Web 4.0 – Facebook owning the 4th dimension

Much like a real estate giant or tycoon owning every physical lot in sight, so does FB own every relevant platform in the online world. Facebook has covered all the corners, from how you391ee12077ba9cabd10e476d8b8c022b network with your social cirle, to where you choose to communicate (Whats app, FB messenger), where you express yourself (Instagram), and where you game (Oculus Rift). As Zuckerberg goes shopping buying out mobile tech companies we see a privatization of the digital landscape. What is concerning is that this digital behemoth owns all the data that is being produced on said platforms. They have become the ultimate landlord. As the SNS has grown much larger and has surpassed its original purpose, it comes to not only own spaces in which others operate; they have complete access to all those interactions occurring within. What is fearful is that years ago films such as Gamer showed us how we can have a ‘virtual self’ or an avatar if you will on the fourth dimension where we can all play together socially thanks to the networked effect. Shortly, that won’t only be possible, it will be the norm, and Facebook will own that digital imprint, your digital soul. More on how “you don’t own your online life” can be found: HERE


The Modern Painting: Data Visualization

Data can be seen as a raw material to work with, to mold with the digital tools we are given today: our virtual pick, chisel and hammers. We can sculpt a visual representation of something intangible: information. A graph can in seconds convey the story that would take minutes to read or tell. It unpacks relationships and places them before our eyes to see. Unfair wage gaps can be put on paper (or on screen), suicide rates illustrated into shapes and forms everyone can understand. Data visualization strips away mysticism in numbers. It is about transparency, clarity and simplifying that which was previously obfuscated. Data journalists are thus making data into art in the most minimal fashion possible. They do not wish to confuse you but to speak to you directly and get the point across in the most streamlined way that they can. Clean cut lines. Direct and to the point. Unembellished. They are the modernists who turn the intangible into the visible. What data journalists construct isn’t a mere visual aid to speak in front of and point to. These pieces can stand alone and tell a complex story. It will unravel itself to you as you look at it and make the necessary connections same as you would gaze at a painting.

For a modern day example, click HERE

“Mining through the data: Looking for stories within numbers”

With a plethora of information at our fingertips, it isn’t necessary to have an event happen to have a worthwhile story to tell. Much like man’s evolution, we as journalists have abandoned hunting and gathering data. We have become far more sedentary. So settle down as you can find story ideas via data analysis from the comfort of your own desk! Filtering this flow of data is now the prominent way to investigate current matters. We are digital argriculturists. This change in practices entails a change in skills in order to excel and keep up with the digital revolution. Creating infographics, charts, and visuals is of imperative importance in order for your viewer to understand the story you’ve come to craft with the data analysis you’ve conducted. A great example of job well done is Bloomberg. A notable article is “The Most Dangerous Jobs in America” accessible here: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-dangerous-jobs/ It turns simple known facts into an interactive serving of a story on the risks associated with your employment in the US. Considering the perpetual flux of information, having vibrant visuals and clear imagery grasps the reader’s attention and delivers research as a narrative form. Finally, what makes this sort of journalism even more effective is that you can quickly share these facts on social networking sites, where your target doesn’t necessary have to plow through a paragraph to pluck out the desired info.

“From QWERTY to touchscreen: the flattening of our keyboards”

One of the biggest hurdles we’ve have to overcome to consider ourselves early adopters of digital technology is the pressing of the plane of our 20th century typewriters. “They’ve taken our beloved buttons!” you would hear their outcry when switching from a Blackberry Curve to an iPhone 3g. Now, being an early adopter comes with many challenges. To face them says a lot about your character. “How ever will I type?” you must of thought to yourself. You used to write paragraphs seamlessly under your desk with the help of T9 texting or the QWERTY keypad of your extension of self, your BB, cool, unnoticed. Now when looking directly at the screen, you’re having difficulty typing out a simple sentence. So, why suffer? Because you understand that this innovation will soon become the norm so you must possess an open mind, accept change as it comes, learn to adapt, and have the courage to take on a challenge when the rest remain reluctant.

Also, there were benefits involved to switching to this new technology: iMessage. The fact that you could use wifi to send messages free of charge instead of forking out 30 cents a message seemed more than appealing. This switch occurred due to the network effect. Early adopters helped speed the diffusion process.  Furthermore, the early adopter is usually respected by his or her peers and has a reputation for successful and discrete use of new ideas (Rogers, 1971). Such goes the saying “all the cool kids are doing it,” when asked why are you jumping on the bandwagon. The network effect generated by iMessage was a successful one considering if you were to see a green bubble on the receiving end you wouldn’t help it but shrug.


Rogers, E.M. and Shoemaker, F.F., 1971. Communication of Innovations; A Cross-Cultural Approach.

What is on the CV of a UGC creator?

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Professional Skills include:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Premiere
  • Video production & editing

We often discredit those who involve themselves in content creation. We watch a couple of makeup tutorials in a row on YouTube, scroll through a dozen or so memes on Instagram, copy paste some funny gifs to the group chat, and think little of the challenges faced by those learning the craft of producing such files. For instance, the knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere are valuable assets when it comes to making UGC to reach your digital publics. Sure, online programs exists such as Animoto. Yet, they can run you up to 63$/mo. For some in their early to mid twenties, these skills were picked up after school when spending countless hours online to get a stellar YouTube channel rolled out, or to have a killer comedy meme account. However, we couldn’t get the information we needed from our parents, elders, or professors at that given time. Recent study on new literacies claims that digital technologies provide avenues for youth to learn important skills by invoking a number of important modalities. Yet, this work does not well consider key features of online learning environments, namely, their relationship to online publics, in developing theoretical platforms for learning with new media. (Rafalow and Korobkova, 2017) In light of this, notably 90’s babies and millenials had to take to the online forums and learn from one another in order to have an active online presence and voice. Furthermore, becoming a digital producer and an online leader requires much more skill than simply stating your ideas and opinions online on a text-based blog or commenting on online public content. Online environments are linked to multiple audiences that have permeable boundaries and therefore, one should cultivate the skills needed to navigate multiple audiences within a broader public online. So, you cannot simply post what you want, or even create the content you please. You must take it one step further and get to know what your audiences are into , what humour is en vogue, what’s going on with the lipstick ‘brand’ you are promoting , what the ‘buzz’ is surrounding the celebrity you are commenting on, which songs are being played repetitively on the radio. You must conduct some online/social research in order to gauge whether your new meme will stick, or if your video will get you more subscribers, etc. In sum, if you’re creating content and it’s getting hits, you’re paving the e-path!


Rafalow, M. and Korobkova, K. (2017). Navigating digital publics for playful production: A cross-case analysis of two interest-driven online communities – Digital Culture & Education. [online] Digitalcultureandeducation.com. Available at: http://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/uncategorized/korobkova-html/ [Accessed 3 May 2017].

Where do you remember 1st seeing this face?

April 2017’s Online Celebrity (Move over Salt Bae!)






Don’t tell me you don’t know who this man is. As of mid-April 2017, every news outlet and possible platform served up this incredibly absurd PR tragedy for United Airlines.  Content is king. So, if a story is compelling enough as this, no matter what platform you digest it off, it won’t truly matter. You definitely were able to read up on the mentioned incident on Instagram via various memes that lead you to the story, videos uploaded from witnesses onto their SNS such as Facebook and so on. Certainly with the rise of social media and proliferation of mobile media platforms, the event blew up on the Internet and the organization faced dire consequences. What’s the cost of dragging one of your paying customers off a flight in the digital age? A cool 1 billion dollars. Tuesday shares were down about 4%, which at the time had erased $994.2 million in market capitalization. Prior to having smartphones and tablets super-glued to our hands as a virtual extension of the self, United Airlines stocks would of maybe not even been affected considering the only people involved would be those on the flight and who ever they would of told. However, in 2017 where everything is a share or retweet away, it would be hard for Wall Street to not reflect the PR nightmare and the turbulence their actions caused on the web. Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management notes, “before social media like Twitter and Facebook, before the advent of fast communication, maybe they can get away with something like this, but it is a whole new ballgame. You spend a lifetime and a ton of advertising money trying to gain a great reputation with a moniker like “Fly the friendly skies,” but it takes one incident to completely undo it. It’s tough to recover quickly with everyone seeing it, and makes people think twice about who they will fly with. United’s stock [today] reflects the negative potential.” Even though the stock has recovered, the company’s image has been tarnished. If no one heard of United before, they unquestionably do now. And that’s not a good thing.

See video HERE




Porn propelled it!

Ever wonder how you have the luxury to online shop? How online payments are safe and secure? Well, you’d be surprised who’s to thank for this marvel. The porn industry. Wait, what? Yes, perverts are responsible for the rapid commercialization of the internet.  Think about it. You don’t necessarily need to buy your groceries or clothes online. This is merely a 21st century, first world delight. But porn, you would most likely prefer to conceal your identity for the consumption of that one. Maybe you wouldn’t want to ‘share’ that on your Facebook, much less invite your ‘friends’ to play. No sir. This isn’t candy crush.

The porn industry moved online and what a relief that was. No more walking into an XXX shop or XXX section of the video-store with a kid smirking at you knowing what you’re after and the mother tugging him away, abhorred. Great, now you can be a perv within the comfort and confines of your 4 bedroom walls. But, we need to find a way to make all these consumers pay! Thus, the online tech revolution began. The race was on.

“[Back in 1996] there was just a single company processing payments, one doing security and another doing hosting. Today, there are hundreds of companies in each vertical, signalling both an increase in demand and competition,” asserts  Michael Plant an organizer for Qwebec Expo, a B2B conference for tech companies in the adult online industry.

The focus shifted from content creation to the tech side of things. Therefore, all this advancement was for the facilitation of payment for pornography and not to sell knickknacks and slacks with the help of Paypal. So, when looking at the history of the internet it is interesting to note what sparked innovation and creative solutions. “We’ve got some of the best minds in software engineering and programming, and that is in part due to Montreal’s reputation as ‘Silicon Valley North,’” claims MindGeek vice-president Catherine Dunn. Good going Montreal. We now know the two undoubtedly go hand in hand. Nerds + Porn. A recipe for technological success.

Mindgeek owns 8/10 largest porn companies on the Internet. If you don’t believe me visit their site. No worries, there is 0 porn on there and you WON’T have to clear your cookies and browsing history. It is astonishing to see how little of this industry actually has to do with the content that might be taboo.

Where did you hear that?

Depending on who you ask, everyone’s news source will vary. Might not be a newspaper. *cough, cough* If you ask someone in the Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh in India for instance, they’ll likely respond, “WhatsApp!” Now you’re wondering how an encrypted end-to-end instant messaging app intended to send secure messages and make VOIP calls can possibly offer hard hitting news. Well… here’s how. This is the chosen platform one local reporter is using to build a novel news service that has attracted thousands of subscribers in under a year. He calls it “Rocket Post Live”.

Now, you might not view yourself as a reader. Contrarily, maybe you’re aspiring to be a hard-hitting journalist. Great news mate! No need to penetrate the world of legacy media. WhatsApp can also help you with that. Since 2015 you could share your stories and eyewitness accounts with BBC quick and easily. It’s the same as sending an elaborate text including audio, video, and images. The instructions can be found here.

Moving forward, real journalists (the character type – not the profession) can embrace these newfound opportunities as defenders of the fourth estate. Losing funding brings on new unprecedented freedoms. This is a time where everyone’s laptop, tablet, smartphone is their podium. This next image might help in clearing some things up.


The Internet is undoubtedly challenging the existing revenue models of journalism. Yet this presents journalists with unanticipated opportunities to reach larger audiences faster. The convergence of technologies and globalization effect of the digital age is thus granting journalists the chance to speak up and get the message out effectively. “[It] is making it extremely difficult for governments to develop regulatory policy fast enough.Current press and broadcast laws are only valid within the borders of the state concerned. But this may change.” (Herbert 2016, p.17) In other words, if you’re a journo, this is your time to shine!

Herbert, J. (2016). Journalism in the digital age. 1st ed. [Place of publication not identified]: Focal.

“The Digital Reshaping of Journalistic Practices”

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The future of journalism lies with data analysis, as stated by the creator of the World Wide Web, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/nov/22/data-analysis-tim-berners-lee yet hardly any of the journalism courses offered today teach this particular skill. (Arthur, 2010) When looking at what I would consider the paragon of digital journalism, “Snowfall – New York Times” accessible at: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek it is clear that a mere story has been transformed into a multilayered data-dense engulfing tell-all tale covering all possible corners all thanks to the advent of technology. The story is a wide-ranging all encompassing project including: video interviews, digital renditions of the location, weather maps, historical analysis of the site, etc. This amalgamation and selection of data was certainly not taught in a classroom. It is the product of adaptation. For this type of reporting to have emerged, journalists had to change their skill sets as they realized the shift in production culture. Digitalization, artificial intelligence within the newsroom and the journalist’s will to go digging in the data only to bring to light what is unequivocally interesting and salient. The aim of these stories is to secure reader engagement and multiple visits from subscribers. The content jumps off the proverbial page and thus becomes interactive. Finally for this kind of multimedia article to gain momentum and shareability it can be posted on SNSs to expand its reach. By employing social media, this journalistic article transcends from a local tragedy to a global news story.

“Me? I’m all about memes”


My humor relies heavily on memes. And in all honesty, whose doesn’t these days. Above all, my favorite has to be Kermit the frog minding his business. What I’m interested in exploring is how this comical tool helps people connect. Firstly, memes are widely spread on SNSs such as Instagram. All you have to do to share a laugh is tag your friend so they get to see the said meme. These ‘friends’ are already part of your online network and therefore tagging them in humorous images strengthens your friendship performance. As one meme states, “If they aren’t tagging you in at least 10 memes a day are they the one?” Your bond is solidified via the meme’s power to be relatable, its repeatability and malleability. However, without social media memes would not be as popular or engaging. Memes exploit SNSs to their limits. They can be shared, altered to tell personal stories and can quickly unite a group together which may beforehand have not had anything else is common. In addition, they spark conversation and create a buzz around them. For instance, the way that they take life offline is if you’re in a restaurant and notice a commotion or if someone is at your table is saying something contradictive or hypocritical you can turn to the side (profile view) and sip your drink. Odds are, those around you will grasp the message you are trying to convey. In sum, as Cindy Royal puts it, “Communication is technology, and technology is communication. That’s the true convergence.” http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/04/cindy-royal-are-journalism-schools-teaching-their-students-the-right-skills/

If you’re addicted to memes here’s a great reality check: http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/07/15-things-you-only-know-if-youre-addicted-to-memes-6113112/