I thought I’d get a jump on blogging and start practicing for all those coming blog assignments.
First tute Dr Nicola Evans, a fresh faced and soft spoken woman who has the most delightful accent, started us off. “The average life of a web page is 100 days.” She began citing issues that are coming to the fore as a consequence of the temporal nature of new technologies and the speed at which they rise and fall. Many case’s legal notes that are citing URL’s as their references are finding that the links have disappeared.
Instantly my mind jumps to Orwellian ideas, where changing what is recorded in the past and making history appear as you wish it to be today becomes reality.
And so the discussion in this subject instantly tied with my other subject’s lectures that week and started a snowball effect in my overactive mind. One of the emerging issues is really an old issue, now with greater capability for healing and/or damage; the mediated message.
Anyone can start a news website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account etc, there is little to no accountability, I’m not saying their needs to be more. But with such a high amount of information being viewed everyday it’s not easy for the average person to wade through it and to come out with a story that is not a product of someone else’s agenda.
The powerless still have a problem of accessibility and it is up to the powerful to tell their stories. But for what purpose?
For instance here is a discussion between journalists about what is happening in Syria. There are many stakeholders in this discussion. There are accusations about the White Helmets, there are accusations about false stories coming from aid organisations. Unless you are on the ground in eastern-Aleppo you are stuck with the task of wading through a wide range of second, third, fourth, tenth hand information that is contradictory and obviously has become the play thing of multiple stakeholders.
Much like economics, much like policy or climate change the mediated message has gained volume, speed and access in a way that can influence the way that large populations of people think about an issue.
My first ideas for a focused research area is the way that NGO’s working abroad use technology as a way of promotion and possible proliferation of a mediated message or propaganda. My father has a lot of interesting things to say about the Red Cross during Vietnam and there is now documented evidence of their role in WW2. It may be interesting to compare the enabling of aid organisations as false fronts for government propaganda versus their advertised role.
One of the things that I decided in past semesters was that deciding on a topic in the first couple of weeks and starting the planning and reading phase would be of most benefit. So this is me making good on that.
Am still stupidly excited to be back asking the pressing questions of our time (which I have a fleeting suspicion will be the same as 2000 years ago). This is my last core communications topic, and if my brain flow is anything to judge by, it promises to be one hell of a ride.