Thursday, October 7, 2010

Online Review (10): Unmediated Reality and Reshuffling Pre-existent Media with New Forms

Reproduce Experiences of Subjectivity

In the 80s and 90s video slapstick took center stage. Programs such as America’s Funniest Home Video and Candid Camera gave ordinary people an opportunity to bring localized, subjective experiences to the masses (Dovey, 2000). These short video clips were neither cinematic artistry nor documentaries instead there was a move away from the classical, film making styles.

Amateur on a roll!

Videotext became the form that represented the shifting paradigms of the public and private sphere (Dovey, 2000). Changes in technologies made it easier to incorporate the ‘new’ media and its output into our daily lives. Devices, i.e., videos, camcorders and so forth went mainstream, making them more attuned to the masses. Gradually, the use of those devices became smaller in size, and they subsequently increased our mobility.

The relationships between technology and its cultural form shifted accordingly. Everyone that had access to new technologies now have the ability to produce and reproduce their experiences of subjectivity (Dovey, 2000). By contrast, the expert lost some of its ground in vetting these experiences on film and/or tape (Keen, 2007).

The amateur rather than the professional is the driving force behind new footage, and this phenomenon has shifted from the traditional media to the ‘new’ media platforms available to them, which also allowed cyberspace to emergence.

A great example of this phenomenon is YouTube. The best-rated videos are not the ones that broadcast objective, generalized, rational news or video, rather the ones in which you and the amateurs are the focal point of attention. Somehow we are captivated by the silliness, and self-exposure of others.

Moreover, the ‘performer’ makes its own mashups - reshuffling pieces of pre-existing videos, texts, older cultural and social productions. However, I examine that this is not something of modern times; retrieving older footage showed that ‘reshuffling’, bricolage, collage, and more was used to mix mainstream TV with self-generated footage in the past (Dovey, 2000).

Humankind is just trying to find modified ways to ‘reinvent’ itself whether it is with the use of new or old media tools. The use of mainstream technology certainly makes it a lot easier for us.


Dovey, J. 2000. Freakshow: First Person Media and Factual Television. London: Pluto Press.

Keen, A. 2007. The Cult of the Amateur. Doubleday. New York

Friday, September 17, 2010

Online Review (9): Gender-swapping & Perception

Online Review Three: Gender-swapping and Perception

Changing one’s gender on screen is easier and less painful than changing it in real life.

That said, swapping one’s gender on screen has implications that pass through the trouble of understanding the other gender. As Turkle (1995) examines, it is difficult to maintain this fictive figure. For instance, to pass for the other half of humankind, one must fully understand how gender inflects speech, conduct and the interpretation of experience. This can become an emotional roller coaster, because even in an online life, people respond to one’s gender as they would in real life.
Nevertheless, it can provide amusement, the expression of self and also allow one to develop self-knowledge. Swapping gender also enables the swapper to learn and experience the other him/her innate to their internal self.

The perceptions one has about oneself can extend when looking at the real world one is living in. As Baudrillard (1995) underlines, people experience amusement parks as recreation but in fact, in real life those people take part in recreations they constructed themselves. Baudrillard (1995) uses the example of Disneyworld, California which might be thought of as such a recreation. Conversely, it is Los Angeles that is the true reconstruction.

When things get tough, our perception about the real things in life can make us revert back to the unreal life. Unreal life often demands less haggling and draining organisation. In a simulation of life we define the parameters; in real life other factors and actors come into play that define our direction or demand our attention. To exemplify this, driving a Porsche on the highway at 200km/hr potentially gets you into trouble. But not in virtual life – who cares, right?

Gender-swapping may result in deception and falsification when one enters a virtual relationship of any kind with others on the Internet. By contrast, it can be amusing, experimental and may equally allow one to develop self-knowledge. It should not be taken too seriously though, more experiences online or offline can make a person better in how he/she conducts themselves, and how he/she perceives the world and disseminates this experience and knowledge to others.


Baudrillard, J. 1995. Simulacra and Simulation, Michigan, University of Michigan Press.

Turkle, S. 1995. Life on the screen: identity in the age of the Internet, New York, Simon & Schuster.

Online Review (8): Hypermediation

In this blogpost, I am highlighting the topic hypermediation with a link to capital gain over the Internet.

Web 2.0 has spiked hypermediation.

The main goal of media is to transfer experiences from one user to another, and due to the growing nature of intermediated tools – blogs, news aggregrators, community platforms, and more – this has now become easier than ever (Bolter & Grusin. 2000).

It is no longer the company who sells directly to consumers it is the middlemen who gain momentum. In fact, they are the ones that walk away with the money (Carr. 2010).

Sites such as eBay, Google, Yahoo play intermediary roles (Carr 2010). Online affiliate programs and intermediated media tools enable lay people to skim off money from companies by referring. They direct site visitors that are interested in a particular topic, item or thing to the purchasing site of the owner/seller, mostly using computer-mediated tools such as blogs, forums, and community platforms. The amount of traffic on sites, and the efficiency in which site visitors roam web sites and make transactions enables hypermediation to flourish. E-marketplaces are media as much for social interactions as they are for financial transactions. That is, who you are and what you are doing are as important as what you want to buy or what you want to sell. Your reputation on eBay is far more important than what you are attempting to either buy or sell (Rheingold 2002).

I found that the increasing power of e-marketplaces and affiliates will continue to flourish over the years, and thus enables intermediaries to gain a living by using the Internet. Furthermore, the virtual exposure of those selling and buying is becoming increasingly important when they aim to expand their online capital gain.


Bolter, J.D. & Grusin, R. (2000). Remediation: Understanding new media. Cambridge: MIT Press

Carr, N. (2010). The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. New York: Random House Inc.

Howard Rheingold (2002). Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. London: Perseus Publishing, 2002

Online Review (7): Multiplayer games

Online Review Two: Multiplayer games

Multiplayer games are discussed in light of themes such as the panopticon, surveillance, remediation, real and surreal life and the blogosphere.

Multiplayer games, such as MUDs (also knows as Multi-User Dungeon), Second Life, and online poker are blurring the boundaries between the real and the unreal. Most virtual games are cyberconstructed – they link text, graphics, video, audio, blogs, and more – with computers from all over the world (Turkle, 1995). In this context, I will illustrate how virtual multiplayer games impact players.

Online poker games (e.g. poker games) are played in a virtual room in which anyone with access to a network connected computer or smartphone can join. Poker rooms accommodate all levels of game. Beginners can play for free (the so-called freerolls) and win play money at the same token, while more advanced players or experts often pay a tournament fee ranging from $5 up to $10,000 or more, granting them the opportunity to win prizes of up to $60,000 (Everest-Gaming, 2008). The majority of poker aficionados play at multiple tables in different poker rooms – from different software providers – at the same time. Hence, the use of several windows allows them to cycle through different poker rooms (Turkle, 1995).

Each player is able to create many characters (‘avatars’), the self being not only decentered but multiplied without limit. These experiences potentially facilitate self-knowledge and personal growth (Turkle, 1995). Poker rooms further accommodate Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a form of real-time text messaging (Turkle, 1995), drawing in players and allowing them to communicate with others. When players reach out through IRC, they virtually enter everything into the program’s log. They may at any point be confronted with the way in which they have constructed themselves (Turkle, 1995), but also the way they interacted with others.

Bots – inhabitants of virtual worlds such as artificial intelligences (Turkle, 1984) – are used too. They roam, create an ambience, fill up the empty seats, but can also create a sense of falsification (Turkle, 1995). Players may think they are playing against a real player, when in fact they are competing with bots initiated by the ‘software program’.

Once the players enter the room, the virtual room then functions as a round-the-clock surveillance machine (Foucault, 1975). The player does not see the ‘surveillance agent’ – so-called monitoring and auditing features of the software – and realise that he or she has been observed. The ‘auditing software’ protects players from unfair gaming, deceiving falsification by other players, unfair dumping of chips and other unbalancing elements. However, players also monitor their fellow players. Foucault (1977) refers to this type of circumstance as the greater the risk for fellow players of being surprised the greater the anxious awareness of being observed. Rheingold (2002) refers to ‘Smart Mobs’ which describe how people behave – and misbehave – within communities. Users have a certain tendency to penalize cheaters, even at some expense to themselves. These tendencies and the emotions that accompany them influence players to behave in ways that benefit the group (Rheingold, 2002). Centralised databases that software companies use provide a basis for an extended panopticon, a concept developed by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham. This architectural machinery was set up to monitor prisoners without being seen from the outside (Bentham, 1995).

However, in poker games, once players cross the line, real and unreal life converges. The implications of the unreal life impact their real life. For example, collaboration among players is prohibited, and as such transferring money to fellow players, chip dumping and similar actions may impact players’ life offline. The players’ virtual poker account can immediately be blocked. This can extend to shutting down the players’ associated bank account in real life.

There is nothing unreal about this event. Many players reach out to the blogosphere, which is pivotal in the poker community in an attempt to reverse the damage.
What I examine here is that the blurring lines between the real and unreal life diminish once the line have been crossed. Badly chosen acts during online participations have a detrimental impact to offline participations. In addition, entering a poker room is similar to entering a panopticon. One is under surveillance at all times, and misbehaviour will not be tolerated. This is where the ‘surveillance agent’ has extended its power.


Baudrillard, J. 1995. Simulacra and Simulation, Michigan, University of Michigan Press.

Bentham, J. 1995. The Panopticon Writings [Online]. London: Verso. Available: [Accessed 18 October 2010].

Everest-Gaming. 2008. Everest Poker [Online]. Malta: Everest Poker. Available: [Accessed 10 October 2010].

Foucault, M. 1975. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York, Random House Inc.

Foucault, M. 1977. Panopticism. In: KAPLAN, D. M. (ed.) Readings in the philosophy of technology (2004). Lanham. MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Turkle, S. 1984. The Second Self. Computers and the human spirit., New York, Simon & Schuster.

Turkle, S. 1995. Life on the screen: identity in the age of the Internet, New York, Simon & Schuster.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Online Review (6): Balkanization of the Internet

The envisioned dream of the Internet where everyone communicates electronically with anyone – globally, free-of-charge and without sovereignty – may remain a utopian. Although, parts of our dream have come true; we roam through parts of the world; interact with like-minded people (Rheingold); immerse in real and surreal lives (Turkle 1995); gather information; and repurpose it. The list of things we can do ought to be endless and borderless.

That being said, there are dark ‘clouds’ cascading over our global landscape. For instance, cloud computing has become more ubiquitous. Cloud computing is the use of virtual servers over the Internet (Pring. 2010). Critics even argue to extend this term by saying that anything outside the firewall is now in the cloud. It encompasses a subscription based or pay-per-use service that potentially extends Information Technology’s capabilities (2010). Here in, lies the crux. This means we have moved away from the utopian free-for-all use of the Internet.

We all need to be vigilant about who manages, controls and owns the ‘clouds’, and ultimately all our information. Governments are increasingly reasserting their sovereignty, the Economist (2010) argues. Examples include recent issues with Google in China; BlackBerry in Germany and India; Australia’s own censorship on adult videos, and so on. The Economist (2010) states that the Internet used to be controlled by a balkanized model. This is a model that consists of a collection of nation-state networks still linked by the internet protocol, but for many purposes act separately (Lessing 2004). This balkanized model has started to emerge again, the Financial Times (2008) argue.

This further underlines the demise of net neutrality, which at the onset of the Internet was one of the main objectives of the Internet. The term describes the way Internet users ought to have control over the content they add, view, use and the applications. All content, sites, and platforms should be treated equally, which allows the network to carry any kind of information and application, Wu (2008), Berners-Lee (2006) and Peha (2007) state. They also argue there should be no restrictions by one’s ISP. However, in reality it is a topic that has been much talked about, but not been practiced as intended.

Above image shows the governments in the listed countries that filtered content returned by Google (2009). This list of countries is not exhaustive, and constantly changing. Again, this shows in our borderless world, the idea of no sovereignty and net neutrality remain a utopian.


‘Google lays out browser aims’, Financial Times, September 4, 2008

Knorr, E. and Gruman, G (2010) What cloud computing really means. InfoWorld, 19 July 2010, accessed on 7 September 2010, viewed from Infoworld: cloud-computing

Lessing, L (2004). The Balkanization of the Internet (Internet). Lessing 2.0 blog. August 17, 2004. Accessed on September 11, 2010 Viewed from Lessig's blog

Peha J.M., Lehr, WH, Wilkie, S. (2007). The State of the Debate on Network Neutrality. International Journal of Communication 1 (2007), 709-717

The Economist Newspaper (2010), The Future of the Internet: A virtual counter-revolution, 2 September 2010, New York: NY

Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: identity in the age of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster

Rheingold, H. (2000). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Cambridge: MIT press.

Wu, Tim (2008). "Network Neutrality FAQ". 26 December 2008, accessed on 11 September 2010. Viewed from Network Neutrality

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Online Review: Augmented Reality

In this week topic, I would like to discuss the term Augmented Reality (AR), which is the display of real environment, augmented by means of virtual objects - the overlaying dynamic and context-specific information over the visual field of the user (Milgram 1994; Manovich. 2002).

AR merges the concept of real and virtual. Our virtual world and the associated virtual objects are synthesized by a computer or digital device, such as a smart phone (Milgram. 1994). Those virtual objects exist in essence and in order to experience them, they must be simulated. Real objects, on the other hand, have an actual presence. Hence, virtual is the illusion in which there are no real objects present (Porter. 1997).

AR works on the basis that we use a digital device, which is complemented with associated technology (e.g. RFID, computer vision and object recognition). In other words, the digital device must be able to read or recognize the associated technology. By the same token AR uses elements in our surroundings, such as billboards, postings, shop discount coupons, games scores in pubs, and so on to convert the information in our surroundings to digital information and in doing so allows the information to be communicated/broadcasted to a nearby device. It can then return new information to our digital device. This process has been known as cellspace technology, which delivers data to the mobile space dwellers (Manovich. 2002).

Below is an example used in logistics.

Another example of AR was recently set up by the city Washington DC that now provides its commuters with real-time, up-to-date bus information.
All bus stops in the area are provided with a 2D barcode, and anyone with a smart phone can scan the barcode to retrieve up-to-date bus traffic reports on their device.

The above example shows how AR has been used in conjunction with geo-spatial targeting, which could very well be used for retrieving the 2D barcode information.
Hence, scan the 2D barcode, and have the information sent back to your device.

I contemplate that AR will become a ubiquitous part of our world, and will make a greater significance on our lives by adding more convenience and efficiency in accomplishing our daily tasks.

It is projected that this market will rise to a $732 million by 2014, an increase of $2 million compared with 2010 (Juniper Research 2010). However, this may impact our privacy and security of personal data. It is no longer the video surveillance intrusion into our lives, but rather the Net- or wireless enabled device that continuously monitors our lives (Manovich 2002). The Australian Communications and Media Authority and other critics have also been vigilant about the imposing nature of AR, and the threat of unwanted public exposure of people’s information (e.g., political and personal preferences out in the open) (Sun. 2010).

The threat of privacy and security invasion is a concern that should be explored more. There is an apparent need for regulation, which might be difficult and tedious, because this involves cross-industry and discipline adherence to new policies (from technology companies, handheld device manufacturers, internet providers and so on).

I believe that AR will emerge as the next step towards our definition of reality, rather than that it appears to become a detriment in our society.


Kirkpatrick, M. (2010), ‘Augmented Reality Coming to DC Bus Stops Today’, The New York Times, September 3, 2010, viewed from augmented reality

Knight, W (2005), Augmented reality brings maps to life, News Scientist, 19 July 2005, accessed on 5 September 2010, viewed from News Scientist

Manovich, L (2002), The Poetics of Augmented Space: Learning from Prada, London: MIT Press

Milgram, P. and A. F. Kishino, Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays, IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, E77-D(12), pp. 1321-1329, 1994.

Porter, D. (1997), Internet Culture, New York: Routledge

Ramesh R., Welch, G. Fuchs, H. (1996), ‘Spatially Augmented Reality’, paper presented to the Department of Computer Science, Chapel Hill: NC, Sept 1998

Think Plank (2010), ‘Internet of Things & Augmented Reality: Conversation Starters’, Convergence conversations, 24 April 2010.

Sun, M (2010). ‘Tracking your life’, MX News, September 2, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Online Review; Surveillance in light of Apple's patent on spyware

This is the fourth in a series of posts for ARIN6903 – Exploring Digital Cultures – with the objective to write a series of online reviews related to topics covered in the class.

This week I will touch on the subject of “surveillance” in a different kind of way, using a recent occurrence, Apple’s granted patent on spyware.

Apple has been granted a (worldwide) patent to identify unauthorized users of the iPhone (Patent :). It’s been said that Apple will only use this ‘surveillance’ technology to trace iPhone users that have tinkered with and/or jailbroken their iPhone.

This ‘surveillance’ practice has been coined ‘traitorware’ by watchdog organizations (Davidson. 2010).

What may happen in the future is that, Apple can shut down your iPhone or iPad once they conduct their own due diligence, such as matching or recording your voice, take images, or even detect and record your heartbeat. Once the company determines that you are the unauthorized user, they can shut down your device and remotely store your personal data (Samuels. 2010).

The real issue here is more of another nature. As Michel Foucault (1977. in: Lanham. 2004) states that this relates more to bringing discipline into society, and this may be brought into by an individual or an organization. In the occurrence here, it’s Apple that is exerting its power, using its technology. And, this goes broader and links to cultural, societal, economical, and juridical-political implications to those users. It is the knowledge and personal data that will gain Apple power over others.

It is agreed that you should not tamper with proprietary devices, but once you own the device aren’t you allowed to use it to your own discretion? Back in July 2010, the US court ruled that users are allowed to tinker with or jailbreak their own device (AP. 2010). Nevertheless, Apple deems differently. That being said, do we need to maintain the relationship with the proprietor of the device and use all their preferred providers in our attempt to complement our lives? I feel strongly that we shouldn’t. In the past we have derived from a monopolistic business model, because it is not one in which society strives. Therefore, Apple becoming our watchdog, and dictates our freedom of use and communication, is potentially invasive.


AP (2010). Jailbroken - now iPhones are for porn, too (Internet). Accessed on August 26. 2010. Viewed from Additional news

Davidson, H. (2010) Apple 'traitorware' can take your photo and shut down your jailbroken iPhone, iPad (Internet). Accessed on August 26, 2010. Viewed from traitorware

Foucault, M. (1977) ‘Panopticism’. In Kaplan, D.M. (ed.) Readings in the philosophy of technology. (2004) Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Samuels, J. (2010) Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware (Internet). Accessed on August 26, 2010. Viewed from Apple seeking patent

Monday, August 23, 2010

Online Review; manipulation of art (3)

This is the third in a series of posts for ARIN6903 – Exploring Digital Cultures – with the objective to write a series of online reviews related to topics covered in the class.

This week I will touch on the subject of manipulation of art, and its tentative impact on culture.

Artist, M.C. Escher - is one of the world's most famous graphic artists for his so-called impossible structures (Escher Company. 2010). He explored the concept of representing infinity on a two-dimensional plane. For instance, in his work, Relativity, a 1953 lithograph, he combines the theme of paradox with another common proprietary theme - the staircase (Epand. 2010). In Relativity, the laws of gravity are defied in favor of rooms and staircases that are turned in every direction (2010).
But what happens when the today’s self-made amateur starts manipulating Escher’s work in light of, e.g., correcting the laws of gravity in the piece of Relativity. Or augment the impossible structures in an attempt to ‘correct’ these thoughtful errors (by reproducing his work in a three-dimensional pane) or update the artwork with today’s technology, ideology or futuristic surrealism?

Look at some examples and see what can happen:
Escher Art Pictures
Deviant Art

I think that we have to merit artists based on their contribution to culture and the significant impact their work has accomplished in societies at large. In the past, Escher’s work allowed us to think differently – to look at things in a different way. If, in today’s augmented culture, we continue to change his work through digital reproduction, his hallmark will be lost to most of the new generation; they will not be able to grasp the artist’s upbringing, history and authenticity; and the tribute paid to that specific era in art – set in the 90s.

Benjamin, W. (1935) ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’. In Benjamin, W. (1992) Illuminations. London: Fontana Press, pp. 211-244.

Epand, V. (2010). ‘The Paradoxical Art of MC Escher’ (Internet). Accessed on August 19, 2010. Viewed from

The M.C. Escher Company B.V. (2010). Accessed on August 20, 2010. Viewed from MC Escher

Monday, August 16, 2010

Online Review; Privacy, Security, Network, Culture (2)

Are Smartphones Replacing The Plastic Credit Card

This blog post refers to the privacy, security, networks, and ubiquity of contactless credit card processing.

Through the grapevine, we all heard about using your smartphone to make credit card payments without even touching your plastic card. This practice has already been used in Japan, Turkey and the U.K, but has not widely hit the market in Australia and the USA.
The rumors are no longer a fad, now two of the largest telecom companies joined the two largest credit card companies in their quest for contactless credit card processing using your smartphone.

Ubiquitous computing is an intertwining of networks and the local user, which draws together new possibilities (Varnelis & Friedberg. 2008). It’s a growing development in technology that enables the user to conduct all its activities on one device – in this case a mobile phone.
My premise is that this will contribute to the demise of the home computer used as such. It is the mobile device that’s going to take over converging integrated customized user applications and will act as a customized content-delivery system. We are entering an era of ubiquity in the use of new media, mutually stressed by Flew (2008).

Smartphones have encroached on tasks ranging from Web browsing to street navigation; now with two of the largest credit card companies joining the landscape – Visa and MasterCard – ventured in contactless credit card processing in the USA. Research has predicted that more than half of U.S. consumers — and 80 percent of those 18 to 34 — will use mobile financial services within five years (The Week. 2010).

The Technology

The smartphone will be augmented with the addition of an RFID antenna (Radio Frequency Identification) and chip, and this will be embedded into the phone. RFIDs are a passive way of providing smartphone users with the capacity to tell their stories. These are small tags and commonly used in inventory tracking stores (Varnelis & Friedberg. 2008).

Provided that all goes well, cell phone RFID payments could be more secure than paying with plastic (Eaton. 2010). However, RFID technology is not free from any threats such as viruses, security and privacy (PC World. 2010). Hackers, those who access, reproduce and modify data on the devices expose design flaws in the system, which could potentially be a detrimental issue on security (Dyer-Witherford. 2002), and threaten the acceptance of this technology at the inception. In the past, RFIDs have been subject to privacy and security issues, and no bulletproof way of deactivating of RFIDs has been identified yet (Albert & McIntyre. 1998). Once a user makes a credit card purchase, it’s forever identifiable with the user, and tracing the user is also possible then (Varnelis & Friedberg. 2008).

What’s the impact of the technology and on existing cultures?

Foremost, it will prospectively change the landscape of mobile phone use, merchandising, and its eco system – communication networks/infrastructure, payment culture, banking systems, merchant systems, cell phone provider services, security, and proprietary rights issues.

Although these digital ubiquitous developments will take up time before it is fully implemented and widely accepted, I predict that it is going to mark the next era in our culture of how we conduct our business, communicate, obtain content, and process transactions in the future.


Albert & McIntyre (1998). Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move With RFID. Nashville: Nelson Current

Eaton, K. (2010) Specter of Apple Looms Over Verizon, AT&T's Cell Phone Credit Cards Game (Internet). New York: Fast Company. Accessed on August 9, 2010. Viewed from fast company

Eichenbaum, P. & Collins, M. (2010), AT&T, Verizon to Target Visa, MasterCard With Smartphones (Internet). Accessed on Aug 2, 2010. Viewed from bloomberg

Varnelis, K & Friedberg, A. (2008) Networked Publics, MIT, Cambridge MA.

Other sources:
Accessed on August 9, 2010. Viewed from the week

Monday, August 9, 2010

Online Review; collective intelligence

Online Review One: Collective Intelligence

All of us are smarter than any one of us (Brown, 2009, Levy, 1997). Understanding this is the key to unlocking the innovative power of any individual or group (Brown, 2009). The concept of ‘collective knowledge’ (Flew, 2008, Levy, 1997) refers to the capacity of networked computers to exponentially enhance the pool of social knowledge and contributions enabled by social networks (Flew, 2008, Levy, 1997). This concept was discussed in class in relation to the ‘20 key new media concepts’ (Flew, 2008).

Collaboration across interdisciplinary boundaries thrives on the Internet (Brown, 2009) and as such the concept of collective intelligence flourishes where a profusion of new participants join online. In this context, one case study from OpenIDEO, (A) Food Revolution is examined in order to explain how the concept of collective intelligence works. Food Revolution calls for new methods to educate children to make healthier food choices at school. The case is subject to the collaborative innovation decision-making process of, an online platform for creative collectives (OpenIDEO, 2010). It mobilises creative minds on a global scale (Granovetter, 1973, OpenIDEO, 2010, Watts, 2003); it attracts and inspires individuals to develop innovative solutions for the greater social good within and beyond IDEO’s network, while attaining recognition for their achievements (OpenIDEO, 2010). This collaborative initiative further facilitates the strategies: inspiration, conception, evaluation and monitoring of problem-solving activities (Sternberg, 1986), and extends to create global communities.

To date, creative collectives on OpenIDEO have contributed:

One of the paramount reasons why OpenIDEO chooses to utilise collective intelligence is due to the collaborative nature of its concept; its multiplier effect on the outcome; its pool of intercultural and cross-functional participants; its shared consensus; and, the limited capital resources needed.

On the one hand, Maher (2010) observes that collective intelligence accommodates an inclusive process, in which participants extend into a broader community to participate in the knowledge process with the aim to fulfil a common social goal. On the other hand, communities are the grassroots of network societies and societies at large. OpenIDEO’s global community fosters a shared belief, knowledge, inspiration and sense of moving forward. People join the network because of its attractiveness, subsequently updating their information and ideas, both synchronously and asynchronously (Gros, 2008).

In examining OpenIDEO’s online platform, it is clear that the use of collective intelligence produces merit in participants’ work. It is a resourceful, economical concept of gaining the freshest and brightest ideas without directly paying the contributors; participants and receivers inspire and share the recognition. Moreover, collective intelligence is advantageous to investigate whether an idea or specific knowledge has cultural ‘significance’ to prevail in culture and/or get picked up by the crowds. It exemplifies the needs of societies at large.

While an immediate threat relating to the concept does not come to mind, I acknowledge that it might diminish individuality and proprietary knowledge advancement. There may be a slight chance that participants’ values and beliefs clash within the network, after which they might withdraw from it in the end (Watts, 2010).


Brown, T. 2009. Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation, New York, Harper Collins Publishers.

Flew, T. 2008. New Media: An introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Granovetter, M. S. 1973. The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78 1360-1380.

Gros, C. 2008. Complex and Adaptive Dynamical Systems, Berlin, Springer-Verlag.

Kooren, K. 2010. Creative & Interactive Media. Creative & Interactive Media [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 9 August 2010].

Levy, P. 1997. Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace, New York Plenum Trade.

Maher, M. L. Year. Motivation and Collective Intelligence: Design Lessons In: Collective Intelligence 14 April 2010 University of Sydney.

Openideo. 2010. Introduction to OpenIDEO [Online]. New York: openIDEO. Available: [Accessed 15 August 2010].

Sternberg, R. J. 1986. Intelligence Applied, New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers.

Watts, D. J., Anthony, D., Kotz, D., Et Al 2010. Complex Systems Symposium: Session One Panel Dartmouth: Thayer School of Engineering; YouTube.

Monday, August 2, 2010

WK 2 - Readings Q & A

The five most important concepts to my belief are:
1. Networks

a. They are at the heart of the Internet, New Media and interrelationships between societies at large. Networks commenced as early as the invention of speech (van Dijk, 2004), and has evolved from a physical to an organic, and neuronal to a social, technical and ultimately to a media network. A network is self-sustainable and adheres to those that interact and impact the relationships within. For that reason, networks will continue to evolve and increasingly pay tribute to our societies.
2. Digital divide
a. Pertains to the differential access to and use of the Internet according to gender, income, race and location (Rice, 2002). I believe that this is the front-runner of geo-targeting, and any type of segmentation to qualify or disqualify Internet users/societies for specific information, offers, and so forth. These days geotargeting is used as a powerful tool to monetize one’s resources and increase the impact of new media solely for those, to whom it pertains.
3. Security & surveillance
a. It goes without saying that the increasing use of the Internet makes use users more vulnerable to defects in the system. Whilst we are more and more interlinked to all kinds of systems, such as payment, identification and proprietary systems, it’s all a matter of trust. Creating this trust, commitment and sufficiently information-rich communication is both a condition and a problem for social and media networks (van Dijk, 2004). Users have actually become so dependent on new technologies that there is no way back. In the event of increasing insecurity of systems or applications this will eventually lead to its break-down (Van dijk, 2004). Note the latest glitches of Facebook and Google that triggered the enthusiasm of new developers in creating similar but yet to be proven, improved applications.
4. Ubiquity
a. Proliferation of digital devices, the density, interconnectedness of networks and both the multiplicity of forms of use, and the routine nature of uses of new media embedded in all aspects of daily life (Flew, 2008) is rapidly changing. I believe that in the near future, mobile devices will contribute a larger part in society than computers. These mobile devices have embedded ‘user system’ that allows for a one-click payment option, easy membership opt-in and instant qualifications, and customized media and information delivered to the device.
5. Collective intelligence (CI)
a. The exponential contribution of users to enhance the collective pool of social knowledge (Flew, 2008), which relate to the aspects of strong and weak ties based on the kind of relationship established – online and offline. Its impact is becoming greater and greater now more sites have emerged; CI requires a vivid participation and contribution of its users to create a ‘prospective’ greater outcome; it extends to crowdsourcing, and creates communities that share similar interest.

Key Concepts Missing:

• Increasing digital and proprietary media tools to modify existing media such as Picassa and PhotoShop.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blog For Creative or Interactive Minds Alike

I have created this blog for the subject Exploring Digital Cultures; feel free to become an active member.