The end.

The points of reflection raised in the past eight weeks have been very interesting and engaging. Each of us has had the possibility to look at different angles of effects and characteristics of media industry.

What mostly fascinated me are the profound consequences of media convergence in everyday life, in the reality we know and experience.

Having it all around, growing up in such a cultural and technological context, evolving and changing together with the environment, we didn’t pay too much attention when the music tapes slowly disappeared, being replaced by CDs at first, Ipods then. We didn’t realize how deeply our perception of the world would change once the internet would regularly be available at our desks.

‘Millennials’, linking to my first post, is the term which refers to those who experienced the ‘before’ and ‘after’ internet. Our generation, been around not too long to be excessively nostalgic but long enough to remember how it used to be. The advent of the new media, the inexorable impact of convergence has shaped our society and affected our mentality; and it is a phenomenon progressively evolving and changing through the years.

For us, aiming to work in an industry that needs to renew and reinvent itself in order to survive, convergence can assume different meanings. And in the same way as it is an exciting new start, it’s an end.

 

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The paywall of The Times

“On Friday 27 November I was lying in bed when Simon Hattenstone’s breathtakingly good feature on the death of Tory activist Elliott Johnson on the Guardian online popped up on my phone.

The following day in the newsagent, was I going to spend £2.70 on The Guardian, when I had already read the best thing in it, or £1.50 on The Times which was filled with lots of things I had not yet read?” stated Dominic Ponsford the last 16th of January on his article on pressgazette.co.uk.

The Times, in 2010, faced a pre-tax loss of £54m after its decision of making a paywall for the contents online. Last January, while The Guardian announced the 20% future cuts of its budget, The Times and The Sunday Times were in profit. It surely cannot be simplified just with the paywall.

But, what if?

Online accessibility balances on a fine line. Everything depends on how much the audience is willing to value a certain content. In a free-access internet reality, people are exigent. It  must be something which is worth to pay for, otherwise something similar can be found online.

The Times, in its consistency, remained of the idea that quality journalism has to be paid; and, maybe, that is the only choice which will permit good journalism to survive.

 

 

The Big Brother is watching you. Online visibility and privacy in 2.0 Era.

The exponential growth of internet has not been merging smoothly with privacy issues and legal regulations related to behavior online. Just this week, we are all debating about privacy online, while observing the cyber war of Apple with FBI:

Privacy for Apple is nothing more than a marketable service

Stated yesterday the Financial Times.

Just a few months ago the phone company TalkTalk was hacked by a couple of under 18 years old, with bank details and sensitive data stolen to thousands people. In October 2014 there was the hacking scandal of personal nude pictures of well known celebrities, whose mobile phones revealed to be of easier access than they thought. A cheeky collection of  naked Jennifer Lawrence pictures winked to millions of strangers, and still does, in spite of the measurements taken to get rid of them.

Nowadays all of our most important details are online. We put pictures of our children online, floating in the meanders of something we have little knowledge of. The web giants like Google or Facebook are more vicious entities than the Big Brother of George Orwell. What’s the solution then? At the moment, none. Our lives are there, in the infinite tank of the web. The good news is that, apparently, technology and law are trying to figure out a way to preserve our most vulnerable identity.

And as long as we’re not Jennifer Lawrence our naked pictures should be safe, shouldn’t they?

Share your knowledge with ResearchGate

I discovered ResearchGate by case, while wandering on internet.

The concept of this online community is brilliant yet extremely simple. The aim is to combine alike minds on the same field, and most of all, on the same platform. Anyone, from all over the world, can share and get knowledge about a certain topic; and debate and confront with professionals with different points of view and cultures.

I find it amazing. It’s such a simple idea, but it allows professionals such as professors and researchers as well as students or just onlookers to connect. The platform works as a sort of online curriculum as well, giving the possibility to share projects and publications and finding contacts within the research ambit.

The limits that an open and unfiltered platform like this could lead to are related to the reliability of the sources received. I myself clicked the wrong category to register in the community and, at my entry on the platform, I suddenly was a respectful researcher in media.

However, the pitfalls of the web are broadly acknowledged by now. A bit of ‘gnegnero‘ (awareness) as my Italian grandma would say in her old dialect, is always necessary online.

 

When social networks make a billionaire. The curious case of ‘The Blonde Salad’.

Chiara Ferragni was barely 22 years old when she started her blog in 2009. ‘The Blonde Salad’: a mix, indeed, of fashion, food, lifestyle.

 

At the time, Chiara Ferragni was studying law in Milan. In an interview she said she started “just to share”. She had no idea, then, that ‘sharing’ would become the key word in any social media and marketing environment. The web giants like Facebook and Twitter were shyly starting to collect subscribers. Internet was still a joke, although we are talking about 7 years ago. The blogging world was an unexplored wonderland. Ferragni picked a daily oufit, her photographer boyfriend and walked around Milan in her blonde expressions. Her initial network of contacts helped to get her started. But in just a couple of years the blog started gaining thousands of followers; and with them, visibility.

Today, The Blonde Salad is a 1o million Business. Chiara Ferragni never took the law degree. She attends the most important fashion shows and collaborates with names such as Dior and Calvin Klein, among the many others. She appeared in magazines’ covers like VOGUE and ELLE. Basically, her entire career revolves around her followers.

In 2015 she became the first blogger ever considered as a business case at Harvard.

The audience participation, in her reality, represents her whole life.

Who would Chiara Ferragni be without her loyal followers?

 

 

The sad side of Media Convergence. The suffered change of The Independent.

The blog post of this week is about media convergence. A colleague of mine wisely argued of how this broad term can fall in cliches, if analyzed in depth. We all know what and where media convergence has led to, more or less. ‘Internet’ is the key word, and all the devices and tools related to it. Yesterday, on The Guardian, there was a beautifully written feature about the ceasing of the print version of The Independent. From the 26th of March the newspaper will be available online only.

The Independent started 30 years ago, with uncertain chances of success. Against every unlucky prevision, it took its place between the most respectable British newspapers in terms of quality of Journalism. Straightforward, almost apolitical, led by a small team of talented professionals. A few decades later, the print version cannot afford to be released anymore. Archie Bland, with his brilliant style, in his article on The Guardian wrote: “When I think of the impertinent faith that such an enterprise required, and the many hundreds of journalists who took up its mantle, and of the vital liberal voice that has been diminished, I feel terribly sad. That’s not to say that the decline of print isn’t inevitable,  or that an era of online journalism isn’t thrilling in its own way. But you can love something that you know is bound to expire; maybe it makes you love it more.”

We can distinguish three main areas where media convergence is manifested: technological, economic, cultural. In Bland’s article there are all of them, the cause and the effect of this transition.

Online resources: embrace the change, make it practical.

I would recommend a fair knowledge of the Media’s organism to anyone. For those who study and work in the field, most significantly, a profound understanding of the Media becomes essential in order to be able to prevent the next twists that Technology will take.

The Blog of Brian Solis (Digital Analyst, Award winning Writer, Futurist, Anthropologist), “Defining the impact of technology, culture and business”, encloses in five categories the principal matters of media:

  • Ad-Tech
  • Business Marketing
  • Disruptive Technology
  • Experience
  • Future of work

Merging personal experience, useful links and articles about technology and the impact of media in our lives, Solis frames in a intuitive, bright blog the future of our generation, questioning about what will matter in the future.

The article “The Social Revolution is Our Industrial Revolution” was written in 2008, yet it’s still an enjoyable reading about the effects of Internet:

Broadcast and print media and the services that support the creation and distribution of information are not dead and Social Media is not going to get indicted for holding the smoking gun.

We’re at the dawn of new era in media production, participation, and literacy. You are making history.