Reflections

13 May
Blogging can be fun.
It provides a medium for one to type out one’s thoughts and to publish them.
I’ve enjoyed blogging and there are so many things that I could blog about.
It was rather tough in the beginning though, as I’ve quite lost touch with how to blog and how to customize my blog. It’s been years since I’ve last touched a blog. I had to explore the site to slowly find my way to maneuver through and create a blog that I could call my own, or at least had my ‘touch’.
Through the process of blogging, I’ve gained quite a bit of insight on the issues on online publications, namely blogs and social media. It reminded me of why I was interested in studying Communications and Media in the first place.
Issues in Publications and Design was taught to me by Ms Jenny Webber, and I thank her for her generously imparting her knowledge to my classmates and I. It’s been great to learn more and understand more about the module with her expertise.
Overall, its been fun and engaging at the same time.

The social media BOOM

13 May

Updating your status on Facebook every hour or so?

How connected are you to social media?

The current era is all abuzz with communicating through social media sites.

Here is roughly how the social sites have evolved through the years:

Granted that the information listed in this chart was published in 2009, more social mediums could have been created. One thing is certain though, that Facebook’s population has definitely expanded.

I believe that Facebook is the epic example of how social media has boomed.

From a remarkable population of 300,000,000 members recorded in 2009 to it grew to an astonishing 500,000,000 members in 2011. A difference of 200,000,000 members in just 2 years!!

In 2012, a recent article indicated that the Facebook population has hit 800,000,000 members. A growth of 300,000,000 members from the last record in 2011. The growth of the Facebook population has been rapid and is phenomenal.

These days, most people that you meet on the streets would have a Facebook account. It has become an ideal method to communicate with friends and to keep up with latest happenings in their lives, even when they are living on the other side of the world.

It is said that social media as a whole as been increasingly influential and that ‘the dominance of online social media is such that company’s can no longer afford to ignore them.’ (Murphy 2011). The article also summarized the benefits of social media as:

Social media has led to a democratization of media. It has paved the way for a new generation of online relationships and conversation. It breeds and encourages creativity and mixes of culture. It fosters an ethos of community, sharing and connecting whilst making all sorts of relationships, particularly business relationship more transparent.

However, as social media is becoming increasingly accessible these days, the negative impact is that we have become rather addicted to the need to stay connected through social media.

I for one, do admit that I’m addicted to social media.

Waiting in line for a taxi, queuing up for food, in the toilet, waiting for friends, or any spare time that I have, I’m either posting updates on Facebook or reading the updates of others and commenting on those that piqued my interest.

In an article written about the signs indicating a social media addict, Brain Blogger has been quoted for the following statement:

“…it has been noted that there may be a correlation between low self-esteem and a sense of social inadequacy and social network addiction. It seems that many types of social interaction which would present great challenges in the real world for certain types of individuals have been rendered much easier for them in the virtual world, thus putting them at a higher risk of becoming addicted to Facebook and the like.”

From my own observation too, I’ve seen an increasing amount of people, whether they’re out as a couple or in a group, they constantly have their phones glued to them, which I feel that is an obstacle to having a face-to-face communication.

Just the other day, I was having dinner at a restaurant. I noticed that sitting at the table next to me was a couple. They looked like working executives. After they’ve placed their orders, they each whipped out their own iPads and were in a world of their own with their iPad, not speaking to each other at all. Even when their food was served, they were still glued to their iPads. I was thinking, ” Why come out and have dinner together when you are going to be spending your individual times with your iPad while your partner is just sitting right in front of you?”

This has proven one point which I’ve came across more than once – Social media can be as addicting as drugs, and once you get hooked, its hard to quit.

The social media addiction has also been listed as caused for lack of focus during face-to-face encounters, an obstacle for building meaningful relationships and in some cases, it has been cited as the cause for divorces.

Apart from the danger of being addicted, being constantly connected via social media poses one more danger —> The ability for a stranger to stalk you or even identity theft. This can be understood more when we touch on the topic of the “technological thumbprint” that some of us would know about and yet most have no idea how to guard against leaving the prints.

Till the next time… Tata…

Reference link(s):

Focus Editors (2009), ‘The Boom of Social Sites’, http://www.focus.com/fyi/boom-social-sites/, viewed 13 May 2012

The Economist (2010), ‘Facebook population – Status update – Facebook has become the third-largest nation’, http://www.economist.com/node/16660401/, viewed 13 May 2012

Techzella (2012), ‘Facebook is bigger than all of Europe including Russia’, http://techzella.com/facebook-is-bigger-than-all-of-europe-including-russia/, viewed 13 May 2012

Murphy, Patrick, Silicon Cloud (2011), ‘What are the advantages of Social Media’, http://www.siliconcloud.com/blog/bid/58731/What-are-the-Advantages-of-Social-Media/, viewed 13 May 2o12

Small Biz Trends (2011), ‘Are you a social media addict’, http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/11/social-media-addict.html/, viewed 13 May 2012

Sphere of Influence

13 May

How powerful can a blog be?

As powerful as the number of hits it can get.

Say, for example, there is a blog with just 5 hits per day. This would most likely be a newly started up blog or a personal blog that is just read by friends. The sphere of influence will only be extended to the circle of friends that is reading the blog.

However, if we compare it to a blog that gets more than 30,000 hits daily. This would most likely be a blog with a rather large following. In this case, the sphere of influence will be extended over the community of people that is viewing the blog.

With a wider sphere of influence on the community, it would mean having the ability of making a bigger impact on society.

Ok… Ability to make an impact. Checked.

Now it really relies on what the blogger with that ability wants to do with it.

In one of my earlier posts, I’ve mentioned a blogger – Xiaxue.

Her blog has about 40,000 hits each day and this makes her very influential. However, in one of the recent posts, she mentioned that she has been approached to contribute to the “Make Kony Famous” movement and that she declined contributing despite having the ability to do so. The post can be seen here —> http://xiaxue.blogspot.com/2012/03/invisible-and-visible-sympathy.html

I would think that a blogger’s sphere of influence can be determined by the number of audiences that follow the blog as well as the blogger’s intention to blog.

F*** – Censorship in Singapore

13 May

Hello…  how are you this *bleep* morning? *bleep* its been *bleep* a sleepy morning.

How many of us have been irritated by censorship, be it in pictures, audio or films? Put your hands up. (Right.. forget it, even if you did put up your hands I couldn’t see them.)

I for one would prefer the contents that I view or listen to, to be uncut. To me, this brings out the “original flavour” as intended by the creator / artist of the piece of work. Yes, I get it that Shannon and Weaver’s Model of Communication indicates that when the receiver decodes the message, it may be different from what the sender originally intended to encode. However, I do feel that censorship will further cause disruptions to the decoding process.

These days, some people have already learnt to overlook the censorship and know exactly what a word means even when only the initial letter is being shown. As indicated in my title –> F***

Now now, before you think that I’m spewing vulgarities in my blog (which proves the point that I’ve made above, if not, just read on), F*** can actually mean something else. Seriously, how many four-lettered words that begin with the letter ‘F’ do you know? Frog, fork, fish, fine, flip, from, the list goes on, anyway you get my drift. So why do people automatically assume that F*** is that-particular-four-letterd-F-word-we-are-not-to-mention?? Precisely because of the 3 *** following the letter F. People have learnt to automatically assume that the reason why the * is used in place of letters is because the word is inappropriate and should be hidden.

A magazine has “capitalized” on that idea though.

Here is their “About Us”:

F*** Magazine is a film magazine that defies traditional publishing by letting the pictures tell the story, rather than masses of text! So what you can expect is less annoying people telling you what they think, and we let you make up your own mind. Welcome to the new age!
In case you are wondering, the magazine is pronounced as “F”. Think what you want with it, but our stand will be that film is too, after all, only and also a four-letter word.
F*** Magazine is a publication of Sterne & Lears Global Pte Ltd.
All the content in this mag is exclusive and straight-to-the-point, no f***ing bullshit.

You can read up more about them in these links:

F Movie Magazine Website
F Movie Magazine Facebook Page

Ok, back to censorship in Singapore…
I’ve came across this article written about the censorship in Singapore by a Singaporean film maker, Martyn See.

3 Tiers of Censorship in Singapore

He provided a rather comprehensive view of the censorship environment in Singapore and with his credentials as a film maker, he should be pretty experienced in this field.

He gave a summary of the three levels of censorship that a piece of work will have to go through.

There are three tiers of censorship in Singapore. The 1st tier are the legislations passed by Parliament which restricts freedom of expression. The 2nd tier of censorship are those imposed by government bodies which are authorized by law to draw up guidelines and policies pertaining to political expression. A key feature of this 2nd tier of censorship are the non-transparency and the nebulous nature of its implementation, which leads to a blurring of the the line of what is acceptable and non-acceptable speech. This in turn creates a climate where writers, bloggers, artists and politicians self-censor their speech in order that they do not overstep boundaries. This climate of self-censorship forms the 3rd tier of censorship in Singapore.

Based on Martyn’s article, it would seem that even though freedom of expression is being encouraged and with the booming social media trend providing convenience for Singaporeans to express their opinions, the laws governing expression of opinion on political matters still withstand and perhaps even more closely monitored.

The last I’ve heard from the news was that they are still having discussions within MDA on trying to be more lenient in terms of censorship guidelines, however, till then, the image that I conjure in my mind of  the censors that work at MDA, are a bunch of old, uptight, supremely-self-righteous people deriving extreme satisfaction of censoring even the slightest form of inappropriate materials.

Freedom of speech or…

12 May

This is my blog, and I say what I want.

Well…

It is pretty much so, unless…

While we Singaporeans recite our pledge, there is a phrase, “to build a democratic society”.  So, what does a democratic society defined? Democracy occurs when the government respects the citizen’s “voice” especially in terms of law making policies and usually democracy is demonstrated during our political elections period. However, some may have taken democracy as an allowance for freedom of speech even in matters that are not governance related.

Which brings us to the point: Are we really allowed to voice out our opinions? And if so, can we do so without consequences?

In the article ‘Freedom of Expression and the Media in Singapore‘, published by Article 19, an organization which supports freedom of expression, James Gomez commented that because the print and television channels were being monopolized by Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp Singapore Pte Ltd relatively, the freedom to express an opinion has been suppressed – ‘Political, regulatory and structural control over the local media restricts and discourages the development of an environment where views can be expressed freely.’ The article was published in 2005, and the situation has improved over the years. Slightly.

Yes, the government still holds control over the words that are published even on personal blogs, and there are cases where people have been arrested due to the fact that they have made offensive comments on the government or even racist remarks. Hence, there’s a media watchdog out there keeping an eye, so… be careful of what you write.

You may wish to refer to this link on an example of how writing can be legally offensive. –> http://www.economist.com/node/17419873

 

Reference link(s):

Article 19, London (2005), ‘Freedom of Expression and the Media in Singapore‘, http://www.article19.org/data/files/pdfs/publications/singapore-baseline-study.pdf, viewed 12 May 2012

The Economist (2010), ‘ Freedom of Speech in Singapore – You can cage the singer – A writer tests the tolerance of Singapore’s legal system‘,  http://www.economist.com/node/17419873, viewed 12 May 2012

Players in the blogosphere

12 May

In our current year of 2012, the definition of a blog should already be recognized by most. In the words of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a blog is ‘a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer’.

Although we already know what a blog is, there are more to a blog than what the definition indicates.

According to The Business Times newspaper (2006), in an article titled ‘Blogging Explored- Ventures into Blogosphere’, there are corporate blogging, lifestyle blogging as well as using blogs as a business tool.

Corporate blogging

Where corporations use blogs to communicate with their target audiences.

Here are some examples:

Sharpie’s Blog

Sharpie’s blog features different art projects being done using their markers and it encourages their customers to post images of their own art projects done using Sharpie makers .

While most people would expect corporate blogs to stick to a corporate theme with minimal colours, Sharpie’s blog is filled with colours. It projects the image of a vibrant and fun company and leads to the perception that it is fun using Sharpie markers.

Starbucks’ Blog

Starbucks’ blog provides a platform for their customers to feedback on their service and facilities as well as for the customers to contribute ideas for new flavours for their coffee. If the idea is supported, then the new flavour could be made available at the stores.

The colour theme used in Starbuck’s blog is mainly green and white. Albeit the Starbucks being of a green and white theme as well, the green that they have opted for is of a brighter shade which makes the page looks more refreshing. The blog is neatly classified and there are pictures inserted to pique the interest of viewers, but all elements are kept clean and minimal.

Motorola’s Blog

Motorola’s blog is regularly updated with the latest products that are launched as well as information on new software updates for their products. Customers and viewers of the website are able to leave comments or share the blog article via their social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Videos and images introducing the products are included to spice up the blog. The colour scheme used repeatedly on the blog consists of black, white and red, which is easily identifiable with Motorola’s branding image.

Lifestyle blogging

Blogs where bloggers introduce food, beauty tips, travel and other lifestyle and wellness information.

Here are some examples:

Xiaxue’s Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

Xiaxue is probably the most notable bloggers in Singapore. Her blog covers mainly beauty and lifestyle tips and she does advertorials for companies who wants to promote beauty and lifestyle products. She has a pretty wide following and most of her readers are young female adults.

Her blog has a pink theme. And the elements in her blog are neatly classified so it is a breeze for her readers to browse through her blog entries. There are also lots of picture included in the blog.

Lady Iron Chef’s Food and Travel Blog

Lady Iron Chef’s blog is probably more famed for giving food reviews on the restaurants in Singapore.

The background is white and the overall layout is very minimalistic.

Team Fat Bird’s Running Blog

The interest and passion for running has been increasing here in Singapore.

Asia Escapades Travel Blog

Here is a blog that is based on travel experiences.

Blogging as a business tool

Where blogs are used as trading tools to conduct business transactions.

Most examples of using blogging as a business tool in Singapore are bloggers who use their blogs as a platform to sell clothes.

Here are some of them:

http://gelliz.blogspot.com/

http://kestano.livejournal.com/

http://gipsypixie.livejournal.com/

That’s all on the different type of blogs we have for today. Shall post on other media and publication issues soon!!! Stay tuned!!

Reference links:

The Business Times, published Friday, January 13, 2006, ‘Blogging Explored- Ventures into Blogosphere’, http://infoweb.newsbank.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=AWNB&p_theme=aggregated5&p_abction=doc&p_docid=10F1BA05495AED90&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=1

And I’m back to the blogosphere again…

26 Apr

Hello world!

I’m Veron and I shall now christen thy blog —> SupercaliBLACKalistic (expialidocious)!

I recall being introduced to the “world’s longest word” – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, by watching the film Mary Poppins, in my childhood days. Back then it seemed like a feat to be able to memorize and be able to read out the word. To some, the word means ‘atoning for educability through delicate beauty’ but Mary Poppins defined it as ‘something to say when you have nothing to say’. For me it seems like a pretty novel name for my blog.

To cut to the chase, this blog is simply for me to discuss some of the online publishing, media and design issues in the current times and other interesting tidbits of this wonderful blogosphere.

So, dear reader…. stay tuned!