Click here to find out who has unfollowed you!

Want to see who your best friend is?

What celebrity do you look like?

Win a free $100 gift voucher in just 3 easy steps!

Want longer and healthier hair? This hair shampoo will do just that.

I could go on and on but I’m sure we have all seen ad’s or posts just like these within our feeds on social media. The examples above may be subjective to my own accounts but have you ever wondered why the links present on your feed are somewhat relatable?

Social media cites like Facebook filter through the thousands of potential posts and stories that could appear on your feed ‘and put those in the first few dozen slots that you’ll actually browse through’ based on your engagement with certain content online (Josh Constine blog Tech Crunch, 2016).

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Online Shopping by Thomas Morris (CC0 1.0)

Its not everyday that I mindlessly scroll through google looking for a new watch but the second i do, the adds shadowing my social media accounts all feature the brands I looked at. Within moments my feed is almost filtered to my search engine and yet its only just occurring to me that this is a form of surveillance.

As an example, Daniel Trottier makes a point that ‘Facebook is contextual. Users make themselves visible by sharing information with others at a specific moment. But these moments add up, and a vast presence is accumulated’ (Trottier, 2016).

Social media cites filter through the information we all search and engage with while we are online, creating a web of links and posts that we may be interested in. These cites select the most relevant that then appear in our news feeds but who decides what appears on our news feeds?

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Dlibrary by Mossman Library (CC BY 2.0)

Its not to say there is a room full of people analyzing each users actions but the internet in itself is a network constantly filtering and monitoring data. Our online activity is linked with our internet usage, especially if we are using the same devices. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘our phones are listening’ but in this case they actually are.

Some of the communications from our social networks we don’t notice until we receive a notification. Whether you’re like me and used to actually select the links that would potentially show you which of your friends online you would live with (I was 13 ming you), or acknowledge the timeline notifications from your Twitter account, we all create and engage with the content present online.

From this we can look at online surveillance as an addition to our online experiences. Social media is somewhat catered to our individual interests and interactions thus making it all the more personal.

 

References:

  • Constine, D., 2016, How Facebook Newsfeed Works, WordPress Blog – TechCrunch, retrieved 28 August 2017, https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/06/ultimate-guide-to-the-news-feed/
  • Dlibrary by Mossman Library (CC BY 2.0)
  • McKinley A. and Starkey K. Foucault, Management and Organisational Theory, retrieved 28 August 2017, https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_9rD1AP6UsYC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=the+panopticon&ots=V4wrLy_RfX&sig=5DBKHat3w5e8EPFM_XpEIyaBGao#v=onepage&q=the%20panopticon&f=false
  • Online Shopping by Thomas Morris (CC0 1.0)
  • Trottier, D., 2012, Social Media as Surveillance : Rethinking Visibility in a Converging World, Taylor and Francis, ProQuest Ebook Central, Created from deakin on 2017-09-07 19:27:03.
  • 32/365 Status Update by Joe Lodge (CC BY 2.0)
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OMG, I’ve been hacked!

Okay so I have never been hacked but now that I have your attention what is it about hacking that is so alarming and pulled you in? Forgiving the click bait, let’s consider this..

Andrew Koubaridis highlights the fact that ‘one in five Australians have had their personal information misused and 10 percent have experienced this in the past year’ falling victim to identity crime from computer hacking (Koubaridis 2014, news.com). One in five doesn’t seem like a lot but considering that’s approximately 4, 860, 000 million people all having had their online identities manipulated, there has to be something they are all doing that somewhat aligns to their vulnerability in the digital world.

Is it that we as online users are just comfortable sharing information about our everyday lives without considering that the things we share could possibly enable someone to have access to our accounts. To test this, I took to my peers to see just how much information we share online without considering the exposure we are granting.

Even with the results from my classmates, the information speaks for itself. Whether more people had voted that they share their birthdays or contacts more than they do their  photo’s throughout the day, we as active users in media culture share more than enough information about ourselves that invites other users into our worlds without having to give permission. So why is it that when another individual has complete access to let’s say our Facebook account, one would feel exposed?

John Hacking by Kevin Teague (CC BY 2.0)

John Hacking‘ by Kevin Teague (CC BY 2.0)

Hacking in itself can be seen as obtaining unauthorised access to data and information, someone else having power over your media and content. The idea of someone sitting in front of one or multiple screens having the power to post on your feed, see the pictures you archived or the conversations between you and a classmate about the significance of potato diets is unnerving. A breach of privacy, ‘the freedom from observation and/ or intrusion,’ something we all implicitly value (Cinque 2015, p.185).

Roger Clarke’s dissects the importance of privacy, acknowledging that people need ‘private space.., need to be free to behave and associate with others…, free to innovate…, to think’ (Clarke 2007, p.3-4 cited in Cinque 2015, p.190). Subconsciously we engage with media expecting these circumstance that surveillance ultimately trumps. There is no private space, no room to communicate or think. No freedom to be yourself but do we enable such intrusion?

Koubaridis goes on to give advise on protecting ones self online including that of taking ‘extreme care if placing personal details such as date of birth, address, phone contacts or educational details on your profile’ (Koubaridis 2014, news.com). These adjustments to online profiles can heighten the chances of maintaining privacy online.

I couldn’t help assessing my online presence after reading these facts and realising that my birthday, location and educational details are evident on my profiles at first glance. As one of millions of digital natives, I am more inclined to just share information like my birthday thinking its general information before considering the risks of being vulnerable online.

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Michelle Sibanda Twitter by Michelle Sibanda (retrieved 3 August 2017)

As I take the next few moments to edit my profile seeing as I still stand by not having been hacked thus far, what are you sharing online that allows others to surveil you without having to literally hack into your account?

 

References

Who am I?

Who are you?

 

How do you want the world to see you?

Creatively

What are you passionate about?

Communication

What can you offer the world?

Diversity

Do these things feature in your current online branding?

 

Answering the previous questions in one word is harder than it looks. Constantly the notion of branding yourself online is illustrated as showcasing your online identity and looking into my presence online that’s not obvious. I’ve mostly skated around the notion of establishing a brand for myself and more so just engaged in a number of social media sites mixing, blending and publishing bits and pieces.

The first question remains unanswered and I think that is because I simply cannot answer it whilst building my online brand. In the process of creatively showing the world who I am, expressing my passion for communications and offering diversity to the world we live in, I can come back to square one and answer who I am.

Creatively, I want to work on more projects that capture the various aspects of life that drive my motivation towards media culture and communication. Going beyond my presence online now and establishing my strengths, I want to build my brand through my work.

Through communication, I want to improve the ways in which I share these projects, ideas, and knowledge with others through spoken, visual and written form. Communication goes beyond conversation and the messages we send between one another so why not utilise these methods to illustrate my ideas.

Diversity runs beyond my personal background and experiences, but also the environment in which I am immersed in. Exploring the culture, society and multiculturalism within everyday life and media culture is something I am a proud advocate of. Translating this to my online brand puts me a step closer to establishing ‘who I am’.

In the midst of all this, I need to locate the thesaurus to find a killer word once I can answer this question.

Social Movements; trend is change

Finding inspiration for my video started in a blur. A spiel about the contributions of social movements in society did not seem engaging enough for a seven minute video. I began this process by thinking about my participation in any social change actions or causes. Lets just say it was minimal.

Taking to scholarly sources, the notion of slacktivism stuck out to me. A partial reason why I never felt compelled to join and be a part of social movements was due to the element of neglect to the real cause and joining a trend because everyone was doing it. Kony 2012, Pray for Paris, #MarriageEquality, #IStandforAhmed, are just a few examples of social movements that took over the internet through social media in their time. Not to say I didn’t care about the issues being addressed but changing my profile picture to have a red, white and blue filter felt like an inadequate action in a movement.

Some of the most popular social media driven movements took place in the last five years, specifically the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014. Going Viral, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge made its mark on all primary social media platforms with people nominating and donating to the cause at every turn. I however avoided being doused in water and ice, until now.

The ideas of my video surrounded that of the Ice Bucket Challenge, understanding the trend and drive of such a large movement from a few simple instructions. Step one was to complete the challenge for myself, ultimately engaging with the topic. The inclusion of this footage was a highlight in the creative process of the video, a true test of my navigation around audio and sound control.

Awareness of my surroundings and set was an element well tested in the making of the video. Visible changes in lighting, quality, sound and editing were all at the detriment of inevitability. The footage in the video was a second shooting due to a number of uncontrollable variables in the previous recordings. In the editing process, I did aim to correct and align the lighting, position and volume of each individual clip to the best of my ability, though some differences were stark.

Seven minutes of media required a script and time. The requirements of scholarly sources was beneficial to the planning and consistency of the content in the video. The study of different texts not only played as a foundation of what content to include in the video but also an opportunity to add overlays of text and audio. Building my response to social movements and slactivism was substantiated by the selected sources, making use of significant quotes.

The addition of existing media into the video tested my awareness of Creative Commons. After finding the first, sourcing the media was a simple task and beneficial to the explanation of the content. Finding licensed material surrounding the ice bucket challenge required editing of videos and integrating the essential parts, developing my ability to rework material.

Even with the option to ethically use other peoples work, I was more inclined to develop my ideas and create original content. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a participation based social movement earning its trend from those that took the challenge and shared it on. Involving participants was key. I decided to interview a small group of people (seven minutes isn’t long) about their participation in the challenge and memory of the cause. The interviews highlighted participation as well as testing the notion of slactivism linked to the challenge.

I can’t say I knew what the final result would look like but can conclude that in the process of learning to plan, film and edit, I was a part of a ‘choreography of assembly’ (Gerbaudo, 2014| p142).

 

Broader Unit-related Online Activity

ALC203 has provided me with a platform to share and communicate with others within the unit, using Twitter as a priority platform. From the beginning of the unit I have come to appreciate the interactivity available on twitter.

I have come to recognise the significance of platforms like About.Me and LinkedIn, having secured opportunities for my future work and endeavours.

Creating and Editing media has been a learning experience, to which I wish I had applied further in the weekly Tiffit Challenges.

Writing blog posts has highlighted my weaknesses.  I wish to progress beyond this by doing, working on my creativity.

References

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mA2uFvE6P8) by Fitness Motivation Video (CCBY)

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – Water Conversation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxLoVx7R-O0) by Jamie Maxfield (CCBY)

Carty, V 2015, Social movements and new technology, Westview, New York, pp. 1-16

Gerbaudo, Paolo 2014, Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism, Pluto, New York.

Ice Bucket Challenge Celebrity Compilation ALS Charity

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re3ImgVUUdE) by Ice Bucket Challenge (CCBY)

Interviewees: Stephanie Spillet, Emanuella Hourdas, Zahlia Hulme, Fletcher O’Leary, Liam Hamilton, Chantelle Elliot

Rogers, K. 2016, The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Helped Scientists Discover a New Gene Tied to A.L.S. The New York Times Company, retrieved 18 May 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/health/the-ice-bucket-challenge-helped-scientists-discover-a-new-gene-tied-to-als.html

Navigating Social Media: What direction am I heading in?

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Twitter Bio Update Screenshot by Michelle Sibanda, April 2017

I could simply start this by trying to define what my identity is but looking at the array of social media platforms I am active on, they do not all share the same content or represent me fully. Even with the short Biography section, a quick summary on who I am, the profiles somewhat fail define who I am. So, does said online performance illustrate my identity?

“As platforms of self expression, social media sites require users to consciously, visibly, and deliberately perform their identity” (Gabriel, 2014: p104).

My online presence thus far on social media has been centred around communication, connecting and interacting with others in the multitude that is media today. The way in which I present myself and am seen by others has come as an after thought per say. Gabriel’s comment on performance of ones identity captures the very essence of online participation to which I’d think applies to the majority of users.

Ones identity can be explicitly displayed throughout various media platforms showing similar or different persona’s on each. Like majority of my generation, the construction of my online persona began with a Windows Messenger @, one I wish to keep hidden today. From this, following media culture and trends, my profile then extended to Facebook, Instagram and snapchat as each came into trend. On these platforms, my presentation of self reflects on my external actions, linking my real life experiences to virtual interactions.

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Snapchat Post Screenshot by Michelle Sibanda, April 2017

I don’t always post about the food I’m eating, the clothes I am wearing or people I’m around and the places we visit, but the inclusion of each element is included if that is what I am currently doing. Marshall describes this level of presentation as the transgressive intimate self where ones ‘on-line version of the self is the one motivated by temporary emotion’, an act of being and living in ‘the true nature between online and offline’ (Marshall, 2010: p45).

This same concept is presented widely across Twitter, though placing a greater consideration of what is being published and perceived by others. Twitter endorses the expression and contributions of ones thoughts and opinions within the limitations of 140 characters, establishing space to present yourself whilst refining your performance. Joining twitter, I could not help but associate the platform with self presentation in a critical light, somewhat more than my existing online identity. My online persona and how I am being perceived became more apparent. I began to place a somewhat semi-regulatory approach on the content I published, thinking about what I say and how I say it but still staying true to my overall depiction of my experiences.

Adam Brown states that ‘social networking can offer opportunities for people to explore and experiment with aspects of themselves, which they might be more uncomfortable doing in other venues or situations’ (Brown, 2015: p222). Currently, my online identity is still refined yet progressing through more prevalent involvement, specifically on Twitter exploring my opinions and blogging potential.

The network and community that is #ALC203 has been a major factor in building my online presence and getting more involved this elements beyond my everyday preferences. “One’s identity is a unique conglomeration of elements, a ‘social composite'”, that establishes ones identity in a setting of collective discovery (Thwaites et al, 1994: p214 cited in Brown, 2015: p221). The foundations of being a part of a group with others with similar goals, challenges and interests has been extremely accomodating.

The interactions with other students, lectures and the unit chair have made understanding various elements of online participation more transparent but also engaging. Removing the barrier of just having academic relationships with others prompts more discussion, conversation and general insight that may have been missed. Twitter is a cleverly utilised platform doing exactly this.

We all interact with other people to share information, collaborate on projects, or just to simply catch up. Some of these communities remain strictly online or hold some connection to our real lives prevailing to a point where ‘these relationships move back and forth between the virtual and non-virtual’ (Brown, 2015: p. 220).

Although we all connect through a simple hashtag, we continue to link with other users opinions and insights in the process of building our own, beyond the online communities.

Looking to the future of my online participation and performance, there is more I can and hope to include on the path of building my online self. We’ve established my angst towards blogging and participating in content creation that represents me to a critical audience, but adjusting to this will be the very next step in getting more involved in online culture.

I can say I regularly check and update my existing social media sites, from updating a profile picture, liking an Instagram post or snap chatting a funny moment during lunch with friends, I am as active as ever. These actions are as ever a ‘short-hand for changing, up-to-the-minute performances of self’ (Hills, 2009: p118 sited in Brown, 2015: p 227). I wish to apply the same approach to my more critically representative media, even through small steps.

Social media’s influence is almost just an addition to our everyday lives as it works to  ‘produce a similar kind of conceptual excess by collapsing boundaries of public and private, real and virtual’ (Gabriel, 2014: p108). Five weeks ago, Linked In, AboutMe, Twitter and WordPress were alien to me, but today I can say I check my twitter almost as much as Facebook and am slowly beginning to create my online resume. With growing interest, the element of building my virtual identity can only be seen as a journey, but one that is rewarding!

I have taken the very first steps into expanding my online persona. No exaggeration there, I literally have just created each of the platforms and not fully engaged with them but that reflects on my level on creativity when I’m confronted with new tasks.

Like writing an essay, my introduction is the biggest challenge but once the first three sentences are there, creativity strikes. As a procrastinator, creating a step by step Prezi on building an online persona, I’ll attempt to follow my own initiative to be even more interactive in media culture.

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Constructing an Online Identity Prezi by Michelle Sibanda, April 2017

(Word Count: 1015 words)

My Broader ALC203-related online activity

Over the course of the last five weeks, as a part of ALC203 I have established a new means to participating in social media and examining the various elements of digital media on an interactive level.

ALC203 has been a learning curb at every turn. I began this unit with a Twitter that was indeed study-related also. Like others, I placed Twitter in a box of complicated things, but today I can say I have a completely new and engaged view point.

From this point on, I wish to establish a blog now the first (compulsory) post in complete and continue to add to my online presence.

References

Brown, A 2015, ‘Navigating Social Media’ in Communication, Digital Media and Everyday Life, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Gabriel, F 2014, ‘Sexting, Selfies and Self-harm: Young People, Social Media and the Performance of Self-development’, Media International Australia, no. 151, 104-12.

Marshall, PD 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48(journal article available via library catalogue).