For the past 6 weeks of BCM 110, Thankyou.

Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve grown to be more comfortable in tweeting and blogging thanks to BCM 110. I found that all the topics I decided to write about was something I was passionate about rather than being something I was just obliged to do. My first post on ‘Neknomination’ the drinking game outlined what the social media was being blamed for. I was especially pleased with this post because I found it so interesting and refreshing. Something I hadn’t heard of before. Thus I thoroughly enjoyed the intense research I conducted for this post. Reading others opinions in the comments gave me a sense of pleasure, having people read my blog.

My next blog post discussed a controversial advertisement from ‘Dolce and Gabbana’ as a representation of the media’s controversies. It took me a long time to find a text I actually wanted to do because there was so many choices. When looking at adverts in magazines and online, I never really noticed the criticisms and issues about the texts before. This task helped to see the media vulgarity of the media and what they do to voice an opinion. Reading others blog posts about the topic also shined a light on the media and how they took advantage of their power to release such controversial messages.

The next post relating to the public sphere was something I was really excited to write about. ‘Jersey Shore’ was a TV show I regularly watched and found very entertaining. I never really knew how much criticism it gained until I actually researched about it; and now, it kind of adds up. The post helped me understand the role of the media creating debate and discussion within the ‘mediated public sphere’. Due to my excessive interest in this topic, I even skipped my previous task about media ownership; which I found was really difficult to write about. It wasn’t something I felt I could make very interesting compared to my other posts. Although I wrote about something I was using, Instagram; there is only so much you could talk about. It was the post I was least confident about.

I have certainly enjoyed BCM110, watching Sue’s hilarious lectures at home; laughing by myself while my little sister would stare at me in amazement questioning how I could be laughing at a PowerPoint slide.



Instagram, a popular online photo and video sharing app, launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Instagram is considered as my main social networking service that I use the most, and I’m sure many others can agree but it is most favoured by its users over Twitter and Facebook due to its simplicity. In my opinion, people like Instagram because they can upload photos of whatever they want, whenever they want; without feeling like they are being ‘judged’. For example, photos of food, scenery, selfies and your #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) can all be uploaded on Instagram with filters and frames, like a diary because its based on images. Whereas on Facebook, no one wants to see what your eating. They honestly don’t care. 

This leads me to my next point. In April 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for US$1billion. During that time, I as well as many other Instagram users were disappointed and worried that Facebook would kill the app. No one wanted an ad filled, ‘Zuckerberg styled’ app. We all felt protective over our new favourite app, with users voicing their opinions all over twitter: 

‘You know what Instagram was missing? Ads and privacy invasions. All it took was 1 billion dollars to make that happen.” [1]

You also may be interested in this article discussing use of Instagram over Facebook for teens. [3]

After Facebook’s purchase, Instagrams’ terms and conditions updated, causing an uproar of debate with its users. It stated that users of the service:

“agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” [2]

Users of the app were all worried pictures of themselves and family would suddenly start appearing on business billboards or advertisements. Thus intense criticism and controversy was gathered and after one day, Systrom and Krieger apologised and responded that they just wanted to experiment with innovative advertising. 

So my question today, are you a Instagram user? How do you feel about Facebooks’ purchase? and What do you prefer and why?



1. McCullagh Declan, April 9th 2013. Facebook- Instagram deal raises new privacy worries in CNET SECURITY NEWS. viewed 13/4/14

2. Anderson Sean, April 30th 2013. Instagram Act could see social media users lose ownership of their own photos in The Telegraphy- Social Media/ Technology. visited 13/4/14

3. Bosker Bianca, 11/4/14. Teens are leaving Facebook for Facebook in The Huffington Post. visited 13/4/14.

Dominic Rushe, April 10th 2012. $1b deal: Facebook buys Instagram mobile photo sharing app in Sydney Morning Herald- Technology. visited 13/4/14.

Rusli M. Evelyn, April 9th 2012. Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion in Deal Book NY Times. visited 13/4/14

Constine J. Cutler KM, April 9th 2012. Facebook buys Instagram for $1 Billion, turns budding rival into its standalone photo app in Tech Crunch. visited 13/4/14

MTV’s most controversial but highly successful TV show?

The reality TV series, Jersey Shore (2009)

Cast Members of MTV reality TV Show, Jersey Shore

8 housemates, spending their summer together at a house, partying and working in Jersey Shore, New Jersey. The show premiered with 1.2 million views (considered as low ratings for MTV) but skyrocketed a tripled to 4.8 million by the finale of season 1. How was this possible? While it’s controversies increased, its viewership and popularity increased. People tuned in to see what the attention was about; making Jersey Shore MTV’s most controversial show of all time. Even I was attracted by its social buzz.

Although Jersey Shore aimed at promoting New Jersey as a tourist destination, it was mainly seen as an offensive show, stereotyping Italian Americans. The unique personalities of JWWOW, Snooki, Mike the Situation, Dj Pauly D, Vinny, Angelina, Ronnie and Sweetheart Samantha all placed together brought drama, conflict and criticism; with trending tweets worldwide, headline news and parodies relating to Jersey Shore after each and every episode. Even with the simple intro of the show, you can tell its going to be a huge bomb that has hit the media. After the first season, its popularity rose so much that producers HAD to make a second season; even signing contracts for the housemates negotiating up to $10,000 each episode.


Its main complain other than the provocative lives shown of them partying, drinking and having casual sex; was the portrayal of Italian Americans and those that lived in New Jersey when the actual housemates weren’t even locals of the area. While the housemates were self-proclaimed ‘guidos and guidettes’ the word was deemed insulting to Italians as it was a slang term for urban working class Italian- American with a thuggish, overly macho manner.

 “I wanna marry a guido. My ultimate dream is to move to Jersey, find a nice, juiced, tan guy and live my life.” – Snooki (Housemate)

This brought criticisms from groups such as National Italian American Foundation, UNICO National and the Order Sons of Italy in America. President of UNICO National states:

 “It’s a term used to insult us, implying we are all uneducated people without social graces.” 

Fans of the show have shown to be loyal, raising awareness more than the actual cast and directors. For example, after housemates Vinny and Pauly D started using the catchphrase ‘twinning’, fans on Twitter blasted the phrase in hashtags, soon shooting the topic into global trending status.[1] This as well as many other viral slangs such as ‘#shestooyoungforyoubro, #itstshirttime and #GTL (gym, tan, laundry) are still being used now by teens around the world, 2 years after the series ended. Another issue brought up relating to the series was an incident when Snooki, a female cast member was punched in the face by a man who stole her drink at a bar. The clip of the incident was aired and went viral with news sites reporting it even before its official release; thus demonstrating the mediated public sphere and debate relating to the show.

Here’s what ABC NEWS has to say about the incident

What do you think about the show? Did you watch it? Let me know in your comments!


Macale.S, Apr 19 2011. Love it or Hate it, MTV’s Jersey Shore knows social media in The Next visited 10/4/14

Pilkington Ed, Jan 3rd 2010. Italian Americans hit back at Jersey Shore’s use of the word ‘guido’ in The Guardian visited 10/4/14

Brooks Caryn, Dec 12th 2009. Italian Americans and the G Word: Embrace or Reject? in Time.,8599,1947338,00.html visited 10/4/14


Vulgar Advertising? Dolce and Gabbana approved

Dolce and Gabbana's controversial 'gang rape' ad (2007)
Dolce and Gabbana’s controversial ‘gang rape’ ad (2007)

Dolce & Gabbana’s advertisements have commonly attracted consumers using marketing techniques such as shock advertising. For example, the use of sex appeal and controversial topics offends audiences and creates attention to the ad. The ad above reinforces this idea.

The image demonstrates a woman being held against her will, being helplessly positioned into an unwanted scenario, surrounded by three other men. She wears a bathing suit, heels and bright red lipstick, reflecting sexual appeal and desire for the males with her alienated expression. When thinking of what is really signifies, the advertisement simply outlines males dominance and power gained when wearing the brands products. It can be considered to be very offensive towards women as it reflects society; with women being inferior and forever overpowered by men.  Thus, it brings debate of its evoke on gang rape and promote of violence against women. This brought public outrage causing advert bans and protests all over the world.

Meanwhile,  Stefano Gabbana says that he regrets the way the ad was perceived and insists that he and his partner Domenico Dolce were not intending to demean women. He adds that the image is artistic and was meant to “recall an erotic dream, a sexual game.” [1]

This begs the question, is an erotic dream considered to be a wanted fantasy? Rather than something terribly disturbing? Is that what the makers were trying to reflect? As adverts should be memorable to bring popularity, the ad is memorable for all the wrong reasons, however, it still proves to be effective.

Over the years, D&G and other high fashion brands have released provocative images that have brought media attention. Therefore reflecting the marketing techniques of the industry to appeal to audiences with shocking violation of social norms and memorable aspects. However, as controversy evolves, its popularity increases, thus the company basically ‘gets away with it’. Why do prestigious brands like D&G release sexual degrading images but still be a popular, high demanding brand with consumers?

Similar advert with a twist? Roles switched. How come there is little controversy with this image?
Similar advert with a twist? Roles switched. How come there is little controversy with this image?



1. Sweet. L, 24/3/07, ‘Menacing or Marketing? D&G’s Controversial Ad’ in If it’s hip, its here. visited 10/4/14.

2. AFP, 2007, ‘Gang Rape Dolce and Gabbana advert banned’  in National visited 10/4/14.

3. Anderson. H Charlotte, 22/4/10, ‘Dolce & Gabbana says Women like it rough’ in Huffpost. visited 10/4/14

Images: visited 10/4/14 visited 10/4/14

‘Neknominate’ – drinking game taken to the next level

Q: What is the media being blamed for today and is this justified?

‘Neknominate’, a deadly online drinking game that’s believed to originate in Australia in early 2014. It involves a participate filming themselves downing large quantities of a drink (usually alcoholic) and uploading it on Facebook or Youtube, then nominating a friend to outdo the previous. However the ‘social media fad’ has become extreme with beverages containing cleaning supplies, engine oil, toilet water, dog food and even insects, dead mice and goldfish; combined with alcohol. This deadly drinking game has resulted in 5 deaths over the past month and a severe case of a 9 year old girl having her stomach pumped due to drinking a mixture of orange juice, vodka and whiskey after her friends encouraged her after viewing the videos on Facebook. 

– A report from A Current Affair.

Politicians and authorities have begun to worry as the craze has spread worldwide.        

“The Facebook drinking game ‘Neknomination’ has gone viral, and sadly young people have died as a result,” says UK opposition spokesman Diana Johnson. Parents have started to take a shot at the major social media sites stating, ‘‘It is absolutely shocking. I don’t agree with the craze or Facebook allowing them to be posted at all’. 

Facebook has released a statement replying:

‘”We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but behavior which some people may find offensive or controversial is not always necessarily against our rules. We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action.”

My opinion: I believe that both sides are at fault. Yes, the game is spreading due to social media but it was initially created by us. Even though Facebook’s statement is correct the fact that they aren’t doing anything about the viral videos is alarming as they are allowing it spread further, endangering the lives of its young users. BUT blaming Facebook and YouTube don’t excuse the recklessness of the participants. The 9 year old girls’ mother blames Facebook, but why was a 9 year old on Facebook in the first place? Isn’t the minimum age 13? Thus both parties need to take blame.


– Linh Hoang



  1. Philipson, Alice, Apr 1st 2014. ‘Neknominate: Girl, nine, becomes youngest victim of drinking craze’ on The Telegraph- Health News. Viewed on 3/4/14.
  2. Wilkinson. P and Soares. I, Feb 18th 2014. ‘Neknominate: ‘Lethal’ drinking game sweeps social media’ on Internation Edition CNN. Viewed on 3/4/14.
  3. Brown Larisa, Apr 1st, 2014. ‘Mother of girl involved in Neknominate drinking game that left nine-year-old in hospital blames Facebook and demands site take down videos that show the stunt’ on Mail Online News. Viewed on 3/4/14.
  4. News Corp Australia, Feb 17th 2014. ‘Bradley Eames, 20, from Nottingham, fifth person to die from Neknominate craze” on World News. Viewed on 3/4/14.