Archive for the ‘On-Line’ Category

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Social Networking : Time Wasters

August 25, 2010

Modern technology is evident everywhere in the world today. Almost everyone uses it. They make it easier to connect with friends and family no matter which part of the world they are in. But there is mounting evidence that it is doing more damage than good to our society.

Social networking media such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace claim to socially connect us to millions of users globally, but it does not give a real world perception of the less fortunate in today’s society. The less fortunate – the homeless and victims of natural disasters, for instance – do not have the opportunity to connect to these networks.

Technology and social networking is not all bad, it is the obsession with them that can waste a lot of time. People need to readdress this problem by giving back to society via volunteer work such as helping out in soup kitchens where you can directly communicate with people on a personal level and make a real difference in their lives – something which you cannot do behind a computer screen.

Going out in the real world and volunteering your services to charity can make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people as well as make them realise that they do not need to obsess over technology and there are far more important needs to address that will have a more meaningful impact on society.

In a survey conducted by The Nielsen Company, it was found that global web users spent an average of five and a half hours per person in February 2010 on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. This is an increase of two hours from the same time last year, and the numbers keep rising.

Social Networking icons

If each person can give up an hour and a half a week to assist in meaningful charity work, time that would otherwise have been wasted on social networking, this additional manpower can be significant in making a difference in people’s lives whether it is simply to lend a listening ear or to help sort clothing and food for the less fortunate.

After a tragedy such as the 2009 Victorian bushfires, there is often a number of web forums and blogs that pop up to talk about the tragedy. Would it not be better, if the time and effort is spent communicating directly with charity groups and spending time helping to distribute emergency supplies to those in need?

When you think of people who have lost so much, like homes and even families and friends in tragedies like the 2009 Victorian bushfires, it is saddening to see the people spending so much time and money on unimportant, unnecessary things. Life is short, and we should live it to the fullest, engage with real people, spend more time in a meaningful way.

There is a saying ‘You never know how good you have it till you have lost everything’. It should not take a tragedy or people to hit rock bottom to realise that people and nature are more important than material things. We can replace things, but we can never replace the people we love and value. People need to understand this and take action before it is too late.

References :

Nielsen Wire
March 19, 2010
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/global-audience-spends-two-hours-more-a-month-on-social-networks-than-last-year/

Vision: Insights and New Horizons – And They All Lived Technologically Ever After
by David F. Lloyd
Spring 2007 Issue
http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=2954

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Wedding Culture

August 15, 2010

The wedding ceremony is an integral part of almost all cultures each with their own traditions and rituals. In Sudan the groom has to pay 20 – 40 cattles for the bride whilst in China as part of the wedding ceremony, tea is served to the elders. In Australia however, most tend to follow the traditional “white” wedding. Weddings has served in our current culture as a way to celebrate the union of two people and the joining of two families. The celebrations usually incorporate two events, the actual wedding ceremony and wedding feast.

Bridezilla is a new term that has entered our culture.
It is defined in Wikipedia as a “difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride” and has spawned its own reality TV Show from company, WeTV. This represents the “bad” side to the wedding culture and reflects on the current “me” generation.

Bridezilla

Why are weddings so important? As a tradition it has endured thousands of years, some view it as a joining of families for arranged marriages, a public declaration of love or to build a solid foundation for a family. A question that was raised by Tim Dick from the Sydney Morning Herald is why marriage is currently only restricted to man and woman. It opens the question, should same sex unions by afforded the opportunity for their own wedding? This would be a radical culture shift from societal norms. Changing the current culture is never an easy process and is more gradual then sudden.

References

African People and Culture – Wedding Ceremonies
http://www.africaguide.com/culture/weddings.htm

Chinese Wedding Customs and Rituals
http://www.chinabridal.com/etiquette.htm

Bridezilla
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridezilla_%28term%29

Bridezillas – TV Show
http://www.wetv.com/bridezillas/index.html

Gay marriage: what would it really take?
by Tim Dick, August 18 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/gay-marriage-what-would-it-really-take-20100818-1292p.html

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Cultural Clash – Gen Y in the Workforce

August 12, 2010

Gen Y is a general term for anyone born after 1980. Wikipedia notes that they are most familiar “with communications, media, and digital technologies“. Every generation will seek to differentiate itself from the generation before them. Jack and Suzy Welch reports in Business Week, although there is a perception that Gen Y in workforce have an unfair sense of entitlement they have found from their own experience that they are “hardworking, entrepreneurial, startlingly authentic, refreshingly candid, and wonderfully upbeat“.

ABC News presents a different story stating “a survey of more than 300 Australian business owners has summed up Generation Y as demanding, impatient and bad at communicating” however the survey also found Gen Y’s have “energy, a creativity and a charisma, so if you can harness their personalities and their view of the world in the right way, they can be good employees“.

It is very difficult to classify an entire generation and any assertions of both negative and positive are stereotypes. In every group there will be the “good” and the “bad“. Most Gen Y’s will have grown up with different technologies (e.g. internet and mobile phones) which will change their outlook and the way they operate in the workplace. Especially with easy access to the internet, information is now on demand and that’s the way Gen Y’s work. If the current generation can mold their processes slightly and adapt accordingly there are hard workers of any generation (Gen Y included) who will prove to be assets to their businesses.

References :

Generation Y disappoints employers
By Liv Casben – Fri Jul 13, 2007
ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/13/1978431.htm

Generation Y’s Bad Rap
by Jack and Suzy Welch – September 27, 2007
Business Week
http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/sep2007/ca20070927_516544.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_managing

Wikipedia – Generation Y
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

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Cooking Culture

August 7, 2010

Australia’s cooking culture (as described in culture.gov.au from the early European settlers of damper and rabbit with predominately English and Irish influences to a multicultural smorgasbord with influences from all over the world. The introduction of celebrity chefs (e.g. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay) into our culture have influenced society to empowered society to experiment with cooking.

This is further reinforced with the popularity of MasterChef (Season 1 – Finale drew over 3.3 million viewers), the cooking culture phenomenon has taken hold in Australia. Its success with even a higher viewership in Season 2 has opened the idea that cooking is no longer a chore but an exciting way to exhibit culinary skill. A glance into almost every bookshop will yield a plethora of cooking books showing society’s interest in developing its cooking culture.

What is the current attraction to cooking?
Food is a universal link between people and cooking allows the chef to present a dish that represents the individual’s culture and ideals. Cooking in this respect does not represent putting a frozen pie in the oven but experimenting with various pie fillings from recipe books and putting forward an original creation.

Cooking can be an effectively way to impress or create a bond between family and friends. The cooking culture is an important way for one generation to pass down recipes to the next generation as well as (or importantly) having fun while creating something that can be savoured as the end result.

References :

MasterChef finale on track for record ratings
by KARL QUINN – July 23, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/masterchef-finale-on-track-for-record-ratings-20100723-10o1r.html

Australian food and drink
culture.gov.au – Accessed 07-Aug-10
http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/foodanddrink/

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Sporting Culture

August 4, 2010

World Cup 2010 is the biggest sporting spectacle this year. Even those in Australia who don’t follow soccer (football) passionately supported the Socceroos in their quest for World Cup glory.

How much is sport worth to you?
As described in Sydney Morning Herald Article, in Somalia, watching the World Cup is illegal and as reported “Two Somali football fans have been killed by Islamic militants after being caught watching World Cup matches“. Sheik Mohamed Abdi Aros describes this sporting event as “a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down“. It’s tragic to hear about the deaths, there is a definite breakdown in ideals for those who follow the culture of sport and those who view it as a worthless pursuit to engage in.

In NSW supporters dressed in their club colours religiously attend rugby league games cheering on their team weekly and according to NRL Figures over 85,000 attended last year’s grand final between Melbourne and Paramatta.

It’s hard to describe what drives the sporting culture? Marcia Henin describes the main reason for watching sport is “people like to watch competitions is because they tend to identify themselves with the winners“. I think it’s hard to fathom that the interest is simply people projecting their sporting heroes wins upon themselves.

I believe some grew up with the parents supporting a team and the kids following suit. For others it’s the thrill of the competition where every split second decision can result in a win or loss. I feel it’s more of an escapism in something bigger, the sense of belonging and following a particular team and sharing the euphoria of a win (or the sadness of a loss).

References

Football fans executed for watching World Cup
June 15, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/world-cup-2010/world-cup-news/football-fans-executed-for-watching-world-cup-20100615-ybrj.html

Storms vs Eels Grand Final 2009
October 4, 2009
http://www.nrl.com/telstrapremiership/scores/tabid/10240/roundid/833/fixtureid/5801/infotabid/4/default.aspx

Why do we like to watch sport competitions?
by Marcia Henin
http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/39157/recreation_and_sports/why_do_we_like_to_watch_sport_competitions.html

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Fast Food Culture

August 3, 2010

The Fast Food Culture reflects the attitude to grab “food on the go” without much thought to its nutritional value. Convenience and cheap pricing are the most important criteria. The effects of the fast food culture is explored in the movie Super Size Me where the protagonist consumes McDonalds 3 times a day for 30 days and records the effects.

Bridget Murray from Monitor on Psychology states “Stop blaming people or their genes–it’s an abundance of unhealthy, heavily advertised, low-cost food that underlies the nation’s obesity crisis.” The most frightening aspect of the fast food culture is the “passive acceptance” of the multitude of burger franchises and sweets readily available at almost every petrol service station.

Even with a move to more a healthier society, the Daily Telegraph reports over 1.7 million visitors to McDonalds daily up almost half a million from 2007. McDonalds has been pushing Healthy Choice menus, however the article states that is the usual burgers and fries that still are the predominant sellers. This is a large representation of the growth of the fast food culture.

I understand the ease of simply dropping by a McDonalds rather than cooking a healthy meal and hence the populairty of fast food. However, knowing that the food is unhealthy it is the individual’s responsibility to be able balance a quick meal once in a while with regular “good” meals and regular exercise.

References :

Fast-food culture serves up super-size Americans
By BRIDGET MURRAY – Monitor Staff
December 2001, Vol 32, No. 11
Print version: page 33

Top 10 Facts about Fast Food and Culture
By MATT SHERMAN – October 23, 2008
http://www.catalogs.com/info/bestof/top-10-facts-about-fast-food-and-culture

Super Size Me :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_size_me

McDonald’s opens extra restaurants as business soars
by Brittany Stack – August 22, 2010
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/mcdonalds-opens-extra-restaurants-as-business-soars/story-e6frez7r-1225908322593

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Pop Culture – What is it?

July 30, 2010

There are various types of culture, however, this post will focus on Pop Culture (or Popular Culture) which represents the current mainstream culture that often reference arts, media and entertainment. One of the biggest pop culture events is Supanova which is a yearly convention that occurs in the state capitals of Australia.

In April 2010, the Sydney Morning Herald posted an article about Supanova stating it was an “invasion of the pop-culture creatures, strange beings who will converse in a shorthand geekspeak, don weird attire and beam themselves into a landscape usually inhabited by bulls, sheep and chooks.”

This fan made video showcases of various attendees with references to internet phenomenons like the “O Rly Owl”, video game characters from Final Fantasy and horror movie cosplayers dressed up as Aliens.

This yearly convention showcases a more “geeky” culture and allows its participants to interact and collect autographs from their favourite stars such as Alex Meraz who played a werewolf in Twilight – Eclipse or Summer Glau from Terminator.

For people new to the scene, it may be slightly daunting to see people dressed as pop culture characters, but I feel that this is a great showcase of interests from various genres such as popular movies, to TV shows and video games. Although “pop culture” isn’t perceived with the some distinction such as ballet, it still represents its own micro-cosmos of culture and if its participants are having fun and enjoying it, isn’t that the most important thing?

References :
Supanova gives geeks their moment in the sun
by GREG BURCHALL – April 16, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/supanova-gives-geeks-their-moment-in-the-sun-20100415-shpw.html

Supanova Website :
http://supanova.com.au

O RLY? – Wikipedia Entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_RLY