Tag Archives: technology.

The Selfie and Self Empowerment?

The act of taking a picture of oneself has somehow become a very contested topic. Some call it conceited and narcissistic, and others view it as self-love, body positivity and self-empowerment through positive reinforcement. However how did we get here and why has something which seems so innocent gained so much hate?

A google search of the word ‘Selfie’ brings up an array of different results. After the Wiki page, the first link is one which takes you to a pornographic site, ‘Half Nude Selfies: Hot Sexy Selfies- Almost Naked Girls’. The second link is one which contains ‘fitness’ selfies alongside a Pinterest post on how to take good selfies. Further down the page you reach a Career One post about what your selfies say about you in a professional sense. Now the broad results shown by the term are explore how diverse the selfie has become. Not only have they become somewhat sexualized, they also have become a part of how we ‘brand’ ourselves in the sense of how we want other people to view our online personas.

 

One interesting commentary on the act of selfie taking was completed by the artist Shahak Shapira in his piece ‘Yolocaust‘.  After being fed up with people taking photos of themselves often depicting light hearted takes at questionable locations and sharing them on the internet. He compiled a collection of these photos and contrasted them with what the selfies were essentially mocking. One of the examples was selfies being taken at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

 

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Image Credit- ‘Yolocaust’ Shahak Shapira, 2017

The juxtaposition of these selfies exposes how people often take photos without thinking at many places, especially when travelling, even if it may be considered disrespectful. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was constructed in memory of all who were killed and suffered during WW11 in concentration camps and due to persecution. Placing the selfies in real images from these times shows how idiotic it is to use such a place of mourning and memory to snap a quick piccy for Instagram or Facebook.

 

This constant posting of photos and selfies on numerous social media accounts, relates to the increasing trend of individuals attempting to ‘brand’ themselves in their online persona. By creating an interesting profile where individuals come off as happy, adventurous and living exciting lives, people are ultimately creating consumers out of their friends lists. Where the individual has the control to choose what parts of them and their life are consumed. It’s easy to post about the fabulous dinner you just had a fancy restaurant accompanied by a photo of yourself and 3 other friends with delicious looking plates of food in front of you. Followed by a quirky caption of course. However what probably isn’t seen quite as regularly is the following Monday’s dinner when you come home from work, too tired to go grocery shopping and too poor for takeout so you literally settle for a bowl of Weet-Bix to sustain yourself. Unless you’re running the Uni Students on a Budget Facebook page, this usually isn’t the image people portray of themselves, online where anybody is able to see and judge.

 

The ability to choose what we convey ourselves as online has lead to some discussions regarding female sexuality and empowerment. Many girls post selfies of themselves on Instagram and Facebook which sometimes lead to backlash. Posting naked or nude selfies online has been criticized and praised by equal amounts. Many people are quick to ‘slut-shame’, claim those who post the pictures are attention seeking whores who are just hungry for likes. But many also find the act of posting these pictures themselves, and thus controlling their self-image in this way is empowering and beneficial for self- confidence reasons. Citing that it really doesn’t matter to anyone else what girls (and sometimes boy’s) post of themselves on the internet, and people should have the right to choose to do so without hate. One of the recent famous examples of this was a photo posted by Kim Kardashian after giving birth and celebrating her return to her normal weight.

 

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The selfie has been ridiculed and laughed at, but really there is a lot more to them than just a quirky self-portrait followed by a humorous caption. The logistics of creating an online persona go way deeper than ‘just a photo’, with technology shaping the way we allow others to see us constantly.

Millennial Attention Spans in the Technological Age; an Experiment

This week’s topic is about short and distracted attention spans when in the presence of multiple different media platforms. The first thing that came to mind is a perfect example of this; university lectures. You’re engaging with the content being presented to you by taking the occasional note, while having a Facebook tab open on your computer to keep up with the group chat and texting your friend on your phone. If you look around you can immediately tell that everyone is doing the same thing. Especially when the lecturer is playing a video and the person at the end of the row is vigorously tapping on their keyboard. You just know they’re not avidly taking notes but are probably planning their weekend or bitching about the new guy at work.

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So to test how crap our millennial attention spans really are, I set up a test involving myself, my 18yr old brother, a movie called ‘Hush’, and a bunch of junk food to see if we could go 1hr and 27 mins without picking up our phones, computers or engaging with any other media content other than the movie in front of us. It sounds easy but my brother and I are notorious for getting distracted. We are always messaging people or doing a quick Facebook scroll in boring parts of movies (leading us to miss important bits and be left unsure of what is going on). On the occasion we look up stuff on Google which we don’t understand but once we actually paused a movie to watch a video on Youtube.

It wasn’t even a good video. It was this one if you really want to learn how pathetic we are.

I picked the movie Hush because it’s a scary movie (apparently) and I’m not so keen on them. Therefore, on a normal viewing I would probably distract myself with my phone. I also chose it because I’ve heard from friends it’s not the best movie anyway, meaning we would probably get bored, tempting us even further for distraction. So after pressing play on my phone so the movie could sync to the Chromecast on my TV, we put both of our phones down on the desk beside us so they weren’t within arm’s reach. We also turned them onto silent to avoid further temptation.

In the end we did last the whole hour and 27 mins of our social media purge, but it was only because we were so avidly committed to proving we aren’t completely useless. We also had no legitimate excuse to check our phones or social media during the movie without being pathetic. Thankfully there were no calls from mum or dad which would’ve realistically been the only reason we could use them because no assignment is worth our parents wrath.

The movie wasn’t too bad in the end,  it was more gory with a cool concept than actually scary so we found ourselves enjoying it. It was nice to not be distracted as we realised we actually understood the plot of the movie for a change. No Googling of the synopsis was needed in the end because we payed attention this time.

In conclusion, yes I believe people do have short attention spans and can get distracted very easily. However if you actively set your mind to a task and remove distractions from the picture you can achieve your goals.  (because lets be real we all know how to, we just don’t want to actually do it.)

“Hey did you see what I tagged you in?”

For my digital project I want to investigate the social protocols, spoken and unspoken rules, regarding phone and social media use in different situations in today’s world of expanding connectivity and technology use. I aim to discover the reasons behind why it is deemed acceptable to engage with media forms in some situations such as when hanging out with friends but perhaps not when you are with your parents.

Week 6 and 8’s topics were related to public spaces and media use alongside how distracted people are in today’s society when constantly surrounded by multiple different means of consuming media.

In our tutorial we discussed some of the situations where it would and wouldn’t be acceptable to pull out your phone such as in the middle of dinner with your parents as opposed to friends. We discussed that this is because of the generational difference between our parents and our friends, as older generations would deem pulling your phone out to Snapchat the awesome lasagna mum cooked up disrespectful and rude. Whereas, your friends are more likely to take it as a compliment that you were bragging about their cooking on social media.  I’m also interested in the relationship between phones in a workplace environment including university. I’ve observed some tutors don’t seem to mind if you send a text during class where others see it as very impolite.

Further many places I’ve worked at, have all had different rules regarding phone use, however in the majority of these, employees would either blatantly disregarded these or found ways to get around them. (myself included) Usually this  involved keeping your phone stashed on your person and ducking off to the bathroom a little too regularly or hiding in a back corner of a warehouse to send a quick message.

Two of the more notable places I’ve worked which had explicit rules banning phones was a trampoline arena and a retail store. In both of these places employees were constantly utilizing the above tactics and had their phones on their person at all times.  In the case of the trampoline arena I believe this was due to two factors, one was that the staff was made up of 16-24 year olds who all experienced growing up with technology. The second was that it was in general a very quiet and frankly boring workplace without much to occupy employees with. Even the managers would sit up in their office aimlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. Online shopping while at work was not an uncommon occurrence.  The retail store wasn’t as extreme in the online shopping scene, however it was similar in the sense that on quiet days, it was really boring so people would satisfy their short attention spans with the usual social media consumption.

I now work at a café and leave my phone in my bag because it’s so busy I don’t have a second to go to the bathroom for real let alone to do the sneaky bathroom scroll every hour or so.

I find this all really interesting and will explore the rules and the reality of phone use in the workplace in my digital assignment.

To complete this project, I will undertake a few social experiments involving my friends, parents, fellow students and co-workers and report on the different reactions to my phone use in different situations. I aim to take all factors which may influence their actions into account and will interview them about what they would constitute acceptable phone use in different situations.

References;

-Image Credit

Jackson, K, Cellphones at Work, Pintrest, viewed 28 September 2016, <http://quotesgram.com/img/cell-phones-at-work-quotes-and-sayings/6752216/&gt;

The Wonderful World of the Internet

 

I had a conversation with my Dad, who designs and writes computer software about how he thinks the internet has changed and molded and how we complete tasks and access information.

Dad first begun using the internet for work in 1989, which is no surprise for a software architect. He mainly used it to access information which was not easily accessible for the public, like Microsoft developer help info alongside communication through emails. He can’t recall the name of the search engine he used, but it wasn’t Google as that wasn’t released for another 9 years.

Today he claims the way he conducts his time when connected to the internet hasn’t really changed as he still mainly uses it for work as well as reading the news, using search engines, reading his daughters blog posts (excuse the shameless self promotion) and occasionally indulging in a good Netflix binge.

He still buys The Sydney Morning Herald in the morning to read on the train on the way to work only doing so for the following 3 reasons;

  1. Habit
  2. The cryptic crosswords and Sodukus
  3. The high amount of internet black spots on the train from Gymea to the City

A lot of the articles in the newspaper he has already read the night before online apparently.

When we first got internet at home for domestic use, was in 1999 when I was 4. We mainly did this as we had a number of International High School Exchange students staying with us over a period of about 3-4 years and they needed a cheap and efficient way of communicating to family and friends back home. So it is hard for me to recall a time without internet access. We started with just a common dial up which dad claims originally ran at 300 baud (allegedly this is pretty fast for the time) and it was mainly used for emails and Google.

We had dial up internet for at least 10 years which begun to get painful during my brother and I’s teenage years as all of our friends would be able to call us on the home phone, while still talking to their crush on MSN. We were finally afforded this multitasking luxury in about 2011 and dad invested in a WIFI modem. Dad says the reason we upgraded is because we begun accumulating technology such as laptops, gaming consoles, and smart phones which all could utilize wireless connection to the internet.Until then my brother and I were restricted to using the internet on dad’s laptop under supervision, as we were still kids both of our parents felt the internet to be too big, too scary and unknown for us to wander alone. Hey they’re not wrong. Dad noted that the internet is just life every other aspect of his life where he had to ensure we weren’t being Catfished because he hates reality TV shows.

Today dad counted we have 9 devices in the household which are connected to the WIFI including the printer and the TV. One of the things he (and the rest of the world) loves about the Internet is the communication aspect. As we grew up in New Zealand and the majority of our relatives still live over there and the internet allows us instant contact 4,155 kms away and platforms like Facebook can show us whats going on in their lives without us physically being there.

Dad’s parents lived in a little town called Granity on the West Coast of New Zealand, Dad gave them our old computer and set up a dial up internet connection for them in 2001. This opened up a whole new world of information previously inaccessible to them. My Grandad would look up old German Submarine songs from WW2 and my grandparents had the ability to communicate to all of their children and grandchildren through email. As international calls and even domestic calls can often be somewhat expensive, this gave them communication to the outside world alongside access to multitudes of information all for the same monthly price.

Dad also mentioned the fact that when he traveled the world as a youngster, he’d have to write letters home and get photos developed to show people when he got back. He loved the fact that when I went for Europe for 6 weeks at the beginning of the year, I would have a constant stream of communication back home about what we were doing that day and where we were, also sending back photos every night through media spaces such as Facebook and Viber.

The internet opened up a world of opportunities for information and communication worldwide. Even though some of it can be scary and confusing and make you wanna just…

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There’s is so much of this…

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And sometimes a virtual hug from a far away friend is all you need…

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The fact we have seen the birth and the growth of the internet is phenomenal and amazing.