Last but Not Least

Asalamualikum Warahmatullahi. Since there is no required readings and journals needed for the final post, I have decided to write in a much more causal way. This will be the last post I ever have to write again in my entire life for educational purpose. I have studied three BCM subjects and to be honest, I couldn’t remember what I have learned in the last two and somehow or rather, it feels like they are all the same.

Anyways, in this final post, I will be giving an overview on my thoughts of what I have learned in BCM310. To have a general idea of what is going to be taught by just reading the subject title,  it is pretty straight forward to understand as it speaks for itself, Emerging Issues in Media & Communications. There are topics which I personally find interesting because I have never heard of the terms before, but which now I do, such as Pinkwashing, White Bread Media and MOOCs. Also, I realized BCM310 has covered in depth on a wide range of topics which I was pretty eager to know and find out, such as media policy and regulations and hidden costs of media use.

Overall, I believe BCM310 has been an eye opener for me as I recognize of what is actually going on in the current world and the medias. It was definitely an interesting subject and  indeed it has prepared me to be ready for the real challenge.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank Ms. Rohayu for making this subject a fun one to learn. Thank you for your guidance, patience and understanding. It was truly something different. Jazakallah Khair.

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The Hidden Costs of Media Use

21st century media promise cleaner and green communications. However, this is actually not the case as there are many hidden costs of new communications technologies. E-Waste is one of them and it is currently a global menace. E-Waste happens when many electronic electrical devices such as computers, televisions and many other machinery products reach their end of product life cycle and are in a state of poor condition whereby they become useless and non-operational to its operators and owners (Janagam & Jeyamani 2011).

What many people do not realize and aware is the improper disposal of such electronic products, it could lead to a chain of serious environmental issues that can cause the environment and as well as human beings to be exposed to hazardous gases and toxic materials. These harmful chemicals can be released as easy and simple as when the electronic products are being exposed under hard weather conditions. Also, another wrong method of recycling operation is the burning of plastic/wires of these electronic products to extract certain amount of gold is extremely harmful to human health and the environment as well (Maxwell & Miller 2012).

All the happenings on the amount of electronic waste worldwide is mainly due to the rapid changes in technologies, changes in medias and falling of electronic product prices which all these mentioned above have resulted in the fast growing excess of electronic wastage around the world.

Around 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste is being produced yearly and most of it is coming from mobile phones, televisions and computers. E-Waste primary production geographically locates in the Global North where countries include Australia, Japan, United States and Western Europe. However, all these electronic waste are being dumped in the Global South where countries include Africa, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and China (Widmer et.al 2005). This level of E-Waste is indeed shocking.

In Malaysia, its waste generation has been increasing radically where solid the solid wastes is estimated to have increased and reached from 9 million to 11 million tonnes in the span of 10 years. It is expected by the year of 2015, it might reach up to about 13 million tonnes and a further 16 million tonnes by 2020. The estimated increase of solid wastes is expected to burden Malaysia’s resources and environment in managing these wastes in a sustainable approach. According to a licensed electronic waste rubbish collector, there are two main categories of e-waste in Malaysia. One is produced by industries and another is produced by households. There have been e-waste dumping cases but not on an alarming scale yet and the most common type of e-waste received by the licensed company is used computers (Agamuthu & Victor 2011).

In my opinion, in order to stop or minimize on the damages cause by e-waste to the human body and as well as the environment, companies and individuals should learn the proper way while disposing their unused electronic products. Also, sustainable and recyclable materials should be used in electronic products. What is more, consumer and company awareness campaigns should be held to educate them on the seriousness of e-waste and the harmful effects it causes. Individual efforts and focus to raise awareness on the issue is definitely not enough and everyone in the societies and communities should come hand in hand to minimize on the hazardous effects and improper disposal of electronic products.

References

Agamuthu, P & Victor, D 2011, ‘Policy trends of extended producer responsibility in Malaysia’, Waste Management and Research, vol.29, no.9, pp945-953.

Janagam, D & Jeyamani, M 2011, ‘E-Waste a major threat to environment and health’,Indian Journal of Science and Technology, vol.4, no.3, pp313-317.

Maxwell, R & Miller, T 2012, ‘Introduction’ in Green the Media Oxford University Press, pp1-20.

Widmer, R, Krapf, HO, Khetriwal, DS, Schnellmann, M & Boni, H 2005, ‘Global perspectives on e-waste’, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol.25, no.5, pp436-458.

Moderating the conversation: Inclusive dialogue in online news

We are living in the current and ever growing 2.0 online community where there are many different types of online interactions for online users to communicate and discuss on certain topics among each other. Such online communities inclusive of online news sites, social networking sties, online video forums like YouTube and many more. All of the platforms of medias mentioned above have been trying hard to achieve a single common goal and that is to educate and inform its online users to share their opinions and comments in a valued, polite, inoffensive, educated and appropriate manner. Many have not seen or realize this as a serious problem, but the actual fact is such actions have already affected many individuals and as well as communities in general with regrettable consequences and outcomes.

Let’s take a look at the infamous story of Megan Meier, an ordinary 13 years old American old who committed suicide due to cyber bullying whereby her friends posted offensive and vigorous comments on her social networking page. Megan is weak and initially already has a depression problem because she is overweight. She had thoughts of killing herself in many occasions and as a result, she was undergoing medical consultations and treatments. Her friends insulted Megan by calling her names such as “Fat Girl” and “Bitch”. There’s a boy who Megan really likes, at first they are friends, but due to other friends’ influence, the boy started to ignore Megan after knowing she’s a loser. In the end, Megan could not handle the pressure and embarrassment; she committed suicide by hang herself to death in her closet (Selena 2008).

The problem here is that what to one person might be just a vigorous debate or insult, but to the other person, it could be seen as a wounding gibe (DeLoach & Greenlaw 2007). Again, to emphasize on the problem here, some of her friends who commented and said the nasty comments might find that it is not a big deal and they are just saying things and what they say over social networking sites are believed isn’t “real life”. Therefore, they simply think that social networking sites like MySpace is not real life and their comments would not be affective online as it is not “real life”.

New technology and communication systems have been introduced which offer a variety of ways to communicate to a wide variety of individuals. In particular the introduction of internet relay chat (IRC) has provided a way for interpersonal discussion on politics between geographically spread individuals (Hardy & Scheufele 2005). What is unique about the internet is that it combines elements of traditional media use and interactive exchanges among citizens. In advances in technology and an increasingly rich information environment of the Internet, this is expected to produce increased levels of political participation (Couldry 2009). For example, when a voter is exposed to a great amount of information, personal contact campaigning produces a voter effect, and on the contrary, when a voter is not exposed to a great deal of information, they will usually vote a straight party ticket, even if this individual was get in touched by a campaign workers.

In my opinion, I believe there should definitely be moderation on comment threats and open forums. It is indeed peoples’ right to freely give their thoughts and opinions over discussions. However, due to the lack of positivity in the society, most people tend to take advantage of the free space given by the internet and express their feelings without thinking twice the possible consequences and results it might cost. I strongly believe one should be fully responsible for their actions. If an individual has the courage to say certain things, he or she should be prepared for all the consequences and outcomes that it might lead to. In order to create awareness to the public on the seriousness of this, I believe appropriate laws should be implemented in offenders and only this; people will start to think before they do or say certain things. Also, to minimize on the problem, computer mediated communication systems should be implemented in public chat rooms and comment spaces. For example, restrictions of allowing users to type offensive words and as well as have the comments being viewed and examined by moderators before it is allowed to be share to the rest of the public.

References

Couldry, N 2009, ‘Rethinking the politics of voice, Continuum’, Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, vol.23, no.4, pp579-582.

DeLoach, SB & Greenlaw, SA 2007, ‘Effectively Moderating Electronic Discussions’, Journal of Economic Education, vol.38, no.4, pp419-434.

Hardy, BW & Scheufele, DA 2005, ‘Examining Differential Gains From Internet Use: Comparing the Moderating Role of Talk and Online Interactions’, Journal of Communication, vol.55, no.1, pp71-84.

Selena, R 2008, ‘Jocks Against Bullies’, Sports Illustrated, vol.109, no.1, pp10.

White Bread Media

A simple and easy way to understand the definition of white bread media is just exactly like the term itself; white bread is a metaphor which refers to individuals who are usually white and media refers to how these people are being portrayed in the current social mediums. The term white bread is not necessarily racial in meaning in certain context, but often it has been misused and interpreted in a negative, abusive and racist environment (Urban Dictionary 2013).

Australia is known to be a country with multicultural background, just like Malaysia. It is often considered to be a safe and peaceful place for all races and religions, unlike Malaysia. It is pretty obvious to pick out white bread media in actions. The Australian media tend to portray more white faces in medium like TV. The non white Australians in Australia are known as “Non-Anglo” and usually when they are in TV drama medias, the non white Australians are often portrayed as negative characters such as drug dealers, bad-asses and criminals. This is particularly towards to Muslim Australians especially after September 11 and this has represented a certain stereotyping problem (Jennett 1983).

There has been public debates regarding on white bread media issues and it has reminded us just how much the media matters and influences to the society. This is due to the fact that the medias do not just reflect, but also are considered the key players when it comes to public debates by providing representations and frameworks that can shape the way we understand certain things and act towards it. It is undeniable that the media plays an important role in our daily lives and it is almost impossible to avoid it. As a result, the influence and the message which we received from the media on issues and events happening in the society can definitely change and cause a moral panic at the way we form our opinions and viewpoints (Dreher 2013).

In my opinion, there are few things that we can do to change the negative misleading effects and outcomes of white bread medias. In terms of TV mediums, we should try to watch the shows that have less white bread media effects to show our support towards the “others”. In order to move forward and search for answers to the lacking of diversity in countries with multicultural background medias, one thing that would help is probably to make sure that there are more diverse and non-stereotyped roles and choices of characters in their TV programmes. With this implementation, the media is able to start to reflect media internationally and in order to enhance a country’s global image as well.

References

Dreher, T (forthcoming 2014) ‘White Bread Media’ in The Media and Communications in Australia eds. S Cunningham and S Turnbull, Allen and Unwin

Jennett, C 1983, ‘White Media Rituals about Aborigines’, Media Information Australia, vol.55, no.30, pp28-37.

Urban Dictionary 2013, accessed 15/5/2013, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=whitebread

Digital Social Inclusion: Focus on Disability

The number of people that has disability problems is rising throughout the years. Disability can be identified into two categories, physical and psychological. Under each of the category, there are sub categories for each of them as well. For example, physical disability can be hearing and visual impairments while as for psychological disability, it mainly focuses on mental illness which leads to impairment problems such as learning and speech (Leko & Griffin 2009).

With technology advancement, people have changed their behaviors in order to keep up with new technologies. There have been improvements in the life of people with disabilities all thanks to the creation of voice text messaging, voice recognition technologies, hearing aids, advances in wheelchair functionality and robotic body parts. However, even with these innovations, the society is still lacking sufficient accessible and inclusive technologies for people with disabilities. From this verdict, it is obviously shown that people with disabilities are being neglected and overlooked as most companies do not invent or upgrade their new or existing products that have functions to aid the disables (Vicente & Lopez 2010).

With the new era of digital innovation and development in the recreation of smartphones which runs on internet based technologies, many smartphone companies are unsure whether to extend their markets to suit those with disabilities. There are solutions and innovations that are available to include functions in their products for people with disabilities. However, the reason behind companies are not doing so is mainly due to affordability and cost effectiveness for the technologies as many companies do not see a return for the investment in the niche market. Most companies acted on the motivation driven towards money instead of necessity (Goggin & Newell 2007).

An example for this digital social exclusion was the first generation of iPhone. It was a huge success even though it lacked features to aid people with blind and hearing impairments. This explains that people of disabilities are not the majority primary targets for most products in the society and companies can afford to lose and exclude the niche market by yet still making huge profit margins.

In conclusion, I think it is important for companies to realize that it is more important to focus and consider on the well-being of people with disabilities by providing them with special services instead of just purely making money. In any industry, service is the core element that satisfies and maintains customer loyalty. It is important to have technologies that cater to the entire population and not just only the majority of those who can see and hear. There is indeed a lack of realization for people with disabilities given in the context of how much we are now involved with technologies in our daily lives and thus it is immoral for us not to consider those people with disabilities.

References

Goggin, G & Newell, C 2007, ‘The Business of Digital Disability’, The Information Society: An International Journal, vol.23, no.3, pp159-168.

Leko, MM & Griffin, CC 2009, ‘Articulating Learning Disabilities in the Digital Age’, Learning Disability Quarterly, vol.32, no.2, pp70-86.

Vicente, MS & Lopez, AJ 2010, ‘A Multidimensional Analysis of the Disability Digital Divide: Some Evidence for Internet Use’, The Information Society: An International Journal, vol.26, no.1, pp48-64.

Feudalisation of the Internet

In the past of the earlier centuries, feudalisation simply means a systematic way of controlling over the societies. It is exactly like a pyramid table which the feudal lords are at the top and they are in control of all aspects of how the land is being used by following their rules and regulations. The level below is the tenants where they will have to pay rent to the lords to use the land. As for the bottom level are the peasants where they are nominally free and work for anyone who are higher than them (Leong et al. 2009). As time passes with revolutionary technology advancement, there was the birth of the greatest invention yet, the Internet.

In general, feudalization of the internet inclusive and consists of noticing and emerging issues such as copyright, regulations, privacy, surveillance, security and many more over the internet. In terms of copyright, feudalization simply means the rightful owners and corporations who own the right to certain accessible information that belongs to them. As a result, there are also the general publics who are restricted from obtaining the information without the owners’ concern (Doctorow 2011).

Copyright and piracy has been one of the major emerging issues for some time now. At the current pace, it is just going to get faster and easier for people to illegally access to copyrighted contents in the future. As some of you might have experienced, Napster used to be the leading program where it allows you to illegally download music for free. However, as for today, there are many uncountable downloading sites where it allows you to download anything from music to movies, books, software and to any kind of transferable files. Personally I believe feudalization on copyright issues can never be stopped and no matter what kind of laws and restrictions have been implemented over the years, people will still obtain free contents from the internet because they believe it is free. I think the best solution to this issue is to actually educate the people by letting them to understand how it feels if they were the other person when their rightful owned contents are being illegally obtained by others over the internet. Let the public to understand and realize the consequences of it such as loss of profit.

Another major emerging issue of feudalization over the internet is surveillance and privacy throughout the medium. This happened is due to the lack of safety over the internet and exactly of who are the people that are watching (Malcolm 2009).

With the rise of social media networks, advertisers have taken this advantage with a great gained in their profit as they make money through peoples’ personal information from all over the internet. The problem here is that these advertising firms actually have full control of who their target markets are and they tend to know about their target markets than their own best friends. A great example for this would be Facebook. Facebook has a lot of information on us from our posts, comments, likes, pictures, videos and basically every single thing we do on Facebook. At the end of the day, all these content is owned by Facebook. Personally I feel as if we are the peasants to the internet because we barely have any control or knowledge of how much information does the internet actually have on us. So in my opinion, the best solution to this is to educate and inform the people clearly on the information they share over the internet and how easily it can be actually accessed. People need to be more cautious and have the ability to take off any information that they do not wish or think it is not healthy to share on the internet at anytime and anywhere.

References

Doctorow, C 2013, The coming war on general-purpose computing, accessed 01/5/2013, http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html

Leong, S, Mitew, T, Celletti, M & Pearson, E 2009, ‘The question concerning (internet) time’, New Media & Society, vol.11, no.8, pp1267-1285.

Malcolm, J 2009, ‘The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, by Jonathan Zittrain’, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, vol.6, no.2, pp352.

Universities in Digital Age

The era of digital technology and especially the Internet has definitely changed the way we are being revolved around our environment. In the digital age of universities, everything is available online, both academically and socially. With the advancements of technology, more, or shall I say, most of the universities around the world are going digital in their fundamental teaching and learning structures.

From my personal experience, the way of how lecturers and students interact with each other has definitely evolved compare to our parents’ era. As for students, it has significantly benefited us as we can easily obtain information such as notes and instructions given by lecturers through online learning portals. We are able to submit our assessments digitally over the Internet and what is more, there are just so much of ready information and resources such as videos, audios and academic journal articles that are available online to help the students in their learning environment. Also, the trend of the common face to face communication among students and lecturers for discussions and interactions have indeed shifted to everything online in a digital format such as emails, group chats, video chats, online forums and the list goes on (Brown & Duguid 1996).

As most of you would have already realized that more and more students are taking and writing down information by using their laptops instead of pen and papers. Thus this simply verifies the biggest and the most significant difference between the early traditional and the current digital era for universities is there are less of physical elements and everything is available and can be done virtually now. This indeed has helped both lecturers and students to get things done more quickly, effectively and efficiently. In another word, making the life of teaching and learning experience so much easier at our convenience.

As have mentioned, one of the main resources that students will be associated with throughout the university life is the ability to make use and apply online academic journals in their assessments accordingly. Miller (2010) stated Internet is such a powerful tool that any information can be found over the web. Such educational environment concept is also known as MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) which simply means that the information sources are free for mass audiences (Mallon 2013).

Unfortunately as there’s a saying that nothing is actually free in this world and for this case, most of the free journals are either incomplete or non-academic. For university standard requirements, 90% of the sources must be academic and most of the academic journals are not free and it can be quite costly at times. This is to appreciate and protect the original work of the authors as it takes a lot of effort and time to finish an academic piece. One of the main concerns over the use of academic journals is plagiarism and Neylon (2013) have suggested the use of Turnitin.com where it can track and detect the originality of students’ work for conceptions of writing values.

Personally, I think plagiarism is a big deal in universities because the authors are concerned about others using their ideas to make any form of profit. We are living in a society where everyone will do whatever they can to benefit themselves from anything and usually big companies do not want us to steal their ideas and money. I believe these days it is almost impossible to have an original idea without having someone else have already said it first. Also it is because we are too lazy these days to come up with new ideas and thus we tend to rely on others to think something for us. Last but not the least, I think it is ourselves to blame for plagiarism because it is happening so often now and appropriate reasonable punishments should be applied to students accordingly.

References

Brown, JS & Duguid, P 1996, ‘Universities in the Digital Age’, Change, vol.28, no.4, pp10-19.

Mallon, M, ‘MOOCs’, Public Services Quarterly, vol.9, no.1, pp46-53.

Miller, RE, ‘The Coming Apocalypse’, Pedagogy, vol.10, no.1, pp143-151.

Neylon, T 2013, ‘Life After Elsevier: Making Open Access to Scientific Knowledge a Reality’, The Guardian, accessed 25/04/2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/apr/24/life-elsevier-open-access-scientific-knowledge