Social MEdia: Part 2 (Week 5)

Social media is an important tool in today’s Western societies but just how negatively is it affecting our states of mind? While social media can have a positive effect on businesses and promote good causes, it can also cause severe addictions and indirect pyschiatric conditions. Nearly 40% of a survey conducted on 2000 Americans said they’d rather do the following things than surrender their social networking profiles:
  • Wait in line at the DMV
  • Read “War and Peace”
  • Do their taxes
  • Give up an hour of sleep each night for a year
  • Run a marathon
  • Sit in traffic for four hours while listening to polka music
  • Get a root canal
  • Spend a night in jail
  • Clean the drains in the showers at the local gym
  • Give up their air conditioner/heater

Are we a society addicted to social media?! The answer is yes. But why so? Of those surveyed, the main reason for their addiction came from “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out. The threat of missing a news event or popular life story is motivation to habitually check their feeds regularly. I am a regular user of Facebook and Instagram but have not been tempted or interested in other sites like Twitter, Pinterest or Digg. The content just doesn’t interest me. What does attract me to Facebook and Instagram is what my friends do and their capacity to involve me digitally in their lives. I use Facebook as a backup to my immediate contacts list and as a means of communicating with overseas and far away friends, receiving event invites and enjoying a web-based communication platform. However, I am not an addict and regularly go for weeks at a time without engaging in the Facebook process. I once was an avid user, determined on achieving “social acceptance and success” from my peers by posting pretty photos and witty statuses. Strangely enough, once I got a phone that had Facebook as a standard application and one where I could check my notifications anytime anywhere, my visits to the site decreased. I suppose you could attribute this to the old saying “you only want what you can’t have”; now that Facebook is at my fingertips no matter where I go, the appeal, demand and suspense no longer exist. As for Instagram, a photo sharing iPhone application, to me it is as engaging as any game you could download – simply a tool to ease the boredom in desperate situations. And even then I find Instagram itself boring.

In terms of important communication, I believe these sites inhibit real connections. Nothing can replace seeing a friend and interacting face to face; feeling and empathising with their emotions, reacting to their opinions and embracing physically. Computer-based communication is quickly replacing physical interaction and this concept both scares and frustrates me. Children are becoming increasingly illiterate as spellcheck and thesaurus replaces their dictionaries. They can’t write or punctuate because a computer does it for them.

But these websites are not just for communicating. They are supermarkets and advertising billboards and social tests. They are manipulative and responsive to our every action. Will society ever return to life without the internet? The future holds many opportunities, both good and bad, in relation to social media advancements.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

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Social MEdia (Week 5)

Hooked on social media addictions

In today’s modern Western civilisations, we as humans use social media as much as we brush our teeth and go to the toilet… if not far more! Nearly a quarter of the total time spent on line for the average adult is on social networks (Ewer 2012).

I created a survey to understand the what makes social media users tick and the influences that make them regularly use social media websites. The results showed a growing trend of extreme social media use due to habit and social peer pressure. Our society is so conditioned and encouraged to participate in social networking, that overuse has been overlooked. A “normal” amount of use on these websites i often equal to the amount of time we spend avoiding social media. Impromptu surveys of my friends also showed that no matter what or where the task, a social media page would be open or running in the background and that the urge to resist checking their social media feeds was next to impossible. What is this addiction proving? Can social media addiction be used positively?

I am me. I am social ME-dia. We are constructed by our environments.

Click here for the link to my survey. Please feel free (but not obliged) to take the time to read and complete it.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

Chained to social media

Cyberpunk developments – 6 Key Features (Week 4)

Cyberpunk is a transcendent sub-genre of science-fiction which is inspiration for many science-fiction concepts. Often expressing the idea of freedom from technology and dark features of the human race, this genre evokes several possible issues that we as a human race face in the future as well as posing satirical views on the nature of humanity in the present. The following timeline shows some key developments in the history of cyberpunk.

The History of Cyberpunk – 6 Key Developments

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

Cyberspace: A space at all? (Week 4)

What is cyberspace? Is it real? And if so, where is it?

To answer these questions it is important to understand what exactly “cyberspace” is. Cyberpunk fiction writer William Gibson coined the term in the 80s in his short story “Burning Chrome.” Gibson states that cyberspace is “a graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system…Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data” (1984). However, Gibson himself eventually criticised the term as being simply a code for his cybernetic musings.

The definition above implies that cyberspace lacks the reality that “space” suggests. Cyberspace infers that information, that from communication, is a physical element that humans can delve into and explore . However, this idea seems far-fetched and impossible. “Hackers” had to detach their minds from reality and and leaving their body behind, making them unaware of their physical surroundings. This means there is a clear distinction between a physical world and a digital world; a “dualism” between “real” and “virtual.” There is a notion of a virtual reality; a three dimensional digital environment that humans can enter and traverse, looking for information. The second, is a world of networks of computers which enable us to communicate, store and retrieve information (Bryant 2001). An example of the latter, is the internet which is increasingly at our fingertips. Gibson’s proposed cyber-jockeys and netrunners were required to blend their mind with digital sources to “navigate through a labyrinth” of information in its “physical” form. I also reject the notion of a “virtual world”, because like these sources suggest, information and our human brain’s interpretation of it does not exist in a physical sense. It only exists because we know it exists because we understand information in various forms; but it is not a tangible element. We know understanding happens because for every action there is a reaction. The thought of a “virtual” world where we must fly through light sources to access information sounds ridiculous. Even stranger is that cyberspace has been given its own dimension and world of its own in the future. Will we end up like that? Consider this episode of The Simpsons which explores the idea of being trapped in cyberspace. In  “Homer3“, Homer finds himself trapped in a three dimensional world, inspired by an episode in The Twilight Zone. Search “The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI” to learn more.

Essentially, cyberspace may not be a physical state of being but more so a “place” where cyber communication occurs. One blogger described it as the “indefinite place out there, where [the] two of you, two human beings, actually meet and communicate” (Rey 2012). It is a representation of the digital world of communication that exists only by using the technology that is now available to us. Cyberspace is therefore a complex and difficult concept to grasp as even its own definitions are vague and misleading. More relevant is the idea that a virtual reality will be constructed in the form of simulations that mirror reality or perhaps be indistinguishable from reality; our own Matrix. Even then, the word “constructed” is inaccurate unless we can prove this already exists – in my interpretation, this idea seems like a social experiment or a God-like invention. Either we know about it because humans created it in a smaller reality, or we don’t know about it and we are already living in one.  Constructing a new reality is only comprehensible when seen in the like of Big Brother, or Lisa Simpson’s new world that she creates by accidentally electrocuting one of her teeth in Cola.

The following blog is an interesting interpretation of the idea of “cyberspace” and how it is mythical: The Myth of Cyberspace. Also, this blogs further supports the notion that the concept of cyberspace is obsolete (watch out for bad language): Gibsonian Concept of Cyberspace is silly and outdated

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

References:

Bryant R 2001, What kind of space is cyberspace?, Minerva – An internet journal of philosophy, ISSN 1393-614X, viewed 30 August 2012,< http://www.minerva.mic.ul.ie//vol5/cyberspace.html >

Gibson, W 1984, Neuromancer, Ace

Rey PJ 2012, The myth of cyberspace, viewed 30 August 2012,< http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/the-myth-of-cyberspace/ >

Mind Control & the Internet by Sue Halpern (Week 3)

In her article “Mind Control & the Internet,” (2011) Sue Halpern discusses opposing arguments on the integration of web-based technology into the human brain. Studies have shown that integrated technologies (neutral implants) can increase the quality of life and “restore” human functions and are seen as “good necessary and worthy” (Helpbern 2011, p.1). However, implants that aim only to enhance the human experience are considered a threat to human integrity and a vain and selfish representation of humanity today. I disagree with this statement and believe that if a person wishes to incorporate this sort of technology into their life in order to experience the world better, then they should be allowed to without prejudice or harsh judgement.

However, in the article Chorost suggests an “ideal” world where the internet is as seamless and natural as possible (Halpern 2011, p.1). This idea proposes that the internet is like a robot existing in the brain. It becomes a uniquely personal experience that helps the human race to traverse the “random, messy, ever-expanding volume” that is the web (Halpern 2011, p.2). Larry Page also supports this idea by envisioning a future where one’s brain is “augmented” by Google’s services, meaning that when you think of a question “your cell phone whispers the answer in your ear.” In my opinion, with the ever-advancing speed and skill of technologies, humanity is become increasingly impatient, illiterate and against old practices. The majority of youth, as they are brought up through the technological revolution, rely less “hard copy” sources (books, newspaper, etc.) and methods for finding the answers to questions, and more on an instant internet response. It’s now common knowledge that if you want your answer all you need to do is Google it. For example, take the creation of Spell check, typing and texting. Humans no longer need to exercise a knowledge in proper spelling, grammar and punctuation as the laws are ingrained into the software of the computer. On the other hand, texting has created new words and abbreviations, “text language,” that lead us further and further away from traditional educated practices. But is this just a new evolution to learning and the human race? Will typing be the new writing, just as writing was the new painting?

Furthermore, with the personalisation of internet searches the information that is available to us is being limited and different for each person. It creates the possibility of anything with an agenda being able to “modify” the search results and tailor it to the person that is searching. Thus, a simple search could be used to control and disseminate news and information, cutting off conflicting opinions (Halpern 2011, p.2). I also have strong feelings against the notion of a “personalised” search. I turn to the interne to search for a broad and interesting array of information relating to the topic. Thus, allowing me to construct and equal and informed argument.

In the final straw, millions of dollars are being used to produce prototypes for “thought helmets” that allow soldiers to communicate wirelessly and the development of video games which are beamed directly onto the brain. All of which propose serious problems should there be glitches in the system. What if the soldiers messages are misinterpreted or are changed in the process, essentially like the effect of the game Chines Whispers? Could it be possible for a soldier to accidentally get a command to kill an innocent civilian if a mistake in the communication thread is made? And with this idea of video games directly beamed onto the brain, would this create a serious video game addiction in which the player becomes trapped in their own mind? Where then are the boundaries between the game and reality? These are all compelling questions that are brought to the forefront with the technological advances that are allowing humans to become part man, part machine.

I’m an advocate for the old school and until significant developments are made with these technologies and their usefulness, I will still remain sceptical as to their functionality and worth to society.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

Reference:

Halpern, S 2011, Mind Control & the internet, viewed 15 August 2012, <http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/mind-control-and-internet/&gt;

The world mourns the death of MSN Messenger, as we say hello to the Facebook Chat revolution (Week 3)

Once a prominent instant messaging service, MSN Messenger was officially decommissioned by Microsoft in June 2009 (Protalinski 2009). Its most basic form was launched in 1999 and followed a series of seven updates to its interface (after 2004) and now exists as an integrated add-on to Windows Live Hotmail. The original service allowed users to communicate with a great number of other internet users and enables them to connect with friends, family and colleagues anywhere in the world (Microsoft 1999).

“Communications continues to be the cornerstone of the Internet, and instant messaging is becoming a more prevalent way for people to communicate,” said Brad Chase, vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. “We are excited to deliver our easy-to-use MSN Messenger Service to enable consumers to communicate with as many people as possible.”

The program was based around an easy-to-use policy and a small program size of 320K, and a “fast” download speed of three minutes for the average modem. Presently, in three minutes on an average modem with average internet speed one could download an entire music album, an episode of a TV show or an entire book. It also featured “comprehensive status information” which enabled users to change their status to various degrees of availability (Microsoft 1999). But one of its most prudent and respected characteristics was its privacy designs that allowed users to control who can see them online, who can communicate with them and become virtually “invisible” to other users (Microsoft 1999). People used this tool to send pictures, talk in real time with others in a marginally anonymous way and share pictures and media files over the internet. It was popular with pre-teens and teens before the uprise of texting and allowed important communication without the social awkwardness of face-to-face interactions. Like most computer based communication, it took away this face-to-face element and allowed users to feel virtually invincible (consider the notion of a “keyboard warrior”; one who faces reality through the medium of their keyboard only but would not act that way in real life).

The program influenced the way we use technology today by setting the standards for instant messaging (text and internet alike) and creating social barriers for online communication. However, its decline in popularity was not just from advancements in technology. Other social networking websites with growing popularity started to integrate instant messaging platforms into their interfaces, eventually eradicating MSN Messenger from the market. Facebook is the most prominent of these whose instant messaging design was almost mimicked by other sites such as MySpace. The main allure of Facebook’s chat element is that is convenient to use while also accessing the other features of the site simultaneously. New and exciting features are constantly being developed including sending documents and photos, message history and a simultaneous message log in the private messages section. Facebook Chat allows users to private message each other online on the site but there is also an option to download a similar Facebook Messenger programme to be used on computers, laptops and smartphones (5 most popular instant messengers 2012). Where the Wall and Inbox were the primary methods of communication on Facebook, chat allows immediacy of communication and a sense of urgency. The chat bar, which requires no installation, shows all online friends and does not require the page to be refreshed to view new messages. Chats are collapsible and notifications are displayed on the chat bar to avoid cluttering the screen (Wiseman 2008).This means that users can always be connected, part of the websites motto.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

References:

5 most popular instant messengers 2012, viewed 15 August 2012, <http://sectortechno.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/5-most-popular-instant-messengers.html&gt;

Microsoft 1999, Microsoft launches MSN messenger service, viewed 15 August 2012, <http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/1999/jul99/messagingpr.aspx&gt;

Protalinski,E 2009, MSN web messenger dies on June 30, 2009, viewed 15 August 2012, <http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2009/06/msn-web-messenger-dies-on-june-30-2009/>

Wiseman J 2008, Facebook chat: now we’re talking, viewed 15 August 2012, <https://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=12811122130&gt;

Communication Technologies and Me (Week 2)

I was born into the technology generation. So am I a product of these developments? Of course, and unavoidably. Although there are communities that choose to live simply and without any (electrical) modern-day technology, one would be hard-pressed to find an individual in a Western civilization that has not directly been influenced and molded by the ever-changing technological storm that surrounds them. Luckily for me, I was born into a time where the television was the glue to our family and video killed the radio star so I never had to adapt.

NB:// I’ve written this blog post following a question-answer format to organize my ideas.

 

* How do you use new communication technologies to communicate with your friends and family.

I use new communication technologies such as social networking websites and smartphones to communicate with my friends and family on a daily basis. Our communication is instant no matter what the distance. Software such as Skype and Viber, that operate on many platforms, make this process simpler.

However, these programs would be nothing without my laptop and phone that operate them. I use my Macbook Pro for surfing the internet and using sites such as Facebook to talk to my friends. I then use my mobile phone in conjunction, to text and call with more urgency.

* How long have you been using these communication technologies?

I started using my first computer in 1998 when my family bought one for the business. I was only five years old. It was a huge desktop box with a giant modem to accompany it. What I remember most was how exciting it was to see the colors and pictures move in front of me and things happen with the touch of a button. Following this, I was obsessed with every form of GameBoy, PlayStation 2 and then the Nintendo DS, most of which were handheld gaming devices. They were more advanced than those that were available during my parents’ childhood, but were significant nonetheless. At age 11 I received my first mobile phone; a hand-me-down from my grandpa. It was one of those “Nokia bricks.” But it was all mine, and the fact that I could independently communicate with my friends was the best part about it. It is appropriate to say, being brought up in a “wealthy” family and environment, I was spoiled with new technologies whenever they came out.

* What influenced you to start using these particular technologies?  How did you find out about them?

My entire family has always been key believers in technological advancement. They always showed interest in new communication technologies and the science of technology. Upon reflection, my family were as curious about these revolutions as I was as a child. However, they had to adapt to the integration of these technologies in everyday life. Whereas I was conditioned to believe we are now dependant on such technologies and find them commonplace. When I was a child and growing up, finding out about new technologies was only through what was most popular, what all my friends had and what was being promoted in the media. This could be considered as a result of the media-effects theory, which maintains that the media control what we think about the content in the media. I was and continue to be influenced by the ever-advancing age of technology and my social networks that peer pressure me to conform.

Now, with my compounded knowledge of current and past technologies as well as the internet, I seek out my own technologies that will best suit me and my needs. I’ve learnt to research the pros and cons of products/software and compare products in the market. My main motivation for conducting this research is to find the best communication devices for me.

* Is privacy an issue for you when using new technologies?

To some extent privacy concerns me when using new technologies but due to a lack of understanding about “privacy” in relation to technology, I tend to dismiss it as an issue. What is more concerning is my latent trust in companies that develop new technologies and their commitments to the consumer to be ethical and private with our details. Each website or new product prompts an agreement to the “Terms & Conditions” (which most people never properly scrutinize) which should include clear rules about the privacy of information. Due to me trusting that my details are safe, the most concerning privacy issues is that of my Facebook profile. Although completely “private,” there are always ways to see someone’s photos or posts whether they intend to show them or not. Essentially, no matter how hard you try to hide information on the internet, there is always a record of it or a way to find it. It is particularly concerning especially in an era where employers examine profiles of their employees on a regular basis. This blurs the distinction between a private life and a work (public) life as both are amalgamated.

*  What do you think of companies like Facebook and Google who collect information about their users?   (How do you deal with issues around privacy?)

I previously stated that privacy does not concern me too often. I like to think of the saying “those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.” But this does not prevent others from misinterpreting your information. As for sites like Facebook and Google who collect information about their uses, it depends on the context and need for doing so. In Facebook’s case, their information collection is required to keep track of users, identify them and maintain integrity. But Google’s motivation seems less innocent. Google uses search results to construct a profile of what you like, how you search and the type of information you commonly look for. It allows marketing professionals to segment you and essentially limit the information you receive. An article by Sue Halpern addresses some of these issues and can be read here

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/mind-control-and-internet/

* Do you have friends whom you know only from the internet and have never met in person?   Is this different to people that you know in person?  Describe the difference.

This is a touchy topic among users of the internet as there are strong negative connotations attached to meeting people online. I believe this stigma stems from a caution and fear that not seeing something means it does not exist in its entirety. Essentially, people fear the unknown and this is why the dangers are spelt out. I do have friends whom I know only from the internet but have led to real friendships. I suppose it is the context in which you know them that matters. Most of the people I know only from the internet are now friends and were friends of friends whom I had not met. The internet simply gave me a head start in gauging their character by allowing me to interact with them before meeting them. There is no one that I know on the internet who was not in my social network and who I have not met or heard about in person.

The clear distinction between these “internet friends” and “real friends” is that internet friends whom you have never met are constructed by you and based on what they say. You subconsciously create a profile for this person and what you think they’re like. Whereas, you judge and make impressions of real people based on how they act around you. I’d hope that people who have never met me are not shocked when they meet me in person; that my real presence is consistent with my online presence. Personally, I endeavor to be as real and close to my actual self on the internet and choose not to act or react differently than I would in real life. But this is not always the case. Some people use the internet as a disguise so they can be someone else; an escape. I’ve italicized the word real to distinguish between who you are online and who you are in person, but these two may be exactly the same. And who’s to say that an online presence is any less real than physically? I like to think that having “internet friends” is the modern version of a pen-pal. Pen-pals were rarely met, and yet they would endlessly share personal information, stories and their lives. The key message is to understand what you want to get out of meeting people purely on the internet and not mislead others with your intentions.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

Communication Revolution (Week 2)

NB:// This article follows the same referencing style as Wikipedia. That is, each superscript number corresponds to an entry in the reference list, but also has a link attached to the source of the information. I did this as a way to expand my knowledge of writing on the web and also because referencing each piece of information in this article would clutter the paragraphs and distract from the post.

This week the discussion topics were to investigate the key turning points in communication technology or to investigate the divisions in communication theory. I’ve chosen the relatively easier option because I feel like I could write endlessly about the divisions in communication technology. So to begin my investigation of the key turning points in history by looking at and comparing the entries of the following two timelines.

http://worldhistorysite.com/culttech.html

http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_history_of_communication.htm

A very common myth is that the Egyptians were the first society to develop some form of writing. However, it was the Phoenicians in 3500BC who created an alphabet and shortly followed by the Sumerians who developed cuneiform script and transcribed these pictographs on clay tablets1 2. These two societies were far in advance of the Egyptians who are possibly the most famous ancient civilization in history. They gave birth to modern-day written script in Western civilization.

The next key advancement came in 1835 when Samuel Morse proved that signals could be transmitted by wire3. By joining forces with physicist Joseph Henry and Alfred Vail, Morse created the first electric telegraph4 system. They experimented with pulses of currents and electromagnets to move a marker over a piece of paper10. He invented Morse Code which was a huge step forward in sending messages (albeit coded) and was a very prominent method of long distance communication. For more information about Morse code, its importance and developments look at the following website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code

Following this, I believe Alexander Graham Bell’s creation/patenting of the telephone to be the next key development in the history of communication5. The telephone allowed two people to send a vocal message over indeterminable distance and hear it live. The telephone was positively revolutionary. The main factor of the telephone’s popularity was the fact that it changed communication into a live experience and one where you could communicate to someone anywhere (well, not quite). It was a lot faster than sending a letter and was very exciting. But the telephone’s importance was not only important to the time it was invented. It has been a crucial development whose repercussions are felt today. Without the telephone we would not have radio, the internet, or home phones, or god-forbid, our beloved mobile phones; all of which allow endless and instant communication right at our fingertips.

Subsequently, the development of the television once again revolutionized societies worldwide. In 1923, Vladimir Kosma Zworykin invented the iconoscope (cathode-ray tube)6,which was our first simple television. At first television was not so popular as it was expensive and rarely available. As well, radio was experiencing its “golden age” and television threatened its popularity. The invention of the tv allowed audiovisual communication but also created hundreds of new industries eg. television corporations, production companies, etc. Each new development so far has not only had explicit effects on society but also implicit ones in the future. A good example of this from the development of the television is the obesity epidemic, which is fuelled by society’s addiction to the screen and the ease of understanding what is going on. Television allowed us to sit and relax and absorb information like sponges.

Evidently, the invention of the modern-day computer changed society all over again. It expanded on previous simple “computing” technologies and combined these with the television concept to create a device that would change the world forever; the age of Information Science7 begins. Computers were put into public service in 1944 and were owned primarily by the government. However, they weren’t sold commercially until 19518. These early devices were nothing like the computers we know and love today and even differ greatly from the chunky home computers which were distributed by Apple Inc. in 19769.

Finally, and in a spectacular finish to our search for key turning points, the internet and World Wide Web was created by the American government in 199411. Its invention saw people communicating “at the speed of light” (we know the first dial-up connections were as slow as snails). As previously mentioned in other blog posts, the internet has sparked and perpetuated a certain laziness among Western civilizations. It has replaced the popularity of books and is a database of anything and everything you’d ever want to know. And it continues to grow and change and evolve, just like all technology.

The important thing to gather from all this information is that no change in communication practices and development in technology goes unnoticed or without positive and negative repercussions. As a society, we must consider what changes are having ongoing positive effects, what changes have had no influence at all and what changes have caused regressions in communication practices.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

References:

The Dark Knight Rises… From the Gold Coast? (Week 2)

Everyone has been talking about Christopher Nolan’s latest hit “The Dark Knight Rises” in which Batman’s legacy is revived. An undeniably good movie incorporating a series of unpredictable twists, incredible special effects and a cast which portrayed their characters perfectly. I’ll admit, I’m in love with this movie. As a person who doesn’t indulge in “favourites” this one has definitely struck a chord and slides easily into the top five; probably on par with “Inception.” However, the movie (which has so far grossed $732 million worldwide) has some humble beginnings of its own.

Hidden in the heart of the Gold Coast, Warner Bros Movie World has been cultivating the Batman phenomena for over 20 years. In 1992, a year after the park’s opening, Batman Adventure – The Ride opened to guests. The ride featured two separate pre-show areas followed by a motion simulator ride where riders see and move from Batman’s perspective following a synchronised screen storyline. In 2001, the ride was revamped and underwent a few changes to the video but the majority of the experience remained the same. To the extreme disappointment of many of Movie World’s guests, the entire ride was closed permanently in 2011. The parts were sold off to a German man who restores old ride modules, however, the Library from Wayne’s manor remains in tact. This may seem irrelevant, but it started a history at Movie World that continues today. Among the various pieces of original movie memorabilia that reside in the park, the new Batwing Spaceshot Ride, a Batman show, Batman movie theme music, regular appearances of the Tumblr (Batmobile, which is actually one of the original versions of the vehicle from the movie sets) and cast in character suits allow guests to interact and connect with the Batman franchises AND mean that the magic of Batman is eternal.

The Batmobile at Movie World on the Gold Coast

But here’s where I’m going with this- Movie World’s costume and wardrobe department create everything the staff wear and all the props they use. They make those all by hand, believe it or not. So they had designed and created an amazingly realistic bat suit for Batman to wear just prior to the release of “Batman Begins.” Someone in high places had obviously caught a glimpse of this spectacular creation and wanted to share its brilliance. One thing led to another, and soon Movie World was commissioned to create a “top secret” suit to be sent around the world for the promotion of the The Dark Knightmovie. As you can imagine though, Batman was under very protective licensing with Village Roadshow in the United States; how could a small time Australian theme park do a better job of making such particular suits than a company overseas? Well since Movie World had been working with the character for 17 years, they had learnt how to create durable suits that would work aesthetically and be practical during real life shows. Christophe Broadway, head of Entertainment said, “we can make them to a better quality at an affordable price because we have in-house knowledge of the suit. The original costumes for the movie are made out of a more fragile material and fall apart by the end of filming.”DC Comics and Warner Bros eventually realised this and gave Movie World the go-ahead to create the suits for the world. Each suit costs over $20,000 each and looks identical to the suits shown in the movie.

The lesson here is that although you may be a giant movie franchise making millions of dollars, but humble folks in Helensvale will make Batman’s suit much better than you. Arguably, the most important part of Batman. After all, where would Batman be without the disguise, safety and protection of his trusty suit?

The actual suit

You can read the official story here-

Caped Crusader suit coup for Movie World

And learn more about our magical theme park by visiting the following websites-

Warner Bros. Movie World Wikipedia

Gold Coast Theme Parks

On an additional note, I work at Movie World; I operate the rides there. It is definitely one of the most fun jobs to have and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to work in such a supportive and exciting industry. The best part? I still get excited when I see the characters come out. When Batman waves at me as he rolls past on the Tumbler, I get butterflies. And I think it’s always important to further this magic that comes from our theme park. It’s all about believing in an idea, like believing in Santa. Although the figurehead may not be “real,” the hysteria and hope live on in everything they stand for.

Here are some interesting videos to watch if you’re still interested. The first is an advertisement for the very first Batman Adventure ride and the second is the actual video that was used in the revamped version of the ride.

1992-1993 Advertisement

The Film

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx