Climate Change, Marriage Equality and Basic Human Rights. Oh My!

Aaaaah, Australia. The wide brown land for me…

well…

kinda…

I’m a white Australia who has the luck of being born to a family with at least three previous generations who were also born in Australia. I am, however, still female.

That means my uterus is not always mine to govern. My pay is not the same as a male counterpart. The fact that I am highly likely to experience sexual harassment (or worse) at the hands of a colleague at my place of employ doesn’t even begin to tell you how work isn’t always a safe place for someone like me.

Sure, I get to experience a longer life, and I can hope to  spend that time just living life, right? Oh. No?

Australian Bureau of Statistics 4125.0

 

Well, at least I’m not likely to be killed by my partner. No? Wrong again? Gods be damned!

It could always be worse.

I could be gay and unable to marry my same-sex partner, instead of bisexual and in a heterosexual-presenting relationship.

Or a migrant, instead of born here.

Or someone seeking asylum, instead of safe and relatively free from oppressive regimes.

Or an indigenous Australian.

Or a farmer.

Or someone who lived by the sea.

But no. Instead, I am an average white female who has everything going for her and nothing to lose but her way of life in this, the lucky country we call Australia.

 

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AIMIA 2016 Digital Industry Salaries Report

The Digital Industry Association of Australia recently released the findings of its 2016 investigation into the digital industries and salaries.

Initially, I was interested to read the report as I was on the hunt for a new role and wanted to make sure that my expectations, in regards to remuneration and a couple of other factors, were on track for my industry.

There are a number of interesting figures highlighted by this report. The statistics found by this report for those working in the social media and marketing areas is in line with the findings in last year’s Australian Community Manager’s Survey conducted by Quiip, swarm community management conference, and Dialogue Consulting.

Also of note is how out of step the salaries for those in the executive branch of the industry are, when compared with professionals across the spectrum of roles included.

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the second most highly paid digital professionals .

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the
second most highly paid digital professionals (eCommerce: $120,000).

What I would like to see is a report comparing expectations of those looking to enter the digital industries to the realities of working in the field. I’m talking points like salary (obviously a large factor), hours worked in the office, hours worked outside of office hours, unpaid work hours (come on, we all know it happens), and job satisfaction. I think these are all important factors to consider when looking to enter a new job, but are of especial interest to those who are new to the workforce in general.

Facebook = Internet… or does it?

Michael Wolf, of Activate fame, said recently that Facebook wants to be the internet. He was, of course, referring to a deal between the social media giant and Oculus VR. The question is: How is it going to achieve it?

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

The internet, and by extension the web, has become central to our day-to-day existence. We use it to communicate with our friends, family and colleagues. We use it to access information that might otherwise elude us. It’s the first thing we think to turn to when it comes to the ever-present question, “What will I make for dinner?” In fact, with the Internet of Things invading our appliances, the day is not too far away that we see the Internet becoming the single most integral element in our everyday life outside of air, food and water.

Facebook sees itself at the centre of this brave new world. Its active hunting and acquisition of smaller companies offering something it wants is just one part of the strategy to offer everything online in just one place.

The Facebook wall has taken over what websites like LiveJournal and MySpace once offered, with Facebook Messenger giving us what Skype can. It’s not creating new opportunities, but more an act of integrating existing offerings and sticking a shiny new Facebook blue badge on it. Games can even be played in Messenger as well! Where will it end?

In Australia, you can now have your memorial online with Facebook. Not even your end will mean an end to your social media presence.

All this plugging in to your general life has left some people concerned.

Some critics of Facebook’s Internet.org say that attempts to provide free internet access to emerging markets by the world’s largest social media platform threatens “…freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

Long time readers of this blog and my Twitter feed will know that I am a believer in keeping the net neutral (amongst other things). Now, I’m not saying that Facebook is evil. There are plenty of other people who have written on that subject. All I’m saying is that, as with any form of technology, there are things to be considered when you’re delving into the realm of social media.

The fifth of November

Remember. Remember.

“Allow me first to apologise for this interruption.  I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of the everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.  I enjoy them as much as any bloke.  But in the spirit of commemoration – whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday – I thought we could mark this November the fifth, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

“There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak.  I suspect even now orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way.  Why?  Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.  Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injusticeintolerance and oppression.  And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have sensors and systems of surveillance, coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.  How did this happen?  Who’s to blame?  Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable.  But again, truth be told…if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

shattered mirror

“I know why you did it.  I know you were afraid.  Who wouldn’t be?  WarTerrorDisease.  There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.  Fear got the best of you and in your panic, you turned to the now High Chancellor Adam Sutler.  He promised you order.  He promised you peace.  And all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

“Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten.  More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory.  His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice and freedom are more than words – they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked.  But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek…then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament.  And together, we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever, be forgot!”

More than just words from a graphic novel turned into a movie.

(text credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

What I learned by gatecrashing another workplace

Let me start by saying that the title of this piece is a little misguiding.

*cough cough* 136 zombie kills. Just saying.

*cough cough* 136 zombie kills. Just saying.

It wasn’t a real gatecrash in the true sense of the term.
More like an invitation extended on which I acted.
Alright, I was an invited guest.
But it made a really good title.

I recently returned from a trip to Melbourne, during which I covered the swarm conference (it’s my annual national-scale giving back to the community project) through live tweets and blog posts of the two days it ran. It is always an eye-opener and an educational experience, sharing the room with so many amazing minds in the community and social media management arena. If you missed my work, or if you want to learn more about the only annual Australian conference for Online Community and Social Media Managers, you can check them out here.

I also took some time off to just enjoy the sight and sounds of Melbourne. I had the chance to catch up and hang out with my very good friend, Venessa Paech. If you don’t know this amazing lady, then you’re missing out. She is a wealth of knowledge concerning community management and a constant source of awesomeness.

Venessa is Senior Manager for Community & Content Strategy with REA Group, and I was invited to pop into the office to catch up with her and the crew after swarm. What I learn was very valuable indeed.

Lessons I learned at REA Group.

1) Work hard, but make time for play.
While many workplaces pay lip service to facilitating the work/life balance of their employees, few really offer ways in which to truly help. Even fewer employees seem willing to accept such offers. Whether it’s not wanting to appear unable to cope, or if it’s a lack of willingness to let their guard down, employees are not striking a true balance in their life and employment. REA Group has made some great moves to endorsing and encouraging fun in the workplace, with an emphasis on helping their employees strike their own sense of balance. Whether it’s taking time out to sit on the couches in breakout areas and play Guitar Hero, or if it’s grabbing the Oculus Rift gear to thwart zombies, these guys have really taken the “Balance in all things” phrase to heart. They even hold classes in the office for Zumba and subsidise gym memberships, showing that healthy choices are all part of striking the balance employees need and want in their lives.

2) “Hot-desk” isn’t a dirty word.
Sure, there are some roles in which you simply can’t have a different desk every day. sometimes, you really do need your own place and for that place to be always yours. When possible, and properly implemented, hot-desking can prove to facilitate employee productivity. It can stop the silo-ing effect of nesting, and helps teams to find a place that works for them and their particular efforts. It also means that if that person who insists on clicking their pen ad nauseum (or any other really annoying habit that you simply can’t stand) isn’t so offended when you simply up and shift to a new position.

3) Employee health IS an employer’s concern.
We often forget that, unless properly managed, one of the cons to increased work hours is a decline in employee health. With office hours on a general increasing trend, it falls to the individual AND their employer to ensure that health, physical and mental, is protected. Walking meetings, standing desks, opportunities to move around, offering exercise incentives, allowing regular breaks, ensuring good office ergonomics and allowing flexibility in work conditions are all ways in which employers can genuinely assist their employees in finding their own ways to ensure good health.

4) Your workplace is a community.
We spend so much of our time at work, but often forget that the people we work with are people too – people with feelings and families and a set of ethics and values. For that reason, your workplace is a community of people, each bringing valuable societal information to share. The moment you start looking at your colleagues in this way, work becomes less of a place to hack away at tasks, and more a place of collaboration and communal problem-solving that makes everyone feel good about the work they are doing.

5) Helping people is good.
REA Group holds regular Hackathons. These Hack Days are a chance for people to pitch ideas they want to work on, for customers, or as a way of giving back to their community outside of work. Whether it’s setting up a national volunteer database, or helping homeless people find a safe place to sleep, allowing employees to work on tasks that benefit someone outside of the workplace not only provides exposure for your company, but also shows that you recognise your place of privilege without society and are wiling to use that position for the greater good.

REA Group is a huge crew, but these lessons aren’t only for big organisations. They work and have meaning on smaller scales too.

And every work place should have zombie-smiting sessions.

Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper

I seriously love my friends. They’re a varied crew, all interested in a huge range of subjects. There is one common thread, however. They’re almost all into what is right.

I recently received this email from a friend in regards to a conversation underway about an online copyright infringement discussion paper. As it is a subject rather close to my heart, I thought I would share its contents with you. It is from the Australian Digital Alliance.

It continues to be an exciting year for copyright in Australia! Of particular note is the government’s request for feedback on its proposals on online copyright infringement which are due on 1 September 2014.

Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper

The government recently released a discussion paper aimed at reducing online copyright infringement.  The paper had three main proposals:

  • Extend authorisation liability;
  • Provide a new injunctive process to block overseas websites whose dominant purpose is to infringe copyright; and
  • Extend the safe harbours to a wider class of intermediaries (including schools and universities).

We have a quick overview of the proposals and have blogged some preliminary responses to the proposal to extend authorisation liability.  While this measure is directed ISPs, it is not restricted to ISPs, meaning that the changes will impact on other intermediaries such as schools, libraries, online platforms and universities.  In particular we are concerned that:

  • It will increase legal risk
  • It will increase legal uncertainty
  • It will encourage reliance on the safe harbours, including the requirement for an implemented policy for disconnection of repeat infringers
  • It will put Australia at odds with international norms

We have commissioned Dr Rebecca Giblin to write a paper that examining the effects on intermediaries and also do a comparative analysis of the forms of secondary liability with other core jurisdictions.

We will of course be putting in a submission, and would encourage others to do the same.  EFA has put together some consumer facing materials that may be useful and CHOICE is asking for consumer stories about access to content.  I haven’t seen anything from groups such as the Copyright Council, but if you have additional resources please feel free to bring them to our attention!

Trade Agreements
We have signed tow FTAs this year with Korea and Japan, both contain IP chapters. On copyright these continue to focus on enforcement, with limited recognition of other interests. In the reports on KAFTA they also included an opinion that the decision in the iiNet case was inconsistent with our trade agreements, and should be overturned, something that has now been suggested in the response to online copyright infringement.  We disagree with this interpretation of our international commitments, and said so in our submission.

Negotiations on the TPP continue, the next meeting will be in the first week in September in Hanoi.  The intention still seems to be concluding the agreement in  November, but this hinges a lot on whether Japan, the US and Canada can sort out the market access issues.  We continue to liaise at departmental and political level to ensure that the negotiators and decision makers are aware of the potential effects on user groups.

Other matters

We’ve also recently put in a submission to the Competition Policy Review (done a fair amount of media about the lack of movement on the IT Pricing recommendations \and supporting the work of the libraries at WIPO

Within the Attorney-General’s department a small group has been created to look at copyright reform, including online infringement and the ALRC recommendations.  We continue to work on this, and will be looking to some wider advocacy efforts toward the end of the year.

And, in some excellent news, we finally signed the Marrakesh Treaty!

If anyone is in Melbourne on Tuesday/Wednesday do consider coming to AuIGF – I’ll be speaking on panels about regulation on the internet and intermediary liability.

As always. please do keep up with our work at http://digital.org.au/blog or follow @aus_digital on twitter.  And feel free to email info@digital.org.au questions/concerns/suggestions/queries.

3 Years Today.

Today is my three year anniversary with my blog.

Yes, that’s right. Exactly three years ago, I started this mish-mash of collected junk I like to lovingly refer to as a “blog”.

It’s not much, but it’s mine.

And, in celebration of three (sometimes) glorious years, I would like to write a post to highlight how far I have come and the current state of thing.

Enter, the sponsored post that has been driving me nuts for the past week or so:

Curtin University Facebook post

 

Yes, Curtin. I AM dreaming of a better career. I have been for a number of years now. In fact, I have been working toward said “better career” for more than three years now.

But, pray tell, dear learning institution, what good is all that learning if there are no jobs?

What if the money I earn isn’t enough to live on?

Or enough to pay back the exorbitant interest on my student loan?

Or what if I become homeless because I cannot find a home to rent or purchase, even if I could afford one?

You see, Curtin (and other unis spruiking their wares at the end of the financial year after an incredibly harsh and damaging budget has been announced), there is no amount of learning that is going to matter if what we are striving for does not exist.

As much as I admire and strive for lifelong learning, there are sometimes strong currents in the murky waters of life that seem intent on pulling us down.