[Week 10 Tute Preparation] Agent Hill: When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics? – Tony Stark: Last night.

Technology and the media have opened up many possibilities for the last few years, especially in science. In the past, one way to validate scientific work was through peers reviewing (Seed 2011), through a ‘paper system’ of publishing (Wilbanks 2011). Such process was too time consuming and also resulted in a ‘huge bill’ with duplicate results from all over the world (Pisani 2011). Continue from last week topic about social organisation and the practice of collaboration, these two factors have pushed science and its practices into a new level. Indeed technologies and new media cannot be ignored. Web 2.0 has enabled scientists, or at least people who have knowledge about science to share their knowledge without any geographical constraints. Moreover, Web 2.0 also gives us something called OPEN SCIENCE. That is, knowledge sharing is no longer a privilege for those who have resource or the money, but general audiences like us also have a chance to engage in the scientific community to gain knowledge, or even to contribute. We are moving into a knowledge culture, as in everyday, outside of academic sphere (Seed 2011), where it is open to knowledge transaction amongst everyone, i.e. policymakers, educators, journalists, and everyday citizens (Seed 2011).

This caused remarkable changes in the traditional publishing industry. Physical copies of scientific work are no longer in favour. Information can now be accessed via database. One concern I have in mind is the funding policy. Indeed I am not the expert in this area, but the problem is rather obvious. Where would scientists get the fund from? Of course some databases make us purchase the works, such as JSTOR or Emerald Insight, hopefully the money will go to research. But people can still get lots of papers for free by sharing files by simply networking, or illegally download them. Large organisations like universities also become partners with those publishers so their students have access to such databases for, I assume, much less money than each individual would have to pay. One advantage those databases share in common is credibility. We can argue that some open source websites are non–benefit because they use crowdsourcing to assemble information. Here we have the question of quality. How credible is a work done with less funding compare to a full–funded one? That is why the government is willing to sponsor new researches, that is to ensure the outcome, rather than relying completely on the open network. In the case of Australia, Group of Eight universities take $36 million from the other institutions in order to fund researches (Pitman 2013).


Seed (eds) 2011, ‘On Science Transfer’, Seed, 27 January, accessed on 16 May 2013, < http://seedmagazine.com/content/print/on_science_transfer >.

Pisani, E. 2011, ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, 11 January, < http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing >.

Pitman, T. 2013, ‘The best and rest: why we should fund ‘average’ research’, The Conversation, 2 May, accessed 16 May 2013, < http://theconversation.com/the-best-and-rest-why-we-should-fund-average-research-13415 >.

Wilbanks, J. 2011, ‘On Science Publishing’, Seed, 28 January, < http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/on_science_publishing >.

[Week 9 Tute Preparation] Starbucks – Lessons Learned.

I’d like to start this week blog by discussing an example of a social media campaign held by Starbucks in 2009 that has gone sour (Brice 2009). The main idea of the campaign is to ‘leverage’ customers’ creativity to co–create new values for Starbucks (Brice 2009). Using the model of a ‘network’ provided by Knife Party in collaboration of Rayner and Robson (2010) in the video ‘Coalition of the Willing’, I would consider the Starbucks’ brand community a form of SOCIAL ORGANISATION whose key concept is participation and the end–goal is to create influence over larger organisations, i.e. the states (Murphie 2013, pp. 4). Starbucks’ idea of the campaign can be applied exactly to the notion of social organisation, where the commons ‘minimize harm and maximize authentic, sustainable, meaningful value’ (Bauwens 2011). Therefore, in the new social movement where the commons play a great role in creating and influencing values, capitalists appreciate the roles of social organisations in terms of providing from labour intensity to redefining social relations between the commons and the states (Sophie Ball, year not available, cited in Anonymous 2010). Such ideas may have been the drivers of Starbucks’ management decision to use the customers to generate new ideas for them.

As the video demonstrates, there are three main sites: the opensource reservoir, the idea generation room and the catalyst system (Knife Party, Rayner & Robson 2010). In this case study specifically, the first site includes new media tools, for examples, social platforms such as My Starbucks Idea Forum ( http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ ) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/starbucks/ ). The ‘opensource’ is customers’ creativity. The idea generation room is where the customers contribute and discuss their innovative ideas. Finally, the Starbucks management team plays the catalysts who will analyse those ideas and make final decision.

It sounds like a great strategy.

But it seems like an open community does not function at all. Starbucks’ first mistake is mistaking normal customers with creators. Statistics show that only 21% of US adults has the ability to create while 35% are joiners who enjoy involving but actually useless (Forrester Research 2008, cited in Brice 2010). There are more than 50,000 ideas so far (My Starbucks Idea 2013), but how many of them are worth looking at? As Ostrom (2010) says, without any ‘shared norms’ and ‘rules’, or even institutions ‘to carry out their management roles’ (quoted in Korton 2010), the commons would be uncontrollable.

In short, the new government 2.0 opens many new possibilities for people to contribute to the community for its community–driven nature. However, this could not be mistaken as a non–government sphere. Ostrom justifies this as follows:

‘…[If] there’s conflict, you need an open, fair court system at a higher level than the people’s resource management unit. You also need institutions that provide accurate knowledge.’

(In Korton 2010)


Anonymous 2010, ‘Elinor Ostrom’, p2p foundation, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://p2pfoundation.net/Elinor_Ostrom >.

Bauwens, M. 2011, ‘Book of the Week: Umair Haque’s New Capitalist Manifesto’, P2P Foundation: Researching, documenting and promoting peer to peer practices, 13 February, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/book-of-the-week-umair-haques-new-capitalist-manifesto/2011/02/13 >.

Brice, C.E. 2009, ‘Has Online Social Media Failed Starbucks?’, Social Media Today, 9 March, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://socialmediatoday.com/index.php?q=SMC/78962 >.

Knife Party & Rayner, T. & Robson, S. 2010, Coalition of the Willing, online video, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://coalitionofthewilling.org.uk/ >.

Korton, F. 2010, ‘No Panaceas! Elinor Ostrom Talks with Fran Korten’, Shareable, 28 March, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://www.shareable.net/blog/no-panaceas-a-qa-with-elinor-ostrom >.

My Starbucks Idea 2013, My Starbucks Idea, USA, accessed on 9 May 2013, < http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ >.

Murphie, A.K. 2012, Social Organisation, lecture notes distributed in the lecture session at The University of New South Wales, New South Wales on 8 May 2013.

[Week 2 Tut Preparation] The Global Village.

Mind-map extracted from ‘Demysifying McLuhan – Video: Global Village‘.

'Global Village' Mind-map (Click to enlarge)

‘Global Village’ Mind-map
(Click to enlarge)

Miller, D. 1995, Collective identities, tutorial notes distributed in the tutorial session at The University of New South Wales, New South Wales on 20 April, 2012.

Murphie, A. & Potts, J. 2003, ‘Theoretical Frameworks’, Culture and Technology, London: Palgrave Macmillan: pp. 11 – 38.

[Week 11 Tut Preparation] Issues revolve around the idea of Web 2.0

Issues revolve around the idea of Web 2.0 

What is Web 2.0?

According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 site is a platform that allows users to ‘interact and collaborate’ with each other in a virtual community. Websites like social networking, blogs, wikis, video sharing share the characteristics of Web 2.0. This is a form of convergent platform where information is being transferred fluently across one single media platform. Due to the development of new technologies, which extends the access of users to various resources in one device, Web 2.0 also changes the way people communicate across platforms. This is taken from Henry Jenkins’ book ‘Convergence culture: where old and new media collide’. Walking hand in hand, Web 2.0 and convergence open more possibilities for active audiences, files sharing and various activities on the Internet.


The link above links to a interactive design illustrates a tag cloud of ‘things’ involve in the term ‘Web 2.0’ and when you click on each word, it will redirect you to a Wikipedia page about that tag. This is an excellent example of the interaction enabled by Web 2.0 and convergence.


The development of Web 2.0 also brings many issues for us. One of the problems is the invasion to our privacy. Aleks Jakulin, in his article, points out that publishing people’s medical records may increase our knowledge about a disease, risks, factors affecting it, effectiveness of drugs, diet, the effects of such disease; therefore, people can be more aware of the problem and may find a solution to it. But the debates here is the impacts of such published data that affect the patients. For example, people may not have a job because they could not meet the health requirement, not to mention the bias in society.

Another problem is power and attention. In the era of media 1.0, producers hold the power and attention among audiences. But in the age when consumers take over the roles of producers, attention become scarce since there are too many noises out there on the web and users literally got lost among the overwhelmed amount of information they are provided. The idea of Web 20.0 is equal information sharing, but then it becomes the place where ‘[people] who get access to people’s attention are a very few and privileged population’.

Hubert Guillaud in his report about Danah Boyd’s talk about Web 2.0 quoted: ‘Power is no longer in the hands of those who control the channels of distribution, but in the hands of those who control the limited resources of attention.’ Then he went on to note that the Web 2.0 has changed the way people contribute and distribute information. He also noticed that ‘the dismantling of traditional structures of distribution’ demands us to improve the way we broadcast information.