Assessment · Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

MECO6936 Assessment Three

Name: Ashna Mehta

Student I.D.: 430242940

Class: Thursday 9:00am-12:00pm

The impact of location based services (LBSs) on social, locative and mobile media is one of the key concepts explored in Chapter Seven of Hinton and Hjorth’s ‘Understanding Social Media’. The chapter delves into the effects of location based services on a cultural, social and individual level, drawing upon examples of locative services on mobile social media such as FourSquare and Facebook. The chapter addresses the myriad of ways in which mobile social media is employed on a global scale, drawing upon the increasing popularity of smartphones as the primary cause for what Hinton and Hjorth have coined the “media evolution” (2013, p.121). Over the course of the chapter, Hinton and Hjorth acknowledge the shift in public perception of the smart phone from a tool for communication to a networked media tool, fostering the development of social media and games. The core concept of the chapter is the shift in the macro and micro understanding of space and place following the amalgamation of mobile media and social and locative technologies.

The core concept of the chapter is approached in concise, coherent manner, with real world examples of the varying applications of social and locative media. It is established that over time, social, locative and mobile media has transcended barriers of age, gender and location, leading to the creation of “new forms of intimacy and different contexts for the expression of intimacy,” (Hinton, S. Hjorth, L. 2013). The ubiquity and functionality of mobile phones has contributed to the increasing prevalence of cross-generational social media usage, particularly following the inclusion of location based services and applications in smart phones, thereby rendering smart phones an invaluable aspect of daily life. The shift in the relationship between place, time and presence is evidenced through the remediation of older applications of maps to location based services such as Google Maps and Geotagging. Hinton and Hjorth cite Bolter and Grusin’s (1999) definition of remediation as, “the dynamic and interdependent relationship between new and old technologies,” (2013, p.123). This is evidenced through the development of location based services such as Google Maps to the functionality of Facebook locations, which consequently alters how the relationship between mobile media users and place, time and social media presence.

The integration of LBSs with social media in smart phones, and its subsequent effect on the mobility of social media, is also scrutinised in Hinton and Hjorth’s chapter. It is stated that the increased media mobility has resulted in, “the expansion of cartographies enabled by LBS devices and mobile apps, and the development of location-based social apps that blend social relationships with geography,” (Ibid). Here, Hinton and Hjorth established the framework through which they examine the relationship between location based services, their functions and their place in mobile media. The expansion of cartographies by the advent of LBSs can be illustrated through the rising popularity of smart phone app Pokémon Go, which alters the user’s relationship with place and space through immersive experiences with nearby locations, mapped via new cartographical technologies. The inclusion of LBSs in smart phones has served to improve their functionality and prevalence amongst a wider demographic, as consumers would be unwilling to purchase a separate location based device, such as GPS. From this, it can be deduced that this led to the development of locative-based mobile games such as Pokémon Go and FourSquare, which contributed to the shift in macro and micro perceptions of place and space. This in turn can be attributed to the immersive nature of new locative based services and their innumerable applications for smart phones.

Following the advent of smart phones, the public’s perception of mobile technology experienced a shift from being ‘online’ or ‘offline’, leading to the merging of the physical and virtual world. The practice of cartography, Hinton and Hjorth posit, “links space with place, where place is the concept of a space that has meaning ascribed to it,” (2013, p.126). This relationship between space and place is underscored through locative media, and its varying applications available to consumers via smart phones. In order to better conceptualise the relationship between space and place through locative technologies, Hinton and Hjorth draw parallels between perceptions of place and space, and how they have changed due to the increasing popularity and quality of camera phones and photo editing applications such as Hipstamatic. The notion of place, as put forward by Hinton and Hjorth, is explored as being, “not only a space with geographic contours, [but] a space that operates across many levels: imagined and lived, social and physical,” (Ibid). Through this, it can be deduced that through the amalgamation of Location Based Services and smart phone cameras, there is greater emotional value attributed to place than space, as it determines consumers’ relationship with the physical and virtual world.

The prevalence of smart phone applications such as Hipstamatic and Instagram, particularly their accessibility and functionality, has merged the social with the personal through social media. It is argued in Farman that consumers’ notions of virtual space are, “dissolving”, with the history of the term ‘virtuality’ revealing, “that the intimate relationship between the virtual and the ‘actual’ has always been historically assumed,” (Farman, J. 2012). This blurring of the distinction between the virtual and actual can be attributed, in part, to the overlaying of the electronic on the geographic through locative based services and smart phone applications such as Instagram and Jiepang. Moreover, the popularity of applications such as Hipstamatic and Instagram can be linked to their functionality, as it renders the application easy to navigate, with buttons integrated within the applications to encourage immediate online posting. This is further compounded by social media companies that “provide their own image-hosting servers that operate almost invisibly to the user,” (Hinton, S. Hjorth, L. 2013). This can be illustrated through the integration of Imgur, an image-hosting application available online and through mobile, with social media platform Reddit. Through the prevision of easily accessible image hosting services, applications such as Instagram, Imgur and Hipstamatic impact how place and space are recorded and stored.

The theory of social, locative and mobile media being discussed in Chapter Seven is addressed by Wilken through an analysis of Facebook’s inclusion of location based services. Facebook’s gradual implementation of location based services such as Places, Tagging and Nearby provides a multisensorial view of the social media platform, as it, “establishes Facebook as a location-based services company; [refocuses] the company as a local recommendation service and establishes Facebook as a key local and mobile advertising portal,” (Wilken, R. 2014). This effect is multisensorial for users, as it allows them to decide the particular way through which “text, image and GPS are overlaid to create a multisensorial depiction of a locality,” (Hinton, S. Hjorth, L. 2013). The inclusion of location based services in social media demonstrates the gradual breakdown of social, cultural and geographical barriers, particularly through prevalent social media platforms such as Facebook. The ubiquity of location based services due to its functionality and accessibility can also be attributed to its advancing technologies, as evidenced through Facebook’s implementation of functions such as Places and Nearby. Through this, it can be deduced that the development of LBSs from a First Generation cartographical device to the multisensorial experience it is now, contributes to the development of notions of place and space.

The advancements in cartographical technology, in particular LBSs, can be attributed to the prevalence of mobile media, such as smart phones through the media evolution. As stated in Hinton and Hjorth, mobile devices “provide us with new ways of mapping meaning to space and creating new places,” (2013, p.134). The advancements in technology regarding locative media impacted the way individuals as consumers create meaning, and expanded the social, cultural and geographical contexts of place and space. This is underscored by the increasing popularity of mobile media and the smart phone, as the implementation of LBSs in smart phones is, “changing how we visualise intimate cartographies through shifting camera-phone practices,” (Hinton, S. Hjorth, L. 2013). Through this, it is evident that the advent of LBSs represents the increasing diversity of relationships between consumers of mobile and social media.
















Reference List:

  • Farman, J. 2012, ‘Locative Interfaces and Social Media’, Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media, Routledge, New York, pp.35-49
  • Hinton, S. Hjorth, L. 2013, ‘Social, Locative and Mobile Media’, Understanding Social Media, SAGE Publications, London, pp.120-136.
  • Wilken, R. 2014, ‘Places Nearby: Facebook as a location-based social media platform’, New Media & Society, Vol.16, No.7, pp.1087-1103.




Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

Always-on Lifestyle 

Student: Xuan HE  SID: 450427655

Tutorial: Thursday 12am-3pm, Fiona Andreallo

How ofen will you check your phone? Statistics collected by International Auditing and Consultancy Firm Deloitte show that averagely, American would check their phone 46 times a day, and collectively the checking times would peak at eight billion times in 24 hours in 2015. The internet is all   around, which has dramatically changed people’s life.

Danah Boyd’s Participating in the Always-on Lifestyle vividly expounded on the issue of always-online lifestyle that most of our modern people are experiencing now. Boyd used subtraction methods, finding that due to the rapid development of technology, people are always online in the current information society. People ‘may not be always-on the Internet as they think of it colloquially, but they are always connected to the network.(Boyd, 2012)’ In other words, as though we often think we are not surfing the internet, for we don’t use computers or mobile phones, actually, at any moment, we are connected to the internet unconsciously.

’‘My always-on-ness doesn’t mean that I’m always-accessible-to-everyone. All channels are accessible, but it doesn’t mean I will access them.(Boyd, 2012)’ In essence,21492731801_.pic_hd no matter people want or not, they have to be in an always-on mode. For nobody is alone in the contemporary society, they would more or less related to someone else,  but they have choices whether or not to connect with others, which remind me of the status that for example, I was in the group discussion. My brain was working according to the information that my group mates gave me, and the video about Sydney Conservatorium of music from Youtube was playing simultaneously. My phone lays on the desk, receiving information from all channels constantly, there may be some notifications sent to me from Facebook, telling me Sydney Conservatorium of music would give another great performance several days later that we could use as resources to propagate it, but I could choose not to check it at present, I was unaccessible to that connection at that time, but it didn’t mean I was already ‘offline’.

‘Being always-on works best when the people around you are always-on, and the networks of always-on-ers are defined more by values and lifestyle than by generation.(Boyd, 2012)’ Always-on is a subcultural practice. For example, music lovers would follow the official account of Sydney Conservatorium of music from some social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and Instagram, they would pay close attention to the schedules of some performance. Meanwhile, on the internet, they could find someone who shares the same musical tastes and keep contact with each other online. Whenever a new concert was going to be held, they could exchange feelings and opinions about those concerts, which naturally form a connection for those music lovers, which is also a key point of our campaign in this semester that attending our free concert is a good way for audiences to meet fellow music lovers. Another example could be explained by those pet owners, whose connection with their pets in the range of the broader community online could be defined as  ‘Petworking’ (Hutchinson, 2014). Most of them would create an account on Instagram or Sina Weibo to interact with other pets lovers, their cute pets could draw large amounts of fans of the same habits, they would contact each other via those media platforms. The third  example could draw from those game lovers, the online games are not only social, but could facilitate social interactions among users(Hutchinson, 2014), which is another form of always-on life that those people who primarily know each other would become teammates in some online games, they would also get to know other strangers via online games and become more connected with the outside world.

Human beings living in the society that people love to keep themselves in contact with each other so they will not feel lonely, and technology provides people with the possibilities to connect with others and other new stuff conveniently. Boyd(2012) has claimed that outsiders would feel curious about those people living an always-on life, but in my opinion, I think always-on lifestyle could facilitate people’s physical activity. Supportive interactions online could facilitate people to live a healthier lifestyle(Centola, 2010, 2011). For instance, taking WeChat Run as an example, WeChat Run tracks users’ daily steps all the time, which inadvertently holds a competition among those users about the amounts of their daily steps and ‘stresses peer competition within online networks (Foster et al., 2010)’ , using rankings and other social comparison strategies could promote users’ physical activity(Festinger, 1954). Constantly transmitted data of users’ daily steps online is the representation of the always-on lifestyle. For another example of our campaign about the Sydney Conservatorium of music, in today of the network information times, people’s activities are greatly influenced by the online broadcasting, that is the reason why we should utilize network marketing to advertise our Con. From the advertisement and broadcasting online, people’s attention would be drawn on the free concert, which could facilitate more people to have more activities by attending our concert.

Always-on lifestyle could enhance our experience. With ever-increasing information from all varieties of online channels, we could better navigate the world. When audiences attending the concert, some people without professional musical knowledge may feel isolated deeply inside their heart, for they barely know the backgrounds or some deep meanings behind those unfamiliar symphonies. They know nothing about symphony but to experience it for once. While through the internet like googling or checking the Wikipedia, they could embrace amounts of related information and get closer to those unfamiliar music works. They can check the music style and descriptions of the authors even the introductions of the players to get closer to those great musical works. Online resources create new methods for people to connect with other people, which also provide methods for users to communicate with history, culture, and art. Audiences could  ‘communicate’  with the music, getting to know the cultural backgrounds behind those notes, which could facilitate them to better understand and experience what they heard.

We are living in an age of information exploration, and everyone should adapt to it and find a balance to deal with numerous information. We cannot live without internet, or we can say, we cannot live without being connected to others, which remind me of the group work we have done this semester. Our group members always chatting via Facebook to keep contact with each other and exchanging opinions about the campaign of Sydney Conservatorium of Music, we worked together to put forward a campaign project, which on the one hand is the achievements facilitated by the online technology that conveniently connected us together, on the other hand, it is also a representation of the connection among people in real life that we should collaborate to make things done in a better way, for union is strength.


At heart, I have thought of the issue about people always using internet before taking this course, but I haven’t thought of that kind of lifestyle could be defined by Danah as the always-on lifestyle, which makes me have more interest in social media communication studies. Sometimes we want to express our ideas about a certain issues, we cannot find a proper way to explain it, while scholars or writers could explain such scene vividly and make people feel like ‘that is just what I want to express but I cannot clearly explain it’ , making the readers convince of their statement. For we often look only at the surface of things, but the deep meanings and reasons and explanations underly those things are much more interesting and deserving to be researched considerably.




Boyd,  Danah. (2012). Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle. In The Social Media Reader (pp. 71–76). New York University Press.

Centola, D., (2010). The spread of behavior in an online social network experiment. Science. 1194–1197.

Centola, D., (2011). An experimental study of homophily in the adoption of health behavior.Science. 1269-1272.

Foster, D., Linehan, C., Kirman, B., Lawson, S., James, G., (2010). Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media for competitive step counting(pp.111–116).New York: ACM.

Festinger, L., (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations. (pp.117–140). Sage.

Gulf News, Always online. (2016).Retrieved April 11, 2017 from

Hjorth, L., & Hinton, S. (2013). Social Media Games. In Understanding Social Media (pp. 100–119). London: SAGE.

Hutchinson, J. (2014). I Can Haz Likes: Cultural Intermediation to Facilitate ‘Petworking’. M/C Journal, 17(2), 8–8.


Assessment 3 · Breastfeeding · Online Communities · Social Media Communication

Online Communities: Milking Mommas

Four years ago, a small group of mothers attended a breastfeeding counsellor’s training in the Philippines. They wanted to share what they learned to other mothers through the internet, so they created a Facebook group called “Breastfeeding Pinays” (Breastfeeding Filipinas).

Unexpectedly, their simple idea which only had 200 members during the first 24 hours from its creation, already grew to an online community with 154, 948 members at present.

It is now composed of mothers, fathers, doctors, midwives, nurses, lactation counsellors and other health professionals.

Within the group, members exchange questions, advices, tips and guidelines about breastfeeding. It categorizes its information through albums that are dedicated to different subjects, such as a compilation of photo instructions on how to achieve a proper latch, or videos on how to cup-feed expressed breastmilk. Members are encouraged to contribute photos or videos to the group’s albums based on their categories.

unang yakap
Members upload photos to the group’s album entitled “Unang Yakap” or “First Embrace”

The group has become so popular in the Philippines, that it has been featured in several articles and television shows—even celebrities joined the group.

Breastfeeding Pinays is an example of a successful online community, where netizens are gathered by shared interests and goals through a social networking site.

Academic Research on Online Communities

Hinton and Hjorth (2013) discussed communities in social media by looking into how online interactions take place and the structures used in these connections.

They digged into the history of online community studies, by pointing out how it was popularized by Howard Rheingold in 1993, when he discussed about an early online community called the WELL (Whole Earth Lectronic Link). This sparked a discussion about the topic both in the media and in academic discussions.

Some scholars saw online communities as socially isolating, as they promoted escapism and removed users from reality and social connections (Wellman & Gullia, 1999, cited in Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.37). For others, these communities generated public discussion and democratic participation, making the internet a powerful medium.

Further research into online communities examined the role of offline relationships in communication. Internet studies underwent an ‘ethnographic shift,’ as real-world settings influenced online communication.

In Daniel Miller and Don Slater’s (2001) study on how Trinidadians used the internet, they discovered the important role of the geographical place and the offline social world of users. Their findings showed that being Trinidadian influenced how and why people in Trinidad went online (Miller and Slater, 2001, cited in Hinton and Hjorth 2013, p.39).

This is true for Breastfeeding Pinays where most members are Filipinos living in the Philippines who share the same language and cultural practices. In the group, new members are added because of an invitation or recommendation of an existing member. In most cases, the new member and existing member are both offline friends or acquaintances.

The factor of geographical place, however, has been challenged by scholars such as Manuell Castells and Barry Wellman, who argue that social ties are maintained through internet use despite proximity. People create and maintain relationships because of shared interests and knowledge, even if they have never met in real life. Although these relationships are not strong, Castells points out that they are still important. This is demonstrated by Clay Shirky’s (2008) example of how a lost Motorola Razr phone was recovered through the efforts of an online community.

In the case of Breastfeeding Pinays, overseas mothers, including myself, have joined the group because of our common goal to exclusively breastfeed.

Personally, I feel a special connection to the members of the group despite our distance, and participating in the discussions give me the feeling of a casual conversation with fellow mothers back home.

This kind of connection over distance distinguishes online networks from online communities. An example of the former would be joining a Facebook group of one’s grade school alma mater where offline relationships have already been established and communication only takes place when called for.

With online communities such as Breastfeeding Pinays, connections are created even by people who do not know each other in real life, because of a shared interest that maintains these online relationships. In a community, a collective will is aimed through individual efforts (Tönnies, 2009), and social capital plays a key role in its creation and maintenance (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.42).

The concept of social capital was introduced by Bourdieu (1984 [1979]), who pointed out that the three important kinds of capital that influenced individuals’ tastes were cultural, social and economic.

This can be applied with the chosen example, as one’s choice to commit to exclusive breastfeeding and thus join an online breastfeeding group, can be influenced by one’s upbringing, connections, and economic conditions. These kinds of capitals are important in sustaining the online community.

Rules Governing Online Communities

Park (2011) notes that there are three conditions for a community to exist, namely, membership, expression, and personal connection. I would like to elaborate on the first as it is interesting to note that for memberships to be retained in an online community, established rules should be followed.

For example, the administrators of Breastfeeding Pinays have always emphasized their set of rules within the group. These include the prohibition of textspeak, the posting of advertisements, or the promotion of the use of artificial nipples. Violators are reprimanded and some are even removed from the group.

Group administrators always remind members of the rules governing their online community

Kiesler S. et al. (2012) in their book, “Building Successful Online Communities,” point out that rules and procedures play an important part in regulating non-normative behaviour in online communities. They note that social norms are usually violated by newcomers, which is why in the case of Breastfeeding Pinays, administrators immediately send new members a copy of the forum’s rules and files upon admission to the group.

When violations become rampant in the group discussion, the list of rules are posted again in the thread and inappropriate posts are deleted.

Kraut R. et al. (2012) also note that there are online users who purposely damage online communities such as trolls, manipulators and spammers.

Trolls gain satisfaction from disrupting communities, so the authors propose that the best way to limit their activity is to ignore them. Manipulators on the other hand, use multiple “shill” accounts to get communities to produce particular outcomes such as in the case of websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor—therefore, posts from suspected manipulators should be filtered out. Meanwhile, a mechanism has been developed by blog platforms to help lessen spammers, by automatically including the rel=nofollow attribute in links embedded in the comments, to prevent search engines from trusting these links (Kraut R. et al., 2012).

The Impact of Online Communities and How they Mobilize the Offline World

I suggest the expansion of the study of online communities by including how they affect online normative behaviour outside their private group. For example, Breastfeeding Pinays has always encouraged its members to post “brelfies” or breastfeeding selfies on their personal social media accounts, not only to encourage breastfeeding but to normalize it as well. The group also endorsed the “Tree of Life” campaign, where brelfies are edited using an application to include tree branches in the picture. This has been an instant trend among the group’s members.

tree of life
Uploaded Tree of Life Brelfies of Group Members

Initiatives by Breastfeeding Pinays and similar online groups have helped lessen the stigma attached to uncensored pictures of babies feeding on the breast that are posted in social networking sites. In fact, in 2015, Facebook changed its policy and removed its ban on breastfeeding photos after years of censoring.

Furthermore, studies show that digital communication technologies mobilize individuals who aim for common goals whether civic or non-civic (Bimer et al., 2012; Earl and Kimport, 2011; Rheingold, 2002). This has been proven by Seo, H. et al. (2014), in their case study on how social media facilitated flash mobs among teenagers.

Online communities also enable mobilization in the offline world by providing a forum to organize activities in line with their objectives.

In Breastfeeding Pinays, different events are brought together such as seminars and counsellor trainings. Breastmilk sharing is even done through requests and donations mentioned in the community discussions by mothers who have never met in real life before.

One of the organized events of Breastfeeding Pinays where group members feed their children together in public

Application to our Social Media Campaign

The concept of how online communities connect people with shared interests or objectives in spite of distance was applied in the social media campaign we made for #BetheFilter.

Our strategy revolved around the idea of ambassadorship, which aimed to create as many volunteer campaign ambassadors as possible, who will vow to use social media responsibly in terms of news consumption in their social media accounts. It seeks to create an online community among all netizens across borders, with the common belief in the importance of responsible social media use.

Once a successful community of campaign ambassadors is achieved, the strategy aims to spread its influence and make critical thinking part of normative behaviour among internet users in social networking sites.


This essay aimed to examine how online communities are created and maintained through a case study on a popular Facebook group in the Philippines, Breastfeeding Pinays. It first traced Hinton and Hjorth’s (2013) discussion of how academic researchers dissected the concept—wherein some argue that online communities promote escapism, while others contest that they provide a platform for democratic participation. Second, this paper highlighted how offline relationships help in the creation of online communities; however, it is not considered a requirement since online relationships foster in these communities even if the members have not met in real life, as long as there are shared interests and goals. Third, it looked into how rules regulate non-normative behaviour in these communities. Lastly, it challenged to expand the research on the study to include the impact of online communities on normative behaviour outside their private group and how these mobilize individuals to achieve its goals in the offline setting. It will be interesting to see how online communities will foster in the coming years as current social networking sites will soon lose their popularity, and new web portals will emerge into the picture.



Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

Augmented Reality (AR) in the 21st Century

Denisse Jarcia | 470198405

Thursday 9am-12pm, Fiona Andreallo

Mobile smartphone and tablet device usage is rapidly increasing. Thus, more programs are designed specifically for these devices for further development. Additionally, the emergence of social media platforms and new applications has urged consumers to want more. Most users become easily familiar with the features and applications on their device. Therefore, they always tend to look for something new, perhaps an upgrade of the current application or a new feature. Today, through the development of technology, many Augmented Reality (AR) browsers are publicly available and on the market through the mobile handheld devices (Butchart, 2011).


(Image 1: Infographic on Augmented Reality)

Augmented Reality is defined as a technology that mixes the real environment with the virtual, is registered in three dimensions, real-time and interactive, Azuma (1997) explains. The use of AR is growing which opens new opportunities for developers and excitement for consumers. The common usage of augmented reality is tracking, user interaction, calibration and registration, and display techniques (Zhou et al, 2008). The development of mobile AR helps people annotate, experience and enact a certain place.

The main article used as a reference for this blog is Layar-ed places: Using mobile augmented reality to tactically reengage, reproduce, and reappropriate public space. Laio & Humphreys’ (2015) article discusses location-based services (LBS) and practices of mobile geotagging, content creation that inform understanding of current practices. Furthermore, the relationship between code and space is explained. Laio & Humphreys use Layar as an example, the latter is a mobile AR application that displays points of interest (POIs), user-created annotations, or graphics based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) location of the device and orientation of the built-in camera, compass, and accelerometer. The concept of place and space also plays a huge role in understanding Augmented Reality because of the use of locations through mobile or tablet devices. As Harrison and Dourish (1996) define, “space is the opportunity; place is the understood reality” (p.96). Layar users create content to think about and communicate about place. However, there are issues raised regarding the deployment of AR: who has authority over space and who is in charge of reconstructing political and historical meaning in a certain place. In relation to this, De Certeau’s analysis and framework is used to understand mobile AR uses as tactical spatial practices.

Social media and AR are integrated together most of the time. Social media is the tool used to share features of AR through the user’s account and shared with family, friends or community. Snapchat is one social media platform that uses AR. Since the beginning, AR is the core feature of this app. Users are encouraged to become creative by simply adding text or designs in their image before sending them. “None of these photos would have the same meaning without the additional annotations and illustrations. The humor, references, and expression in these messages are directly tied to the ability of augmented reality”, Racette (2015) explains. Additionally, there are filters that can be used to create a more entertaining snap or story. There are standard color filters, temperature, date and time, speed and themes.


(Image 2: Snapchat filters)

The distinct geofilters used in Snapchat is the current obsession of millennials. Geofilters are images which lay atop of the image you’ve just taken, often designating where you are, events in your area, or general advertisements (Specht, 2015). A user will be able to use this feature in certain places as long as the device location service is turned on. Some locations usually have several geofilter designs that users could choose from that appeal to the majority of Snapchatters. Additionally, users can contribute their own geofilter designs. Just last year, Snapchat has introduced two kinds of geofilters: community geofilters and sponsored geofilters. Community geofilters usually state the place where the snap took place; it can not include logos or marketing and can be submitted for free. On the other hand, sponsored geofilters are used by brands to cover a certain area with their logo or marketing-based filters which are paid for. Therefore, companies and events have used this feature to promote their products and keep their customers updated. My current internship with an events company has led me to discover the sponsored geofilter on Snapchat. The team is working on an upcoming event involving the launch of a product designed for students on-the-go. Currently, we are working on the designs for the sponsored geofilter and we are also conducting further research to maximize its use on the day of the event.


(Image 3: Snapchat geofilters)

Aside from entertainment and marketing, Augmented Reality has become useful for tourism. Tourism is an industry that makes use of AR to guide travelers in choosing their destinations and planning their itinerary before or during their trip. It creates an interactive way to entice and excite tourists (users) for the upcoming or current journeys. AR plays an important role to build an incredible visitor experienceAn example would be Discover Moscow Photo app that creates an experience for users to discover the history of the capital and visually experience the iconic persons and famous people in Moscow. It was launched by the Department of  Information and Technology of Moscow and  through the app, users can catch virtual doubles of iconic and historical figures and take a photo with them. Through the app, users can find the person 3D-models, discover the places, take selfies, and share with friends or other users. Discover Moscow App has a similar concept of Pokémon Go, within a radius of 50 meters from the character, the smartphone will be transmitted the exact coordinates for the detection of the characters. This app falls under the concept of historicizing/memorializing public place because of its feature involving historic and iconic individuals in the country/place. This concept shows the conclusive relationship between code and place (Liao & Humphreys, 2015). If for example, these virtual people were not used in the app, then the augmentations would have a different meaning and the place would have a different meaning (Liao & Humphreys, 2015). Therefore, the non-users of the app may have a different interpretation and experience of the place because they are not seeing the AR involved in Discover Moscow app.


(Image 4: AR in tourism)

Another example of an app that integrates the concepts of Location Based Services (LBS), mobile geotagging, code/space, and spatial practices would be WallaMe. The latter lets the user leave a hidden message through the use of in-app drawing and painting tools to create a special message. This message could be left on the nearby wall, street or sign which can only be accessed and read by other users through the app. Those who have been using the app want to create a place and space that is exclusive to its users. Spatial practices: strategies and tactics is an applicable concept for this application. Spatial practice is how people consciously and unconsciously alter, adapt, and appropriate objects and space for their own needs, as defined by De Certeau (1984). AR technologies have the potential to render people identifiable in space and regulate those spaces, Crang and Graham (2007) explains. Therefore, WallaMe could be used as an example to show capabilities in creating different uses for AR.


(Image 5: WallaMe application)

Laio & Humpreys’ (2015) conclude that mobile technologies increasingly force us to confront issues of location as an influential factor for communication. Augmented Reality is a growing industry involving powerful and strategic actors.  There are certainly positive and negative aspects relating to this. There could be faster and innovative development for AR but at the same time, there could be some individuals who could reclaim, limit, and possibly censor some of the tactical production. Additionally, the production of augmented space seems easy because there is less cost, tools are available to create content and design, and there are no strict rules that involve AR yet. Therefore, researchers should continue to monitor the relationships, institutions, and organizations that host AR space. Additionally, there should be a potential pushback from dominant power structures to reassert control over AR space.

The concerns raised could be applied in current social media and AR mobile applications. Through technology and programs, the contribution and development of applications involving AR become fast and easy. It should be noted that there are individuals that tend to create a negative impact on AR instead of creating positive and useful content. Therefore, laws and other policies should be considered and implemented in spaces that involve AR to protect the users as well. On the other hand, research should not only focus on early adopters, instead, age and gender differences should also be considered to further improve AR’s reach and potential.


Actualapple. (2016, August 15). Moscow authorities have launched a Russian equivalent of Pokemon Go with Choi, Gagarin and Psuhkin [Image]. Retrieved from:

Azuma, R. (1997). A survey of augmented reality. Presence 6(4): 385-385

Butchart, B. (2011). Augmented reality for smartphones: a Guide for developers and content publishers. Techwatch Report, JISC Observatory. Retrieved from:

Christina (2016, January 6). Augmented Reality Applications in the Tourism Industry. Retrieved from

Crang, M., & Graham, S. (2007). Sentient cities: ambient intelligence and the politics of the urban space. Information, Communication & Society 10(6): 789-817.

De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life (trans. S Rendall). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Harrison, S., & Dourish, P. (1996). Re-place-ing space: the roles of place and space in collaborative systems. In: Proceedings of the 1996 ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work, 1996 (CSCW ’96), Boston, MA, 16-20 November, pp.67-76. New York: ACM Press.


Liao, T., & Humphreys, L. (2015). Layar-ed places: Using mobile augmented reality to tactically reengage, reproduce, and reappropriate public space. New Media & Society, 17(9), 1418–1435.

Mobile & Augmented Reality Growth & Opportunities [Inforgraphic]. Reel Code Media. Retrieved from

Racette, M. (2015, December 3). Snapchat’s  Future Lies in Augmented Reality. Retrieved from:

Specht, M. (2015, December 31). WHY ARE SNAPCHAT GEOFILTERS SO ADDICTIVE?. Retrieved from

Zhou, F., Duh, H. B., & Billinghurst M. (2008). Trends in augmented reality tracking, interaction and display: a review of ten years of ISMAR. In: Proceedings of the 7th IEEE/ACM international symposium on mixed and augmented reality, 2008 (ISMART ’08), Cambridge, 15-18 September, pp. 193-202. NewYork: IEEE. 

Assessment 3 · Online Communities · PRODUSERS · Social Media Communication

r/place for everything… A social experiment that defined community

By: Lee Anthony
Class: Kai Soh, Thursdays 12pm

WARNING: Contains some NSFW content

“There is an empty canvas.
You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another.
Individually you can create something.
Together you can create something more.”        

One of the internet’s largest communities staged a 2017 April Fool’s Day joke that quickly became an extraordinary social media experiment. The diversity expressed by users in Reddit’s 72-hour r/place challenge and the social media dynamics they generated came to represent a microcosm of interaction and “produsage” (Bruns, cited in Hinton & Hjorth, p57) in the online world.

More than a bulletin board

Reddit was launched in 2005, as “the front page of the internet” – a news aggregation and social discussion site. It is still often described somewhat clinically as an ‘online bulletin board system’, but its history of community and sub-community activities, language, and memes show it has grown to become much more than that.

Users, or Redditors, have collectively raised funds for numerous charitable causes and hold regular global gift exchanges – including annual Guinness World Record-breaking Secret Santa exchanges.  They can ‘friend’ each other to follow the posts of specific users, discuss topics either publicly or privately, and attend subreddit ‘in-person’ meetups and events in cities around the world, that is, they network (Hinton & Hjorth, p22). Self-policing and gatekeeping (Nissenbaum and Shifman, p485) is effectively under the control of individual subreddit moderators, but Redditors themselves also play a role in community control via the public-post upvoting and downvoting system. Users’ contributions to subreddit discussions earn ‘karma’, or “social capital” (Bourdieu, cited in Hinton & Hjorth, p42); karma has no material benefit, but is a reflection of a contributor’s popularity on Reddit.

The above traits, combined with an active user base, clearly show that Reddit has fulfilled Parks’ “conditions for community: membership, personal expression and connection” (Parks, 2011, cited in Hinton & Hjorth, p43) and, therefore, is a thriving virtual community and not merely a very large forum.

How r/place was built, razed and rebuilt

The 2017 r/place experiment was a fascinating reflection of Reddit’s collective spirit.

The giant social media network created a blank canvas 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels – r/place – and the riddle at the top of this blog was an invitation to users to fill it in. Anyone with a Reddit account created by March 31, 2017, could place one of 16 colours on one pixel at 5-10 minute intervals. During the three days that r/place was active, more than a million unique produsers from all over the world participated in creating and recreating artwork on the canvas.

The concept of a social media platform as a collaborative community space (Hyde, et al, in Mandiberg, Ch5, p53) was clearly evident in r/place. At first, individual pixels dotted the canvas, then users began to form teams to generate recognisable images. New subreddits were created to discuss strategy, as were Discord voice/text chat servers. Later in the exercise, as teams realised they could not be fully represented around the clock, alliances were formed between some to help protect each other’s input.

Popular Reddit memes were a dominant feature. Subreddit teams jostled for space to include their own “sub-cultural” themes (Nissenbaum and Shifman, p484). Early entries included the infamous Dick Butt character, originally drawn by web comic artist K.C. Green, adopted by 4chan and later by Reddit as the theme of its own subreddit. Dick Butt battled for canvas space against another subreddit meme, the Pink Vomit Monster, which survived to the end. Movie, music, game and graphic magazine memes were posted, painted over and reposted; Star Wars fans rendered a large prequel meme – The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise – and one game logo, Osu!, survived multiple ‘attacks’ throughout the three days. A ‘Blue Corner’ posse took over the bottom left of the canvas and soon faced off against a ‘Red Corner’ and the ‘Green Lattice Team’, all of which created their own strategy subreddits during the exercise.

Other cultural representation (Nissenbaum and Shifman, p484) began with nationality subreddits whose teams placed flags or self-referential memes (Singer, et al, p3), for example, r/Australia and r/straya managed to carve out a large, prime position for Aussie themes and defend the space until the end. A Steve Irwin ‘crikey’ memorial sits alongside boxing kangaroo, redback spider, dropbear and Bunnings-snags memes, all linked by the two Down Under subreddits’ classic greeting: “G’day cunts”.

place atlas Australia
The Australian contribution to r/place. Picture: The /r/place Atlas
War and Peace

An international pixel war broke out as nationality teams invaded each other’s spaces to wipe out rival countries’ flags. Many Redditors were particularly impressed by a German flag’s invasion of a French one (below; video: Aidaman TV, YouTube); another team eventually superimposed a European Union banner on a disputed section of the warring factions’ flags (on the final canvas, a peace dove appears in the centre of the EU logo). The US flag was attacked multiple times during the three days and successfully fended off a last-ditch black-out attempt by The Black Void (see trolls, below).

The appearance of advertising logos midway through the exercise outraged some Redditors. As Shareen Pathak of Ad Age warned in 2014: “Redditors overwhelmingly hate marketing in (almost) all its forms… Brands that try to insert themselves as memes are bound to fail”. A Tesla Motors logo added to the canvas was the subject of a subreddit debate about whether or not it and other corporate logos passed the sub-cultural legitimacy test (Goodman, in Ritzer [2004] cited in Nissenbaum and Shifman, p486).

There were peacemakers, including the Rainbow Road Team, and art-lovers who replicated notable works including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

And there were trolls. A group widely suspected to be 4chan users and supporters swarmed to r/place as The Black Void, collectively attempting (and ultimately failing) to fill the canvas with black pixels.

The Black Void, r/place. Picture:

Of concern to all teams was that their turf would be attacked while they slept. Whole threads on subreddits were devoted to the question of whether to just let it go until morning or organise shifts. On, Redditor Lou Contaldi described the angst thus:

“A mythos had been created overnight. There were protagonists, antagonists and pure evil taking over the r/place grid. Wars had been started and ended overnight, alliances had been drawn and the war was raging on tirelessly.”

The battles for control of the canvas are an example of “co-operation epidemics and insurgence” by “smart mobs” (Seo, et al, p887). But, as with other multi-player online games, not all the ‘mobs’ were human. Some individuals and teams created and ran bots to colour pixels on their behalf; this was not against the rules of r/place and was even anticipated by the developers. Others took pride in handcrafting their contributions and discouraged team members from using bots.

After 72 hours, r/place closed as abruptly as it had started.

A community-driven “labor of love”

On an official blog summary of r/place, Reddit’s Josh Wardle and Justin Basset explained the canvas was created to “explore human interaction at scale”:

“We thought that for every one person that wanted to do something negative, there would be thousands that wanted to overwrite that with something positive—and we were right. It turns out collaborating to make something bad is far harder than collaborating to make something good.”

The r/place experiment and its final canvas have been hailed by Redditors and onlookers as a successful demonstration of “the internet of everything” (Open Mind, August 29, 2016). Has it furthered understanding of the workings of a social network community? Yes. Discussions and analyses are continuing on numerous forums, media and other sites weeks after the project ended. In addition, the r/place produsers’ input goes beyond the colouring exercise, and to date includes mid- and post-canvas user-created content such as:

  • Bot scripts for placing pixels on a user’s behalf
  • Data visualisations and statistical analysis (links following citations)
  • An interactive atlas of the final art
  • Time-lapse tracking and videos
  • Blogging and citizen journalism articles

One of the best summaries of r/place – underlining Reddit’s status as an active virtual community – was posted by u/_eltanin_ on Reddit’s post-r/place analysis on April 4, 2017:

“What started off as a blank canvas with vague instructions… shortly but surely became a community-driven labor of love that spawned territorial control and aggression, coordinated efforts to build, attack, defend and rebuild, debates over real estate allocation, diplomatic talks and alliances, faction sanctioned protection and other various activities that you’d least expect to come from a random social experiment whose main goal was simply to draw things on a canvas.”


Bourdieu, P., translated Nice, R. (1986) The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (New York, Greenwood), 241-258.

Bruns, A. (2008) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang.

Goodman, D., edited Ritzer, G. (2004) Consumption as a social problem. Handbook of social problems: A comparative international perspective (pp. 226-245). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

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

Hyde, A., Linksvayer, M., kanarinka, Mandiberg, M., Peirano, M., Tarka, S., Taylor, A., Toner, A., Zer-Aviv, M, edited Mandiberg, M. (2012). What Is Collaboration Anyway? The Social Media Reader. Ch5. NYU Press. docID=865738. Accessed April 15, 2017.

Nissenbaum, A., & Shifman, L. (2015). Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board. New Media & Society, 19(4), 146144481560931. doi:10.1177/1461444815609313

Parks, M., edited Papacharissi, Z., & ebrary, I. (2010). Social network sites as virtual communities. A networked self: Identity, community and culture on social network sites. Ch5 (pp. 105-123). New York: Routledge.

Pathak, S. (March 10, 2014). Reddit hates marketing. How to market on it anyway. Accessed April 16, 2017.

Seo, H., Houston, J. B., Knight, L. A. T., Kennedy, E. J., & Inglish, A. B. (2014). Teens’ social media use and collective action. New Media & Society, 16(6), 883-902. doi:10.1177/1461444813495162

Singer, P., Flöck, F., Meinhart, C., Zeitfogel, E., & Strohmaier, M. (2014). Evolution of Reddit: From the front page of the internet to a self-referential community? doi:10.1145/2567948.2576943. Accessed April 15, 2017.

The Internet of Everything (IoE). Open Mind. August 29, 2016. Accessed April 17, 2017.

r/place: some data and analysis links

Data on Reddit:

Individual redditors’ r/place contribution search:

Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication · Uncategorized

SNS: Changing the way we ride

By Jack Lynch
(5pm Wednesday, Kai Soh)

As a leisurely pursuit, cycling is all about motivation, participation and breaking down barriers for entry. People often cite inherent road dangers such as poor infrastructure or aggressive drivers as a drawback, as well as inclement weather or social isolation (Walsh, 2014). Thanks to a revolutionary new social network site (SNS), Zwift, these excuses are accounted for, meaning more people have access to bicycle riding and the associated health benefits.

Zwift is an innovative online platform which combines three present day trends, simultaneously allowing exercise, online social interaction and gaming. It encourages intimate publics (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013) to meet and share their cycling passion as a cohort, rather than alone.

It works by people fitting their bike to a stationary indoor trainer and wirelessly connecting that trainer to an app, which creates a ride avatar and transports the rider to a virtual cycling utopia. Here the rider can choose from infinite cycle routes, races or social groups to ride in. Ride data (power, heart rate, speed, distance, time, etc.) is displayed on the screen in real time, and the resistance on the trainer adjusts as the rider encounters hills, wind direction and even other cyclists, where it experiences positive slipstreaming if it tucks behind a group of athletes.

Picture3Zwift rider warming up on Zwift Island. (Image:

On its own, this is not a SNS, but rather a training tool. Zwift is unique, though because it encourages interaction between cyclists who are otherwise isolated on a home stationary trainer. There is real time group and private messaging so riders can chat about their day, offer positive words to others or choose to criticise or disparage if in a race situation. It is a fun and intimate feature which connects “strangers because of a common bond they share” (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013, p. 44).

First launched to the public in mid-2014, Zwift already has riders from more than 150 countries and limitless bicycle routes and races possible for its users ( . One of the secrets to its success is gamifying its interface. More hours in the saddle and success at races translates to riders ‘unlocking’ new routes and faster bikes. Just as in real life, a faster bike means a faster rider and more opportunities to compete well on the platform. It is something users fawn over and, as a result, become addicted to virtual cycling so they can reap the rewards for effort.

Essential to Zwift’s success is “building a trust-based online community” (Hunsinger, 2014, p.12). In the competitive online cycling world, there are plenty of ways to cheat. The most common method of dishonesty is by the user incorrectly stating their weight when signing in to Zwift. If a heavier rider claims to be lighter, it reacts with Zwift’s power-to-weight algorithm and makes them have an easier ride. This is a serious issue and threatens to dilute a fair competition and what it means to win a race. As there is no way of policing ‘weight doping’, it is up to users to respect the integrity of their competitors and be honest. According to Hoglund and McGraw (2006), gameplay cheating is “boring and dull”, but players “living a double life” (p.15) enjoy the feeling of being stronger or more talented than they are in the real world so feel compelled to continue the dishonesty.


Picture2Zwift race on Watopia underway. (Image:

There is an ongoing debate on whether social network sites should be categorised as a community or network. Hinton & Hjorth (2013) go into detail when differentiating the two, with academics divided on whether a community is a group of people committed to growing a common cause, or whether they simply need to be engaging in similar activities and sharing an interest. In either case, Zwift is a community. It links people from across the globe who are all trying to improve their cycling and, whether intentionally or not, are part of a movement to modernise a sport which has not experienced genuine change since its inception, more than 150 years ago.

Zwift is not the first program to try and digitise cycling, but it is the most popular. This is due to its easy to use interface and superior technology. It also has wide social media reach, using multiple streams to get the product to its target market. Zwift is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Strava (the world’s most popular social media tool for athletes), meaning that it has reached almost everyone in the cycling community. On top of this, it utilises traditional and modern media influencers with paid marketing and sponsorship opportunities. Many professional cyclists are endorsed by Zwift and profess to using it in their off-season or whilst injured. Australia’s Mat Hayman won the world’s most punishing one-day race in 2016 – the Paris-Roubaix – six weeks after breaking his arm. The reason behind this incredible form on his return from injury was that when, “his confidence was at an all time low, he discovered Zwift,” (“Paris-Roubaix 2016 winner”, 2016) and could train through his rehabilitation with the online training tool.

When real life results are converted to marketing material, credibility is gained and people begin to take the product more seriously. When Hayman won Paris-Roubaix after training on Zwift, the cycling fraternity embraced Zwift as a training tool as well as a fun game. Flew (2008) wrote that, when it comes to social media, “the quality of participation increases as the numbers participating increase, and in turn attracts more users to the sites,” and this is true for Zwift. Racing is more competitive and addictive as people sign-up to Zwift and race their bike in the virtual world, while getting real-world fitness benefits.


Picture1Wings clipped but still on the bike. Mat Hayman trains on Zwift as he recovers from injury.  (Image:

Zwift can be classed as either locative media or as a more anonymous vessel. In the virtual world, riders are simply athletes on the same roads, experiencing the same sensations as one another. Those with open profiles, however, can show where they are located, creating further intimacy. Riding the same road as a person from the other side of the world at the same time is a thrill which is impossible without SNS and despite the tyranny of distance, there is a “sense of shared space through embodied practices” (Farman, 2012, p. 52). This shared space encourages reciprocity within Zwift, making people log on and ride online more often as well as engage others to join them (Farman, 2012).

As a community, Zwift enables people to “develop ties with [others] on shared knowledge and experience” (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013, p.40). It helps global relationships flourish and alleviates barriers often associated with road cycling. By gamifying something that was otherwise a public pursuit, where successes and failures are watched and scrutinised, it offers a private setting for people to increase their participation when they feel confident to do so. This is a positive thing to help strengthen the often maligned cycling community (Jewell, 2017) as well as improve the health and wellbeing of our society.



Farman, J. (2012). Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media. London: Routledge.

Flew, T. (2008). New media: An introduction (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Hinton, S., Hjorth L. (2013). Understanding Social Media. London, England: SAGE Publications LTD

Hoglund, G., McGraw, G. (2006). Cheating Online Games. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley Professional

Hunsinger, J. (2014). The Social Media Handbook. New York: Routledge.

Jewell, C. (2017, Feburary 16) Sydney deputy Lord Mayor blindsides council with bike registration call. The Fifth Estate. Retrieved from

Paris-Roubaix 2016 winner. (2016). Retrieved April 16, 2017, from

Walsh, J. (2014, March 31). 10 things that put people off cycling. The Guardian. Retrieved from


Assignment 1 · Social Media Communication

Sydney Conservatorium of Music -Lunchbreak Concert Series

As a world-class music venue in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) is well positioned to connect with the University’s vast untapped student cohort, and the hundreds of office workers looking for Free Music to Free the Mind during lunch.

The SCM wants to increase audience numbers to its concerts and attract a younger following. During our visit we met a group of Year 11 music students from Willoughby Grils High School who loved the performances but said, “they didn’t know the SCM existed” until now. The 18- year-old students told us they would “definitely come back” if there was more promotion on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

We believe the SCM must target the 18-24 year old demographic, as well as office workers of all ages. Sydney University undergraduate students who enjoy music will provide a network to generate online traffic.

The 2016 We Are Social report found that Facebook remains the most popular form of social media in Australia. People aged between 20 and 30 represent 28% of its total user base (Kemp, 2016). We believe Facebook must be the central social media hub for the SCM and the springboard to other Social Network Sites.

New South Wales’ government data shows that on an average weekday in 2012, 437,000 people worked in the city. This statistic reveals the huge potential for the SCM to connect via social media with people in the CBD who share a taste (Bourdieu (1984 [1979]) for music.


Bourdieu, P. (1984 [1979]) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. R.Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kemp, S. (2016). Australia Digital 2016; rends Report: June 2016. Retrieved from

The City at a glance – City of Sydney. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18 2017, from

QuickStats. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2017, from