Love Wins! But not for Australia- Part 2

The major problem with the Love Wins Same Sex Marriage Campaign is the way the issue is presented by Australian media. The inequality in the media is clear when contrasted with the American Love Wins campaign of June, 2015. Australian media depicts this campaign as a political concern rather than a human rights concern. Australian press is saturated with coverage on upcoming political legislation, with less focus on the social aspect.

This prominent lack of legislation in Australia has developed inequalities in the media. The topic of an Australian plebiscite on same sex marriage overpowers the overriding issues of injustice and inequality for LGBTQ people. According to Altman (2016), the plebiscite is a bad idea for a number of reasons. It is wasteful, unnecessary and divisive. Michael Kirby, former High Court justice, has pointed out that other social issues have not been voted on in a plebiscite, such as abolishing the White Australia Policy, advancing women’s rights and disability issues. “Why are we now picking out the LGBT, the gay community? It is simply an instance of hate, of dislike, hostility to a small minority in our population, its un-Australian.” (Patel 2016).

The best solution to this media inequality is for the Australian media to emphasise the social concern of LGBTQ injustice. The primary solution is to shift the focus towards the LGBTQ individuals that are involved in the Love Wins Same Sex Marriage Campaign, and away from political debate. This proposed spin could be implemented through the use of more relevant sources, eliminating politicians as a mouth piece for the imperative discussion on LGBTQ human rights. The people involved in Australian legislation have obvious bias and most, a political agenda. This media inequality could also be improved in Australia through a more present focus on the #LoveWins viral campaign. This would promote the social issue and support of the Australian public, and thus outweigh political details that saturate the current mediasphere.

 

References:

Altman, D 2016, ‘Fear and loathing reigns in Safe Schools and same-sex marriage debates’, The Conversation <https://theconversation.com/fear-and-loathing-reigns-in-safe-schools-and-same-sex-marriage-debates-56347>

Henshaw, A 2015, ‘How do individuals shape their views on same-sex rights?’, The Conversation <https://theconversation.com/how-do-individuals-shape-their-views-on-same-sex-rights-42931>

Patel, Uma 2016, ‘Same-sex marriage plebiscite ‘alien to constitutional tradition’, says former high Court justice Michael Kirby, ABC News <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-22/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-dangerous-precedent:-michael-kirby/7771940>

Image via: The Conversation

Love Wins! But Not for Australia

This case study focuses on the American Love Wins Campaign of June 2015 and the subsequent effects of this legislative campaign on Australia. The Love Wins or #LoveWins campaign describes the movement of Same Sex marriage becoming legal in The United States of America. The US historically joined the number of countries that allow same-sex marriage on June the 26th, 2015. #LoveWins became a viral hashtag online, and a way for people to share their happiness and support as well as a way to create awareness amongst their own and other countries.

While America has enacted this law for over a year now, Australia still remains undecided towards marriage equality legislation. Prior to the federal election in Australia in July 2016, ‘Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised to allow a nationwide vote on marriage equality’ (plebiscite) (HRC 2016).

According to News.com.au, on the 10th of August, 2016, The state of Tasmania and ACT have shown their support towards same sex marriage legislation. The ACT’s Legislative Assembly called for the planned plebiscite on the issue to be axed and the matter to be voted on in Parliament instead. Despite the Australian Capital Territory’s and Tasmania’s votes, marriage equality is no closer and can only be legislated by MPs in Canberra regardless of any future plebiscite (2016).

It is parliament’s responsibility and within parliament’s power to legislate on marriage. The plebiscite will therefore be an unnecessary and costly vote, with potentially damaging consequences for many Australians. It has, nevertheless, been promised. The plebiscite is unnecessary and it may well prove divisive, according to The Conversation (2016).

References:

Brook, B. 2016, Tasmania and ACT back moves for marriage equality. News.com.au, <http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/tasmania-and-act-back-moves-for-marriage-equality/news-story/d9fed4a90804f24b21ede179ea8398bb>

Fowler, A. 2016, Australian Election Results Raise Questions About Next Steps for Marriage Equality. HRC, <http://www.hrc.org/blog/australian-election-results-raise-questions-about-next-steps-for-marriage-e>

Goss, R. 2016, If Australia is going to have a plebiscite on marriage equality, how should it work?. The Conversation, <http://theconversation.com/if-australia-is-going-to-have-a-plebiscite-on-marriage-equality-how-should-it-work-63098>

Waitt, G. 2015. I Do? On geography, marriage and love in Australia. Australian Geographer, 46(4), pp.429-436.

Image via: Wikipedia

Poverty Porn or Powerful?

After viewing SBS’s difficult to watch documentary, Struggle Street, I thought about the ethics of broadcasting others in their worst moments.

Struggle Street highlights the difficulty of day to day life for Australian families in public housing. The show, after its debut in early 2015, sparked outrage amongst the Mt.Druitt community. The area has very high rates of unemployment and is significantly disadvantaged. “The subjects of the television program say they were told the show would look at both the positives and negatives in their lives, including the challenges many faced and how some had overcome them.

The mayor of the council representing Mr Druitt says the program only exposes their worst moments on national television.” (ABC, 2015). Many Mt. Druitt community leaders were hurt by the provocative promo. Stephen Bali called for SBS to immediately pull the series from the air so it can be viewed by the people depicted in it, and contacted [former] Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene. The call came after Mr Turnbull alerted the broadcaster’s managing director to comments on Twitter from then-SBS journalist Scott McIntyre. Mr McIntyre was later sacked (SMH, 2015).

The shows finale especially, as shown in the YouTube clip above, sparked debate, evoked emotion and resonated with the community long after the filming had ended. Media coverage of the resident, Billy Jo, who was filmed doing drugs while in her last trimester of labour, carried on much longer than Billy Jo and her family would have liked.

 

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(Credit: Mamamia)

Sue Sontag explores the topic of the suffering of others, stating that “the gruesome invites us to be either spectators or cowards, unable to look”. Some say that if you are neutral when viewing someone or something, then you are on the side of what has harmed them, to which Sue says, “So far as we feel sympathy, we feel we are not accomplices to what caused the suffering. Our sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence.”

 

What do you think about the use of media to highlight these issues?

Do they evoke a particular response from the viewer?

What was SBS trying to provoke with the airing of this controversial and highly debated documentary?

 

The show provides an unfiltered glimpse into a world that most of Australia isn’t exposed to and humanises a community that is often not heard or understood by others. As Sydney Morning Herald puts it “No one chooses to be born into disadvantage, yet Australians who’ve been kicked in the arse by a rainbow because of the privilege of their upbringing are only too happy to judge, condemn or simply ignore those not as fortunate. Struggle Street makes us take notice. It is a living, breathing study in how the flapping butterfly wings of government policy become hurricanes in the lives of the neediest Australians; how drug laws and legislation to trim pensions or change eligibility for health and disability services can tip people off the edge of society’s map. Once you’re off, it’s very hard to find your way back.”

I’m sure this SBS documentary put many people’s lives into perspectives, and made them feel grateful for what they were born into, how great their upbringing was and what they have now. But are these people just contributing to the suffering by only spectating and not doing anything to help these communities of Australia?

Constructive Criticism Welcome

“Posting or exchanging selfies is often dismissed as frivolous and self-absorbed, but the relationship between subjectivity, practice and social use of those images seems to be more complex than this dismissal allows.” (Tiidenberg and Go ́mez Cruz)

On the web platform, Reddit, many individuals discuss and share on different topics and issues. As i’m sure you’re aware, there are many self portraits or “selfies” that frequent the pages of many subreddits. These posts are often accompanied by the phrase CCW or ‘Constructive Criticism Welcome’, the most popular being the American subreddit MakeupAddiction. A common post has this format (credit: redditor sugar_sphinx) and asks other redditors to assess their makeup skills or how well they have achieved a certain look or trend, to which other users comment on ways they can improve or things they could do without.

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(credit: someecards)

At what point does this element of Image bleed into our understanding of Identity?

Perhaps people post on these subreddits to receive praise and self-gratification and for their post to be upvoted, gaining Reddit Karma (reflecting how much good the user has done for the reddit community). Or maybe users just genuinely would like to improve and are seeking the knowledge to better improve their look, change how they are seen in other’s eyes, and benefit from the use of this web platform. Honestly, I think it varies depending on who is posting.

I find that reddit has helped to improve my life in a few aspects. Since joining the platform 2 years ago, I am now more actively informed on makeup and skincare routine, rules and guideline to follow, and constantly learn from the mistakes of uninformed others. I feel this has not entirely altered my Identity, but has just made me a more knowledgable redditor and person in real life (offline). Thus, I find that my online behaviour somewhat impacts my offline behaviour, and I find myself referring to and referring my friends to online posts and discussions on Reddit.

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(credit: rage comics)

Subreddits such as Change My View also challenge individuals perceptions on certain issues and topics. I feel that overall, the platform of Reddit can slowly change your views on many important issues and inform you for the better. I feel that this platform can alter an individuals’ Identity, although the extent of this is determined solely by each individual. Some take rules and guidelines as their holy grails, following them strictly, and many users refer to how Reddit has completely changed every aspect of their life since they were first active on the site.

My Digital Storytelling Project Reflection

The locative nature of checking in on social media platforms and what this signals about someone is what is at stake in my digital storytelling project. I decided to discuss Location Based Media (LBM), which are “digital media applied to real places and thus triggering real social interactions.” Place and locative media demonstrates an “intense focus on mobility as a crucial element of intense investment being given to spatial positioning, and location technologies” (Crawford and Goggin, 2009). I have attempted to present this concept in my YouTube video story that features my family friend Nicole Lennon, who has over 700 check ins at places and spaces on Facebook.

“Location became a feature [on Facebook], not a focus.” (Tech Crunch, 2013) For many of us, check ins are just another feature such as tagging a friend in a photo or status, but for more and more social media platform users it is a way to connect with others and show where you are and start a conversation about that space. “the use of technology in everyday navigation of the world can both deepen understanding of place and reduce place to commodity. The direction of this is a function of the mood of the user, rather than the technology itself.” (Evans, 2015)

Nicole discusses in the video how location services can be used to keep in contact with people on Facebook in a fun way while still staying professional online. I tried to explore this concept in my project and found a myriad of supporting evidence, “the most interesting kind of proximity is the digital proximity that allows people to keep in touch virtually without having to be co-located most of the time. Location is a feature of friendship, communication is the focus.” (Tech Crunch, 2013). The article I have quoted discusses proximity in a virtual world and supports the idea that “place has become less about our origins and more about forming connections with the many sites in our lives” (McCullough, 2006)

I chose to create a video with audio and images that Nicole has shared with a location tag, as her images support what she thinks these updates signal about her, and how media practices are spatial in nature. “in late modernity, we are oriented to understand the world (and those things in that “world,” which would of course include places) as a realm of resources to be used in the achieving of human aims.” (Crawford and Goggin, 2009). These resources are becoming increasingly more convenient for all age groups, and can serve a multitude of purposes. What do you think sharing your location online signals about you? The physical implementation of location media is not tied down to the same place that the content refers to. (Pie, 2010)

Does sharing your location often mean that you are always out and on the go? Does sharing less make you less connected to people you communicate with already? Or does it mean you only share the positive and social moments? Nicole explores these questions in the video, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is conveyed through location based media.

Working in tandem with another person on this level for the project was a fairly new experience, but using collaborative ethnography proved to be a smooth process. I played with the idea of “the death of the author” and decided not to include myself asking questions in the interview, as I am not the only voice and my intention for the video does not matter. The aim of this piece is to have the audience question themselves and what location based media creates in relation to physical and virtual space.

References:
Crawford, A. & Goggin, G. 2009, “Geomobile web: Locative technologies and mobile media”, Australian Journal of Communication,vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 97-109.

Evans, L., 2015. Locative Social Media: Place in the Digital Age, Palgrave Macmillan.

Lomas, N. (2013). Stop Trying To Make Proximity-Based Social Networking Happen. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/23/location-vs-communication/

McCullough, M. (2006). On the Urbanism of Locative Media [Media and the City]. Places, [online] 18(2). Available at: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/84x6m3nf

Pie, (2010). Location based Media. [online] Available at: https://pieonedotzero.wordpress.com/location-based-media

Locative Social Media

For my final Digital Research Project and reflective report, I will be focusing on the topic of locative Social Media and sharing location with locative Social Media. This project will focus on how checking in “affects users’ experience of place” and demonstrate “a deep understanding of place as a meaningful existential locale.” (Evans, 2015)

I am going to attempt to interview someone who regularly updates their location status or “checks in” on Facebook. I am still uncertain on which platform to display my project on, these choices include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Which platform do you think I should use for my digital story?
Below are some links I found useful to this topic.

1. Tech Crunch- Stop trying to make proximity- based social networking happen
2. CRN- 8 Cool location- based social networks
3. On the Urbanism of allocative Media
4. Geomobile web: Locative tech and mobile media
6. The convergence of locative media and online participatory culture
7. Locative Social Media by Leighton Evans

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A Great Title

It’s time to reflect on all of the blog posts that i’ve drafted, written and submitted. It is also time to commemorate the blog posts that were scrapped and put to the trash can, may they rest in cyber-peace.hqdefault

(Image via YouTube)

I’d like to think i’ve come a long way since starting at UOW and enrolling into my first class of BCM110. I had no idea what a RSS Feed was, let alone the entire medium of WordPress. I’ve gradually become more comfortable in the realm of public blogging on this website as well as the idea of expressing my writing and sharing it with others. Through my blog posts over 2 years and 6 Communication and Media related subjects, I have attempted to engage my audience through twitter. I love to read things with lots of images and evidence to support the context, as well as including humour and utilising a relatable tone, as you can probably already tell.

Many students make the mistake of thinking they are a professional straight away, but it’s not about content, it’s all about the quality of you work. Is your post even relevant? Make sure you know where you’re going. This Fractus Learning article lists 6 Tips for Quality Student Blogging, with the first of course being a great title for your witty posts, I have demonstrated this tip through the title of the post you are reading now.

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(Image via papidaddy)

A major (and in my opinion, the hardest) obstacle is where to start with your blog post- what do you need to write about? Who is Henry Jenkins?!?! What is going on? There is a myriad of articles on how to overcome this block. Of course you can post verbatim information about your subjects and their topics, but how do you make your blog post stand out? There’s a lot more to consider than you think, such as your theme, text type, widgets, recent comments, images and hyperlinks. Once you get started, you’re on a roll.

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Weekly writing may seem impossible and annoying at first, but if you think about it, it keeps you on track and helps further your knowledge on current topics. Research in any form can help in the development of new thoughts and ideas, and I have found this to be true with writing a blog that people read publicly and not just a virtual submission to a tutor/teacher.

When you blog, you know that others will read what you have written. That means that you write with an awareness of the possibility that others may disagree with what you have written. Steven Johnson is an author who’s found he became twice as productive as a professional writer after he started blogging as well. Blogging, Johnson wrote in his blog, is “an intellectual version of going to the gym”. – Jill Walker Rettberg, University of Bergen

Blogs help for students to gain confidence and also practice their writing skills outside the classroom. My writing style is quite colloquial- which I have adapted from a very stiff and formal approach.

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(Images 3 and 4 via Giphy)

In summation, I have found much of the research related to student blogging and students learning through blogging to be true. Blogging and using research in these blog posts forms as an amazing support for academic writing and content creation, both vital skill for university students. Public writing over the last 2 years has increased my repertoire and knowledge on real world issues revolving around Communication and Media studies. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far, and hope you have too.