HIV left untreated and ignored

About 30 percent of people living with HIV are not accessing treatment, despite evidence medications could reduce the risk of passing on the virus by more than 95 percent.

About 70, 000 sufferers in Australia could also be seriously damaging their own health by refusing or delaying treatment – just one tablet per day.

The above text was seen in an anonymous article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. It’s funny how only two paragraphs of writing can leave such an impacting message. Since the 14th of September last year when I was flown to Nepal, the lack of media coverage and education as a whole regarding HIV/AIDS has been very evident to me. And my study of the lack of coverage over the past few months has only made this belief stronger. Through my study of HIV/AIDS in the media, I have taken notice that the coverage of this topic has come and gone in interesting patterns. The first bite of media burst being the beginning of the phenomenom in the 80’s. The disease was looked upon badly and was purely considered a “gay man’s” disease. The next spout of media coverage was the late 80’s through to the early 90’s, where advertising for HIV/AIDS was at its peak; with adds such as the Grim Reaper’s, and the coverage regarding musical idol Freddie Mercury’s death. It appeared that Mercury’s death due to AIDS sparked  the creation of a lot of fundraising and foundations. Since then though, the media has forgotten this fatal disease and have dismissed the teaching of it in schools sex ed.

I don’t think describing this as ignorance quite makes the cut. I personally think the media has overlooked this issue as it is not seen as a first world problem, it’s only occuring in countries like Africa, we don’t live there so why should we care? This outlook not only shows how disgustingly ignorant and selfish the first world can be, it also creates a fear of the unknown. The best example I can give of this fear is that of what I felt prior to leaving Australia to work with infected children and their mother’s in Nepal. I almost cancelled because I was certain I was going to get AIDS. I’m very lucky and appreciative that my father ripped my head out of the ground and taught me what school failed to.

HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that has devastatingly been the cause of millions of deaths worldwide, and shouldn’t be treaded around lightly! And not only HIV/AIDS but also other STI’s. How many detailed answers could I get if I asked people what they knew about Chlaymidia, Hepatitis or Syphilis? I bet the results would be much like those of the ones I recieved about HIV/AIDS a couple of weeks ago.

A big question I have is one for society to contemplate. Why can’t some more of the tax collected be directed to HIV/AIDS and other medical research institutes, even if this may mean a reduction in welfare handouts?  Coming from a tax-paying family, I’d feel much better knowing that some of my money would also going to people and foundations that deserve and need it.

When I applied to volunteer in Nepal I had no idea that what I did was going to impact my life in such a strong way. The work I did, the people I cared for, and the environment that I lived in has acted as not only a coming of age experience for myself, but also opened my eyes up to the much needed education that is currently lacking. This blog has acted as a way for me to voice my opinion and concerns regarding HIV/AIDS, and has deepened my desire to want to make a difference! I know I made a difference on the lives of about 20 people in Nepal; imagine the difference the world could make if we all helped in educating and treating.

I hope that through my blog I have reached out to at least one other person who can then reach out to others. Oh and remember to save the date December 1st.

If you would like to sponsor MSPN (where I volunteered) you can transfer money to:

Bank of Kathmandu

Jawalakhel, Lalitpur

A/C Name: FNC/MSPN

Current Account No: 011100053373

Swift Code: BOKLNPKA

Every little bit counts 🙂

 

Mirrors.

Over the past couple of months I have been writing blog posts reflecting on what I have been learning in my Convergent Media Practices course. I didn’t have any expectations at the begining of the semester but I do believe I have improved and am proud of what I’ve done and learnt. I remember it took me just under 3 hours to write my first blog post, and I was so frustrated I was ready to give up right there and then. I’m glad I didn’t because I have proved to myself that I can improve and I have; it now only takes me half an hour on average to write up a post. In the way of what I’ve learned, there have been weeks where I felt I was slapped accross the face by what I was learning. There is so much out there that I thought I knew and obviously didn’t. While at first naivity seemed preferable, I am glad I now have a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, and not to sing Happy Birthday in public. EVER! Of the posts I have written, my three favourite’s would have to be “Horse Drawn Carriages and Media Evolution”, “Liger” and “Transmedia Storytelling Success!

I like Horse Drawn Carriages and Media Evolution as it was a post done in very early blogging days and my so called media “innocence” was being stripped. In this blog you can see how ambivilant I was towards the entire Convergence topic as a whole, but realized I had no choice but to take myself out of my comfort zone and just get the work done. Looking back now, I find the information I was writing about rather interesting, and the clear though unitentional ambivilance gives it a weird kind of character.

Liger is my overall favourite blog post. I had a lot of fun putting this post together and felt cool as I wrote about my Sailor Moon and Napoleon Dynamite obsessions. And the Chewbucca call at the end of the post acts as one of several cherries on top of the awesome cake that the nerd topic was. Behind all the fun and games that was nerd week though was a lot of interesting ideas and truths that had previously to me gone by unnoticed. I would’ve never thought of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates as nerds, but take away the names Apple and Windows and that’s what you’re left with. The “Coolification of Nerds” lecture did make my respect for the afformentioned and other manufacturer’s grow as I realized without these people that typically get a lot of shit for being interested in what they are, I wouldn’t have half the electronics I have now.

And finally, Transmedia Storytelling Succes. Although it was done super late, I like it as even though I had to tap into my memory to remember the lecture and readings, it shows that I have successfully learnt and remembered things this session and the growth in my work when comparing Horse Drawn Carriages and Media Evolution to this post is evident. The information in this post captured my attention as I always used to see games/movies/tv series/ books on the one series as there for fanatics, made by fanatics that typically have no life. I had no idea it was a business advantage and what an advantage it is!

Overall, I have enjoyed learning about convergence media. I’m still unsure with what I want to do with future career-wise, but I’m sure with whatever field of work I eventually decide on, there will be things I need to know that have been covered in this topic. And when I’m not using it with a job, it has definately made me think twice before buying electronics and writing things that are then being published on the big world wide web-osphere.

Transmedia Storytelling Success!

Only days before an assessment is due do I notice that I have missed one week’s blog entry. Although this is 4 weeks late, here is my blog post on Transmedia Storytelling.

“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” – Henry Jenkins

Transmedia storytelling has become an integral part of modern society in the way stories are reached to different audiences. This is gained through the use of a single story being scattered across several channels, creating a collective intelligence and building a world.  An example of this is the Pokemon phenomenon. Pokemon has a TV series, movies, franchise cards, comics and video games, making the spread of Pokemon huge and the availability for further indulgence in Pokemon knowledge easily available. The general idea of transmedia storytelling is to expand on knowledge of a particular fantasy world and the use of several platforms means that no one consumer will know everything so they must talk about the series with other people. Continuing with the Pokemon example, with the release of newer video games came the inauguration of fan websites and blogs dedicated to the games in order for the players to share their knowledge, creating a better understanding of not only the game at hand but the plots of previous games.

Of course Pokemon isn’t the only franchise that has succeeded through heavy audience interaction through transmedia storytelling.  Since 1977 and still continuing today is the Star Wars franchise, 2009 hit movie Avatar and The Matrix world are just a few examples.

In a world that is so strongly saturated in social media, it looks like transmedia storytelling will be here to stay for a long time. When looking at the continual success of such hits like Pokemon and Star Wars to think otherwise would just be crazy.

Image

Cultural Convergence and the Rise of the Citizen Journalist

Convergence. Can’t be denied; it’s everywhere. And there are many different aspects of it too. Cultural convergence. According to Henry Jenkins is “a new participatory folk culture…giving average people the tools to archive, annontate, appropriate and recirculate content.” Cultural convergence is the new way in which news is reaching every corner of the globe. How? Through citizen journalists. What is a citizen journalist you ask? According to Oxford Dictionaries, the meaning of citizen journalist is: “the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the interent”. Examples? Growing up, I always got my news through my favourite tv shows Rove and the Chaser’s. Why not the news? Generally people associate the news with seriousness and sadness. The advantage of collecting news through such means as comics like Rove and the Chaser’s is they grab the audiences attention. They grab our attention by making jokes out of what we need to know. This isn’t promoting the news as a light hearted topic, it’s simply just taking it on from a different perspective.

Another example of citizen journalism is Facebook.  For example, in five days the Kony2012 campaign video had 70 million views, making it the fastest growing social video campaign to date. Through social media sites like Facebook, citizen journalism is becoming more and more simpler. The whole world can receive a message just by a click.

So who are citizen journalists and what is the problem society seems to be having with them? To put it simply, we are the journalists and the only problem that can be associated with the freedom that entails citizen journalism is the lack of following a code of ethic. But as Jay Rosen once said, “The Net Knows More.”

Liger

Four eyes. Freckle Face. Brace Face. Any of these sound familiar? Only ten years ago, these names were so hurful to the “genre” of people known as the nerd. Fast forward ten years and “cool kids” are buying thick lensed glasses and insisting on getting braces. Why? For nothing more than to make a fashion statement. So how is it the once ill-viewed nerd has evolved into the new coolest person on the block? What has happened to make gaming, science fiction and superheroes cool?

The answer is rather obvious. Nerds create good business. They earn a lot of money, are highly employable and are a good asset to computer based businesses (which is this modern day and age is increasing at a rapid speed). Not only that, but with more and more celebrities insisting on being the loner/nerd/geek at school or portraying nerds in video clips, films and tv shows makes the nerd image more socially acceptable. Gone are the days when being socially awkward was … well awkward. Gone are the days of being geeky because you bought a comic book. Popular culture has really taken a turn.

I think this turn is great! It has left me feeling like the coolest person alive! I was never socially awkward or excluded at school, but I did get laughed at for reading a book about an awkward love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf and a girl (aka Twilight) before it hit the big time. Those people who laughed are now obsessed and disgust me. The same story applies with music, with the newest example being Foster the People’s song Pumped Up Kicks. For all you mainstreamers reading this you’re probably thinking ‘yeah, that new song is rocking!’, when in reality, that song is actually two years old and landed number 32 in last years Triple J’s Hottest 100. LAWYERED!

Having observed how little things such as books to big dollar films and music growing from underground to mainstream only makes the “coolification” (a term coined by Rae Campbell) of nerdiness seem natural. Especially when putting into consideration the growth of technology. Having the newest iPod/touchscreen phone/tablet makes one socially accepted. Whereas being without would make you weird. Being tech-savvy is the new black.

According to The Oxford Dictionary the word “nerd” means: – a foolish or contempible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious

– a single-minded expert in a particular technical field.

If this were the 1980’s I would imagine being a nerd very hard. With the rise of technology these “boringly studious, socially inadequate” beings now have the means to find people with similar interests in a wider field. The internet. Making the once socially awkward, no longer awkward.

It can therefore be concluded that being dorky is now socially acceptable. Not that I ever did, but now I will have no shame in telling the world that I know the Sailor Moon theme song off by heart, I own all four series of the cartoon Avengers series on DVD, and I own the Napoleon Dynamite Script. Oh, and I religiously buy the National Geographics each month. And now if you call me a geek, I will happily thank you. In ending this post I am going to leave you with a cool photo of me decked out in my cool jumper and a special call.


RESOURCES:

Grossman, Lev (2005) “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”, Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1109317,00.html

Oxford Dictionaries, accessed 17/04/12, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nerd?q=nerd

 

Happy Birthd…What?

Before attending the BCM112 lecture the other day, I thought copyright only applied to selling pirate copies of cd’s, dvd’s and book’s. And as far as word to word things went, I thought it was ok to use someone else’s work (ie wikipedia), just as long as I changed afew words with the help of thesaurus.com. Boy was I wrong!

Again, I’ve left the lecture with a million thoughts racing through my head and a small part of my innocence again taken away.

Turns out Copyright is VERY serious! The thing that got me though was ‘Happy Birthday’. What could’ve happened if i was in a restaurant one night, celebrating someone’s birthday and sang the internationally renowned birthday tune “Happy Birthday” and a Time-Warner Corporation Executive was there dining as well? Would I be taken to court over violation of the copyright law?

The more I thought about this, the more thoughts that popped into my head. If Charlie Chaplin was still around would he have sued the Penrith Panthers on the weekend for wearing pink shirts (ie the Pink Panthers)? And music, how do we know that all music pre-1710 was legitamate? Did Mozart really create Twinkle Star? Or was he a fraud and claimed his way to fame?

They’re all rather silly questions, but if I were to leave each lecture with serious questions running through my mind, I’m sure my brain would  be in a different place right now.

It was nice after such seriousness to learn about Creative Commons….turns out there is justice in the world!

Facebook;Sequence;Shutdown.

In twenty minutes you can drive from Shellharbour to Wollongong. In twenty minutes you can cook pancakes…AND eat them!! In twenty minutes you can watch an episode of The Simpsons. In twenty minutes you can do alot of things. In the social networking realm, twenty minutes is all it takes for over one million links to be shared on facebook, for two million friend requests to be accepted and for three million messages to be sent. In twenty minutes.

Social networking, and not just facebook, I’m also talking Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, Skype etc have become an everyday thing for us 21st century folk. It seems the turn of the millenium really did mean new things. Since all these sites came available at the accessible cost of nothing in the early noughties, not a conversation since hasn’t involved the newest scandal on facebook/the hilarious new video on youtube/the bitchy tweet. With every one in thirteen people in the world having an online profile, organizing to see people face to face has become a thing of the past. Why see people if everything you need to know about what they’ve been up to is at the click of a finger?

I’m not going to lie, I am a self confessed facebook junkie. I really don’t like it much, but it is so sickly addictive and I always seems to find myself on there. You may think this harmless (so did I) until I read some really confronting statistics:

FACEBOOK

* over 700billion minutes are spent on Facebook per month.

* 48% of 18-34 year olds check their Facebook before going to the toilet in the morning.

* 57% of people talk to people more online than what they do in real life.

* Over the New Years Weekend, over 750million photos were uploaded onto Facebook.

TWITTER

 There are one billion tweets made per week

* Three years, two months and one day was the time between the first and the billionth Tweet.

* There are 456 Tweets posted per second. That’s 27360 Tweet’s per minute. Which equals to 39398400 Tweets posted per day.

* On March 12th, 2011, 572 000 new Twitter accounts were opened.

YOUTUBE

There are over 2billion views on Youtube per day.

* In just one minute, there are 35 hours worth of video uploaded.

* Through Facebook alone, there is 46.2 years worth of Youtube video consumption.

I don’t know about you, but I find these figures all rather confronting. Maybe I should hold back the urge to get onto Facebook as often as I do. Start using it for the sole reason I got it in the first place; to keep in touch with the friends and family I have overseas. Put that thought to the general public though and the most common response heard would probably be “that’s crazy”.

I recently saw the shorts for the second Social Network film, and just the two minutes it runs for put alot of thoughts through my mind. Take a look.

Ok, so everyone knows what the first Social Network is about. You know, the guy that invented Facebook. The second movie is showing how much a part of our lives this website has become. And how the world reacts to him deleting Facebook. It’s funny seeing how all these different people react. People go to a great extent to get attention for their achievements; if Facebook were still around these people would be uploading pictures. You also see in the clip people using Facebook lingo in reality. ‘Poking’ a real human. ‘Liking’ what someone has said mid-conversation. ‘Stalking’ an ex’s every move. ‘Declining’ an event invite. It is soon seen how insane these people begin to react. Would this be like what it would be in real life?

Needless to say, I am looking forward to this film’s release, and will be sure to be leaving the cinema with a thousand thoughts running through my head.