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.

EVOLUTION BRINGS NEW TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP?- COMPUTER LOVE

The notion of ‘the internet of things’ or otherwise known as IOT has allowed me to understand humanity’s relationship with technology. Funded in 1999, with the work of two Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] research labs: the Auto-ID Center and the MIT Media Lab the term defines the way objects are gaining a connection with humans. When I say connection, I mean it in the most literal sense.

It’s the one you spend time with with more than any other and has intensified even more over the years that you’ve grown together. When you’ve had a bad day it’s the one you turn to. You take your anger out on it but you’re willing to spend as much time trying to fix things. They’re there for you morning, noon and night. They’re your computers, your internet, your phones, your technological devices.

The question is … how serious can this relationship be?

Robert Weiss, sex and relationship expert says a man really can fall in love with a computer and have a healthy relationship. Personally, I don’t reject this idea entirely. As he argues this IS ‘evolution’ and the more we rely on our devices the more comfortable and happy we become.

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However, from the perspective of our devices love is more than likely not on the cards. How could it be? When all we are to them is a data stream. Yes, they aggregate the information WE give them. Essentially all this means is that the device is a good listener (if only all significant others worked this way) and has a continuous collection of who we are where we are and what is happening.

What does IOT mean for the future of human social interaction and experience of place? As Weiss (2014) argues relationships mean different things to different people. I am a true believer of an open mind and if this ‘evolution’ brings a new type of relationship along with Generation Z’s labels of Gen WII and iGeneration then I am willing to support this.

No matter how big or small, OPM or Bieber

The idea of ‘hacking’ in cyberspace where content is constantly accumulating our online identities is one scary thought. Put it this way, how do you legislate a hacker who is essentially one step ahead of you in terms of technological advancement? According to Apple’s senior vice president Jeffery Williams distributed network control over the ‘bad guys’- hackers is a ‘faulty assumption’.

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We are living in 2015 where scandals that data is leaked online are happening everyday. This idea highlights what Ted (2015) argues is an ‘unpredicted situation’, when nodes are in control and broadcasting to an entire network. We don’t know which direction it can take us, therefore cybersecurity and government control is essentially… meaningless. Take the recent OPM breach that resulted in millions of people having their personal information exposed or there’s the attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network where 24.6 million customers’ private data was stolen, or compare those with Justin Bieber’s recent nude photo scandal. They all pose similar concerns. The right to privacy no longer exists and I believe this is because there just isn’t enough focus on the attacker themselves. In saying that, the online security sector so far this year has said to have raised more than $2.3 billion. However, the real question is why do the majority of us feel so safe when in fact the large volume of data that makes up our online identity is at risk?

I like idea of our new community being the metaphor of the electronic frontier. Where the people populating cyberspace are the cowboys. There is something legendary about being in the midst of a new frontier. We are experiencing a space where anything and everything is possible and that often means crime is involved. Cybercrime to be exact.

Something I strongly believe government’s need to put into place is a transparent model of the internet. Whereby, hackers are so purposefully exposed that the term no longer exists. Nonetheless, no matter how big or small, OPM or Bieber, negative or positive the hacking world is one that simply throws our distributed network into a spin and it’s something only the new frontier can bring.

This video brings together both the good and bad of hacking that I have addressed in my last two blogs and as a result uses the statement ‘hacker rehab’! Have a look !

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

SUPERHUMAN knowledge workers in the world of cyberspace

Liquid labour: global media industries and the costs of immaterial production

First, telegraph to cyberspace and next the fundamental changes in the global perception of culture and daily life. In 1969 when Peter Ducker coined the term ‘knowledge worker’ there would be little to no expectation that the industries of the future would change from manual workers to knowledge workers but in fact this concept changed the practical foundation of modern day businesses.

Why has this only happened now? The answer is hidden within microelectronics and software-based communication technologies. Bradwell (2008) has identified this formed relationship within the ‘increasing importance and visibility of social networks at work’. These networks are powering everything from professional service firms to at home businesses. I say this with first-hand experience as I witnessed an international cake maker (and my neighbour- Verusca Walker) give up her fundamental job of working or should I say the physical concept of walking into a workplace to becoming a networking capitalist online or in other words a ‘Youtuber’. She has utilised the fact social media is ‘cheaper, faster and more widespread’ (Bradwell, 2008) to promote her work. Taking advantage of the way social networks are constructed and therefore embracing the connections it allows her to ‘share’ her work.

This is the new era which utilizing social networking to promote businesses can lead to the entire business being moved online. This seems like a great idea, right? Not only distributing and controlling information through our own computers but being products of platforms like Google. We are the surplus value, the connectors keeping the information flowing. Ideal? Not so much. It is argued that we are blurring the borders between work and leisure and implementing homogenization in our use of cyberspace.

However, I say blur these borders. Witnessing my neighbor utilizing the new paradigm, the internet and changing from physically flying overseas every few weeks to now (literally) rolling out of bed to her kitchen to film Youtube tutorials and get paid by the platform is a framework for the ideal framework of our era of information flow. Who knows, one day we might all be knowledge workers in the world of cyberspace. Sounds superhuman !

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This video compares the way we interact with social media like the effects of a drug.

‘Changed our verbal communication with increased separation’

References:

Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)File

Cyberspace: the effects on the future of physical communication

Understanding the network society paradigm

Cyberspace is recreating our world’s social structure. Who shapes cyberspace? We do. It is said by Castells (2004) to be ‘microelectronics and software-based communication technologies’. Simply, our communication networks are powered by technology. The fact that it is universal means we as humans are redefining ‘freedom, structures of self government, definition of property, nature of competition, conditions for cooperation, sense of community and nature of progress’ Dyson (1994). This all sounds liberating, however, in this blog I’m going to reveal the negative effects of a distributed network flow.

“Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here”.- Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of CyberspaceURL

The thing is we don’t know who is shaping this new and rapidly rising communication paradigm. We are all nodes at the end of the network, broadcasting to the entire world. So when this is the case how do we preserve the information flows? As Barlow (1996) expresses there is ‘no elected government’ in cyberspace, therefore we are condemned to a network of freedom and exist as one big happy family, right? Wrong. According to the ‘The Innovation of Loneliness (2003) looking pragmatically on this idea of the online social network will show we are all headed for a lonely life. This is because an unnoticed demand is placed on people to have a ‘social’ networking life. We are sacrificing our physical interaction for the mere feeling of connection through media platforms.

Let me show you what the video says about this new civilisation:

-it can’t be compared to a conversation which takes place in real time

-you can control what you’re about to say

-we edit ourselves

-we are obsessed with self promotion

In terms of social media, we are shaping a new world. Castells (2004) says because of this idea networks matter as they are the ‘underlying structure of our lives’. This may be true in the life of cyberspace however there are social implications in real life. ‘The Innovation of Loneliness talks about the notion ‘I share, therefore I am’ where we are slipping into the feeling of connection through networking online. We expect so much from technology that we believe the connection will make us less lonely when in fact in the end ‘we are ONLY going to know how to be lonely’….

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References: 

Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of CyberspaceURL

Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224

Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. (1994) Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age

YouTube,. ‘The Innovation Of Loneliness’. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.