Customer Interactions on Social Media

The embracement of large companies use of social media to include its customer base has presented a new set of triumphs and challenges. Through providing their customer bases with the ability to participate in a dialogue with them, they have enabled customers to participate in marketing campaigns and conflict resolution. However, the dialogic interaction has also presented problems, and leaves these companies open to brand damage.

In Vox Populi, Vox Dei: ABC Online and the risks of dialogic interaction, Martin draws attention to “doubts about their audience’s editorial and ethical cpacities”, referencing a quote that highligts both the “wisdom of the crowds” as well as the “idiocy of the crowds” (2012, p.180).

Through connecting with customer bases through methods of social media, the companies (such as Woolworths) forfeit a level of control, over their public perception and what is published about them.

This can be seen in a blog post The biggest social media disasters in Australia (so far!), where McCarthy shows examples of this loss of control of Quantas, Woolworths, Coles and Tooheys New by their customers’ interaction with them on twitter and facebook.

In these examples, the companies have attempted to engage with their customer base through participatory marketing strategies that resulted in backlash or obscenity from customers.

Interaction with customer bases on social media is not always negative. Dialogic interaction provides the ability for large corporations to learn more about their customer base, as well as successes and failures of their products and services.

For example, this article demonstrates this ability for companies to learn from social media interactions. This case involved a billboard that illustrated their motto of “fresh food” with a picture of a donut, which was posted to facebook along with complaints. Woolworths responded to these complaints, stating that the billboard would be removed, and apologising for confusion and mistaken intention.


Martin, F. 2012, ‘Vox  Populi, Vox Dei: ABC Online and the risks of dialogic interaction’, in Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web, Brugger N & Burns M (eds.), Peter Lang, New York, pp. 177-192.

McCarthy, F. 2012, ‘The biggest social media disasters in Australia (so far!)’, Tenth House, 2 August, accessed via

Redrup, Y. 2013, ‘Woolworths social media success: Five lessons from the billboard scandal’, Smart Company, 27 February, accessed via

Accessibility to New Media for Marginalised Disabilities

New media has the potential to help people with disabilities across a number of different areas. Primarily, focus on accessibility for people with disabilities relates to people with extreme or obvious physical and/or mental impairments. However, new media is also assisting those with less obvious, and therefore marginalised disabled groups, such as dyslexia, a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to uptake and process verbal and written information.

In the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the definition of disability includes ‘ a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction’. This is also extended into the NSW Education Act 1990, where the Objects state there must be ‘provision of special educational assistance to children with disabilites’

With the advancement of new media technologies, options and assistive technology have become more accessible to those with learning disabilities. In Demystifying Dyslexia: Screen Solutions for young students, Vize provides examples of new media that can assist people with this learning disability. Included in these examples are software that assists with spelling and provides the option for dictation, as well as options for iPad tablet computers, which include the ability for voice dictation. Other options include apps that can be installed on Apple iPhone and iPad devices, as well as Andriod devices.

In The Business of Digital Disability, Goggin and Newell call for the accessibility and inclusivity of people with disabilies in the production and design of new media technologies.

While calls for accessibility to all forms of media for all disabled people is both ideal and should be expected, the diversity of possible impairments is endless. This causes us to question is if anticipating and accommodating for all known impairments and disabilities is possible, particularly when considering marginalised disabilities such as learning disabilities.


Goggin, G & Newell, C. 2007, ‘The Business of Digital Disability’, The Information Society: An International Journal, Vol 23, No 3, pp.159-168

Vize, A. 2012, ‘Demystifying dyslexia: Screen Solutions for Young Students’, Screen Education, No. 67, pp.42-46, accessed via informit database

Australian Government, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, accessed via

New South Wales Government, NSW Education Act 1990, accessed via



White Bread Media: Ethnicity in Australian News Programs

The Australian Commercial Television Industry’s Code of Practice outlines the requirements for cultural diversity and its representations in Australian television (p.58).  This code of practice outlines how cultural and ethnic diversity should be shown on Australian television, from drama and reality television, through to news programs and their stories.

The code states that:

 “In scripting and casting drama and selecting on-air talent, management and producers should be concerned to reflect Australia’s complex and culturally diverse society.”

However, this is not the case for the majority of News presenters cast on Australian news programs. When considering the news presenters in the programs listed below, roles are dominated by Anglo-Australians. In fact, only programs on ABC and SBS have news presenters from other ethnic backgrounds, and even then, are still a minority group, with the majority of presenters still being Anglo-Australians.

Nine Today60 Minutes

Win News Hour

Nine National News

A Current Affair

Ten The ProjectState News & Late News

Meet the Press

Seven 7 NewsSunday Night

Today Tonight

Sunrise & The Morning Show

ABC ABC NewsABC News Mornings

ABC Lateline

SBS SBS DatelineSBS Insight

Phillips extends on this idea in ‘Reporting Diversity: The representation of Ethnic Minorities in Australia’s television current affairs programs’ (2011), where studies conducted show that news programs are dominated by Anglo content.

Again, the code of practice extends to cover issues of ethnicity in the content of news programs, where it dictates that programs must be conscious of perceptions of people from different ethnic backgrounds and how they are represented, and to ‘avoid promoting or provoking prejudice, stereotyping or unwarranted generalisation’.

Phillips concludes that, while Australian news programs do not directly violate the code of practice by avoiding outright racial vilification, they still present issues of racial profiling and racial heirarchies in more subtle ways (p.35). These subtle ways include portraying ethnic communities as other to the ‘(Anglo) Australian way of life.


Phillips G. 2011, ‘Reporting diversity: The representation of ethnic minorities in Australia’s television current affairs programs’, Media International Australia, No. 139, pp. 23-31; accessed via

Free TV Australia 2010,‘The Portrayal of Cultural Diversity’ in  Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, p.58; accessed via

Breaking the Restraints of Tethered Devices

It has been known for a while now that, with all the benefits that come with new technologies, there are always elements that aren’t suited to our specific needs, or where there’s room for improvement. Most people just put up with it, it’s a minor compromise for the benefits that our iPhone/iPad or other device provides us with. But then there are those that rebel against these restrictions, taking the risky move and jailbreaking their device.

While tethered devices come with their own set of benefits (regular system updates, bug fixes, device security, etc.), the disadvantages are significant, maintaining the product developers ultimate control over the device, using Digital Rights Management (DRM) software to impose limitations on the devices’ use through software, and allowing the developers to make any changes to devices, how they operates, their uses, by altering, adding or removing features remotely (typically through software updates) (Zittrain 2008).

A jailbroken device becomes freed from this ‘tether’ or connection to the product developers. Keller (2012) discusses this process, describing it as ‘hacking’ the device in order to bypass DRM restrictions, making the device more flexible in its use, allowing apps and software from sources outside the developers system.

Although Keller and Maas both discuss jailbreaking in regards to Apple/iTunes devices, a number of other devices now have the ability to be jailbroken, anything from Kindle (Amazon’s eBook reader) through to PlayStation3 gaming consoles.

Jailbreaking devices, however, is not without its own set of risks. For starters, the legality (and possibly the morality) of jailbreaking varies between devices and countries, as it evokes debates on piracy and copyright infringements. For example, in the US it is legal to jailbreak smart phones (Maars 2010) while jailbreaking or modifying tablet computers or gaming consoles is illegal due to copyright infringement (Byford 2012).

Other risks, as discussed by both Maars and Keller include: removing the security of tethered devices, leaving the device open to attacks from malware, voiding the warranties of devices (through defying terms of use), as well as ‘bricking’ the device, through damaging software beyond recovery or repair.


Byford S, 2012, ‘US Copyright Office says jailbreaking phones still legal, but tablets aren’t included’, The Verge, 25 October, accessed 3/5/13 via

Keller M. 2012, ‘Geek 101: What is Jailbreaking?’ PC World, Vol 30, No 5, p 18, accessed 3/5/13 via ProQuest database

Maas N, 2010, ‘Jailbreaking is now fair use’, Wireless Design & Development, Vol 18 No 4, p.6; accessed 3/5/13 via Academic One File database.

Wikipedia, n.d. iOS Jailbreaking, accessed 3/5/13 via

Zittrain J, 2008, ‘Tethered Appliances, Software as Service, and Perfect Enforcement’ in The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it, Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 101-126

Open access, but for who?

Advocacy appears to represent the viewpoint of the majority in the debate for open access. And why shouldn’t it, when there are so many benefits to both the research and education sectors, as well as to the greater community. But with a focus on the positives, it is important to consider any problems or disadvantages that may be encountered in striving for open access.


The process creating and contributing articles, the review process, and the editing process are all performed on a free and voluntary basis. These completely voluntary processes in combination with the ability to distribute and access the final content online for a significantly lower (if at all existent) cost, has produced the notion that research could be accessible for free (Neylon 2013).

Open access is based primarily on the assumption that research can be produced to the same quality that appears in journals through the elimination of costs produced by publishers. However, Worlock (2004) disputes that the move to open access is this simple, asserting that the costs involved in creating and distributing content is an expensive process, despite the ease of producing and accessing content online that ‘[creates] the view that it should be free’.

So where would this money come from? Under one proposed model for open access, funding for the production of openly accessible articles would be contributed be the authors themselves, as an ‘author processing charge’, another suggests that these costs would be subsidised by ‘research-intensive academic institutions’.

These two models raise questions of the effectiveness of open access, and pose limitations on accessibility of some research and articles. This means that research independent from main government or institutional bodies may be limited due to financial inaccessibility. 



Neylon, T. 2013, ‘Life after Elsevier: Making open access to scientific knowledge a reality’, The Guradian, accessed via

‘Open Access’, n.d. accessed via

Worlock, K. 2004, ‘The Pros and Cons of Open Access’, Nature, 13 September, accessed via

The Rise of Collaborative News

Participatory journalism has become a part of everyday life. While society once relied on traditional media to convey information, now information moves in a multidirectional ever-flowing way within a larger and more diverse society.

Today, with the advancement of the web, the world has effectively been shrunk, or perhaps rather that society has grown to form one larger more complex global society. ‘Participatory journalism’ or more generally content and observations produced by the broader public, has become necessary.

This necessity of participatory journalism that can be drawn from Quart (2011, p.262-163), where he addressed the need for journalists were required to sort through large quantities of information produced by a large and complex society, and present the information that was considered important.  This point referred to the development of traditional journalism, but can be applied to participatory journalism within the context of online media.

Since the development of ‘web 2.0’, society has grown, along with the quantity of information being passed between people, to the point that everyone has access to this information. But it seems that traditional journalism cannot keep up with this ever-flowing stream of information. Because of this, journalism has evolved, where the general public has the ability and the resources to provide similar services to those provided by traditional journalism.

Consider, for example, ‘WikiLeaks’, an online unmediated resource for informative journalism. While one could consider that the role of the journalist can be to sort through this archive and present it to the public in a digestible format, an important point to consider is that the public now also has access to these sources. Through having this resource unrestricted to those not within the journalistic profession opens doors to citizen journalism to produce reliable and informative news that could possible be missed by traditional journalism.

In addition to this, some news platforms are promoting the value of participatory journalism while also trying to eliminate risks of misinformation and unprofessionalism. A great example of this is ‘WikiNews’, a collaborative and peer-reviewed news site that ‘promotes the idea of participatory journalism because of the belief that citizens know what is news like no others.’


Quandt, T. 2011, ‘Understanding a New Phenomenon: The Significance of Participatory Journalism’ in Singer JB, Hermida A, Domingo D, Heinonen A, Paulussen S, Quandt T, Reich Z, & Vujnovic M (eds.), Participatory Journalism in Online Newspapers: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, pp155-176

WikiNews, n.d., ‘Mission Statement’, accessed via

Too Many Cooks

The saying is true: too many cooks spoil the broth, or in this case, too many regulation bodies make for confusing and in-comprehensive media policies, especially in regards to gaming classification. Media policy and regulation in Australia is a largely complex and fragmented system, bouncing between multiple governing bodies and many pieces of legislation that quickly becomes outdated in a rapidly changing convergent media space.

Flew discusses many of the problems related to the complexity of Australian media regulation in ‘Media Classification: Content Regulation in an Age of Convergent Media’ (2012) the primary problem being ‘highly fragmented and increasingly ineffective’ legislation due to ‘unclear lines of responsibility between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and between Commonwealth agencies’ such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Classification Board (p.7). This fragmentation

Issues of variation in media regulation in regards to gaming are only briefly touched on by Flew, mentioning a ‘differential treatment of console-based games and mobile games’. While the debate around the classifications of games in Australia is a long-winded one, (and only recently altered to include classification R18+), online gaming, and in particular, mobile gaming has until recently been excluded, and still difficult to enforce due to a series of loopholes. When browsing the ‘App Store’ on my various Apple mobile devices, the only ratings and classifications to be seen are popularity ratings and theme categories.

For example in this blog the author addresses the loopholes that exist in classification legislation in Australia in regards to gaming, such as the lack of clarity in the definition and distinction between ‘computer games’ and ‘mobile phone games’, the exemption from the need to fulfil the classification guidelines for free games. A point perhaps missed by this blog is that mobile gaming has become somewhat more of a ‘horizontal’ or multi-directional media, where anyone can create a mobile gaming app, rather than solely gaming-companies, and often would not have the resources or expertise required to apply for classification. In addition to this, many of these games are created in a global context and are so readily available that global governance of the hundreds of thousands of apps would be difficult, if not futile.


Australian Associated Press, 2013, ‘R18+ Video Games Rating comes into Effect’ Sydney Morning Herald, January 1,accessed via

Flew, T. 2012, ‘Media Classification: Content Regulation in an Age of Convergent Media’, Media International Australia incororating Culture and Policy, No.143, May, p. 5-15

‘Online and Downloadable Gamed Classification in Australia’, 2010, accessed via