When I travelled to Thailand earlier in the year for a friend’s wedding a few things were different as opposed to the last time I visited the country. My overseas travel since 2009 meant that thankfully I was no longer paranoid about being mugged ever ten minutes. The cultural landscape of Patong Beach had changed, and there were a surprisingly large proportion of Russian tourists that I don’t recall being there three years prior. Though without question the biggest change I noticed about Thailand during this trip was the prevalence of wireless internet, a service that had been all but absent during my last trip over.
At the time I thought nothing of it, and was very thankfully that I could check my email and social media platforms from almost any hotel, bar or tourist establishment, often for free. The service came particularly handy for keeping in contact with family and friends back home during the tsunami warning that we experienced. It was only when I returned to Aussie soil that I took a moment to look into wireless internet access in Thailand, and came to some interesting conclusions.
Far from being the always-connected online country that tourists would imagine, Thailand’s internet infrastructure is quite lacking. While it was the third country in South East Asia to go online in 1996 and has the largest number of ISPs in the region (Wiki, 2012), internet penetration is currently only between 25-30% of the total population (SMU, 2012; IWS, 2010). Usage is highly skewed to those under 25, with social media sites such as Facebook and hi5 receiving the majority of travel (SMU, 2012).
In considering methods of access this disjuncture between actual local access and tourist infrastructure widens. Of the third of Thais that are online, only 35% use laptops and 7% smart phones, suggesting low levels of wireless connectivity. While broadband access is readily available in major centres, outlying regions are characterised by low penetration and infrequent usage, with a reliance on dial-up connections (SMU, 2012; Wiki, 2012). So little is the internet infrastructure and usage of the country that the Singapore Management University has noted that “The Internet is not yet a primary resource for many in Thailand” (SMU, 2012).
Considering there is such low levels of access for locals then, the question should be asked as to why areas such as Patong Beach have such well developed wi-fi coverage?
The obvious answer is tourist demand; our growing addition to ‘always on’ social media and connectivity appears to have reached the point where tourist operators in Thailand have acknowledged that despite low local levels of usage, visitors to the area display a distinct need for this service.
Maybe just another reason to leave your BlackBerry at home next time you travel.
- Internet World Stats (2010) “Thailand Internet Usage and Telecommunications Reports” <http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/th.htm>
- Singapore Managment University (2012) “Digital Media in Thailand” <https://wiki.smu.edu.sg/digitalmediaasia/Digital_Media_in_Thailand>
- Wikipedia (2012) “Internet in Thailand” <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Thailand>
On the final day of ANZCA 2011 saw my eyes being opened to a whole new field of study, only for me later to question if I had what it takes to succeed in this profession. I elected to branch out and listen in on a topic to which I had previously given very little focus: gender communications. While not an avenue of study I could ever see myself partaking in, the session did open my eyes to the sheer breadth of academic result being partaken in the media and communications field.
Session 7 – Gender & Communications
The session’s first speaker was Kath Albury (UNSW) who looked at the ways in which ideas of masculinity in terms of risk and safety management within the workplace. Aaron Sachs (St Mary’s College of California) then spoke about topics of gender within hip-hop music, examining within this presentation a music video from New Zealand rapper Scribe. Finally, Carolyn Skelton (The University of Auckland) looked at the lesbian web-series Venice, detailing how it works as a form of multiplatform entertainment and drawing attention to the activities of its fan base and its strong focus on visual photographic imagery.
The conference’s final plenary session looked at the ‘Excellence in Research for Australia’ (ERA) report that was released by the ARC in 2011. Chaired by Associate Professor Kerry McCallum (University of Canberra) the panel discussed the advantage and disadvantages of the system compared to similar schemes in operation in New Zealand and the UK, and gave some interesting facts:
- The Go8 universities still account for 80% of the research output produced by Australian academics
- Leading researchers consistently produce 1-3 papers each year
- 80% of PhD thesis’s are not published, and of those that are, 65% only generate one article
- Most ‘academics’ only write 1 article in their entire career
- As far as impact ratings go, journal articles have a half-life of 5-7 years
- Articles that are deemed ‘wrong or incorrect’ are actually referenced and cited more than those that contribute positively to the body of knowledge
- On average, only 3 people read each published journal article
After this enlightening – if somewhat sobering session – the conference broke for another yet following a tradition Maori Poroporoaki ceremony, set to next meet in Adelaide in 2012.
A big thanks to the Discipline of Media and School of Humanities at The University of Adelaide for their support and funding which made attending this conference possible.
A look at freedom of information and disclousure in the age of social media from part two of my coverage of the 2011 Freedom(s), Citizens and the Politics of the Internet Symposium, hosted by the University of Adelaide and AIIA. after reconvening from lunch those in attendance at the 2011 FCPI Symposium were treated to talks by three prominent South Australian law professionals, administrators and educators – Richard Bingham (SA Ombudsman), Ralph Bonig (SA Law President) and Associate Professror Melissa de Zwart (Adelaide law School) who spoke broadly on the topic of government information and disclosure in the age of social media in the symposium’s first panel, chaired by Doctor Sal Humphreys (University of Adelaide).
Read the full article here.
The first of a series of articles covering last year’s Freedom(s), Citizens and the Politics of the Internet Symposium, hosted in Adelaide by the University of Adelaide (Disciplines of Media and Disciplines of Politics) and the Australian Institute of International Affairs (SA Branch).
The 2011 FCPI symposium began with a keynote address by Professor Patrick Sookhdeo, a Senior Visiting Research Fellow and counter-terrorism expert from the UK Defence Academy for Cranfield University, speaking on surveillance, privacy, collaboration and civility in the modern age. In a broad sweeping talk he discussed various issues related to terrorism in the era of social media and social networking, with a strong focus on the United Kingdom.
Read the full article here.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.
Written by Jay W. Reid
March 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM
Posted in Uncategorized
Social media and the internet have all but encroached on every aspect of our daily lives, so it’s not surprising to see them making an impact on Christmas. Here’s a quick look at six ways in which social media can change the way you’ll celebrate holidays this year…
On the first day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: trouble at the work party
As the silly season approaches so too does the staff Christmas celebrations, notorious for being home to inappropriate alcohol-fuelled activities. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, such slips up can now be caught on film and shared with the world in a matter of seconds, damaging not only your job security but the reputation of your company. Advice from the experts: stay away from over consumption, office hook-ups, inappropriate attire, and remember that it’s still an official business event (Hollard, 2011, Hosking, 2011).
On the second day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: shopping fuelled by online platforms
According to research coming out of the US, 66% of Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases were a result of social media promotion or interaction, with 80% of those who had online contact with a brand going to on make a purchase if their query was replied to (Wasserman, 2011). In a world where people are increasingly leaving their festive shopping to the last moment, an online drive though social media at the eleventh hour can be seen to pay dividends.
On the third day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: increased threat of home robbery
I didn’t say all of these would be positive. The Insurance Council of Australia recently issued a warning about thieves putting together your movements over the holiday period from social media posts (Advertiser, 2011a: 5); if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time take a moment to think exactly who you’re broadcasting your absence too, especially if you’re a fiend for check-ins which can give away your home address.
On the fourth day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: quirky holiday traditions
Thanks to online platforms we can now chose to celebrate all manner of bizarre traditions over the Christmas period. My favourite is easily Festivus, inspired by Seinfeld, which was trending for most of the day on December 23rd, the day it is normally observed (Kurczy, 2010). This fictious holiday has a cult-following online, on Facebook and Twitter. Break out your aluminium pole and marvel at its high strength-to-weight ratio!
On the fifth day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: holiday themed viral advertising
Some people hang out all year to watch the Superbowl half-time ads. Why should Christmas be any different? For me the standout this years is the ’12 Days of Christmas’ campaign for Bonds run by advertising agency Banjo and featuring reimagined scenes of the titular song with assorted Bond products and brand ambassador Rachel Taylor (Macleod, 2001; mUmBRELLA, 2011a). Other notable mentions to the Old Spice ‘MANta Clause’ and latest SodaStream campaigns (Mamamia, 2011; mUmBRELLA, 2011b)
On the six day of social media Christmas the internet gave to me: a new priority Christmas day
Research now shows that half of Gen Y will check their mobile phone or Facebook in the morning of Christmas day before looking under the tree. (Advertiser, 2011b: 8). I couldn’t even make that up.
Merry Christmas everyone!
- Advertiser, The (2011a, December 19) “Stay off the net” The Advertiser, p5
- Advertiser, The (2011b, December 19) “Merry text messages” The Advertiser, p8
- Hollard, Peter (2011) “How to avoid a Christmas catastrophe” <http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Avoiding-a-social-media-Christmas-catastrophe-pd20111209-PCW32>
- Hosking, Wes (2011) “Social media the biggest danger of 2011 office Christmas parties” <http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/social-media-the-biggest-danger-of-2011-office-christmas-parties/story-fn7kjcme-1226223798644>
- Kurczy, Stephen (2010) “Festivus becomes worldwide holiday. Break out the Festivus pole!” <http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/1223/Festivus-becomes-worldwide-holiday.-Break-out-the-Festivus-pole!-video>
- Macleod, Duncan (2011) “Bonds 12 Days of Christmas” <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2011/bonds-12-days-of-christmas>
- Mamamia (2011) “To Australia. From the Old Spice Man” <http://www.mamamia.com.au/entertainment/old-spice-man-is-back-for-christmas-with-manta-claus>
- mUmBRELLA (2011a) “Bonds launches ’12 days of Christmas’ campaign” <http://mumbrella.com.au/bonds-launches-digital-outdoor-banner-in-fed-square-65461>
- mUmBRELLA (2011b) “SodaStream launches $2m Christmas ad push with pastiche of YouTube PlayStation clip” <http://mumbrella.com.au/sodastream-launches-2m-christmas-ad-offensive-with-pastiche-of-youtube-playstation-clip-66381>
- Wasserman, Todd (2011) “How Social Media Prompts Holiday Purchases” <http://mashable.com/2011/12/14/social-media-holiday-purchases>