Making Media | The Making stage

“Design fiction is a way to speculate seriously. It’s not quite brainstorming, nor is it ideating. It is the design that tells stories. It creates material artefacts that force conversations and suspend one’s disbelief in what could be.” – Joseph’s Design Fiction concept

Following the Joseph’s Design Fiction concept, I have created a meaningful and story-telling platform. I always insist on the concept of maintaining the classical vibe of my hometown, Hanoi, by uploading semiotic photos which were taken and selected by myself. Besides, Reminiscent of Hanoi is also the platform where I can express my inner taste of photography. I put my effort not only into social utility but also the urge to create my own photography portfolio.

In the making stage, I follow what I have figured out in the previous stage – prototype. I insist on selecting story-telling photos rather than implementing content writing. My taken photos are being positively responded by my target audience. Furthermore, as David Lister’s statement, Arts should not be explained. I enjoy how people interpret my photos as semiotics and it also makes my audience more curious about and interested in my platform.

I perceive my Digital Artefact as a “Product” which proceeds through 5 stages of Product Life Cycle

Reflecting my Digital Artefact development process, I have developed it from the ideating, screening, prototyping stage to the making stage. I identify my Digital Artefact as a product. According to the Product Life Cycle concept, that is, the typical stages which a product progresses through new product development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Adapting in the introduction stage, I focus on Digital Artefact’s positioning, target audience and the quality of uploaded photos. By critically using Instagram techniques such as Shortstack, hashtags, and stat analysis, I have gained nearly 100 followers, more comments and likes in every uploaded post.

“I have learnt that the more I focus on social utility, the more audience engages will my Instagram.”

Shaping my Digital Artefact in the Design thinking concept, which refers to focusing on understanding audience’s wants and needs, I started to consider the Reminiscent of Hanoi’s value offering. Aiming to maximize the social utility, I have uploaded more photos related to Hanoi’s cultural norms. Since the limitation of photo resources, I selectively referenced other sites’ photos such as Vietnamese Cursed Image or Human of Hanoi. Selectively uploading photos helps me to develop Digital Artefact’s brand and be accurately perceived by the audience. I have harvested a lot of positive feedback on uploading classic Hanoi photo in the 90s. Recently, I have received an appreciated comment from Vietnamese man when he found himself in my randomly uploaded photo, which makes me more motivated. My Digital Artefact is growing unexpectedly with followers and comments. I have learnt that the more I focus on social utility, the more audience engages will my Instagram. Compared to previous photos, my photos have increased 27% of post likes.

Overall, I reckon that creating an impact on the society is considered as a long-term effort. During the making media stage, I recognize the potential of a classic platform in Vietnam. In the modern age, people may need some place to reminisce of their pasts and have a tranquil gap of time. I hope Reminiscent of Hanoi may be the place for them to find tranquillity and recalling the beautiful classical norms. In addition, I hope my Digital Artefact can keep evolving after BCM114.

 

Project Beta – Prototyping

God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed – that is the meaning of evolution.

Graham Greene

After 4 weeks of officially running my Digital Artefact on Instagram. I have experimented through 3 stages of prototyping. Till now, my Instagram account (@reminiscentofhanoi) has reached 67 followers with 17 posts in 4 weeks. Conveniently, my Digital Artefact focuses on my own photos which I have taken during the time I was in Hanoi. These photos express my characters, my taste in art and the classic vibe of Hanoi.

I want to remain the classic vibe of Hanoi by telling Hanoian’s stories through the pictures I took. 

A film photo was taken by me in January 2018
Captured from my twitter

Being advised in the lecture of week 6, in the prototyping stage, I focus on refining my target audience, what story I want to tell through my Digital Artefact, how I want my Instagram page is perceived by my audience and keep evolving my Digital Artefact through the feedback loop.  Fortunately, I have received a lot of encouragements and feedbacks from my tutor, classmates and my target audience through each step of prototyping. Since I target to people who are in the age of 18 to 25, live in both Hanoi, Vietnam and Australia, they also regularly use social media, I was suggested to use Instagram to implement the images and content. In the first prototype stage, I uploaded images without useful hashtags such as #photograph #filmphotograph or #retro, which highlight the key concept of my platform. Surprisingly, after using as many related hashtags as possible, my Instagram page has considerable profile visits and followers. It accelerated from 5 followers to 30 followers in just 1 week. Also, in this prototype stage, I tried to implement the contents in each image. As I intended in the ideating stage, I aim to create a platform which can tell stories about Hanoi and Hanoi cultures through the images taken by myself. I started to try writing in both Vietnamese and English since my target audience is both of Vietnam and Australia. Then, I only write in English when I found my posts appeal to more foreigners than locals. Finally, I found it is not effective to implement contents on Instagram.

“The problem with prototypes is they don’t always work.”

Laurie Anderson

Example

In the second stage of prototyping, I asked my tutor for the feedback and advice after recognizing my ineffective content implementation. He gave feedback on my photos and recommended me to use Reddit if I still wanted to focus on content writing. After considering the aesthetic photos and writing content, I finally choose to focus on my photos rather than content. I put more effort into choosing photos to upload. I rather upload photos which can tell stories itself and added a short caption in each photo I uploaded. In this stage, I continue to use hashtags in the comment part. I observe my posts are doing better 85% of my previous posts. During this stage, I only got only 45 actions taken on my account and 70 accounts reached in a week.

In the final round of the prototyping stage, I continue to do what I have done in the second round. In this round, I aim to find a way to accelerate followers without paying for the Instagram promotion.  My classmate suggested me start to use the story function more effectively to engage more with my audience. I started to use hashtags such as #Hanoi #travel #retro or #classic in each story I uploaded. I also found a web tool to check and scan what kind of hashtag is effective in growing traffic to my Instagram page.  After 1 week of prototyping, the interaction and discovery rate grows slowly. From now, using hashtags in story function help me to accelerate the profile visitors and followers as well.

 

 

 

In conclusion, during the prototyping time, there are 3 things I have learned to confidently start the making stage. First and foremost, using the relevant hashtags in the bio, posts, and stories as well. Secondly, instead of focusing on content, I should utilize the material that I have already had on the Instagram. Last but not least, the story can be a tool to attract more interaction and discovery. In the making stage, I hope I will reach at least 100 followers by keeping implementing my idea from the prototyping stage. In addition, I also aim to highlight the social utility in the making stage.

 

 

Korean Wave

Hannah B., 2016, The Globalization of Korean Culture, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nh3NPkXd4k&t=85

The video was made by Hannah B and her group. This video is the project for their World History class. Through this video, the group successfully explain the three main questions: What is the Korean wave?  Why has the Korean wave been taking over the globe? and How is Korea affected by the globalization of Korean wave?.  For the first question, the video explains the Korean Wave or the Holly Wave is the large increase in the globalization of Korean culture. The Korean wave is globalized by the K-drama, K-pops, K-cosmetics and so on… The Korean wave has been taking over the globe since the huge investment for cultural development of the government and the manufacturing of super idols. Obviously, the globalization of K-culture is beneficial to Korea. As the video’s research, the total combined sales for the first quarter of 2014 alone from the three biggest agencies was approximately a hundred and six million dollars, which help the Korean economic accelerate. In addition, from the year before since Psy’s Gangnam Style went viral, there has been a massive influx of tourists in Korea. Hannah B. and her group’s video is not a very academic video but the given information is really useful and familiar to the media student and also their target audience.

 

Gunjoo Jang and Won K.Paik, 2012, Korean Wave as Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy, Korea

The journal was researched and written by Gunjoo Jang and Won K.Paik in 2012. The journal aims to explain the spread of the Korean Wave and examine its impacts on the world. By examining the relevant theories such as globalization, interdependence, soft power and world value change, the Korean Wave is critically reviewed and analyzed in order to ascertain political and policy implications for Korean diplomatic and practical directives. The authors highlight that the Korean wave has positive impacts not only on Korean politics and economics but also it would be potential for Korea to promote their cultural diplomacy as part of soft power by providing opportunities for the manipulation of Korea’s images. On the contrary, it is important to note that mobilizing Korean Wave in order to achieve many political and economic goals may provoke backlashes as in the case of anti-Korean Wave movements and slogans. G. Jang and W. K. Paik suggest that the culture should be spread naturally and designed to help educate, enhance, and sustain the relationships between countries and cultures. Through this journal, readers can deeply understand why Korean Wave is globalized and how it should be interpreted and control. In my personal view, G. Jang and W. K. Paik’s research is vital for communication studies to critically think and evaluate the Korean Wave in particular and globalization in general through the mentioned theories.

Reminiscent of Hanoi

“In the world full of trends, I want to remain classic” – Iman

Being born and raised in Hanoi, I am fascinated with Hanoian’s classic lifestyles, those ancient streets and its stories. As Iman once said, “In the world full of trends, I want to remain classic”. I found that the attractive point of Hanoi is its retro vibe and classical lifestyle. As vietnamtourism.gov.vn reported, Hanoi welcomed nearly 24 million international tourists in 2017. Surprisingly, Australia ranks 8 in top 29 international visitors in Vietnam. Being aware of how potential the tourism market of Hanoi is, I want to make a project to attract more and more visitors. Reminiscent of Hanoi aims to remain the classic vibe of Hanoi through Hanoian’s stories and images. Besides, I want to spread the stories of Hanoi through all over the world. I believe that a culture of a country is created by local people. By telling stories of Hanoian, I hope I can deliver the message of lifestyles and culture from my country to the foreigners.

Concept

I choose the concept of capturing images attached to stories about Hanoi. I understand the how difficult to adapt and understand a new culture. In my own perspective, a culture is established by individuals, each individual has their own stories, and each story contains a society’s beliefs, ideologies and values. By telling Hanoian’s daily stories, I hope readers can somehow understand our cultures and lifestyles.

Methodology

I intend to use auto-ethnography, which is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand the cultural experience. (Carolyn Ellis, 2004). I tend to use Instagram to implement my idea for two main reasons. Firstly, since the project targets to both the Vietnamese and foreigners at the age of 18 to 25, I found that Instagram is the most suitable and sustainable platform to engage with the target audience. Secondly, I have the capability of taking and retouching photos, due to my personal strength, I think my Instagram feed is one of the hooked points to attract the audience. In addition, the content will be written in two languages, English and Vietnamese. Applying the #FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple and Tiny), I plan to post weekly and most of the material is from my own portfolio created by me since I was in Hanoi.

Social Utility

My motivation is to create a platform through which my international friend can understand my country. Furthermore, in the age of globalization, when Vietnamese people are affected by many different cultures, I think every individual should take responsibility for acquiring modern perspectives and remaining the national cultures and values at the same time. In the long-term, I hope this project will be the platform which can promote a range of foreigners visit Hanoi and remind the Vietnamese studying abroad student of our countries.

Links

My DA platform: https://www.instagram.com/reminiscentofhanoi/ 

My WordPress: https://miintonio.wordpress.com/

My personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pminh.hanng/

Reference:

Carolyn Ellis, 2004, The Ethnographic, California

VNA, 2017, ‘Hanoi to welcome 24 million visitors this year’, vietnamtourism.gov.vn, 7th December 2017, <http://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/english/index.php/items/12392&gt;

Internationalizing of higher education

Tahira Jibeen, Masha Asad Khan, 2015, Internationalization of Higher Education: Benefits and Costs, Department of Humanities, COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology, Lahore 54000, Pakistan

The journal was written by Tahira Jibeen and Mash Asad Khan from COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology, Pakistan. This article explores the two aspects of internationalization of higher education. The authors emphasize that in spite of the fact that internationalization is beneficial for both of international student and developed countries, there are many consequences as the results of the grave risk associated with the multi-faced phenomenon including of commercial profit, academic colonization and difficulty in ensuring quality education. On the one hand, internationalization of higher education educates internationally oriented student and dynamic learning environment. In addition, recruiting international student may be beneficial in the term of revenue generation and brain gain. On the other hand, it is important to note the three main costs of internationalization. Firstly, the countries which are identified as commercialization and low-quality education have to face the brain drain and loss of cultural identity due to the cross-border aspect. The second concern is about the commercial profit when it has been found that pursuing goals which are more commercial than academic in the long run. Last but not least, the quality insurance is at risk when it is hard to maintain the quality of the academic experience. It is important to note that international studying program deserves a great attention that providers, programs, credits, and qualification must be recognized at national and international. The authors’ perspectives consider both of advantage and disadvantage side of internationalization of higher education. Since the information is up-to-date and from a reliable source, the journal provides the media student the different view of internationalization of higher education.

 

Knight J, 1999, Internationalization of higher education: a conceptual framework, Internationalization of higher education in Asia Pacific countries, Chapter 1, p 5-17, Valencia College, Orlando Florida

This article is written by Jane Knight in 1999 at Valencia College. The journal explores the different aspects of the concept of internationalization and the various approaches to internationalization with the aim of highlighting the importance of internationalization of higher education. Knight highlights the four main aspects called “Approaches to internationalization”. The first approach is the Activity approach. It refers to categories of activity used to describe internationalization such as faculty exchange or international student. Secondly, competency approach refers to the development of skills, knowledge, attitudes and values in students, faculty and staffs. Ethos approach emphasizes on creating a culture on campus which promotes and supports international initiatives. Lastly, the process approach focuses on the integration of an international dimension into teaching, research and service through a combination of a wide range of activities, policies and procedures. In the term of globalization studies, Knight’s “Approaches to internationalization” open the way to better internationalize the universities’ environment for the international student. Therefore, while the article is useful for analyzing the approaches to internationalization, the limitation of its research base will require some adaptation to meet the needs of this assignment that requires a commentary on service or activities in diverse of the university environment.

Globalization and Media

explainitychannel, 2013, Globalization explained, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ0nFD19eT8

The video was produced by Explainity GmbH, a channel which makes a variety of videos in diversity of topic. In this video, explainitychannel aims to explain the background of globalization and highlight the idea that globalization is neither good or bad, it all depends on how people deal with all the new possibilities in the future. Thanks to the advanced of technology such as telephone, airplane, train and the internet, the growth of transport and communication has developed quickly. Globalization is defined as the process of exchanging information and goods. In another word, globalization is the worldwide coming together of countries and nations. Since the exchanging of people and goods all over the world, globalization is affected by many elements such as culture, languages, services, knowledge and media, and all of these elements are closely linked and influenced each other. It is also important to note that globalization also has its disadvantages aspects. The video mentions about how people and the environment often suffer by the intense exchange of goods. For example, in the age of globalization, environment is contaminated by the use of airplane, ship and lorry to transport goods over international border. In addition, many people in industrialized countries have lost their job due to the company decides to move production to an economically disadvantaged country.  Furthermore, despite the fact that job opportunity is open up for many employers in economically disadvantaged countries, their right for sufficient insurance, social insurance and health insurance are not completely provided. The video content maker clearly provided the background of globalization and different views about how globalization influence people’s lives. This video is useful for my globalization studying because of its critical view, especially about whether if globalization is good or bad and how it affect to each factors of globalization process.

 

Lule. J, 2011, Globalisation and Media: global village of Babel, America

“Globalization and Media” is one of the academic book written by Jack Lule in 2011. The chapter focus on the role of the media in globalization. The author emphasizes that there is no globalization without the media. Globalization and media have proceeded together through time. In another word, globalization and media interacts with each other. Without media, global trade cannot evolve since the lack of a flow of information on market, commodities, customer’s behavior or price. Without the intermingling of media and culture, religion, music, poetry or film… cannot wildly be known. In another side, as Jack Luke defined: “the media are people”. When our world is globalizing, people exchange around the world. These people actively bring their ideologies and cultures. Digital media is an example to declare the role of media in globalization. In the age of the internet, the computer allows the user to access the information and news all around the world, which have transformed cultural lives. Relating to global media studies, the book highlights the vital role of media in evolving globalization. Jack Lule skillfully argues that media plays a central role in the globalization processes which includes of both the promises and the pitfalls that globalization poses to modern human society.

 

Ethical Marketing in the age of Big Data

When the application of Big Data has become a key component in business models, what are the implications of collecting and using online behaviour advertising and cloud computing in marketing field? Especially, what is marketer ethics in collecting data? 

Privacy and security concerns in the age of Big Data

Big Data is a hyper-personalized micro-segment consumer tool that enables the marketer to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. In the marketing context, Big Data plays a vital role in analyzing customers insight, cutting down marketing cost, reducing the time-consuming and helping customers make the right decision and more reasonable. Besides, by automatically harvesting customer data, which includes personal information such as address, phone number or health record, privacy and security in terms of big data is an important issue.

The latest Facebook scandal alerted the privacy and security concern in the age of Big Data. By harvesting users’ data such as their post interaction, pages they like or even scanning their messenger inbox,… Facebook create a Big Data of users’ behaviours, interest and voting orientation. Those data are delivered to entrepreneurs for the purpose of marketing. The Facebook’s privacy issue involved the collection of personally identifiable information of up to 87 million users. Even worse, the data was allegedly used to attempt to influence voters’ opinions on behalf of the politician who hired them.

Code of ethics in collecting data

In 2012, by harvesting and analyzing health record data of an America 15-year-old pregnant girl, the Target’s marketers reached the limitation of marketer’s ethics in collecting information. The company did breach Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the USA which protects customers’ sensitive data. FTC urges companies to provide “reasonable security for any data they collect for behavioural advertising and to retain data only as long as it is needed to fulfil a legitimate business or law enforcement need”. (FTC, 2009)

Applying Target case in Australia, Target may breach ethics of marketing and advertising field. Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which refers to “Direct marketing involves the use and disclosure of personal information to communicate directly with an individual to promote goods and services. A direct marketer may communicate with an individual through a variety of channels, including telephone, SMS, mail, email and online advertising”. (APPs, 2014)

According to The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), in the field of digital marketing, “when collecting or using personal data from individuals, care should be taken to respect and protect their privacy by complying with relevant legislation and the marketer’s own privacy policy” (AANA, Marketing in the digital space). (AANA, 2018)

The implications for the marketers

First of all, “the Marketer should develop a strategy for what data will be useful and how to use it” (Ackerman C, 2017). The use of Big Data requires many conservations within your organization to develop a strategy for what and how to utilize the harvested data. Failure to develop a strategy is not only fall fouls of the ethics of security and privacy but also the risk of time-consuming and money-wasting.

Secondly, the Marketer should “consider the ethical implication and responsibilities of utilizing some of this information and the reaction that may come from customers who were unaware this data has been shored” (Ackerman C, 2017).

Last but not least, the entrepreneur should determine what types of information align clearly with your company’s culture, values, and mission. “Only then should you look for and access third-party data that will help you drive powerful customer engagement and achieve other success metrics.” (Ackerman C, 2017)

In conclusion, although Big Data automatically harvest private data, the marketer is the one who chooses whether using those data or not. Ethical implications help the marketers to protect not only their reputations but also their company’s integrity and firm trust from customers.

Reference

Ackerman C, 2017, ‘The implication of Big Data Marketing Bigger than you think’,  West Monroe, 24 July 2017, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://blog.westmonroepartners.com/implications-big-data-marketing-bigger-think&gt;

Australian Association of National Advertiser, ‘Marketing in the digital space – Data protection and privacy‘, 2014, Australia

Australia Privacy Principle, ‘APP7 – Direct marketing’, February 2014, Australia

Bush V, Venable B and Bush A, 2000, ‘Ethics and Marketing on the Internet: Practitioners’ Perception of Societal, Industry and Company Concerns, Journal of Business Ethics’, p. 237-248, Netherland

Carole C., 2018, ‘Cambridge Analytica’s ruthless bid to sway the vote in Nigeria’, The Guardian, 22 March 2018, viewed 10 May 2018, <https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/21/cambridge-analyticas-ruthless-bid-to-sway-the-vote-in-nigeria&gt;

Confessore N., 2018, ‘Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Scandal and the Fallout so far’, The New York Times, 4 April 2018, viewed 10 May 2018, <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-scandal-fallout.html&gt;

Duhigg C., 2012, ‘How companies learn your secrets’, The New York Times, 16 February 2012, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all&gt;

Federal Trade Commission, ‘FTC Staff Revises Online Behavioral Advertising Principle’,  Federal Trade Commission, 12 February 2009, USA, <https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2009/02/ftc-staff-revises-online-behavioral-advertising-principles&gt;

Jain P., Gyanchandani M. & Khare Nilay, ‘Big data privacy: a technological perspective and review’, 26 November 2016, Computer science department, MANIT, Bhopal, India

Lubin G, 2012, ‘The incredible story of how Target exposed a teen girl’s pregnancy’, Business Insider, 17 February 2012, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-incredible-story-of-how-target-exposed-a-teen-girls-pregnancy-2012-2?r=US&IR=T&gt;

Nunan D & Di Domenico M., 2015, ‘Market research & Ethics of Big data’, p9-12, UK

 

Hikikomori – The Japanese’s moral panic

 “Hikikomori is a condition in which the affected individuals isolate themselves from society in their homes for a period exceeding six months. The psychiatrist Tamaki Saitō defines hikikomori as “a state that has become a problem by the late twenties, that involves cooping oneself up in one’s own home and not participating in society for six months or longer, but that does not seem to have another psychological problem as its principal source”. -Wikipedia

Why is Hikimori a moral panic?

Hikimori is a critical issue in Japan now.  This phenomenon describes young people who have an escapism life in society. They are hidden in their own world and refuse to go out. Recognized as hikikomori, these people haven’t participated in society, or shown a desire to do so for at least one year. They merely split from their families and friends.

The phenomenon was alerted when the Japanese government census put the figure at 540,000 for people aged 15-39. But it could easily be double that number. (Butet Rock, 2018,  Photography). Hikimori is the fear which spread among a large number of Japanese residents since the shreds of evidence that the phenomenon will affect badly to the young’s physical and mental health, the domestic economy or even the culture.

Hikikomori as a moral panic

According to Standley Cohen’s stage of moral panic in “Folk Devil and Moral panic”. I would like to explain the stages make the Hikikomori become a new moral panic not only for Japan but also the whole world’s community.

First of all, “Young” is acknowledged as one of six objects of moral panic. Hikikomori directly affects the youth. This issue emerges and creates its own group of people who adore and practice it.

Even though Hikikomori has been existing for a pretty long time. But not until this year,  when the media is priming the issue. They exaggerated the problem that the Japanese young people is getting more and more anti-social nowadays. The media predict the future of the Japanese young generation. They assumed that Hikikomori is becoming a trend which plenty of people will follow and create bad impact on society. The media draw a terrifying future: the economy is stagnant, the culture is not preserved and the population is getting older. Media also play a role in symbolizing an issue. They portray the Hikikomori people as the one who is anti-social, staying home all day long watching movie or reading manga, and they are only active in the night time. The representation created by media make a backlash on social media. Young people exaltedly discuss whether they are Hikikomori or not.

Thirdly, the public is the most important factor which contributes to the moral panic. Indeed, the discussion of Hikikomori consider the disadvantages of this phenomenon and Hikikimori is a type of minimalist lifestyle.

Indeed, the Japanese government published ít initial Guideline on coping with Hikikomori cases along with the results of surveys conducted in health centre of Japan. They do have some action such as establishing limited governmental funding for Hikikomori support and creating more jobs which are regardless of educational backgrounds, communication skills and supported by smooth school-work transition and an underlying stable economy.

Why is the public panic about a moral issue?

According to Cohen’s criticisms of the moral panic theory. The panic feeling comes from feelong of being out of control. People prone to be panic about the things which out of their knowledge.

Work sites

Holthus B & Manzenreitor, 2017, ‘Life course, Happiness and Well-being in Japan‘, New York

Kingston J, 2014, ‘Critical Issue in Contemporary Japan’, New York

 

Social media or place for demostrating democracy

Social media is the place for entertaining, making new friends or even promoting products… But to some extents, when you connect the dots and start operating it, you will find above all, social media is the modern “public sphere”. In this writing, I would like to discuss especially Facebook network.

What is “public sphere”?

Basically, “public sphere” is the place where people can come and freely discuss and identify societal problems. Furthermore, “the public sphere as a virtual or imaginary community which does not necessarily exist in any identifiable space” –  German philosopher Jürgen Habermas defined. According to that concept, Facebook can be admitted as a public sphere.

How does Facebook operate as a public sphere?

As the place includes all the active users to express their ideas and beliefs, Facebook keeps innovating its operation in order to fulfil public’s demand for discussing. Facebook now timely updating news on the diversity of the field such as entertainment, social news or even political events… Beside utilizing user’s expression by creating groups, hashtags or EdgeRank, Facebook is social media which pioneered in joining in the political action. For example, in the parliamentary election in May 2010, Facebook prompted its users to vote online by having applied the application that can help people vote and participate in debates, votes and petitions.

Being opposed to Habermas’s public sphere concept which excludes a wide range of people, Facebook is open for everyone. Of course, that leads to many consequences. On the contrary of the fact that users must deal with many negative and distort ideologies, Facebook is more democratic and open to discuss issues. Facebook implements the discussing activity by applying the model of disagreement which basically allows people to discuss more and more by exposing users to the perspective that they don’t agree with. Besides, users can actively create their own space such as fanpages or groups to discuss issues with individuals who have the same interest.

Facebook’s roles in creating a “public sphere”

In my point of view, since the effort to make discussions, Facebook in particular and common media in general, are striving to serve public’s interest and ensure both of democracy the “dominant ideology”. It plays a vital role as a place for “encoding and decoding” activities and it is designed to facilitate the sharing both of individual and group of individual.

To sum up, social media holds the main position as public sphere of discourse. The media plays a role as a provider of a medium discuss issues, and the most important: “Media is the sword arm of democracy” (globalethicsnetwork.org).

 

A view of media ownership as an apprentice communicator

There are many different points of view about “Media ownership”, most of them are surrounded by the democratic problem and diversity of source of information. And the question arises “Is the media ownership that bad?”.  

What is media ownership? 

Media ownership is when a few media firms dominate the media market and it comes from the result of merging media company.

Why does media ownership matter? 

 

Limitation in the number of media ownership helps us explain the lack of diversity in information and that’s the reason why the readers may not have a fulfilled knowledge to evaluate an issue. Furthermore, the media integrity, which contains both public interest and the democratic process, may not completely be demonstrated. This will greatly affect the false beliefs in society and limit freedom of speech.

According to Marxist Media Theory, media as amplifiers,  ”In Marxist media analysis, media institutions are regarded as being ‘locked into the power structure, and consequently as acting largely in tandem with the dominant institutions in society. The media thus reproduced the viewpoints of dominant institutions not as one among a number of alternative perspectives, but as the central and ‘obvious’ or ‘natural’ perspective”(Curran et al. 1982: 21). This is a prove of media ownership problem which makes the audience shortage of critical perspective.

So what will happen without consolidation of media ownership?

 

Every issue has two sides, media ownership is not necessarily bad.

Firstly, in my own perspective, media ownership restricts the limitation of freedom of expressing, which happens when freedom of speech conflict with other rights and freedom. Social media is a great example, since it’s the place for anyone to express their opinions, many defamed statements were expressed that may badly affect people or a group of individuals when “The job of media to promote peace initiatives, support individuals and groups who are involved in the peace process” (Raza Hassan). As the example mentioned above, governments and nations should use media as the tool for the promotion of peace and protect their citizen from aggressive ideologies.

Secondly, media oligopoly has the ability to provide more diverse offerings to the consumers. As James Gattuso – a senior research fellow in regulatory policy agreed that the ability to own multiple media allow media owner to provide different programs for the diversity of markets. Basically, media owners can easily serve the needs of the different segments of the viewing population.

Last but not least, the owners innovatively improve quality of media. As the result of the effort to serve the needs of the different segments of viewers and being a locally broadcast, the consolidation of media needs to keep innovating the quality of news. The media audience will be served very well in the term of media ownership

Further details

It is necessary for us to aware of who owns the media we access to get the news. For instance, I use both of Vietnamese newspapers and international sources to access an issue in my country in order to have a more objective view on an issue and avoid being manipulated due to the diversity of media owners I choose.

But what trust do I have in choosing a source of information? I think it depends on my ideology, authenticity, time decay of the news and even general evaluation of public opinion.

To sum up, as a communicator and also a part of media audience, we should be active in evaluating “media ownership” to demonstrate media integrity effectively.