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Is Bloggin’ Cool? #3 by bayripley

Do you have too many blogs?

When I started blogging, my first entry was about the very nature of this action. What was I personally expecting from blogging, and more than that, what was blogosphere waiting from me? These were my central questions. I tried to set myself free of limitations, because blogging was itself being limitless, or less limitless than usual. I only wrote about things I wanted, with no time limitation or academic concern.

One blog lead to another, and I currently have two blogs. I can’t say I am the author of two, because in my second blog, I only archive. This weekend, I am adding a third—a temporary one this time.

This weekend, at the University of Arizona, we are holding Multilingual 2.0?, a symposium dealing with the timeless phenomenon of multilingualism. We will be hosting amazing scholars, and the coming together of leading scholars with participants from all around the world will contribute to the local, national, and international debate(s) of languages.

And guess who is “the blogger-in-chief”?

When Dr. Gramling, one of the core faculty members of the organization committee, asked me what I would want to do for the symposium, I had no idea. I had been volunteering for such events since my early undergraduate years, and I have done a wide range of things, from serving wine at the cocktails to making opening speeches. He looked at my perplexed face, and asked: Do you want to blog the event? I said “why not?”

However, how do you blog events? I have blogged mostly personal stuff about life and death, or music, or traveling, or changing the continent I live in—but how could I blog a symposium? Do I cover the whole thing, summarize every speech, note down every question, and then say “Wow, this was a great conference?”

Dr. Gramling said, “No. Make it personal, introduce your analysis.”

I should tell the truth: When he bestowed me the title of “blogger-in-chief”, I was intimidated at first. I felt a huge pressure on my shoulders. Mary Louise Pratt is going to speak, and I will record it? Me, a graduate student who one day wants to be an academic? But David quickly gave me the freedom I needed, the freedom that actually blogging signified: Be free, be ridiculous, tell us your take on the issues. Write like an aspiring academic, but don’t write academically.

So, I accepted the challenge. Dear Readers, if you wonder what are the contents of the speeches, please go to our website and watch the symposium live online. If you wonder what is going on in the symposium, keep on reading my blog.

And see how I deal with a roller-coaster of ideas.



Blogs, too. by bayripley
03/03/2011, 07:24
Filed under: Uncategorized, web | Tags: , ,

Probably the zillionth entry about the Blogspot Ban in Turkey. I personally don’t care about repeating a theme. I intend to speak more than “free speech”, a concept that I hope every reader of this blog is familiar with.

After the ban of blogspot.com and related blogs in Turkey, Turkish blogsphere has entered into frenzy against the government. The legal regulation of the AKP government, which did nothing after the YouTube ban but advice to “circumvent” the obstacles, enabled the banning of blogspot.com related blogs in Turkey upon the request of Digiturk, a satellite TV provider. Digiturk detected some extremely famous blogs broadcasting Turkish Football League matches, which have a billion dollar value for four years, and are supposed to be watched only through Digiturk’s satellite channels or official website.

The importance of blogging has been the very subject of some of my entries. Some articles on this blog are also written for expressing some political opinions. I don’t want to write about how as bloggers we have to react against the government. I just want bring out some aspects of this legal framework, and its application.

The copyrights of trillion dollars film and TV industry of mainly USA, Britain, and Turkey are systemically violated by some TV series portals, which stream full seasons of TV series filmed in these countries. They are subject to similar bans, but they have already established a very efficient network, a privilege that does not belong to a simple blogger; so a client is never deprived from watching the last episode of his favorite TV show utmost 2 hours later than the original broadcast. In addition to that accessibility, many decent companies advertise on those sites. A TV show, which was broadcast last night, has attracted over 20,000 viewers in 24 hours. Consider at least 10 new episodes a day are uploaded to one of those portals, and although those videos are shared by some others, the estimated viewers and the market value of those “sites” are quite high.

You seriously don’t want to upset devoted and some thousand TV series addicts, but chic fashion bloggers, bright politic activists, or depressed homosexual teenagers are OK to get rid of. If they are operating under the same umbrella of some rule breaker, they are easily kicked out of the “clean and safe” cyber area of the government.

I should remind you that “clean and safe” cyber area is also free of porn and dating sites. It used to be clean of any YouTube junk. And yet, all those material, and maybe even more could be found on Facebook, which seems politically untouchable and probably legally unchallengeable. Another reason might be that Facebook is also providing a significant mobilization and cyber space for the campaign of the ruling party. YouTube was closed for videos insulting Ataturk, and although some “citizens” of Facebook-land insulted the same persona, Facebook was never even threatened by the legal officers.

Having said that, a dear friend of mine, and a very talented TV critic through her blog, is actually embodying all those examples above. Her blog is no longer reachable through legal ways, and the TV show she constantly writes about is aired tomorrow. She basically will not be able to upload her entry to her blog, and she already expressed her frustration on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The suggestion of the audience was fast and simple: Put your writing on Facebook in form of “Notes”. She said she would think about it.

This ban has not only silenced bloggers, but also forced them to take a “more conventional” way to place their thoughts. This ban has not only limited a free thinker, but also suggested her a position in the “determined” and “clean and safe” environment designated by the power.

This ban did not touch some 20,000 devotees of one single TV show, but actually a critical voice among them. I think this is what we are supposed to react against. The majority is still doing fine, those who are writing about it seems to be in pain.



Dear Facebook Person by bayripley
09/11/2010, 07:19
Filed under: web | Tags: , , , ,

Dear Christian Hernandez,

I have noticed that you have listed the assumed reasons of Turkish people’s love of Facebook. I wish I had the whole transcript of your speech. However, I have to use this lousy portal page to analyze your words.

According to this news report, you have indicated that the reason behind Facebook’s popularity in Turkey is “Turks are warm people who love sharing”. The average “Friends” number of the world is 130, which is quite below the Turkish average. The reason, according to you, for that is “Turks have strong friendships”. And more conceptual interpretation of Facebook’s popularity according to your speech “may be the coffeehouse and conversation culture”.

You may be at the top of your career, but you are wrong, man. Totally wrong.

First of all, let’s put something straight: Generalizations are only valid in marketing and politics. You are making a generalization, and I am going to reply with another. However, all the readers of this post, please keep in mind that I am totally against generalizations and I am basing my arguments on the patterns I have detected during my Facebook experience. There are of course exceptions to what I state.

Why do Turks love Facebook? It is not because they “love sharing” but it is because they love dominating. Facebook is a great remedy to some people’s unstoppable desire to culturally and politically dominate. “You are not listening to quality music, listen to this.” “You are not voting correct, hear what I brag” For example, they love sharing a video on the upcoming elections while they are at the beach with their laptops. This year, the Headquarters of “No” campaign for the referendum was Cesme, a holiday paradise in Turkey. People asked for a “No” from the “educated” ones on Facebook. The “Yes” campaign also utilized Facebook—along with other, more realistic and effective media like talking to people, knocking on their doors, proposing concrete solutions. Turkish people do not share to multiply their joy, they aspire to influence, and preferably to dominate.

Secondly, yes, Facebook is popular because people like talking—but not with each other, behind others’ back! The main reason for Facebook’s popularity is the joy of gossiping. Facebook pages are not viewed alone, they are like TV shows, watched with friends and family. True story: A 50 year-old woman based her comments on another’s kids Morocco travel from the information her daughters acquired for her on Facebook. “We have seen on Facebook that you bought a new car.” “My daughter Pelin showed me that your son has a new girlfriend.” The list goes on not to a direction of that genuine coffeehouse culture—but rather to a gossip-crowded public sphere.

Also that number of friends… With this urge to dominate and gossip, people just friend you. They, at least in my case, attempt to friend me despite my continuous social and electronic rejections. There are also those who show off with the number of their friends. Some family bonds are induced to “friendship” in Facebook realm. Connected to the previous paragraph, people friend you not because they want to keep in touch but to gossip about you. Indeed, this interest is usually mutual. Therefore, we are under the inflation of friends. (Remember the Green Inflation Monster in 90s? It just came to my mind, it was a prominent figure, I miss him.)

Anyway Mr. Hernandez, now that you have seen the real reasons, you can modify this speech of yours. But never stop greasing the Turkish users. They will be your defenders when your site gets banned along with thousands of other web sites.

Very sincerely.

 



Series are the new dictators? by bayripley
21/04/2010, 08:48
Filed under: Uncategorized, web | Tags: , ,

Rest in Peace Adorno and Horkheimer! Once, in their inspiring article, they have enlightened us about the overwhelming dictatorship of the mass culture. We would become its subjects as long as we kept ourselves inside the culture industry’s consumption territory. Many words have been written after them, rebutting or supporting. I am going to talk about something else, keeping in mind the Frankfurt School’s warning. Our subject today is the dictatorship of the series.

Internet has changed our lives profoundly and this is the best cliché since whenever. Considering our attachment to virtual media, it is dully true. The advancement of streaming technology and the high speed connection have made almost every TV series available online. You can log on any website, containing the episodes of TV series even if they were broadcast years ago. The webmasters do their best for us. Wonderful torrent technology or other file sharing systems are the lovely supporters of this availability. Thus, any TV series, either you have watched them or not, are available. You are not obliged to own a TV any more. You do not have to wait for the time that it’s broadcast, you do not have to invest a fortune to DVDs (if you don’t believe in Intellectual Property Rights or can’t afford that luxury), and all you have to do is click and watch.

This brings the omnipresence of a dictatorship. The rule of dictators is usually typical in their countries: They have a massive state (Internet), an obeisant population (Look at the counters of these TV series websites!), oppressed minorities (those still haven’t picked up a popular TV series and can’t adhere into daily conversations), powerful defense forces (in Turkish case, Internet sites are constantly censured and they find a way to bypass the legalized electronic obstacles), mottos (“Respect to effort” : Emeğe Saygı) and so on. TV series are everywhere and once you are under their influence, they get more powerful.

Firstly, you devote a lot of time into that passion. Even if you are under great pressure of exams, deadlines, responsibilities; you always have time to watch one or two episodes while eating, drinking, making the dishes, doing the laundry, even running in the gym. The TV series parties are very popular among college students: When a new episode is on TV or Internet, friends gather in front of a screen to watch and make instant comments about the love affair or mystic island. People shout at the character that cheats her husband, laugh at the stupid girl desperately in love with her childhood friend, and cry for the misery of a family who literally lost everything but their physical existence, all together. TV series are time absorbing and freshly socializing.

There is also the psychological effect: This dictatorship produces a new breed: “The Carries, Teds, Rosses Among Us.”  The CTRAU are a group of people who identify themselves with the TV characters so much that theylose their own identity from time to time and actually become these characters. Their lack of reality is so grave that they officially declare: “I am so Carrie today, I need new shoes.” “Well, I found love just like Ted did.” “Oh, I am such a looser of a Ross-kind.” Wake up people! You just need to spend money on shoes, or just fall in love and believe that she is the one or just be yourself in your existential crisis. You don’t need to cover yourself with another identity. But, the dictatorship does not listen to your needs; it just forces its commonalities over you.

As long as we watch that religiously these TV series, we will go on being the lovely subjects of the dictatorship. It is not too bad if we identify ourselves with the New Yorker, mid-class people. The problem is what if when we identify ourselves with the members of Sopranos? Isn’t it already obvious that people have been learning how to punch “the politically other” since the first broadcast of “Kurtlar Vadisi”?

Once again, rest in peace Adorno and Horkheimer! We are just “mass”ed up, and a new episode is on every day!



Is bloggin’ cool? by bayripley
18/03/2010, 21:56
Filed under: Uncategorized, web | Tags:

Don’t you have a blog? series, #1

Well, it’s the hot topic in media classes: b l o g g i n ’ .

We all know a lot about social networks, like Facebook or Twitter, we enthusiastically participate with our lovely accounts, we hang out there more than we do with our friends. We make them in, when we enjoy, and out, when they become dull. We learn, hear, see, envy, share, produce gossip, but we don’t actually do much. Let’s face it– or you have already faced it: Uploading pictures or writing twits do not require a lot.

But blogging requires a chunk, at least more time! And a bit of self-confidence. And more competent computer skills. And an urge to write. And, to be an acclaimed or at least a followed one, you should be creative and intriguing.

I admit: writing such a piece at the beginning of a blogging career is kind of talking about fishing when they hand over your first fishing line. You stare at the line which you have seen for thousands of times in others’ hands. You certainly understand the concept: you put the bait, throw it into the water, and pull the fish. But is it really a three-step story of absolute success? You don’t really know it, but you have your impression now, and it will change once you start fishing.

Then, it comes to that point: I am looking at my first blog and thinking “wouldn’t it be nice for the readers to see what a blogger thinks about blogging at the moment he starts doing it”? Dear Readers, this is the first article of a series that I intend to write: You will be reading a blogger’s comments and observations about the digital world he is creating in. And you have just read the first half of the first entry.

I know fishing rules: don’t talk if not necessary, use proper hooks and baits for different fish, don’t count the fish until you finish, etc. I also think that I know blogging rules: don’t talk if not necessary, use proper hooks and baits for different fish, don’t count the fish until you finish, etc. But I am not sure if my expectations and predictions will match the outcome. All I know, blogging is cool, and good for your writing skills.

I also know that bloggers are taken more seriously everyday. Blogs are popular among digital trend followers, who definitely earn and spend more than a shitty newspaper’s reader. Blogs are already values, creating values. Blogs are about economy. Blogs are alternative source of information, they are the new columns. They enable us to become Carrie Bradshaw, without our picture on a bus and a dick sketched towards our mouths. Blogging seems quite risk-free. The only harm it can give is the damage on your urban coolness, of course in a digital tone. No topic restrictions, no deadlines, ability to filter your readers, stats to analyze how your readers reached you, instant comments, wow, this blogging feels cooler than I think.

Simply put, life is what we receive and blogging makes it more reciprocal. Even if you gorge it with your personal or intimate info, usually in an encoded language; you are still after reciprocity. ‘Cause modern life is so noisy and you are so yourself now, looking at your screen, hearing the continuous whisper of your laptop’s fan.

Is bloggin’ cool? Hell yeah. Will I think the same after three months? Well, meet me here on June 18, 2010 for that topic.Oops, I just ended an observation of mine: I said no deadlines as a plus, and I just killed it with my bare hands. Damn!

Anyway, for the rest, keep following.



Incrédibox by a21
28/11/2009, 19:32
Filed under: music, web | Tags: , , ,

Three gentlemen from France have put up this flash application called Incrédibox – The Incredible Beatbox. Already got many awards from the web community, this wonderful piece of creativity lets you build your own choir of “little cartoon guys of various heights” talented in few instruments and vocal arts. You’ll spend hours on your computer while playing with those little dudes with huge lips. Vocals, beatboxing and instruments are performed by Paul Malburet, the artist who goes by the name “Incredible Polo”.


Developer of the application is Allan Durand and the graphic designer is Romain Delambily. Well, it is a lot of fun tinkering with the effects and don’t forget to try the shuffle mode which automatically generates a never-ending title.

The application is available in French and English here.

You can also check the blog of the “Incrédibox” team here available only in french at the moment.

Finally, here should be a video of a song performed by Incredible Polo.