Digital Media In Australia
Australia is often depicted in a highly stylized way among Northern hemisphere countries, it seems they can’t help themselves with cliches, and “Crocodile Dundee” references, along with the poisonous wildlife, and larger than life personalities. Every country has its typical images, Britain has its cups of tea, the Queen, and fish ‘n chips, Germany has its big steins of foaming beer, lederhosen, pork knuckles, and overly diligent engineers, America has loud tourists, sky scrapers and the ubiquitous accent …and so on. Sure, we all cop it, it is just human nature to typify other countries. However, because Australia is just so far away from anywhere, it generally takes a bit longer for trends and developments to fully manifest, which occur in the large populations of other western countries.
This is certainly the case with digital culture, despite the connected and instant quality of online media, it has taken Australia that bit longer to adopt, and fully recognize that the internet has changed the communications paradigm.
We can clearly see that ‘old media’ and their underwriters have been struggling of late. Facebook has copped a lot of angst, and criticism, YouTube is being pressured to censor, and restrict a lot of independent content creators who challenge the reach and influence of mainstream media.
There is obviously an ‘Information War’ taking place, with alternative content producers, such as ‘RT’, Alex Jones, and dozens of media commentators, pundits, and organizations feeling the sting of repression and censorship. It seems many of the Silicon Valley tech giants have decided to cooperate with the investor groups, and established power groups to try and mitigate the spread of digital media, and its much greater reach among significant parts of the consumer public.
The internet of course is not just Silicon Valley, we have the freedom to build, and create platforms quite independent to the more well-known players of the online world. However the ability to market, and distribute completely independent media is often limited and restricted by funding, and the very nature of digital behavior; people’s habits can be difficult to break and of course much of the internet is powerfully locked down by Google and its search technology which has become the default reference source for online users.
We are in danger of the internet becoming yet another branch of the mainstream world, tamed, and stripped of its unique properties and open source culture, let alone the freedom of speech, and discussion of ideas which gave digital communities their edge, and ability to foster social change in the first 20 years of the internet’s public existence.
The vast potential of the internet to provide a medium of open exchange, which we could clearly see back in the early 2000’s, represented too much of a threat for many among the covert circles of old media, and the political class. 2016 seems to have been a ‘step too far’ for much of these people, with the rise of ‘Populism’ among the western countries.
Power, and influence is the name of the game, and communication is the means for power and influence to be executed. We are witnessing a profound revolution in communication with the internet, so it just makes sense that the once powerful and influential would seek to replicate their previous position once they understood that the game had changed.
It was through Broadcast technology, and media that the old power elites had their heyday, it is taking them much longer to try and grab the ‘Tiger’ of the internet by the tail, it is not so easy!
What is making it hard for them is the communication model of digital technology, it provides a Two-Way dynamic. When we were all passive consumers, captured by the hypnosis of our radios, and then our television screens we were much easier to contain.
Now people also have the capacity to create content, and publish it to a large audience, additionally we have the means to respond to published content, we can critique, and discuss it, we can applaud, or revile it in real time. It is this two-way communication which allows us to discuss, and exchange views, to debate and influence others.
The entire nature of advertising has been challenged, and disrupted. Business that seeks to influence their market to choose them must now approach it in an entirely different way. Placing banners, and overtly ‘in-your-face’ messages simply doesn’t get through anymore. Media, and marketing has had to adapt, or perish.
Australians have traditionally been anti-authority. The so-called ‘Larrikin’ nature of our national character has produced mavericks and individuals who have refused to comply with fashions and trends, simply because they might have been popular with the wealthy and self-styled ‘elite’ among society.
I think we are seeing some of this spirit among our digital populations, we don’t just follow the trends like so many of our northern cousins tend to follow, merely because they are considered ‘Viral’.
Digital marketing in Australia has a unique quality. If you can demonstrate that what you offer is ‘Dinkum’, and you are not deliberately ripping people off, or taking them for fools, you stand a good chance of being successful in Australia!
I might be at risk here of appearing ‘naive’, but I have studied how Australia has responded to the digital age, and I have had the opportunity of working overseas, so I am able to compare, and contrast. Aussies don’t like sharks, either in the ocean, or especially the ones who walk the land!
The confidence tricksters, and scammers are less likely to find victims among Australians, although the ‘digital divide’ has many casualties in every country. Digital marketing, and building an online presence in Australia requires a brave, and honest approach, we have much less patience for B.S and giving oneself airs and graces than northern populations.
As someone who works to help, and support people in Australia, I think it is refreshing how Aussies possess a natural instinct for quality, and honesty, it makes a refreshing change from the digital content from the U.K/U.S.A and other western countries, I am looking forward to seeing a lot more Australian online content, and helping Aussies to make the most of their digital resources.