28
Oct 15

Refugee memes and communication misuse

By Julen Figueras

matrix meme

In my previous post, I wrote about Facebook posts, comments and the (lack of) debates that emerge from them. Another recurrent piece of communication not only on Facebook but on Social Media in general is that of the memes. For those not familiar with the term, memes are units that carry ideal, symbols or practices that are transmitted through writing, speech and other ways with a mimicked theme. Although this definition from Wikipedia is specific enough, when it comes to the Internet and our current 9gag culture, memes tend to be (albeit not exclusively) images with an attached text. These images relate to diverse Internet cultures and to audiovisual phenomena.

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11
Oct 15

Facebook as a public sphere: thoughts on Marko Skoric’s lecture

By Julen Figueras

facebook agora

There is a lot of stuff written on Facebook and its potential for democratisation. We have assumed already that social media alone won’t bring about any revolution, yet there still seems to be a wide acceptance of the idea that Zuckerberg’s social network provides a good opportunity for human interaction. Probably not as close and sincere as in organic spaces, but still a nice place to hang out and share information of all sorts.

For those of us who still think that a healthy democracy needs some amount of interaction and informed debate in the public sphere(s) (Habermas 1964; Frase 1990), Facebook is as promising as it is disappointing. One can observe how kitten pictures, videoclips and “see-what-happened-next” videos proliferate while other contents simply don’t get the same attention. The most recent guest lecture at ComDev, held by Marko Skoric, shed some painful light on this topic. It was a lecture with a ton of interesting information to write down, but two ideas got stuck in my mind. Continue reading →


07
Oct 15

Refugee crisis #NotInMyName: participatory media intervention

by Mindaugas Jocbalis

‘NotInMyName’ demonstration in Budapest, Hungary. 2015. Photo credit: Jelena Gregorius at Twitter.

There’s no denying that the refugee crisis has escalated in 2015, with equal interest in participatory media representation. YouTube video channels, social media pages, and political activism groups, have all increased in numbers evident in the digital sphere, according to Google Trends. Particular focus can be paid to volunteer and activist participatory media blogs europerefugeecrisis.com, refugeecrisisinhungary.wordpress.com and writersforcalaisrefugees.wordpress.com. It is worth noting that they are not run or contributed to by front-line refugees, aid workers or emergency services. So it is difficult to verify the factual accuracy of representations of the ongoing Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Somalian and Eritrean refugee crisis. What is evident, is the popularity of alternative media spheres, which have been revived since the decline of Indymedia (see previous article by Michael O’Regan). This makes it different from the continuous efforts by media portals to represent migrants, (see previous article by Isabel Marques da Silva) and also different to previous refugee crises, where the vestigal view was that traditional media had the ability to influence the majority.

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