A transformation is evident in today’s modality of communication and function of information. A more distributed media model has been adopted since the rise of the internet which allows the ability for the newly proclaimed ‘prosumer‘ (that’s us) to create content and to publish that content on a global platform, for free. The notion of legacy media, which is packaged accordingly to the assembly line model of commodity production and distribution has begun to fade, turning the once passive audience into an active one.
This instigates the concept of ‘Citizen Journalism’, which is when private individuals do what professional reporters do; collect, report and analyze content. We ultimately have media sharing circuits at the touch of a finger and can easily distribute content becoming the driven force between the audience and event. We are all Gatewatchers, where filtering, a strong vector of control and the idea of ‘content as a product’ is gone.
Social media can be recognized as a catalyst in this new form of content aggregation and many-to-many distribution system. Users interact to the information being shared, which provides us immediate gratification through a short feedback loop where each and every node participates. An example can be highlighted by the role of Reddit during the recent tragedy of the Boston Bombings, where the use of this platform was able to circulate information quick and efficiently before major legacy input was evident.
A crucial decision in today’s technological advancing world is whether one chooses to side with Apple or Android. This decision alters the ways in which a person operates, regarding their mobile devices and the desired content to which they wish to consume and produce. The functionality of each company differ through Apple’s ‘closed source‘ iOS system, whereby Google’s Android setup presents itself as an ‘open source‘ platform.
Apple’s ‘Locked Appliances’ are those that are restricted and firmly controlled by the manufacturer, they are tethered to a closed ecosystem whereby the device, content and users are limited. This is clearly displayed through it’s application store outlined by Jonathon Zittrain ” the App Store has a catch: app developers and their software must be approved by Apple. If Apple does not like the app, for any reason, it is gone.”
Through the the different business models, consumers are now faced with the implications inside the future of the mobile net. The spectrum presents freedom and comfort on each side, where a generative notion is condemned or encouraged. “When you buy an iPhone, you’re not simply buying a piece of hardware, but actually a package deal that includes software, hardware, and a wireless contract.”
We’re in the middle of an ongoing battle for power within cyberspace. Here, a legacy driven content model exists on one end of the spectrum and on the other, distributed and nimble niches of information aggregation stand. We as users of this medium, can recognise the restrictions and surveillance within this environment and addresses the notion of a ‘walled garden‘; where a control network surrounds the user’s access to the internet content and services.
This Prezi presentation delves into the ‘Feudalism‘ and the feudal relationship between corporations, audiences and technology. This medieval notion of built social relations has transferred and evolved through time, adapting itself to the way we now function online. An authoritarian figure is now prevalent in many aspects of information consumption and production, case studies are depicted within my remediation of this weeks topic, with their adoption of power and the ways they curate only desired content and utility. This concept juxtaposes the qualities and functions of the internet where it has affected the overall integrity and interactivity of this ‘free’ space.
Distributed information networks are home to aggregators, that do not operate in catering to the legacy hit-driven model, but rather to the market of one, with in-built abundance and a line of niche content. The ‘Long Tail‘ effect refers to this notion of transit from passive scarcity to now an infinite extension of information generated by ‘produsers’. As we use platforms the side effects of our usage, improve the quality and value of the platform for us. Therefore it becomes a self-enforcing loop of information and function.
Aggregation of content therefore impacts the element of space, the decline in popularity to visit physical stores such as Blockbuster is due to “the rise of Netflix Inc.’s DVD-by-mail service, followed by the introduction of a subscription service that streams video over high-speed internet connections.” Unlike these distributors, who obtain their content which influenced by area, offline populations and legacy media. The 80% of niches found in the Long Tail can be focused upon by corporations such as Netflix and Amazon.
So now that content in all forms is free or worth virtually nothing, has it lost all worth? The attention of the consumer today is an integral factor that brings value to the platform being used. ‘Attention’ acts as commodity in this virtual shift, what we as audiences and producers consume and engage with heavily affects what is now profitable and available.
News Limted 2013, Blockbuster stores to close in US, date accessed: 25 August 2016, http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/blockbuster-stores-to-close-in-us/story-fnda1bsz-1226754926536.
The decentralization of network and nodes birthed the notion of ‘liquid labour’, this idea of information flow transcends the characteristics of production, unrestrained by borders and made forever available. The ways in which we as humans have adapted to this paradigm shift has morphed us into Peter Drucker’s idea of the ‘Knowledge Worker’ defined as “when people would generate value with their minds more than with their muscle”.
We are now described as a system that is in Gregg’s view, “Always On”, therefore affecting the environments that we could find ourselves employed in, for example blending the office with the home. Workers have to be constantly available within the network to increase their value within its setting. Gillett raises insights and concerns about the work ethic within the home. Productivity is questioned whether it is strong enough to withstand distractions and habits, the recognition of a divide must be clear in regards of “work life” and “home life”.
No matter where we are located there is an essence of liquefied application to space and time. We are continuously contributing to the flow of content; being reformatted into nodes where not a singular place is stimulated, our presence bleeds in terms of network and information elsewhere.
Cyberspace can be defined as:
“A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…” – William Gibson, 1984
The evolution of the new communicative and technological paradigm birthed a concept possible only through digital distribution and networks. Coined by William Gibson, Cyberpunk, developed a perspective that affected the way we as user-generated nodes apply ourselves to mediums and content. This podcast aims to explore Cyberpunk in our present age, finding links between it’s culture and ours. Could this ecosystem, a universal bio-electronic environment inhabited by knowledge, be a reality?