Lectures & Seminars
Unit 0: Invisible Technologies 2nd-4th October 2018
Technologies are everywhere and surround us in everyday life, many of which are invisible to our thoughts. We subconsciously interact with the media and different technologies across several divisions and sectors with the majority of which privately storing the information of users without us consciously being aware of it happening. These invisible technologies could shape the way that we think, feel or act around a media or product, the idea of a “user friendly” database can be another mechanism used to collect and harvest data around the way we lead our lives.
Technological literacy has allowed us to communicate across several boundaries, it encompasses several factors which influence the way that we view and think about not only the media but one another. Writing can be classified as a technology for a number of reasons it artificially and intentionally evolves through being created and developed, alongside this it is formed by a set of material devices and techniques and finally it serves a purpose.
Ong. W (1982) Orality and Literacy investigates the bond between oral communication and literature contrasting the evolution between phonetic and written development. It attempts to analyse how spoken word aids written language yet at the same time how works can contrast and change. The text looks into human communication across time and the difference between spoken and written language. Orality can exist without writing but not vice versa so conversation is created prior to written analysis. Scholars later analysed written literature over oral communication, however later found that oral texts were still scholarly just not written down. From the mid-sixteenth century onwards, a complex relationship was found between written and spoken word. The text assembles that oral and written communication work together to allow the human conscious to harmonize to allow several factors to grow including science, arts and philosophy.
The evolution of language developed to have an impact on communications and the media. Decoders which have been inscribed across publications signal specific ideas or notions. This has allowed the evolution of language to influence human interaction including the creation of emojis and emoticons, ultimately leading to invisible technology having an impact on our day to day communication.
Unit 1: Technological Determinism 9-11th October 2018
Human interaction with technology pre-dates modern times and has been a part of human interaction and living for longer than what we ourselves understand. Technologies and society are integrated in complex circuits of interactions and relationships that makes it impossible to isolate one from another. Networks and systems are created across several areas and boundaries, allowing human and technological communication to grow and expand. Technology surrounds us in our day to day activity, this can be seen with the creation of robots which are cognitive and emotionally capable alongside allowing them to live and work within society, the idea of this has been explored by several inventors and marketed as an aid to human living however the true dangers of what may become of this are unknown.
The network goes beyond us and are mapped in completely different ways. The relationship is entwined and interspersed with different meanings, we may read these in several ways; this was explored by Hall (1973) which states that we encode and decode texts dependent on our views of the readings, this was known as reception theory.
Dourish & Bell (2011) established that Ubicomp is the third wave of computing. It is built around myth and mess as is diverse in its implementation, attempting to create a new way of thinking and working with technology. The text discusses the integration of technology into our lives, however a key fault is the assumptions that are made with how humans will continue to work alongside machinery.
The key issue with technological interaction with humans is that alternatives to narratives are not applied so the continued growth of machinery and development alongside human interaction is undermined and affordance is needed to fully understand how we can continue to use technology to our advantage.
Unit 2: Media Ecology 16th-18th October 2018
Understanding the media is a clear extension of man. The evolution of media technologies has allowed society to grow on several levels, transcending times and creating new formats for which we can communicate. We should ask ourselves how the relationships between technology and society work to form systems in which communities and people can grow and develop alongside the media.
“The spoken word was the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way.”- Marshall McLuhan
The quote above can enficise the development of media ecology and how we as users of such technology can grow and change to adapt to newer environments and uses of technology. Understanding how the media can control us at the same time as developing society, Marshall McLuhan changing the way society thinks and feels about new development.
Media evolution and mutations has led to a variety of mediums becoming instinct to our usage. Technology becomes outdated and therefore leads to a need for change in the consumerist society we live in. Media hybridization and remediation links mediums together and enables a continuum of growth to be had. Overall, technology has come to the era of competition and natural selection with branding and marketing continuing to create newer and more heightened technology to grow with our need for the media.
Unit 3: Power, policies and governance. 23rd-24th October 2018
The concept of the media’s control and power over us as citizens is an on-going debate across the media and political industry. Several issues have been found around how our data is used and the reasons behind how the media tracks our activity. The creation of copyright laws and infringements, who builds these rights and allows us as users to continue using, creating and manipulating the media. But overall, how is out data useful?
Sandra Braman investigated how and why rights were put in placed. She explored the ideas of copyright and use of information across several countries, specifically Brazil. This led to her finding a direct link between democracy and shaping the data, several things used in everyday life need to be validated and the using of our data is a contraflow between us as users and several businesses. This can lead to consumerism so that it grants access to data on a platform which involves us being sold several different factors dependent on what we share with the media. Media governance is highly important in forming a regime which can be followed by the users on a national and international front.
The concept of power, policies and governance across the media is vital in further development of our industry. The continuous need for privacy however will oppose how the media uses our data. Overall, we as users are the most important people but once we agree to conditions there is really nothing much we can do about how and why our data is used.
Unit 4: Split Realms of Hard and Software 6th-7th November 2018
The division between hardware and software has become a long contested thing within the media industry. How much should we be trusting technology with and are we aware of how controlled our lives have become by the media? Since the new millennium the evolution of modern technology has surpassed initial expectations and how computing works within society is as widely debated as how software systems are being used throughout several platforms. A key example of this would be the development of the iOS cloud a system exclusive to Apple users and allowing the brand to continue to create and develop new technology whilst not being contained to a public forum, this has allowed the iPhone to become one of the best modern technologies around the world.
The initial concept of several software’s is that they mimic what we use in our everyday mondane lives, this can be seen with the layout of Microsoft Word which uses rhetoric to create a platform familiar to its users and allows them to feel comfortable with the initial plan of the document they’re creating. This can be seen on a several levels as technology is continuously being taught around the world. Interfaces allow this to happen as we can openly interact with media on platforms and surfaces which are familiar to us as users, creating a development which has allowed for newer technology to branch out and software to become more familiar to us.
Overall, the links between hardware and software are continuing to grow and have become an important link in allowing media to grow globally. The geographical networking which is happening across technology and has allowed us to further our understanding of why media is evolving and adapting to varying cultures and its need to furthering a modern society.
Unit 5: Silicon Blood 13th-14th November 2018
The creation of Silicon Valley has caused severe issues with the evolving factors it has on technology. The current technological climate is being controlled from one city, one country which then dictates the entire process of data around the world. This has since caused protest around the legitimacy of the media and how they share our views around the media. With this in mind technology recently has been designed to link to users’ needs and wants, ultimately changing the reasons behind a medium is successful.
Silicon Valley establishes the needs of a westernised audience and therefore creates media tailored towards such, this has an effect on the global standpoint of technology and how we should use it. Further damages are being made on a global scale and there is nothing being done to stop such as thing, this therefore has an impact on both the economic and environmental welfare of the global south.
Telecommunications involves storing info within a cloud (software) and sees the connections of technology and memory. We as users of the media link the rhetoric of the cloud with modern media furthering our usage of data due to the availability of such software. This however, brings up the issue of ethics as our continued use in the western world is having a dramatic impact of the global economy and environment.
Overall, the further evolution of media technology continues to raise issues of environmental well-being and whether it is in our best interest to continue to harvest materials from the global south to benefit our consumerist society. To change this, we must look into the political economy and the perspective of those placed most in danger by our continued usage.
Unit 6: Hardware, Antennas and Drones 20th-21st November 2018
The evolution of technology has led us to a current time in which new developments have altered not only the way we think about using the media but how it effects our mondane lives. The recent investment into drones has ultimately caused an issue within how and why they should be used, as civilians our lives and data are tracked on a daily basis, allowing global communications to see what everyone is doing on a regular scheme. The real issue with this however is the fact that many believe we are not one hundred percent in control of the actions of technology and do not fully understand how we use these in our general lives as recently drones have become used for military operations and tracking a purpose which initially was not planned.
For many drones seem crucial in an evolving society in which information is key. Primarily designed to link data and interact with other hardware the ubiquitous computing age has allowed their purpose to evolve and change dramatically. This form of activity relies heavily on infrastructure of hardware and software, working together to read and make sense of the data collected.
This can then be linked with us beginning the third age of computing. This continued push for ubiquitous technology can link to the developing world and needs which we live in. We have moved rapidly from the initial concepts placed forward about technology and the development as such has effected the way we think and feel about technology and as we move forward continuously creating new devices the real question is what comes next?
Prototype Report: 3rd December 2018
Following market research into social media usage, we created a website which aimed to help university freshman discover local events and social gatherings. Prior to creating the design for our website, we conducted audience research in the form of surveys to understand our target demographics needs and desires. Whilst looking into other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to garner a general knowledge around the appearance and features of the medium.
Prototype and Architecture
The homepage is the first screen that users see, this allows them access to the website through creating their own account. Once logged in the user comes to their personal forum page. This contains various options for the viewer to explore the content of the website alongside creating their own profile and interacting with fellow consumers of the website. The forum allows the user to openly arrange events, a key function of the website and the primary way in which users will meet with their friends through our social media platform. The gallery allows individuals to see pictures that themselves and others have posted from events linked to their personal account, this increases the sociable aspect of our website. The map attached to the account will allow users to find the places in which the events will take place, this will make it easier for new students to navigate the city. The table lists upcoming events detailing dates and locations, allowing easier options for planning. We have also thought about the customer service aspect of the website by adding a contact us feature which allows consumers to contact the makers directly with issues or problems that they come across from using the website.
McLuhan’s tetrad can explain the functions of a prototype within a technology-based environment. Tetrads can allow us to analyse our everyday use of the media and can increase the awareness of our environment and give us a better understand of how we shape our tools alongside how they shape us establishing the concept that technology can affect our environment and the way we interact with technology changing how we think about ourselves and the media, something which McLuhan’s tetrad attempts to explain through its four effects. Our prototype enhances the capability of communication between users through its several features, allowing people to meet openly, arrange events easily and meet new people, a factor which many people find difficult when beginning their university career. The model we create combines aspects of several different social media platforms so would be placed in competition with current models which we researched prior to creating our prototype. Therefore, it could be argued that this would create obsolescence of the aforementioned social media platforms. This social media platform could potentially reverse the opportunity for social interaction however, as it relies on the use of technological based interaction as opposed to creating a tangible interaction between users.
Funding Options and Financial Possibilities
As the medium is like other social media, in the fact it is free to use; it will require revenue through generating users to continue to fund the development of the website. Venture capital is an effective way of jump-starting a business alongside the earliest form of our social media being seed-funded by student unions which hold similar values when it comes to a desirable university experience. We would also be reliant on advertisement from sponsors who attract the interest of students. The possibility of growth and expansion with the website requires the usage by students and newcomers to the specific city, in this circumstance Sheffield. Social media developments would allow individuals to converse between one another alongside advancing upon the event planning functions of the website. This could include the introduction of an app alongside the website which several other social media platforms currently have and a key aspect which allows the medium to become multi-platformed and used by a wider audience.
Reflective Report: 3rd December 2018
Across the last eight weeks I have been working in a group with three coursemates to finalise, market and create a media platform. We came together initially to plan out the project proposal and decide on which medium would benefit the skill-sets which we have alongside how we would manufacture it within the coming weeks, landing on the idea of creating a social media webpage. To start with we reviewed several different options of ways in which we could actualize the website we wanted to create, initially discussing several options such as GitHub, Adobe XD and WordPress we agreed that the best option would be Atom a coding medium which would allow us to create a working product whilst still looking aesthetically genuine through using html (hypertext markup language) for content and CSS code for the stylesheets.
Working collaboratively, we broke down the ideas which we believed would work best in the website and divided roles between each other to make the process of manufacturing a social media as smooth as possible. From here we began to manage our individual sections of producing the medium, working cohesively to support the design and creation of the overall platform. To support this, I carried out market research in the form of a survey to garner the overall user experience when it comes to social media and finalise upon features which should be included in the finished product. From this we were able to construct and begin to format a social media which would be used by our target audience of students.
The relevance of the product for the media is still an ongoing debate, many individuals cite social media as the main cause behind our world becoming more technology based and the decrease in human interaction. To combat this, we attempted to create a media which involved events planning and meeting individuals with similar interests and hobbies to combat the anti-social stigma placed upon social media platforms. As a group we should have looked further into the benefits of the platform to businesses and investors, this would have enabled us to grasp an understanding of the relevance of the data we were collecting.
The outcomes of this specific assignment have allowed me to further my understanding of technology within modern society. Creating our own social media platform has instilled a sense of curiosity as to how and why we use the media in our everyday life. My personal knowledge of media technology has been benefited through furthering my understanding of the data and coding required to create a working product, collaborating with others who have similar goals, aspirations and mindsets made it easier to resolve challenges and create a working product. Our main struggle was figuring out the branding and overall style of the social media we wanted to create, being individual was a crucial aspect to this so we worked on designing a style which we all agreed on whilst including the primary features we had previously discussed this allowed us to come to a conclusion on the aesthetics and practicalities of the model in a quicker manor.
Overall, I am happy with the finished product that we have created. I have found the assignment testing to our abilities whilst still enjoying the overall process of manufacturing a working medium. The knowledge gained has added a new skill to my prior experiences, I have enjoyed collaborating with other like-minded individuals on a professional project and utilising our skillsets throughout.
Initial Thought Process 17th October 2018
This section of my blog is dedicated to the creation, ideas and thoughts around the prototype for assignment one of Media Technologies. For this module I have been asked to develop my own form of media this can be a mobile app, a website, an online game, social media platform etc. We can use the various sources that the university has to offer including Raspberry Pi, cameras, computers etc. as well as purchasing or borrowing other pieces of media which we may need. We will be presenting the prototype as a new form of media which can be used by the public, we will also need to post about the prototype that is being created- how it works, the positives and negatives of it, the challenges I faced during the development process etc.
So initially I was terrified of the assessment being placed in front of us as third year Media students. The whole process of creating our own medium, thinking about the positives and negatives around what we should create and overall how we will do so.
Once I finished up the initial seminar class which involved us speaking about the first assignments and its requirements, following this I decided to work alongside a friend of mine who had prior experience with working on social media platforms alongside creating various production-based pieces. I then decided to work alongside two fellow course-mates who I believed would benefit our team with their creative stylings. Working together we came up with the concept of a Sheffield based social media platform.
We decided to go over the logistics of creating a website and the platforms we would initially use, Charlotte came up with the idea of using Gitbox a coding device which we could use to create the initial format of our social media website. Following a conversation with our course leader however we quickly decided to change the platform we used to create our social media website, choosing to change to Atom a more familiar site to the four of us and an easier device to create the ideas that we had thought of.
Overall, following my initial thought process helped me to map out what I wanted to create for the final assessment. I hope that over the coming weeks my group can collaborate to finalise our ideas and initiate a strategy which will allow us to create the best website possible within the time constraints.