Who’s To Blame?

So it seem like everyone lost their sh*t when Essena O’Neill ‘quit social media.’ In a vulnerable and honest youtube video she uploaded last week, the 19 year old confessed how ever since she was 12 years old, she’s been obsessed with being the ‘it’ girl. With hundreds of thousands of Instagram, Youtube and Facebook followers, O’Neill had it all. Or at least, she made it look like she had it all. She confesses to staging photos, not having to pay for designer clothes and being critical of her body and appearance, all to get the one good Instagram shot. The main message behind her ‘confession’ is Social Media is a Lie! But is it?

I’ve written about our portrayal of the ‘Ultimate Self’ here, expressing that we should be aiming to create more intimate and genuine connections with one another. And I genuinely believe that social media has the power and capacity to do this. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… these platforms have revolutionised the way in which we communicate and revolutionised our world. Literally! Twitter had immense mobilizing power during the Arab Spring and we see activism and hashtags crossing our screens daily, allowing us to speak up about issues that matter to us. So to hear the social media is a lie, is somewhat confronting and unnerving to myself as a content producer and a consumer of social media. I’m not defending social media or trying to attack Essena for her statements, but I think it’s important to think about what we can do as users of social media to create a better way of interacting with others and a more genuine and real world.

Self reflection is crucial. Source
Self reflection is crucial. Source

Self approval is the most important thing.

The world we live in is extremely judgemental. Whether we like it or not, we subconsciously judge people on what they wear, how they talk or the way they present themselves. We’re not going to be able to change that overnight. But the thing that we can change is the way we view ourselves. What’s the point in impressing others when we’re not truly content with ourselves? There is no point. If we constantly thrive off of societies approval, then we’re setting ourselves up for failure. And if, like me, you like running your ideas and thoughts by people, then make sure you surround yourself with people who share your values and are here to support you. Whether it’s a housemate, your Mum or your colleague, getting the approval from someone you truly know and care about is so genuine that it motivate you to keep going.

Be true to yourself. 

Stemming from self approval, is just being true to yourself. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves. Happiness is more than just an emotion, it’s a lifestyle. Doing things that make you happy, excited and full of life is so much more fulfilling than a superficial high that you get from likes. Stick to your values and know your limits but don’t be afraid to push them. At the end of the day, if you surround yourself with things that make you deeply happy, then you really can’t go wrong. Like the pictures says below ‘ let your smile change the world!’

Resilience and persistance are the key. Source
Resilience and persistence are the key. Source

Isn’t everything we see curated?

You don’t look up pictures of Paris and see it’s dark, dodgy and below average alleyways… you see the Eiffel Tower. Artists put their best work on display, musicians play their hits and we share our best photos. It’s not exactly something new that

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Life isn’t just a picture with a Valencia filter over it. Things go wrong. Life happens. And things certainly don’t go according to plan. Admitting that you may be struggling a little bit is the best way to ensure that you get the support that you need. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak or vulnerable. In fact, it means that you have the strength and bravery to work on yourself and seek to grow as a person.

With great power comes great responsibility.

To quote Spiderman here, with great power comes great responsibility. And not just social responsibility but personal responsibility to look after yourself. Following on from everything else I’ve covered, being true to yourself, surrounding yourself with positivity and accepting yourself for who you are. Social media is powerful so it only makes sense that people using it, use it with care.

Photography and social media should inspire creativity. Source
Photography and social media should inspire creativity. Source

So what does this have to do with social media?

Social media can either be a destructive or uniting force. It should be used to innovate, inspire and create. It’s a way of sharing our thoughts, opinions, emotions and values to our friends and the rest of the world. If we let ourselves get caught up in a superficial world of likes and editing the real you out of photos, we’re only setting ourselves up for failure. Through blogging and engaging in social media I’ve been able to not only express my ideas and connect with people across the world, but I’ve also been able to grow and evolve as a person.

It’s how we use it! 

But is social media really to blame here? Isn’t is us, as content creators, the ones abusing the power of social media? Are we the lie? Are we just trying to fit the mould of what society wants us to be at the price of our own happiness? Let’s use social media to our advantage. Let’s be strong together and create the change we want to see in the world. If we start with our own happiness, then it will be much easier to spread happiness and lead a fulfilling and genuine life.

Social media is only a lie, if we allow it to be.

Elocution is Dead: Impacts of the Internet

Satellites, ISIS and elocution are not some of the first things I usually think of when I think of the internet. But they sure are to my Grandad. Building on my Grandad’s experiences of television in the home during the 1960’s, naturally the next step is to discuss the weird and wonderful internet to find out what sparks Grandad’s curious minds.

Satellites are a cause for concern. Source
Satellites are a cause for concern. Source

To engage in a more collaborative research practice I started by asking my Grandad what aspect of the internet he was interested in or concerned about, which immediately sparked conversation to flow. I must admit I was quite surprised when he immediately said that he noticed the GPS in his new car receives information from a satellite owned by the US military, which raised multiple questions of security and privacy.

“If they took the satellite away, what would happen?”

This is a very appropriate question, given the changing nature of the internet and technology. As Grandad said ‘people run businesses and rely on the internet in their everyday lives,’ so if anything were to happen to a satellite, a server or network, what would we be left with? I don’t know the question to the future of the GPS and our reliance on technology, but here is a brief history of the GPS and the military’s involvement.

I then asked what concerned him about younger generations use of the internet as he has grandchildren between the age of 10-16. ‘I’ve already noticed that the internet has affected young people’s spelling, reading and speaking properly. Elocution is dead.’ He is extremely worried about the effects of being addicted to the internet and games, again, I’m sure many parents and grandparents resonate with these concerns.

Concerns with teenagers and their devices. Source
Concerns with teenagers and their devices. Source

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the internet. Yesterday, my beautiful cousin gave birth to a healthy little boy. She lives in Queensland yet in a matter of minutes, a picture was posted on Facebook and my grandparents were able to look at their beautiful new grandchild. This is one of the reasons that Grandad thinks ‘the internet is a terrific aid for anyone wanting access to information, to keep in touch with loved ones far and wide, and allowing people to run a business from home.’ Further research explains that ‘older citizens able and willing to use the internet to communicate with their families and friends, and to maintain their independence and personhood.’ (Xie, 2003), the main reason my Grandparents are online.

I think the general public is quick to assume that older generations are a bit behind when it comes to technology, and whilst Grandad admits to being a little confused with some technological process, I think they’re a lot more knowledgeable with technology than we’d like to admit.

Next time I’m visiting, I’ll definitely be more observant of when, how and why they use the internet. I believe to engage in more collaborative ethnographic research, I could do a cross-comparison of Grandad’s versus my internet habits and see what similarities and differences we have. Something I would be interested in doing in the future.

So, Grandad would like to leave you with some words of wisdom regarding teenagers using the internet in the home.

“You must use the internet in common rooms so we can keep an eye on you, and if you don’t like it then too bad. We’re only trying to look out for you.”

***

The following video explores how social media is affecting the youth of today.

The following video takes a light approach to whether or not the internet is making us smarter or dumber-er.

For more information on collaborative ethnographic research, check out the following posts

BCM Alison – Ethnographic Research and its Value https://ambcm.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/ethnographic-research-and-its-value/

Flog My Blog Was Already Taken – You’re Never Alone With Collaborative Ethnography https://flogmyblogwasalreadytaken.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/youre-never-alone-with-collaborative-ethnography/

References

Xie, B 2003, ‘Older Adults, Computers and the Internet: Future Directions’, Gerontechnology Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4, http://gerontechnology.info/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/gt.2003.02.04.002.00/288

The Power is in Your Hands

“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” – John F. Kennedy 

Sourced from xaxor.com
Sourced from xaxor.com

In the interconnected world of ‘collective intelligence,’ everyone has unique knowledge, ideas and concepts which they can use to develop an individual idea or improve another. “Once you start contributing and sharing and connecting with the work of those who connect with yours, you’re engaging in something called produsage (Stewart, 2012). Produsage is encompassed by a larger concept – Citizen Journalism.

Citizen Journalism is where any individual, regardless of training, knowledge, background or education can contribute towards the media. (Bruns, 2007) The positive aspect of this new wave of journalism, is that it allows individuals in the midst of the action to instantaneously document and broadcast crucial information from their mobile phones, tablets or cameras (Hogg, 2009). The role of  this participatory culture is exemplified through technology’s role in the Arab Spring, where Twitter and Facebook are acknowledged for their unparalleled advances in disseminating information” (Duffy, 2011). However, critics say that Citizen Journalism is biased and shows little understanding of the bigger picture. (Hogg, 2009)

Sourced from http://www.tamaleaver.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/produsage.jpg
Sourced from http://www.tamaleaver.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/produsage.jpg

Because Tinder is a closed source technology, there are limited opportunities for people to contribute to the collective intelligence and produsage. However, Tinder embraces the characteristics of produsage of ‘organisational shift’ and ‘unfinished’ (Bruns, 2007). The organisational shift encompasses the shift from technological professionals running the app, to a wider population able to make positive contributions. Users and critics are able to criticise, make suggestions and complaints, and although the user cannot amend it themselves, all feedback is taken into consideration. Because of this ‘organisational shift’ Tinder is in a way, ‘unfinished.’ Significant improvements to security have already been conducted as a result of people’s contribution and Tinder will continue to evolve, improve and modify its components to give its audience what they desire.

Produsage may not greatly affect Tinder, however, it has many effects on other components of our lives which influence our decisions and attitudes towards using apps like Tinder in the first place.

References

Bonnie Stewart, What Produsage is and why it Matters, http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2012/07/03/what-produsage-is-and-why-it-matters/,  July 2012, accessed 11/03/14

Matt J. Duffy, Smartphones in the Arab Spring, International Press Institute 2011 Report, http://www.academia.edu/1911044/Smartphones_in_the_Arab_Spring, 2011, accessed 13/04/14

Axel Bruns, Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation, page 4, http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6623/1/6623.pdf, 2007, accessed 11/04/14

Chris Hogg, Is There Creditability in Citizen Journalism? Digital Journal, http://digitaljournal.com/article/271657, May 2009, accessed 11/04/14

 

Be My Tinderella?

Swipe left, swipe right, swipe left, swipe right… Congratulations! You have 1 new match! 

Tinder Time
Property of Adelaide Haynes

Ever wanted the social life of being at a bar and flirting with countless attractive people from the comfort of your own bedroom?Well now you can with Tinder. Tinder is a dating app which uses your Facebook account and GPS location to search for others within proximity to you. On your profile you have; up to six photos (only your best ones), a small section to write something witty (if anyone asks, we met in a bar),  your age and Likes from Facebook. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go!

Wouldn't That Be Nice? Sourced from www.elle.com
Wouldn’t That Be Nice?
Sourced from http://www.elle.com

When you ‘play,’ you are presented with pictures of people in your surrounding area and you can either swipe left if you’re not interested, or right if you think they’re attractive. If someone likes you back, then you are ‘matched’ where you can then privately chat. Just sit back, relax and watch all the strange, boring, generic, quirky and cute messages flood in.

Although Tinder was created late 2012 by at the University of Southern California the  craze  captured audiences on a global level during 2013. With CEO, Sean Rad, not disclosing the amount of registered users, he has announced that Tinder has generated over 1billion matches worldwide (Ha, 14/03/14). There is approximately 10-20 thousand daily downloads and 60% of users checking it daily. With a unique approach to online dating, redefining our thoughts on casual sex and relationships(Bosker, 04/09/13). 

Social media apps, like Tinder are addictive, because of the rush of dopamine that is chemically released from your brain when you receive a like, comment or new notification (Weinschenk 11/09/12), thus fuelling the Tinder flame which has dominated the world. However, we’re constantly looking for a new craze, raising the question of how long Tinders success can last? The newest development is verified celebrity accounts, giving us mortals the opportunity to be matched celebrities within a 159km radius (Kleinman, 12/03/14). Tinder doesn’t really allow for much more development because of its simplicity and basic functioning, and eventually the craze will die, only to be replaced with something else for us prosumers to dive at.

Tinder has revolutionised the way in which we engage with others in a sexual/romantic way, allowing people to meet new and exciting, maybe a little creepy, people, boosts self confidence among users and allows people to fulfil certain needs and desires. Until the almost guaranteed extinguish of the Tinder Flame, keep on swiping.

***

 – Ha, Tech Crunch, 14/03/14, accessed 15/03/14, http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/tinder-1-billion-matches/

 – Bosker, The Huffington Post, “Why Tinder Has Us Addicted, 04/09/13, accessed 13/03/14, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/tinder-dating-app_n_3044472.html

– Weinshenk, Ph.D in Brain Wise, Psychology Today,  11/09/12, accessed 14/03/14, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/why-were-all-addicted-texts-twitter-and-google

 – Kleinman, The Huffington Post, 12/03/14, accessed 15/03/14, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/12/tinder-celebrities_n_4948249.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

 – Prosumers – “a consumer who becomes involved with designing or customizing products for their own needs” https://www.google.com.au/search? =define+prosumer&oq=define+prosumer&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.1950j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

– Julia Naughton, Tinder Takeover, Cosmopolitan, http://www.cosmopolitan.com.au/relationships/relationship-advice/2013/10/tinder-takeover/,  written 21/10/13, accessed 14/03/14

– Caroline Kent, Tinder Review : a woman’s perspective, The Telegraph, accessed 20/04/14 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/10317832/Tinder-review-a-womans-perspective.html