Black Mirror?

For the past two weeks I’ve been watching Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror on C4 and I honestly don’t know what to think.

For those who don’t know, Brooker is an English Jounalist, Satirist and script writer with a flair for the savage, sometimes cruel and more often than not downright mean types of humor. I’m a huge fan of Dead Set, which Brooker wrote the script for. It has zombies, makes fun of the public’s obsession with reality TV shows and a friend of a friend was in it as a zombiefied extra.

Black Mirror on the other hand. I don’t know whether to love or hate it. My boyfriend’s reaction to the first episode sums it up well. ‘I can’t tell if Charlie Brooker is a genius and I just don’t get it or if I wasted an hour of my life’. A friend memorably put on Facebook that he would gladly have a sex change operation if it meant that he could marry Mr. Brooker. So opinions are clearly split.

To sum it up, Black Mirror is a series of three one off drama’s depicting stories based on Modern technology and where it could lead to if we’re not careful. The second one was a little more fantastical and futuristic so I’m not going to go into it here, but the first one is somewhat relevant to my Social Media studies.

We’ve been discussing how Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general have been changing the ways that people communicate, and what the consequences of this could be. These ideas where the concept of the first episode’s plot. A fictional beloved Princess was kidnapped and the kidnapper threatened to kill her unless a rather… unusual demand involving the Prime Minister and a pig was met. The twist? The kidnapper uploaded the video of this demand to Youtube for all the world to see and it had received millions of views before it was taken down and it had become the most popular trending topic on Twitter. Rather than discuss details let me link you to Channel 4’s On Demand website  because despite my reservations it is a very interesting look at how powerful some of these platforms have become.

In a way it reminded me of the video by Tom Scott about the (fictional) Flash mob gone Wrong  that we watched in class.

I just couldn’t tell it if were meant to be darkly comic or hard hitting drama, and I don’t know whether I liked or hated it. But it has certainly been something to talk about


MSCSM blog – Awesome bass, Zombies and social networks

Social Media class is just full of surprises. I never expected a Skype chat from America to be something I’d ever see in a classroom, yet it happened and we got an Awesome chat from Alan Levine about his Storybox project and about sharing online.

I’d like to tell you a little something about Newcastle. We have a bit of a beloved character who can be found busking on Northumberland Street. He plays bass guitar with some effects pads and he quickly earned the nickname ‘Awesome Bass Guy’ because he’s such an amazing player.

People loved him and pretty soon a Facebook group called The Awesome Bass Guy Appreciation Society was made to, well… appreciate how awesome he is. He found out and joined the group. As it turns out his name is Stephen Oliver Jones, he’s known by the nickname Ojay and he’s one of the friendliest guys in the world. He’s happy to stop and talk to people while he’s taking a break between songs, he’s happy to have his photo on Flikr and there are dozens of videos of him on Youtube, both playing solo and jamming with people who’ve brought their instruments along. All in all he truly deserves to be called ‘Awesome’. He now used the Facebook group to keep in touch with his fans and tell them when he’s going to be out and about

Newcastle is home to the Evolution Festival which is pretty popular. Anyway, someone on the Facebook group suggested that Ojay play at the next Evo Fest (which would have been 2010) and lo and behold, an online petition was born. Awesome Bass Guy to play Evo 2010! I wasn’t really keeping up with it at the time, I had a lot going on. But I do believe that it was successful. Not bad for a Facebook group about a busker. Check it out here

Social Media is making the world a smaller place and it has never been easier to share something with others just by sending it to someone one the internet. Take my Awesome Bass Guy story. I’ve just shared something that I think is great with all of you. We’ve all heard the talk about how there are good and bad things about this, like the recent riots and the clean up acts arranged after. The point is, someone knew something and was able to send it on quickly to others who were able to do the same. If it’s a good or bad thing depends on the person.

Another example. I’m a huge fan of Zombies. I love Zombie movies, I love the various Zombie walks that take place around Halloween. I recently found out about a game called 2.8 Hours Later. It’s a Zombie chase game that takes place in a city at night. Players have to find their way to a pre-determined ‘Resistance HQ’ while trying to avoid being caught by Zombies (ok, volunteers in Zombie costume). The game organisers advice everyone to bring their phones as a way of contacting the rest of the group. That way you can tell each other where the Zombies are, how many there are and how to get around them. I would love to take part in this but I can’t since this year’s event is sold out

There’s a bit on the site where you vote for which city you’d like them to come to. Under the part that says TIckets and Dates there’s a little part that says “Make a suggestion’ and if you click on that there is a list of city’s to vote for. Manchester is currently in second place. I would like to ask, in the interest of sharing over social media, if you could vote for Manchester. It would be amazing.

Some of you might even like the idea of a Zombie chase game yourself… others will probably think I’m insane.