that wouldn’t be accepted by others in the real world.

I’m not saying that Mini was an anonymous online publisher of illicit content but this point certainly applies to the likes of Jake, who used anonymity for all the wrong reasons.

**For your enjoyment: The clip below shows the first meeting between a couple who met online 😉 #cyberlove

Time and a place..

A constant obstacle I face in my everyday life is what to do if I forget my headphones. A 20minute train trip without music is frustrating – yes – but something I eventually bring myself to accept. Under no circumstances though, would I ever become one of “those people”. Those people. The ones that blatantly play music though the loudspeaker on their phones, appropriately dubbed ‘Sodcasting’  by UrbanDictionary.com. (soz but I didn’t really feel like being bombarded by Miley Cyrus on my way to uni)

“Sodcaster’s” we’ll call them, are a group of people with quite a large hate-base, as seen here  in a Facebook page dedicated to hating on the offensive public act. The page’s 1400 ‘likers’ suggests that mine is not an isolated issue.

Whilst trains in general are public spaces, the individual’s exposed to other people’s loud media reserve their own separate sphere. And it is generally socially accepted that we do not disturb the space of others. With media constantly connecting people and making sharing so easy, it is understandable that the youth of today (especially Sodcaters) find it hard to distinguish the line between public and private space.

Sian Lincoln discusses in her book, ‘Youth Culture and Private Space’, that social media is fast becoming an extension of individuals private space. This makes it hard to discern what constitutes a private space from a public one, with the methods of sharing things of importance being very publicly dispersed (i.e. social media like Facebook and twitter).

Public and private spaces are no longer separate entities. Sharing is bigger than ever thanks to technologies limitless potential and with that, lines become blurred and social norms are sometimes disregarded.

 

– Orcadia 🙂

Networks

“…technology does not determine society. But we also know that without specific technologies some social structures could not develop.” (Castells, 2004)

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that without my phone I feel a little naked. On the off chance that my iPhone runs out of battery I immediately feel out of touch and at a loss. Part of the reason I feel this anxiety is due to the immediacy and ease at which I can send and receive information. Back way back when, it wasn’t a nuisance for people to walk to the corner and use the pay-phone, or to find out celebrity gossip the next day in the newspaper rather than immediately via twitter. Not today though! Internet networks have revolutionized the spread of information, making it far more widespread and easily accessible.

Our society relies heavily on smart phones and computers to do all the work for us, replacing our inherent ability to hunt and gather [information] for ourselves. No longer a static process, networks (especially in regards to the internet as a network) make information more accessible to the media audience.

– Orcadia 🙂

Source:

Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224)