Who am I?

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I feel like it’s almost a known fact that we all possess different personas; like when we are with our partners, with our friends, in a professional environment, or with our family. Online we also have a different, or many different personas.

A shift has occurred, however, that means instead of having our online persona as representational (a way of showing everyone who we are), they are now presentational (a work of art, where we can present ourselves as we like). Online, we trade our personal information for access. We fill in details in order to be included.

However media nowadays is not mass media, we are not catered to as a whole. Instead media is “massified” by all the individuals. We decide what is ‘trendy’ and what platforms are used, while still personalising them ourselves. What we share is interpersonal – we have so many ways of directly communicating with each other. We can reply to tweets, we can retweet, we can share Facebook posts and directly reply to statuses, we can even directly message each other!

What we do create, the parts of our persona we create, are not just characterised but details we fill in. Our personas are characterised by what we like, share, tweet, follow. And they are all internetworked (or mostly). Now we can connect our Twitter, to our Facebook, to our Instagram, etc.

Even online we have different personas too, we have a Mediated one (used to comment on news articles, or when someone has a baby and it’s relatively formal), a public one (think your Facebook posts and Instagram photos), and a performative one (one that shows how great we are, what we are like towards our bosses and coaches for example). Altogether, we have a collective profile that is all of these combined.

So I guess on one side of the coin it’s kinda scary, that we are portrayed as whatever we like online – if you don’t believe this watch Catfish please. But then, really, when I think about it, all parts of our lives we have different personas. I mean like so what that online there’s just another one? If it isn’t hurting anyone, and it’s just how we wish we were, who really cares? Please, let me know in the comments below!

P.S. To finish off, here’s a vid to show just how different our personas online can be…

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Apple vs Android

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One of the biggest questions of our generation, which is better, Apple or Android?

For me, an avid Apple user, I’ve never really questioned it. I’ve used my iPhone since they were pretty much released. Even when I ask around, almost everyone I know uses Apple, bar a few.

But I feel like the debate actually goes much deeper than just the brand or logo a device is imprinted with. The real debate we’re having, without even knowing, is open sourced vs. closed source devices.

You see, apple has created its own community almost. They have their own app store meaning that not only users must use this (and only this) but creators must break into this certain market to be visible to a certain audience. To have your app available, Apple must approve you. Apple has complete control over the platform (the phone or other device), the content (what you can see from this device)., and therefore the user (YOU!). Apple originally drew their users in to the current iPhone by combining three functions and devices into one – a widescreen touch control iPod, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device (the iPad). And here you get… the modern-day iPhone!

Now lets look at the Android. You have a completely open garden of apps, Google Play and independent android markets are some means of downloading apps.  With an Android, the user is given flexibility and they have the ability to both access and modify the code. Android exercises no control over the platform, content or user.

The two devices seem, on the surface, as a pretty simple choice. But the control and freedom you (the user) is able to exercise is actually immensely different. So next time you, or someone you know, asks “Apple or Android?”, realise what the real question is. How much freedom do you want? Do you want access to just information, and controlled use? Or do you want access to conversation, and the ability to use your device as you please?

 

Kermit The Frog Drinking Tea - when you realise android seems better but you own an iphone

Crossing Borders

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Transmedia – where integral elements of fiction are dispersed across multiple delivery channels. Wot?

Seriously, even though I full understand the concept, it’s still kinda confusing when reading it that way. So basically put, when parts of a storyline (sort of) are portrayed and therefore consumed via many different mediums. That definitely makes more sense to me, and is really how I understand the whole concept.

Transmedia allows for consumers to develop a deeper connection to the content they are consuming, and by consuming various forms of content, allows for a broader and more widespread understanding.

Take Spiderman for example (totally hypothetical because I have next to no idea about any of it). They release the comics, and then there’s a movie, and a few video and computer games, and a card game based off the video games, and before you know it there’s basically a whole Spiderman world out there. It’s highly successful and not only that, but original fans (in this case of the comics) aren’t the only fans that are now engaged with the content. Some consumers may join in with the video games, or buy the cards, but now they have become part of this world. The movement between the different sources is also completely non-conventional. It’s not linear, one platform onto the next. Users may engage with this content in whichever way they may like, and may go between platforms likewise.

Transmedia is the reality of how we connect with media nowadays. Almost everything we come across is interconnected to another platform where we may access further content. It’s like posting a YouTube link to Facebook, or me posting this blog post link to my Twitter. Anyways, I think you understand the general concept, but just to further that, here’s a link to my SoundCloud, which will link you back to here, which links you to my SoundCloud. It’s like a Transmedia-ception.

I call FAKE!

 

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An emerging trend in the internet these days is fake and bias news. To be honest, I was absolutely awful with recognising any of it. I’d always click on “clickbait” because, hey, it sounded interesting. And I’d be reading some article about how Beyoncé was actually having an affair and she’s now a lesbian and I’m lapping this all up. Awesome, I think, as I click to the comments section because 1. there’s always good banter, and 2. I love watching people disagree online.

Fast forward to me reading through the comments, finding either two opinions from most commenters; 1. this is absolute baloney and we now hate whoever published it, or 2. we are shocked and pretty much believe the whole thing. I am number 2 (embarrassing). I consider myself pretty switched on, and with some ridiculous headlines that are completely legitimate these days, it’s super hard to determine what is and isn’t true or real.

So that’s the first issue, and if that isn’t hard enough, then there’s the issue of bias news (queue eye roll). In simple terms, because its even super hard for me to grasp let alone recognise, this means when the writer produces an article or story from a particular point of view. So the information you are delivered, is swung a certain way.

See for me, bias news is like absolutely impossible to recognise. Maybe I just assume people are good reporters and have no reason to report otherwise. But really, bias news is so influential nowadays because were taking opinionated and spun news as truthful and real. Low key brainwashing I’d like to say.

Okay maybe my video is an exaggeration, but then again, you’d be surprised. News and how it’s reported is dependent on many factors aside from just a reporter regurgitating what actually happened. Think of any scenario you have witnessed, others will have witnessed it differently and will recall it differently. But that’s not the issue at hand here. The real issue is that some people who support a certain agenda, will write to their agenda knowingly. A prime example is Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, who was a disbeliever about climate change. So therefore, all the news sources under his reign, were biased reporting on such occurrences. This then fed out to all the consumers of the news i.e. the public, who were mis or even uninformed about the whole issue.

But enough of the facts and boring stuff. Fake news is a prominent and emerging phenomenon, as is bias news. All readers should be aware of this and consume news knowing so. An informed reader will draw their own conclusions and be able to assess news accordingly. So please, be me (recovering uninformed news consumer) and start paying attention!

 

#DRAFTOURDAUGHTERS

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How memes changed the world in real-time.

This is perhaps one of the most random, yet low-key phenomenal, occurrences that has recently taken place purely  online. Surprisingly (but not actually) it involved the U.S. election. What was so amazing about “Draft Our Daughters” was the fact that is purely developed over the internet, the movement was organised and carried out completely online. Yet, the effects carried into real life, with the possibility that they did in fact swing, or at least affect, the election outcome.

Draft our Daughters came as a result of Hilary Clinton revealing that she supports women registering for their countries draft i.e. enlisting for the military. A Trump supporter posted a ridiculous meme on Twitter,

 

basically mocking Clinton. This seemed to sit well with fellow Trump supporters, who discussed this on 4CHAN. 4CHAN is an online forum type of platform, in which users are all anonymous and are given specific codes so they can be recognised during the conversing on the thread. They also have their country flag next to their anonymous code. Here’s the thing, there is no threading, they can reply to certain posts however. Another feature, they have no profiles, you cannot see their post history (i.e. what else they may be posting on) and possibly most importantly for me, they cannot directly message each other. So really, it’s just anonymous conversation where all is out in the open, and no-one will ever or can ever be revealed.

So this media space starts discussing the memes creation, and the genius behind it. The users start thinking about potential hashtags, creating more and more memes, ridiculing Hilary’s support for women enlisting. They use satirical captions, text that almost distorts Hilary’s actual view on the subject. This happened in real-time. People were posting in this thread, asking for feedback before releasing their creations into the wider web.

Concepts were discussed through the thread, they were sharing a logo, even a font, and even discussed colours text should be in. Slogans were created too. So this was being created as it was released in a more public domain. The anonymity of the thread helped many users to become involved as thoughts, ideas, and creations could be criticised without being connected to a certain individual or persona. In other words, your meme could’ve sucked, but no-one would ever know it was yours.

Eventually, the hashtag #draftourdaughters was created. Many memes were posted on Twitter and some on Facebook. The collective intelligence allowed for a professional look, the real logo and the similarity of each meme meant they appeared as if they were really from Clinton’s campaign. Even those memes which did appear quite harsh, with black humour which could be recognised as not legitimate for Hilary’s campaign, still caused their consumers to second guess what Hilary’s support of enlisting women really meant.

This all occurred in October, very close to the election day. Of course, it is impossible to distinguish a link between consumers of this campaign and if their vote was effected. However, from a personal point of view, users who mainly source their opinions and values through the internet I believe would’ve been highly likely to have been swung, effected, or even just second guess themselves after being exposed to this propaganda at such rapid and constant rates.

So after all that, there’s a prime example of how memes really can change the world. Or even change how we think or how we interpret information.

P.S. Another example memes effect on society and of the use of 4CHAN here is the bendable iphone movement.

Changing the World, One Meme at a Time

Contrary to legacy media, memes are unstructured, easy to make, and in most cases do not require a large cost, or risk a large amount of failure. They are widely consumed, easily consumed, and if are not consumed, do not suffer from vast ramifications.

Quick side note, this post is purely my opinion on memes and my experience with them, melded together with what my tutors and lecturers have told me. Okay, unpause, continue article.

Personally, I associate memes with humour, whether dark or lighthearted, well thought through or simple Neanderthal jokes, they all strike a funny bone in my body. Before taking the course I’m now taking, that’s all they were to me; a regurgitated idea presented in a creative, simple manner, and were able to be quickly consumed. Nowadays, I think quite similarly, except I add one more element, that they in some way affect your method of thinking. Not in a crazy, trying to change the whole world in a 5 line string of words way, but in a sneaky, dark alleyway sense. Okay not that dark, but in a concealed way. In a way in which you come across election memes 3 times a minute, and don’t realise the effect they are having on you. You see, before this course, what pretty much never crossed my mind was just how effective memes really are.

Picture this, you’re scrolling down your news feed and you see a meme about an issue you have little to no side on. You read it, have a laugh, or show a friend, and then keep scrolling. Doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but slowly more and more memes about the same issue come up. And suddenly without knowing it, you slowly begin to take a stance on the issue. You start scrolling through the comments, engaging in debate on the issue. Or maybe you stay on the fence, but still take memes as “real” information, legit information that helps you build a backbone for both sides of the argument.

To me, memes work like advertisements, except simpler and not always intentional. But they are similar in the sense that our overexposure of certain issues means we subconsciously dedicate brain space to them. Much like you remember certain catchphrases to ads, you too remember certain memes and therefore issues you may not have exposure or interest in, you are almost unwarily being subjected to.

So really, after all this waffle about memes are how they low-key affect you, I’ll leave you in suspense for my next post; a clear example of how memes really did change the world in real-time.

P.S. it has to do with the American election and I promise you it’ll interest you as much as it interested me.

The Most Interesting Man In The World - what if i told you memes are changing the world around us

Chat Apps as Media Outlets

Contemporary society is constantly changing. Media sources must recognise this in order to maintain a far reach and widespread audience. Recent trends have seen online user popularity venture towards Chat apps, a change from previous successes of social media alone. These apps include Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, along with other similar apps such as WeChat which took off in countries like Japan and took the audience before the more recent apps could (Evans, 2015 p.67).

The podcast in this link endeavours to describe the change of journalistic practices:

#197 – Solutions journalism: Recipe for engaging local communities

In regard to news, it is the adaptation to “go where your audience is” (Evans, 2015 p.68) which has seen the shift of news outlets using chat apps to reach audiences. These platforms however, are more useful for local news and smaller, contained audiences. It is difficult to handle more than 1,000 odd users in a chat room scenario, and this does prove as a limitation. Those hoping to harness tens of thousands of users may have trouble with resourcing this. But for smaller media sources, a niche group of loyal users attributes to success.

The Ebola WhatsApp project is a prime example of the success of such an endeavour. The BBC were able to distribute information to 20,000 subscribers, many of which were from West Africa. Despite the staggering numbers, they were able to contain this and inform individuals of the latest public health concerns within their regions. Aside from this, it also allowed users to pass on information they had, to the news corporation.

This two way relationship harnesses the idea of everyday individuals as journalists. Not only are we consuming the news, we are creating and contributing to it. It is an easier way for members of the public to share minor bits of information that may contribute in major ways to a story. A limitation of this is that the validity of the information should be confirmed before being widespread shared.

Snapchat’s launch of the “Discover” feature saw widespread success in January 2015 (Lichterman, 2015).  This was short lived and lasted 3 months before a decline in interest (Evans, 2015 p71). Since, it has become more accessible and visible, being viewed on the home page.

However news by the people and for the people is proving quite popular. Another feature of Snapchat, “Live Stories”, has taken off and continued to. It enables users within a certain vicinity to contribute to breaking stories or widely covered events. These include the American Election lead up and result, and ANZAC Day. Individuals may contribute to the coverage of these events if Snapchat approves so(Lichterman, 2015). Although this is an unconventional and sometimes colloquial way of providing information, it does inform the public to an extent.

Santiago Tarditi, an international editor at Fusion (one of the companies that features on Snapchat Discover), believes that “what this has taught us is that our content no longer has to be fed in the traditional way.” We see that news consumption is often easier when it is available on Apps which are already part of our daily routine. We are not seeking the news, it is coming to where we are. This many be difficult for a journalist to have to learn and relearn, but in order to gain, engage, and keep their audiences this is an important innovation.

 

Bibliography

Posetti, J., Lu, A., Evans, J., Cherubini, F., Waldhorn, A., McHugh, S. and Veseling, B. (2015). Trends in Newsrooms. 1st ed. Frankfurt: WAN-IFRA, pp.67-76.

Lichterman, J. (2015). Snapchat stories: Here’s how 6 news orgs are thinking about the chat app. [online] Nieman Lab. Available at: http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/02/snapchat-stories-heres-how-6-news-orgs-are-thinking-about-the-chat-app/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2016].