Hey there, for the final time for this week!
Today’s final entry (Monday, 27/3/2017) I’ll be once again going through my media usage, highlighting the Whats, Hows and Whys of how I use online media.
From yesterday evening and last night it was primarily focused on social media, while today it has focused more-so on educational sites for academic purposes.
Similar to the past week, the main sites (or apps) I visited included Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (including messenger). These are visited quite frequently, usually for brief periods of time, mostly consisting of consuming media and not nearly as much authoring. I also used the Uber app to organise a ride home, the PTV app to check public transport times. These were for practical reasons – be able to get out, socialise and be able to come home again safely. I checked my emails (which I usually do a couple of times a day, deleting most straight away that aren’t important so my inbox stays uncluttered). I have 4 different emails all linked on my phone, my RMIT student email, a hotmail account that is used primarily for online shopping and most online email subscriptions, I have a gmail account that I use for job seeking and other more professional reasons, and finally an email that I used to use with my Instagram for promoting and business purposes. I delete almost everything that isn’t uni-related or shopping related (eg. for online receipts, shipping confirmation and tracking and ticket purchases, etc). I watched a one hour long episode on Netflix – for entertainment.
I made four posts to my Instagram story, the first of which I’ve embedded as an example. This was a boomerang, with an Instagram filter and sticker applied. I also filmed a short video and two images. These were all captured on my iPhone 6, and uploaded through the Instagram app. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like being active on my Instagram Story, so as to have things my followers can view or interact with me when I don’t post for extended periods of time.
Today I’ve used the myRMIT and blackboard to complete readings for courses, I’ve also used the online RMIT library, as well as databases such as PSYCHinfo for social research on psychology. These are all consuming media – reading, downloading articles. For one of my classes I have to anonymously contribute to a discussion board on blackboard surrounding the topic of psychology of gender – in this way I have authored content, however, it has been anonymous so no credit was given. I also used Turnitin to submit as assessment task. These were all accessed on my laptop, and the reasons behind this usage were educational, so as to complete work, readings, write and submit essays and assessments.
Hey, hi, hello!
We’ve made it to the halfway mark of this exercise!
For today’s entry (Friday, 24/3/2017) I’ll be focusing on another platform that I use the most a bit more in depth again. This time it will be Twitter.
Now, I think Twitter is an interesting website – as a microblogging platform, because it definitely isn’t as popular with people that I know like Instagram and Facebook are. While there are countless celebrities on there, a lot of people I know, just don’t get it, and I understand why. I regularly make posts (tweets) everyday, which are all limited to 140 characters. It’s by far the social media site that I author and post the most content to. The limitation of characters also definitely shape the way the site works and how people interact with it as well as each other. There is often a need for abbreviations and shortened slang in order to fit to the character count, and these makes it feel very casual, and far more socially acceptable to post many things one after another – often because you can’t fit it all in one. For example, posting 5 photos on Instagram or making 5 statuses on Facebook in a row are probably going to be seen as more abnormal than making 5 tweets.
Because of the casual nature, as well as less people you often personally know to follow (and following you – note, this isn’t always the case, but it is for most people I know) – there’s a small knit community that interact together, frequently replying to posts that feel a lot closer and less forced than say commenting or receiving a comment on an Instagram photo. For example, I have 1% of the number of followers on Twitter as I do on Instagram – and that’s a conscious decision. I use Twitter on a far more personal and private level, often posting things that I may not want to share with 12 thousand people, but may still want to post online or receive feedback for without directly messaging a single person. It’s also interesting to note that a lot of memes originate from Twitter, and perhaps this casual and often humorous nature could be behind it.
In the past 24 hours I’ve posted 5 original tweets including one photo, and 3 replies to other people. These were all taken, written and posted from my phone on the Twitter app. The photo was not edited at all – unlike my entry about Instagram, where you can see all of my photos are generally edited to fit a theme or aesthetic. This isn’t really present on Twitter. The reasons behind these posts for communication purposes – it’s an easy way to post something for most of my close friends to see. It’s also enjoyable, and a way of documenting thoughts and things that are happening that are written in a way that is usually humorous. Sharing opinions on Twitter, especially about social or political topics is something I did, is easier and more comfortable, because there are less people to start arguments or controversy.
Ways that I consumed media on Twitter – I checked it about 20 times over the hours I was awake. I also liked 12 posts, 4 of which were photos.
Onto my third day documenting my use of online media, and I’ve tried to be a bit more specific than the previous two days. Starting my 24 hour period from about 5pm yesterday to 5pm today (23/3/2017) I recorded how and when I used different media platforms.
5:00pm: Posted 2 images to my Instagram Story.
5:30pm: Posted 2 tweets, also checked my twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds for updates from friends and other people I follow. Watched 2 videos on Facebook, including a short dog video and a movie trailer and commented on a friend’s Facebook post.
5:45 – 11pm: Checked Instagram and Twitter about 17-20 times – I usually do these together because they are not as cluttered, generally not too many posts to go through, and also usually show the most insight into what people are up to/interesting images they are sharing. Although I check them frequently, it only lasts seconds to a couple of minutes. Whereas, I only checked Facebook 3 times in that time, which is full of videos and memes, rather than many actual direct original content from people I know, and it usually takes longer to go through.
I liked 16 posts on Instagram and commented on 2 posts – both from people I know in real life.
10pm: I watched 2 episodes of a show on Netflix before bed (24 minutes episodes)
9am (next day): Checked Instagram and Twitter as soon as I woke up for about 10 minutes. Browsed the Weather app to check today’s forecast.
10:30: Checked Instagram, Twitter and Facebook more in depth on my way to uni on the train
11am: Posted a photo on a friend’s Facebook Timeline for her birthday – the photo had been taken on my iPhone 6 the previous weekend, the flash had been overexposed so I briefly adjusted the brightness on the app VSCO cam. Created and posted a Boomerang video on my Instagram Story – taken once again on my phone, a moving image similar to a GIF. Checked my story from the day before, over 1000 followers/users had viewed it.
11:30am: in the hour it took to get to uni I checked my Facebook notifications 4 times, Instagram and Twitter twice.
12:30pm: During my one hour lecture, I accessed blackboard to view the lecture slides.
3pm: Scrolled through my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds
3:30pm: Accessed Blackboard and the online RMIT library and databases to conduct social research. Also accessed Seek – job searching site, in order to view current jobs in Psychology as per one of my assessments for my social research class. These were all done for educational purposes.
4:07; 4:25; 4:47: Checked my main 3 social media apps again each time
5:00: Used the PTV app for public transport times and updates getting home, replied to Direct Messages on Instagram.
Now digging a bit deeper and looking into why I did all of these things. The vast majority of my usage was consuming media – checking the 3 major social media sites – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – I usually do out of habit and boredom. Sometimes when I find I haven’t checked them in a number of hours I actually feel good about it, and yet I keep on accessing them frequently – as a source of entertainment and to stay updated. The videos I watched on Facebook were for entertainment purposes, while checking things like the weather and train times were more practical. The direct messages was to communicate.
The media I created and posted were for different reasons. The Boomerang – partly because I like how they look and move, I posted a moving image of the book I was reading, this became a starting point for conversation with one of my followers and friends. The photo on my friend’s timeline on Facebook was to wish her a happy birthday but also make it more personal. The comments were to compliment friends, to express how I felt in a positive way.
For my second day on how I use media (March 22, 2017) I’ll be focusing on one particular platform of online media (my most used and my most public) – Instagram.
Over the past 24 hours, while I’ve been awake, I’ve checked my Instagram feed once every 25-30 minutes – on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what I was doing and if I was alone. Habit plays a large role in frequency of checking, as does for entertainment purposes and the idea of fear of missing out – the need or desire to want to stay up to date and not miss anything, as well as the need for constant communication.
That’s how I consumed Instagram, but today I also actively contributed to it. I uploaded 3 photos and a video to my Instagram Story – a feature that allows me to make posts that can be viewed chronologically one after the other that disappear after 24 hours. This is an interesting feature, because it allows me to post things that I may not want permanently on my own feed, but I may still want to be active on Instagram or show my followers certain things. I also uploaded a photo to Instagram, which I’ll be going through in detail today.
My Instagram could be viewed as curated, a constructed persona of myself, and it’s definitely not a realistic portrayal of my everyday life. I don’t really look at it like an actual representation of me or my life, moreso just a collection of images that I think look nice together. I generally don’t try to make my online image on this platform very personal, and my posts mostly include ‘selfies’, ‘flatlays’, travel photos, photos with friends and other points of interest including makeup, fashion and food. I don’t really post about what I do on a daily basis, nor very much about myself. For today’s post, I created a flatlay image, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a photo of objects laid out flat and usually taken from above. This can serve many purposes for advertising or marketing; this is a good way of highlighting items from particular brands – they can be tagged and easily featured (which I’ve done in the past), it can also be a good method for getting exposure, often if you tag brands they may repost your image and hopefully credit you – potentially growing your follower base. I generally post these because I think they look nice, while also breaking up the types of images I post so they’re not all of me.
A lot of work can go into these images, and what I’m focusing on today is how false and contrived they can be. It’s important to note, that a lot of these images that I, and even more-so social media influencers post, are not natural or effortless. While it only took a couple of minutes to arrange the items that I already had on hand, and then a couple of minutes to choose and edit an image on photo-editing apps on my phone, sometimes an entire hour (and even longer) can be spent, making sure it’s perfect.
I used my iPhone 6 to take the photos, and apps Facetune and VSCO cam to edit them. For this post, I didn’t tag anything or anyone, I also generally don’t use hashtags. I merely captioned it with an emoji, and within an hour it had 178 likes. Here you can see a before and after from editing these images, and below you can see how they sit on my Instagram feed.
Tagging is another basic tool of blogging, on WordPress as well as on other blogging, microblogging and social media platforms.
On WordPress, tagging is used to collate, categorise and describe posts using hashtags on posts, that are placed at the end of a post as a link, which can be clicked on to see all posts with that same hashtag. Considering a lot of blogs have a lot of posts, often spanning years, this is an easy way to find all the posts relating to the topic you’re searching for or interested in viewing on that one blog. For example, for a cooking blog, a hashtag with #entree could be used to check all entree recipe posts. On this blog, a tag cloud is visible at the bottom of the homepage, where you can view all available tags that have ever been used and can be viewed.
As previously mentioned, tagging is also used in other platforms, like Twitter and Instagram. Similar to WordPress, on Instagram, you can also include hashtags in your post, simply by typing a word following the # symbol in the caption, which automatically creates a link that can be clicked on and searched for. Unlike WordPress, this tag links to all posts throughout Instagram that also have that tag, not just your blog/feed. You can also search for tags throughout all of Instagram and all those with that tag will come up, generally more recent first. This can allow more people to view your posts and give you more accessibility and visibility.