A (pretty) computer coding exercise.

My artwork was inspired by this blurred city skyline image:
(searches to find the original artist are ongoing).

linkedin-27

The colours, repeating shapes (particularly the circles) and overall tone of the image inspired me to further experiment. I began by overlaying the image with static circles (using a loop) with complimentary colours, but thought the end product was a little disjointed and boring. After the classwork on arrays I decided to add movement to my work, because I think the background image looks as though it is alive and moving. I repeated the circles and similar colour tones, and kept the array opaque so the other aspects could come through, but this layer gives a change single time you press play. Which I think is pretty gorgeous.

I was inspired by Ruth Palmer’s Circle Pattern Overlay II: her use of texture, staying within a particular colour scheme and the use of repetition to create a unique image out of pretty basic shapes and lines. I also found Bonseok Koo’s LED city nightscapes fascinating and definitely drew from them when deciding upon the tone and colouring of my work. Finally, Bridget Riley’s Encircling Discs with Black (1970) was the first repetitive, digital work I gained an active interest in and I took a lot of composition cues from that.

Here are some examples after I hit play:

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 8.03.50 am

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 8.03.25 am

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 8.01.59 am

The codes I used to inspire and guide me was the one used for loops. The tutorial for arrays and the Processing tutorials for utilizing and manipulating images.

Exported code:

int colNum = 5;
int colVal = 4;
int circleMax = 400;
int [] [] colArray =new int [colNum] [colVal];
//col val and num, extract hard data when possible.

void setup() {
//tells you width and height
size (900,900);
//white background
background (255);
//image inclusion here, repeating three times to fit screen, fitting horizontally on screen. Must save image as ” linkedin-27-jpg ” to desktop and the import the sketch into Processing.
noLoop();
PImage img = loadImage(“linkedin-27.jpg”);
image(img,0,0,900,300);
image(img,0,300,900,300);
image(img,0,600,900,300);
}
// In this loop,
// X starts at 50, and keeps going up by 20
// as long as it is still less than 500

void draw() {
{
//static circles, in centre of image. Not moving or changing colours
int a=0;
//size, rows and cols. also details what colours they will be
int diameter = 50;
int rows= 4;
int cols=4;
int [][] rgbValues = {
{163,55,180,45},
{237,129,214,80},
{61,242,241,70},
{222,120,30,60}
};

for (int x=0; x <rows; x++){
for (int y=0; y <cols; y++){
fill(rgbValues[a][1],rgbValues[a][0],rgbValues[a][2]);
a=a+1;
if (a>2){
a=0;

}
ellipse((x+1)*(width/(rows+1)),(y+1)*(height/(cols+1)),diameter,diameter);
}
}
}

//coloured circles, repeated. varied colours, using array, creating a moving image.
noStroke();
fillColourArray();
int size = (int)random(circleMax);
//grid size (whole screen)
int rows = 10;
int cols = 10;
for (int x=0; x <cols; x++) {
for (int y = 0; y <rows; y++) {
getColour();
//extraction of hard data, so changing the size of the screen should not negatively effect the drawing.
ellipse((x+1)*(width/(cols+1)),(y+1)*(height/(rows+1)),size, size);
}
}
}
void fillColourArray(){
for (int i=0; i < colNum; i++){
for (int j=0; j < colVal; j++) {

colArray[i][j]= (int)random(166);
}
}
}

void getColour(){
//changing colours code. values of ‘int’ are at the start of sketch
//circles are opaque so bottom image is seen.
int colSelect = (int)random(colNum);
fill(colArray[colSelect][0],colArray[colSelect][1],colArray[colSelect][2],colArray[colSelect][3]);
}

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My interpretation of Bridget Riley’s ‘Encircling Discs with Black’.

So, I’ve never used Processing before, so I’m kind of flying blind (thanks tutorials!) and this is my interpretation of the artwork:

Not bad, no? I can’t get rid of the black lines around the circles though and I think there’s an element of transparency in the original work that I can’t quite grasp yet. I’m pretty proud though, not going to lie 😉

My process was pretty much just this;

fill (255, 154, 59);
ellipse(160, 160, 150, 150);
fill(252, 140, 221);
ellipse(160,160, 130, 130);
fill (55, 237, 226);
ellipse(160, 160, 110, 110);
fill (250, 245, 230);
ellipse(160, 160, 90, 90);

But changing the colours and positioning. I know there was probably a loop I could use but I am REALLY not that advanced yet.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.48.03 pm

Gutenberg’s Printing Press

It is almost impossible to imagine the world without Gutenberg’s Printing press. It revolutionised the way the written word was circulated throughout the world, lead to book printing being seen as an ‘art form’ with it’s varying typographies and helped usher in the “Printing Revolution” – a period of time when the printing press facilitated the widespread circulation of news, information and ideas and was seen as an “agent of change” throughout societies and to the people that it’s message reached (Eisenstein 1980).

How the original Printing Press would have looked. Credit

Johannes Gutenberg did not live in a vacuum and his invention was made possible, largely, because of the maturing technologies of his time. The rapid economic and industrial development of late medieval society in Europe meant that an invention that proved most useful to the Printing press’s development, the screw press – which enabled direct pressure to be applied onto a flat plane, was already in use throughout society (Marshall 2011) and was even seen as ‘antiqued’. It was Gutenberg’s understanding of this procedure, and his ability to alter the design and construction of the press to allow elasticity and an exertion of even pressure across the paper that made his version of the printing press possible. Gutenberg also sped up the printing process significantly by designing movable tables underneath the plane surface to allow the sheets to be quickly removed and changed (Wolf 1974, p36). The mechanization of paper production in the early 13th century (Burns 1996), and the ability to mass-produce this resource, was another vital factor in the creation of Gutenberg’s press. The way Gutenberg combined these previous technologies with his own innovations to create something completely unique and extremely useful is why some scholars, such as Stehpan Füssel, call him a “genius” (2001).

Perhaps one of the most fundamental ways the printing press changed the way we transmit and translate information was the use of the ‘codex’ format in the printing press, as opposed to the scroll format more commonly used in medieval times. This transition, from ancient scroll to documents that closely resemble our books of today, is considered the single most important advance in the history of book printing (Roberts & Skeat 1983, p75). This codex format has a significant impact on the way the information being copied is transmitted to people as it was more convenient to read and transport, less costly to print and more compact then it’s scroll predecessor. Perhaps most vitally, however, the codex was easier to copy and, unlike the scroll, both recto and verso (back and front!) could be used for writing and printing.

An example of codex. A Gutenberg Bible on display. Credit

Asides from these innovations, we must remember that Gutenberg’s technology was not without it’s limitations and many inventors, such as Koenig and his Flatbed Cylinder Press, tried to improve upon the original invention. It must also be remembered that the idea of printing was not anything particularly new. Before Gutenberg, there was a series of inventions that allowed printing; including the use of woodblocks, which was popular in the Holy Roman Empire (Burland 2013) and had actually originated in China in the 7th Century before migrating to Europe (Chappell 2011).

Despite this it is clear that Gutenberg’s Printing Press had a revolutionary impact on the way society receives, copies and transmits it’s information. If the invention is considered through American media theorist Neil Postman’s ‘Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change’ (1998), it is clear that the effect is massive. Postman’s first ideas, that all technological change is a trade off, is obvious regarding the printing press as it has been argued that the invention led to a decline in the handwritten word and the tradition of handing down stories and histories orally (Norman 2004). Postman’s second and third ideas, when related to the printing press, can be seen as entwined:

2) That the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population and

3) Embedded in every new technology there is a powerful idea that is often hidden, raising the valuable question of “what are the consequences of this technology?”

It can be argued that those in society, with the money to operate the printing presses on a large-scale, have a say in what is being printed and circulated to the masses and therefore control ‘the narrative’ being passed down through their copies. This can be seen even in today’s society, with Rupert Murdoch’s massive media conglomerate News Corp being frequently accused of bias in reporting and censorship in their stories (Kehoe 2014). Postman’s fourth “thing we need to know” is that technology is ecological, not addictive, and that each new invention is not just adding to the technological ecological environment, it is completely changing it, just as the printing press did when it was invented in 1440. The media, printing and technological landscapes were forever changed by this one piece of equipment. This massive, defining influence leads us into the fifth idea of Postman’s; that media tends to become “mythic” and a “god-given” right to the masses. The Printing press has certainly fallen into that category, as a society, and as individuals, we take the printed word for granted and expect it to always be accessible.

An example of Murdoch’s News Corp illustrating Postman’s ideas 2 & 3. Credit

References:

Burland, J 2013, ‘Gutenberg’s The Invention’, Gutenberg’s Invention, <online> Viewed 17/08/15 at < http://www.gutenberg.de/english/erfindun.htm>

Burns, R I, 1996, “Paper comes to the West, 800–1400”, in Lindgren, Uta, Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. 800 bis 1400. Tradition und Innovation (4th ed.), Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, pp. 413–422, ISBN 3-7861-1748-9

Chappell, P 2011, ‘Gutenberg’s press revisited: invention and renaissance in the modern world’, Agora, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 26 – 30.

Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. (1980), The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-29955-1

Füssel, S 2001, ‘Gutenberg and today’s media change’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 3 – 10.

Kehoe, J 2014, ‘Julia Gillard blasts ‘biased’ Murdoch News Corp’, Australian Financial Review, Oct 28 2014, viewed 18/08/15 at < http://www.afr.com/business/media-and-marketing/publishing/julia-gillard-blasts-biased-murdoch-news-corp-20141027-11ctmj>

Marshall, P 2011, ‘A History of Communications: Media and Society from the Evolution of Speech to the Internet.’ Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-521-17944-7.

Norman, J 2004, ‘2. Transitional Phases in the Form and Function of the Book before Gutenberg’, <online>, viewed 17/08/15 at < http://www.historyofinformation.com/narrative/oral-to-written-culture.php>

Postman, N 1998, ‘Five things we need to know about technological change’, Denver, Colorado, 28th March 1998, viewed 17/08/15 at <http://web.cs.ucdavis.edu/~rogaway/classes/188/materials/postman.pdf>

Roberts, C H & Skeat, T C, 1983, The Birth of the Codex, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-726024-1

Wolf, H-J, 1974, Geschichte der Druckpressen (1st ed.), Frankfurt/Main: Interprint

The Army of Twitter Bots.

Want to know something mind blowing? It is estimated that there are over 20 million automated Twitter users (Kessler 2014). These ‘bots’, created by skilled programmers, are capable of re-tweeting, replying and even creating their own content.

Put simply, it’s relatively hard to spot a Bot. They become popular by tweeting in large quantities, following back those who follow them and targeting people that tweet about similar subjects that they’re designed to tweet about (Kessler 2014). They can amass large followings and, in extreme instances, inspire sympathy and conversation from those that follow them and read their content.

This is what happened to @trackgirl. ‘Her’ account is now suspended but the Bot, created by Greg Marra, would recycle tweets from runners and follow twitter profiles from within the long distance running community. 35% of users who @trackgirl followed followed her back. In mid 2008 she recycled a tweet saying she’d hurt her ankle and was inundated with messages, but public and private, inquiring about her injury and wishing her well (McMillan 2012).

Another high-profile example of Twitter Bots conning the public is @scarina91. Carina Santos, who claims to be a female journalist based in Rio de Janeiro, is actually a Bot, created by the computer science department at Brazil’s Federal University of Ouro Preto, that collects and tweets over 50 news alerts a day (Bosker 2013).

“Social bot attacks are actually about building a trust relationship” Marra explains, describing how these Bots can be used to build a relationship with fellow Twitter users and then flooding that user with (in some cases) spam, sales pitches and viruses. The invention of BimBots (Feifer 2012)- Twitter Bots that are designed to appear attractive to users – are particularly effective at this practice.

On a lighter note, these bots are among some of the funniest reads on the internet. I follow a couple of Bots that I’m aware of but it does make me wonder…Who online is really who they say they are?

References

Bosker, B 2013, ‘Twitter Bots Have No Trouble Fooling You, Getting More Influence Than Oprah’, The Huffington Post: Tech, 08/07/13, accessed at <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/08/twitter-bots-influence_n_3542561.html>

Feifer, J 2012, ‘Who’s That Woman In The Twitter Bot Profile?’, Fast company, August 8 2012, accessed at <http://www.fastcompany.com/3000064/whos-woman-twitter-bot-profile>

McMillan, R 2012, ‘A Twitter bot so convincing that people sympathise with “her”‘, Wired UK, 26 June 2012, accessed at <http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-06/26/twitter-bot-people-like>

Kessler, S 2014, ‘How Twitter Bots Fool You Into Thinking They Are Real People’, Fast Company, June 10 2014, accessed at <http://www.fastcompany.com/3031500/how-twitter-bots-fool-you-into-thinking-they-are-real-people>

Vaguebook: Kind of, sort of, maybe up front about moderation.

It needs to be remembered above all else that moderation is, in the case of Facebook, a job performed by real people and that they can be greatly effected by the sinister things they see in order to do their jobs. “Pedophelia, Necrophelia, Beheadings, Suicides, etc,” he remembered. “I left [because] I value my mental sanity” one such ex-Facebook moderator told Jim Cooke in 2012.

If it wasn’t for people like that moderator and others, like Amine Derkaoui, we would have little clue about Facebook’s moderation policies. Their Community Standards are certainly vague enough to ensure us avid users that yes, Facebook is keeping the nasties away, but doesn’t say how exactly it is doing so. Derkaoui was once a moderator for Facebook and for way less then minimum wage (the base rate is $1 US an hour) it was his job to look for and delete anything that was seen as a breach of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

“Facebook has fashioned itself the clean, well-lit alternative to the scary open Internet for both users and advertisers” -Chen 2012

So what guidelines did Derkaoui have to follow to keep up this squeaky clean image? Some really, really strict ones as it turns out.

18k19ch4utg32jpg

Now some of these are, one would hope, quite self explanatory. No tolerance of serious issues such as child pornography and racial slurs are to be expected and, by most, welcomed. Some of the other guidelines, however, are more ambiguous. Digital/cartoon nudity is not allowed but ‘art nudity’ is, deep flesh wounds are “ok” to show, as is excessive blood.

What I personally don’t understand about these ‘violations’ is that “sleeping people with things drawn on their faces” is not allowed, nor is female nipples, but crushed heads and limbs are perfectly fine. For a website striving to appear PG-13 in terms of content, their leniency on gory images is perplexing.

References:

Image Credit.

Chen, A 2012. “Facebook Releases New Content Guidelines, Now Allows Bodily Fluids.” Gawker, 16 Feb. 2012. <http://gawker.com/5885836/> (accessed 14 May 2015).

Chen, A 2012. “Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive than ‘Crushed Heads.’” Gawker, 16 Feb. 2012. <http://gawker.com/5885714/ >(accessed 14 May 2015).

Lynskey, J 2013. “The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports”, The Internet Offends Me, April 9 2013. <https://theinternetoffendsme.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/the-real-story-behind-facebook-moderation-and-your-petty-reports/> (accessed 14 May 2015).

Big Boss-er is Watching.

If you, like myself, find the term “discourse hybridity” utterly perplexing then give this article a read and pop back to my blog, okay?

Hi! Welcome back. I find that article so fascinating because, although it was written in 2008, the examples and concepts are more relevant today than ever before. Participatory Media Content (like Wikipedia!); the ability individuals have to “by-pass old media institutions like publishers or network television producers and offer their vernacular creations to Internet audiences” (Howard 2008), is not a new concept to our generation. Most of us have been keeping Social Media profiles, writing blogs and creating content since High School.

This does not mean, however, that we are experts, much of consumer-created content is fun, amateur and, in our eyes, personal. Most people view social media as content created for ourselves, our friends and family.

This is where the trouble begins.

Do you think that the gentlemen would have foreseen that their fun video at work would go viral and lead to 15 of them being fired? Many people, particularly those who are not Digital Natives, do not understand that what we post online will have real world effects. This was pretty much Glen Stutsel’s argument in an unfair dismissal case against Linfox in 2009. He claimed that his wife and daughter had set up his Facebook page and he had no idea who could see what he was posting (Fair Work Commission Decisions 2010-12). As our world becomes more digitized, however, I don’t think that sort of defense will be enough.

Large employers like Cisco and The NSW Police Force have strong Social Media Guidelines and Policies that employees can follow to ensure that they won’t inadvertently cause a social media controversy, keeping themselves and those around them safe. Some smaller organisations still don’t though and I think this is when common sense needs to step in; think of Social Media as a soapbox, get help with the privacy setting so you know exactly who you’re posting to and only share and create content you’d be comfortable with your boss seeing. Above all, like most things, when in doubt just don’t do it.

References:

Degraff, J, “Digital Natives Vs. Digital Immigrants”, The Huffington Post, 16 June 2014, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-degraff/digital-natives-vs-digita_b_5499606.html>

Howard, R G 2008, “The Vernacular Web of Participatory Media.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, Vol 25, iss 5, p490-513. <http://iii.library.uow.edu.au/?mainmenu-searchoptions=0>

Linfox Aust. Pty Ltd v Glen Stutsel–appeal in 2012 against a decision overturning a finding of unfair dismissal. <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/353898/mod_folder/content/0/Linfox%20vs%20Stutsel%202012.pdf?forcedownload=1>

Validakis, V, “Sacked Harlem Shake miners split social media”, Australian Mining, 5 March 2013, <http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/sacked-harlem-shake-miners-splits-social-media>

DIY Digital Transformation.

Now, loyal internet lovers, you need to be kind with me on this one. I wanted to demonstrate the (frankly fascinating) notion of material to digital transformation with my own two hands. I had grandiose ideas of drawing something adorable, rendering it in Photoshop and comparing the two. I had Dr Jo Law’s lecture to inspire me and Esther Leslie’s article to spur me on.

But I can’t draw. Nor can I Photoshop. I am largely talentless; aside from my knack of just getting stuff done. So, in the most basic way imaginable, I’m going to give you a visual representation on the material turning digital.

IMG_3440This quote, handwritten by yours truly, is a handful of words that captured my imagination, so I manually jotted them down. I then took a photo of it and stuck it upon my wall because I liked the way it was presented. The photo then turned it into something digital.

IMG_3443 Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 3.30.52 pmThese two images, of the same quote done in a Word document, are arguably no different. Same font, same content, same look, but their meaning can be altered and they can be viewed differently depending on how they’re finished and presented to the world. I printed one out and stuck it on the wall, similar to my hand-written note, giving it a rustic, inspiring feeling. The screenshot of the same text makes the meaning, arguably, more polished and professional. You can see such a picture as a bumper sticker or as one of those dreadful, inspiring fridge magnets.

IMG_3446This one though? This is my favorite, most basic, inception-inspired image: Something material, turned digital, turned material, turned digital. An image like this will make the viewer think – even if it is just “What the hell is on her wall?”

IMG_3445

I guess what this clumsy interpretation of the concept is trying to demonstrate is that the medium is the message, just as much as the message is the message. The way things are constructed and presented have just as big an impact on the interpretation of the message as the actual message itself. Digital craft and the idea of transforming the material in the digital adds a new dimension for artists and audiences.

Oh, and it’s awesome.

For some real artists and digital crafters , look here, here and here.

Quote reference:

Leslie, Esther (1998) ‘Traces of Craft’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 5-13

Trolls; the worst of humanity online?

Internet trolls have a reputation for being the worst kind of people on the internet and it really isn’t hard to determine why this reputation is held. One of the darker sides of the trolling community is lurked by the ‘RIP trolls’ who have self-assigned themselves the task of spamming memorial pages and harassing those grieving for loved ones online.

On the most basic level this seems distasteful, inappropriate and disturbed. Posting “Help me mummy, it’s hot in hell” on a deceased childs Facebook page on Mother’s Day landed a UK troll in jail (BBC 2011), but these RIP trolls can and have justified their actions by claiming that they are simply attempting to shake up the false notion of the internet being a safe haven for somebody’s emotions (Phillips 2011). More crudely, they are trying to call out those using online forums because of a “pathological need for attention masquerading as grief.” (Paulie in Phillips 2011).

Trolls are also widely known for their ‘ruin life’ campaigns (Coleman 2014, p21). The concept is self-explanatory – they simply chose a target and spread rumours and humiliating stories about them online, regardless of the truth. This attack is usually coupled with the hacking and release of the target’s personal details like their social security number, banking details and phone numbers. The psychological effects and real life ramifications can be terrifyingly long lasting. Zoe Quinn, a victim of the #gamergate scandal last year, had to move house because of rape and death threats from trolls (Sanghani 2015).

Despite these nasty forms of trolls, trolling can also be utilised in an important, insightful way. Activists and groups such as Anonymous have used trolling to shine a light on important issues that legacy media don’t touch, disrupt the powerful and exercise what they see as their right to complete freedom on the internet (Miller 2013).

Trolling can be a powerful, useful tool online but it is mostly known for it’s effectiveness in destroying lives and exploiting vulnerable people. As the internet, and the trolling that comes with it, is a relatively new phenomenon, there is very little in the way of laws or etiquette in place regarding trolls and that is where the problem lies. Perhaps we should all just strive to be civil in our digital lives.

References:

Coleman, Gabrielle. (2014). Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy. The Many Faces of Anonymous, Verso London.

Miller, Ryan M. (2013). Hacking the Social: Internet Memes, Identity Antagonism, and the Logic of Lulz, The Fibreculture Journal, 22: p. 89.

Phillips, Whitney. (2011). ‘LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online’, First Monday, Vol. 16, Iss.12, 5 December 2011. Accessed at <http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3168/3115> on 29/04/15.

Sanghani, Radhika, ‘Zoe Quinn: ‘#Gamergate has ruined my life. But I won’t quit’, The UK Telegraph, 30 Jan 2015. Accessed at <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11377748/Zoe-Quinn-Twitter-Gamergate-has-ruined-my-life.html> on 29/04/15

Transmedia; The Marvel Way.

I did a (sort of horrible) little video about Marvel and their utilisation of the transmedia model. I think the most important thing to remember about this concept is that it is not multimedia – transmedia storytelling uses multiple platforms, yes, but it adds and introduces new concepts and ideas to the narrative.

I’m no video editor, so please forgive the rough edges.

References:

Gevorkian, A 2012, ‘The implementation of Transmedia Storytelling by Marvel Comics’, Transmedia Entertainment and Marketing, September 19 2012, accessed at <https://ibcomtransmedia2012.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/the-implementation-of-transmedia-storytelling-by-marvel-comics/> viewed 29/04/15

Jenkins, H 2007, ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’, Confessions of an Aca-Fan, March 22 2007, accessed at <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html> viewed 29/04/15

Scolari, C A 2009, ‘Transmedia Storytelling: Implicit Consumers, Narrative Worlds, and Branding in Contemporary Media Production’, International Journal of Communications, 3, 586-606, <http://beta.upc.edu.pe/matematica/portafolios/nmynt/transmedia_storytelling-.pdf> viewed 29/04/15

Decentralising Superpowers: The impact of Citizen Journalism.

I’m an Australian and as a citizen of this country I, largely, have faith that I live in a fair and democratic society. Despite the media ownership and media bias I may face, I can be fairly confident that I can get the correct information about important events, like, say, election results.

But imagine if that wasn’t the case. Imagine living in a country shrouded in corruption and feeling as though you have no way of knowing the truth about, say, election results. Then a small band of people come together and reveal the truth, online, for the whole world to see.

This is what happened in Turkey last year and it’s absolutely brilliant.

Following last year’s general election in Turkey, 300 volunteers, working for @140journos, used social media connections they each had – as well sending out a ‘public call out’ on the company’s Twitter, Facebook and website – to gather original images of ballot reports for every single one of Turkey’s polling stations. Their goal was to compare the official reports from the electoral council to what they found and report any inconsistencies. The inconsistencies were remarkable and allegations of fraud, leveled at Prime Minister elect Tayyip Erdogan, ran rampant (Lichterman 2014).

Is this the future of newsrooms?

This wasn’t just out of the blue, @140journos was created in response to the massive bias found in Turkey’s traditional media. They had to circumnavigate a block to Twitter that was imposed just before the elections because their Prime Minister at the time, Tayyip Erdogan, viewed it as “the worst menace to society” (in Anderson 2013)

“When we started, our goal was to share news, without any bias, in a way that every group in Turkey can consume,” Ogulcan Ekiz, one of @140journos founding members, explains (in Gebeily 2014). “Basically, we put what’s happening in front of people’s eyes.”

In situations like these, where the chance to protest is restricted and the media is heavily censored, citizen journalism is extremely powerful. Non-professionals, without an education in journalism, are broadcasting news to the masses, In moments such as these, they are journalists and they are supplying the world with a vital service.

“The citizen journalist is becoming more valuable than ever. He has the opportunity to present a unique perspective — to breathe fresh air into a society herded by mainstream media.” – Revis 2011.

References:

Image Credit.

Anderson, S, ‘Turkey riots latest: Erdogan blames ‘extremists’ for nationwide riots as protester, 22, is killed near Syrian border’, The Independent UK, June 4 2013, <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-riots-latest-erdogan-blames-extremists-for-nationwide-riots-as-protester-22-is-killed-near-syrian-border-8641777.html> [accessed: 27/04/15]

Gebeily, M, ‘A New Idea Out Of Turkey: Using Twitter To Verify Election Results’. Global Post, April 8 2014. <http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/140408/meet-140journos-twitter-group-trying-prove-election-fraud-turkey> [accessed: 28/4/15]

Revis, L, ‘How Citizen Journalism Is Reshaping Media and Democracy’, Mashable: Social Media, November 11, 2011. <http://mashable.com/2011/11/10/citizen-journalism-democracy/&gt; [accessed: 28/04/15]