Maintaining a blog over the past six weeks has been a learning experience, one that was filled with moments of surprise, revelation, and even exasperation. This process and reflection could potentially be developed further by extending documentation of usage. My personal usage over a single week did not have much breadth, and by gathering more personal evidence more ideas could be explored, to allow for more critical analysis. I felt that my own usage did not necessarily relate to the ideas that I wanted to express and the way that I view online media. It did not come close to answering the pivotal question, what can we do with online media, because there is just so much that can be done and I don’t personally utilise most of it within my own practices. Through the weekly readings, I’ve begun to view and analyse technology and its relationship to culture in almost everything that I do. I’m asking myself throughout my day when I interact online, Is this use of the Instagram or Snapchat stories what the app designers initially expected and am I doing these because this technology has made it so? Or has culture changed its use and it was created in response to us already doing it? While I am not a media student, implications for my own practice in the future from this process could relate to maintaining a blog and using social media for business purposes; in the past I have partnered with businesses to promote products. This could be furthered, with increased understanding of how businesses work through media.
WHAT CAN WE DO WITH ONLINE MEDIA?
This has been the underlying question behind all of my work thus far. The documentation of my online activity answered what I do with online media, but didn’t come close to demonstrating everything that can be done, or critically analysing this use. Through documenting my online media use it became apparent that there was a clear distinction between what I published online for a private audience: for family, friends and people that I know, and what I published for a wider public network of people. This difference is clear by comparing my usage and authoring on Facebook and my private Twitter account, with that of Instagram.
For example, through my documentation on day four, I focused solely on my use of Twitter. For some, this SNS (Social Networking Site) is public, however, I use mine in a more personal way, with less followers than Instagram for example, and hardly any that I don’t know. I post frequently, using casual language, sometimes personal topics and as a method of communication. It could be reasoned that I post less personal information on Instagram as means of privacy; I don’t want to share my personal information with thousands of people. On the other hand, it may have more to do with my personal online image. The constructed and heavily edited feed I have presented could be seen as a persona and how I want people, particularly that I don’t know, to see me.
I also learnt the ways in which I consume media, are often for habitual, mundane reasons that were essential for my day-to-day life, not just for entertainment and communication via social media like I expected. The existence of programs, software and websites, like the online Apple app for instance, is an aspect of online media that wouldn’t have existed 10 years ago. This looks at media and technology evolving to suit our needs, however, comparing this to SNSs like Instagram, where it is the norm to post photos of food and check in on Facebook when you go almost anywhere, could suggest that perhaps our own activities are influenced by the media and technology available to us.This can be looked at through a number of theoretical frameworks discussed by Murphie and Potts (2003). Through a poststructuralist perspective, it is clear through this usage that culture and technology have a definitive effect on each other.
Murphie, S & Potts, J 2003, Culture and Technology. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Over the past week I have documented how I’ve used online media. This process included recording all or most activity, usually my writing notes on my phone so I could blog about it later. It usually involved feelings of surprise and even embarrassment, at just how much I used it; for the tiniest things, to fill up every second of time, how I could barely function or go an hour without using it.
Each day I took a slightly different approach, a couple of days I merely listed all of my activity, including all the online apps I used, social media platforms, educational intranet and sites, and briefly expanded on basic reasons as to why I used it. Whether it was contributing to online media; actually writing, posting, uploading photos, videos, or consuming media; watching, reading, downloading, learning. Sometimes it was difficult to answer why I did the things I did. Entertainment? Education? Because it’s socially expected? Merely habit?
On day two I focused solely on the use of social media platform Instagram, and recorded in detail how I author content and post online through this medium and all the processes associated with it, including before and after photos from the original to the edited image that went online. On day four I made a similar post, detailing my usage of Twitter. Comparing to Instagram, my Twitter account is less public, and thus I didn’t include any examples.
On my third day of posting I listed every interaction I had with online media, including the times, detailing just how much time in my day it really takes up, as well as the wide scope of apps and websites I actually use on a daily basis that is essential to a lot of my social and academic life.