Clark Kent of the sporting world likes chances for Gold


According to the official countdown, there’s 127 days, 20 hours until the beginning of the 2012 London Olympic games. And elite athletes and fans alike are anxiously counting.

Another date of note, is the start of the 2012 London Paralympic Games; 29th August 2012. Making it 167 days, 22 hours and about 59 minutes until the Paralympic Games begin.

Enter Dylan Alcott – Uni student by day, elite athlete by night.

Click here to see an updated countdown.

At 21, Dylan, a Paralympic Wheelchair Basketballer for the Australian Men’s team the Wheelers has already won countless international championships with his team. His crowning jewel, however, happens to be a gold medal. At 18, and still completing his VCE studies, Dylan came home with his first gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Now, most 20-somethings are proud of getting from A to B. To manage to juggle Uni assignments, work shifts and an active social life is somewhat of an achievement to most. We all know that some weeks, it’s likely the assignments fall to the wayside in favour of social commitments. With some unforeseen talent, Dylan manages to do everything; all of it.


With the start date of the 2012 London Paralympics looming, Dylan’s list of to do’s only grows. While his days filled with grueling training and practices, and ruled by strict diets are the norm, Dylan seems to find respite in his time at Uni. Looking around at the caffeinated zombies that seem to populate our uni campus, I ask him to repeat. Uni, a break? But after hearing of the routine that dictates his days, it starts to make a little more sense.

Source: Dylan’s Facebook Page 

“All I do is train, go home, sleep, and train again. I’m so sick of sitting around the house, I’m going insane.”

So instead of slobbing around the house, our resident superman heads to classes to massage his muscles between the eyes.

Putting yourself through rigorous diet and training while studying is no mean feat for any athlete. But Dylan was born incredibly sick – cancer on his spinal cord threatened to spread. As a result, Dylan is a paraplegic, restricted to the wheelchair. But restricted is by no means an accurate description. The morning I meet Dylan, he’s been to the gym for two hours already – its 10am. He sits across the table from me, his shoulders umbrella out over his torso, an expanding result of his hard work.

There’s five months the games start and things are only going to get tougher in the build up to the games starting in August of this year. Dylan, however, likes their chances. “We did it once, we can do it again.”

Dylan’s immense list of achievements don’t seem to phase him; “Yeah I guess it’s more than most”, he notes with humility. His humbling presence doesn’t err on the side of bashful. “My medal is my prize possession, I’m not going to lie.” Dylan speaks with pride, particularly about his 2008 Beijing success.

Dylan after Beijing success, 2008.

To date, Dylan’s completed VCE in the top 3% of his year level, competed in the Beijing Paralympics and come home with a shiny gold reward, on the way to completing a Commerce degree at University of Melbourne, and now off to London in the hopes of adding another Gold to the mantelpiece. Makes me feel a little guilty. Even envious.

Make sure to be watching the Wheeler’s closely to see if our Clark Kent will continue his plight as our own superman.

For those who want to know more about wheelchair basketball:

And check out: International Wheelchair Basketball Federation

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Final Blog

Although – due to my over-excitement surrounding the creative commons topics – I have already answered 5 of the questions in 4 blogs, I thought this question was fitting as a final post for the subject, seeing as I am apparently a participant in this nihilistic movement known as ‘blogging’. 

Week 7:

A) Lovink (Reader, page 219) argues that bloggers are creative nihilists “who celebrate the death of centralized meaning structures and ignore the accusation that they would only produce noise”.

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by inju
Having read this article, and comparing it to other literature that is often very critical of blogs and the blogging phenomenon, Lovink seems to be slightly prone to the dramatic or extreme. Dictionary.com provides a definition of nihilism as the: “total rejection of established laws and institutions.” and often has very negative connotations asociated with it – namely that nihilists blieve in nothing, and believe existence is meaningless. So while this doesnt appear to be Lovink’s intention, the labelling of bloggers as nihilists indeed sets the tone for a dramatic standpoint.

Lovink’s suggestion that bloggers ‘celebrate the death of centralised meaning structures’ is somewhat of a philosophical statement. Throughout the article, Lovink points to what he perceives as bloggers disregard for opinion or thought, but instead referring to them as “pajama journalists”…ignored as noise”. The issue with this, however, is that Lovink dismisses all bloggers as merely ‘noise makers’, without true thought or meaning (in old-media terms) behind their musings. This is not entirely true. While blogging is often in an informal format, merely for personal use, blogs can also disseminate strong meaning and/or opinion of the wider public, and should not be so easily dismissed.

One example that springs to mind is the website, and subsequent blogs of and about wikileaks. This topic alone has so much political controversy and could not be put down as Lovink suggests as “fun” (23) or “meaningless” (23). While not formal, blogs on this topic, sharing and discussing the documents released in wikileaks are not merely noise, nor just pajama journalism, but potentially politically and diplomatic disasters for the U.S Government and it’s allies.

So while, yes, blogs such as Perez Hilton‘s may be merely ‘noise’, not having a viewpoint nor having certain meaning behind it, this is not a stereotype that should be stamped across all bloggers foreheads. Web 2.0 provides users with the ability to discuss and post thoughts and ideas in an informal and interactive platform. While this does generate some less ‘meaningful’ blogs, it also allows the increase of flow and sharing of information and ideas. So, having been a blogger myself for the last 12 weeks, I would suggest the Lovink’s article operates merely around a stereotype (and perhaps a fear) and fails to recognise the use and need for blogs in this new digital native age.

Works sited:

Geert Lovink, ‘Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, London: Routledge.

Week 5: Privacy and The Internet

Week 5: Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices.

I’d previously posted this video but not thought about the statement Zuckeberg puts forth critically.

Full Video:

TubeChop Paraphrase:

‘Mark Zuckerberg statement: more control over sharing=more sharing=world more open and connected=biggest problems we face together will become easier to solve’

In an age where the increase in speed and accessibility of information through the Internet, the question of privacy then becomes a major issue. With one Google search, an Internet user can find any number of details about your personal life that have been posted on the net. In our readings, Solove suggests that “Ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the internet might impede our freedom.” Zuckerberg’s suggestion that now sites like Facebook enable users to have greater control over their privacy settings, more people will be willing to share their ideas and thoughts, and be willing to sign up to networking sites such as Facebook, is idealistic at best. While in theory more privacy would induce people that were previously sceptical of how their personal information would be displayed and used to sign up with the site, it does little to protect those who don’t actively protect their personal information. So while people may be more willing to sign up and share information due to the belief their information is more protected, it does little to really fix any greater internet privacy issues.

When looking for sources, I came across this YouTube video… take a look:

So why is it that this increase flow of information perhaps the enemy of our personal freedom? The truth is, many users of the internet forget the implications of putting out personal information. Perhaps due to the fact users often access the internet from the comfort of their own homes, and without the personal contact that social situations provide, users readily put out their information, often without willingly know it. As the video suggests, the vast majority of people have little qualms about providing information like their real and full names through social networking sites – I know this also from personal experience. The week 5 readings provide some similar statistics on Facebook users, ‘90.8% of profiles contain an image. 87.8 percent of users reveal their birthdate, 39.9 percent of users list a phone number… and 50.8 percent list their current residence.” (Solove, 2007). Small details such as these can lead to all kinds of breaches of privacy.

While steps such as the increase of control of privacy settings on sites such as Facebook are positive in protecting privacy and encouraging the sharing of information, more needs to be done. While personally you may be the most careful Internet user in the world, there is not much to stop someone else releasing your personal details – well there is criminal offences but with the nature of the internet, it’s very hard to retract information once it’s been posted. Instead, there needs to be a social understanding of the implications of releasing personal information on any kind of internet platform – forums, social networking sites, online retailers etc. Education and understanding on safe internet practices were primitive in schools and should be taught to the ‘digital native’ generation, as well as in work places. This will help to provide internet users with enough knowledge to protect themselves, as well as an incentive to also protect and respect other’s privacy, even on the Internet.

This video has more on what needs to be done in a social understanding of privacy on the internet… note the reference to the ‘Star Wars Kid’ brought up in the week 5 readings as well.

Works sited:

Daniel J. Solove, ‘How the Free Flow of information Liberates and Constrains Us’, in The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumour and Privacy on the Internet, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007

 

Net Comm Skills – Making and Uploading Video

In the week 9 question, we were given the option of answering the question with a video post. I answered it with a blog post, but decided to give making my own video and uploading it on to YouTube, a try.

Having a macbook, I used their movie-maing software, iMovie to film on my webcam a short clip talking about my ubiquitous computing abilities… click on the link for an explanation of that one.

The clip of me was dead boring so I added some audio of a song, and a voiceover, along with some visual effects. Having used other movie software such as the Adobe premier Pro, this seemed a little basic but far more self explanatory and simplistic. I know the video is quite primitive, but the software was easy to use and definitely a good basic software to use for home-videos.

So here it is, a nice little video about nothing…

WordPress on your phone…

To all of you with iPhones or other smartphones; make your life easier with the WordPress app!

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Web 2.0 at it’s finest

After reading Daniel J Solove’s article entitled ‘The future of reputation: Gossip, Rumour, and Privacy on the Internet’ and his discussion on blogs and their popularity and accessibility, I got to thinking…
Solove discusses the growing popularity of blogs and social networking sites alike, and how users find merit in their ability to express themselves easily and whenever, wherever they please. As now part of this phenomena known as blogging… I’m sitting in bed, on my smartphone, using a web 2.0 application in order to blog about blogging!
In an age where speed and accessibility are paramount, blogging and Internet media, with the help of new technologies such as my iPhone are truly becoming the way of the future. I’m also just enjoying the irony of being able to blog off my phone while in bed… Awesome.

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Leave Britney Alone!

So in the week 9 readings, Burgess and Green talk about success being measured for celebrities outside sites such as YouTube, through more concrete ‘old-media’ terms: the record deal, a film festival, a book deal etc. They suggests, however, for ‘YouTube’ celebrities, they can only be recognised within the YouTube community; ‘ongoing status as a ‘star’ YouTuber can only be achieved by ongoing participation in YouTube.” (Burgess and Green 2009)

The example they provided was Chris Crocker, an individual shocked by media outlash at Britney Spears, and took to YouTube to express his outrage. From this, Chris received millions of YouTube hits on his video, as well as millions of followers on his Twitter and various interviews on American talk shows. This ’15 minutes of fame’ so to speak, is not enough for Burgess and Green to dub him a celebrity, and thus will be eternally a YouTube star.

Poor Chris, he only wanted Britney to be left alone.

LANGUAGE WARNING: Chris was very upset…

Week 9: Ordinary People in an Extra-Ordinary World

Week 9: Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269).

This reading seems to point to two different ‘worlds’ in which a person exists, the ordinary and the celebrity. From this, there are two breeds of celebrity: those who are famous for being famous…

Or those who become famous, through their own creative talent…

In the week 9 readings,Burgess and Green sites Nick Couldry, suggesting he argues that “in the mainstream media, the distance between ‘ordinary’ citizen and celebrity can only be bridged when then ordinary person gains access to the modes of representation of the mass media, making the transition from what Couldry calls ‘ordinary worlds’ to what he refers to as ‘media worlds’.” (Burges and Green, 2009)

While I’m sure you’ve all heard it all before, one such example of a person bridging this gap, and operating within the realm of ‘celebrity’ is the young ‘youtube sensation’, Justin Bieber. Bieber falls under this new breed of celebrity, discovered in their own ordinary worlds through agencies such as YouTube. Now while Beiber and other YouTube stars alike are discovered through sites like YouTube, and not through the traditional format of celebrity fame, Burgess and Green argue that after discovery and initial fame, the previously ordinary individual still conforms to the ‘celebrity native’ system. So while they have been living within ‘ordinary’ worlds, once discovered, celebrities still have to operate within the paradigms of the ‘mass media’. What they mean by this, is that once discovered, in a quantitive sense, success after being discovered is not measured by YouTube ‘hits’ on their videos, or web-popularity, “but by their subsequent ability to pass through the gate keeping mechanisms of old media – the recording contract, the film festival, the television pilot, the advertising deal.” (Burges and Green, 2009)

Lets apply this to Beiber. Prior to fame, this video, among others were posted on video broadcasting site, YouTube.

Once discovered on the site by Manager Scooter Braun and famed musician,

Usher –> 

He was signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG) in 2008.

His first Album, My World was released in 2009 and went platinum.

He second album, My World 2.0 released March 2010 also went platinum.

He has also received various music awards to add to his success.

His videos now look something like this…

So, by measuring in ‘old-media’ terms, Beiber’s success is phenomenal.

This example also supports Burgess and Green’s contention that outside the world of YouTube, success is measured not in Web 2.0 terms, but in concrete old-media terms. So while there are various types of fame due to web 2.0, the ‘celebrity native’ and the ‘ordinary’ person, made famous due to their own creative talent – there seems still to be only one way to measure success, through success in quantitative and monetary terms.

All of which Beiber has achieved at the ripe age of 17… Never Say Never.

Works Sited:

Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, ‘YouTube and The Mainstream Media’ in YouTube: Online and Participatory Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009.

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YouTube vid not working

Below links not working, try this one. Watch from start until 1:11.

For those still confused by Creative Commons…

Found this while looking for sources for previous post.

From advocate and CC user himself, here’s Lawrence Lessig explaining Creative Commons. TubeChop’d it so you didn’t have to watch all 8min 30secs of it.