Assessment 3

Brave new world: Web 2.0

MECO 6936 Social Media Communication

Josh Byrne

SID: 312066570

The term ‘Web 2.0’ was popularised in 2004, being then defined as ‘a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet—a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects’ (Musser & O’Reilly, 2007). The man who popularised the term Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly, viewed in through the lens of business, describing it as a ‘transformative force that’s propelling companies across all industries toward a new way of doing business’ (Musser & O’Reilly, 2007). Of the eight ‘core patterns’ identified in the new Web 2.0 by O’Reilly one can be considered prophetic. O’Reilly (2007) argued that business would need to ‘engage users as co-developers and real-time testers’ extrapolating that ‘real-world user behavior provides a much more accurate model for assessing new product features than marketing requirements documents, prototypes, or any other form of non-production feedback’ and that ‘The nature of web-based applications and the creator’s ability to actively monitor how the software is used in the wild is a dramatic shift from the days of desktop software.’

fComparison of Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0

O’Reilly’s assessment is as true in 2004 as it is today. In their 2013 book Understanding Social Media Hinton and Hjorth echo O’Reilly’s assessment by arguing that Web 2.0 is the ‘transition of the internet into user-focused business models.’ These business models aim to commercialise the internet by creating strategies around the behaviour of internet users. Shuen (2008) discusses two definitions meanings at either end of the Web 2.0 spectrum, a technical definition states that internet architectures and technologies have ‘combined to trigger a phase transition—from a Web 1.0 collection of static web sites to a Web 2.0 platform for a new generation of dynamic social web applications and services’ to a more business orientated definition that describes Web 2.0 as a ‘a profitable path to growth and advertising-based monetization of network effects’ that could summarise Web 2.0 more accurately as ‘Web to wealth.’

Web 2.0’s commercialisation of the internet has only been achieved through the evolution of the internet’s capabilities, particularly in personalisation and content creation. The most influential player in Web 2.0, social media, provides users with the means to create and produce content. User created content and user generated content has enabled businesses the ability to profit from ‘the labour and creativity of internet users’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). Therefore, one of the key characteristics of Web 2.0 is the ‘the transition of the internet into user-focused business models’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013).

The capabilities and commercialisation of Web 2.0 has raised concern over how users labour has been commodified and exploited for commercial purposes. In 2005 Livingstone wrote ‘the signs are growing that once-anarchic, perhaps emancipatory internet is subject to increasing attempts to privatise, commercialise, control and profit from the activities of consumers online’ (Livingstone, 2005). Eight years later the idea is still relevant as Hinton and Hjorth (2013) ask ‘are the users the subject of control, as their personal information and creative and cultural labour is monitored and commodified by social media companies?’ They go so far as to contextualise Web 2.0 within the ‘tension between control and freedom and between exploitation and empowerment.’ The ‘use or being used’ idea is here to stay as user generated content and user created content becomes more integrated with commercialisation and profit, as well as any individual or organisation seeking to use what is now one of the most powerful social and cultural currencies on the internet. Audiences have moved from being consumers of media to participants in it. Jenkins (2006) defines this participatory culture as ‘a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal membership whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.’

Web 2.0 through the enabling social media and social networking sites has empowered individuals and organisations at the expense of traditional power structures and institutions. Anyone with an internet connection can now produce and reproduce content which has affected organisations such as media companies, whose monopoly over the creation and distribution of content is being challenged. The ubiquity of smart phones and power of Web 2.0 has given rise to ‘citizen journalism.’ The collection and dissemination of news content is extremely cheap, offering individuals and organisations the opportunity to create content that challenges and undermines traditional news media through the power of Web 2.0. This is evident in the worrying trend of ‘fake news’ as political agendas are pushed through the internet while traditional media systems struggle to be financially viable in the brave new online world of create-and-disseminate-your-own-content.

Social networking sites, of which Twitter and Facebook play a crucial role, have the power to harness the power of collective action and challenge social and political institutions. In 2011, The Arab Spring witnessed the fall of governments in North Africa and the Middle East. Howard (2011) analysed millions of social media posts during the Arab Spring, arguing that these social networking sites played an important role in canvassing support for the cause and acting as an organisational tool for dissenters. Indeed, Web 2.0 has the potential to serve as an interconnected locus of political activity, one that transcends geographical boundaries. In 2011, the global protest movement Occupy Wall Street used the internet as a virtual rallying point to highlight and protest the growing economic inequality in Western nations. While Howard (2011) does not believe that Facebook and Twitter were the direct catalyst for the Arab Spring, they invaluable in facilitating it.

For our presentation to the Sydney Conservatorium, we used user created content as a way of harnessing the internet cultural capital. The current set up is simplistic; posting time and dates to attract people to classical music concerts was insufficient. Instead we decided to use gifs, memes and social influencers to attract the attention of our audience (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). Our approach, like businesses, harnesses the power of Web 2.0, particularly social media, as it is a ‘fundamentally a participative medium,’ echoing the ethos of Web 2.0 itself. The idea to use content that users would be familiar with was essential; memes and gifs we used had been circulating the internet long enough for our target audiences to identify but were reworked into a classical music context to help advertise the Con’s performances. Our approach was impossible without the capabilities of Web 2.0. As our target audiences are consumers of the internet’s content, liking, commenting, sharing etc.,  it is essential for our content to do the same.


Example of a meme used for the Con’s performances, made possibly only through the capacities of Web 2.0

Finally, as a reflection on the state of the Web 2.0 and its future, while its likely to witness more comprehensive systems of informational computation and potentially greater integration of off and online culture and social interaction, it will continue to change politics and influence, if not bypass institutional power structures. The 2016 Presidential election was heavily influence by Facebook and Twitter, serving to disseminate information, rally supports, attack the opposition and even spread ‘fake news.’ Donald Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale said ‘Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing’ (Lapowsky, 2016). One of the online symbols of the Donald Trump supporters became the ‘Pepe the frog’ meme, an example of created content that served to promote the right-wing cause and since applied to the presidential election in France in support of right wing candidate Marine Le Pen. It is arguable that new political groups such as the ‘alt right’ could never have existed without Web 2.0 to promote its alternative news and gather support. The future of Web 2.0 is difficult to predict but it will undoubtedly have a significant impact on politics.


An example of ‘Pepe the frog,’ an alt right meme. Memes of Pepe the frog were circulated widely by right wing groups on Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 Presidential election.

Word Count: 1311


Hjorth, L., & Hinton, S. (2013). Understanding social media. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. (2013). Democracy’s fourth wave?: Digital media and the Arab spring. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lapowsky, I. “Here’s How Facebook Actually Won Trump The Presidency”. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 May 2017.

Lewis, D. (2006). What is web 2.0? Crossroads, 13(1), 3-3.

Livingstone, S. M. (2005). Audiences and publics: When cultural engagement matters for the public sphere. Bristol, England; Portland, Or;: Intellect.

Musser, J., & O’Reilly, T. (2007). Web 2.0: Principles and best practices. Sebastopol, Calif: O’Reilly Media.

Shuen, A. A. (2008). Web 2.0: A strategy guide. Sebastopol, Calif: O’Reilly Media.


Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

Locative Mobile Social Networks

Assessment 3 – Online Article
Zixiao Liu (SID: 450287495)
Instructor: Kai Soh, Tuesday 5-8 PM


With the representation of Facebook, social media has become an essential part of everyday life. As smart phones are increasingly, though unevenly adopted around the globe, mobile media has become an important portal for both social and locative media (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Smart phones provide not only easy access to the social media sites, but also functions including global positioning system (GPS), geo-tagging and Google Maps which have become an indispensable part nowadays.

Locative mobile media therefore gains popularity by using the technology. It not only provides the convenience for social media users a chance to get acquainted with people nearby, creates new kind of intimacy, redefines the meaning of place and space, but also boosts the emergence of locative and augmented mobile gaming industry.

The emergence of location service

Since 21st century, mobile phones are becoming increasingly location-aware, technological development such as GPS and tapping has empowered the device to use and share positioning data through a faster 3G/4G network, across space and between friends. Location service has become an indispensable part of social media, embedded by most Social networking sites and instant messaging applications, it casts considerable influence on the traditional definition of location and space.


Locative media applications start to emerge around 2002, as games and assistance to artist’s project (Tuters&Varnelis, 2006). In 2003, a Japanese game Mogi gained popularity when location-based services had been integrated into cell phones in 2001 (Grajski& Kirk, cited in Southern, 2003). It was a game where players collected geographically located tokens in popular locations and also allowing them to chat with users nearby.

Except the wide application to games and art projects, location-based service is gradually embedded on most social networking sites. Facebook cautious but deliberately launched their nearby service in December, 2012, an ambitious move that enables it to serve both as a local recommendation platform but also a mobile centred advertising portal (Wilken, 2014).

Whereas, in China, WeChat was designed and launched in 2011 and gradually set the location services by promoting People Nearby and Real-time location features. These features not only encourages people to share their location within a post or share, but also providing the convenience and potential to reach out to other users within a specific distance nearby.


Humphreys (2007, 2010) argued that mobile social network ultimately change the way participants engaged with and experienced the environment, adding a sense of familiarity to the original meaning of space and place. Applications and games in recent years take advantage of the surge of location service on smartphones, and attracts users to engage in an intriguing way.

Foursquare, which is designed by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in the late 2008, is a successful location-based social network that attracts 55 million people worldwide (About Foursquare, 2015). It combines the traditional gaming elements with the location service and coordinates various social interactions. Lefebvre (1991) demonstrated that space is understood as being socially constructed through use), by encouraging people to engage with public space to create new meanings. Therefore, foursquare has the potential to produce new understanding of place (Evens, 2014). However, there is still limitations to Foursquare, as Southern (2012) argued, it focuses majorly on the “check-in” function but neglect the journey to certain places. Locative Mobile Social Networks (LMSN), however, focus more on and in between, rather than the nodes. It is the journey, as also defined by Southern as “comobility”, that is where “both communications and sociology may benefit from artistic appropriations, interventions and experiments. (Southern, 2012)”


Proximity, Intimacy and People Nearby

LMSN has added new meanings to the notion of proximity. While nearness is related to the sense of closeness, familiarity and intimacy, distance is associated with strange and remoteness. However, the social media has changed this situation by breaking the actual geographic distance. Online social media exemplifies that social connections across vast geographical distances can be intimate. People nowadays, no matter young and old, create new forms of intimacy and different context of expressing intimacy through various technical platforms (Hinton &Hjorth, 2014).

Surprisingly though, study () shows that social interactions online often privilege relationships of lower social distance. Specifically, people would choose socially closer partners to work with even though they might not be the best choice for a partnership. When the social closeness intertwine with the geographic closeness, an application called Loopt created an alarming system which inform users when someone in their network is close to them, by notifying the distance between users and their friends online.

Online location-based applications certainly changed the traditional notion of closeness. Rather than “physical closeness which could fosters psychological closeness and mutuality” (Burgoon et al, 2002), location service creates cyber closeness through various LMSN platforms. Facebook and WeChat enables users to search and add new friends to their networks through distance-searching, while Tinder uses location service to search for friends and potential relationships nearby. Though the purposes of each platforms vary and unintentional they might be, they undoubtedly help users to build intimacy more easily.


Ingress and Pokémon Go- Locative Games

In recent years, as media follows the trends of mobilization and has become more playful by using geographic data, users increasingly interweave their everyday experience with virtual environment (Hjorth & Richardson, 2017).

Developed by Niantic, Ingress is a location-based, augmented-reality mobile game. In the game, players compete to capture and occupied the virtual portal situated in the real world locations in order to “control the world’. This game not only highlights the cultural significance of spaces but also add new meanings to it. For gamers who play Ingress, a church nearby means not simply a place where he prays, but also a valuable portal in the game.


Following the successful launch of Ingress, Niantic went on and created another location- based hybrid game by using the valuable Ingress location database. The popular game Pokémon Go has gained much attention over the first weeks of July, 2016. People from many countries downloaded the Pokémon Go application and entered an augmented reality. Users wonder around the neighborhood in search for rare Pokémon and compete with other players at the virtual gym.

Pokémon Go represents the playful turn in contemporary media culture, the omnipresence of location-based mobile media nowadays and the ongoing development of augmented media. The notion of ambient play is elaborated by Hjorth & Richardson (2014), which “mobile media create new modes of engagement that entangle attention and distraction.” Pokémon Go are undoubtedly ambient as they become a part of our daily routines, pedestrian movement and interaction with people around the neighborhood (Hjorth & Richardson, 2017).


While the game is recognized as a good experience, by connecting the virtual game with real life, encouraging users to do physical exercises and facilitating human to human interactions (Wawro, 2016). However, it is also vital to be aware of the downsides of these sorts of location-based games. It also generates debates from scholars concerning the risk, surveillance and privacy (Hjorth & Richardson, 2017). Pokémon gamers sometimes intrude into dangerous areas or private territories without permissions in order to catch rare Pokémon. Except for the risk, surveillance and privacy, locative mobile games may also cause people to generate the feelings of loneliness and inaccessibility (Bliss, 2016).

Application to our Campaign

Locative mobile media is to a certain extent helpful to our #bethefilter campaign. We ask our initial participants to take and post a photo with a banner of #bethefilter with their current locations tagged on the post. In this way, not only social media users nearby are more likely to see the post and the hash tag, but also enables us to create a map showing other potential participants that there are already many people who are from other parts of the world are into this and supports our campaign.


 Locative mobile social networking has been changing our perception of space and place by creating new orders of networks. While it create a new sense of network and intimacy, the location technologies enables the emergence of locative games which add playful elements to the notion of space and creates new interpretation of space.

It is hard to foresee what type of application and social implication which locative mobile media will creates, but critical analysis is always crucial in understanding the new technologies and its implications.


Word Count: 1423


Link to the Comment: addiction/comment-page-1/#comment-642



  • About Foursquare (2015) Available at:
  • Bliss, L. (2016, July 12). Pokémon GO has created a new kind of flâneur. The Atlantic City Lab. Retrieved from baudelaire/490796/
  • Burgoon, J. K., Bonito, J. A., Ramirez, A. J., Dunbar, N. E., Kam, K., & Fischer, J. (2002). Testing the interactivity principle: Effects of mediation, propinquity, and verbal and nonverbal modalities in interpersonal interaction. Journal of Communication, 52(3), 657- 677.
  • Hinton, S. &Hjorth, L. (2013). Social, locative and mobile media. In Understanding social media (pp. 120-135). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Hjorth, L., & Richardson, I. (2014). Gaming in social, locative and mobile media. Basingstoke, U.K: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hjorth, L., & Richardson, I. (2017). Pokémon GO: Mobile media play, place-making, and the digital wayfarer. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1), 3-14.
  • Humphreys, L. (2010). Mobile social networks and urban public space. New Media & Society, 12(5), 763-778.
Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication


Assessment 3 – Online Article
Eloise Lennen-Rodriguez (SID: 460443777)
Instructor: Cherry Baylosis, Thursday 6-9PM
Word Count: 1,462

Have you ever seen an ad that tugged at your heartstrings? That made you angry or happy or sad? That made you think and feel? If yes, try to remember the reason it might’ve made you have that reaction. It’s likely due to an experience you had, or that it touches upon something you have a personal involvement in, something you’re passionate about. Though our experiences are unique, there is a commonality that unites them (and us) all: the emotions they generate. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m asking you about this. As an undergraduate student, my degree focused on strategic design and business management which, simply put, taught me the role design played in a business’ success within creative industries like advertising. This led me to take special interest in the way brands market themselves to the public; analyzing them more critically, trying to understand why consumers make the choices they do daily. Especially now, in the age of the internet, things are moving fast and it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to create significant relationships with their audience to convert them into customers. So, how did they manage to stay relevant?

IMAGE 1 – “Marlboro Man” print ad (source: Middlebury College)

If you think of it, an easy way companies have found to foster relationships is to build upon already existing ones. Nowadays this can be quite easy due to the prevalence of algorithms which track your every online move allowing them to anticipate your likes, needs and wants. Yet, using trends as a marketing tool to sell products is not a proprietary formula unique to the post-internet era. In the 1950s, Marlboro called upon the universal appeal of an all-American cowboy to mold the symbol of their ‘Marlboro Man’ persona and make smoking cool (“The Marlboro Man”). In the 1980s, arguably one of the most iconic television commercials ever aired was Apple’s ‘1984’ ad produced for the Super Bowl that same year. After failing miserable during market research testing (and ignoring the results), Apple allegedly garnered around $US150 million worth of free advertising from the minute-long clip that didn’t even show its product (Taube). Its strength? Playing on George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, originally published in 1949. In a Forbes article discussing the ad’s commercial triumph with industry experts, Bart Cleveland, then creative director at McKee Wallwork & Cleveland, explained:

“It speaks to people intelligently by not saying too much. It doesn’t try too hard to be amazing. It is truth. It took the truth that Orwell shared decades earlier and applied it to our future. Our freedom. In 60 seconds it made you root for the underdog, which you realize is you. (Smith)

Here, Cleveland reflects on what he saw as Apple’s success in their approach; taking something familiar from the past and using it to make a point relevant to the audience’s future. It became personal, relatable, attainable.

VIDEO 1 – ‘1984’ Apple’s Macintosh Commercial (source: YouTube)

 Today, with the advent of social media, there is a cornucopia of content readily available to brands, online. They focus on what has amassed viewership and, more importantly, engagement, using analytics to support its value. Whether it’s a phrase, image, hashtag, gif or video, this content’s purpose derives from being distributed and altered by those sharing it. This concept should sound familiar to you because Richard Dawkins, an author and academic specialized in evolutionary biology, unintentionally defined this phenomenon before it was adopted by the web-browsing masses who now know it simply as a ‘meme’.

In 2013, a piece called ‘Just for Hits’ was developed by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi featuring Dawkins performing a monologue explaining what a ‘meme’ is; a term he had originally coined in his 1976 bestseller, The Selfish Gene (Hinton and Hjorth, p484). During the performance Dawkins reveals how, in his work, he compared memes to genes depicting them as “viruses of the mind” which spread through culture similarly to the way genes spread through the gene pool. Both having the capability of withstanding the test of time due to their capacity for being shared (Saatchi & Saatchi). The piece becomes most relevant when Dawkins goes on to explain the evolution of the ‘internet meme’ specifically, as these weren’t around when he first developed the terminology:

“[…] the very idea of the meme has itself mutated and evolved in a new direction: an ‘internet meme’ is a hijacking of the original idea. Instead of mutating by random chance before spreading by form of Darwinian selection, internet memes are altered deliberately by human creativity. In the hijacked version, mutations are designed not random, with the full knowledge of the person doing the mutating.” (Saatchi & Saatchi).

Here Dawkins expands on the idea that the key characteristic of memes, including internet ones, is their aptitude to spread through human culture “infecting” it. In addition to this, internet memes also possess the particularity of having been given a creative reinterpretation by users who engage with them (Saatchi & Saatchi).

Frequency with which social networking users share content as of June 2014.png
TABLE 1 – Frequency with which social networking users share content as of June 2014  (source: Statista)
Distribution of global social content sharing activities as of 2nd quarter 2016, by social network.png
TABLE 2 – Distribution of global social content sharing activities as of 2nd quarter 2016, by social network (source: Statista)
Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 4th quarter 2016 (in millions).png
TABLE 3 – Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 4th quarter 2016 (in millions) (source: Statista)

To better understand the practice of online content sharing, we can look at data compiled by Statista which found that 59% of SNS users said they shared content at least half the time or more (TABLE 1). Additionally, Statista found Facebook led as the platform of choice with 57% of content sharing activity happening on the social network behemoth followed by Twitter with just 18% hosted there (TABLE 2). These stats aren’t that surprising when looking at the steady rise of monthly active Facebook users which went from 100 million in 2008 to 1.86 billion by the end of 2016 (TABLE 3). As the preferred SNS site globally, it makes sense for it to be the platform where this engagement is concentrated. Yet, it’s important to also look past the significance of these numbers in the present day; what we can also take away from these statistics is how significantly online communication has transformed in a relatively short time. The World Wide Web is still quite a young technology that was introduced to the public less than 30 years ago, in the early 1990s (Hinton and Hjorth, p8). Many entrepreneurs saw the web’s potential as a space of boundless connectivity and, therefore, its chances of becoming a goldmine, quickly making it the latest frontier businesses aimed to conquer and capitalize on. However, even with that foresight, many failed to understand the organic purpose of the web. As Hinton & Hjorth point out in Understanding Social Media: “[…] there was an underlying lack of interest in actually attempting to understand how people were using the internet, and how this affected business models that were still treating internet users like TV audiences” (Hinton and Hjorth, p13).

This very one-dimensional understanding of an infinitely more complex space stemmed from the complacency of companies’ strategic approach towards this new platform and was ultimately their undoing (Hinton and Hjorth, p15). That version of the web, retrospectively dubbed ‘Web 1.0’, was made static and constricted by the traditional business models applied to it. The dotcom crash of the early 2000s was definitive proof of its unsustainable nature (Hinton and Hjorth, p15). Still, the fall of Web 1.0 was not the end of the web altogether ultimately leading to the rise of Web 2.0; its coming of age as a space “[…] more concerned with providing users with the means for producing and distributing content” (Hinton and Hjorth, p18). This web revolution allowed users to contribute to what they were experiencing online, forcing businesses to stop approaching it from the top down and admit to a redistribution of power.


 However, this power shift cannot be considered a complete democratization of the web. As an article from Ad Age pointed out: “if content is king, its metadata is heir to the throne” and owning that metadata is the key to “measure, monetize, and create long-term engagement opportunities with customers” (Hunegnaw). This logic has influenced companies to turn to memes as the barometer of existing cultural trends, to inspire the campaigns which they produce; the ideal outcome being a something that becomes part of the zeitgeist. But, regardless of the popularity of a certain movement online, this is not always a guarantee. The grassroots nature of internet memes accurately demonstrates the two primary characteristics of Web 2.0 as they incorporate User Generated Content (UGC) where users simply share content made by others, as well as User Created Content (UCC), where content is made by users (Hinton and Hjorth, p17); UCC being particularly impactful as it highlights how “[…] in networked communication environments the audience are no longer simply consumers of the media: they have become participants.” (Hinton and Hjorth, p17). A failure to understand memes as more than a thoughtless act of participation is an important part of strategic planning that businesses cannot overlook, regardless of metadata. Pepsi is a recent example of a brand suffering backlash after airing a TV ad featuring Kendall Jenner misappropriating protest culture (Wong). Their tone-deaf approach to millennial political engagement missing the mark and further underlining the importance of understanding memes’ value as content shared and customized without forgetting their purpose as an embodiment of current cultural capital.

Comparison of Pepsi’s ‘Live Now’ TV ad to a photo taken of Ieshia Evans during a Black Lives Matter protest in Louisiana1208525.jpgIMAGE 2 (source: Dazed)


Cafolla, Anna. “Pepsi’S Protest-Themed Ad With Kendall Jenner Faces Backlash”. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Hinton, Sam, and Larissa Hjorth. Understanding Social Media. 1st ed. Los Angeles, CA [etc.]: SAGE, 2013. Print.

Hunegnaw, David. “The Future Of User-Generated Content Is Owned”. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Saatchi & Saatchi. Just For Hits – Richard Dawkins. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Smith, Jacquelyn. “Experts And Viewers Agree: Apple’s ‘1984’ Is The Best Super Bowl Ad Of All Time”. N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Solon, Olivia. “Richard Dawkins On The Internet’s Hijacking Of The Word ‘Meme'”. N.p., 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2017

Taube, Aaron. “Apple Changed Super Bowl Advertising Forever 30 Years Ago Today, But Its ‘1984’ Ad Almost Didn’t Make It On The Air”. N.p., 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

“The Marlboro Man”. N.p., 1999. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

IMAGE 1: Silcoff, Matt. “Marlboro Man | The Evolution Of Cigarette Advertising”. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

IMAGE 2: Wong, Julia. “Pepsi Pulls Kendall Jenner Ad Ridiculed For Co-Opting Protest Movements”. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

TABLE 1: “Frequency With Which Social Networking Users Share Content As Of June 2014”. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

TABLE 2: “Most Famous Social Network Sites Worldwide As Of April 2017, Ranked By Number Of Active Users (In Millions)”. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

TABLE 3: “Number Of Monthly Active Facebook Users Worldwide As Of 4Th Quarter 2016 (In Millions)”. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

VIDEO 1: YouTube. 1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

VIDEO 2: YouTube. Kendall Jenner for PEPSI Commercial. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link:

Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

Social Media, Social Networking Sites, and Users.

By Marlesha Havea (SID: 470308462)
Tutor: Kai Soh, Wednesdays 5-8pm

Social Networking Sites and Social Media have shifted the way in which individuals, groups, communicate and engage with each other. It has also been taken up by businesses in many ways, perhaps most importantly as a vessel for marketing. The power and sheer size of this new communication sphere begs the question; Are we using Social Media or are we being used by social media? Before unpacking this question, clarification is needed regarding the difference between Social Media and Social Networking Sites, who is using them and how. For the purpose of this article we will be  using the following definitions provided by Social Media Today (Social Media Today, 2015):

Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).

Social Networking: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online.

So who is using them? In 2015, the United Nations reported that the world’s population was over 7.3 billion people (United Nations, 2015). According to Statista, over 2.3 billion people actively used Social Media in 2016, that’s a staggering 31% of the world’s population (Statista, 2017).

In that same year, over 79% of Australians had access to the internet and 68% of those internet users had a social media profile (Sensis, 2016). The top five Social Networking Sites in Australia are Facebook with 16 million users, YouTube with over 14 million active users, WordPress has 5.1 million users, Instagram 5 million, and Tumblr with just over 4 million (Cowling, 2017).

What does it mean to use Social Media?

An adequate answer to this question would include explorations of key concepts such as community formation, self representation, and intimate publics.

In a time where people spend almost two hours a day on Social Media, (Sensis, 2016) Social Networking Sites have become an acceptable form of establishing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships. Users are most likely to use and communicate regularly on Social Networking Sites in an attempt to strengthen their existing offline ties with friends, family and coworkers (Haythornthwaite and Wellman’s 1998). In a recent Australian study, 49% of participants said that social networking is one of the first things they check each day and this behaviour has been growing steadily since 2012 (Sensis, 2016). Just like the transition from writing letters to calling landlines to sending a text, social media is a reflection of our time and it is another platform for users to connect with their friends and family.

This American Life podcast below explores some of the reasons why people interact on social media and it’s importance to them.

At its most fundamental level, Social Networking Sites allow users to create some kind of online presence and articulate that with others (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). It’s now a place where people can express themselves freely wherever they are, in any way they want, and whenever they want. Users also have the power to create their own online identity and carefully curate the self image they portray to others. Someone can choose to represent themselves authentically online or invent an entirely different persona. This is typified by the MTV Show Catfish which investigates online dating.

Social Media platforms have also played a vital role in recent, largely offline, social movements such as Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Individuals from across the world are able to connect with others who share similar views on social and political issues, and create genuine bonds through their shared passion. Community formation through social media, particularly for the Black Lives Matter revolutionary civil-rights movement, allowed individuals from all across the world to bond over their collective disgust at racial inequalities as well as their common goal to correct institutional racism. Through the power of organised protests and social media, people were forced to acknowledge the inequality, racism and abuse African Americans face. The sharing of stories and footage using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media sparked national and international attention. The online movement empowered people from all across the world to stand in solidarity and show their support, organising extra-institutional protests in major cities.


Are we Being Used by Social Media?

When thinking about whether or not we’re being used by social media, the concept of digital marketing needs updating to incorporate the intricacies of online algorithms and the potential issues of only being shown information on our feed that we ‘like’.

The Facebook algorithm is complex both technically and philosophically. It allows users to grow and personalise it based on what they like, click, read, and watch. This personalisation creates a unique content bubble also known as the filter bubble for all of it’s 1.86 billion active users (Facebook, 2017). This means there is effectively a limiting of information, thoughts, and content that the algorithm determines you may not like. However, this also limits potentially new information that could challenge or broaden your worldview. For example, if during the US Presidential election of last year, your political views and therefore your engagement with content fell in line with Donald Trump, Facebook’s algorithm recognises this and reduces the number of pro Hillary Clinton posts in your feed. This further complicates the process of differentiating between genuine media generated news and the now infamous ‘fake news’. Users who express their views through active participation on social media run the risk of being left only talking to likeminded people, sharing the same content, and living their online lives inside their own personalised, algorithmic, filter bubble.

Relying on this same type of algorithms, social media is now another sphere within which we are marketed to. In 10 years, active Social Media users have grown increased from 970 million to 2.14 billion (Statista, 2017). This 45% growth has meant that marketers cannot ignore the power that online communities possess, as fertile space for their content, messaging, and products. Facebook allows businesses to target specific posts to their desired audience by using paid functions that identify users gender, age, location, workplace, relationship status, interests, and more. Unbeknownst to most users, Social Networking Sites are utilised as marketing tools for business in the same way that TV ads, radio promos, and print covers have for generations. These online platforms utilise user information to generate profit from digital marketers. This new form of business through digital marketing combined with the potential for filter bubbles presents a potential dilemma for the modern consumer around the very nature of their online activity.

Eli Pariser gives a great Ted Talk about his understanding of the ‘Filter Bubble’:

So what does all of this mean?

It’s clear that there needs to be more transparency with digital marketing and further education about filter bubbles. Although the information exists it’s not easily accessible. Facebook is becoming one of the most popular sources of news for young people (Media Insight, 2015) and Digital Influencers are the new trendsetters of the 21st century. However, as long as the internet is open source, with unrestricted access, users are able to do their own research, to fact check, and can construct their own meaning from the wealth of information that exists online.

Taking into consideration the privacy concerns, seamless digital marketing, the filter bubble, community formation through social media, and self representation, (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013) presents a strong case that Social Media is fundamentally a participative medium. Without user participation it loses its lifeblood and purpose. Whether people participating online are using Social Media for their own ends, or whether they are generating data for digital marketers, users ultimately have the choice to opt in and/or out of these platforms. So long as the user maintains their autonomy over this choice, the power lies in their hands as users of social media.

For example, in a 2015 study 32% of Australian internet users reported that they never use social media and 12% said that was because of Security or privacy concerns (Sensis, 2016). Social media depends on user participation and would cease to exist without it. At face value this places users in charge of this power dynamic, however with invisible algorithms and constant changes to data storage and privacy settings, users must be by-and-large self-informed and reminded of their agency.


Ad Week. (2015). Survey: Many Users Never Read Social Networking Terms of Service Agreements. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

Baym, N. (2012). Fans or Friends? Seeing Social Media Audiences as Musicians Do. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 9(2), 286 – 316.

Cowling, D. (2017). Social Media Statistics Australia. [online] Social Media News. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Dijck, J. v. (2013). Facebook and the Imperative of Sharing The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Facebook. (2017). Company Info | Facebook Newsroom. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].

Hinton, S. and Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. 1st ed. Los Angeles, CA [etc.]: SAGE.

Instagram. (2017). 700 million. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Media Insight. (2015). How Millennials Get News: Inside the Habits of America’s First Digital Generation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Sensis. (2016). Sensis Social Media Report 2016. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

Snapchat. (2017). Ads • Snapchat. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Social Media Today. (2015). 5 Biggest Differences between Social Media and Social Networking. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Statista. (2017). Global daily social media usage. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Statista. (2017). Number of worldwide social network users. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Twitter. (2017). About Us. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

United Nations. (2015). World Population Prospects. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].

We Are Social Australia. (2016). TRENDS REPORT: JUNE 2016 – We Are Social Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Statistics – YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Assessment 3 · Online Communities

Facebook Communities

By: Malinda Hadiwidjojo 460288581
Lecture: Fiona Andreallo, Thursday 12-3pm

In this essay, we will lightly touch on the explanation behind online communities, before looking at three examples to attest how distinctive these communities can be. Furthermore, we will elaborate the rules and guidelines online.

In their book, Hinton and Hjorth (2013) stated that Howard Rheingold popularised the idea of virtual communities back in 1993. His book mentioned that online communities were seen as escapism from the real world – a social isolation – but many saw its potential to be a new space for social interaction. A research conducted by Preece et al. (2003) discussed that over the years, the amount of users in online communities increased tremendously. They mentioned that ‘the internet provides virtual “third places” that allow people to hang out and engange in activities with others’.

Just like in the offline world there are countless of different communities available online, catered to each interest and serving various purposes accordingly, which brings us to the next part: examples of Facebook communities.


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Figure 1 Catspotting group on Facebook

Catspotting is a closed group on Facebook where members can share cats that they encountered in unexpected places, or ‘catspot’ as they call it. It is unclear when it started but as of today, the group has nearly 93,000 members globally, all sharing a common interest: cats.

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Figure 2 Post by member Jordan Schuelzke

Due to its growing audience and interest around it, the group has branched out onto Instagram where they post the best catspots, now with over 1,900 followers and a post count hitting almost 500.

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Figure 3 Catspotting’s Instagram page (@officialcatspotting)

Although the group is specifically for catspots, it is not uncommon for some members to ask questions about cats when they do not know where to go, for instance on how to take care of a stray kitten that they just rescued and are planning to keep. With so many passionate cat lovers, experienced owners, and vets within the group, it is rare for these questions to go unnoticed and ignored – everyone provides answers and guidelines to someone who needs it. Unfortunately, an example of this situation cannot be provided since similar posts have been buried under the multiple posts that have been shared.

Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group (JFDG)

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Figure 4 JFDG group on Facebook

In a country where feminism is still considered taboo by many due to rising conservatism in the majority of the population alongside the society’s strong patriarchal mindset (Sidarto 2017), JFDG was created as a safe space where its members can discuss and share feminist issues. As of today, the closed group has 1,800 members based in and/or from Jakarta that makes it a more local community compared to Catspotting. Some members knew each other offline whereas many became friends through this group.

Members participate in the exchange by sharing articles, videos, images, Facebook posts, and so on, which can spark discussion within the group. With this group’s purpose, users can speak their mind and debate healthily; something that can be difficult to execute in random internet spaces where the possibility of not being taken seriously by ‘trolls’ is high.

Their interaction is not limited to within the internet – it is not uncommon for them to conduct events such as meet-ups and book clubs where members can get together in real life.

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Figure 5 A list of their past events

what if phones, but too much

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Figure 6 what if phones, but too much group on Facebook

This group was created under a much lighter intention than JFDG that is sharing images that shun technology, particularly phones (although computers and social media are also acceptable), which they find funny. Sometimes they post satirical memes as well. At the moment, the group almost has 14,500 members.

Unlike the previous Facebook communities, there is not much discussion going on in this group because they simply bond over technology-hating memes. From observation, there are two main reasons why the members find humour in these posts:

  1. Irony – the people behind the illustrations and memes share their post in social media, complaining about social media and smartphones, through their smartphones (or other devices they may utilise).
  2. Technology will never stop growing no matter how hard humans try, but many are still stuck in the idea that their generation is the best due to the lack of internet use they were exposed to when they were younger, hence the technology-hating memes.
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Figure 7 A meme shared by member Zane Raptor Zepik

Though these communities serve vastly distinctive purposes, they are established because of the same reason: common interest, similar to how communities in real life are formed. In these groups, it does not matter if a member would like to remain anonymous – it is not unusual for someone to create a fake Facebook or social media profile without intending to scam others, but simply to preserve their privacy – but rules and community guidelines still apply, just like in the offline world, although it is clearly stated unlike in real life where it is merely assumed.

In their book ‘Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design’, Kraut et al. (2012) mentioned that there are four elements that regulate online behaviour, which are laws, norms, markets, and technology. They also stated that when an off-topic conversation arises, people are less likely to insist to talk about it in its original post when it is redirected to a more appropriate forum. In Catspotting’s case, when someone posts their own cat, administrators or other members often point them to another relevant group after reminding them of the rules.

When members violate these rules and sometimes even upset others in the process, administrators of the group remind the person of the rules and disable comments for the inappropriate post, or even deleting it. This proves that even online, there are consequences to an action that should be taken seriously.

Application to social media project

The idea of how virtual communities bring people together (online and offline) was applied to our social media project where we aimed to attract a younger audience to attend the Greenway Series at the Con.

Our strategies revolved around how to create more user engagement across the Con’s social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube), which included sharing of tasteful images and funny memes, directly interacting with audience by replying to their comments, using open-ended questions to spark a discussion, and implementing hashtags to generate more exposure.

When the strategies are successfully executed, a community is formed, thus more people go to the Greenway Series. Although the goal of the project is achieved, there is no reason to terminate the strategies because it is important to maintain the objective.


Hinton, Sam, & Hjorth, Larissa. (2013). Social Network Sites Understanding Social Media (pp. 32 – 54). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Kraut, Robert E., Kiesler, Sara, Resnick, Paul. (2012). Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design. Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Preece, Jenny, Maloney-Krichmar, Diane, Abras, Chadia. (2003) History and emergence of online communities.

Sidarto, Linawati. (2017) ‘Feminism in Indonesia is under siege by Muslim conservatives’. The Jakarta Post.


Meme makers – produsers AND cultural intermediaries

Chloe Hava – 309339650

Kai Soh, Thurs 12:00-15:00


‘Produsing’ can be a lucrative career for some. Brands have realised that user created content, and those who make it, are culturally and potentially commercially influential. Certain meme makers can be considered to have the cultural knowledge and commercial influence of ‘cultural intermediaries’.  A recent example of this notion can be seen in the #TFWGucci campaign – a collaboration between meme makers and various international artists for the ‘Les Marche des Merveilles’ watch collection. Gucci enlisted the services of meme makers such as @beigecardigan and @youvegotnomale – creator of the infamous ‘starter pack’ phenomenon – to create Instagram based memes that use the currently favoured meme terminology and imagery while promoting their products. These leading ‘produsers’, who have risen to prominence in the social media landscape, are increasingly seen to have the required cultural knowledge and strong following to be considered commercially impactful. When considering this idea, it is necessary to first discuss the development of web 2.0, social media and produsage.


Web 2.0 and participation

The development of the concept web 2.0 signified a shift in how online information is produced and consumed. Rather than referring to a technological development, the term web 2.0 describes a change in approach (Hinton and Hjorth p. 16). Where as web 1.0 had a strict producer versus user application, web 2.0 blurred these lines to allow for a participative and interactive medium (O’Reilly 2007 p. 18). It is from this new participative perspective that social media was born. Social media channels allow for various forms of participation amongst their users – from liking a post on Facebook, posting a picture on Instagram, or using a hashtag to categorize content on Twitter (Hinton and Hjorth pg. 55). An expansion on the notion of participation is when users of social media platforms become producers of content (Hinton and Hjorth pg. 55).



 Bruns describes the reciprocal nature of communication and content production specific to web 2.0 as produsage – “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement.” (Bruns 2008 p. 2). The produser creates or participates in the creation of content to be distributed through online media channels. User-led or user created content appears in many different formats and platforms in the online sphere. The collaborative online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, citizen journalist blogs, BitTorrent and the Creative Commons suite are all examples of produsage (Bruns 2007 p. 2). Bruns states that although the method and format of produsage may vary, there are four distinct characteristics that forms of produsage all share –

  • A movement from centralised producers of content to a wider participative base
  • Constantly changing roles from collaborator to user to leader
  • Content is never complete, and is always evolving
  • A permissive approach to ownership

(Bruns 2007 p. 3)

The theory of produsage is careful to move away from previous terms which indicate the role of the changing consumer, such as Toffler’s ‘prosumer.’ This theory still works on the basis that one group is responsible for the production of products to be consumed by the masses. Bruns states that produsage is a move away from this industrial production process to a space where content is continuously evolving (Bruns 2007 p. 4). The term product itself also implies a complete or finished version, as opposed to one that is regularly updated.


Social Media and Produsage

 Bruns states that the key elements of social media are community and collaboration (Bruns and Bahnisch 2009 p. 7). These inherent properties of social media platforms have led to the shift towards produsage. Social media sites promote community and collaboration in the following ways:

  • They are easy to use and encourage participation. For example, Wikipedia is branded as a site that ‘Anyone Can Edit’
  • Participation is gradual to allow users to build up a skill set for content creation
  • User communities are allowed to develop organically, and users are afforded equal opportunity to become leaders in the social media landscape
  • Content is shared and attributed to users

(Bruns and Bahnisch 2009 p. 8)



Memes are a type of user created content that usually appear in the form of an image or video with accompanying humorous text. The word meme was adapted from the Greek term ‘mimema’, which translates as ‘something imitated’ (Gil 2017). Memes are a perfect example of produsage given that:

  • Anyone can create them – the tools for production and distribution are crude and readily available
  • They are shared amongst users with creative attribution given
  • There is a constant re-interpretation and recirculation of memetic imagery and terminology

Although the material needed to create a meme is at anyone’s disposal, there are certain individuals that will emerge as the leaders of the meme making pack. In the world of social media, these individuals are awarded significant ‘cultural capital’. Increasingly, these meme makers are turning cultural capital into actual capital. For example, @thefatjewish and @fuckjerry, although both considered to be meme thieves, now make thousands of dollars in product placement fees per post (Dhillon 2017). The ability of these star meme makers to culturally connect with other users while promoting brands and products makes them not only produsers but ‘cultural intermediaries’.


Cultural Intermediaries

Pierre Bourdieu developed the term cultural intermediaries to describe the ‘new petite bourgeoisie’, or those that have cultural knowledge and work in industries of representation (Negus 2002 p. 3). Bourdieu states, “The new petite bourgeoisie comes into its own in all the occupations involving presentation and representation, and in all the institutions providing symbolic goods and services, and in cultural production and organisation which have expanded considerably in recent years” (Bourdieu 1984 p. 359). In this vein, meme makers like @youvegotnomale are considered to be cultural intermediaries, as they have carved a career out of comical cultural representation that now extends to promoting the goods and services of various brands. Matthews and Maguire argue that the term cultural intermediary is used a little loosely these days, and that in order to be truthful to the notion, this person must have a certain degree of influence, have a level of expertise and be involved in framing products or ideas (Matthews and Maguire 2012 p. 554). While not all meme makers fit into this definition, @youvegotnomale’s work for the #TFWGucci campaign is a prime example of a produser functioning as a cultural intermediary.

cult intermed-header.jpg

#TFWGucci Campaign

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele is described as having certain passion for online culture, and was looking for way to integrate authentic-looking user created content into a Gucci campaign. The #TFWGucci campaign uses the memetic terminology of ‘that feel when…’ coupled with current meme constructs, such as @youvegotnomale’s ‘starter pack’ (Colon 2017). Rather than turning to his own creative team, Michele turned to produsers like @youvegotnomale, who has cultural influence due to his large following and has a keen interest and understanding of fashion culture. @youvegotnomale framed the typical Gucci consumer behaviour through his starter pack, while simultaneously promoting their products. This therefor renders him both a produser and a cultural intermediary.



Memes are a form of produsage that anyone is able to create, however only a select few will be able to turn this form of user created content into a profitable occupation. Some of these leading meme makers will be considered knowledgably and influential enough by brands to be ambassadors, using produsage to function as cultural intermediaries.

Relevance to my campaign

For my campaign pitch to the Con, we used musical based memes in order to connect with our target audience. We developed a tactic of ‘caturday memes’ – given that memes containing cats are usually a hit. They are a simple, free and fun way to get your message across.


Word Count: 1279


  • Bruns, A. (2007). ‘produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-led Content      Creation’ in Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6. Washington DC
  •  Bruns, A. (2008). The Future is User-led: The Path towards Widespread Produsage. Fibreculture Journal (11)
  • Bruns, A. and Bahnisch, M. (2009). Social Media: Tools for User-generated Content. Volume 1 – State of the Art
  • Bruns, A. and Bahnisch, M. (2009). Social Media: Tools for User-generated Content. Volume 1 – State of the Art
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  • Gil, P. (2017, April 17). What is a ‘Meme’? Retrieved from:
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  • Negus, K. (2002). ‘The work of Cultural Intermediaries and the Enduring Distance between Production and Consumption’ in The Cultural Intermediaries Reader. London: Sage
  • O’Reilly, T. (2007). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Munich Personal RePEc Archive: Paper no. 4578