Posts Tagged ‘New Media’

I know I’ve been rather quiet as of late. Between work and school my mind has been a jumble of schedules, guests, and homework. I have lots of news to give you, videos to link you to, and pictures to upload to show you. Those will have to wait till I get a bit more free time.

Today I wanted to talk to you about something that occurred last night that may have an adverse effect on the web television community. Yesterday the Second Annual Streamy Awards (like the Oscars, but for the web) was streamed live to a large home audience for the first time. Now, I don’t watch many awards shows but due to having some friends in the industry and being interested in the current entertainment trends I decided to tune in.

Now, I want to point out that despite all that occurred throughout the show, which I will detail later, I did watch the entire broadcast. This may be important at a later date.

I will acknowledge that there is always some risk in broadcasting anything live. However, I don’t think the audience (both online and at the theater) was prepared for all the “risks” that they would have to endure throughout the evening. Below are some of the risks that appeared and my take on them:

  • The choice of presenter. He may be famous but was he the correct choice for the audience at hand? The presenter made frequent risque and what some though (as seen through the twitter stream) vulgar jokes. He also continuously insulted the web community and the internet in general. I feel like this undermined the quality of the show and what the Streamy Awards are trying to accomplish which, in my mind, is to legitimize the web as a means of original entertainment.
  • Technical failure. I felt so bad for the Fine Brothers when the tech failed in the middle of their video. They had worked so hard on it and that was one of the main reasons I was watching the awards show. I honestly think that they deserve an apology.
  • Streakers. Okay I’m not sure if this was planned… but it was in poor taste, in my belief. Also, it seemed to prove the lack of maturity that kept getting mentioned throughout the event.
  • Technical failure. They thought they got the tech fixed, they forgot to fast forward the DVD though. And why it took them so long to figure it out I will never know. Also, tech failure at an awards show that is about new media seemed a bit ironic to me. Did anyone else feel this way?
  • EDIT – Also the constant background talking that was audible throughout the stream was unprofessional and irksome as well. I had forgotten about this point until a friend reminded me.
  • In my opinion these things were a list of what can go wrong will go wrong. Also, it seemed like all the things that can NOT happen at other entertainment awards shows did happen here including, constant cussing without beeping, unintentional nudity, and seriously technological failure.

I don’t want to neglect the people and things that I thought were well done.

  • Felicia Day: From her presenting of an award to her acceptance speech she was true class. She showed the rest of the world how it should be done, in my opinion. It also touched me when she said her Streamy was for “All Geek Girls”. Being one myself it made me smile and think of her and just that more amazing. Also, she stated something in her speech that is basically my hypothesis for a paper I’m writing for my entertainment and society class. Which gives it that much more legitimacy in my opinion.
  • The Fine Brothers: Yes the tech failed during their video but they tried to keep things together as much as they could. This was definitely to their credit.
  • Half the presenters: The presenters during the second half of the show (after all the unfortunate events) shrived to put the show back on track through their professionalism.
  • Autotune the News: Their performance during the show was amazing, their acceptance speech in song was even more so. I had only caught a few of their youtube videos before this, now I want to go back and watch everything they’ve ever done.

So were the 2010 Streamy Awards a complete disaster? It depends on who you talk to. To the winners, I’m sure it wasn’t. To the audience, it depends on their view. While there were many cringe worthy moments for me and I thought some of the sketches stretched a bit too long it was nice to see people being recognized for the innovative work they put in for little to no money in an entertainment outlet still in its infancy. I just hope that people do not judge them, and all web entertainment, by the awards show.

Next year, and I hope there will be a next year, I hope the Streamys learn from this year and ensure things run smoother. I also want to say good luck to them, the entertainment world can be harsh and have a long memory when it wants to, hopefully this is not a time when it wants to.

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Some of you know that I’m in a program to get my Masters in Communication (Advertising) at Cal State Fullerton. Others know that I’m very interested in social networking and social media (hence my obsession with twitter). Well, because I am currently taking a class on Mass Communications Theory the two interests often collide.

I’ve become very interested in a new Social Show called Harper’s Globe. It is an ongoing web series that is part of the Harper’s Island mythology. It is also done by the same company that created the LonelyGirl15 experience, so it’s already making a large splash.

This week the theory in question that I chose to write on was the Information Diffusion Theory and whether it was relevant in a modern technology world. By looking at Harper’s Globe I saw that it proved the theory valid. The following is my paper that looks at it. I hope you enjoy!

Information Diffusion Theory

In the ever changing world of mass media one must look critically at the current mass communications theories to see their validity in today’s society. One such theory that can be proven as relevant in today’s world of mass communications and new technology is the information diffusion theory first introduced by Everett Rogers in 1962. His information diffusion theory had five stages that new mass communications technologies must be passed down through before being widely adopted (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271). The following discussion will examine the stages in relationship to the new media phenomena of the social show, in particular Harper’s Globe, produced to go with CBS’s new television show Harper’s Island.

The first stage is where people are first being made aware of the new form of communication. This can be done through information from mass media (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271). It was also suggested that change agents could be involved in the distribution of the information regarding the innovations to assist others in their use ((Baran & Davis, 209, p.272). In looking at Harper’s Globe it is seen as getting press in new media groups as being the first of its kind. The creators of the program, who would be the change agents, are seen through the mass media explaining the concept and inviting people to join the website to find more. They are also available on the website to help people begin to enjoy the experience. As the site begins to become more popular the forming of the second stage is seen.

The second stage is when the communication form is adopted by a small group of early adopters (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271). This group of early adopters on the Harper’s Globe website comprised of the creators and members of the company that created the site and the program. They are a small group of people including family and friends of those who created the site and people running the website in various capacities. It is them who explained to the opinion leaders in stage three how the website worked and the in and outs of the new phenomena of a social show (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271).

In stage four the opinion leaders encourage their friends to use the medium (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271). This is currently the stage that Harper’s Globe is in within the information diffusion theory. The opinion leaders are sharing the information about Harper’s Globe on other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This allows the information to reach a larger number of followers, or opinion followers. As the site grows it is hoped that more people will find there way to the new social show after the television series debuts on CBS. These people would be the late adopters to the show (Baran & Davis, 209, p.271).

Various other factors must be taken into consideration though. One such factor is the role of the active audience. In order for someone to be interested in Harper’s Globe it is suggested that they be an active member of the audience by posting comments, solving mysteries and communicating with the characters, however it is not necessary in order to enjoy the weekly episodes. While being an active audience member can enhance the understanding and pleasure one gets from a social show, it is not crucial, just something extra to keep people interested in new media interested. Unfortunately, the idea of being an active audience is not introduced in the information diffusion theory so it is uncertain how being an active part of the audience influences people’s decisions to try and encourage the use of new media. Time and further exploration of the role that audience participation has in the evolution of new forms of mass communication can, in the future, help form opinions to revise this theory appropriately.

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