INSTAGRAM INTERACTION- FINAL

In the digital era, audience studies are important in terms of space. This is because, along with seeing your audience as a market you are able to measure the dimensions of place between media and reality. I wished to further research this concept through the eyes of the Instagram square, I called this ‘Instagram Interaction’. Whereby I researched social marketing and construction whilst using my own experience with this platform as an example.

Instagram is a platform that keeps a portfolio of photo memories along with users’ tagged locations and a feed of continually streamed photos, thus being a perfect content analysis for research narratives and space over time. As mentioned in my first post, exploring the distortions and limitations of reality that images in the 612 x 612 pixels square can achieve would further my understanding of the relationship place has on audiences.

Essentially, these photographs sum up my project.

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To begin my research, I wanted to understand how the audience as a market, effects the space between reality and most Instagram posts. Instagram is said by Villegas (2015) to be a ‘social movement that will increase your customer base and your social media engagement.’ However, one of the main ideas addressed in Villegas’s blog post is that sponsored posts are a powerful tool for marketing. She states ‘sponsored posts on Instagram come across as organic and relevant’. The ‘comes across’ space between audience and reality or truth is what I explored in my research.

This idea allowed me to want to further understand the realistic aspect of place addressed in deGuzman and Crawford (2013) ‘I forgot my phone’.

In order to achieve this, I went a week without Instagram. As addressed in my second post, this was more difficult than expected. An attachment to instant gratification and social approval is something that was evident the more I limited myself. Exploring this place allowed me to understand the reality that Instagram is able to distort.

Coinciding with this, to explore the ‘comes across’ dimension I used content analysis on my own Instagram account. Using five of my previously posted photos, I critically analysed them in terms of ‘what Instagram sees’ (the distorted space) and ‘what Instagram doesn’t see’ (the reality). Exploring these photos in depth allowed me to understand the lies, edits and practical truths behind them.  In terms of the photo itself, researching the way we can distort the image gave me an understanding that the audience can see something entirely different. From a photography perspective Caruana and Fox (2012) explore dynamic bodies of work that bring new dimensions to images. Similarly, Instagram provides tools that contribute to the act of distortion, Hochman and Manovich (2013) call these ‘manipulation tools’. For example, cropping, straightening, captioning, filtering and adding a location all change the message communicated to your audience in which Instagram stores as a memory. Hochman and Manovich (2013) argue that ‘each filter evokes a different “feel’’ and that ‘while taking a photo of a specific time and place, we apply a filter to it to suggest a different time or atmosphere’. This is shown in the analysis of my own Instagram account, whereby certain atmospheres and times of day weren’t truthfully conveyed through the photoScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 1.40.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 1.40.18 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 1.40.29 PM

With the emergence of the ‘attention based economy’ people have become more distracted than ever before. Therefore, we are living in a world where instant gratification defines our use of social media. Not being completely understanding of our distractedness in relation to the truth of an image could have negative effects on individuals. In terms of the distorted space versus reality, how does this affect the audience? Sunstrum (2015) argues that ‘because of this strict control of the way we are viewed, we are often fooled into believing other people’s lives are much better than our own.’ Overall, this can be seen as a problem in for the future of the structure of Instagram due to the negative implications for the audience arising when a dimension of an image is distorted.

Information about the research behind this project:

The form of research in which I carried out myself was a content analysis of my Instagram account. A qualitative form of research that allowed me to understand in greater detail the secondary research I had formed.  In order to convince media industries or stakeholder groups further research into the area of image distortion would help create an understanding of the truth about misrepresentation involved in the Instagram square.

How can these stories be used effectively?

From the research I have gathered above and the issues which have evolved from our addiction to social approval and image distortion I believe there needs to be a platform in which social media has no social status component, no likes and no editing tools. One of which people are able to express their own true lives with an inevitably raw feature. I believe this would be a great approach to assisting people in the natural aspect of social media. This is because we wouldn’t be able to see those with the most Instagram followers and base our opinions on the products they are promoting purely off their status. We would have to use our OWN minds, how scary.

References

Caruana, N. and Fox, A. (2012). Basics Creative Photography. 1000 Lausanne: Ava Publishing SA.

deGuzman, C. and Crawford, M. (2013). I forgot my phone. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].

Hochman, N. and Manovich, L. (2013). Zooming into an Instagram City: Reading the local through social media. First Monday, 18(7).

Sunstrum, K. (2015). How Social Media Affects Our Self-Perception. [Blog] The world of Psychology. Available at: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/14/how-social-media-affects-our-self-perception/ [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].

Villegas, F. (2015). Ten Reasons to Adopt Instagram as a Marketing Tool. [online] LevelTen Dallas, TX. Available at: http://getlevelten.com/blog/felipa-villegas/ten-reasons-adopt-instagram-marketing-tool [Accessed 1 Nov. 2015].

MEASURING THE SPACE BETWEEN INSTAGRAM AND REAL LIFE- PART TWO

As part of my final compilation post for BCM240 I decided to restrict myself from the use of social media (especially Instagram and Facebook).

This may be seen as an unambiguous way to finalise a research project, it will all become clearer in my concluding reflection post.

However, this mode of research is a big part of my study. As previously addressed in PART ONE of my research the ‘big social media players’ in my life are there as an effective way to boost my ego. In saying this, to round up my project ‘Instagram Interaction’ I wanted to draw myself away from the platform.

This may not seem like a large measure to take in terms of research, however when I checked the statistics of my social media use I was proven otherwise.  I have used an app called Followers+ which tells you the analytics of your Instagram account. I was very much surprised to see that I had uploaded 3.1 photos per week.

With this information I decided that I wanted to break from this idea of social approval and addiction to social media for at least one week to experience the space between Instagram and real life.

RESULTS

Every living day the moment I wake I turn to my charging Iphone, unlock it and begin checking every single social media account I have. Beginning with the most influential social media platform in my life, Instagram. Taking myself away from this luxury was seemingly difficult. Despite making sure I restricted myself from uploading posts, I still found myself wanting to scroll through the thousands and thousands of photos posted everyday.

The overall momentum was this anxious feeling of me wanting to continue to use the app whenever I was bored, alone or just plain had a moment to spare (how wasteful when you think about it ).

This mini research ties in with my project as it helped me understand ‘Instagram Interaction’ from the dimension of the audience or from those who perceive. I realise from this that I have an addiction to the luxury, successful and painted lives that people live in the small window that we see through the Instagram square.

What I mean by ‘the dimensions of the instagram square’…

The 612 by 612 pixels square that we all see everyday of our lives. What is the true meaning of this space and the limits of what we don’t see beyond the square?  

These are all examples of my own Instagram posts, they are here to support my argument of ‘Instagram Interaction’.

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  1. WHAT INSTAGRAM SEES: 

A perfectly (strategically) neat set out table of food, with the right amount of lighting.

WHAT INSTAGRAM DOESN’T SEE: 

The ‘holiday’ referred to in the caption was in fact one of the worst I’ve had. Terrible, terrible storms forced us to stay inside the whole time. Not to mention the lighting only looks good because there’s a filter making it brighter.

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(I am hesitant to categorise this photo with the rest as Italy truly is beautiful, however there really is more than meets the Instagram square)

2.  WHAT INSTAGRAM SEES: 

The most beautiful angle in Italy. Sitting in a gondola, lapping up the sun, whilst peering out at some of the oldest buildings in the city of Venice.

WHAT INSTAGRAM DOESN’T SEE: 

Weather 40+ degrees

Disgusting smell

Gross water

Packed and crowded streets

There is one thing to note that throughout this entire gondola ride, although looking back now is very much appreciated, was spent wishing we could get off because the sun and heat was overbearing. It was also cut short because of this.

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3. WHAT INSTAGRAM SEES: 

A seemingly candid photo that has my arm, a watermelon juice and my contiki booklet all sprawled out on a colourful sarong. So naturally beautiful, right?

WHAT INSTAGRAM DOESN’T SEE: 

Wrong. My watermelon juice went warm within minutes of being in the 37 degree heat. I was burnt within seconds. It was windy that day so when I lay down the sand whipped me and lastly I took over 20 photos all whilst trying to avoid other beach goers catching me out. I stayed for literally 5 minutes. Throw a filter over the top and all appears fine.

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4. WHAT INSTAGRAM SEES: 

Square aesthetics featuring my legs, so creative..

WHAT INSTAGRAM DOESN’T SEE: 

This was inside a dingy bar’s bathroom.

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5. WHAT INSTAGRAM SEES: 

Beautiful blue skies, nails elongating my fingers and a generic Voss bottle filled with fruit.

WHAT INSTAGRAM DOESN’T SEE: 

I was laying on my driveway between my cars, the nail that appears in the photo was the only one that looked this good, it was a hot day so the water went warm and by the time I got halfway through drinking it the fruit tasted horrible inside the bottle.

As you can see with the above examples the Instagram square can easily block the space between reality.

MY BCM240 RESEARCH- PART ONE

Title… 

INSTAGRAM INTERACTION

This is an insight into the thoughts behind the structure of my digital storytelling project for BCM240.

My first thoughts…

The project began when I started to think about what media, audience and place means to me personally. I realised in terms of media, that my ideas are changing. The reason the once ‘big social media players’ in my life were there were to boost my ego. It was a new and exciting way to distort an image the way I wanted my audience to see it. It is said by Lasen and Gomez-Cruz that the convergence of digital cameras has contributed to the ‘redefinition of public and private and the transformation of their boundaries’. I want to build on this thought by looking at my own photo posts on Instagram and explaining the truth behind what I felt at that time, where I was and when, how I was positioned and why I posted the photo at that moment.

This idea stemmed from…

There are a number of other ideas that have influenced this form of research. Here are some…

1.’The ‘Truth’ Behind Those Amazing Instagram Pics. Can You Handle This?’
http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/the-truth-behind-those-amazing-instagram-pics-can-you-handle-this-1217927

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This is an example of the photo series which takes a look into the small Instagram window which we peer into people’s lives everyday.

2. Basics Creative Photography 03: Behind the Image: Research in Photography
 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Basics-Creative-Photography-03-Research/dp/2940411662

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My inspiration came when I read the statement ‘Through reflection and evaluation we look at how all aspects of research can contribute to the realization of a dynamic body of work that brings a whole new dimension to an image’

3. I think this GIF is self explanatory..

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4.  Looking at the meaning of Instagram: Mini-documentary
 http://connect.dpreview.com/post/1219456590/mini-do-instagram-is

Lastly, this mini documentary is probably the biggest influence to my idea. It is an insight into why people use Instagram as a way to ‘connect to the world and each other’.

The theme for this project…

The theme of this project is the influence spatiality has on the dimension of an image and how in turn this effects the way an audience perceives this image.

Let me know in the comments what you think about this idea or any alterations I could make 🙂

BCM240 REFLECTION ON BLOGGING

Last year, if you were to take one glance at my online writing skills as a first year journalism and media and communications student you would have cringed. As insightful as they were, there was no depth or evidence within my blog posts and the worst part of all…I had no voice. This blog post is going to reflect the progress of me finding my blogging identity over the past few weeks.

The more immersed I became in my digital media subjects, the more I began to learn the logistics behind blogging, developing an online presence and connecting with audiences. Connecting with audiences has been my most major goal this semester due to contributing to my digital artefact on Youtube vlogging. It was during this experience that I began reading article upon article in order to find what was restricting my blogs. I came across this style guide by mail chimp. Although excessive for a student blogger, there are valid points addressed. The blog helped me in finding what style of voice in which I wished to convey. Knowing the exact style and a way to describe the way my work sounds has helped me to sustain it. I believe that the best part about my writing voice would be honesty, approachability and I would hope it is somewhat informative. I learnt that having a voice can also attract certain niche audiences which works in your favour as a blogger.

Another element I believe has shaped my blogging experienced is the way I have made myself love the lecture content by applying it to things I enjoy. It is easy to write about things you care about, therefore when integrating it with the BCM240 lecture information makes it much easier to put it into practice. This is evident in my blog post which I used my favourite hobby, Yoga, as a contrast of multitasking in a world where technological devices are providing us with ways to fit more into our lives. As we are currently studying the ethnographic research behind new media I was able to explore other corners of the blogosphere. This meant understanding the findings behind ideas such as space and censorship in ways which I would have never thought of. Keeping an open mind when blogging always helps when it is conveyed to the audience.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT A BLOG POST IS AND YOU’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS CLICK HERE. 

Blogging is a two-way experience, this means the writer corresponds with their audience and the audience reflects for the writer, this is seen when readers leave comments. I am one to take criticism to heart and one thing I have learnt since blogging for BCM is to change this by taking criticism constructively, as this is a big part of successful blogging.  The fact of the matter is, as an online blogger you’re instantly open to criticism through your comment sections on your social media pages. This blog post allowed me to understand that ‘honest feedback’ is beneficial as it strengthens the bond you have with your readers. I applied it when reading my comments as it allowed me to adapt on the necessary changes along with noting the things I did successfully, even if it meant asking people in the comments what they meant.

Another big contributing factor to my progress of finding my blogging identity was marketing your blog across all media platforms. Whether it be through linking or hashtagging I learnt through this blog post that each platform has a way of promoting content that you must take into consideration. It suggests sharing important tweets four times a day in order to cover these time differences and works across all platforms. With experience in Youtube I have found no issue with the marketing side of the platform however since blogging realized this is proven a lot more difficult. I believe this comes back to the fact we live in an attention deficit economy where time is valuable. This is why generating engaging content when blogging is the key to success.

Lastly, the most effective practice I have used to form my online writing identity is reading out loud. What is worse than reading back on old work to find none of it made any sense? Your audience reading your new work and it doesn’t make any sense. One of my worst habits is being completely ambiguous. This is because I assume the audience has a pre-existing knowledge of what I am talking about. Therefore, when reading your writing aloud it helps to place you in your audience’s position. This particular blog has helped me achieve this. To conclude the blog in two short sentences ‘don’t confuse your reader stick to one idea at a time and round up your messages at the end.’. As we are researching the factors of the attention economy it is important to note that being concise in your wording is crucial. Readers will only read work depending on the substance of the content. That’s not to say a long blog post won’t be engaging, as long as the content makes sense to them.

Overall, my blogging experience for BCM240 has been exciting, I love being at the forefront of the new digital age. Every time I write a new blog I feel as if I learn more factors to improve on the one before. Learning my blogging voice was the first step to giving me confidence to explore the networking world further. I believe constructing an online identity is one of the most important aspects to high quality content that engages readers.  In saying this, there are obstacles, because as I mentioned this is concept is new. We are continually learning and that’s the exciting part about the online network. Blogging has allowed me to become a better writer and more aware of my online audience in a way that motivates me to take this into a career opportunity.

FREE TO SPEAK.. POLITELY

In a society where we depend on freedom of speech it’s almost impossible to think there are regulations restricting the things we watch. These restrictions are placed in order to have an affect on specific principles such as age or community concerns. Since identifying this, I wished to look further into the restrictions, the research behind these and how they’ve changed overtime.

Let’s flashback to the first signs of media regulation…

“We’re Having a Baby” by Eddie Canto

The BBC muted to the live broadcasted song due to the risk of objectionable lyrics. What were the lyrics..?

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Now we will focus back on modern media censorship…

In 2007 The FCC releases a report, “In the Matter of Violent Television and Its Impact on Children.”

The moral concerns about the effects of TV violence on children have always been debated throughout media history. This is due to ‘strong evidence that exposure to violence in the media can increase aggressive behaviour in children’.

This evidence shows just one principle of the social anxieties that lead to media censorship. However, in some cases we aren’t even aware of the threats that take place.

Let’s look further into these threats. Starting with an all time favourite cartoon that almost every child experiences at sometime in their life (unless censored by parents)… The Simpsons.

Coming across this Simpsons article on my Facebook newsfeed was entertaining to begin with until I realised it linked to the idea of global FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rules.

Click HERE for hidden Simpsons messages

As children we have innocent minds and these hidden messages are now quite revealing. Referring back to the idea of censored freedom of speech, there is a fine line between damaging content and content that allows Australians to speak freely. This is due to the restrictions in respect of statements that are ‘libellous or slanderous, in contempt of court, a breach of copyright, obscene or seditious, or that incite mutiny, commission a crime or disclose official secrets’. I believe this works in the same way as media censorship. We have the freedom to create content however there are always exceptions.

CLICK HERE TO HAVE A LOOK BACK ON THE TIMELINE OF MEDIA CENSORSHIP IN AUSTRALIA.

YOGA CLARITY MAKES A BUSY LIFESTYLE ALL TOO CLEAR

In today’s BUSY society we are living in a world where our time is valuable, we squeeze as much as we can into our days and the days are feeling shorter than ever. This means we prefer to get things done more quickly and this is also why ‘getting things done’ (GTD) has developed a new consumer market. Where apps and technological devices are focusing on more ways to use our time wisely thus fitting more into our days.

Today, I legitimately got up in the middle of a yoga class because of the anxiety and disconnection from my phone and with what I assumed was ‘important’ quickly wrote a ‘things to do’ in my notes. I don’t know about you, but I clearly struggle with the idea of yoga and its connection with clarity. With this occurring, I wanted to know how my mum acted in the same space (at yoga) with the same busy lifestyle. As a result, she suffered the same distracted mind, the clarity of yoga made our busy lifestyles all too clear. An article on ’how to improve concentration and mental clarity’ argues that ‘multitasking is a myth’. Once we reach beyond walking and talking ‘you are sacrificing the efficiency of one task for another’.

Nonetheless, we still TRY to multitask our lives through the connection we have with our digital devices and as if we don’t multitask enough, why not add a multitasking feature to the Ipad mini where ‘split screen’ is available to run two apps simultaneously.

WE ARE ALL GUILTY SO HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO STOP MULTITASKING AND START LIVING MINDFULLY

Both mum and I asked the question of whether or not multitasking is healthy for our lifestyles? A study found that University students ‘multitasking on a laptop is a distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to learning of classroom materials’. When we are outside of a learning space does this have the same effect? I believe yes, from my experience with clarity in yoga class proved how much it takes for me as a person to limit my tasks to one. I believe technology plays a large part in this as we never switch off from the tasks as we are targeted by markets to fit MORE into our devices. Therefore we will never escape, family, friends or work life because we carry them around in our pockets.

I FOUND THIS TED TALK BY Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try monotasking EXTREMELY RELEVANT

Perceived privacy in a public world

In today’s world, social media is impacting the way we socialise. We are living in a society where it’s understood that when a camera pointing at you no matter what footage it takes it is more than likely uploaded to a world wide audience.  I’m a sucker for sneakily filming friends and family and posting them online without permission, however when I look closely, there could be some ethical issues concerning privacy.

It is said by Lasen and Gomez-Cruz that the convergence of digital cameras has contributed to the ‘redefinition of public and private and the transformation of their boundaries’. This is true as we are living in a world where ephemeral platforms define the way we post content. Evolving with new technologies to hide behind ‘anonymous ways to share the secret stuff we’d never want linked to our names’. One example I believe has this feature is the way way we use or abuse the app Snapchat. Let’s pick out Snapchat’s main distinction from other platforms. Simply, you can send or receive videos or photos for less than ten seconds before they disappear. This is happening as our technology is advancing and therefore ‘phone etiquette has changed substantially due to their proliferation across ages, classes and geographies’. So our privacy is secure, right? Unfortunately, no, this is the danger in perceived privacy, we just aren’t aware of the amount of servers one photo transfers through just to reach the person you’re sending it.

The risk of perceived privacy is what has changed in the way we communicate through media technologies It has resulted in the blurring line between public and private spaces. Because we feel safe relying on their feature of anonymity it means we do not consider our online identity the same way we consider ourselves in the real world. Due to this it makes it difficult to monitor any unethical content due to it being a worldwide practice.

Check out how ‘private’ snapchat really is…

References:

Burkeman, Oliver. ‘Do The New Anonymous Social Media Apps Encourage Us To Overshare?’.the Guardian. N.p., 2014. Web. 2 Sept. 2015.

Lasén, Amparo, and Edgar Gómez-Cruz. ‘Digital Photography And Picture Sharing: Redefining The Public/Private Divide’. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 22.3 (2009): 205-215. Web.

‘The Top 5 New Rules Of Public Smartphone Etiquette.—FIVE THOT Discover Ideas, People, Views, Lifestyles And Business’. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.