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The following article “Piracy: are we being conned?” by Asher Moses questions the legitimacy of the music industry and their claims that piracy is sending them broke.  (Read the article HERE).  It is definitely worth the read, as it seeks to question all of the traditional views we have of entertainment piracy!


Creative Commons Licensing provide a means for granting copyright permissions of intellectual property.  It allows for the retainment of traditional copyrights, whilst permitting non commercial entities to copy, distribute and make use of the permissions granted by the original creator.

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My addition of a CC Attribution Licence to my blog was made with a few specific considerations.  Firstly, I do not believe that the content contained in holds considerable, if any, commercial value.  I have no qualms with allowing others to distribute, remix, tweak, or even build upon my original work.  In fact, I congratulate them for it, as I personally do not find the content to be of much value to anything excepting my 2011 Net Communications subject at the University of Melbourne.  The requirement of author accreditation is enough recognition to adequately satisfy any indignation I have of the borrowing of my intellectual property.  Furthermore, this is the precise reason why I believe the Creative Commons licence to be relevant at all to this blog, for the single reason that the improvement of its content by others is encouraged by the original author!


The argument by Burgess and Green that ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” is a statement that I seek to contend with (Burgess & Green, 2009, 23).   For the purposes of this post, I am going to ignore the clichéd YouTube examples of Justin Bieber and other artists that have been so focused upon by my peers in writings gleamed from our subject readings. Instead, I shall draw parallels between such and Perez Hilton’s domination of Hollywood Gossip, which has expanded from the native system of mass media he created through his website, infiltrating other commercial media systems such as the Today Show and Australian Current Affairs Programs.

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Unlike many who attempt to break into the system of mass media, Perez Hilton has been able to expand from his original site Since 2004 he has utilised his “vernacular creativity” to create, which manages to garner over three hundred million hits per month from users seeking the latest Hollywood gossip (Burgess & Green, 2009, 25. See Also In doing so, he has become a correspondent for many commercial media outlets, thus creating a “commercialization of amateur content” that is so readily spoken about by my peers in relation to YouTube and Justin Bieber (Burgess & Green, 2009, 25).  Great parallels can be drawn between the two, as it directly proves the earlier introduced statement by Burgess and Green (2009, 23) incorrect.  Ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts can expand from the native system of celebrity in which they are originally controlled by.

Despite all of this, I do believe the idea that “amateurs are represented as individualistic, self expressive produces who are mainly interested in broadcasting themselves” presented by Burgess and Green (2009, 29) to be largely true.  When one observes Perez Hilton, his demeanor certainly seems to be reflective of such a concept.


Burgess, J. & J. Green (2009). ‘YouTube and the Mainstream Media’ pp. 15-37, in YouTube: Online and Participatory Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hilton, Perez.  Accessesd 21/05/2011

Below is an interesting commentary on blogging, citizenship and the future of media by Susan C. Herring, Lois Anne Scheidt, Inna Kouper and Elijah Wright. Titled  “A Longitudinal Content Analysis of Webblogs: 2003-2004”, it provides interesting insight into the bloggers as journalists and the future of such.

Check it out HERE.

Lovink argues:

“No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self” (Lovink & Geert, 28).

Personally, I agree with such a statement.  I agree because they contribute to the fabrication of celebrity that is “the answer to individualization of social inequality” by allowing bloggers to add structure and meaning to their own existence (Lovink & Geert, 29).  In other words, they generate a sense of importance for the creator, despite the interpretation by critics that they are simply the making of worthless noise (Lovink & Geert, 24).

From a relatively swift exploration of, one can see evidence of the concept that blogs are primarily used as a medium to manage the self.  A vast majority of the blogs contain the ramblings of droning everyday nothingness, with archives a plenty and comments a rarity. is a blog by a Kansas woman that has been active since 2007, albeit with only 177 profile views.  The blogger describes herself as “… a wife. I’m a momma. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister and an aunt. I’m a mother of two doxies. I’m a best friend. I like to be silly.”  Her blog posts are then further riddled with such simplistic references to the monotonies of mundane life, with a birthday wish list, daily food diary and a reflection on Mother’s Day counted as her recent postings. Such is reminiscent of a personal diary, and cannot simply be overlooked as a result of community or mob culture as the author seeks to overload her everyday problems into the realms of cyberspace.

Despite these posts and the frequency of their occurrence, the blatant lack of social interaction and blog comments must be noted through the site, and A Chick Named Chuck’s blog.  This is due to the fact that it further supports Lovink’s theory that no matter how much exploration there is of blogs as a community culture, they primarily exist as a tool to manage the self, without such interaction as contributing encouragement.  The idea that “blogging services offer the possibility to switch off comments” can certainly be seen throughout blogspot, and subsequent conclusions must be drawn that, in many cases, social interaction and community culture is not a motivator for people to blog.  This is further recognised through the blog  The decision by the author that “due to the fact that I have been constantly deleting comments from the comment section we will be removing the ability for non members to post comments” is directly reflective of the ideas put forward by Lovink and his discussions throughout “Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture”.  Therefore, one can only come to the conclusion that the basis for Lovink’s ideas was foundational, and that from the evidence seen through, blogs really are  a tool primarily used to manage the self.


Lovink, Geert,”Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse” in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, London: Routledge.

Through WordPress, Matt Mullenweg has established a database that is rigidly defined and categorised, yet creates a “continuous blogging experience within the browser” (Helmond, 2007, 52).  He has done so by essentially creating an interface to mask the database, a concept whereby such format creates a sense of ease and desirable lack of complexity for users.  Essentially, the everyday blogger needs not be aware of the technical components of the blog; the server, database, software or browser, nor the hypertext coding that ultimately defines the content, layout and presentation of such (Helmond, 2007, 44). Although contradictory of Tim Berners-Lee’s foundational idea that “the technology should be transparent, so we interact with it intuitively”, the above described complex nature of the World Wide Web would render its use unattainable to most.  It is for this reason that the simplicity of the WordPress interface allows users to contribute to, and extract information from the Internet with ease (Helmond, 2007, 54).

When a user uploads simple content to a blog on a single page or tab, “different parts of the database are filled with information” in complex hypertext code (Helmond, 2007, 54). Data is stored chronologically, on customized “themes” or displays that are chosen by the author.  However, the database maintains “rigidly defined categories” even within such themes and disallows for true manipulation of their own blog by users (Helmond, 2007, 59).  Therefore, despite allowing for the convenience of simple interaction through the uploading and extraction of content through WordPress, users are denied the opportunity to truly interact through the database of the site. They must conform to the predefined fields of the interface, therefore having a negative impact upon the agency of users.

Despite this, I do not believe that it would be in the best interests of WordPress to allow users to directly interact with the database.  For most, regardless of the restrictions in user agency, it is simply too complex.  However, the World Wide Web contains infinite opportunities for those who wish to and have the capabilities of such interaction, without the limitations of character controls and rigidly defined categories that is standard of WordPress.


Anne Helmond, (2007) ‘Software-Engine Relations’, in Blogging for Engines: Blogs Under the Influence of Software-Engine Relations, MA Thesis, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, pp.44-80.

van Dijck J 2009, ‘Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content’, Media, Culture and Society, vol 31, pp. 41-58


Ishii H 2008, ‘The Tangible User Interface and its Evolution’, Communications of the ACM, vol. 51, no. 6, viewed 9/05/2011, EBSCOhost, Computers & Applied Sciences Complete.


Anne Helmond, (2007) ‘Software-Engine Relations’, in Blogging for Engines: Blogs Under the Influence of Software-Engine Relations, MA Thesis, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, pp.44-80

Mark Zuckerberg’s Comment on Sharing.  Start at 0:26 – Stop at 0:39.

Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on  the sharing of information in the above YouTube clip can be compared to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices.

The text “Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture” questions the superiority of elite media in comparison to bloggers as effective informants to the public.  Russell (et al, 2008, 67) examines the editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit based popularity of bloggers and contrasts this to the “professional codes” that symbolise the “credibility” within professional media institutions.  These institutions have shyly embraced the technological phenomenon that has enabled the exponential expansion of “peer produced and distributed information” that is so readily available through blogs, creating a sense of participation for the user that is much more structured and disallowing of the true interaction and contribution that blogs permit (Russell et al, 2008, 67).

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Despite the aforementioned advantages of the networked culture of blogging, I sanction the traditional, professional media institutions.  Like many, I find the reliability of such to be appealing due to their dependable stream of current information and trustworthy resources that result from a certain amount of “organizational and political clout” (Russell et al, 2008, 68).  Such is largely unattainable by individual editorials such as that of blogs, particularly when dealing with international or political issues.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the convenience and accessibility of online media, regularly using The Age or Sydney Morning Herald’s online editorials to keep up to date with news and current affairs.  I do not find the “lean-in” design of such websites offensive, although realise that such is aimed at coaxing readers “to read and click and keep clicking and dig deeper into the site” (Russel et al, 2008, 68).  Although the authoritarian nature of such a layout can encourage reader ignorance, I merely find it to be purposeful and a reflection of the certainty of the delivered information.

However, as introduced by Russell (et al, 2008, 67), the rarity of hostile or opposing reader comments directed at elite media often prompts me to frequent online blogs that stimulate debate when I seek to elicit interpretation free from mainstream media manipulation.   Topix provides a classic example of such, enabling readers to gain a thorough understanding of the issue at hand without concerns of political interests or other biases that are often subtlety presented in elite media.   “Continually updated from thousands of sources across the net”, Topix allows for reader participation and commentary that is not moderated or censored for purposes of political agenda, as is typical of many elite media institutions.  This freedom of speech, despite being in a virtual world, is precisely why it is so popular, as “turning passive news into active dialogue” creates discussion and contest that is otherwise suppressed.


 Adrienne Russell, Mizuko ito, Todd Richmond and Marc Tuters, (2008) Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture”, in Kazyz Varnelis (ed.) Networked Publics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp43-76.

José van Dijck’s argues that ranking tactics, specifically thorough the example of YouTube, impact upon the formation of online ‘communities’ (van Dijck, 2009, 45). He introduces the idea that the site’s promotion of popular favourites through specific “coded mechanisms” results in greater “inclination of users to belong” to virtual communities such as this (van Dijck, 2009, 45). Despite the susceptibility of such systems to manipulation by participants and produsers, ranking tactics allows for the control of communal preferences that subsequently bind individuals into a shared social group, or community (van Dijck, 2009, 45). In turn, this encourages increases in participation through the promotion or discouragement of content seen in the form of feedback, further tying the participant to the YouTube community.

As a regular participant of YouTube, I can endorse van Dijck’s argument that ranking tactics influence the development of online communities. I tend to frequent uploaded videos that contain high view counts, joining the majority of the YouTube community in satisfying my entertainment preferences. Such a ranking tactic has resulted in the birth of viral superstars, whereby external media platforms further expose those who have profound view counts until such have become, in many cases, a household name. For Keenan Cahill, this was certainly the case. His debatably hysterical voiceovers of popular pop music flung him into the public spotlight after his clips started to exceed multimillion view counts. The YouTube community began to follow his success as participants followed the lead of their virtual peers and viewed his successive videos until his popularity exceeded that of the online population. He has now featured on American MTV and Chelsea Lately, becoming a communal preference for many entertainment communities outside of that of the YouTube community.

However, it is not simply view count ratings that affect the online YouTube community. Participation through feedback has a dramatic impact upon the success, or lack of such, of a YouTube video. Both negative and positive reviews can serve to bind a community by creating further engagement through criticism, commendation or debate. Without such, the concept of the online YouTube community would be void, as the interaction that is so vital between individuals to create such a society would cease to exist. It is therefore fundamentally import to maintain systems that allow for ranking tactics in order to preserve the notion of the online community.


José van Dijck, (2009) “Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content” in “Media, Culture and Society” No 31, pp41-58.

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