Digital Lifestyle

Unlike traditional media such as newspaper, magazine even television, new media brings much fun into Australian lives through digital devices. According to Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2014, vast majority of respondents own laptop, smart phone or tablet device, and 53% of them own all three. This kind of diversity is reshaping our way of entertainment. Watching TV is no longer the unrivalled dominance of Australian entertainment, social/personal internet use has increased 10% since 2012 at 63% and set to tip. Particularly, Generation Y are more likely to stream their favourite TV shows on electronic devices than live television. Digital lifestyle is really convenient for our daily life, making our schedule more flexible. It is noteworthy that digital lifestyle could be transformed into sedentary lifestyle by bingeing on entertainment activities. In this way, sedentary digital life may increase the possibility of obesity and diabetes and chip away of our creativity.


Source: Deloitte

Although new media is dynamic, the negative effects of it may mislead us as to judgment and lifestyle. I can speak from personal experience that social media is the easiest way to stunt, or kill, the creative process. Surfing social media sites, especially Tumblr. in this scenario, has a numbing effect on the mind that’s similar to mindlessly watching television. If you plan on being productive today shut off those apps! Not only do you spend less quality time with is people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed by you when you’re paying more attention to an electronic device than them. Eventually the people around you will even stop wanting to hang out with you. Posting vague statuses on Facebook to grab others attention could easily become a nasty habit for people who use social media frequently. The never-ending competition for likes and notifications can consume you. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in social media that people will neglect their real life goals. Instead of aiming for the dream job by obtaining useful skills people, especially younger people, tend to strive for internet stardom. According to recent studies the more people used social media the more negative feelings they experience, including depression. This could particularly harmful to people who have been previously diagnosed with depression. If you beginning to notice you’re feeling down on a regular basis it’s probably time to take a break from your many social media. No good comes out of online displays of jealousy and snooping. It may seem like an easy option when it comes to dealing with relationships, but in reality it does more damage than good. In fact, studies show that the more a person uses Facebook the more likely they will be to monitor their partner, which leads to arguments and crumbling relationships.

People feel too comfortable on the web and say things they wouldn’t normally say in real life. If you’re not the one say horrible things, you’re still inevitably going to be exposed to it. And if you are one of the people talking trash? Cut it out! You’re not as anonymous as you think. With the rampant cyber bullying on the web, people are also becoming more rude off the web as well. The digital persona people display on Facebook is often much different that what actually goes on in their lives. After awhile you may feel like you know your online acquaintances better than you do, creating a social gap. Try to remember that everyone is just as human as you are. The light emitted from your various electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time for you to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is already difficult enough without extra complications. Perhaps it’s best if your phone doesn’t stay with you though the night. Between social media websites saving (and selling) your personal data and the whole NSA mess involving unsolicited government access of personal data including email, Skype calls, and so much more it’s very clear that privacy and the internet don’t mix at this point in time. If you post every last thought that pops into your head it could just as easily come back to haunt you in the future. Technology is a useful tool, but we need to know how to use it properly, otherwise it can easily become damaging in our lives.


New ‘Challenge’, New Charity

Recently, the hottest activity on the global social media platform is known as Ice Bucket Challenge. The famous and not-so-famous alike across the globe all join in the fun.

The activity has an origin: in 4th July 2014, a cancer society in New Zealand started the Ice Bucket Challenge; it is by pouring ice-cold water on participant’s own head that underlines showing care and support towards cancer patients and their respective families. On 15th July, America professional golf player, Chris Kennedy decided to take up the challenge, and subsequently nominated his cousin for joining in the game; reason being his cousin’s husband has already suffered from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) for about 11 years. As so, the rules of the game has changed: either dunk a bucket of ice water on the head, or to donate to ALS Association.


Later on, the game spread from the United States to all parts of the world, well-known characters from the politics, technology, sports, and the media arena, all join in. They choose to either challenge themselves by dunking under ice water, or to show love by donating towards the charity societies. These actions sparkled an unseen wide scale of charity donations on the social media platform such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Netizens, from the rich to the common, are all entertained by their own participation.

How can the Ice Bucket Challenge have such rapid widespread rate, and being so attractive?

Firstly, I think since the first initiator request the nominee to complete the challenge within 24 hours, it is kind of like a relay race pushing you to keep it up and making you excited. Therefore, there is a guarantee of the Ice Bucket Challenge in the wild spread across internet. A more important motivation came from the mass participation of the well-respected like Bill Gates. Due to the massive number of participation, in additional to the celebrity-effect, and the economy resulted from the fans phenomenon, have attracted an even wider crowd of people, and hence the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media.


Secondly, the Ice Bucket Challenge combines both the entertainment and the charity, and given the participants the freedom of choice. You can either treat this activity as a game, or as a charity; or as both. From the view of a great cause, it is charitable to donate directly to recipients. The same definitely goes for raising the awareness of the public and spreading the idea of caring the groups of ALS. Moreover, the Ice Bucket Challenge provides a platform for both: it dissolves the sacredness and the solemnity we feel when comes to do something for charity, provides an ingenious combination to strengthen its outreach. For example, Matt Damon used toilet water to dunk himself for responding Ice Bucket Challenge, promoting saving water for at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone.


This is exactly what the charity in China lacks, the revert of such values. Recently Chinese media reports the compulsory donation from the civil servants in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, with a minimum of 2000 Yuan (≈376 AUD). If any Chinese celebrity contributes a less desired amount towards a disaster relief, public questioning will be raised from the public and netizens. I reckon it is kind of pathological mindset. The thing is whoever you are, the poor or the rich, there is freedom of choice for everyone, in this regard, China needs a sense of entertainment and humour.

In digital era, most of us are connected to social networks. In the case of Ice Bucket Challenge, whether a nominee accepts the challenge or to donate to charity organisation (regardless the amount), no moral kidnapping will be seen. With entertainment as the foundation, Ice Bucket Challenge revert charity to its origin state: lively, free, not compulsory, and not attention-seeking. It is encouraging but not enforcing, and that is how charity activity should be.

Ice Bucket Challenge tells us we all can influence others through our own actions, whether we are the famous or the common. It uses innovation and entertainment to enhance the spreading efficiency and scope of positive energy, and actually brings up an unexpected result; such became the medium and bridge for imparting positive energy.

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Extra! Extra! More Fake News

The booming new media marks the start of a new era and keeps expanding rapidly. Can you imagine what is it like in the future? Is it a utopia or dystopia? Before thinking about deeper questions, I want to put out of my head for a minute the crush I had relating to new media and review what has happened recently.

malaysia-prince-460x307Source: World News Daily Report

On 24th July, the headline of World News Daily Report, ‘Malaysia: Crown Prince Converts to Catholicism, Shocks Muslim World‘, was shared by many on Facebook. It reported ‘the only son and heir of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Tengku Amir Shah, has sent a shockwave throughout the Muslim community worldwide as what People’s magazine has deemed ‘the real life Romeo and Juliet story of our time’. It then added ‘The Malaysian prince known for his outlandish sex orgies and drug addiction problems, having been through rehab no less than three times in the past 18 months, has promised to change his ways and claims to be a new man’. This news has been a hit of Malaysian online forums and some local sites by the following hours. Personally, it’s a hideous news of Malaysia I’ve ever heard, because religious issue is a very sensitive in Malaysia where Islam is the official religion and the majority Malays are all Muslims. Subsequently, I even posted this on my WhatsApp’s group,friends followed up like ‘Beyond shocking’, ‘God at work in Malaysia, thanks for sharing’, etc. But the next day, The Malaysian Insider clarified this is a fake news, and claimed that World News Daily Report is a political satire web publication and fiction producer. I apologised in the group for sowing fake news as a journalism student. From then on, I raised up my skepticism of online sources.

islam-omar-al-shishaniSource: IBT

On 11th August, 3AW 693 drive show conducted a shocking interview. The interviewee was alleged to be Omar al-Shishani, a military commander of ISIS, claiming “If we can swim there, if we can catch any of your boats … we will come to Australia”. However, the scoop became a spoof eventually. IS expert from United States, Aaron Zelin told The Australian  “My initial reaction would be scepticism that it’s actually him”. Monash University terrorism scholar, Greg Barton analysed “On the balance of probabilities, it’s unlikely that Shishani would choose to do an interview with 3AW. Maybe CNN or the BBC would be worth his trouble in getting his message out”. The International Business Times reports there is previously no evidence of Omar al-Shishani speaking fluent English. A week later, the ABC Media Watch revealed this interview is bogus.

These two fake news have a common factor that is the initial sources are both from the internet. When media practitioners are becoming more relying on the convergent social media platform to grab information to conduct news for the audience, less fact-checking can happen, or sometime there are some sources online even veteran journalists cannot tell the authenticity. In this way, more and more fake news coming out of newsroom and be published. Maybe I would say that’s the flaws of social media in terms of providing raw material to the media industry. However, not all the news professional misconduct can blame on the social media.

paulinehanson-420x0Source: The Sunday Telegraph

There was an ethical controversy in Australia goes back in 2009. The nude photos of famous Australian politician Pauline Hanson published by The Sunday Telegraph. However, it ended up in the editor Neil Breen public apology as it has proven that the pictures they published were fake and they were not of Pauline Hanson, but belonged to other Russian woman. It’s a fake news, again. As a matter of fact, editor Breen has suspected Jack Johnson who took the photos beforehand, because he’s already known that story has got loopholes in it. But Breen gave a run anyway for some reasons. The newspaper paid Johnson $15,000 for the images and the story made international headlines that week. I’m sure The Sunday Telegraph have made $15,000 back eventually, but the credibility that lost in the scandal shall not be recovered on a short-term.

The social media as one of the greatest innovations in this age impacts on almost every aspect of human life. It is a good opportunity for media industry to interact with and improve its efficiency and productiveness. At the same time, it’s a challenge for media practitioners to engage with, because it means journalists may lose the role of gate-keeping and need more fact-checking on first hand source. There is a constant debate between journalists that how social networking is changing journalism. The fact is, to a short-term, social media is underestimated by media industry according to a media conference. If media industry wants to thrive in social media context, the key thing to do is focusing on transparency, accountability and autonomy.