Web 4.0

For week 6 of BCM206, we discussed the attention economy and the evolution of the web.

Web 2.0 describes the evolution of the internet in the early 2000s many of elements evolved. This iteration was coined the ‘read-write‘ web and saw many users become creators. In recent years, we have entered the Web 3.0 where websites are learning and becoming more intelligent through algorithms.

This had me thinking what Web 4.0 could look like. With technology constantly advancing and our immersion into technology becoming deeper and deeper, I think the Web 4.0 will see us interacting with this websites and AI on a virtual reality scale. This then had me wondering what advertisements in this virtual reality internet would look like. Would the ads be like a Truman show kind of deal? Or would they be more intrusive pop up ads? Could we even pay for a premium version of the internet that is ad-free. Would ad-blockers still exist here?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but I’d love to hear if you had any more ideas about what the Web 4.0 could be.

Frank Tremain.

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Background Research & Ethical Concerns

In week one, Hip-Hop in Australia was identified as a media niche that I am interested and have experience in. In the following week, I began to map this niche out. Last week, I began to problematise my media niche and narrowed my topic down to Hip-Hop in Australia and its social commentary for Indigenous Australians. In this week’s blog post, I will consider the ethical concerns of conducting an ethnographic study and begin to source the background research for my digital artefact. Although ethnography was initially challenging to understand, my research for the previous blog posts have taught me a lot.

Background Research

Kevin C. Holt’s Emcee Ethnographies: A Brief Sketch of U.S. Hip-Hop Ethnography (2019) is one of the main secondary sources that will be referenced throughout my digital artefact and has already helped shape the direction of my work. Holt references many other ethnographic studies of Hip-Hop and while none explicitly focus on Australia, the approaches and theoretical frameworks used can be applied to my own study. For example, Holt begins by defining Hip-Hop through analysing how other ethnographers have categorised it either as a musical genre, a cultural movement, an aesthetic or even a feeling (Holt, 2019). This conversation could be included in my first audio episode for my digital artefact, where I could start to define Hip-Hop in Australia and decide what aspect will be focused on for my study. With my problematisation in mind, it’s more likely the musical genre will be analysed to determine the feeling and potential social and cultural change that this has.

Additionally, this source provides a large variety of other ethnographic Hip-Hop studies that I will be investigating, most notably, a book by Tricia Rose titled The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop – And Why It Matters (2008). Rose takes an alternative framework by theorising that Hip-Hop as it exists today is only a shell of a more authentic former self and the mainstream music in recent years is exempt from the realm of Hip-Hop (Rose, 2008). This will be an interesting source to contrast my auto-ethnography and to help define the genre in Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2_VVL_DpQw/

In Andrew Green’s The Ethnography of Hip-Hop Nostalgia (2017), Green explores “the way that Hip-Hop musicians in Mexico City use their creative practice to perpetuate musical traditions associated with indigenous and national identity” (Green, 2017). This will be a useful source in approaching ethnographic research while focusing on one country. Although the observations that Green makes are primarily achieved in person by being at concerts and conducting interviews, my study will be done entirely online by analysing the online public discourse along with my own auto-ethnographic study.

Ethical Concerns

Ethnographers “tend to explain relationships or attitudes or social events by looking for their connections to other-things-happening in a defined analytic whole” (Arnould, 1998). This quote fits perfectly to my media niche and though I’m excited to begin my research, its important to recognise the ethical concerns. In Winter and Lavis’ Looking, But Not Listening? Theorising the Practice and Ethics of Online Ethnography (2020), they believe listening allows researchers to account for how people are speaking online (Winter & Lavis, 2020). This is applicable to the subject of my research such as the music, as well as the reaction to the music from publications and the public. By actively listening and observing, I will be able to make gain insight into my media niche, however, there are still issues of anonymity.

Although the majority of my research will be conducted online, there are still users who are not entirely anonymous but I can avoid any ethical issues by not directly quoting to referring to certain users but instead paraphrase their comments and draw conclusions from my observations across multiple social media platforms. Another ethical concern that I have is using incorrect terminology and discuss the subject matter carelessly. Due to the nature of the topic, I will make sure to use the appropriate language and approach the media niche with empathy and understanding. Furthermore, as an ethical researcher I will ensure I remain respectful and responsible before, during and after my research.

In the next week or so, I will be releasing a pitch video summarising my four blog posts before beginning to release episodes of my digital artefact. Stay tuned!

Frank Tremain.

Liquid Life

In week four of BCM206, we discussed the flow of information and the way liquid life has begun to dominate modern society.

The remediation for this week was based around one of my tweets and Ted’s reply, offering the arguments of both sides to the benefit of liquid life on the sense of community. It was inspired by Giovanni Carlini’s analysis of Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘Liquid Life‘.

Although I may be bias because I’ve never experienced a world without liquid life, I do believe it benefits us more than it hinders. It’s an interesting time to be studying these ideas of liquid life and liquid labour, as the recent pandemic hasn’t given us much of a choice and we’ve been thrown into the deep end of depending on the soft world. While I, of course, wish this evolution could’ve been a more gradual and less detrimental, I think this change will pave the way for how we approach liquid life and future networks.

Frank Tremain.

Planning & Problematising

For any new readers, I am doing an ethnographic study on my media niche, Hip-Hop in Australia. In the first week, I identified this niche and the definition of ethnography while in the second week, I began to map this media niche out. This week’s blog will begin to problematise my media niche and plan my research approach.

Problematising My Media Niche

After discussing my ideas with Chris, I’ve decided to narrow my niche further and investigate the use of Hip-Hop and its social commentary for Indigenous Australians.

Hip-Hop first began during the 1970s in The Bronx to unify minorities through a creative outlet in New York City. Shortly after, the genre became a form of social recognition and status for African-American and Latino youth and was a vehicle for collective uplift and social critique of policies and politics that disadvantage minority groups (Petchauer, 2011). As stated in my previous blog, Hip-Hop in Australia didn’t really begin to find success until the early 2000s.

Similarly to the inherent nature of Hip-Hop in America, Hip-Hop in Australia has grown into its own form of social commentary. To problematise this media niche, my ethnographic study will analyse and investigate the use of social commentary by Indigenous Australians and the response from publications, Hip-Hop fans and Australians in general. This research will help readers better understand this niche by demonstrating its importance on providing minorities with a voice and educating audiences on social issues. Ideally, the research will also map the interconnected relationships of Hip-Hop to Indigenous Australians. The audience of this research will include:

  • Avid fans of Hip-Hop in Australia
  • Casual music fans or Australians wanting to understand the social significance of Hip-Hop
  • Myself and future employers, as this project aligns with my career

Planning My Research Approach

The research plan for my digital artefact will begin with listening to as many albums and songs related to the experience of Indigenous Australians. Some of the key artists I will be looking at over the next couple of weeks include Ziggy Ramo, Briggs, JK-47 and Kobie Dee.

Following this, I will then observe the response to the media niche from publications, Hip-Hop fans and casual music listeners. This observation period will include reading reviews, watching interviews and taking notes and screenshots of online comments and posts. All of this can be done through social media on my phone and laptop.

“Auto-ethnography is an intriguing and promising qualitative method. Although working through these challenges can lead to the production of an excellent text, the intimate and personal nature of auto-ethnography can, in fact, make it one of the most challenging qualitative approaches to attempt.” – Sarah Wall (2006).

As a white Australian, I feel as though I am the target audience for this type of Hip-Hop music regarding the experience of Indigenous Australians. While I’ll leave it to my research to dive deeper into this, I recognise that auto-ethnography will work effectively in making observations on my listening experience including how the music makes me feel and what I can learn from it (Wall, 2006).

Made with Microsoft Word.

This Gantt Chart details the research schedule I will undertake throughout the semester. I will first begin by recording and presenting my pitch in week five, followed by identifying artists, albums and related news to the media niche. Then, I will monitor comments and online discussion surrounding the problem before collecting secondary sources and beginning my digital artefact and report. Secondary sources can be used with observation to triangulate emerging findings and used in conjunction with analysis to substantiate the findings (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). This means I can use studies relating to Hip-Hop in America and compare this to Australia, theorising the music’s future impact.

At the moment, I am unsure what form my digital artefact will take but I think I will present it as a two or three part audio series with a blog complimenting each episode. Depending on time constraints and if the nature of my research demands, I could also potentially present my findings as a YouTube series.

Frank Tremain.

Digital Artefact Pitch: AUD’$

The inspirations behind my DA include Off The Clef and different journalists I see engaging more consistently online. This will exist on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the AUD’$ website. While YouTube is used for the curation of new Hip-Hop music videos, my articles will be published through the website and advertised on my Instagram and Twitter.

Inspiration examples: @otchiphop / @benmaddenwriter

The articles produced for AUD’$ will include anything related to Hip-Hop in Australia, from reviews, interviews and features. Although currently not monetised, I see this as crafting a journalism portfolio for myself and gaining the necessary contacts and experience.

This combines my passion of music and journalism and builds upon previous DA’s in BCM112 and BCM114. My primary goals for this semester is to continue curating and producing regular content to gain followers and contacts.

If you’d like to support my Digital Artefact, you can follow my Instagram, Twitter and the AUD’$ YouTube, or visit AUD’$ for more.

Frank Tremain.

Civilisation of the Mind

For this week’s topic, we explored the origins of cyberspace and the birth of the World Wide Web and the network society.

The remediation of this week is based on Cyberpunk 2077 meme. When the cyberpunk open world game was first announced, people began placing the title over questionable inventions.

The person pictured in my remediation, is Hugo Gernsback, who invented an early prototype of virtual reality with his “teleyeglasses”. Gernsback originally had the idea in 1936 but was forced to dismiss it as impractical until 1963 when he felt the electronics industry was catching up. As I’ve discussed in previous weeks, I’m always amazed at the different philosophers, writers and inventors from the 1900s who could ideate these communication technologies before they were even created.

Another interesting point from this week’s lecture was cyber liberty. As I stated on Twitter, I struggled to find anything on this idea relating to countries introducing online laws and the potentially banning of Tik-Tok. If you had anything regarding the topic, feel free to reach out on Twitter!

Frank Tremain.

Narrowing My Niche

Last week, I chose the media niche of Hip-Hop in Australia to explore throughout BCM241 for my Digital Artefact. In this week’s blog, I aim to narrow my niche by identifying the key players and the network surrounding the niche.

To visualise the network of Hip-Hop in Australia, I created a mind map that, by no means is meant to represent all the webs of relationships and players, but instead provides examples of some of the aspects that I interact with.

Made with MindMup.

My media niche exists both with an online presence, including the platforms of distribution and social media, as well as an offline presence including concerts, studios and streetwear. I’ve listed some of the key players within the scene, including brands that are often collaborated with, publications that cover the culture and venues where the niche resides. All of these create a network of relations that provide a way for developing an unconventional understanding of social processes (Burrell, 2009).

Although, Internet ethnographies emerged during the 1990s, and were considered detached from the ‘real world’, this media niche is closely linked to people’s offline world and culture (Airoldi, 2018). Hip-Hop has always been more than the music, but “a means for seeing, celebrating, experiencing, understanding, confronting and commenting on life and the world … In other words, is a way of living – a culture” (The Kennedy Centre, n.d.). Though this quote originally applied to Hip-Hop in America, the same can be said about Australia. In the video below, this is expressed from the evident link between Australian culture, Hip-Hop culture and Hip-Hop in Australia.

This niche is incredibly relevant to my career so this research will firstly be valuable to myself. Additionally, this research could interest other creatives within the industry and even just casual listeners who are becoming more and more familiar with the genre as it grows and want to know more about it from an academic stance. By doing so, I would be one of the first to write about Australia in Hip-Hop in relation to ethnography but I have found some articles based on American Hip-Hop which will be useful in directing my research and my approach.

To problematise my media niche, I could aim to create a clearer definition of Hip-Hop in Australia from the type of music and the listeners that it attracts. With the genre being so young in Australia, this would create new fans by helping people understand and educating marketers (like myself) on how to better advertise and work within the industry. In next week’s blog, I will dive deeper into problematising my media niche and how I will approach this so if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it! After this ethnographic research, I hope to be able to have a more refined understanding of Hip-Hop in Australia that will improve my researching skills as well as benefit my active role in my media niche.

Frank Tremain.

A Global Nervous System

For this week’s topic, we examined the progression from the telegraph to cyber space and likened the world to the body, creating a global nervous system.

The quote included in my remediation is from Nathaniel Hawthorne, who inspired the vision of a ‘global village‘ from Marshall McLuhan. While the global village describes the way in which we are interconnected as we enter into the electronic age, Hawthorne originally made a more personal parallel.

Unlike McLuhan, Hawthorne wasn’t a teacher or a philosopher, he was an author. This quote was delivered by Clifford, a character in his novel, The House of Seven Gables. While much of Hawthorne’s work has been criticised as being too ambiguous, McLuhan believed that they may have been intentional. The novel is regarded as a romance, but the ambiguity used reveals “the complexity of humanity and the dilemma man faces in achieving a unified view of existence.

Frank Tremain.

Media Niche: Hip-Hop in Australia

For Media Ethnographies (BCM241), we are required to begin exploring a media niche that we have interest and experience in. There are several media niches I immerse myself in but the one I find myself interacting with daily, is Hip-Hop in Australia.

Hip-Hop has been something I’ve enjoyed as a consumer since a young age and in particular, Hip-Hop in Australia is something I’ve followed for almost ten years. Since the start of the year, I have been working as a journalist and curator for AUD’$, an independent media network that has been reporting on Hip-Hop in Australia for over four years.

The idea of Australian Hip-Hop is young, beginning when Hilltop Hoods found success with their debut album The Calling in 2003. Throughout the 2000s and into the early 2010s, the genre became accustomed to a sound referred to as ‘skip hop’ (Marsland, 2015). It wasn’t until the mid-2010s when Hip-Hop in Australia began to progress into the diverse and constantly growing sound that we hear today. It’s hard to confine all the Australian artists into a bubble of Australian Hip-Hop when the sub-genres and calibre of artists continue to push boundaries and break this mould. For now, Hip-Hop in Australia is a relatively small circle, but the reason this media niche should interest you is because within the the next ten years, Australia’s rap scene will make a serious name for itself in the international market.

Unlike some other media niches, Hip-Hop in Australia lives off line but the obvious platforms that the niche exists online is Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and AudioMack. Additionally, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook home many media networks and consumers that are all a part of the cultural discussion. One platform that includes both the music and discussion, is YouTube. There are several YouTubers who make reaction videos and interviews that are at the forefront of the cultural discussion and play key roles in the media niche similar to the artist themselves.

Ethnography places a strong emphasis on culture and as an ethnographer, it is my responsibility to describe, analyse and interpret the different social realities of cultural members and the communication activities that occur (Daymon & Holloway, 2011). For the ethnographic study of Hip-Hop in Australia, I believe it would be best to apply both a conventional ethnography but also an auto-ethnography by ‘peeling back multiple layers of consciousness, thoughts, feelings and beliefs’ (Boyle & Parry, 2007). An ethnographic investigation would be beneficial to me as both a researcher and a worker in this field. I will be able to gain a deeper insight of the consumers, the content and the culture of this niche. By doing so, I will be able to adjust my own content of journalistic writing and the marketing of my content to better reach and understand my target audience (Miller, 2016). It could also potentially improve my role as a journalist in broadening this media niche.

While this topic is quite large, next week’s blog will begin to narrow this field by identifying some of the key players in the culture today.

Frank Tremain.

Research Reflection

During the semester, I researched why students listened to music while studying and what the most popular genre is. This is a well-researched topic from academics across the world and the starting point of my research began by looking at the Mozart Effect. This was a study that I was familiar with, but by investigating further into it, and the studies that followed, I recognised that there were two angles I could take.

The first angle could focus on the scientific side, looking at the cognitive benefits that music has on us while studying. However, I decided to steer away from this and look at how music makes students feel while studying and how by better understanding this, we can improve our productivity.

Approaching my primary research, I began with a survey I made on Google Forms and distributed it through Twitter. It consisted of 12 questions, collecting quantitative and qualitative from the 70 respondents were answered. I would’ve liked to have received more answers and I could have achieved this by being more interactive with the Hong Kong BCM210 class. That being said, I was pretty active on Twitter and this gained responses from 35% of the entire BCM212 cohort.

Originally, I was going to conduct a content analysis on the study playlists of BCM212 students. After my survey though, only 12 participants had linked their own playlists indicating that people use others more than creating their own. Due to the previously stated and time constraints, I decided against the content analysis and thought of the idea to create a study playlist. This playlist would be a collaborative effort that would act as an experiment for students to listen and determine what music works best for them.

This was a topic that I am extremely passionate about and I was excited to research it. I had previous experience in ethical research so I did not find that aspect too challenging, however, what I did find difficult was narrowing my subject matter. I divided my research project into three sections: Why do students listen to music?, what is the most popular genre? and is there a solution? This allowed me to highlight important findings, compare these to secondary sources and present a possible solution.

I’m satisfied with my work throughout this semester and while I recognise the ways in which I could have improved my work, I think I created a well-written and useful piece of academic writing that has helped me learn about my studying habits and will hopefully be of benefit to those who read it.

Frank Tremain.