Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

POPULARITY vs. RELEVANCE: THE POWER OF AN “IMITATED THING”

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?

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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.

VIDEO 2 – FULL PEPSI ‘LIVE NOW’ COMMERCIAL (source: YouTube)

 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)

REFERENCES

Cafolla, Anna. “Pepsi’S Protest-Themed Ad With Kendall Jenner Faces Backlash”. Dazeddigital.com. 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”. Adage.com. 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”. Forbes.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Solon, Olivia. “Richard Dawkins On The Internet’s Hijacking Of The Word ‘Meme'”. Wired.co.uk. 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”. Businessinsider.com.au. N.p., 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

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

IMAGE 1: Silcoff, Matt. “Marlboro Man | The Evolution Of Cigarette Advertising”. Sites.middlebury.edu. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: http://sites.middlebury.edu/smokingkills/men_16/)

IMAGE 2: Wong, Julia. “Pepsi Pulls Kendall Jenner Ad Ridiculed For Co-Opting Protest Movements”. Theguardian.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/35491/1/pepsi-s-protest-themed-ad-with-kendall-jenner-faces-backlash)

TABLE 1: “Frequency With Which Social Networking Users Share Content As Of June 2014”. Statista.com. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/276821/content-sharing-frequency-by-region/)

TABLE 2: “Most Famous Social Network Sites Worldwide As Of April 2017, Ranked By Number Of Active Users (In Millions)”. Statista.com. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/)

TABLE 3: “Number Of Monthly Active Facebook Users Worldwide As Of 4Th Quarter 2016 (In Millions)”. Statista.com. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/)

VIDEO 1: YouTube. 1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I)

VIDEO 2: YouTube. Kendall Jenner for PEPSI Commercial. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I)

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.

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/573/status-update

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.

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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.

References

Ad Week. (2015). Survey: Many Users Never Read Social Networking Terms of Service Agreements. [online] Available at: http://www.adweek.com/digital/survey-many-users-never-read-social-networking-terms-of-service-agreements/ [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: https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-january-2017/ [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: https://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/ [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: https://instagram-press.com/blog/2017/04/26/700-million/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Media Insight. (2015). How Millennials Get News: Inside the Habits of America’s First Digital Generation. [online] Available at: http://www.mediainsight.org/PDFs/Millennials/Millennials%20Report%20FINAL.pdf [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Sensis. (2016). Sensis Social Media Report 2016. [online] Available at: https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2016.PDF [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

Snapchat. (2017). Ads • Snapchat. [online] Available at: https://www.snapchat.com/ads [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Social Media Today. (2015). 5 Biggest Differences between Social Media and Social Networking. [online] Available at: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/peteschauer/2015-06-28/5-biggest-differences-between-social-media-and-social [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Statista. (2017). Global daily social media usage. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Statista. (2017). Number of worldwide social network users. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Twitter. (2017). About Us. [online] Available at: https://about.twitter.com/company [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

United Nations. (2015). World Population Prospects. [online] Available at: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/Key_Findings_WPP_2015.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].

We Are Social Australia. (2016). TRENDS REPORT: JUNE 2016 – We Are Social Australia. [online] Available at: http://wearesocial.com/au/blog/2016/07/australia-digital-trends-report-june-2016 [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Statistics – YouTube. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Assessment 3 · PRODUSERS · Social Media Communication

Assessment 3: ‘Produser’= Producer + User

MECO6936 Assessment 3: Online Article
Keeli Royle
SID 440308483
Tutorial Time: Thursday 12pm-3pm (Kai Soh)

The term ‘produser,’ devised by Axel Bruns, is a combination of ‘producer’ and ‘user’ and refers to the changing nature of the role of the audience as a participatory member of the online community in Web 2.0. The evidence of this theory is shown through study of community engagement with entertainment and information entities, as well as the distribution of content from other consumers. The idea of the ‘produser’ challenges the traditional hierarchy in media communication, which is evident in “‘show-and-tell’ advertising or ‘telling people what the need to know’ journalism” (Deuze, 2007, p. 256). The exploration of this topic reveals perspectives of audience-media relationships and the degree to which Web 2.0 has impacted the participatory nature of communication between these parties. It also explores the power relationship between companies and the possible exploitation of the ‘produser’ as well as the collaborative dynamic between traditional producers of media content and the consumers. The ‘produser’ and their role within digital media, particularly the internet and social media, allows exploration of the way online communities and roles influence behaviour and practices in the offline world.

The introduction of the role of the audience as ‘produser’ contrasts the idea of the passive receiver of online materials and allows a more interactive experience with content contribution and distribution. The concept that the ‘produser’ is a result of Web 2.0 suggests that the progressive function of media platforms has extended beyond “simply responding to content that has been created by an organisation” (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p. 58) and not only allows, but encourages, the creation of new, user created content (UCC). There is question of whether Web 2.0 has increased the capability of the user to create original content or if the access to distribution platforms and direct connection with appropriate audiences has allowed the content to be perceived as a more prevalent occurrence. There is evidence contradicting the direct correlation between ‘produsage’ and Web 2.0 through audience participatory behavior and communities, such as fandoms and the associated content produced, prior to the creation of the online distribution. There is also use of ‘produsage’, which is relevant to both online and offline communities and a “whole array of practices that certainly articulate around media, and may employ Internet communication, but involve many other forms of creativity” (Bird, 2011, p.505). An example of the online/offline relationship of content is the use of Pinterest and the way the user created or distributed posts often relate to offline skills and tasks such as design, craft or baking. The stylistic changes to the traditional producer and consumer roles as part of Web 2.0, require the recognition of the participatory and collaborative developments within the media, “be it within a multiplayer game, on a newspaper discussion forum, or at a viral marketing site – it becomes crucial to understand the roles of the producer and the consumer as (to some extent) interchangeable and (at the very least) independent” (Deuze, 2007, p.250). The malleable roles that have been emphasised, if not created, by this technological development have deconstructed the way media is consumed and the wider-range of content specific information that is readily available.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 10.27.01 pm
One type of community that has prospered from, and significantly utilised, the power of online user production and distribution has been that of ‘fandom’ groups. The platform for the distribution of content throughout media has created a greater presence for ‘fandoms’; although, it is also evident that the technology did not create these communities or fan culture but rather allowed it to distribute relevant concepts to other fans that exceed geographical location. The commitment to the creation of content by these fans to distribute to the wider fan communities supports the idea of the user as a professional amateur, or pro-am, who is defined by Hinton and Hjorth as:

…someone who worked at their interest like a professional, spending as many hours on their endeavour as they might in their day job, treating it like it was a task that earned money, and yet was not a professional since they were not part of a professional community and did not get paid for their work (2013, p.59)

‘Fandom’ online communities are so strongly associated with participatory culture and the role of the ‘produser,’ that Bird (2011) argues that “the equation of audience practices with one specific type of activity – online fandom – has the potential to stifle a richer understanding of continuing audience activity” (p.504). It is recognised through Bird (2011) and Carpentier (2009) that there has been neglect in the acknowledgment of the ‘regular’ audience. In contrast to the high representation of fandom culture in reference to active user participation in the online media, Bird (2011) states that majority of people are, in fact, not ‘produsers’ “whether by choice or access to time and resources” (p. 504). This absence of the ‘regular’ user supports “the conflation of producer and audience is not total, and that participatory media products still have audiences that are not involved in the participatory process” (Carpentier, 2009, p.411).
The representation and rise of the ‘produser’ has changed the relationship and power dynamic in the hierarchy of media industries and audiences. The concept of ‘produsage’ appears to render the traditional media producer and industries more redundant in the digitalised sphere of Web 2.0, but it is evident that, through collaboration and communication, the power dynamic is not as clearly defined as it traditionally was. The most explicit evidence of power play between the traditional and redefined producer can be seen through integration and reaction to the imposition of ‘terms of service.’ A technique of disciplining and control that industries can enforce over participating users is the redefinition of content ownership “so that anything they post becomes the property of the company” (Bird, 2011, p.507). Contrastingly, it is evident that attempts at direct control can completely backfire in February 2009 where Facebook attempted to significantly “change its terms of service, which resulted in an uproar in the Facebook community, forcing Facebook to walk back the changes and promise to seek users’ input in developing new terms of service” (Grinnell, 2009, p.594). Power can also be developed through collaboration, particularly business utilising User Created Content (UCC) for marketing and as a pathway into connecting to audiences on a level that appears to be less hierarchical and imposed. Wendy’s online “roasts” on social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, created hype through its comedic contrast from a traditional business approach to marketing, through this it also generated ‘shares,’ and ‘retweets,’ as well a interactive communication across the platforms.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 9.54.17 pm

A media industry that has been impacted and changed through audience participation and collaboration is that of journalism and the distribution and creation of information. The most significant evidence of this is the nature and use of Wikipedia and the benefits and risks around the content it produces. Hinton and Hjorth state that Wikipedia has “quickly become the world’s largest source of knowledge on a variety of topics” (2013, p.63) however the legitimacy of the ‘knowledge’ and its ‘produsers’ is questionable in its authenticity, relying on other ‘produsers’ to correct or alter information.

‘Produsage’ and the ‘produser’ is an automated part of my personal social media experience. Being part of any number of communities and being able to access, produce and distribute material so quickly and easily creates a lack of attention to my actual participation and contribution to the online and social media network. This was contrasted within my work producing for ‘Be The Filter,’ as I was actively trying to create content to create audience response, a traditionally Web 1.0 technique, while also requiring audience participation to encourage the promotion of the movement and the associated activities.

The vast amount of online content I interact with daily has to be produced somewhere, however, the recognition of the concept of a ‘produser’, I find most effective in using for bettering my understanding of social networking and intentional connection and participation with other users for marketing and promotional purposes.

 

References

Bird, S., 2011. ARE WE ALL PRODUSERS NOW?. Cultural Studies, 25(4-5), pp.502-516.

Carpentier, N., 2009. Participation Is Not Enough: The Conditions of Possibility of Mediated Participatory Practices. European Journal of Communication, 24(4), pp.407-420.

Deuze, M., 2007. Convergence culture in the creative industries. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 10(2), pp.243-263.

Grinnell, C., 2009. From Consumer to Prosumer to Produser: Who Keeps Shifting My Paradigm? (We Do!). Public Culture, 21(3), pp.577-598.

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

Make Stress Balls Kids Will Love – Natural Beach Living. 2017 [online] Natural Beach Living. Available at: <http://www.naturalbeachliving.com/make-stress-balls-kids-will-love&gt; [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

MECO Vox Pops #BeTheFilter. 2017 [online] YouTube. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz7eCSV4fLk&feature=youtu.be&gt; [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Pinterest. [online] Pinterest. Available at: <https://au.pinterest.com/&gt; [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

The Southerners: #bethefilter Facebook Page. 2017 [online] Facebook.com. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/thesouthernersbethefilter/?ref=br_rs&gt; [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Wendy’s Is Roasting People On Twitter, And It’s Just Too Funny. 2017. [online] Bored Panda. Available at: <http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-wendy-jokes/&gt; [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

Assessment 3 · reflection · Social Media Communication · Uncategorized

User-Created Content And Its Use In Marketing Campaigns

Name: Hongmin Yu

SID: 450066937

Tutorial Time: Wednesday 5pm-8pm

Tutor: Kai Soh

User Created Content

With the fierce development of Web 2.0 generation, users and audience’s participation and interactions with the online world is being quickly driven. Under this circumstance, “user-created content”(UCC), one of the twenty key new media concepts(Flew, 2008), is more and moe popular to be applied in marketing and brand management by companies and organizations. “User-created content”, different from the traditional models where users just forward or interact with contents created by others(Hinton&Hjorth, 2013), mainly refers to the ways under which users are both remediators and producers of new media contents(Flew, 2008), and their identity have transferred from participates to “produsers”(Bird, 2011).

UCC have three typical characteristics which lay the foundation for its spectrum(Vickery and Wunsch-Vincent, 2007): the publication requirement, which means the outcome is published on some platforms, especially the social networking sites where a bunch of audience exists; the creative effort, that is, users must put their innovation and efforts into creating to add the unique values to their work; the creation outside professional routines and practices, which means the work is created by non-professionals who are motivated by many other reasons except profit(Vickery and Wunsch-Vincent, 2007).

UCC involves different types such as texts, images, videos, audios, citizen journalism (Hinton&Hjorth, 2013) and with the development of technology and user habits, new types including gifs, memes, stickers, apps…are more welcomed and generated. Concerning about the platforms, social networking sites(facebook, snapchat, instagram, twitter, etc) are important ones for user created contents for their  functions of sharing and circulation, so as wikis, blogs, podcasting and the visual world such as 3D digital environment or VR platforms(Vickery and Wunsch-Vincent, 2007). These platforms’ active level and usage ranking is closely connected with our group’s selections of social networking sites where our user-created content driven activities will be put on, and the plan for promoting different UCC types on different platforms.

UCC keeps showing greater and multi-perspective impacts in different areas, consisting of economic impacts, social impacts, cultural impacts, citizenship and engagement, educational impacts and so on(Vickery and Wunsch-Vincent, 2007). The economic impacts are expressed by the frequent application of UCC into advertising, marketing and brand management strategies by companies and organizations(Kim, Kim and Moon, 2012)—which can be proved by the case studies below—and by the quick rise of UUC-related business models in these years. In terms of the social and cultural impacts, UCC has increased the user participation and autonomy, the opportunity to create or shape celebrities or public recognition, together with the diverse and creative set of culturally content itself(Vickery and Wunsch-Vincent, 2007). Based on this, we have chosen UCC as our main promotion strategy for that Sydney Conservatorium of Music Concert owns the positive social and cultural meaning as a musical event, and UCC can help circulate the cultural and artistic atmosphere online by generating more users’ personal contents and experience.

Case Study

Three case studies are introduced to show the functions and successful effects of UCC in marketing campaigns and activities. They are: Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign, Muji’s #MUJIPENART campaign, Swedish Tourist Association’s “The Swedish Number” campaign.

“Share A Coke” (Coca-Cola) 

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Promotion Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-ahnFYzMp8

(Coca-Cola, 2016)

Coca-Cola’s campaign of “Share A Coke”, first introduced in Australia in 2011, has kept being popular in the past several summers for its’ involvement and customization of customers’ idea and intention, and it can be regarded as a continuously successful example of UCC. Customers(users) can own their unique coca-cola bottles by adding their names, the lyrics or the film lines they like on their bottles’ surface, which offers them the opportunity to participate, create and deliver a personal relationship with the brand(Socialbeta.com, 2017). This campaign has helped Coca-Cola gain 7% sales growth in the first two years and keep over 2% growth rate in the following years(Socialbeta.com, 2017).

In 2017, “Share A Coke” campaign is again back and will expand the names available and the Coke flavors to 5. Customers can also personalize their own glass bottle on https://buy.shareacoke.com/. In the British area, there will also be cokes with personalized tourism spots, such as Bali Island, Hawaii, etc(Socialbeta.com, 2017).

#MujiPenArt (Muji)

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Promotion Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJVgZdisG24

(Muji, 2016)

Muji Japan delivered a pen-art photo contest that encourages people use pens to draw creative pictures and share them online by using the hashtag #MujiPenArt on Instagram and Twitter in 2016 to promote their new pen products. Online audience were also encouraged to vote for the pictures they like, through which the contest’s result came out. This UCC campaign had gained over 3000 submissions on Instagram and 3100 votes on Twitter without any investment in ads, moreover, authentic brand content for Muji pen’s marketing and later brand management were generated.

“The Swedish Number”(Swedish Tourist Association) 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtb3f_NAmK0

(Swedish Tourist Association, 2016)

In April, 2016, the Swedish Tourist Association launched a campaign called “The Swedish Number”: people all over the world can call the country’s phone number +46 771 793 336 to randomly talk to a Swede who can be anywhere and own any identity around the country. On the other side, every Swede can participate into this initiative by downloading a specific app and register. In the end, as the official data shows, there were 197678 incoming calls, 190 calling countries and over 367 days’ total call duration(Turistföreningen, 2016). The agency Ingo Stockholm won the direct Grand Prix Prize in the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity by virtue of this campaign.

Originally, this campaign was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Sweden’s abolishment of censorship and to attract more tourists by getting them to know the country more. Then because of its humanistic form and content—conversations and communications created by two speakers in different countries, more cultural meanings are generated. Conversations through phone calls have became the main “product” and “outcome” in this campaign, which can regarded as a perfect case of UCC.

UCC in The Con Project 

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Based on our key message and the user-created content theory, our group has decided two main campaigns: #DateWithMusic and #BeCharmWithMusic.

In first campaign of #DateWithMusic, young adults’ photos and videos of their experience about the Con together with their families and friends under the hashtag #datewithmusic are promoted on Facebook and Instagram, during which their pictures and videos are the user-created contents that help promote the Con’s brand and attract more attention online.

For the campaign of #BeCharmWithMusic,we are aiming to empower the amateur music players, which are our campaign’s second audience, and promote them to create and upload the videos of their playing on the internet under the hashtag #becharmwithmusic. The good outcomes are connected to every week’s free ticket opportunity. Through this, we want to involve the non-professionals to be the potential concert audience, the circulators, and the content creators. The strategy is kind of similar to the #MujiPenArt campaign.

The frequent use of UCC in both the Con campaigns and #bethefliter campaigns in the Social Media Communication classes can also prove that this theory is really useful. However, in the real marketing and promotion case, it has to be applied to together with other methods or models, such as the online and offline integration, so that the campaign can reach its goal.

References

Flew, T. (2008) New Media: An introduction: 20 key new media concepts. pp.21-37. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Vickery, G. and Wunsch-Vincent, S. (2007). Participative Web and user-created content. 1st ed. [Paris]: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. 2013. Participation and User Created Content. Understanding Social Media. Sage Publications Ltd, London

Kim, M., Kim, W. and Moon, Y. (2012). How User-Created-Content (UCC) Service Quality Influences User Satisfaction and Behaviour. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 29(3), pp.255-267.

Socialbeta.com. (2017). 海外案例一周 | SocialBeta 本周 Top 5 海外营销案例(20170423). [online] Available at: http://socialbeta.com/t/case-collection-overseas-ad-weekly-20170423.

Coca-Cola (2016). Share a Coke USA Commercial. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-ahnFYzMp8.

Muji (2016). How MUJI Drives Brand Advocacy With Creative UGC Product Marketing Campaign. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJVgZdisG24.

Swedish Tourist Association (2016). The Swedish Number | +46 771 793 336. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtb3f_NAmK0.

Horton, H. (2016). ‘Call a random Swede’ – We tested the Swedish tourist board’s quirky new initiative. The Telegraph. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/07/call-a-random-swede—we-tested-the-swedish-tourist-boards-quirk/.

Turistföreningen, S. (2016). The Swedish Number. [online] Theswedishnumber.com. Available at: https://www.theswedishnumber.com/.

Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

User Created Content drives the development of social media

Jieling GUO (Jenny)
SID: 460249548
Thursday 12-3 pm Kai Soh

Introduction

In the Internet and digital age, the development of Web 2.0 and social media offers people broader platforms and opportunities to share themselves. Social media as the exemplars of Web 2.0 has the change that users are not only consumers/visitors but also producers and distributors of the content of sites (Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L., 2013). While, one of the most features of User Created Content (UCC) is that content created by users themselves. UCC occupies significant roles in the development of social media. The essay will mainly research the UCC and its impacts on social media.

The core concept – User Created Content

User created content is a concept used to mean users enable to become producers and distributors of digital content on social media like blogs and YouTube, or of citizen journalism, “and to be open to interaction with and feedback from others” (Terry, F., 2014, p.34).

Wunsch-Vincent and Vickery (2007) presented the rise of UCC is one of the core characteristics of web participation. They thought UCC involves different types of media and creative content including “written, audio, visual, and combined” created by “rise of the amateur creators” (Internet users) ((Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G., 2007, p.17). Also, Hinton and Hjorth (2013) depicted users create a large amount of information online, “not only encompassing creativity but also time, emotion and various forms of capital (social, cultural and sometimes economic)” (p.59).

Researches on frameworks of User Created Content

Though there are many researches on this term, actually, “no commonly agreed definition of UCC exists” (Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G., 2007). Wunsch-Vincent and Vickery (2007) pointed out user-created content also can be referred to as “user-generated content (UGC)” that means various forms of contents are produced by users.

There are three central features of UCC proposed by Wunsch-Vincent and Vickery (2007), including “publication requirement, creative effort, and creation outside of professional routines and practices” (p.18). The first one – publication requirement refers to the users created content should be published on the Internet such as “a public accessible website” or “a social network site for a specific group of people” (Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G., 2007). The creation effort means the contents created by users have a certain degree of innovation, and the last one shows UCC is generally created by non-professionals in the absence of motivations of profit or returns (Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G., 2007). Terry (2014) cited Hippel’s idea of user-led innovation to explain the rise of UCC, that is, users make increasing innovative content for themselves.

According to the report of Wunsch-Vincent and Vickery (2007), showed UCC has various forms of expression, and may be a set of text, images, or an audio, video, also citizen journalism, educational and mobile content, and virtual content. While, the distribution platforms of UCC also are manifold, including blogs, Wiki, social network sites, podcasting and so on. Following figure 1 and 2 expounded the types of UCC and distribution platforms of UCC respectively.

Types of UCC
Figure 1.Types of UCC. Source: Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G. (2007). Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking (pp.32). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

platforms of UCC
Figure 2.Distribution platforms of UCC. Source: Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G. (2007). Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking (pp.33). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In the digital age, users of UCC are thought as co-producers that drives source movement with collective intelligence (Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L., 2013, and Leadbeater, 2008, as cited in Terry, F., 2014). Hinton and Hjorth (2013) described the three kinds of examples to critically discuss the UCC, comprising Crowed sourcing, Citizen journalism and Online activism. Through comprehending these phenomena, we can know how the ways of collecting and sharing information of users are changed, and how UCC drives the development of social media. However, to a certain extent, criticisms of UCC question the quality of contents created by amateur creators.

The impacts of UCC on social media

User created content and social media, actually, is interactive. On the one hand, UCC increased dramatically in recent years to promote the development of social media (Luca, M., 2015). Luca (2015) showed a great deal of social media platforms burgeoning during the period of 2001-2006, involving “Wikipedia (2001), LinkedIn (2003), MySpace (2003), Facebook (2004), Yelp (2004), YouTube (2005), and Twitter (2006)” (pp.4).

On the other hand, social media also provide internet user a broad platform to creating innovative content for themselves. The impacts can be showed UCC drives more and more self-media on social media (eg. YouTube sensation) which is opposite and to traditional media, also leading new social media marketing strategies.

Case study 

For example, Marcus Broenlee, also named “MKBHD” for short, is a video producer, technology commentator, Internet celebrity and known as his technology YouTube channel – MKBHD (Smith, D., 2014). Based on the latest statistical data (figure 3) showed the MKBHD has more than 4.5 million subscribers and over 609 million video viewers, ranking 27th in the YouTube technology channel (SocialBlade, 2017).

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Figure 3: A latest screenshot of YouTube user statistics for Marcus Broenley (MKBHD) from SocialBlade.com. (2017). Retrieved from https://socialblade.com/youtube/user/marquesbrownlee

Broenlee joined YouTube in 2008 when he was still in high school. He began to create and upload commenting video for new products or products he had already owned in 2009 (The Stevens Institute of Technology, 2014). At the beginning, he just added voiceover for video and asked the viewers what content they wanted to see and his hundreds of videos are mainly about hardware teaching and free software (Smith, D., 2014). Despite some production companies asked him to demonstrate their hardware and software he would only create comment videos that were interested in his audiences (Smith, D., 2014).

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Figure 4: the screenshot of MKBHD.COM. Retrieved from http://mkbhd.com

The UCC drives Broenlee to become the YouTube celebrity. The rise of Internet celebrity like Broenlee led a large amount of users to participate in these social media platforms such YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram etc. (figure 4). It not only reflects UCC push the development of social media, also shows the way of information collection of people has been changed into focusing on content produced by Internet celebrity rather than official or professional information.

The self-media promoted by UCC is throwing up a serious challenge to traditional media (Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L., 2013). It not only reflects on audiences’ attention more focusing on self-media rather than traditional media but also reflects on advertising and marketing strategy. Before, when a production company launched a new product, they would make much promotion through traditional media (such newspaper, TV, magazine etc.). While, nowadays, the majority of production companies will contact with Internet celebrities or Internet users to demonstrate to indirectly make promotion. Dennhardt, S. (2014) pointed out the concepts of user-generated brands based on user created content to describe the phenomenon, refers to user creates content to build brands. The example of Marcus Broenlee also reflects the trends. Broenlee created comment videos on technical productions, actually, had already unintentionally to build brands. Also, interaction between Broenlee and Broenlee’ YouTube subscribers or between users themselves leads to make promotions for products again and again.

gopro-user-generated-social-media-postsAnother outstanding case is the GoPro’s social media campaign – Photo of the Day (figure 5) (Taber, K., 2016). GopPro is an extreme sport small sized camera with high-definition that offers users to take stunning photos and videos. The GoPro company shows its users’ photos or videos on its social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram every day in order to present the products’ effects created by its users (Taber, K., 2016). Also, these photos or videos published on GoPro’s social media platforms as well as are posted on the GoPro Award page to make customers vote and choose out the best customer’s content (Taber, K., 2016).

Figure 5: the screenshot of the Facebook page of the GoPro about the social media campaign – Photo of the Day. Source: Taber, K. (2016).

屏幕快照 2017-04-28 下午4.36.54Figure 6: the screenshot of the Facebook page of the GoPro. Source: retrieved from

On the GoPro’s social media platform pages, there are a great deal of amazing photos and videos produced by users. When GoPro created the hashtag #GoPro, they continually encourage customers to create and upload their photos and videos on social media. Exactly, the GoPro use the UCC and social media to achieve tremendous promotion of the minimum of cost and the maximum of interest (Lai, N., 2016).

Reflection on our social media campaign for the Con
Our team – Media Quartet designed the social media campaign for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The key message is “Have fun with classical music at the Con”. For the campaign, we plan to do flash mob and create hashtag #cometoCONcert. Through the flash mob, we expect people take photos or videos about the activity and then upload on social media platforms to make interaction. Obliviously, the UCC concept can be utilized into the campaign. We make an offline activity, but utilize the UCC to show online in order to reach target audience. Also, we will create a large of fun UCC, including photos, videos and gif/memes. For the social media campaign, we use the features of UCC and social media to design campaign strategies, in order to increase interaction and participation with target audiences.

Conclusion
With the rapid development of the Internet, from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, the latter more focus on user interaction, which means the online environment built to make users engage in expression, creation, communication and sharing (Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L., 2013). User created content model has permeated into new media to change the role of the original audience and the form of content production. Also, it had brought huge impacts on social, culture and economic areas.

References:

Dennhardt, S. (2014). User-generated brand: What Corporate Brand Can Learn from Brand Management in Virtual World. User-Generated Content and Its Impact on Branding (pp.33-54). Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Participation and User Created Content. Understanding Social Media (pp.55-76). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Luca, M. (2015). User-Generated Content and Social Media. The Handbook of Media Economics. Anderson, S., Strömberg, D. & Waldfogel, J. (eds.). North Holland. Retrieved from: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2549198

Lai, N. (2016). Socializing with their media. Social Media for Business Performance. Retrieved from: https://smbp.uwaterloo.ca/2016/07/gopro/

Smith, D. (2014). Meet ‘The Best Technology Reviewer on the Planet,’ Who Is Only 20 Years Old. Business Insider Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/meet-marques-brownlee-the-best-technology-reviewer-on-the-planet-2014-8?r=US&IR=T

Terry, F. (2014). Twenty Key Concepts in New Media. New Media (19-36). South Melbourne: Oxford University of Press.

The Stevens Institute of Technology (2014). Stevens Student’s First Million: Tech Reviewer’s YouTube Following Reaches Major Milestone. Retrieved from: https://www.stevens.edu/news/stevens-students-first-million-tech-reviewers-youtube-following-reaches-major-milestone

Taber, K. (2016). 4 Big Brand Examples of User Generated Content Campaigns. Boast. Retrieved from: http://boast.io/4-big-brand-examples-user-generated-content-campaigns/

Wunsch-Vincent, S. & Vickery, G. (2007). Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking (pp.17-25, 31-38). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/science-and-technology/participative-web-and-user-created-content_9789264037472-en

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Reference

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. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/329/5996/1194

Centola, D., (2011). An experimental study of homophily in the adoption of health behavior.Science. 1269-1272. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/334/6060/1269

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

http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/1789178952?pq-origsite=summon

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.