YTB

The concept of “raised by the boys” is clever and original. It certainly resonates with most of the target market; being young dudes, partying with the boys. It certainly has potential as “yeah the boys” showed that appealing to that segment of the market obviously brings about exposure. “the boys” is something that all Australian teenagers/and young adults can relate to. The boys being a collective term for your male mates. The concept of raised by the boys was to create an online series of videos that reflect the lives of “the boys”, drinking, smoking, talking bulk nonsense and getting into some unfavourable situations; because that’s what the boys do. This show was to be promoted through social media, but not only was the show going to be promoted it was going to be supported by the mass dissemination of media content – namely memes. These memes make pop culture references towards the exclusive group that is the boys

 

Harold intended to make monthly episodes but found that it wasn’t going to be that easy to produce perfectly polished content. However, while making this mistake, he made it early and was therefore able to adjust, make one episode and continue his content stream for continued exposure. Crowd sourced “boys culture” would be put out into the wide-open world of the internet but I think he hasn’t even aired a meme yet. It’s clever the way these memes have been manufactured and I certainly look forward to when the content stream kicks back up. In saying that, the content stream ended about a year ago and no doubt that would have had some degenerative effects on his level of exposure.

 

  • Explore the modern relationship between content and audience
  • Digital service > broadcast
  • Fandom? Loyal Audiences? Invested audiences?
  • Provide an immersive and entertaining stream of content for users
  • Target Audience: The Boys

 

“Raised By The Boys” utility is to connect with the above mentioned boys group. It does this by the minimalistic branding and scenes of camping, chilling out, a beer in hand. It all screams the boys, and by importing a media stream where every meme begins with “the boys” you don’t even have to be an avid fan of the show or idea in order to relate to it. “Yeah the boys” was shut down because it was overly sexist and borderline vulgar, Harold has to be careful that he doesn’t overstep that mark, because we live in an inclusive society, where just because the boys exists, doesn’t mean they have to pretend women don’t. The exclusivity of the branding is very clever and I appreciate that uniqueness of it, but there can be the boys without spitting on the girls. The media stream shows no sign of sexism and I believe girls can even slightly find it humerous.

“Raised By The Boys” also seeks to have an audience orientated content stream, where the characters of the show are seemingly interacting with the users of the stream. This can no doubt yield impressive results, shown by the WWE stream, being the most popular sports following in the world. For Raised By The Boys to do this effectively, personalities must be heavily reflected, but not so intensely that casual viewers are left feeling foreign. E.g. idiosyncrasies that include the boys but also content that reflects the characters personality, such as Big Lez etc

As of yet, Harold doesn’t have a recent media stream set up; that includes Instagram and Facebook. However, he has a back log of content that is ready to load into his Facebook and I believe he’s still trying to set up an Instagram; his project before the beta has taken a few twists and turns but for the most part, there’s no panic or downfall, just continual reiteration. Not having the first episode up, or a recent content strwam is obviously not ideal, despite this he’s well prepared for an official launch. I do feel that “Raised BY The Boys” needs an updated stream of content to solidify some sort of consumer base in the market; there aren’t many shows or ideas that are so exclusive, and this is where it has huge opportunity and has the potential to create massive exposure.

Harold’s back log has been tirelessly produced with many different applications. By doing this there’s significant credibility in his production. InDesign, Character Animator, Photoshop and Premiere are all applications with fairly steep learning curves. During the presentation, knowing prior to the presentation that he hasn’t launched any content, it was reassuring that was produced with a lot of effort. He also revealed that “inbox the boys” will be one of his means of disseminating content; where he will send fans Facebook messages, containing humerous content and create an even more interested customer base. The interactivity of his business model in unique and will draw an audience.

The sooner the show is launched onto social media, the sooner it’ll be able to solidify some type of following. The great animators such as  Tom Hollis, Jarrad Wright and Izak Whear of the Big Lez Show and shows such as Rick and Morty rely on an anticipation model, where the user will watch one show and long for the next episode. Big Lez as a web series is a great inspiration for this model as their proven success is continually expressed – so much so that the name for my Hearthstone account is “MikeNolanm8”. Rick and Morty release an entire series, where I don’t believe “Raised by The Boys” with a small team can afford to do that as it leaves the user feeling unfulfilled and disengaged. Despite that the content streams the Harold employs will be extremely interactive, there’s still a requirement for deployment of proper content; people don’t watch shows for the memes, the memes are noticed because of the shows themes and references.

“Raised by The Boys” looks like an epic watch and I’m super keen to get around it with the boys.

 

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Swimming Lessons

When you delve into the never-ending whirlpool that is news media, it’s difficult to come to the surface. You’re never pinned underneath by a powerful current but it feels as though you’re constantly swirling around, seemingly unknowingly stuck and consciously content with this force of nature. The whack-a-mole game has grown unpopular, but there are still some older folk her frequent the bar dabbling in it. Instead, we now have social media; the whirlpool and it seems to speed up ever so slightly each year.

Not only is new media having a profound effect on how we communicate, it’s dictating the way we perceive media; and most of the time in a very neutral light. The ubiquitous nature of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc allows us to communicate instantaneously and is therefore perceived as “more efficient”. That’s the world we live in: a world of deadlines, 9-5 and instant communication literally at the fingertips – a world where we don’t have the time to “take it slow”. Efficiency is an interesting concept, because efficiency in its entirety is what corporations are looking for to increase productivity, to automate mines, to give less people jobs at supermarkets and replace them with self-serve counters.

 

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Well, I have some news for you; this efficiency, it’s literally driving us mad. British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey believes that social media is making us more self-centred, less productive and degrading our mental health significantly. To the point where, in some cases, people attain PTSD. He states that “negative news can affect your own personal worries. Viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.” Stories such as ISIS attacks, natural disasters or stories about children dying are more likely to gain traction because they’re “inherently dramatic and threatening”. And for me, that represents much of the population, a reflection of apathy and desensitisation of the population as a whole.

However, despite my pessimism there are ways to rise to the surface of this vicious, unforgiving whirl pool and that is to quite simply switch off. I know, how ridiculous does it sound; “you expect me to be isolated from the wider interconnected world and wallow in my own social anxieties”? Well, you just defined what social media does to us, so yes, put the phone down. There are apps such as Cold Turkey to help us ease into this process of cutting down or disengaging with social media. I feel as if the proliferation of new media has been a catalyst to the degradation of mental health in individuals. The system is rigged, and algorithms are created to fuck with our productivity and daily life. But above all the negativity, above all the institutional, systemic abuse – we all have the personal choice to abstain from the poison that is social media. We’re all able to swim.

The Greatest Game

So, there’s a whack-a-mole game that appeared at your local watering hole, it’s coated with glossy greens and browns, elegantly crafted holes and moles that look like they’ve been sculpted by a Japanese game designer. You and your friends have knocked back a few schooies and you decide to play said game. An hour passes and you’re still playing, you go and get a beer and return to the game, you’re addicted; tantalised by the mole’s gaze. By now, your friends have left and the bartenders are starting to pack up – why have you been playing this stupid game, throwing down 2-dollar coins like they’re 1 cent chips at a poker table? Well, friend, this game is unbeatable. It’s designed to make you fail and have you constantly believed that the moles have some significance. The moles continually reappear, faster and faster in abundance until you’re overwhelmed by these cheeky little fellas smiling at you and seemingly cheering at your hopeless efforts to stem the flow.  There’s a real-world name for this whack-a-mole game, but it’s been present in your local watering hole ever since you were born. It goes by the name of the Daily Telegraph, Foxtel, The Sun, The Australian or even Donna Hay – three quarters of the world’s population are playing this game (DeLuc. K. M., 2005) and hopelessly, hopelessly failing.

Mass media has been dictated by the Rupert Murdoch empire for almost 50 years, with the purchase of American Newspapers (Biography.com) in the 1970’s. He then branched out and purchased News Corp in 1985 before the conservative mecca of media that we know today as FOX NEWS. According to many Murdoch analysts, he was very much intrigued in Arthur Clarke’s idea that “In the struggle for freedom of information, technology, not politics, will be the ultimate decider.” (The Independent, 1994). This no doubt sparked the intention of exploring this ideology, that technology could create gateways for propaganda and barriers to prevent the dissemination of impartial perspectives; all for his own personal gain and equates to 100’s upon 100’s of newspapers and broadcasting stations all over the world.

The inevitable rise of social media upon the creation and continual iteration of Web 2.0 exposed media and to an extent halted the flow of conservative waves. Examples of this are Occupy Wall Street and many of the Arab Spring movements (The Atlantic, 2011), all optimised by social media; what was designed in the first place, to silence progressive movements. In 2011 News Corp was at the helm of a hacking scandal, his tabloid News of the World were accused of hacking people’s phones for information (BBC.com, 2014). This led to the closure of the long-standing company, causing 100m pounds in damage.

Despite these slight setbacks and grass roots movements “using the machine”, the influence of conservative media is everywhere around social media as well. It’s now a virtual game of whack-a-mole and it’s even harder to overcome because of the propensity and rapid nature of mass media. I mean, maybe it’s just designed to make us stupid; world issues vs a happy dog or a “UNSW professor” telling me that having cigarettes around petrol is probably a bad idea. Thanks man, and you know allowing people to starve in Africa is probably also a bad idea but there’s no bloke who knows shit about poverty stating his professional opinion on 7 News.

 

Mgirk. T, 1994, The Man who Wished Upon a Star Arthur. C. Clarkes fantastic theories of communications are now the basis of global media empires, The Independent.co.uk, 9th August 2017  <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/the-man-who-wished-upon-a-star-arthur-c-clarkes-fantastic-theories-of-communications-are-now-the-1408708.html>

Slaughter. A, 2011, Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, The Atlantic.com, 9th August 2017 <https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-and-the-arab-spring/246364/>

Biography.com, 2013, Rupert Murdoch Bigography.com, August 9 2017 <https://www.biography.com/people/rupert-murdoch-9418489>

DeLuca, K.M., 2005. Image politics: The new rhetoric of environmental activism. Psychology Press. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=qrhPzhEhY8wC&pg=PA88&lpg=PA88&dq=murdoch+media+reaches+3+quarters+of+the+population&source=bl&ots=-iPINeKcFn&sig=b1O541HZVfQ3vx6yYAibmbJvKzU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi54YqQosnVAhUIVbwKHUoACJsQ6AEIOjAD#v=onepage&q=murdoch%20media%20reaches%203%20quarters%20of%20the%20population&f=false

 

The Indepent UK, 2014, Phone hacking trial explained, The Independent UK, 9th August 2017<http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-24894403>

Takenoko

We were asked to review a board game for this assessment, so this is me reviewing a board game. Not before I asked Chris if I could “examine the microcosm of the democratic socialist theory” in a review of Monopoly, everyone’s favourite catalyst to a punch up. He responded with “no, you cannot use monopoly, please, please, anything but monopoly”, as if I were giving him a choice between the disbanding of the WoW franchise or a new head of hair; which just so we’re clear was light hearted and I had a good laf. Due to Chris’s complete opposition to my suggestion of monopoly, I’m now reviewing a French created, Japanese, board game version of Farmville and Where’s My Water? Except, this takes 3 hours, rather than 2 minutes. Yes; I’m talking about Takenoko, where you unintentionally shit on someone’s doorstep, in the hope of maybe being able to win. The game starts by players drawing a Gardener card, Panda card and a ‘plot’ card each. It then starts again by someone throwing the die, which determines the weather (yes, the die is an all knowing being). It’s a 5 sided die with Sun, Rain, Wind, Storm, Cloud as your 5 patterns of weather, which then correspond to very different effects.

 

Sun

  • The additional action has to be different from the two previous actions performed by the player.

Rain

  • The Rain can only target irrigated plots (the Rain does not irrigate a non-irrigated plot).
  • If the target plot does not carry any bamboo sections, a section is added to the plot.
  • If the target plot carries a fertilizer improvement, 2 bamboo sections are added to the plot.

Wind

  • The player can perform the same action twice (but does not get a third action).

Storm

  • The panda can be moved to any plot in the playing area, including the pond tile. It doesn’t have to move in a straight line.
  • The panda will eat a bamboo section from the plot he lands on (if the plot carries any bamboo).
  • The bamboo section that gets eaten this way is placed on the player’s mat.
  • If the player chooses to apply the effect of the storm, he has to move the panda to another plot (the panda cannot stay where he is in order to eat a section there).

Cloud

  • If all improvements have already been drawn, the player can choose any other side of the weather dice.

 

And apparently I was wrong, you don’t even have to use the effects of the all-knowing, “Ghandie”. So, why is the mechanic even there?

After the Ghandie is rolled, the player draws three random plots. Yes, they draw blocks of land out of thin air; from pink, green, blue, or yellow. The player then chooses 2 actions, these consist of: drawing a card, moving the panda, moving the gardener, placing a plot or adding an irrigation channel. Actions are used to fulfil objective cards, and the objective cards is where it gets real silly. For instance, on the gardener card there may be 4 green bamboo stick in which you have to have before you earn points with the gardener but if I have 9 stacks on my card, each a different colour and ol’ mate has 3 of just green, who has it easier? There’s a silly advantage in that, the 3 greens can be worth 6 and my poor gardener/panda has been running around aimlessly while the Ghandie is thrown in excess of 10 times trying to gather my 3 different stacks of bamboo for 2 points; and even then I need to irrigate the plots so my bamboo grows. After you’ve completed the objective, your objective card gets placed on the action board, where you attempt to become the first to reach 6 completed objectives. I mean this game takes a big steamy dump on my hard work by the simple fact that I have to run around the world to be most likely 3 cards behind the other players.

Despite that I’d rather be chasing a light around a dark room, because that’s what this game feels like sometimes. The game looks gorgeous. The board eventually composes of bright pinks, greens, yellows and blues; complete with a wonderfully crafted panda character and an even more carefully sculptured gardener. Even after the pieces and plots, the bamboo sticks feel as you would imagine a Japanese game would, smooth and silky. Not to mention they stack on top of each other. The other wonderful thing about the making of the pieces is that you actually have action chips that ‘activate’ your actions, making you feel as if you’ve played a yu gi oh card that’s come to life and blinded the board with moon like white light. Sometimes you feel like you’re Kratos placing a puzzle piece in a slot, just to step into the next stage of your adventure.

 

This game is a lot of work, you feel as if you’re never going to get even one point and it may well take 3 hours. But when you do, it’s really not that satisfying – you know what though, it doesn’t matter cause you get to continuously roll and trick yourself into thinking that maybe one day you will in fact own a block of land.

 

Score: 5/10

 

Donald Trump and The Philosopher’s Stone

Everyone is concerned about the outcome of the US Election, to be fair you’ve all got a right to worry. I mean a fascist, sexist, racist billionaire running the country and threatening to build a wall specifically to keep Mexican’s out is pretty fucked. But before you decide to pop a couple of Valium and pretend this is all a bad dream, I’ve got some news for you – it’s not a dream, this is happening and unfortunately we’re all to blame.

The western world has been under neo liberalism for a good 30 years, billionaires and corporations having a colourful orgy and climaxing on the middle class. That doesn’t sound good, does it? But I don’t see anyone running to the nearest shower and washing off the ever pungent odour of Rupert Murdoch, Rothschild and anyone associated with Gina Rinehart. Because, that’s what this is, class warfare, so complex that even someone studying American politics and globalisation can’t seem to fathom how on Earth it came to this. I’m no professional but the concept of Trump used to be a big meme. I remember seeing a Funky Town remix of Donald Trump, purely made up of “bing bong” sounds , and until about a week before the election it was all a joke “ha, Ray Charles has a better chance of reading music than Trump becoming President”.

funny-donald-trump-meme-wants-to-control-the-country-cant-even-control-his-hair-image

Who looks stupid now?

And now it’s hit you in the face with a pie and you’re sitting there wondering if you should scrape the cream off or accept the fact that you’ve just been completely and utterly fooled.

But if I’m honest, Hilary is also a product of this aggressive neo liberal Western world. She pledged her allegiance to the Trade Pacific Partnership and is happy to follow the same routes of her predecessors in driving America slowly into the ground. And if Hillary did win the election, would she actually make a difference? I’m not sure. It’d be like sitting in a car and repeating “are we there yet” to realise that mum’s been driving in circles for 4 years.

This might be an outlandish, ridiculous, inconceivable statement but with Donald Trump being completely antiestablishment and forward about his insane views, he will bring change. Not change, like you know … Kim Kardashians lip size but a change which I don’t think any of us are prepared for; a change that could possibly stimulate people to actually give one fuck. I for one, have no sympathy for the America – we’re all products of this. Australian’s flap their gums about what a terrible thing Donald Trump is but Pauline Hanson is the same, maybe even more oppressive but because she has no real power, people act as if she’s just another meme. If she could build a wall to keep Muslims out, she would.

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Pauline Hanson right now.

 

Unfortunately this is not only a failure for America, but an unequivocal failure of the fundamental principles of democracy. The public within our modern world are not at all informed and this is the result of it – a world divided by fear, and I said, I have 0 sympathy. Humans were born with the ability to critically analyse, so before you blame Donald Trump for being an ugly, decrepit, nose breather, look at the world and how it stands; America refused to analyse, WE refused to analyse.

I’m interested as to what will happen, because for once people are looking into the future. They may be looking at the future like a new Susan Boyle video featuring David Hasselhoff but at least it’s with interest and quite understandably horror. America wanted “different”, well they fucking got it – strap in, we’re in for a wild ride.