AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

When I first came across the term “autoethnography” I had initially dismissed it as another tedious, research-related term which I would struggle to comprehend and eventually get frustrated by. However, mid-way through reading “Autoethnography: An Overview” (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011), I had the realisation that the term referred to the method of using personal experiences as a means to subjectively comprehend cultural experiences (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011, pg.1), with subjectively being the key word. Because, as the article points out, “autoethnography is one of the approaches that acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research” (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011, pg.4).

 

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When I started to think about this form of research, it occurred to me that I have been an autoethnographer since I started university, although for most of the time unknowingly. Through my blog, I have been using personal experiences to gain an understanding of cultural experience. With a huge interest in film, I realized that film-makers too (especially documentarians) are autoethnographers. They reshape their own personal  and cultural experiences and use it to create a narrative which goes on to share a film-maker’s experience. 

With this in mind, I am now beginning to think about how I will use auto ethnography to gain a further understanding on Asian horror films, particularly ‘J-Horror’. As someone who is a massive fan of the 1998 classic “Ringu”, I am incredibly excited to use J-Horror as the basis for my autoethnographic research. In the coming weeks, I will hopefully zone in on the specifics of the research process and through what medium I will present it.

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Until then…

References:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol.12, no.1, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

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DIGC202- Cybercrime and Nigerian Scams

As we move into an increasingly tech-savy world, Cybercrime is becoming an increasing problem. Look at the recent leaks of Hilary Clinton’s e-mails, for example. Another example of cybercrime, which I would like to briefly discuss, is the infamous Nigerian scams.

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Nigeria has become infamous for their internet scams and are so notorious that there is a large scambaiting community, dedicated to engaging in conversations with said scammers, simply to waste their time.  Even though many are aware of a scam when they see one, there are still many who fall prey to these scams. The fact is that, as amusing as these e-mails are, they are still serious cybercrimes, which affect many people. Statistics from Scamwatch indicate that $1 390 619 was lost to Nigerian scams, this year alone.

As we move to an increasingly technological world, it is essential that people become wary and sufficiently equipped to avoid any form of cybercrimes.

DIGC202- #BlackLivesMatter and Social Media

Since the invention of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there have been many protest movements that have been either formed or boosted through the use of social media. From the Arab Spring to the Black Lives Matter campaign, many recent protests have used social media as a tool to create and spread awareness. The question that remains, however, is whether its’ truly effective.

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The Black Lives Matter campaign began in the summer of 2013, with a simple hashtag #blacklivesmatter, posted by Alicia Garza, a labour organizer from Oakland, California. It says a lot about how we take social media for granted, that a simple use of a hashtag, can evolve in the space of 4 years, into a globally-recognized protest movement. The success of the movement is also an example of how globally interconnected we have become and the significance of social media.

DIGC202- The Dark Side of Citizen Journalism

In a society where we have instant internet access and high-quality cameras on phones, the journalism industry was always going to struggle. Now, we live in an age where the line between everyday journalism and professional journalism has become increasingly blurred. Citizen journalism, for all the good it does do, does have a very dark side.

For those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 2014 thriller “Nightcrawler”, there is a very real industry of people who literally ‘chase crimes’ and film said crime scenes, which they then sell to local television networks. Now, these crime-chasers often push moral boundaries, like arriving to a crime scene before police and taking shots rather than helping victims. It’s a very dark area of journalism and worryingly anyone with a camera can participate and in this age that would be almost anyone. Everyday, we see videos of public racism, abuse and violence. The question we always ask when seeing these videos is: why are you filming when you can be helping?

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DIGC202-Battle of The (mobile) Operating Systems

Coming off Apple’s highly anticipated IPhone 7 launch a few days ago, now is a perfect time to re-examine the long-lasting battle between Apple and Android.

Everyone knows that in the market of mobile software, Android and Apple are the major figureheads. I mean, honestly, does anyone actually use a Windows phone? However, the debate still goes on, regarding who is better than who and the fight for total market dominance continues. For a number of years, particularly in the last decade, it always felt like Android were playing catch-up to Apple. Yet, in the last 5 years, Android have started catching up and the two have never been closer until now. But what are the differences?

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One of the major differences between Android and Apple is the open-ness of its operating systems. It is well-known that Apple is very restrictive with customization and general content, whilst Android is generally more open, to an extent.

 

To conclude, I’m going to leave you with a question: Do we choose safety or do we choose freedom?

 

DIGC202- Walled Garden

Remember the frustrating moment when you were in high school, when you would come across the blocked site page when trying to access sites such as YouTube or Facebook? Yeah, me too. It was everyone’s pet peeve. Talk about first-world problems.  This is what is often referred to as the walled garden, where certain areas of the internet were restricted by a particular internet service provider, such as the infamous DET portal.

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Facebook also has its own form of wall garden, in that it monitors all information and data uploaded on the platform, and will remove and censor any “dangerous” or “inappropriate” information that is uploaded. Whether we like it or not, within these “walled gardens” we are always being watched.

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MEDA102- Beginning to Code

Since the last tutorial, where we were finally introduced to the programming world through the “Processing” software, I have been hard at work through the week to try and understand specific functions and practice making simple artworks of my own.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled immensely initially in trying to make sense of the coding language. Many hours were spent in trying to figure out how to rectify the many errors that popped up and what the hell they even meant! However, through the use of the processing.org website, as well as the book “Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists” by Casey Reas and Ben Fry, I have started to comprehend a little of the various functions and language used for coding.

Although not exactly successful, I attempted with this piece to replicate the spacing of circles, much like Bridget Riley’s Encircling Discs with Black. However, as I continued to struggle with the spacing aspect of the piece, I decided to simply to my own thing and just try different elements and see what happens.

One of the important variables used for this piece was the X & Y, as they were key in me being able to incorporate more than 1 circle in the piece. I also learned that having X = width/2 is essential in the positioning of the circle and although I haven’t quite perfected my skill in doing this I believe I have taken a significant step towards mastering it.

 

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In conclusion, my first experience with Processing was immensely challenging but also hugely rewarding, as it has provided me with greater knowledge which will be immensely useful in the future

Is Freelance Work the future?

Everyone knows that desk jobs are incredibly boring and draining. Being stuck in an isolated work cubicle, for 6 hours, who really wants that? Luckily, there is an emerging market for Freelance work, which not only allows you to be your own boss, but it also allows you to work on-the-go (providing that you have internet access). So, why exactly is freelance work on the rise?

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With the increasing amount of technology available and access to internet from pretty much anywhere (except rural and country areas), it is incredibly easy for people to work outside of the office, which many would say is a great thing. I mean, who would choose working in a bland office over working outside in different areas (possibly even different countries!).

 

Freelance work, at the moment, is particularly significant in the journalism industry, which has gone through significant change in order to keep up with new technologies, bloggers and “citizen journalism”. Journalists are no longer obliged to work for one particular media outlets and can even just blog, which allows them to report things as they please.

 

Journalism, though, is just one of many industries that are associated with freelancers and you can bet that freelance work opportunities will only increase.

The Evolution of the Global Nervous System

It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet. A world without e-mails, telephones and television. But believe it or not, there was a time where the world was very much disconnected and sending information or messages was a very long and excruciating process. This all changed, with the introduction of the telegraph in 1837, thanks to Samuel Morse. Since then, the world has become increasingly closer and has led to the interconnected global nervous system that exists today.

The revolutionary invention of the telegraph in 1837 became the catalyst for further technological breakthroughs, such as the first use of an undersea cable across the English Channel in 1851 which eventually led to the first trans-Atlantic cable in 1866. This was only the beginning towards a globalised world. By 1878, the telephone was invented and bought the world even closer. However, as Lampe and Ploeckl (2014, pg.249) point out, such technologies did not just affect the societal aspect. Many professions, particularly journalism and financial-based jobs, went through significant change. The emergence of the telegraph was particularly significant for newspapers, who were “historically strongly linked to postal services”, prior to the telegraph (Lampe & Ploeckl 2014, pg.249). The telegraph significantly reduced the amount of time it took to deliver the news globally and saw many people become more interested in what was happening globally, rather than just what was happening locally.

Although I could go through every significant technological discovery since the telegraph, I would like to instead skip to the 20th century to talk about what is arguably the most important technological innovation since the telegraph: The Internet. The Internet’s history spans back to the 1962, where an associate professor at MIT, by the name of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (J.C.R), introduced his idea of a “Galactic Network” However, it wasn’t until 1993 that the World Wide Web was actually released to the public (Sheppard,2014). Developed by CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) employee Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, the internet was initially mostly embraced by those with significant knowledge in all things technology. Between 1995 and 1999, however, the general public slowly began to also embrace the internet. Once the first form of instant messaging was introduced in 1996, many began to see the internet as more than simply text. The internet eventually led to the emergence of Google, which has become an essential tool for people around the world, as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which have also changed the way we communicate to others and share information.

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Now that we live in such a connected global nervous system, where sending information or communicating to the other side of the world only takes mere seconds, it will be interesting to see where technology will evolve from here. For now, we can just enjoy what we have and embrace these various technologies.

References

Lampe, M, & Ploeckl, F ‘SPANNING THE GLOBE: THE RISE OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS AND THE FIRST GLOBALISATION’, AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 242-261.

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