So I’ve been debating on how best to use my spare time as I currently have quite an abundance of time. Graduating in October, I wonder what to do after. Currently I have no ‘hard skills’ (i.e. technical skills) that is easily employable. What I’ve gained from my years as an undergrad is simply learning how to learn. But at this point, I’m not even sure if that worth the $30,000 of debt I’ve put myself in. It’d be best if I saved that for another blog entry though.
So what are my options as of right now that can both be financially rewarding as well as fulfill me as a person on a fundamental level? At the very top of my head, it would be Fine Arts. The ideal 5 year road plan would be to brush on my art skills, enough to the point where I don’t feel my artistic talent is limiting my vision of what I want on a piece of paper. But this road is ill advised to anybody interesting in entering the Arts industry. The hours are long and financially unrewarding. Take for instance a weekly chapter from your favorite mangaka (artist) – 20 pages. From my time of watching art streamers who’ve broadcast their work process live, it seems on average it is a day’s worth of work to produce 1 page (from drafting to inking to toning/shading the work). A day’s worth of work to most people is 8 hours. Their typical 9-5pm job. But for an artist, they are constantly working 12, up to 16 hours of work a day in order to meet their deadlines. If it takes 8 hours to do 1 page, that means for a 20 page chapter, it would be 160 hours worth of work (8 hours * 20 pages). Say for instance you get $2000 per chapter from your publisher (unlikely, but let’s go with this). This means $2000/120 hours, you have made $12.5/hour. Better than minimum wage, but worse than any ‘real job’ one can find after graduating with a degree. But hey, if the saying of ‘doing what you love and you’ll never have to work a day’ holds true, then it shouldn’t be that bad right? Of course this is assuming you even get $2000 per chapter.
So what’s next on the list? eCommerce. I guess you can say this blog could potentially fall into that category. But would it be worth it? For the learning experience, I’m sure. But I’m graduating soon with no job in sight, which leaves me broke and desperately in the money. Not sure if I want to jump through the hoops in gaining mediocre traction for this blog. A successful blog can’t be grown within days, or months, but only years. This time is not something I can afford. Plus, it takes way too much effort to run a successful blog. Your content has to be interested. They have to have pictures because people are quite superficial when it comes to reading new content from an unknown writer. The blogs have to have sources, links for credibility. They also have to have links embedded into the blog itself, so you can redirect your viewer to other articles you have posted. All in all, a lot of time and effort. Don’t even get me started on how to advertise and monetize it (SEO, affiliate ads, etc.). But as they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it’s hard to complain when you haven’t put in the time and effort to build your brand.
In the end, I’m sure it’s best to walk the path of least resistance. And as of this moment it is to simply use my degree and work for ‘the man’. Do something mundane and boring but be paid a fair wage. Entrepreneurship, the struggle it takes to succeed in doing what you love may very well be a pipe dream when bills are piling and time is moving too fast for you to remove yourself from the world and incubate in your little hut. People would tell me that I’m young and that I have the time to figure things out. But on the other hand I hear of stories of men and women in their 30s and 40s who still don’t have an idea on what they’d do for the rest of their life. Is life really just about doing the necessity to feed yourself and find as much time as possible to entertain yourself with the things you actually do like to do? If so, that may very well be the sad reality I’ll have to face in a few months time. But until the convocation date, I’ll enjoy the very scarce time I have left to do the things I love.
It took me 30 minutes to write this. Was it worth it? I don’t even know. Blogging is hard. I’m sure the best way to succeed is to become an aggregator where you’re just taking a bunch of materials from other sites and condensing it onto your own with click bait titles. Something like a “Top 10 ways to lose weight in the near year!” or “How to gain 1000 followers today!”. As I mentioned before, it’s near impossible to be an unknown writer on an unknown blog.
Here’s a rant. Have you ever heard of SEO? Adsense? Probably not unless you’re into eCommerce or trying to monetize your blog, or site. People are earning hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands a month through digital media. You see those advertisement banners on the side of your favorite site? Chances are you just made them 30 cents. Doesn’t seem much but then you multiply this by thousands, hundreds of thousands of readers over months and years, then you got yourself a person who’s able to live off of people like you and me. Check your favorite site on Competition.com or Alexa.com and you can see just how much traffic they’re getting. What really irks me are the sites I’ve never heard of before. Observer.com? What the hell is that. I’ve spent near 2 decades on the Internet and have never heard of this site before. So, here I am today trying to revitalize this blog. I have a lot of free timenowadays and have been telling myself that something might come out of something, but for sure nothing will come out of nothing. So, for this reason I will start blogging again. About what? Who knows. Anything I find interesting. I’ve been picking up a lot of interest lately in Fine Arts and eCommerce, so we’ll see where this goes.
After seeing only 200 hits for this blog, over a span of 3 years of it idling, this already doesn’t seem very promising. But alias, if all fails, I’ll just treat this blog as a little journal of mine.
YouTube: How it changed the social and media landscape
YouTube: a revolutionary video media platform that enables content to be distributed to an audience all across the world. It is a place where home videos are found, audio recordings are made, an incredible source of entertainment. Production by non-commercial enterprises (i.e. amateur home videos) is not new. However, exposing it to an audience that is larger than some of history’s biggest box office movies should be unthinkable. Yet it is being done, and by the most ‘ordinary’ of people. Some of the most viewed videos, channels with the highest subscribers are from people known as ‘vloggers’ (video bloggers). These vloggers have followings that are larger than some of today’s most well known celebrities. Prominent vlogger, Jenna Marbles, currently sits at 13 million subscribers while in contrast, Justin Bieber at 10 million. So, how are these vloggers able to acquire such a large audience? The answer is ‘connectivity’. YouTube is the medium that has revolutionized our daily lives. It is where our desires are being fulfilled, and whereby businesses capitalize on it.
Prior to YouTube, many of us lacked the opportunities to share and engage topics that we were interested in. The shows we watched and wanted to share were often limited to the friends and family who would bother listening to us. However, YouTube has become the perfect place to spark discussion and engage with (sometimes) like-minded people. There are two main ways to generate discussion on YouTube. One is through a ‘video response’, by which the video you make is now tagged to the original video. The second way is through the comment section. Together, these methods are known as a ‘cool medium’ (Durant, 2009), where the technology allows for a high participation rate from the audience. Through these mechanisms, provide a cascade effect for more videos, more comments – fanning the flames, so to speak. With all of this creates an incredibly large, interconnected web of social interactions.
Due to this connectivity, YouTube has forever changed the corporate media landscape. Traditionally, broadcasting is in the domain of the large powerful conglomerates (i.e. Time Warner, Disney, Fox) that pay billions of dollars to be on your television (Christensen, 2007). Unfortunately for them, YouTube sensations are now stealing the time from their audience. Instead of turning on Game of Thrones, you may choose to watch a short skit from your favourite YouTuber. Video production no longer needs to be a $100 million studio budget. Instead, a creative vlogger can take his or her camera, gather a few friends, and create something just as entertaining for a fraction of the cost.
There is no doubt that YouTube has challenged the fundamentals of the media industry. It was once known as an expensive industry run by professionals, beyond the scope of the ‘every day citizen’ (Christensen, 2007). Today, it is astonishing to see how YouTube celebrities are able to capture the hearts of many. Through YouTube’s clever design and development, they have achieved what little corporations were able to do before. YouTube has changed how we consume content. It has become the place for us to voice our opinions, spark conversations, where before we could only rely on our friends and family, who for all we know, might’ve wanted to ignore us.
Christensen C. (2007). Youtube: The Evolution of Media? Screen Education 45: 36-40
Durant A, Lambrou M. (2009). Language and media. New York: Routledge.
The Atomic Bomb: Justified or not?
Imagine, in the morning of August 6 1945, in an instant you were hurled towards the ceiling and then dropped towards the floor, as if you were some kind of ragdoll. After struggling to get up, your body aching, the wind knocked right out of you, you walk outside, and the only thing you see is an image representing close to hell. The sunlight gone, the city covered in smoke, buildings lit on fire, corpses scattered throughout the streets, this was the image of those who survived the Hiroshima & Nagasaki atomic bombing. So, the question is, was the dropping of the atomic bomb ‘justified’?
To answer this incredibly complex question, involves a multi faceted answer that not only looks at both players, but the general context these people were in. A little over a week before the dropping of the atomic bomb, the Allied Forces issued the Potsdam Declaration, an ultimatum for Japan to surrender or face “prompt and utter destruction” (President Truman, 1945). By this point, Japan was already in ruins. Little remained of their Navy forces, their cities were on fire, and the time was ticking for Japan to make a decision. It wasn’t as if the Japanese people didn’t want to surrender, but during this time, many Japanese people embodied the doctrine of the samurai. The way of the warrior: honor, and the sense of fight to the death were heavily engrained in the leaders of Japan. They didn’t surrender, because in their minds, the concept of surrendering never existed.
Popular opinions from supporters of the bomb (e.g. President Truman) would say that it forced a swift surrender by the Japanese, and prevented massive casualties on both sides. A study on June 15 1945 by the Joint War Plans Committee estimated an invasion would’ve resulted in 40,000 dead American soldiers and 150,000 wounded. On the other hand, within 2 weeks, 200,000 Japanese citizens would’ve been dead and upwards to 3 million had the war gone on for months (Skates, 2000). In contrast, approximately 250,000 were killed in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Rezelman et al, 2000).
Conversely, many historians such as Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, would argue that the bombing was not the reason that Japan surrendered, but it was only an extension to the already fierce firebombing of Japanese cities, and that it was ultimately the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan that sealed their fate (Jenkins, 2005). Prominent scientists such as Leo Szilard criticized the bombing for being immoral, indefensible, a war crime, and an act of terrorism. Had the Americans not won the war, it would’ve been they who would be trialed as war criminals.
Knowing all of this, was the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki justified? Did it have to happen? This is a subject that remains heavily debated even till today. It depends on which historian you talk to, and whether they think Japan was remotely close to surrendering prior to the bombing. The lives that potentially were saved still don’t take away the fact that many Japanese civilians were killed that day. Had it been an invasion instead, it would’ve been primarily soldiers; and following Soviet Union’s declaration of war, a surrender might’ve been imminent.
There is nothing as indiscriminate as an atomic bomb, where its sheer magnitude is something no country could’ve prepared for, could’ve hid away from; there are no reasons to allow these bombs to be dropped on any cities. It is weapons like the atomic bomb that could’ve spelt the end of the world. At this rate, it will not be a meteor, or a great flood that ends the human race, but humans themselves. Thus, we must take it upon ourselves to never use such genocidal weapons again, because already it was not only once but twice, did we risk going down the path of no return.
Jenkins, D. (2005). The Bomb Didn’t Win It. The Guardian.
Maddox, R. (1995). The Biggest Decision: Why We Had to Drop the Atomic Bomb. American Heritage 46(3)
Rezelman, D., Gosling F. G., Terrence R. (2000). The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki. The Manhattan Project: An Interactive Hstory. U.S. Department of Energy
Skates, J. R. (2000). The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb. University of South Carolina Press. p. 79.
Industrial revolution: for better or for worse?
The Industrial Revolution: a time period between 1760 to 1840 known to many as the greatest heydays in modern history. It was a time where Western civilization began to move from an agricultural dependent society to one where it finds new efficiencies in their lifestyle and improvements to their standard of living using methods of machinery, chemicals, minerals, and steam. This sounds great until you realize the costs involved in achieving these efficiencies, these improvements. Working conditions were deplorable with long working hours for low wages. So, one has to wonder did society as a whole benefit from this time period? Or more importantly, who did this time period benefit? Who were the winners and who were the losers?
Well, there were obvious benefits to the industrialization of society. Working conditions as a whole did improve. Work environment moved from outdoors to indoors making work available throughout the seasons. In addition, long distance transportation was made available. This allowed for people who normally would be trapped in rural areas to migrate in search for newfound opportunities. This led to signs of social mobility, where many of the poor gradually became the middle class, which ushered in an age of many social changes and reforms. But just as there were many who moved up the social status ladder, there were even more people who were left behind.
So who were these unlucky individuals? They were the many who found themselves exploited by working twelve to fourteen hours a day, five days a week, all year long for low paying wages (Fitzgerald, 2000). Regardless of gender or age, women and children alike were both expected to work these hours (Fitzgerald, 2000). They were the peasants who worked in the noble’s lands, those who lay trapped in the rural areas – places that were never very well industrialized, places that the trains did not reach. This led to unfathomable income inequality. While some were profiting from their newfound factories, buying up estates, amassing household slaves, many were left hungry and deprived of opportunities.
In the end, were there winners and losers? Well it depends on the time frame you’re looking at and who you were during the revolution. In the short run and if you were say, a peasant, chances are the Industrial Revolution made you worse off. However in the long run, despite the poor economical situations for many, civilization as a whole wouldn’t be as prosperous as it has become. We wouldn’t be here to discuss the haves and have-nots if it weren’t for the Industrial Revolution. So, we owe it to the peasants who endured and suffered to lay the foundation in which we walk. We owe it to the middle class who furthered social standards, the artisans who had technological breakthroughs that avoided the threat of famine. We owe it to the merchants who acquired charters from lords to establish towns (Fitzgerald, 2000). It is thanks to these people that society profited from its hardships and it is because of them can we have this discussion today.
Sorry to my blog readers that this post is rather vague. The topic I chose could have books written on, so it’s my fault for not choosing to tackle a simpler issue. Word limit was 500, so you get what you pay for, I guess.
A job is a job at the end of the day. I don’t know how the peasants/’unlucky’ individuals were made worse off. They are lucky to get something they didn’t have before. But whatever, it was added in for contrast sake as that’s a popular criticism of the Industrial Revolution.
C.W. “Did living standards improve during Industrial Revolution?”. The Economist: Blog. 2013. Web. 16 July 2014.
Fitzgerald, R. D. “The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution.” Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Ed. Josh Lauer and Neil Schlager. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 376-381. Global Issues In Context. Web. 16 July 2014.
Welcome to my blog. I originally started this in Oct 7, 2012 as a place where I can freely write my thoughts and opinion. Unfortunately I’ve been neglecting this blog for over a year, but I have recently found incentives to start blogging once more.
Currently I am blogging for my MDSB02 course (Media and Languages), so be sure to expect upcoming blogs relating to the news and other shenanigans found on social and online media.