Sunday, February 24, 2013

Internet Killed the Television Star

The Buggles famously said "video killed the radio star". However society has long since moved on from there. As the internet invades every aspect of our life, it is now taking a strong foothold as the entertainment tool of the 21st century since its inception in 2005. Where does that leave our precious televisio sets?

Arguably the most popular form of online media is YouTube. The website receives over 800 millions unique views per month. It has become synonymous with entertainment. While the origins of the site came from (and continue to be) user-generated video content from the average person, many television stations, major record labels and celebrities have also signed up and upload content. YouTube has certainly evolved from its humble beginnings, not least due to the Google take over in 2006.

First video ever uploaded to YouTube

So where does that leave television? To date you could argue that YouTube doesn't have the same production value as television and so is viewed as its amateur counterpart, but even that cannot be counted on. Especially with the launch of the Partners Programme which allows users to make money from uploading content. As a result the demand for quality content increases and often users employ production teams, camera crew, etc. Making them equal partners with their television comrades.

However the main difference that sets YouTube and television apart is the level of interactivity found in YouTube. Watching shows is no longer a passive activity, viewers are invited to leave comments, like videos, share videos and post video responses. The ability to easily share content with friends has also helped its popularity. It is very straight forward to share videos from your favourite YouTube channels with the click of the button. Yes you can tell a friend about a great show you've seen on television, but as we all know, you risk the possibility of forgetting to look it up, or tuning in a day late and now you've missed it. YouTube can be so easily shared via social networking sites, email, mobile apps and it is available on demand, ready when you are. Once you have an account with YouTube you can also "subscribe" to the channel's of users you like and receive notification of new uploads from those specific channels. 

Smosh: the most subscribed YouTube Channel

Through another of YouTube programmes, the $100 million original channel iniative, a brother duo The Fine Bros, who were responsible for many YouTube series over the last number of years, created a brand new type of interactive YouTube series, MyMusic. They set about producing a show with the production value of a regular television series which was released every Sunday, but they took it one step further by releasing further videos throughout the week covering entertainment news, questions from viewers/subscribers and many forms of interactive media. The sub-shows were largely made up of the content submitted by viewers/subscribers in the form of questions, art, captions, voicemails, playlists and polls. It took interactive media to the next level being the first show of its kind on YouTube and has now opened doors for others to follow in their footsteps.

Episode 1 (sitcom version) of MyMusic

Another integral evolution of YouTube is the concept of a video going viral. There have been many examples of this over the years with Nyan Cat, Leave Britney Alone and Carly Rae Jepson. Another YouTube phenomenon was RickRolling, which mislead viewers about the nature of a link, only to be lead to Rick Astley's music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up". Most notable of all viral videos and all content ever uploaded on YouTube has to be Psy - Gangnam Style, which was the first YouTube video to ever reach over 1 billion views. Which shows the scale and magnitude we are dealing with. Other sites such as Facebook and Twitter have helped to promote YouTube content over the years and continue to contribute to the popularity of viral videos. 

This new age of media content goes beyond anything that television can offer. So how can it truly compete? In short, I don't think that it can. YouTube has revolutionised how we think about entertainment for the better in my opinion, it has opened the doors to some of the most unlikely content and amazingly different shows from all corners of the globe.

What do you think, can television compete? Do you spend more time watching YouTube shows or television shows?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Social Norms: Facebook Etiquette

Social networking has become a very ordinary part of everyday life for a lot of people throughout Ireland and the rest of the world. Similarly to other social environments, it has developed its own social norms which are generally accepted as universal norms. It is important to keep up to date with the moving tide so as not to upset others or alienate yourself.

Below I have listed the 5 most common rules of etiquette on Facebook:

1. Be Careful What You Post About Others
It is usually frowned upon to upload inappropriate pictures of others or comment on their pages divulging any sensitive information. As in real world social norms, it is important to do to others what you would expect in return. This is especially important if you post about friends who will be determined to get you back, they could post pictures or information about you that you definitely do not want in the public domain (especially if they feel the need to one-up you). Things can get very messy very quickly.

2. Remain Positive
Think back to that advice you got as a child, "if you've nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all". Make sure that any comments you may have about someone else's pictures or posts are positive. If comments are made in jest or satirically  make sure that is clear, because again with the instant nature of Facebook, things can get out of hand very quickly.

Video: Facebook Manners and You

3. Don't Spam Your Friends Newsfeeds
Remember every time you update your status or share a post, it appears in the news feed of your friends. It is definitely not good etiquette to fill up your friends feeds with every minute task or activity your involved in during a given day. You will often irritate or bore people which will ultimately lead to you being "unfriended" or removed from their news feed, which is counter productive in the grand scheme of Facebook. No one likes to be spammed by their Facebook friends, don't be that person!

4. Don't Stalk Your Facebook Friends
When your friends post pictures, update their status, share post and leave comments, don't feel the need to respond to every single item. It is normal for friends to comment on the various updates of their fellow Facebookers, however that does not mean you need to be involved in every single update. While you may feel this is getting involved and showing an interest, it comes across as weird and stalker-like. Everyone is guilty of a certain level of stalking when it comes to the pages of their Facebook friends, they key is to do it under the radar!

5. Do Not Add People You Don't Know in Real Life
This may seem obvious, but sometimes people treat Facebook like Twitter or LinkedIn, where you are using it as a means to make connections with strangers, whether for business of pleasure. However good the intentions may be, this will usually come across as unusual and odd behaviour. Since often people's Facebook profiles contain private information about a person, which they are happy to share with their friends, but not with strangers. You will start to make a name for yourself and may get reported to Facebook admin and ultimately have your account suspended.

Are they any other examples of Facebook etiquette that you think are important? Comment below.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The evolution of the mobile phone

Okay so I am a self confessed addict when it comes to my mobile phone, I am rarely seen without it and don't handle it very well if I leave it behind. But where did it all begin? In such a short time (like a lot of technologies in the 21st century), it exploded into our everyday lives!

The first mobile phone ever invented was unveiled to the world in 1973 by Dr. Martin Cooper when he made a phone call with it from a street in Manhattan. It was bulky and heavy in its design and costs thousands to make.

Initially it was bulky and out of the price range of most people, however as the technology became more refined and the devices got smaller, they began to take off. In the mid nineties they became increasingly popular and by the turn of the century they were beginning to infiltrate everyday lives.
My first ever mobile phone, Nokia 3210

As the mobile phone became more popular the features of the phone began to move further away from the phone, what was initially invented to make a call, became your instant messenger, your radio, your camera and in more recent times this has blown out of proportion with the invention of smart phones. In just 40 years the mobile phone barely resembles its former self. No longer content with the capabilities of our phones the big mobile technology giants such as Blackberry, Apple and Samsung have created such amazing technologies to the point where actually calling someone is such a minor feature of what the mobile phone is capable of. Between constant internet access, emails, gaming, cameras, social networking, satellite navigation and an endless supply of applications covering anything from the weather to acting as a pedometer, they have thought of everything. The mobile phone has moved on from being a phone, to being so much more.

The world is literally at our fingertips. For a lot of people (not to name any names) the basic mobile which allows you to call and text people is more than enough. They have laptops and desktops for anything else they could ever need in life, but not me. While I do have access to computers, I couldn't imagine being without my smartphone. I have the taste for it now and I can never go back. It allows me to instantly look up the name of that actress in that film or to locate the cafe I am supposed to meeting a friend at. It has revolutionised my everyday life and I have no intention of going back.

For me however its main function remains as a means of communication.  I know there is a concern out there that mobiles are creating barriers in real life social situations, but I think that all depends on the person. My contact is on multiple levels from calls to texts to emails to social networks to instant messaging. While I am an avid user of my mobile for many things, predominantly it allows me to just easily send my friend up the road a text and instant message a friend half way around the world. How could you not be in love with such a technology? I know it gets a bad rep sometimes, but it is one of the great advances of our time and it can only get better and wackier from here...

Can you remember what your first mobile phone was?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Curiosity - What's Inside The Cube?

The British game designer Peter Molyneux as part of a new start up "22Cans" has released a new app for the Apple and Android Market, Curiosity - What's Inside the Cube?

The premise is to dig through the surfaces of a mammoth cube to get to the centre. The player is presented with a rotating cube, when they zoom in (a lot) they realise it is made of many milions of smaller cubes called "cubelets". The purpose of the game is to tap on these cubelets to make them disappear. Players must dig through each layer of the cube one at a time, but one layer is millions and millions of cubelets. Along the way players are rewarded with coins for every cubelet tapped, which can be cashed in for tools to speed up the process. The game is multi player, in that every person who is playing the app is chipping away at the same layer simultaneously in real time. However this is not to say it's a team activity, all players are in competition with one another to be the one who chips away the very last cubelet to "find out what truly amazing things lie in the centre". 

The developers are calling it a social experiment (the first one of 22). It is fascinating the huge surge in popularity of the app, since none of the players have any idea what the purpose of the game/experiment is or where it is all leading. But as the experiment suggests, their curiosity is getting the better of them. Is it their competitive nature coming out or a case that people enjoy being part of something bigger, feeling like they belong? It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get to the centre, will it be as amazing as the developers are making it out to be? Or will people get bored before they even get there?

To keep up with the latest developments in Curiosity and for any new experiments released, check out 22Cans website.

Jimmy Kimmel's YouTube Challenges

Jimmy Kimmel in the last year or so has set his viewers a variety of challenges in the form of pranks which they are to record and post on YouTube.

The most recent edition was the "I Told My Kid I Ate All Their Halloween Candy Again". Similar to last year Jimmy gets parents to tell their kids that they ate all their candy when they were in bed. While we shouldn't laugh at these poor innocents, it does make for some funny viewing.

The last few kids were real troopers!!

Some other YouTube Challenges set by Jimmy Kimmel over the last year...

I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present

Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Sprayed My Dad With A Hose (for Father's Day)

And the original from last year - I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy