‘But what’s happening today – the mass ability to communicate with each other, without having to go through a traditional intermediary – is truly transformative.’ How is the diminution of traditional, and often hierarchical, “authoritative” intermediaries changing the role of publishing in social life?

Technology developments intended for human interaction have continued to challenge the methods for which information is distributed and aggregated. The impact has occurred on multiple levels, influencing both the public and private sphere where publishing power has been manipulated from its former authoritative media bodies and developed towards the expressions of individuals, allowing every person to have an opinion, a story or a voice. The traditional journalist no longer acts as the soul representative and the true influencer of conformity. The way publics conform to ideas; information and general perception has effectively evolved. Individuals now hold the power to undermine the power of governments; thus the traditional form of journalism has collapsed, and is in the process of redevelopment to reinforce the notion of democracy.

Authoritative journalists originally held the true power of publishing. These figures are depicted as ‘intermediaries’. The authoritative journalists focused on holding the attention of a large general audience, allowing for media bodies to hold significant power in influencing the general public. However, Rusbridger (2010) discusses a digital revolution occurring where we bypass the media hierarchy and publish things for ourselves, where audiences now sit at the top of the hierarchy. Furthermore, mass media are responsible for the circulation of particular ideas and images, these shape thoughts and actions, thus the mass media are understood to wield discursive power. Content ‘appears in different guises and operates in different forms’ (Street 2011, p.284). It is through these different operating forms that many assert, ‘knowledge is power’ (Street 2011, p. 285). Traditional intermediaries used this knowledge to convey messages and beliefs to the passive audiences of their time. In recent times, the development of social media has allowed individuals the extension to publish beyond their previous ability, allowing individuals to connect on a global scale. This has permitted the enforcement of an individual’s own sense of information and knowledge, thus updates of news are delivered instantly through blogs and twitter. An example of this news regularity is in 2008 when disaster struck China with an earthquake claiming of 68,0000 lives. Robert Scoble report the event an hour before CNN or the major press reported the event (Scoble 2008).

In the New Economy, traditional forms of media have been forced to transform into online formats at the jeopardy of becoming irrelevant. The Sydney Morning and The Daily Telegraph have adjusted to the dramatic shift, creating online platforms in the aim of attracting different publics, thus journalism has not only diversified in content but also across platforms. Mike Shatzkin (2012) states, society is currently in the period of the eBook revolution. Moreover, Shatzkin highlights the printing industry and the very concept of print is changing due to the influence of the iPad, reiterating that bookshelf space is declining, while adding ‘anything published never dies’ (Shatzkin 2012).

This has evidently shifted towards Web 2.0 and the creation of social media, whereby people communicate without going through an intermediary. Manuel Castells states ‘the most fundamental form of power lies in the ability to shape the human mind’ (Castells 2009, p.3). The dismantling of traditional media has allowed the realisation that anybody can create, access and distribute information; furthermore, the invention of the Internet has led to an active participation in the reach for knowledge, allowing one to question the reliability and validity of another archive. Thus, one can argue that new media networks are evolving to enforce a more democratic world where media is structured to be ‘dispersed and content is pluralistic… those who exercise it are deemed representative and accountable’ (Street 2011, p. 284). David Gauntlet (2010) argues Web 2.0 is a development that betters society, letting us create and distribute our very own content. Furthermore, it has rebalanced the power between authorities and people.

The diminution of traditional intermediaries has led to an increased access to knowledge. Historically, knowledge was held as an honour, which only the rich, wealthy and royal could access. ‘To abstract is to construct a lane upon which otherwise different and unrelated matters may be brought into many possible relations’ (McKenzie 2004, p. 3). Today, with the access to archives and occurrence of free flowing information developing, abstractions will continue to increase, as people are no longer bound by geographical and economical limitations and the singular and hierarchical messages of traditional media platforms. Multiple sources can now contribute to a single concept with ease of access. Venezky (1996, p. 47) emphasises the importance the printing press has over levels of literacy; furthermore clarifying that the distribution of printed text can develop the levels of literacy and contributes to the mass ability to communicate with each other. As an increase in access to archives has occurred, benefits are made to those who were once deprived of skills and knowledge that restricted connections to assemblages. Furthermore, Venezky (1996, p. 48) reinforces this statement discussing that the expansion of access to literacy has served as an empowering method towards the people.

The tools of Web 2.0 have led towards media diversity. It can be argued; publishing enforces democracy, especially for those who are engaged with social media. Libya, Egypt and Syria are all countries that have been politically and publicly affected by the use of social media.  The Arab Spring is the media term for the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests both violent and non-violent riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010. Disputes between the traditional customs and modern interaction with media have created social revolution and political reform. Self-publishing has allowed active participants to undermine political authorities and make known an influential issue to the rest of the world. This has been the case where citizens who have been oppressed by political regimes in Egypt and Syria have utilised social media as a means for freedom as they can utilise these new forms of publication to distribute information, informing the world of their issue. This was something the average person could not previously do.

Traditionally journalist have been the soul representatives of the Fourth Estate, continually holding the responsibility of holding governments, courts and religious institutions accountable for their actions. Today authoritative media is heavily controlled, where key media figures such as Rupert Murdoch stand in a hierarchical position within the media organisation. ‘An investigative journalist’s profession is to discover the truth and identify lapses from it in whatever media may be available.’ (De Burgh 2008, p. 10). However, the hierarchical structure of media companies place a strong limitation on the role of journalists and their responsibility as the Fourth Estate. In the 21st century the cyborg journalist and individuals alike can arguably be known as the Fifth Estate. WikiLeaks, utilises a drop box system whereby whistleblowing is used to reveal the truth. It can be argued WikiLeaks is the future of investigative journalism and holds the values of the Fifth Estate closely. Furthermore, WikiLeaks has been noted as the Fifth Estate, within the upcoming movie the ‘Fifth Estate’ to be release October 11, 2013.

The arrival of the Fifth Estate will lead to many questions regarding its survival within society. There is evidently a need for journalism within society, regardless of the form; it continues to connect individuals through instituting knowledge. However, will there be a vast difference between the reports of independent individuals and professional journalists? For many individuals in society the value of journalism is decreasing, many continue to believe that journalists are unreliable. One can argue that this is the doing of media owners and their singular and hierarchical organisational structure, continuing to persuade audiences to a singular message. Furthermore, ownership has traditionally governed journalism, however with the Internet as a virtual representation of the public sphere and journalism subsequently evolving the importance to inform has never been more important, as newer organisations begin to rise and govern the Internet.

Traditional intermediaries are realising the role of the individual and how their connection to technology allows them an extended ability to publish. Recently, the altering of traditional media platforms has allowed readers to engage by submitting, sharing or commenting on stories. The North Shore Times is thus an example where the reader has the ability to share stories through Facebook, comment, like and submit their own photos or ideas for stories. This approach has been followed my numerous media outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald, Channel Ten, and Ninemsn. Programs like the Voice, Q & A and X Factor, connect the opinions of their audiences regarding the content of the show by allowing them to publish directly on Twitter, where comments appear live while the program carries on. Particularly, with ABC’s Q & A, incorporating the Fifth Estate through platforms of Twitter and Skype an individual can ask political figures questions they desire an answer before the intermediaries utilise power.

Furthermore, journalism has effectively evolved as Web 2.0 has turned a traditionally passive audience into an active audience. Dobelli (2012) states traditional journalism has led to the passivity of traditional audiences. However, today journalists must compete with the likes of Web 2.0 and engage with audiences that are continually active.

Due to the submission of stories by members of society, news stories are continually being introduced because of the ability of an individual to capture an experience or event and then publish it. Planking first developed from the likes of social media, where people photographed themselves lying down in rather weird locations. Although media bodies published in relation to planking, news of this was first published on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. After the craze went viral, and attracted the attention of participants and viewers, media outlets soon followed. On 15 May 2011, Acton Beale, a 20-year-old male, plunged to his death after reportedly ‘planking’ on a seventh-floor balcony in Brisbane. He later won a Darwin Award. Acts like this generated not only great attention from social media but also media bodies alike where articles resembling the dangers of planking were published.

With individuals now carry technologies that capture stories, the concept of news values are under threat due to the changes of publishing. (Brown 2000)The gratification model states that information, and education and escapism drive viewership and readership of the media. In society the individual reacts towards the intended message’ (Ward 1995, pp. 25-35). Evidently news has begun to develop from the simplest images and videos, resembling the personal lives of the general public. With the ability for individuals to contribute to news, democracy has been distributed over the publishing world. Traditionally, journalists published their work under a particular newspaper, however today the majority of audiences no longer seek the traditional form of journalistic structure, thus journalists are now publishing across different platforms as a way of keeping intact with different audiences.

Although there are many benefits of increased accessibility to the information of archives and the ability for individuals to use different forms of media as a way of making things known, there are many negative impacts of the changing role of publishing. The changing media landscape has transformed how content was hierarchical in its establishment, where content was traditionally censored, while delivering key messages or implications to the masses. These media bodies would target the key components of newsworthiness and offer what is engaging to the audience. In this process journalists and media bodies would filter any illegitimate information from being conveyed to the audience. It can be argued that journalism is no longer a profession; people can publish their written work on different platforms without restrictions. Thus the question can be asked, is their validity and reliability in the information we actively access online? Bloggers, photographers, opinion writers, and authors alike publish on the Internet on independent websites, it is difficult the measure whether the information is trustworthy and reliable.

Human’s personal interests are a strong characteristic towards the identity of oneself.  Although information is increasing in its availability, humans are contaminated in their search for information. Often people will seek guidance that reinstates their own belief structures. As information is continually contributed to archives, people will seek to reinforce their own opinions and beliefs. Most Popular Websites 2013 demonstrates most individuals access websites of social media primarily, while websites including MSN are listed much lower. Thus most people are accessing a network in which they a concurrently linked too. Furthermore, it is argued by Derrida (1997) that authorial groups, which selectively distributed and contain information, form archives. The world today has formed around this ideology, and through social media platforms and the ability to access the Internet, create their own social assemblage, and an archive in the process where information is selectively created and distributed.

Today, authoritative bodies fight amongst themselves for attention and the flow of power with the goal of influencing individuals within society. However, people are not only allowed to create and distribute information freely for themselves, but are encouraged to do so through Web 2.0, in turn the individual has gained greater power. This occurrence has forced authoritative intermediaries to function in a more democratic manner. Authoritative media bodies have had to alter themselves to keep up with the changing media landscape of today’s society. Furthermore, publishing has changed, maturing with the development of social life in the modern era, and with society continually evolving, publishing will continue to grow and change in different ways.

Reference List

Brown, H, 2000, A web of news virtues: how the Internet redefined journalism, accessed 02 June, 2013, <http://www.onlineopnion.com.au/view.asp?article=1128&gt;>

Castells, M 2009, Communication Power, Oxford University Press, New York.

De Burgh, H 2008, Investigative Journalism, 2nd ed, London Routledge, London.

Dobelli, R 2012,  News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier, accessed 3 June 2013< http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli>

Enszer, Julie R. 2008, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida, Blogspot, accessed 2 June, 2013, <http://julierenszer.blogspot.com/2008/11/archive-fever-freudian-impression-by.html>

Gauntlett, D, 2010, Making is Connecting, accessed 29 May, 2013 <http://www.makingisconnectiong.org/&gtMcKenzie W, 2004, Abstraction in A Hacker Manifesto, Cambridge MA; Harvard University Press.

Rusbridger, A, 2010, ‘The Splintering of the Fourth Estate’. The Guardian, accessed 29 May, 2013 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/19/open-collaborative-future-journalism/print>

Scoble, R 2008, Twittering the earthquake in China, weblog, accessed 2 June 2013 <http://scobleizer.com/2008/05/12/quake-in-china/>

Shatzkin, M, 2012, ‘Some things that were true about publishing for decades aren’t true anymore’, The Idea Logical Company, accessed 02 June, 2013 <http://www.idealog.com/blog/some-things-that-were-trueaboutpublishing-for-decades-arent-true-anymore>

Street, J 2011, Mass Media, Politics & Democracy, 2nd edition, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Venezky, R, 1996, ‘The Development of Literacy in The Industrialized Nations of The West’ in Barr, R, Kamil, M, Mosenthal, P & Pearson, D (eds)  Handbook of reading Research Volume 2, New York: Longman, Ch: 3, pp 46-67.

Ward, I 1995, Politics of the Media, Macmillan, Melborune.



It is undoubtedly true that media brings us together, it sets the agenda and the topics we discuss, it controls in every dimension the way we publish and interact with humans and non-humans. Distribution refers to any type of sharing, arranging, organising, disseminating and so on. Similarly, aggregation can refer to any method that involves bringing together distributed material. In the New Economy, money and every other valuable have been undermined through the importance of information. Distribution of this information, directs information into different channels and vast places particularly for the reasons of a person’s specific desire or intent. It is the media and the need to express oneself that continually the construction and processes of distribution and aggregation, continuously drawing new relationships in ways that have never occurred in history.

Abstractions are things that bring us together. Looking at the word abstract, the average person would think of something weird, something they possible cannot define. Abstractions are ideas, thoughts, and creations; it “may be discovered or produced, may be material or immaterial” (McKenzie 2004). McKenzie discusses that to abstract is to construct a plane upon which otherwise different and unrelated matters may be brought into many possible relations. McKenzie also alludes that Abstractions do not explain anything, they must be explained. The author demonstrates a key functionality of distribution and aggregation and unexpectedly he recreates his own abstraction, which develops the process of distribution and aggregation.

Abstraction is any form of information portrayed in a different way, specifically resembling self-expression. To create information is also to distribute information. Different publics actively seek interaction with certain materials. An example of this is occurring right now. I am a media student, thus I am actively seeking material on media studies. It is the aggregation of this information that connects us or what McKenzie alludes to as the need for an explanation. Furthermore, every publication has a specific audience. This is untied in McKenzie’s work confronting the network of hackers and an identity that must be developed and continued for they are true creators of information.

The benefits and disadvantages of evolving processes of distribution and aggregation is a topic that has been continuously argued. The evolving process of media today has influenced aggregation and distribution in what I view as an outstanding benefit to humanity.

David Gauntlet (2010) argues inventions such as Web 2.0 are development that betters society as it lets us create and distribute our very own content. Thus in my opinion they have the ability to create their own abstractions. This process develops the interactional relationship within the social body and non-human publics. Furthermore there has been a significant shift in the media landscape. People 20 years ago would tune into the five o’clock news and all receive the same message, distributed equally among different yet united audiences. The invention of web 2.0 has allowed people to actively seek the information relevant to them, it also frequency, accessibility and mobility where people can easily connect to an archive of information. Today people Thus one can argue that new media networks are evolving to enforce a more democratic world where engagement and information govern. Furthermore, it can be argued Internet has rebalanced the power between people. New online archives enforce newer systematic ways of learning. With the occurrence of free flow information, abstractions will increase, as we are no longer bounded by the singular and hierarchical messages of traditional media platforms.

Although I personally agree with David Gauntlet and his opinion there are also the consequences of a world where information networks govern interaction (Guilaud 2010).  Attention is limited. The aggregation of information will not always occur. Attention is the underlying factor, simply because of its vast limitation.. A persona cannot expect a billion views on a Youtube video.  What I like to call the War of Attention will be a continuing conflict in the future where not just traditional and modern media platforms will compete with each other for attention but where content will compete with its competitors. Thus attention will continue to be scarce however, will continue to develop as a major power in the flow of the world. New media networks appear to many to be leading us into a period where democracy is reinforced by web 2.0 however, Danah Boyd deems “switching from an economy of distribution to one of attention is disruptive, but that does not inherently mean it is democratizing as one so often hears” (Guillaud Hubert).

Gauntlett, David (2010), Making is Connecting, <http://www.makingisconnecting.org/&gt;.

Guillaud, Hubert (2010) (on Danah Boyd) ‘What is implied by living in a world of flow?’, Truthout, January 6, <http://www.truthout.org/what-implied-living-a-world-flow56203>

Wark, McKenzie 2004. ‘Abstraction’ in A Hacker Manifesto, Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Press: Paragraphs 001-023


Information governs the new economy. It keeps us socially connected with our peers, influencing how we interact with our everyday life and the information culture we share with others, allowing us to be mentally and socially active constructive to our personal identity. But how does the way we perceive information govern our identity?

In particular, my group and I decided to measure the amount of gold medals Australian athletes had received relative to the amount of athletes that participated under the Australian flag in the Olympic game, the overall rank of Australia on the medal tally, and the percentage of gold medals received by Australia relative to the total medals received by Australia.

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 11.40.13 PM

Thus we made a trend of increasing gold medals Australia has received visible. Furthermore, we aimed at demonstrating the positive influence of the AIS from 1984 onwards and its impact on Australian performance at the Olympic games since 1984.

The inspiration for this visualization came from the perception that Australia had performed significantly bad at the London Olympics in 2012. The visualization thus aims at also making visible that at the London Olympics Australia did not perform as badly as the Australian public had thought. Thus the visualization is directed towards the general Australian public, primarily because to some degree interest is shown on Australia’s performance in the Olympics.

The general perception on the trend is that Australia did poor to average in the London Olympics 2012. This was revealed to us through a number of sports articles during the London Olympics as well as a survey we had created and distributed amongst the public and our friends on Facebook. Some headlines include: “have we failed our athletes or have they failed us”, “Australian athletes have not been up to it”, “Australia left wishing its Olympic athletes cried tears of gold”, “the verdict: its been a right bang-up job”, and “Australia’s lost Olympic edge”.

Forming the visualization, we aimed at making a positive perception of a real life event, well known around the world. To do this data was portrayed in an authoritative way, where the graph represents an upward motion. Thus when viewed properly the visualization highlights the AIS has potentially had a negative impact on the Australian participation in the Olympic Games, this was highlight as out of 100 athletes the number of gold medals decreased from 4-2. This goes against what has been made visible in the visualization.

Thus the visualization makes something else slightly visible, that is; how authoritative data can manipulate the truth, ones perception and enforce conformity to a general idea.

In the Real World

Content is subjective. Content is simply some form of expression that mimics the thoughts and processes desired by its creator. Writing my blog is subjective, but today writing or speaking is no longer our primary method of transmitting a message to another individual. Music is another one of these contents and forms of expressions and it is clear by listening to music it can change your emotion in a heartbeat. Humans are known for mimicking the content they are exposed to. When we watch a sad movie continually using motivated signs, many will cry and when we watch an action film we are at the ends of our seat waiting to bust the bad guy. Vjing is something similar, it is the creation and manipulation of imagery of some form presented within the real time towards the social body.


Initially, visualisation was published in image form, just like how the data itself was presented. The visualisation was static, and if there were changes in the data, it had to be recreated. However, the development of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) including animation allows the visualisation to be presented in a more dynamic way. By using animation, an additional dimension is added to the visualisation, which is time. Initially, time was represented as a timeline or an axis in a chart, such as this article that discusses top income shares in the US. With animation, changes in data can be viewed immediately, which also leads to another discovery of patterns. Last blog’s YouTube video about flight pattern is a great example of how the data changes throughout a period of time. By using animation, we can see which direction the planes are moving and when the traffic becomes busy. By using animation, we are also able to compare data in an interesting way, like this video about wealth distribution in the United States.

Visualisations first occurred in art and image forms. Visualisation was static and as information developed, changed and progressed, visualisations had to be recreated. Development of new technologies like Computer Generate Imagery are allowing information to be portrayed in a more connecting, real and engaging way. CGI effectively incorporates another key dimension that communicates life to a viewer. It is time. As newer dimensions are continually being added to the creation of visualisations it will be interesting to see what will come in the future and to see how information will be portrayed even more aesthetically appealing.

Last year famously the appearance of a dead man on a stage motivated uproar from a concert and the media of the world. The appearance of the famous Tupac Shakur at Coachella 2012 did this in ways that no one had previously imagined, performing multiple hits in front of a hundred thousand people. Visualization is data represented more aesthetically appealing. This week my visualization will be due and I will represent a piece of data possibly utilizing six different dimensions to convey a piece of data more aesthetically appealing. In every year since 1996 Tupac Shakur has been dead. The data, information about his life, his range of poetic, life guiding, touching and also violent songs encoding his controversial death have placed his life story and interesting personality on the Internet. This complicated next level VJing method goes beyond the nominal VJ or DJ mixtures, it complexly encodes data in not just a way that is aesthetically appealing to women (with his top off) but in a way that makes data real, in a real time that converses not just knowledge but experience, memory, authority and what some may deem as fake life, real fake life or what i think of as an augmented reality.

Visualisations have been made to represent data more aesthetically more appealing yet what if this data could be made real where people don’t just witness information or acknowledge the existence of information, it goes beyond the norms of everyday life and changes your life in to something you have never seen before and it becomes real? Before you read on stop for one minute and think about the experiences you have had in your life, any memories that possibly come first. Think about reliving this once again in the real world, would it really be real? All information has a source. The source of my knowledge of Football came from playing 16 years of the game yet viewing a game or a video of when I was younger playing soccer can make me remember but it cannot make me relive the situation. This is my opinion on the aesthetically influencing information that we have already lived through, but what about what we haven’t witnessed and what we don’t know. Are these pieces of information being conveyed through visualization methods, which effectively make them real in the lives of many or is this just the simple mistrust of the human body towards visualization?

Making THINGS Visible

Forms of expression and content regarding visualization are increasingly popular within today’s visual society. Meanings of visualization have the possibility to be manipulated; therefore, a visual can act as a semiotic, symbolising a meaning relative to a situation or experience, idea or concept. A single visual can be diversified across different experiences, environments and contexts. This allows us to ask what is the relation between information and forms of content, expression and the social?

Increased exposure develops likeliness towards a certain stimuli. This is a statement that has been analysed and critiqued in psychological research through a great number of psychologist, including Zajonc who in the 1960s found exposing familiar stimuli demonstrated positive ratings among subjects. The theory has been imbedded by many to increase exposure under the conscious awareness level allowing for greater likeliness towards a product, and yes it has been used in Australian media before. The video below shows how the ARIA Awards used subliminal advertising as a technique to “reinforce” the partner’s sponsorship.


Perception, whether subconscious or conscious, is fundamental to how we form relationships with everything around us. In my opinion the relationship between information, forms of content and expression and the social, is perception. But if the visualization can be manipulated to impact us without knowing, the social implications it will have on society will be vast and some might say we will become mind-controlled zombies where they “deceive us with an illusion”. Thus the simplest visualization can shift and shape us all through the way it is communicated and published, but if subliminal exposure can shift our favour of something, will this deprive our individuality and judgements or things.

“The dashed line in use” shows how the use of a dashed line is manipulated to an environment or experience. It is my opinion that our conscious awareness and perception identify and link this visualization to its category. The information of visualization can be interpreted individually, meaning each person can have his or her own idea on what visualization means. In another sense communities and the social obtain a simple and shared interpretation of what visualization signifies.

In the dashed line article its highlighted the dashed line is used for different things and it is our communal interpretation, influenced by external factors associating its meaning. This allows a visualization as such to become easily identifiable, making the invisible become visible. Thus they have become something of a rule to how we conform to social standards, contributing to the organised implementation of visuals.

But does this conformity take away from our individuality? Referring back to perception, I would say no, purely because a visualization does not have to be looked at from a single angle, there may be a dominant angle taken however the individual still has the ability to consciously interpret the visualization as what they want.

Visualisations occur everywhere. Everyday there are new Facebook pages hosting different memes. A meme to me is a picture with some large simple writing accompanied by a humorous picture that makes you laugh. This is my individual interpretation of a meme. This is also highlighted in the article “how does 200 calories look like?” The article shows different plates of food, each containing 200 calories. However, without this information portrayed aesthetically appealing, interpretation would be vastly different of what does 200 calories look like.   One can also and yet although I am a single individual I would still say this is the common perception of what a meme is.  Looking at it from another angle I could also say memes are pictures designed to humiliate and make fun of political and social occurrences or characters. This shows how we are able to look at things in different ways.

A high number of people learn through visualization, personally I think people today are increasingly becoming more visual in their design, through their interaction with their environments, e.g., Facebook and Instagram. With these increasing social networks occurring and their significance through out the world innovation such as the Google Glass may offer a new contribution to the visual world allowing things that were previously invisible visible. However, if everything we see is interpreted or perceived, in real time do we really see or is it our mind that constructs our reality?

[online] Arnell, Timo (2006) ‘the dashed line in use’, http://www.nearfield.org/2006/09/the-dashed-line-in-use

[online] Debord, Guy (n.d.) Unity and Division Within Appearances’, The Society of the Spectacle  http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/3.htm [read parts 54-61]

[online]  information graphic. http://infosthetics.com/archives/2007/01/how_does_200_calories_look_like.html


Attention Shoppers in the New Economy

Commons is the way of the future. Information has continually served as important to all aspects of life. In the world today, focusing on developed nations, information has become vital product, highly valuable to those who can utilise information. Commons have been formed as an assemblage, constructing themselves of people distributing and receiving resources while working towards a shared goal (Meretz 2010).

Commons are resources that include natural resources, cultural resources and information that is continually accessible to all participants of society. It has been argued that information and knowledge are consistently a part of the commons. The argument behind this is that knowledge and information should be shared and free primarily because unlike material data information can be transmitted to different communication channels where it is distributed and aggregated. Today Youtube and Wikipedia are examples of commons, designed to be free and distributed to those who seek information. The purpose of this is to improve the level of knowledge in society, in what could be the standardization of the 21t century through Web 2.0

If you have ever seen the movie “The Social Networka scene will come to fruition where a group of Facebook administrators are working within a house in California, playing, drinking and doing a whole bunch of stupid things. Successful corporations around the world like Google and Facebook are symbolised by their non-hierarchical structure, allowing workers and employees a freedom unparalleled to traditional media. This demonstrates the significance of the commons’ concepts and the imbeeded sense of freedom within the idea of the commons.

The commons ideals are fundamental to success in the future through targeting “attention shoppers.” “The currency of the New Economy won’t be money, but attention” (Goldhaber 1997). Goldhaber states the economies of industrialised nations have shifted dramatically where employment focuses around dealing or mangling with information in some form. He calls this the “Information economy.” Over the last several weeks, discussions have occurred between students regarding archives, assemblages and what seems to be an unlimited source of information. Economy refers to the study of the allocation and usage of scarce resources, therefore it is impossible information can be this scarce resource, it is society its self and the attention to mediums, publications and information that serves as the scarce resource. This has lead to an economical shift from what was a material based economic model to what is now know as the Information Economy.

Attention has behaviour and characteristics of its own, it is a system that is not replicated in humans acting as a connection to a global network where without attention we are zombies. Yet, attention does not occur without distraction, a method in which I view as the process, method and event where attention is shifted or manipulated towards something new. What possibly could this something new be? Well while writing this blog I visited Facebook about three times and I also shut the laptop off twice, going to lunch and classes. Attention and distraction act as a simultaneous relationship, working of one another. The system links us to the world and connects us to a network. Advertisers are aware of the economy of information. Techniques targeting human emotion control our attention and change our attitudes towards something. They continually distract me.

But has the information age and the development of what Goldhaber refers to as the ‘New Economy’ affected the process of attention and distraction and has their been social implications because of this? Simply put, the process of attention and distraction is a process which occurs in the mind, it is not a process that I believe has in its true characteristics change however the external environmental factors and features have caused new battles not just between old media and new media but between the new media and itself. Furthermore, Sigmund Freud highlights through his theory people continue to have unconscious motivations which transverse to their conscious state. This is related to how people interact with their desired mediums and influence the focus of attention as well as the distractions, which occur around this formation. However, there are many factors that influence attention and distraction. Memory is key to this theory. Memory allows us to continually be familiar with something. We as humans are constantly distracted to the things we love, distracted to play the sports we love, distracted to go on Facebook while doing work, this is the same as recognition which all act as simple yet integral parts to the theory of attention and distraction.

The ideals of the commons demonstrate their importance when regarding attention and distraction. In the above examples it is demonstrated that creating some distractions while an overhauling focus of attention on particular information provides an effective method for achievement. This is similar to the battle of infotention. “Infotention is a word….to describe the psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today, a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters.” – Howard Rheingold (2009).

Corporations and companies have continually aimed at targeting the attention of publics through distraction methods towards a certain archive. Therefore the ideals of the commons are an integral part in achieving success in the future. Commons is the way of the future. In my opinion there are the same amount as distraction as there was before technology ever existed, however attention and distraction has been manipulated through the New Economy where commons have formed an assemblage, constructing themselves of people, through distraction and attention, receiving resources while working towards a shared goal.

However, underlying the New Economy is a problem pure in complexity. The development of peer-peer networks where one can distribute information has become a problem and debate source between the economy and the commons. Intellectual property and copy right laws have held the right to gain profits fro the contents they have created, furthermore with these laws being placed on content by professionals it is evident that constructors of content or publications need financial support to maintain their production and publication. With the rise of the New Economy will quality content die?


Michael H. Goldhaber (1997) ‘Attention Shoppers!’, Wired,http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.12/es_attention.html

Meretz, Stefan (2010) ‘Ten Theses about Global Commons Movement’, P2P Foundation,  http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ten-theses-about-global-commons-movement/2011/01/05

NPR (2010) ‘The Price of Putting Your Brain on Computers’,http://www.npr.org/2010/12/29/132369113/the-price-of-having-your-brain-on-computers

Rheingold, Howard ‘Infotention Skills: From Information Overload to Knowledge Navigation’, http://www.rheingold.com/university/pages/infotention-webinar.php

Rheingold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful Infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’,SFGatehttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=46677

Yoffe, Emily (2009) ‘Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous’ Slate,http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2009/08/seeking.html

Archive Fever

The archive is more than the accumulation of historical records or the place where they are located. Archives are systematic assemblages where data is contained for the purpose of one’s desire of information. Effectively, archives have the ability to act as a tool of expression and develop its content, primarily because producers, publishers and “produsers” that connect with it manipulate archives. In the modern era archives have moved on from its traditional role of accumulating records. Today archives can be located in the form of databases, software, media libraries and so forth. Each archive relative to its particular assemblage signifies its individuality from other archive assemblages particularly because of the way content is expressed, contained, structured and dispersed.

Archives simply have an authoritative influence over many factors that govern the principles of everyday life. Archives have manipulated the way we remember and form identities. Historically, in ancient times the method of remembering certain traditions, practices and stories were primarily constructed through oral tradition. This also formed a culture, which closely associated with these constructions and their social implications on their populations. The long history of the Aboriginal people has been categorised by this influence of oral tradition and has vastly impacted the memory and identity of these people. Another example occurs within the historical recordings of Herodotus, said to be the first historian. Herodotus heavily relied on the stories and interpretations of historical events such as the Persian Wars from the people who were in presence. Also, this period influences the way we remember; no longer do we remember by speaking to each other, we learn by recording and saving or preserving. His recordings would soon develop a sense of archive, in its traditional interpretation as an accumulation of historical records or the place they are located. Essentially, archives demonstrate their self-fulfilling and preemptive nature, as this is one of their most interesting aspects. The power of an archive to manipulate memory and identity has inevitably influenced the future of archives and their position and dominance within media and technology.

An archive as a systematic tool of categorisation eventually takes up the formation of its content and their expressions. The significance of an archive as an assemblage is not entirely embedded in the information and data it contains. Accessibility and communication to publics are a fundamental basis to the social implications, its assemblage and the desire we have to engage with content.

Walking into my garage this morning I discovered my father’s old filing cabinets. Looking through the filing cabinet was interesting typically discovering photos and business documents. Its compelling to think that today the domestic filing archive has been replaced by the of modern media platforms including hard-drives, email accounts and USB sticks. These platforms develop their own role as an archive where we store information for the reason of our desired retrieval. Retrieving information and connection with content highlights the design of portability. Thus I can access the same or different pieces of information on different platforms through demands of accessibility, frequency and mobility and socio-technical forces, driving convergence.

Archives through their authoritative figures and socio-technical forces have allowed us to interact through different platforms and develop our desire to distribute and publish information across different borders. Data distribution, accessibility and mobility are all aspects constructed into the innovation of the Google Glass but where will the future of archives be?


One thing is certain as the development of archives continues; all humans will continue to have a need of some sort on archives. Archives have constructed the way we re-access information and categorise it, and thus made us highly efficient. These new innovations have continued this efficiency however the question remains that how discouraging can these innovations be to our lives and our privacy and where is the line between virtuality and reality in a population influenced by the interest in details.

There is a need and a personal relief from the populations of the modern era when information is categorised and organised. Everyone does it, we construct things in alphabetical order or number them 1 to 1000 such as lists. Today I have my music library categorised by alphabetical order according to the artists I have in my music library and I have my email categorised by how recent the email is. Archive fever suggest the existence of competition between the most desired information and information which interests our engagement with publishing. My phone book and all the contacts I have in there are syncronised with their Facebook profile picture; my music library barely has any mishaps in the information of the songs or albums they come from. This is nothing less than an example of the authoritative power archives have over us and give to us, which allow us to construct our identity.

Derrida, Jacques (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression Chicago:University of Chicago Press

Parikka, Jussi (2013) ‘Archival Media Theory: An Introduction to Wolfgang Ernst’s Media Archaeology’ in Ernst, Wolfgang Digital Memory and the Archive Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1-22