(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

The Year In Review ... (Bye, Bye, 2005!)

Sunday, January 01, 2006
A few last thoughts on 2005 as I wave goodbye on what proved quite an up and down year, but one which, I hope should lead into a fantastic 2006! I enjoyed teaching throughout the year, especially teaching Communication Studies in Hong Kong which was also a great experience since I'd never been there before and thanks to some of my students I was even invited to participate in Hong Kong's 1st International Day Against Homophobia Parade. I also really enjoyed teaching my honours course iGeneration, which was almost an indulgence since I got to talk to great students about participatory culture for two hours a week! On a media front it was a great year for me (and for this blog!) as quotes from Ponderance and myself appeared in "IT Alive" section of The Australian, LA Times and Sunday Times's "STM" Magazine.

On the personal front the year ended sadly with my cousin's death. However, during the year I saw more of my extended family than I have for over a decade, which included a visit back to Dunedin for my Grandad's 80th birthday where I fell in love with my home town once more. While we were there, my little sister, Simone, and her partner, Paul, got engaged, hot on the heels of her finishing her PhD. The engagement party a few weeks ago was quite an event, too!

One of the best things about 2005, though, was the fact that I finally finished writing my PhD thesis after starting it in February 2001! We'll have to see how the markers like it when I get results later this year, but it's a great weight lifted from my shoulders finishing and, to be honest, I think it does some quite interesting work even if I do say so myself!


Last year I managed a top ten list, but sadly 2005 has been very light on the film front, so I can't even really justify a top list, but a few films that enter my mind when thinking about the year...
[X] Films I Most Enjoyed in 2005: Batman Begins, Serenity, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory & Howl's Moving Castle
[X] Film I Was Most Surprised Was Good: Constantine
[X] Film That Most Annoyed Me: Doom (it has three minutes worth watching, and even that's only because it's close to a game-play POV which you can get by playing a game!).

Digital Cultural Events/Things

Last year I also managed a top ten digital culture thingies list. 2005 had a few highlights as well...

[X] Podcasting - 2005 was the year podcasting exploded. I've enjoyed listening to many and in my iGeneration course I even recorded one (and parts of others) as well as getting my students to create podcasts, which worked out fantastically with some great results. Vast improvements to anyone-can-do-it services like Odeo mean that podcasting is increasingly accessible for wired citizens. Of course, the "moment" was probably when iTunes 4.9 was released and with a one-click podcasting synchronisation service.
[X] The Mediascape & The London Bombings - While tragic, the UK's brush in July with terrorism and the rather British stiff upper which followed also saw a massive awareness and increase in citizen media with even the BBC running amateur cameraphone images in their main news services, while the blogosphere ran red-hot.
[X] Katrina: The Aftermath, The Politics & Citizen Media [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V] - the amazingly bad mismanagement of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in the US kickstarts citizen media into an even louder role. One of the key examples followed Kayne West's controversial statement "George Bush doesn't care about black people," The Legendary K.O's mashup and remix is widely embraced, while Franklin Lopez's video remix completing the production of a powerful political music video.
[X] Wikipedia Comes of Age - The Wikipedia is now large enough to battle real controversy when it's contents aren't up to the job. While am important debate, the fact that it's happening at all speaks volumes about the success of the wiki form.
[X] Machinima - Machinima really exploded in 2005 (with a lot more to come in 2006, I suspect), with "The French Democracy" widely cited as an excellent example of both machinima and citizen media.
[X] Battle over Google Print (or Google Books) - Google's book search service and it's database is the most controversial Googleplex element this year, but one I'm 100% in favour of - the book search function is a fantastic for finding and checking quotes as an academic!
[X] Dean Gray Tuesday - The American Edit leads to a second Grey Tuesday, showing the power of citizen media and the ridiculously archaic mechanisms still being used by big music.
[X] Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who - These two shows epitomise, for me at least, the rapid normalisation of the digital in everyday life. CGI Daleks and Cylons in franchises revived to either parallel the best of their earlier incarnations or, in many ways (and especially BSG) to surpass them with plots that are about digital life (are we responsible for the Cylons if they're our artificial progeny? can the Daleks be seen as unhappy lost soliders? can it be coincidence that both major villians in these shows embrace religion during a time of global wars on "terror" that look a lot like the old crusades?). These shows also made a strong case for getting shows released quickly in other countries since both are widely downloaded outside (and inside) the countries in which they were first screened.

While it looks like 2005 was dominated by citizen media, it had some powerful examples of participatory culture, but my prediction is that 2006 will be the year when citizen media really takes hold and becomes part of everyday life in a non-trivial, non-novel way. I hope to finally get around to doing a podcast series, but we'll have to see if time permits ...

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