Comunicar Journal Blog

Reflection on the Symposium on Twitter, Weibo, WeChat and the ‘We’ movement: Microblogging and Journalism in China and Australia

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When you are browsing this site, you are using one type of what we call the new media – the communication device connected to the internet and with which to transmit information in immediacy. We are no longer a stranger to smart phone and tablets, in schools, workplaces and our homes. Even our four-year-old kid and eighty-year-old granny can find a way to get in touch with the new media.

With no doubt, those working in the communication industry – journalists and media practitioners, have been living a new media life. This symposium focuses on the impact brought by the new media to nowadays media industry. Most of the presented invited to the symposium are media practitioners instead of university scholars. The whole afternoon was filled with innovative ideas and thrilling challenges in front of today’s media practitioners. According to a freelance journalist based in Australia, on the one hand, the new media environment has provided a huge platform for journalists to have direct interaction with their sources and audience, as a way to getting more first hand information and feedback. On the other hand, it is also easy for him to get involved in political conflicts as their words were written publicly online. Despite of all these, the journalist still regards direct online communication a positive thing. «It is a test of your journalism!», he said. These challenges drive journalists to carefully verify their information and make judgements reasonably.

The new media also brings unexpected challenges to magazine designers and editors. According to an editor from Guangzhou, China, through years’ experiment, his team found that an online magazine could never be only a replication of the hard-copy magazine. Even though the online version can provide more contents, a magazine is still a magazine.

After trials and errors, they gradually find a way to make breakthrough – inventing innovative activities to draw target audience’s attention. Although the magazine editor said «we just cater to our target audience’s taste», I wonder, are they really simply following the users’ need?

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From a critical perspective, the mass media, as part of the commercial world, is somewhat creating the needs for people. In this process, the mass media brings forth an illusion to the public that they «need» to have «something» in order to act like the class they are pursuing. In the presentation, the CityMagazine’s target audience is mainly the middle-class youths living an bourgeoise lifestyle – «literature youth» as people usually call them. To certain extent, this group of «literature youth» has created a lucrative economic circle, including particular types of bookstores, theaters and hand-craft stores. On the internet, there is even a list of equipments a «literature youth» should have. In this sense, I think what the CityMagazine tries to do is creating the needs for the «literature youths» situated near Guangzhou. For example, they invited bloggers to introduce Taiwan’s home-stay («literature youths» do not believe in traditional authority but trust someone seems more «neighbourhood»). Another activity was inviting a group of «core users» to taste the magazine’s trade-mark headphone (as a by-product of their mini concert). To their surprise, the headphones were soon sold out, even the price was not cheap at all!

New media is really changing our life. Not only in a way that it fastens the information transmission or transcends the border. But also it is changing the relationship between humankind and the external environment. Reading a magazine is far beyond consuming and reading, but has become a 360-degree experience. On the one hand, people got more opportunities to explore. On the other hand, the capitalists have found more channels to earn money.

“30 rules of being a literature youth” (I am sorry, it’s in Chinese) http://www.citytalk.tw/bbs/thread-103366-不可不知,關於假文青的30件事-1.html

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