Tag Archives: communication

Looking over Science D.I.Y. – student critique

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In the past few weeks I have been monitoring Sarah’s Science D.I.Y Digital Artefact for DIGC302 which deals with presenting theories and problems of science in a simple and understandable way for a mass audience. Sarah is studying a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong and finds that there are misconceptions in science and it is misrepresented in the media today. The goal of this project is to fight those misconceptions around science by making videos to explain what the science is around everyday topics. You can find Sarah contributing to the media platform Chattr and posting on her WordPress blog.

While those sites are not the direct place for which this assignment has been published they still contain examples of content and the passion Sarah has for science. The couple videos created at the moment have been posted to Sarah’s personal Facebook Page. Fortunately, with the personal change of security settings I am unable to link to the videos as they are set to a private setting other than public. I do have to question a couple of things about posting science videos to Facebook. When it comes to creating videos to fight the misconceptions of science I would not find it adequate to keep them on a private setting – as exposure for those videos to hit a wide audience is limited to either no one, friends or, friends of friends. This makes the audience smaller and restricts the virality of the video and the message wanting to get across. A simple change of the viewing setting to public would be an easy fix.

When I think science I do not automatically go to Facebook for answers – well if I want right answers that is. If I am stuck on a science question or want to know something about science. Like the following: If I got a water bottle out of the refrigerator and put the bottle in cold room, a hot room and a room-temperature room. Would the rate at which condensation appears be the same on each bottle? I do not know how I would even start looking on Facebook for videos relating to this issue. As I can see on Facebook there isn’t an option to search for videos let alone specific science videos. Choosing Facebook as a place to publish videos for the intention of academia I find is the wrong platform. If YouTube was chosen you would have a channel and a destination for which people can come and watch your videos. YouTube is also the second most popular search engine as to find video evidence for curious minds about curious questions. This would be important in gaining traffic to your videos (with adequate tags for finding it of course) and allow an engagement with the other videos being made. YouTube also gives the freedom to link the videos to other websites which in this case I could of linked to this critique. YouTube also creates a sense of community with both creators and consumers being able to engage with either other. Facebook has a community but it is more your personal community made of friends and well wishers.

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Presentation wise there is a lot of information condensed into only a couple of minutes in the videos. While there is a need to convey understanding of the topics in an appropriate amount of time – time that the audience can keep focus on the video, the visual appeal of the video is also a key aspect for that engagement. One of the videos presents an understanding as to why the human body feels hot when it is 37 Celsius outside while the human body has a resting body temperature around the same degree. There is a lot of information being presented – so much that I would need to watch the video multiple times to get through everything being said and to understand what is being said. This isn’t helped by Sarah talking so fast (nerves?). Visually the engagement with the audience is limited – while just watching Sarah stare at the camera lens, as if starring at the viewer, there is no need to watch the video, just listen to it. This may be good for people who want to do something else while listening to it – but the speed in which Sarah talks makes me question this style of viewing for the video. Calming the nerves and talking a bit slower would aide in the presentation of the video. Having a script, going over it, recording and listening back to it will show how engaged someone can be with the information being said. While Sarah may be a fast talker in the videos it is the information being presented that is the key aspect for the video. If the information is understandable for a wide audience – the elderly with potential hearing loss, students, academics and kids or a specific target audience if that is what Sarah is aiming for then the speed of talking is of minimal concern.

While I personally enjoy watching informative videos about science – Vsauce and Numberphile on YouTube for example. There is a structure and pattern to those videos that engages the audience and maintains that engagement. While I do not know what Sarah watches on YouTube or her personal science heroes. Looking at how those channels present their information and the structure for which they show their videos would be a good start in developing her own identity and space by looking at what aspects she likes and does not like. It is an interesting choice incorporating science in a humanities/digital media based project. While science is not everyone’s cup-of-tea it is always good to see the cross incorporation of academic disciplines.

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Individual control to crowd-sourcing – Utilizing Twitter

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“The weather reports keep announcing that the sky is falling, but here we are — millions of us — sitting around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another ” – Johnson 2009

Before the internet the only way to get news was through analog communication – radios, television and newspapers. The information being broadcasted and published would see these one-way information networks as a restraint for people who wanted to get news. People did not have any control for when they wanted to hear/watch the news, television and radio set specific times of day for when the news would be read and newspapers were no better being printed each day – the news people were given would not be relevant for long or people would have to wait days for a story that people wanted to find out. There was also the restriction about what news would be relevant or worthy to an audience – the people that controlled the news industry would control what news would be available to its audience.

Fast track to 2013 with the use of social media – the news people receive is instant – a 24 hour news cycle, not constrained by time, anyone can post news or information, not constrained by the tyrants of news industries. Though with all of this information comes a struggle for what information is needed, what pieces of information are factual and reliable, these changes caused an issue about what real journalism is, is social media destroying traditional journalism? Traditional journalism is still a viable career and a part of today – social media, Twitter for example is a source of information that journalists can use to help aggregate information and get stories.

The question around Twitter killing traditional Journalism has been proven incorrect Twitter and journalism and more than ever intertwined as a place for news and journalists. Twitter has become a place where new news stories appear from anywhere, the credibility of these stories is questionable and thus needs to be verified and proven factual. This verification can be proven by utilizing the aspects of Twitter – checking the tweet for hash-tags, to see if the potential story is being talked about by other people – by a having an aggregation of tweets with the same hash-tag. There could be photo/video evidence that is evident on the incident. Utilizing this information and knowing what can be a true story journalists are able to use Twitter as a source for gathering information from on-the-ground citizen-journalists that work together to get instant real-time information and organize methods in ways to help people those that are involved in disasters and to prevent people from becoming potential victims.

References:

Johnson, S. (2009). How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live.

Analog Coding Exercises – Summary and Analysis

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Over the past 4 weeks we have learned that there are difficulties and considerations when it comes to communication – changing the language that we speak into a transferable item in which can be coded, sent, decoded and understood by people all over the world breakdowns into a simple process that is used by technology. Looking back at the past 4 weeks:

Week 1 dealt with the coding of a visual communication, where we were given a sentence and were required to translate the message into a code using visual gestures and movements, from about 3 stories high and 50 metres away from the receiver of the message, we came up with a process I simply called “Clockwise Clapping” which you can find here.

Clockwise Clapping

Week 2 provided us with the challenge of using sound as a form of communication – using a series of different noises to send a picture from one group to another (only using sounds). This task was to represent what it would be like to be a “human fax” where the image being sent did not leave the person sending it, the receiver of the message would interpret what was being sent to create a copy. We were given Andy Warhol’s Banana and Stiletto to “human fax” from one group to another – follow this link to see the process of what we came up with.

Andy Warhol bananaWeek 3 questioned the principles and what aspect of human interactive art is “art” – brought to our attention by Sol Lewitt’s artistic style – conceptual/minimalist approach, his creations of “Paragraphs” are meant to be explored, interpreted and executed. These works bring into question that it isn’t the physical creation from Sol Lewitt or the people that have a finished product of his work is the art, but the emotional, psychological challenge in deciphering what Sol Lewitt is trying to come across and the different possible outcomes, it is this entire process that is “Art”. We were given the opportunity to try a couple of Sol Lewitt’s artworks for ourselves – here is how we ended up.

Sol LeWitt 232Week 4 compared the procedures undertook by the process of knitting, to the process of how a computer is programed to work. This idea that the basic understanding behind any “domestic”/simple procedure such as knitting, following a recipe or playing a board-game are all forms of the same program to achieve or accomplish something. Given the understanding of the process, we were asked to knit, which I have talked about here in a bit more detail – to utilize the process involved and execute an outcome.

Knitting completeGoing back to Week 3, the constant changing of technology has allowed for a change in what is called “Art” and what is needed to be represented when a piece is created. Nam June Paik focused on the aesthetic when it came to challenging the approach of technology and the way people communicate/interact with technology.

The artistic vision of Nam June Paik challenged the idea of what technology is and what it can be used for, using television, radio and lasers he represented to people the changing aspect that technology can be in a form that resembles the aspect of “how to humanize technology and the electronic medium”, “instead of creating another scientific toy“, said by Nam June Paik.

The creations of Nam June Paik have impacted the forms of communication through video art and to a certain degree the influence on commercial production – by being able to utilize technology with the idea of humanizing the creations he has lead the way for artists and people to develop a different understanding of technology and its uses.

Relating to the conceptual approach of Sol Lewitt there is a constant change for artists and communication through human interaction and development – by challenging the simple art approach it has allowed for a new understanding in communication art. Utilizing the audience as a participant in creating a piece and constructing a conceptual idea to what is art – Sol Lewitt and Nam June Paik have captured different aspects of time and relevance with-in the art community and created a path for others to follow and an art method for translating different understandings of art – from making art more human-like or audience interactive that questions the process of how art is made and who is the artist involved.

The processes that were involved in the different weekly activities offer different perspectives of how communication is created, refined and executed – by limiting the style of communication, such as visual or sound based, there is a bigger challenge in finding what works and what does not. Creating a different form of communication such as the visual communication from week 1 it was easier to distinguish between different actions/gestures used – this method was highly successful. Compared to week 2 the sound communication there was a greater challenge in using only sound to dictate what was needed to be translated. The limitations of the processes created are strictly to their form of communication that was intended but also that they were not always as refined as necessary when it came to certain aspects of trying to communicate. The translation dealing with coding, sending and decoding all depend on the understanding of the codes used and were understandable when dealing with the basics, however when it came time to situations where we did not have a code then our translation of the message was obscure – particularly when it came to sending pictures.

Analog Coding Exercise – Clockwise Clapping

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“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

A simple sentence to communicate – just have to say it. However, when limited to getting the sentence across only through using visual communication, it leads to creativity, and problem solving skills are tested.

It is understandable to use pre-existing visual communications such as semaphore flags or Morse code but that would mean to learn what each position of the flag means or what each dash and dot sequence meant, so there has to be an easier way?

Through collective speculation of what we could do, we came up with putting a number to each letter in the alphabet – pretty much the position in-which the alphabet is said: A is 1, B is 2, C is 3… Z is 26. We then took the number and made it a visual gesture – a clap of the hands: A is 1 clap, B is 2 claps… Z is 26 claps. However clapping 26 times to get to the letter Z was inefficient and bothersome, the receiver of the message could easily lose count of the claps so something had to be added.

A suggestion was made to add a sequence of gestures that would also separate the alphabet into smaller groups, 5 groups of letters – a clockwise series of claps, above, right, down, left and patting the chest/stomach (clockwise motion/sequence from sender of message).

Clapping above represents letters A, B, C, D and E
Clapping right represents letters F, G, H, I and J
Clapping down represents letters K, L, M, N and O
Clapping left represents letters P, Q, R, S and T
Patting chest/stomach represents letters U, V, W, X, Y and Z

Clockwise ClappingWith the grouping of letters alongside different gestures of clapping this allowed for a more efficient visual communication. With different groups of letters then we only need to clap to 5/6 to understand what letter is trying to be received.

The clockwise motion is meant for the sender of the message. It was understood that the receiver of the message would see it counter-clockwise so we came to an agreement to have the sender of the message dictate how the message was to be presented. This issue wasn’t a big problem as with the help of a key it was easy to decipher the letters being communicated.

For example with the word “hello”, the sequence of gestures/claps would be:

– 3 claps to the right (H)
– 5 claps above (E)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 5 claps down (O)

With the gestures understood for the letters, we then needed to create gestures for spaces and a full stop. We found a space would be easily noticed by have the sender of the message stretch out their arms as if about to do a star jump, a full stop and thus completion of the sentence was more so seen from a sign of glee from the sender of the message but would also be seen as something that would be different from gestures previously used.

This exercise was completed successfully.

Created, produced and executed by MEDA102 students Rhiannen, Jo, Lauren, John ‘Zema’, Ralphie and James.

YouTube – converging communication

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Question: How does convergence affect the relationship between media technologies and audiences?

Convergence is defined as: ‘the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted’ (Jenkins 2006). Convergence has affected media technologies and its audience in both positive and negative ways. Looking at the change of involvement social media has created – the use of social networks for multiple purposes has brought the next generation of users to an era of convergence. Explored through the social platform YouTube this essay will explore the creation of YouTube and social media through convergence, discuss the negative aspects of communication by audiences such as ‘trolls’, ‘trolling’ and ‘flaming’ regarding social media and looking at the aspect of social media brought into the workforce.

The increasing development of technology has allowed YouTube to become an important aspect in the change of today’s user produced, user developed and user consumed media era. Highlighted by the change of the internet from monologic media – one directional consumption of media (creator to consumer), to dialogic – omnidirectional production and consumption of media. YouTube has changed how we view the world by being a main source of research – being the 2nd biggest search engine in the world, exploration – getting involved with other cultures, entertainment – user created content about anything for anyone and revolutionizing entertainment – broadcasting live performances of music and being a source for movies and television shows and education – being a place of research and knowledge with tutorials, guides, walk through, let’s plays and lectures. YouTube has been utilized by its audience and created a place off convergence (O’Neill, M 2010)

The effect of convergence on the audience regarding social media has an obscure effect on the communication that is produced on social media. Looking from an anthropological angle social media has become an everyday part of people’s life, creating a change in cultural identity. This change of cultural identity is driven by the excessive use of social media – created from the idea of convergence. The user produced, user distributed, social interactions that social media creates goes beyond national identities, to create a global culture – a sort of globalization. This global network tears down the oppression from powerful governments and leaders to become a collective voice. With this global identity there is an issue that deals with the individuals that are culturally sensitive, that ignores or adverts from media in general and would rather be isolated. Indicating the intent of convergence on social platforms distinguishes between the cultures that social media is trying to get involved with but the clash of freedom that comes with the access of social media (Coleman, EG 2010).

It is not just the user generated and user created content that converges with social media it is the idea that old forms of media get recreated and reused to become re-established and reaffirm that they are still relevant for people of today – such as books and newspapers. There has become a large amount of user empowerment with access and participation surrounding media technologies on the internet. There is the opportunity to learn the skills needed to create content on the internet, shown by the internet – creating this circular process where an individual engages with what they create and with what others create and passes down that knowledge to others who would like to learn (Croteau, D 2007).

Convergence creates a dilemma with the social interactions that would not have taken place thanks to computer-mediated communication. This way of communicating through social media produces a number of issues that are prevalent in today’s society. Looking at the changes from face-to-face communication to computer-mediated communication there is the obvious loss of emotional signals – the tone/pitch, gestures, movements are gone. The idea of a personal interaction is replaced by computer representation of people’s voices which change/distort the sound. These ideas of convergence dealing with media platforms that are specific to the integration of voice lose the personality and emotional responsibility that people have when talking face-to-face. This loss of emotional observation leads into a loss of empathy and compassion for when dealing with impersonal conversations over the internet. There is a loss of empathy and obligation towards the person that someone talks to, highlighting the way for trolling/flaming and potentially cyber-bullying. This area off convergence has affected the emotional strings that attach people together and the way that they form bonds from face-to-face interaction (Derks, D 2008).

Mentioning the loss of emotional attachment and empathy when dealing with computer-mediated communication – comes flaming. The simple idea of causing trouble by insulting, being annoying, being off topic, just to get a response from other people. The presence of flaming has been relevant to all social networking sites particularly sites which allows commenting. The creation of social media through convergence mixed with the anonymity the internet creates for its users and the emotional detachment that is presented creates this problem of people offending others for most likely their own enjoyment. The presence of flaming on social media does indicate freedom of speech but does bring into question the morality and ethical idea of what should be done about people who do troll/flame that goes beyond the idea of ‘just venting’. It could also be said that the interpretation of what would be considered trolling/flaming is left to the interpretation of the person that created it, the person that read it and the person that it was aimed for (publisher – content that was commented on) (Moor, PJ 2010).

To contrast the creation of flaming by convergence and social media I will explain the defence and evidence about bullying and cyber-bullying. Convergence allows the combination of multiple elements of the internet to become a singular identity such as YouTube. YouTube is then a good source for showing those who are vulnerable and irritable, particularly when it comes to abusive videos being uploaded to YouTube. When observing video of people being bullied, we are given a clear example as to the situations that both affect the person in the video being bullied and also the people that watch the video. There is a great influence on whether the information on what is filmed should be allowed for public viewing – on YouTube and other social sharing sites. This impacts the control of what should be shown on certain mediums. There are restrictions when it comes to obvious destination of the internet for particular viewing – such as porn. However when it comes to the confines of YouTube and their terms and conditions that should control what is on certain sites (Conley, B 2013).

The violence that is present on YouTube (fighting/bullying videos), when it hits mainstream media becomes a serious story. When the videos deal with serious issues such as murder then there becomes an obscure line between the prosecutions of the person who committed the murder. This is due to the influence the media has on people that cause bias and possible agendas of the people that watch – if the trial doesn’t convict then the public would take it into their own hand and condemn the person involved. This is highlighted most recently by the Boston Bombings and the use of 4chan/Reddit being a minute-by-minute description of what is happening but also with all of the footage taken by cameras there will be the civilian involvement where the ordinary person gets involved with something they shouldn’t. Convergence of media has faded the line in which people separate police work and civilian involvement (Swienton, AR 2012)

The uploading of content for YouTube and other social networks creates an online attraction that can – if successful, by having a significant amount of visitors, lead to a paid employment opportunity. Through three steps of Production, Sharing and Transfer people can utilize the creation of social media paid employment. Convergence has opened up the doors for people to produce and consume what they want – a participatory culture, where people can go one step further and create their own work and re-create other people’s work. Taking the audience from consumers to prosumers – production and consumers combined. This result from convergence creates communities and jobs that emphasize what the internet and social media is about (Park, J 2010).

The impersonal approach social media has to offer restricts aspects of running a business that caters to customer service and satisfaction. There is also the topic of workflow in the workforce, when does being on social media change from work related to personal. It is quite contrary to think that there are no aspects of business that doesn’t rely on social media, because social media is the best way to be noticed. This emphasizes the point that the internet and social media has impacted everyday life in ways where we can’t go back to how it was before (Veenswyk, M 2013).

Convergence does affect the relationship between the audience and media technology in both positive and negative ways. Through the introduction of convergence on media platforms the audience has a larger opportunity to create and share their own creations while at any time being a part of something bigger than just them-self – such as a community from YouTube. Convergence does impact on the communication that once was from face-to-face to computer-mediated communication, creating the troll and flaming of users, or seen as a way to vent because of a lack of face-to-face interaction. The audience is free to do what they want, free from oppression and has become more than just having a national identity but a global identity.

References:

Conley, B 2013,’Devono says YouTube case under review’, Tribune Business News, 24January

Coleman, EG 2012,’Ethnographic Approaches to Digital Media’, Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 39, pp. 487-505

Croteau, D 2007,’The Growth of Self-Produced Media Content and the Challenge to Media Studies’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 23, no.4, pp. 340-344

Derks, D Fischer, AH and Bos, AER 2008, ‘the role of emotion in computer-mediated communication: A review’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 26, pp. 766-785

Jenkins, H 2006, Welcome to Convergent Culture http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html  June 19th 2006, accessed June 6th 2013

Moor, PJ Heuvelman, A and Verleur, R 2010,’ Flaming on YouTube’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 26, no. 6, pp 1536-1546

O’Neill, M 2010,’5 Ways YouTube has Changed the World forever’, Social Times, review, 8 November, viewed 1 May 2013

Park, J and Van Der Schaar, M 2012,’A Game Theoretic Analysis of Incentives in Content Production and Sharing Over Peer-to-Peer Networks’, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing, vol. 4, no. 4 pp. 704-717

Swienton, AR and Upshaw-Downs, JC 2012,’Ethics in Media’, in Swienton, AR and Upshaw-Downs, JC (ed.), Ethics in forensic Science, Elsevier, USA, pp. 425 – 440

Veenswyk, M 2013,’Social Media: the workflow challenge’, Digital Marketing Blog, weblog post, 13 March, viewed 1 May 2013, econsultancy.com/au/blog/62204-social-media-the-workflow-challenge

Sensitivity and Memes in the Public Sphere!

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Warning: May contain Offensive Material!

When there is a topic that needs to be talked about, where do you go? To the ‘Public Sphere’ – an area, such as a coffee house, for discussion about controversial issues, news or debates. The idea of a Public Sphere gives people the opportunity to converse in a social setting, face-to-face about topics discussed  in media, this has changed to due to the introduction of the internet.

The internet allows for anyone in the world to gather at specific websites such as Tumblr, Facebook and Reddit, to give an opinion on any information that they so choose. The Public Sphere has become a much less face-to-face interaction but a bigger, more social one, thus changing the need for mediation with-in the “Public Sphere”. The websites mentioned have all mediated themselves in some way, usually by having rules – restricting adult content to certain forums or not allowing any at all, placing certain content into categories and allowing certain people to post or the introduction of Moderators to patrol forums to enforce the rules. There are certain aspects of the internet that can’t be mediated as they are produced by users, yet no one can justify owning the content, I am talking about Memes – a short picture, phrase or a combination that spreads around the internet.

I love strawberries BCM110

The above picture, to me anyway, is nothing more than a turtle eating a strawberry with the written words “OH MY GOD, I LOVE STRAWBERRIES!!” as to represent the feelings of the turtle as to show both the cuteness of the turtle in something so absurd but also to express the similar feel that a human can. It is something anyone can relate to by enjoying/liking something very much.

In contrast to the comedic aspect of personifying a turtle’s affection eating a strawberry, there are other memes that bring controversy, such as:

controversy meme BCM110

The above meme, and many others, bring controversy to any place that it is posted. One can be disgusted by looking at a failing attempt at humour on the touchy subject of rape. To produce a picture like this, but to also include the line “It’s not rape. If she really didn’t want to, she’d have said something”, to express the idea if women can not voice her objection, then it is not rape.

When it comes to this meme it brings up the controversy and debate of rape and women oppression against the freedom of speech on the internet. What is considered humour? Can every area of the internet be mediated? Do controversial memes hurt anyone? Are memes used to point fun at sensitive issues or to bring them up and get people to talk?

When there is no claim to creation but a reason for the creation in the first place, it would be easier to just avoid what is portrayed but then conversation and understanding would not ever happen.

All you have to do is send a message?

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It starts with one person creating a message, this person sends the message and another person replies and forwards the message to other people, they then continue to spread the single message created. In no time at all, the message has reached a majority of people all over the world. This one simple message can create an infinite loop around the world back to the person that created it.

global network BCM112Welcome to a Participatory culture!

It use to be so easy to just watch television, or listen to the radio with no need for interaction. Oh how times have changed, with some simple clicks and pushes of buttons on a computer you have probably given information about yourself to a collection database. You have participated in sharing music and funny videos, collectively had an opinion on the current music scene or the latest celebrity scandal, or writing a blog for University to be seen as an outlet for understanding or the confusion of weekly topics.

This interaction has lead to the change of people from consumers to prosumers. This is evident all over the internet, this idea of collective creative and expression has been highlighted by specific website ideas such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. A main difference that has created these “prosumers” are the everyday activities that get oppressed by Government censorship such as those in China – when Twitter was able to let everyone know there was an earthquake; and, also with the Egypt evolution in 2011.

With the potential for social networks being used as a platform for the dissemination of issues, there will always be a chance for the mobilization of large groups supporting issues that are collectively disagreed on, this creates a level of involvement that both allows for co-ordination and a civic engagement of people to allow for a chance to be heard. This puts the pressure on government censorship and restrictions, it has yet been understood as to whether governments will continue to censor their people but with the internet and its freedom, are the restrictions going to be lifted or are more is a more harsh censorship going to be in-placed?

political correctness BCM112