Digital Divides and The Creative Commons

While rampant, unsustainable, growth-oriented capitalism has become the underlying code that is driving digital divides we can take hope in the open source, sharing community as a way forward. The colonial interests of capitalism are, using new extractive technologies and platforms, sabotaging community bonds, and increasing digital divides but I look to show here through narrative, argument, interviews, and digital media experts that there is an alternative way.

We the users can reclaim cyberspace by raising the significance of open source, participating in the sharing opportunities, and contributing to creative commons projects. Unlike the capitalist culture of enclosure that seeks to create scarcity, the open source, creative community is a resource which will grow the more we use it and bridge the digital divide. Communing together is the digital literacy which can bridge the divides.

Planning Steps

Reflective journaling on my previous Backyard Futurist project and learning from feedback helped set the tone for this video.

I also consumed quite a lot of academic literature and videos to refine a focused topic of enquiry. Douglas Rushkoff’s 2015 Book Throwing rocks at the Google Bus was a primary inspiration.

My goal was to take the viewers on the journey of despair to hope which my research had uncovered. As I was scripting and storyboarding I really struggled for a week to come up with anything concrete, even after much time sitting at the computer and having developed a script. Eventually, I decided to do my to-camera script and improvised different approaches. This is where I came up with the Snapchat idea.

As I had consumed a lot of videos it was possible to then seek out creative commons videos of some of my favourite authors. As my video is persuasive I aimed for a good mix of ethos, pathos and logos in the selection from these interviews. They also had to follow the narrative.

I included the solutions offered in the Creative Commons by David Bollier as an uplifting inspiring way to finish on a higher note. I thought the creative commons videos illustrated the points I wanted to make well, provided different perspectives, and kept things dynamic.

For engagement, I’ve also tried to include enough hooks to peak viewers interest at different points and provide value for the viewer. I changed the shots up frequently, used effects, shared my dad humour, played with Snapchat augmented reality filters, and experimented with different effects. When finished I created an attention-grabbing thumbnail and posted the video on my Twitter profile.

Shot composition

I used the rule of thirds where possible. I also used Snapchat augmented videos to the camera which I think added a little humour, intrigue and made light of the era of multiple profiles we live in. By using different green screen backgrounds, hologram effects, and augmented reality filters I was looking to highlight the pace at which digital was frantically changing.

One new skill I learned for this edit was to enhance the picture quality of my own video using RGB curves and enhance filters and I recommend this as an easy way to make big gains in quality.

Backgrounds and Overlays

I tried to find dynamic background videos to highlight the speed and pervasiveness of extractive capitalism in the digital era. The idea I was looking to present in this first part of the film was of the underlying code in the machine becoming frantic like a growth orientated menace.

I also tried to finish on an inspiring note. Backgrounds at the end were scenes of people collaborating happily with computers or natural settings as I presented the idea of the democratising potential of the digital commons.


I kept the transitions tight with variations to keep up the energy of the narrative. Using the hologram-like overlays provided scope to have explosive fragmenting transitions on one layer as the other remained static.

Music and Sound

I used creative commons futuristic music and digital sound effects from my editor. I used fades on many of the clips to help it flow nicely. The background clips had to have their sound removed to allow for my narrations which I either used my in-camera mic for (up close) or a podcasting mic.

I really learned a lot by challenging myself with this video. I’ve got to play with green screen effects, transitions, RGB curves, using creative commons material, curating interviews, planning a digital media script, considering my onscreen presence and my authenticity effect.

When I look at the before and after videos, I really appreciate this journey I have been on because it means I am much more equipped to navigate through the digital zone. The skills I’ve learned mean I am much more likely to end up on the right side of the digital divide as far as skills go. But with that comes the responsibility of playing my part in the tradition in measures such as uplifting the commons, collaborating, sharing, and bridging digital divides. I’ve realised how much the commons is the glue that holds us together in the face of the extreme challenges the future holds, but I am more optimistic about that, compared to when I started this project.

Rushkoff, D. 2016, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, Portfolio/Penguin, New York

Creative Commons Videos Used:
An Introduction to The Commons (https://youtu.be/nGm5uBMGNPU ) by The Syndicate.Info (CC BY 3.0)
Douglas Rushkoff, “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” (https://youtu.be/nGm5uBMGNPU ) by WebVisions (CC BY 3.0)
Digital Divide: Reality Augmented by Gamified Capitalism (https://youtu.be/DJ2mRdaAeyA ) by Ricky Wright (my own work), 2017 (CC BY 3.0)
Insight Reporting – Addressing the Digital Divide – Janet Longamore (https://youtu.be/XV12dZluK0o ) by World Economic Forum (CC BY 3.0)
New Economy Models: The Victory of the Commons (https://youtu.be/nsRFdBBOyzU) by The Laura Flanders Show (CC BY 3.0)
How Does the Commons Work? (https://youtu.be/7bQiBcd7mBc ) by The Next System Project, 2016. Info (CC BY 3.0)
How to Transform Society through Digital (https://youtu.be/9CcY9d_jQKQ) by World Economic Forum (CC BY 3.0)
Future Technology Inventions ¦ 2019 (https://youtu.be/R832bJieqmY) by Vids 4u (CC BY 3.0)
Future of Virtual Reality [ Short Film ] (https://youtu.be/gqUv60pFi88)by Captain Gizmo (CC BY 3.0)
Talking About a Revolution: Life in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (https://youtu.be/4JfK1bJ16es) by Yuval Noah Harari (CC BY 3.0)

Creative Commons Music
Future (https://soundcloud.com/leonimuz/future) by LeonimuZ (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sound Effects:
Ambient Technology: Videopad NHC Software Editor


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