Ara vs. X – Transmedia Storytelling

Transmediality: Is your technology capable of supplying distribution channels that could contribute meaningfully to a transmedia narrative?

Yes. But to differing extents.

These devices are designed to enable people living in third world nations to participate in the conversation. To learn. To consume. To produce. To prosume and to produse.

This is abundantly evident just by looking at the capabilities of the devices.
Ara’s capabilities are up too it’s produser, but the ability to create a powerful machine capable of connecting to the internet, enables the delivery of transmedia narratives through a variety of channels.

Nokia X is not too shabby either, but a less powerful device overall. Its weak specs and lack of access to Google’s services natively work against it when awarding points. However, a hacked Nokia X can in fact sideload certain apps and download directly from the Google Play store once the enabling applications have been installed, opening X to the litany of delivery channels Ara enjoys as part of it’s most standard experience.

Google Play is the key for both devices. It’s the factor which enables the devices to connect to the delivery channels of transmedia storytelling. Google Play provides access to Books, Movies & TV Shows, Apps & Games and Music.

Additionally, pre loaded internet browsers allow the users of these devices to harness the power of the internet, while providing the publishers of the transmedia story with another entry point. Users can engage in prosumption and produsage through these devices, and add to the world the transmedia story creates through internet forums and dedicated social networks – sharing and distributing remixed, reworked pieces of the story to add to the universe through collective intelligence hives.

Clearly, they can both deliver complex, coordinated mass scale transmedia stories across various mediums. X is good, but only once the software has been heavily modified. As such, Ara is far better at providing distribution channels which contribute meaningfully to a transmedia narrative.

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Undiluted Cordial.

Has anyone ever been faced with this situation?

You’re thirsty. VERY THIRSTY. And you’ll drink whatever is available. The plumbing is shot, so there’s no chance of water. 

You go to the fridge, there’s no water. No juice. Nothing. Hmmm. The pantry? Nothing. Oh, wait. Well, there’s some cordial. Undiluted though. You could drink it. You probably shouldn’t. But, you really need something to drink! Ugh. You take a look at it. On the bottle it says “Highly Concentrated”. It’s supposed to be diluted, but THE PLUMBING IS SHOT! ARGH. 

Dilemma. 

Do you drink it? No. 

Is there any other option? No. 

Do you drink it? Yes.

Well, Australia’s plumbing isn’t quite shot. And there’s some water, chilled in the fridge in two bottles – One labelled ABC, and the other labelled SBS. There’s cordial. Lot’s of cordial. 7 bottles of it! Various colours, all appetising to look at! These are labelled Seven West Media, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., Southern Cross Media Group, Win Corporation and Network Ten. 

So, two basic options. Water and Cordial. 

We know the water is better for us. Preservative free. Additive free. All nat-u-raleeeeeee. And we know the cordial isn’t great for us. But man, those colours. . . . 

Most Australian’s end up drinking too much cordial, and with that, they ingest lots of additives. These take the form of ideas, values & opinion. All valuable nutrients, when part of a balanced diet, WHICH INCLUDES BORING, PLAIN, UN-FLAVOURED WATER. 

Okay, enough of the symbolism and metaphorical language. 

Most of Australia’s media is controlled by just 7 corporations! Highly Concentrated (just like undiluted cordial (; LAST ONE FOR A WHILE I PROMISE)

Now, that is an interesting situation. But what does it mean?

Well, the Media is trusted to be a reliable source of information – It serves a specific purpose within a democratic society, which is to facilitate the decision making of the constituency through information communication which is efficient, accurate and reliable – Most importantly, it must do all of this free of bias.

When Media ownership is concentrated like it is in Australia, interests begin to compete against each other. So much to the point that journalistic standards drop, and bias is apparent and perceived by the audience – Evident through the 2013 Election Bias Scandal. As a result of this some publications can leverage the poor journalistic standards and perceived bias of their opposition as a competitive advantage. A prime example is The Sydney Morning Herald through it’s masthead statement “Independent. Always.”

SMH Masthead

A clear strike at The Daily Telegraph and it’s 2013 Election coverage. Hmmmm.

I think this means I’m getting close to an answer. Who owns The Tele? News Corp Australia. Who owns News Corp Australia? News Corp. Who/What is News Corp? Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch. (James Bond reference, anyone?)
If you were to only read The Tele for your daily news digestion, you’d be exposed to only the school of thought that Murdoch’s company chooses to press through that particular publication. Many are of the opinion that if this were the case, you’d vote, 1. Liberal.

Of course our own political standpoint and opinions come into the equation, but the media is certainly powerful. When we let the media get too concentrated, we lose diversity of ideas. When a convergence of ideas saturates the society, it isn’t difficult to envisage the end result – A lack of personalisation in the way we think. A set ideology. Australia is a multicultural, diverse nation – One set of ideas is not supposed to define us. We are by definition, diverse.

So, we have Seven. Seven commercial broadcasters pushing their values. Is that healthy? Yes and No. Australia’s public broadcasters – the ABC and SBS – have tremendous engagement. But do they balance out the equation? To some extent.

There are positives to the current setup – Production values can be quite high, and we certainly get some quality entertainment from our seven media corporations.

But, news is the important thing here. The delivery of information. In a democratic society, the delivery of factual, accurate and unbiased news is a must. But competing commercial interests brought about through cross media ownership as concentrated as undiluted cordial doesn’t allow this to always eventuate. Defeating the purpose of a democracy. 

Cordial is great. As part of a balanced diet. 

So it’s probably time to get some of that chilled water out of the fridge.

Oh, and to save ourselves from having to drink undiluted cordial in the future, let’s dilute it while we still can.

 

References:

Fairfax Media, 2014, SMH Masthead, image, Screenshot, viewed 28 March 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/>.