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Crowdfunding – The Implications – ALC203

So here we are, my first real entry to the world of digital media. This is the first episode of ‘Corners of the Internet’ and hopefully it won’t be the last.

When I first started researching the concept of Crowdfunding for this video, I had a pretty good idea of what direction I wanted to take it in. But as I read real peer-reviewed reports, the more I realised how shallow my knowledge really was. So I did what I had hoped I would never have to do in my entire university career. I threw out my 2000 word script and started from scratch. However I feel that viewers of my new video with little knowledge on the subject matter will come out armed with some new knowledge that can empower them as creators in the near future.

One of the things I had been taught early on was that camera quality does not matter. The key idea behind this concept is that if the narrative is strong enough, the video resolution will make no difference. And while I do agree, I felt it necessary to show off some of my production chops by using a Canon 5D Mark II and a RODE Mic for the filming. The main reasoning behind this was that this video (whether I like it or not) is a part of my portfolio now that it is online and so any potential employer that may come across this will see that I have put some effort into production quality as well as narrative quality. I also decided to use mostly my own media to keep the quality consistent and using creative commons material to patch up my shortcomings, for example I sourced my music from Soundcloud as I am not a musician and could not create my own.

I faced many challenges in the making of this video but two stood out more prominently that the others. The first being daylight, trying to keep consistent lighting in all of my shots was a massive problem as I usually could not start filming until after school or work which was unfortunately the same time that the sun came down. I overcame this challenge by filming parts of my video over the course of three weeks and covering up the small lighting changes with overlay footage and colour correction. The second problem and by far the most challenging was a scene included in my original script that was eventually left on the cutting room floor despite my strenuous efforts to see it come to life. Originally, in the middle of the video there was an interview with an expert in the field of crowdfunding which would have answered some of the main questions posed in my video. So I posted on the ‘Deakin Film and Television Club’ Facebook page asking…

A screen capture by Ben Bryan, May 2017

After mere minutes, I got a reply from a crowdfunding consultant who dealt with creators who were trying to improve their crowdfunding game. Unfortunately nothing ever came of this so I was forced to try something else. I contacted a company (who’s name I won’t state here) that dealt with crowdfunding. A face to face interview had been scheduled before being abruptly cancelled by them the hour before the scheduled time. This happened twice more until they eventually just stopped replying to my messages leaving me in the dark. This was disappointing as the interview was an integral part of my piece.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned during the making of this was how much I enjoyed creating digital media. This did not feel like work to me. It felt like a hobby and a passion that I was pursuing, and I hope that comes through in this video.

So without further ado; presenting the first official episode of ‘Corners of the Internet’

Corners of the Internet – Crowdfunding from Ben Bryan on Vimeo.


My Broader ALC203 – Related Online Activity

To say that I started off on a high note would be a falsehood. I struggled to find motivation to participate in the unit activities. However, after receiving the grade my first assessment I realised that I needed to start trying. I began tweeting on a regular basis and heavily engaging online. I feel my highlight from the year was the #IfICouldCrowdfund challenge.

This video got over a thousand media impressions which is more reach than I ever dream possible before engaging in this unit. I feel as though I am more prepared than ever to create digital content online.

 


References

‘A Melbournian Sunset’ a video by Adam Rozanski December 2014 (CC BY 3.0) Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/115380659

‘Good Morning’ a song by LAKEY INSPIRED February 2017(CC BY-SA 3.0) https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired/good-morning

‘Manhattan Skyline’ a song by DeeTunez December 2014 (CC BY-SA 3.0) Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/deetunez/manhattan-skyline

‘Ocean’ A song by DeeTunez November 2014 (CC BY-SA 3.0) Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/deetunez/ocean-smooth-instrumental-hip-hop

‘Street Dreams’ a song by LAKEY INSPIRED May 2017 (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired/street-dreams

Elizabeth M. Gerber, J. S. H. P.-Y. K., 2012. Crowdfunding: Why People Are Motivated to Post and Fund Projects on Crowdfunding Platforms. 1(1), p. 3.

Griffith, E., 2014. Why startups fail, according to their founders. Fortune, 26 September.

Mollick, E., 2013. The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: An Explatory Study. Journal of Business Venturing, 1(1), p. 13.

Paul Belleframme, T. L. A. S., 2013. Crowdfunding: Tapping the right crowd. Journal of Business Venturing, 1(1), p. 11.

My Journey to The Front Page of Google

So why did I start this blog? Well, it’s a part of my assessment with the unit Exploring Digital Media: Contexts of Online Participation (ALC203) but more importantly, I am using this blog as a platform to launch my online identity. One of the first tasks that we received was to google our names and see how difficult it was to find ourselves and I noticed that many of the people around me were the first result when googling themselves and yet I was nowhere to be found on my own. This got me thinking about the direction that this world is moving and how important it is to have your own online identity not only as an animation student with an online portfolio but just as a regular person who wants to improve the way that they are perceived online. So, this blog post will essentially be talking about a lot of the things I’ve learnt so far in what I call and the basic steps ‘My Journey to the First Page of Google results’.

Look at what you have.

The first thing I looked to evaluate was the platforms I used and how I represented myself on them.

Screen Snapchat Facebook Smartphone Social Media
Untitled Photograph by Max Pixel (CC0 1.0)

I started with my primary source of social media which was Facebook and I viewed my profile from the perspective of a friend and them from a non-friend. The first thing I noticed was besides being tagged in photos by friends and family, there was no real content being displayed on there. No one could come to my Facebook and find out what I have been doing or my opinions on things, it was a bland page. Next, I moved on to Instagram, which is one of my more open accounts. I found that while the content being displayed there was worth posting and engaging for viewers to look at, there were only eight photos posted in total and almost all my followers were from my Facebook friends. The third and final social media platform I used was Snapchat, this is harder to analyse as there is no available record showing what kind of content you have posted. So, I just began taking note of the kinds of things I was more inclined to post and found that it is ninety percent just snaps of me drinking alcohol.

To say that my online identity was lacklustre would be an understatement and on top of all that, there are still many primary forms of social media that were missing from my belt (Notably Twitter and WordPress). There is almost nothing about who I am on any of these platforms and the things that people would see are not the kinds of things I want representing me. Which brings me to

Analysing successful social media stars

One of the best ways to learn something is to watch someone else do it. Or at least that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 14 years of my schooling career. We live in an age where celebrities can be born exclusively from social media without having to star in a film, sing or have royal blood. In fact, most online celebrities are just general entertainers but they all started from somewhere.

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Burnie Burns Photograph by Gage Skidmore 26th June 2014 (CC-BY-SA-2.0).

Take for instance famous YouTuber Burnie Burns he launched a successful business entirely through online content before it was even though possible. His now 14-year running business has spun off many different shows and even bought out other successful entertainment companies (Rooster Teeth, 2017).

One of the pieces of advice given by Burns was given in an interview with Indie Wire

“I feel like we always kept our core philosophy of making content that we would wanna watch…” 

-Michael (Burnie) Burns 2016 (Miller, 2016)

I took this to heart and tried posting, tweeting and snapping things that I wish would show up in my own feed. Every time a short video or post popped up that I enjoyed, I saved it to my phone for later viewing.

Connecting

A few weeks ago, I posted a poll on twitter:

Twitter Poll
Screen capture by Ben Bryan 1st April 2017 https://twitter.com/TradeBen/status/846203438635532288

While the results of this poll were slightly surprising since I was unaware of Instagram’s reach, I think the question was slightly misguided. I was attempting to find ‘the social media platform’ when I actuality, it is a flowing river of information. This is when I realised I had to link all my different profile as a network and as one unified experience. You can now find each of my social media platforms in the about or description of my profile.

Creating the content

Not only is creating content a challenge but finding the correct platform to express that content is difficult. But my general rule of thumb is Twitter for sporadic thoughts, WordPress for lengthy ideas and in-depth thoughts, Facebook for things relevant to my friends and family, Snapchat for updates on notable things I’m doing and Instagram for photos of landscapes and my friends. These are not set in stone rules but I would consider them good guidelines for when I create content and where I would like to post it.

Final Product

I started this process around 4 weeks ago at this point and I have found that the more I do it, the more find myself just actively involving myself in the social media world around me. While I cannot say that the progress I’ve made so far has been leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a month ago, I can say that every minor change or improvement I start making on my online identity will improve the overall feel to my online identity and maybe even one day, take me to the front page of google. I advise everyone reading this to google themselves and see what information they can find about themselves (if any at all) and reflect upon that by asking if that’s how they want to be viewed.

References:
Roosterteeth.com. (2017). About | Rooster Teeth. [online] Available at: https://roosterteeth.com/about/home [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].

Miller, L. (2016). Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns on Making ‘Lazer Team’ As a Gateway Drug. [online] IndieWire. Available at: http://www.indiewire.com/2016/02/rooster-teeths-burnie-burns-on-making-lazer-team-as-a-gateway-drug-65715/ [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].

Chalkley, T., Hobbs, M., Brown, A., Cinque, T., Warren, B. and Finn, M. (2011). Communication, digital media + everyday life. 2nd ed.

Smart Homes and the Death of Privacy

Imagine for a moment you walk up to your own house and open your own door and then a server on the other side of the world gets a notification. You lay down in your own bed and a pressure sensor records the exact time you lie down. Now imagine you’re in a courtroom and all of this information is pulled up as evidence of an alibi. Maybe this sounds dystopian to you but may not be as far fetched as once thought.

Smart home devices are marketed to the general public of consumers as something to make life easier, so much in fact that people are willing to overlook the information that is being collected in the process. Almost every living moment of your life is performed in front of these devices every day and yet people act as though nothing is happening, this is a level of trust that has been built between the company and consumers.

That is why many people choose to have their home appliances be turned into internet connected devices. (Townsend, Knoefel and Goubran, 2011)

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While having cameras inside a @samsungusa fridge is a “cool” idea, my kids would probably still peer inside open door for a long time!‘ a Photograph by Michael Sheehan (CC BY 2.0)

The ‘Google Home’ device collects and records every command you give it for in order to help improve its voice recognition and to provide more things that you are interested in seeing. This can, in turn, lead to a form of censorship in which we are only seeing the thing we want to see, rather than an objective view of things, this is more related to a news and political aspect but the same logic can be applied to many other things. (Saad al-sumaiti, Ahmed and Salama, 2017).

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Google Home Tech‘ a photograph by NDB Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Perhaps something that should be more alarming to people is smart home security. Nowadays, you can see every room and even who is knocking on your door from the other side of town through a camera displayed on your phone and what’s worse, you can even unlock your door through the internet as well.

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Phone Security‘ a photograph by Ervins Strauhmanis (CC BY 2.0)

It appears that many people do not truly appreciate the ramifications that come with connecting such vital things to the internet. Someone with the right skills could easily hack into the locks on your door and have free access to all of your belongings.

 

Although the first portion of this blog post has been a look at the horrific downsides of smart home surveillance, there are many ways in which the information kept by these devices can help others. For instance, an aspect of the issue that you may not have considered is how a smart home can benefit the differently abled. Having a fully automated house might be an amazing advancement for someone who does not have the physical capability to do many of the household labour jobs of the past. What was a once a job for family, friends and carers can now be done instantaneously through the power of technology (Demiris and Hensel, 2017).

At the end of the day, it is up to each of us to weigh up the benefits and pitfalls of the technology and make educated decisions about whether or not they best suit or individual case. The intention of this post was never to provide a definitive answer about the ethics of smart homes, rather evoke thought and conversation about the issue.

 

Bibliography:

Demiris, G. and Hensel, B. (2017). “Smart Homes” for Patients at the End of Life. [online] Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02763890802665049 [Accessed 5 Aug. 2017].

Saad al-sumaiti, A., Ahmed, M. and Salama, M. (2017). Smart Home Activities: A Literature Review. [online] Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02763890802665049 [Accessed 7 Aug. 2017].

 Townsend, D., Knoefel, F. and Goubran, R. (2011). Privacy versus autonomy: A tradeoff model for smart home monitoring technologies. 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. [online] Available at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6091176/ [Accessed 9 Aug. 2017].