Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

Reduce Antipathy: User Generated Content and Advertisement Avoidance

4-ways-people-say-no-to-ads1

MECO 6936 Assignment 3
Yan Zeng 460192163
Cherry Baylosis Thursday 18:00 – 21:00

Introduction

The emergence of new media, such as social media platforms and video sharing websites, along with their emphasis on participation have changed the way we communicate. With the popularization of internet and mobile terminal equipment like a smart phone, we now are capable of sharing information to the whole society without limitation of time or distance. The UGC (user generated content) phenomenon then arise, users now are no longer simply consumers but also become a part of the original material as a media producer (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Due to its characteristic of second spreading, it soon attracts attention from academic researcher and advertising agency. However, the requirement of a dedication of time and other forms of capital (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013), it is not easy to arouse the enthusiasm of user to take part in generating content.

In this article, I will argue that when user’s psychological reactance degree towards advertisement reduces, they will tend to be more agreeable to generate related content of a campaign.

Advertisement Avoidance

“This is obviously a marketing campaign!”

wersm-instagram-ads-case-studies

That’s what most of the consumers will think of towards an advertisement. Why ordinary consumer dislike commercial campaign so much even when there are wrong about them? For example, when intermediaries post something ‘sponsored’ on their social media account, there will be some other users, usually, their followers accusing them of taking money for posting on comment. People dislikes this kind of behavior is not because they are illegal or unethical, but most of those commercial campaigns evoke a disgusting feeling called psychological reactance. It occurs in response to threats to perceived behavioral freedoms, some commercial campaigns take your freedom in a way you that think is unreasonable. In the intermediaries example, it will be taking your right to read posts that you truly care for. Psychological reactance towards advertisement and marketing is ‘advertisement avoidance’ (Specks & Elliot, 1997).

Scenario Task Setting

Cho & Cheon (2004) come up with a theoretical model, in which they consider ad avoidance can be caused by perceived goal impediment. When consumers are using the internet, they are usually goal-directed, and online ads might interrupt their goal. It will cause negative attitude towards the ad or even the brand it shows. Russell’s study in 2002 of the effectiveness of product placements in television shows showed that while incongruency between modalities and TV shows’ plots connection improves audience’s memory, congruency enhances persuasion.

The sudden appearance of ads usually interrupts what we are doing under a specific context, even when it is related to something we like and feel passionate too. Imagine you are concentrated on computer games, your partner comes along and put a plate of your favorited fruit in front the screen. You might still be annoyed by that since it interrupted what you are trying to achieve, which is winning the game.

img_0496         20150515162019_63840

(@Tastemade in Instagram shares cooking short videos for people to learn or just enjoy)

(A Chinese movie use leading man’s picture and tone to create an ad like a personal talk)

Therefore, in order to lower the degree of interruption, the most effective way to decrease consumer’s negative attitude towards an online campaign or advertisement, is making them more alike to what they are trying to achieve under the circumstances. That means we need to set up the campaign base on the scenario task of a consumer. For example, if we are going to run our campaign on Instagram, eye-catching short videos and fun posters will be more effective than plain words. Chinese social media application Wechat has a function called Moments, in which you can share and get access to accepted WeChat friends’ information. Under this scenario, the tones of many successful campaign and ads are like one of your friend sharing his or her personal feelings with you. In this case, users tend to pay attention to the information and respond to it. It can also explain why Ali pay always fail to build a social network within their own application, since consumer opens the app only try to manage their financial matters, at this point if a social ad jumps in, it is very possible that they will have a strong aversion towards the advertisement.

Admit Your Flaws

After conducting two experiments on the ‘overheard’ communication, Walster and Festinger (1962) raised three possible factors that “have been generally presumed to make overheard communications more effective”. Compactly saying, they are: listener’s defence is not prepared, listener is not supposed to hear it, and most importantly, speaker does not know the listener is there, which means as they are speaking, they are not intending to persuade the listener.

avis

It is actually another reflection of psychological reactance, similarly, in a marketing campaign, if consumers get a sense that the campaign or ad is trying to manipulate their behavior, they will have a feeling that they are losing control of their own decision. To solve this problem, many ads choose not to emphasize their advantages blindly but also admit their flaws to let consumer reach their own decisions. Avis Car Rental was the second-biggest car rental company in the US in 1962, the ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach tailored a catchword for Avis based on that: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder”. It achieved an almost instant hit, within a year, Avis went from losing $3.2 million to earning $1.2 million.

Find A Right Reason

As advertisement will reduce the sense of control of the consumer, and evoke a feeling of being interrupted, even we assimilate them as their original goal, they still exist. Therefore, a right reason for the interruption will be very necessary. There are three kinds of reason that can be offered under circumstances like this, the first one is exchanging benefit. In Wechat, there are thousands of official accounts run by individual or organization to publish articles and posts for users. For those who have credibility and influence, there will be a button down their articles for a reader to tap and complete a transaction. Sometimes to increase their revenue, authors of articles will tell their readers that they will like to be rewarded by money for writing the post. This is like a reminder for the readers, that they gain information through their posts, then they should pay the author in return.

1439365131418

(WeChat page will jump from left to the right one for users to select money amount after clicking the red reward button on the left one)

The second one will be related information, if an ad is designed as it includes information that will benefit the consumer and reduce the sense of disgust. Take many bank advertisements as examples, instead of dephasing bank ranking or quality of the service, they will tend to create a message like: “Hard to get a loan? Interest rate from 0.1% for $100000!” In this way, it will give them a feeling that the ad can help them in a way and make it much easier for a consumer to accept the information. Moreover, since ads are designed to interrupt consumers if we could offer an ‘it can make the world a better place’ reason, the consumer might be more tolerated to them, like those donation campaigns raised by fast food giants such as KFC and McDonald’s.

donation_box_header

charity-banner

Related to #BeTheFilter

When our group tries to launch the BeTheFilter campaign on social networks, is it obvious to us that we need to produce our seeding content as what people might be happy to see at platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. After marking the scenario clear, we then decided to create a short video within 90 seconds, and as prank clips are popular on social media, we also decided to make the video towards the ‘prank’ direction. Besides adding humor into our posts to draw users attention, we also thought about how to encourage them to generate similar content for this campaign. Due to the nature of the BeTheFilter, we placed particular emphasis on ‘finding the right reason’ step, since the aim of our campaign is to stop the wide spreading of rumor and detect misinformation, which will benefit users themselves and the atmosphere of social media and the whole society.

Reference:

Speck, P. S., & Elliott, M. T. (1997). Predictors of advertising avoidance in print and broadcast media. Journal of Advertising, 26(3), 61-76.

Cho, C. H., & as-, U. O. T. A. A. I. A. (2004). Why do people avoid advertising on the internet?. Journal of advertising, 33(4), 89-97.

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

Russell, C. A. (2002). Investigating the effectiveness of product placements in television shows: The role of modality and plot connection congruence on brand memory and attitude. Journal of consumer research, 29(3), 306-318.

Walster, E., & Festinger, L. (1962). The effectiveness of “overheard” persuasive communications. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 65(6), 395-402

Advertisements
Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

Mobile Media and Teen’s Social Media Use

Assignment 3 Online Article

Name: Qinwen Li

SID: 470083787

Tutorial Time: Thursday 9-11a.m., Ms Fiona Andreallo

1

Introduction
As Boyd Danah (2012) wrote, it is really hard to count how many hours exactly one is online everyday within 24 hours because one could search the wikipedia while having dinner or could check Twitter when wakes up in the midnight. Not mention the Sensis Social Media Report (2015) of Australia shows that there are over 52% of Australians using Internet more than 5 times a day and 79% of Australians access the Internet daily. Surprisingly, the numbers are rising fast in 2016, especially in daily access. The problem is these online time is random and objective, which couldn’t be count in the same way as we count one’s sleep time. It gives Boyd a feeling that we are now living in an always-on lifestyle. What contributes to the blur between online and offline is obviously the Web 2.0, which is push forward by The cheap processors, cheap network and cheap sensors together. Among them, the popularity of mobile terminals like smartphones helps mobile media become one of the most significant styles of social media.

Retrieved from Sensis database: https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2015.pdf
https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2016.PDF

According to Duggan and Brenner(2013), the proportion of teen’s usage online is raised rapidly through the years. The Internet play an important role in shaping their behaviors. And scholars are always interested in studying different aspects of teens and Internet. One of the perspectives that shown in our reading chooses a particular cultural phenomenon of flash mob. It requires a bunch of people gather together in a single point and disperse right after performance in public. With the help of mobile media, this kind of events could be spread quickly and accomplished easily. But flash mob isn’t the only one who get benefits, the emerging of mobile applications shows the bright future of mobile media. So in this article, I am going to talk about the teen’s social media use in mobile media.
Core Concept of Mobile Media
In the reading of Understanding Social Media, the author gives a couple of examples of how mobile media is in used of common people, including a girl joined by a friend who saw her uploading a photo in a cafe, a boy giving out a signal that he was safe after an earthquake by playing a LBS game and a grandma lived intimately with her grandsons by using Facebook. He inserts that mobile social media is a global phenomenon and happens everywhere. It is the smartphones that become an important portal for social media. It combines the feature of social interactivity and locativeness which makes mobile media both immediacy and hypermediacy. It provides users with new media experiences and preserves the functions of traditional media. For example, ABC, the news app allows you to read news in words and video anywhere and anytime.
The use of mobile media also has an effect on the improvement of mobile technology. 2G to 4G, the speed of getting access to internet and the cost of a smartphone are just the outcome of the extension of mobile media.

Case Study
I am so proud to introduce you an application in China called Alipay. It is now most popular online paying methods in China. The idea of this application is to make paying easier by several ways including scanning the QR codes and sound wave. Also, it is so aggressive that it works with any common applications that you could imagine like paying for your electricity, taxi calling and buying a movie ticket. Not mention almost all the restaurants that could be paid in Alipay. I have even seen a granny selling fruits on the street hanging a QR code of Alipay on her blanket. It brought me so many conveniences that I didn’t have to take anything with me but a smartphone generally. Thanks to its mobility, now I still couldn’t remember bring cash or credit cards with me from time to time even if I am in a different country.
What’s more, it is always improving its technology. Last year, news came that Alipay is trying to make a part of individual as another kind of QR code. If possible, one doesn’t need to bring anything when paying for a vertified tatoo on left hand would be a unique substitute of QR code or account number.

Reteive from google image: http://chuansong.me/n/1584061252146
Alipay does affect the teen’s paying habit but more importantly, it tries to shape itself as a social media. The first step is adding friends. Once you have friends in Alipay, you could chat with them, transfer money to each other and see what they consume. However, social media is far more than friends. Convergence is a great trend of Chinese application design. For example, Wechat, the most popular chatting application in China, is devoting to contacting everything in one application. It is almost succeed as a social media. Therefore, it could explain why Alipay is so eager to develop its social function. It is a good idea to enhance the hypermediacy as a mobile media but what Alipay did last year turns out to be a failure.
It starts with a new function of ‘Circle’ which allows people gather only with same interests. But this is just what other mature social platforms like Facebook or Instagram are doing. No surprise, no followers. What Alipay doesn’t expect is that Circle becomes a place for selling sex within hours after launching . One basic rule of Circle is that only given users could post. I assume it is set in order to strengthen the relationship in social groups. The other rule is only one with high credit points could comment. This one also make sense. But it unconsciously encourage the communication between young lady and rich guy in these cases. With the aid of digital technology, for the first time users find a way to break the law. And it is also teenagers that become the focus of Internet crime.

Practice and Feedback
In this class, my group is trying to improve the social media of Sydney Conservatorium of Music. My job is make the calender of post as well as the example posts. I like one of our events in Snapchat called A Day of Player which is intend to display a player’s life by posting from 8AM to 8PM. According to research and the Con staff, Snapchat is more and more popular among teenager users. They are willing to share private life with friends in Snapchat. So we thought it could be a good way to launch brand publicity in daily news. Sending several posts of player’s practice or jogging in a day makes the Con behave like a friend of audiences. Besides, we are planning to send a post in Snapchat as alarm before the concert begins. These two functions could be achieved owing to the advantages of mobile media.
Teenagers like to chasing fashion. I believe they will keep being the main users of mobile media. Today, more and more applications are designed to adapt to mobile platform, including mobile games and other remediation of old media. The convergence will grown-up and the divergence as well. Just as what we do to attract more teenagers to the Con. Social media like Facebook will shoulder more responsibility of holding more services as other accounts will link back to Facebook account. Meanwhile, functional media like Alipay or Snapchat will developed in more specific ways to play to advantages.

Conclusion
In all, teens are so easily influenced especially facing the fabulous digital world. There are so many temptations accessible simply by a click of their smartphones. We need to take teenagers into consideration when design a new function or events organized on mobile media. The mistakes happened in Alipay gave us a chance to think twice in teen’s use of social media.
Reference
1.Boyd Danah. (2012). Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle. In The Social Media Reader (pp. 71–76). New York University Press.
2.Sensis Social Media Report 2015. Retrieved from Sensis database: https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2015.pdf
3.Sensis Social Media Report 2016. Retrieved from Sensis database: https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2016.PDF
4.Duggan M and Brenner J (2013) The demographics of social media user–2012. Pew Research
5.Center’s Internet & American Life Project, pp. 1–14, Washington, DC.See Paul Saffo, Sensors: The Next Wave of Infotech Innovation, http://www.saffo.com/essays/sensors.php (last visited June 1, 2007).
6.Zittrain, J. (2008c). Meeting the Risks of Generativity: Privacy 2.0. In The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It (pp. 205–206). Yale University Press.
7.Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (203). Social, Locative and Mobile Media Understanding Social Media (pp. 120 – 135). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
8.Bolter, J.D.& Grusin, R.A. (1999) Remediation: Understanding New Media (pp.3-50), Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT Press.
ALEX LINDER ( 2016, NOV 29) Alipay’s new social networking platform accidentally turns service into a ‘booty call app’. Retrieved from: http://shanghaiist.com/2016/11/29/alipay_brothel.php

Uncategorized

UCC AND MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF HUMAN NEEDS

Bayarmaa Tudevrenchin – SID 460450683

KAI – Wednesday, 17pm-20pm

Introduction

Today’s interconnected world the Internet is deeply embedded in our life in many ways. It is impossible to many people to imagine the life without the Internet and social media interaction.

The introduction of the second generation of World Wide Web, Web 2.0 enabled the opportunities of collaboration and sharing information to ordinary users through the Internet without difficulties.  Thanks to this breakthrough users become no more passive audiences. They express themselves actively through the User created contents and enhancing their consumption of information. This advance performs fulfillment human needs in many ways.

As Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013) defined there are two concepts such as User created and User generated contents of user participation in online communication. Both are a form of a participation while UCC is the content made by users UGC is simply forwarded content by the user made by others. However, in many other scholarly articles do not differentiate these two terms and use both alternatively. Generally speaking, UCC or UGC is all types of participation of users from comments on media publicities to whole video contents lasting for several hours. According to OECD report, Participative web: User Created Content (2007), UCC is publicly available content on the Internet which is produced outside professional practices with a certain creative effort. It demands not only creativity but also consumes time, different forms of capitals and emotion (Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. 2013). The important factor of existence and popularity of UCC relies on a virtual space where can access the content. All kinds of websites where the user can upload the contents such as blogs, wiki sites, podcasting, file sharing sites and Social networking sites are distributing UCC. Moreover, the rapid development of mobile device availability is changing the information exchange flow immensely. Users can easily transfer a variety of contents direct from their mobile and easily share and respond it.

Creators of UCC

Audiences are no longer feel themselves only as a consumer of media, they become a participant and undertake to use the advantages of two-way communication. A basic aspect of participation is response or comments to others’ contents. However, it is kind of passive form of participation comparing to today’s hugely active and response-ready communities in online. They upload videos, images, texts in social networking sites and engage more like producers. As Australian academic Burn (2008, as cited in Hinton and Hjorth, 2013) formulated the term “Produser”, which is a mix of two words production and user. As claimed by him, everybody can be a creator of UCC.

Creation and usage of UCC and Maslow’s human needs hierarchy pyramid

The motivation of creating content relates to Maslow’s human needs hierarchy in many extents. Applying Maslow’s theory of human needs, such as physiological needs, personal safety, social affiliation, self-esteem and self-actualization to information technology utilization especially in user participation is an interesting study area. Hence User participation in communication relatively young but tremendously wide subject, many aspects of this is not yet studied.

According to Gerstein.J (2014, March 12) technology provides a huge amount of confidence to engage in and meet human needs in several steps.

(Source: Addressing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Technology Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/addressing-maslows-hierachy-of-needs-with-technology/)

Gerstein.J (2014, March 12) argued that technology cannot address very bottom or basic needs of the pyramid which is Physiological needs.

However, for other needs technology opens new opportunities and fulfillment of these needs along with brings some risks as well.

In terms of Safety needs which refer protection, security, and stability, the use of technology may provide potential dangers and harm to users and creators (Gerstein.J  2014).

The significant reason of usage social network and UCC relates to Social needs of Maslow’s  Pyramid.  Sensis Social Media 2016, Australia explores that main reason of using a social network is keep in touch with family, friend, exchange information.

 

(Source: Sensis Social Network Report 2016 Australia  Retrieved from https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/SensisSocial_Media_Report_2016.PDF)

 Scholars and researchers emphasized as motivating factors of UCC that achieving a certain level of fame, popularity, and self-expression (Vickery, G., & Wunsch-Vincent, S. 2007).  This factor applies Esteem needs which refer self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility (McLeod, S. 2016).  People always look for an opportunity to express themselves in order to be valued by others. Participation is a major tool to fulfill esteem needs in both traditional and new community landscape. Producing and disseminating UCC has immense potential for flourishing rapidly one’s esteem and making popular. The unique feature of the Internet that spreads without spatiotemporal barrier makes one’s, who acting creation, worldwide popular.

Getting information, earning knowledge, having a right to know are core aspects of Cognitive needs. Filesharing and wiki websites, social media platforms which are specially designed for sharing knowledge provide opportunities to realize cognitive needs. These sites are all operated by User-generated or created contents.

Another important motivating factor to creating contents is Aesthetic needs of Maslow’s pyramid. Web 2.0 technology has enabled new ways to engage in and satisfy aesthetic needs. Many people create and distribute artistic works and others share it.

The study the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that nearly two-thirds of online teens create content at some point – from blogs to Web pages to original stories, photos, videos or other artwork they post electronically.

(Source: Marketing to millennials Social Media and Online Behavior Retrieved from http://trends.e-strategy.com/)

Users could create every kind of production from very simple mobile recordings with singing or dancing to highly professionalized animations or machinima and other features. Social media or UCC distributing platforms allow to set up huge fan communities who directly deal with contents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaEw7DzJl1M  

In the final stage of Maslow’s hierarchy Self-actualization, people want to feel themselves as a contributor for the human well-being and with peak experiences ready to “give back”. To fulfill this need users might become an activist in the internet forum, became online mentors and hosts of blogs or other participatory websites. Three of four types of UCC/UGC, defined by Hinton and Hjorth’s (2013) can apply Self-actualization needs as all promote a sense of identity. Crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, and online activism render persons’ social activities and accomplish Self-actualization needs.

 Conclusion

The act of creation has great potential for enhancing one’s confidence and exchanging their opinion are shaping their sense identity. Technology has provided the tools and means for users to be creators of their own products rather than primarily becoming consumers which is characteristic of traditional communication behavior.   They can express themselves via blogging and social networking, sharing images make videos.  They can build their self- images and status in many ways what they want to be. The advance of information technology, precisely, Web 2.0 help us to fulfill our human needs easily than before.

 

REFERENCE LIST

Gerstein.J  (2014, March 12) Addressing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Technology. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from  https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/addressing-maslows-hierachy-of-needs-with-technology/

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

Lenhart, A. (2008) Marketing to millennials Social Media and Online Behavior Retrieved from http://trends.e-strategy.com/)

McLeod, S. (2016, September 16). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Sensis Social Network Report 2016 Australia (2016)  Retrieved from https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/SensisSocial_Media_Report_2016.PDF

Thomas, M. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second life, and beyond – By Axel Bruns. British Journal of Educational Technology,39(6), 1132-1133. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00908_3.x

 Vickery, G., & Wunsch-Vincent, S. (2007). Participative web and user-created content: Web 2.0, Wikis and social networking. Paris: OECD.

 

 

Assessment 3

Surrealism and Soup – Tumblr Communities and How Companies Use Them

Sarah Schofield – 430192988

Kai – Thursday, 12pm-3pm

Social media is in a constant state of flux. While it began as a serious method of communicating with other people, the content that users of certain social networking sites create has begun to evolve into something that is almost unrecognisable to people who do not utilise that particular social networking sites. SNS-specific culture as a category of collective identity expanding rapidly, and while these social communities may diversify greatly in the methods they create content, there are themes that string the social media community together as a whole. In addition to this, companies are increasingly attempting to capitalise on the SNS-specific culture as a method of marketing to the users of these social networking sites, and none more so than the American restaurant chain Denny’s in terms of their Tumblr account.

In order to analyse the ways in which online communities create SNS-specific user created content, it is first imperative to define user created content in itself. Creative content may be classified as text, audio, images, videos and multimedia productions that have been created by a user of a social networking site and distributed throughout an SNS – in other words, something original that a user has created in and of themselves. In terms of the popular microblogging website Tumblr, this merely means posting on the website itself and allowing reblogs and likes to increase its popularity. However, Tumblr users are far more open and free with their thoughts and feelings than they would be on a different SNS. Here, a user may share thoughts they believe that the majority of people they know in real life would either not wish to know, or not care about. As such, one of Tumblr’s overarching themes is that of emotional dependency on others. These thoughts are strictly limited to Tumblr – Bryce J Renninger states “For individual users, certain kinds of communication should be posted to multiple platforms; some kinds of communication are purposefully posted only on certain specific platforms.” In addition to this, a study by Serena Hillman, Jason Procyk and Carman Neustaedter from Simon Fraser University stated “we found that Tumblr fandom users felt they were more ‘themselves’ on Tumblr than other social media sites and even in the ‘real world’. That is, they could talk about what mattered to them, in relation to a TV show, and they need not ‘hold back’ on saying things that may offend others or be considered boring or unimportant.”

Tumblr users are generally involved in communities known to them as fandoms – that is, a group of fans of a TV show, film, book series, manga series, anime series, and so on and so forth. Fandom communities share images, quotes, etc, whilst also microblogging about their opinions of their fandom. A report by Serena Hillman, Jason Procyk and Carman Neustaedter states “some users joined Tumblr not specifically to participate in fandoms, yet as they began following users, they learned about fandoms through their dashboard. Besides cross-pollination, in some cases users will ask for recommendations for a new fandom to be part of. It should be noted that when asking for recommendations, users seem just as interested in the value of joining the fandom as the value of the actual watching of the television series.” Anything can be the subject of a fandom – in some cases, fandoms extend to food. An example of this would be the formerly popular Tumblr user Pizza (a user who has since deactivated their Tumblr account):

tumblr_inline_o2al4puCUJ1qe13ct_540tumblr_inline_o2al7hUwic1qe13ct_540

Here it is easy to see a theme running through the user created content. Pizza elected to utilise their username as a food in order to capitalise on most Tumblr users’ desire for the popular food, and therefore role establish their role as a leader in the community of pizza-loving Tumblr users. In an article concerning Pizza, Eslpeth Reeve states “Pizza’s strategy was brilliant: When a random Tumblr would write about “pizza”—either the food or herself—she’d reblog the post to her huge audience. Once, when a user wrote “so is tumblr user pizza god or beyonce,” she dug up the post and reblogged it with the comment “I’d like to confirm that i am both.” Users marveled at how quickly she responded, how you could “summon Pizza.” It made her seem all-knowing, but not superior.” Users today still create posts wondering about whether or not saying ‘pizza’ will automatically summon the user.

However, Pizza’s Tumblr posts were not limited to pizza-related humour, and it is this second theme that proves to be incredibly popular. Surrealist hypotheses, or as they are known on Tumblr – nightblogging, so named for the hours that most of these posts were created – are incredibly popular within Tumblr itself. A nightblogging post may be made during the night or day, but not all text posts created at night are categorised as nightblogging. Instead, nightblogging is categorised by Tumblr user ‘upthawolfs’ as having “a focus on theoreticals, especially in stating absurd thoughts in normal ways”. Some examples of nightblogging posts are given below:

ebe

Absurdist humour on Tumblr is mostly taken in the stride of users, and most categorise the creators of these posts as a community of ‘nightbloggers’. Their posts are reblogged and liked thousands of times, and in general, they themselves start trends. Elspeth Reeve states, “At one point she opened her laptop to scan for some examples and got lost in the content. “These kids are so advanced—so, so advanced,” she said softly to her screen. Not just in their comedy, but in their business savvy. “They are the most brilliant digital strategists,” she said. “These teens are better marketers than anyone in the game right now.”” It is therefore no surprise that the American restaurant chain Denny’s has sought to capitalise on this recurring trend in their social media strategy for Tumblr. A few examples are given below:

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 11.57.01 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.10.39 am

Denny’s decision to use Tumblr nightblogging culture and characteristics in their marketing material on Tumblr means that instead of remaining a separate entity from users, they have in fact become  a user themselves, at least in the nightblogging sense. Their posts focus on absurdist humour, whilst simultaneously creating a recognisable profile within the community. Indeed, their ability to hijack pre-existing Tumblr community themes has been noted by users themselves – Tumblr user leviathan-supersystem says, “it seems there isn’t any meme that Denny’s won’t try to jack, so let’s make the new meme “John C. Miller, CEO and President of the Denny’s Corporation, is a capitalist running dog and his wealth must be seized and redistributed to the people” to see them try to use that for their marketing.” However, Denny’s are more or less seen as a harmless blog – most Tumblr users respond to their posts with some good-natured confusion. In the social media campaign we proposed for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the focus was very much on utilising the humour and culture of the Conservatorium students and thereby enhancing the experience for newcomers who might have felt that the Conservatorium was rather more formal than they would have liked.

While many would say that social media does not require the immense brainpower or thought of certain disciplines, it is clear that there are far more nuanced communities on social networking sites like Tumblr than many would think. The culture that they create as a method of establishing communities and reinforcing their emotional comfort utilising Tumblr means that companies often attempt to capitalise on this, and only a few have ever managed to transcend the boundary between being categorised as a strictly marketing-oriented creator, and a user who creates content in and of themselves, for the rest of the internet to enjoy.

References

“Denny’s Diner”. 2017. Blog.Dennys.Com. http://blog.dennys.com/.

Hillman, Serena, Jason Procyk, and Carmen Neustaedter. 2014. “Tumblr Fandoms, Community & Culture”. In , 285-288. New York, New York, USA: ACM.

Hillman, Serena, Jason Procyk, and Carmen Neustaedter. 2014. “‘Alksjdf;Lksfd’: Tumblr And The Fandom User Experience”. ACM, 775-784.

leviathan-supersystem. 2017. THE DIVINE MYSTERIES OF GODBUILDING. http://leviathan-supersystem.tumblr.com/post/159919286619/it-seems-there-isnt-any-meme-that-dennys-wont.

Renninger, Bryce J. 2015. ““Where I Can Be Myself … Where I Can Speak My Mind” : Networked Counterpublics In A Polymedia Environment”. New Media & Society 17 (9): 1513-1529. doi:10.1177/1461444814530095.

“THE SECRET LIVES OF TUMBLR TEENS”. 2016. The New Republic.

upthawolfs. 2017. I Declare War On My Body. http://upthawolfs.tumblr.com/post/126272673204/sjwpanderer-adhdsmokescreen-ok-but-why-dont.

Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

The Web of Participation

The Web of Participation

MECO6936: Social Media Communication

Cherry Thursday 3-6pm

Hannah Lynch – 430313930

social_media_interaction_blog

With the invention of Web 2.0 came many new opportunities for participation in social media including ‘popular and accessible ways to publish texts, images, and audio and video material’ (Carpentier, 2009: 410) and providing new and expansive learning resources (Lewis, Pea and Rosen, 2010) within networks of connected users. Today, the new forms of social media allow an intricate level of connectivity that encourages ‘participation’ and ‘sharing’ (Lewis, Pea and Rosen, 2010: 352) among users and their networks that results in ‘new forms of social life’ (354). According to Lewis et al., ‘people can “see” each other’s worlds’ more than ever before, through these new social media platforms that ‘enable, structure and call upon us to enact’ (2010: 352). The structure of these platforms focuses on sharing of personal information, user generated content (UCG), user created content (UCC), educational resources and other forms of data that are provided by the users. This abundance of information and connectivity, as a result of Web 2.0, ‘placed participation on centre stage’ (Carpentier, 2009: 408).

 

There are many conversations about the participatory element of social media that surpasses interactivity and becomes intricate participation due to the users’ ability to not only share content, known as User Generated Content (UGC), but also create their own content, known as User Created Content (UCC). This process of sharing and creating content creates a ‘wealth of information online’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 67), that is constructed, primarily, in users’ own time. This web of creating and sharing information within users’ networks deems the audience more than consumers of social media, instead considering the ‘audience as media producer’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 64). Web 2.0 users are no longer simply passive consumers of media, but are instead, creating, shaping, sharing and influencing the information online, and in the case of Digg, which will be explored below, they are also determining what information is considered most important.

content-people-01.jpg

There are many benefits to the participatory focus of social media within the new form of Web 2.0 including providing ‘various forms of agency’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013) through UGC and UCC that provide the user with a certain level of control and ability to create their own meaning. The participatory nature also provides a nurturing learning environment through ‘social contexts’ and ‘collaboration’ (Lewis, Pea and Rosen, 2010: 357), as learning, according to research, is heightened within social environments that promote networks of collaborative learning. This plethora of available information, according to Lewis et al., has provided, through ‘the interactive worldwide web… the greatest learning tool in human history’ (2010: 354). While Lewis, Pea and Rosen explore the potential educational benefits of social media that create ‘powerful dynamics for learning’ (2010: 357), there are also negative factors to the participatory element of social media that hide responsibility of content, value creation and workload, through disguised power relations.

 

For Carpentier, this new form of online media, allows for a ‘democratization’ of media through a ‘new communicative paradigm’ (2009: 408) that gives a voice to users and strengthens their voice through their connected networks. Yet notions of new media are often diminished to a ‘reductionist discourse of novelty’ (Carpentier, 2009: 408). Carpentier depicts a novelty discourse of new media as problematic, as it allows us to ignore the participatory capacity of “old” media, creating a sense of novelty around new media that biases the potential new media and ignores the elements of mass communication remaining in social media. While Carpentier establishes the ‘socially and politically beneficial’ element of social media he highlights the need to interrogate the ‘power relations’ (2009: 417) within social media practices that are disguised under the bias and novelty surrounding the concept of participation in Web 2.0.

 

So what hidden power relations are at play within the new forms of social media? Along with the problematic discourse of novelty, Carpentier highlights contrasting viewpoints on the form of participation as a ‘minimalist’ or ‘maximalist’ perspective (2009: 409). Through a minimalist lens, participation is conceptualised through ‘ritual and symbolic forms’, with a heightened sense of ‘communality’, where as a maximalist perspective is considered as ‘intense forms’ of participation on behalf of ‘non-professional’ users with the aim of ‘the mediated production of meaning’ (Carpentier, 2009: 409). In other words, participation is understood as either symbolic investment or imbalanced power relation leading to the exploitation of users through their one-sided investment into the production of meaning through creating content. Many users invest their own time into creating content for online social spaces, which is elicited through the foundations of the social media sites to share and contribute. Many of these sites, for Hinton and Hjorth, ‘exist only because of the content created by their users’ (2013: 67). This content creation and circulation requires ‘creativity’ as well as ‘time, emotion and various forms of capital’ such as ‘social, cultural and sometimes economic’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 67). Users are the ones to invest time and effort into creating profiles and pages, while the sites themselves reap the social, cultural and economic benefits (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013; Carpentier, 2009).

socialmediaimage.png

There is no doubt that participation is a fundamental element of social media, but who is benefiting more from the ‘social labour’ of participation (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 67)? Online platforms increasingly encourage ‘methods of actively providing information about what we are doing or what we think of something’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 62), ‘inserting textual statements about what one is doing’ while also ‘tracking and subscribing to other user’s statements and allowing others to do the same’, with a huge concentration on and promotion of ‘viewing and commenting on one’s own or other’s submissions’ (Lewis, Pea and Rosen, 2010: 353). Ultimately, the sites are functioning from the information provided by the users, and their interactivity with other users and their information. Beyond the initial contribution of information, social media platforms then require a constant maintenance, involving the ongoing investment of social labour. This process of labour, through providing and updating information, and networking through such information, provides many social sites the ability to ‘make money by selling attention, and that attention is gained through users’ creative and social labour’ (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013: 67).

digg-logo

Digg, a social news site, provides a clear example of an organisation benefiting from the labour invested by non-professional users. Digg works through users ‘submitting links to stories they find online’ and then reviewing and voting on the stories they prefer (Lerman, 2007: 1). The stories that get the most votes or “digs” are featured on the main page of the website. Such a ‘collective decision making’ process is termed ‘wisdom of crowds’ (Lerman, 2007: 1), as it is informed directly by what the audience prefers. The structure of user’s uploading and voting allows the user to maintain agency in deciding what is given preference, but at the same time, it is the users that are putting in all the labour to discover and present the articles. In terms of Digg, in 2007 when Lerman researched the site, there was ‘well over one million registered users and more than 2,000 stories submitted daily’ (1). That’s an enormous amount of free labour that would not be expected in any other area of social life.

60f51797-48e5-df11-aa71-0200d897d049_2_full.jpg

So where does this leave us in our search to become social media managers? Are we doomed to abuse those who we depend on? As Hinton and Hjorth (2013) point out, is it insufficient to delve into the impacts of social media or try to understand them by just signing up to a social media site and start participating. Instead a consideration of the ‘economic, political and social dimensions’ (2013: 147) of the technology and the resulting changes to society must be acknowledged. Technology and therefore social media, are entrenched into our everyday lives both symbolically and culturally, so in order to achieve a balanced and mutually beneficial relationship between the producing users and the benefiting organisations, such elements of participation and labour must be considered.

bigstock-People-Pulling-a-Banner-Of-Soc-61945244-300x200

 

References

 

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

 

Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013) Understanding Social Media, Sage Publications, London: UK.

 

Lerman, K. (2007) ‘User Participation in Social Media: Digg Study’, Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology-Workshops, pp. 255-258.

 

Lewis, S., Pea, R. and Rosen, J. (2010) ‘Beyond Participation to Co-Creation of Meaning: Mobile Social Media in Generative Learning Communities, Social Science Information, 49(3), pp. 351-369.

Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

Social Media and SNSs: Use or Being Used?

Jessie NGUYEN (430119136)

Kai Wed 5pm

Introduction 

Social media technologies have transformed how people communicate with one another, and similarly, how organisations communicate with individuals. The valued placed on social media is manifold (Wyrwoll, 2014, p.36), as actors all have different motives and interests.

Unlike mass media, social media is fundamentally participative and interactive (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.55). Participation is broadly categorised as user generated content (UGC), where users share and collect content made by others, or user created content (UCC), where content is made by the user (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.55). Despite this, UGC and UCC should not be treated as a binary. There is certainly a blurred line between the two, with Bruns identifying this grey area as being a ‘produser’. A produser is described as someone being both a producer and user of content online.

With an abundance of information and material, it raises the question of whether people’s content are exploited for another person or company’s gain. This article will focus on UGC and UCC in the context of a capitalist society. First, it is argued that participants in the online space use social media because it encourages creativity and community. Second, a more negative reality of social media is explored through the Marxist lens, where there is an imbalance of labour power on social media. These concepts are then applied to two online campaigns, namely #shareyourears by Disney and Make a Wish Foundation, and the CONsultants’ proposals for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Using Social Media

Effectively, social media and SNSs are used by people around the world to express their ideas and to be a part of a virtual network. Today, there is generally more access to the tools needed to produce online content. Interaction with materials on social media has led to people being ‘co-creators’ of value (Herman, 2014, p.40) where meaning is no longer created by the original post. Sometimes, this virtual world is an escape from the real world. For example, in Turkey there are limited social relations for young women- considering that it is a traditionally male-dominated culture (Costa, 2016, p.31). To these women their smartphones are seen as devices that provide access to the internet where they can create content and interact with others (Costa, 2016, p.31). Practically, with little barriers of entry there has been a shift towards social media (Manovich, 2009, p.319). It is also increasingly recognised that the motive behind creating content has moved beyond the content itself. Production of creative works is a way people assert and define their citizenship in an online network (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.61). Creativity is influenced more so by the ability to build new connections (Boyd, 2012, p.75) or as Boyd (2012, p.73) describes it as the “the squishy, gooey content that keeps us connected as people”. This highlights that humans are instinctively social beings, and hence why social media and SNSs have such prominence in everyday life. SNSs are platforms that allow users to bolster existing connections, as well as establish new ones.

 

Being Used via Social Media

 However, it is also important to consider that these online connections can be misused. This is when communication on SNSs and the content uploaded onto social media is commoditised. Marxist political economists Adorno and Hoekheimer believed that mass media played a role in establishing and reinforcing social relations of power in capitalist society (Herman, 2014, p.33). Now with social media, it can be argued that this imbalance of power is reproduced online as well. In Marxism, the imbalance of power centres around labour and labour power. SNSs are no longer only used by individuals. Businesses and large companies are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of these web platforms in connecting with consumers. They extend their influence with a new approach, and are successful because SNSs are often intimate and personal. However, it is clear that they do not engage with these websites like an individual. This is due to a difference in motives and expectations of SNSs. Businesses often subject the “process and product of communication to commodification and profit maximisation” (Herman, 2014, p.33), which align with capitalist objectives.  Complementing the real world, there are structures and relations of power that shape the production, consumption, and labour of content and goods (Herman, 2014, p.30). With private citizens creating more and more content online, there has been a parallel trend in appropriating this content for commercial use. Rather than companies creating their own content, there is a shift in labour, with individuals not employed by the business creating the content instead. Instead of merely responding to online content created by an organisation, the user now becomes the source of original material (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.58). The labour of the audience (Herman, 2014, p.33) is often acknowledged, however it is not necessarily rewarded. That is why there is this imbalance of labour power. This concept of used or being used will be explored further with the use of two case studies.

Case Study: #ShareYourEars

In this case, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney partnered together to encourage the public to share images of them wearing Mickey Mouse ears on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourEars (Gallegos, 2016, para. 19). With each post, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts donated US$5 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and was capped at US$1 million (Gallegos, 2016, para. 20). Astonished by the sheer volume of online posts, it was later announced in the middle of the campaign by Disney Parks that it would double its original pledge and donate US $2 million (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, 2016, para. 4).

This campaign is an example of the effective use of UGC because it was a positive PR stunt disguised as a social movement. Here, online citizens used social media to participate in an activity and contribute to a noble cause. But also, they are being used by these large corporations for publicity and reputation gain. Following the conclusion of the campaign, it was evaluated that brand engagement for Disney increased by 28%, and also encouraged more purchases (Gallegos, 2016, para. 24). Web 2.0 applications and platforms are used by Disney to appropriate user generated content, and labelled it as such as a part of a “networked collaboration” (Herman, 2014, p.40). #ShareYourEars also involves the idea of ‘audience commodity’, a term developed by Canadian communication scholar Dallas Smythe where “organisational processes of the media industries that turn the consumers of media content into commodities themselves” (Herman, 2014, p.34). Disney relied heavily on networks and momentum where most of the work was produced by the audience themselves. This campaign tapped into the ‘hashtag culture’ which was used and shared within online communities. #ShareYourEars eventually turned into a community itself, where social capital was shared. This virtual community offered membership, personal expression, and connection- the three conditions Parks identified (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013, p.43).

How SNS was Used in The Con Campaign

The CONsultants recognised that for a successful engagement campaign, certain strategies were more effective than others. We had to execute ideas that made use of interactive relationships and online communication. Content and news have become tokens used to initiate or maintain a conversation (Manovich, 2009, p.326), and this is what we intended for the Lunchbreak Concert series. It needed to be noticed, and then consequently remain relevant. In a sense our campaign paralleled elements of individuals ‘being used’, especially in regards to exploitation of labour. There were plans to share and use UGC to further promote the Lunchbreak Concerts. However unlike #ShareYourEars, we expected the Con to create their own content as well. UGC was supposed to supplement UCC. To capitalise on the tools and unlimited space for storage SNSs provide was conducted in a way to promote The Con, and was not done so in a malicious manner. This would promote ‘bad publicity’, a PR nightmare for an academic institution.

Conclusion

In the world of Web 2.0 and capitalism reigns, the openness of shared media is studied. “Publicness is one of the strange and yet powerful aspects of this new world” (Boyd, 2012, p.75), and there have been discussions to whether this is positive or negative for the individual. Overall, social media encourages political, social and economic freedoms. Social media in general offers a space where users can express their views and creativity with little restrictions. However, as a result of this openness, people and their content are vulnerable to exploitation and misuse. The positives of social media use are based on the assumption of good intentions (Wyrwoll, 2014, p.36). Users want to be connected and feel a part of a wider network. They also want to be able to express their creativity and share their ideas with others. Yet, there are others who want to take advantage of this content and use information for their own agenda.

REFERENCES

Boyd, D. (2012). Participating in the always-on lifestyle. In M. Mandiberg (Ed.), The Social Media Reader (pp. 71-76). New York: New York University Press.

Costa, E. (2016). Social Media in Southeast Turkey. London: UCL Press.

Gallegos, J. A. (2016). ‘The best social media marketing campaigns of 2016’. Viewed 20 April 2017, https://www.tintup.com/blog/best-social-media-marketing-campaigns/

Herman, A. (2014). Production, consumption, and labor in the social media mode of communication and production. In J. Hunsinger & T. Senft (Eds.), The Social Media Handbook (pp. 30 – 44). New York: Routledge.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding Social Media. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Manovich, L. (2009). ‘The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?’, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Winter 2009), pp. 319-331.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (2016). ‘Disneyland® Resort and Make-A-Wish® Celebrate the Success of Worldwide “Share Your Ears” Campaign’. viewed 21 April, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/disneyland-resort-and-make-a-wish-celebrate-the-success-of-worldwide-share-your-ears-campaign-300235681.html

Wyrwoll, C. (2014). Social Media: Fundamentals, Models, and Ranking of User-Generated Content. Hamburg: Springer Vieweg.

 

Assessment 3

Parks’s theory of social affordances facilitate an understanding of how virtual communities are marked out in the Twitter hashtag event #Pray4MuslimBan.

Name: Jenny Mathers

Class: Wednesday 5-8 pm

SID: 460128025

Virtual communities (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.35) appear, sometimes in a transitory fashion (Bingham-Hall & Law 2015, p.15), and by studying the hashtag, #Pray4MuslimBan, which Pauline Hanson promoted on YouTube and Twitter on March 22 (Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain Official Channel n.d.; Hanson 2017), virtual communities (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.35), collective identities (Papacharissi 2010, p.305) and cultures can be outlined.

The hashtag itself is a tool, which can be used to tag and track issues (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a). This blog post will examine how Parks’s theory of virtual communities (2011 in Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.40; Papacharissi 2010, pp.105–123) illuminates community boundaries and functionality within Pauline Hanson’s #Pray4MuslimBan hashtag/YouTube event. The study of this particular hashtag demonstrates the increase in right-wing dogma being disseminated into the general community. Parks indicated that there were three identifiable social affordances of online communities: connection, membership and personal expression (Papacharissi 2010, pp.105–123). The concept of a virtual community is a controversial one due to the difficulties of identifying and defining what constitutes a virtual community (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.40). Is a virtual community just an online representation of the offline community or do these online communities exist independently? Do Parks’s broad affordances of connection, membership and personal expression describe an online community in enough detail?

These three affordances were developed while researching usage of SNSs (Social Network Sites) like MySpace (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.42; Papacharissi 2010, p.105), but in order to make conclusions about virtual communities, other types of SNS need to be considered, and the observations challenged in light of more recent research and SNSs operating today. Twitter offers a radically different experience to MySpace or Facebook, yet Twitter still offers elements of connection, membership and personal expression. These elements are basic tools of functionality and interface that allow collective action, shared rituals, relational bonds and a sense of belonging to occur (Papacharissi 2010, pp.117–118). Thus, the presence of connectivity, personal expression and membership functionality does not indicate the presence of a virtual community; these social affordances merely indicate the potential for a community to exist.

Participants in Hanson’s #Pray4MuslimBan maintain public profiles (freely viewed by anyone regardless of whether they follow that individual Twitter account) (Hanson 2017), which as Parks pointed out, is a necessary provision for membership and personal expression to occur, and that the public profiles encourage unacquainted users to form weak ties (Papacharissi 2010, pp.110, 112–113). The boundaries of some Twitter communities are marked out using keywords in their Twitter profiles (Ch’ng 2015, p.617). Many of those who used #Pray4MuslimBan can be broadly placed into either left or far-right political affiliations (Rahman 2017a; Liddle 2017; Aussie Gold 2017a) indicated in their profiles. Each of them have retweeted and conversed with others who hold beliefs and vocations consistent with their own (Aussie Gold 2017b; Rahman 2017b), which implies connection and membership within an interest group. Some far right tweeters gained anonymity through the absence of real life profile photos (TakeYourRights4All 2017; TrumpismAussies 2017; The Truth 2017). They have marked out their community territories with the use of language in the profile names to couple their profile identity with being Australian, rights and democracy, and truth. The connotations of these profile names may make reference to nationalism and populist belief. Many of these profiles are dedicated solely to deriding Islam and coupling it with extremist terrorism (Deplorable Oz 2017).

These profiles also function to position themselves, effecting personal expression (Papacharissi 2010, p.113), and opposing collective identities (Nissenbaum & Shifman 2015, p.6). The #Pray4MuslimBan has become an online battleground (Hanson 2017) enabled by Twitter’s interface (Hunsinger 2014; Hinton & Hjorth 2013b). The left and right political identities broadly mimic or oppose the sentiments of Hanson and her supporters in the offline community (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.40), both augmenting and changing the offline experience of reality (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.38). Therefore, while the social affordance of membership and connection are important, these merely enable the setting of community boundaries that mirror offline reality, whereupon collective action can occur.

Aamer_Rahman_TweetImageConnection offers the other social affordance that enables collective action and a sense of belonging to the group, or in this case, to a community built around ideals (Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.40; Papacharissi 2010, pp.113–114). Seven days after Pauline Hanson’s original video had been uploaded, Melbourne standup comedian, Aamer Rahman demonstrated his sense of belonging to a community built around ideals (Rahman 2017a). His comment is an act of connection (Papacharissi 2010, pp.113–114), which by itself is meaningless. When considered contextually, Rhaman acted to support and participate in a collective reply (Papacharissi 2010, pp.117–118) to a community set-up to publicly vilify Islam. His tweet responded to Pauline Hanson’s far-right rhetoric by appropriating her hashtag (Rahman 2017a). His tweet, most likely, was also a response to newspaper articles that highlighted Hanson’s hypocrisy (Butler 2017). The function of the #Pray4MuslimBan in Rahman’s tweet differed from that of Pauline Hanson and served to elucidate the religious and racial discrimination. The meaning of Rhaman’s use of the hashtag had morphed, and the polyvalency of the hashtag had changed according to its context. The literary ‘bonds’ (Crystal 2009) and synapses of Rhaman’s use of #Pray4MuslimBan had connected to past phrases Hanson had communicated, imbuing the hashtag with connections, functionality and meaning contradictory to Hanson’s original usage. Rhaman’s political and subjective positionality (Noel Castree, Rob Kitchin 2013; Rahman 2017a) directed this appropriation and connection. Indeed, positionality directed the connection and collective replies of many others participating in the hashtag (Liddle 2017; ‘Hindu-Arabic numerals’ 2017; Bassiouni 2012; ‘National Indigenous Television’ 2017; Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain Official Channel n.d.).

While the hashtag engenders emotional responses from both sides of the political spectrum, the potential for large scale social study of the broader issues surrounding community sentiment as well as web 2.0 benefits (Herman 2014; Hutchinson 2015; Guidry, Waters & Saxton 2014; Bingham-Hall & Law 2015) interested me the most, even though the #Pray4MuslimBan event occurred on a relatively small scale. I note that the hashtag is still being used, more than a month after Hanson introduced her original video (Plive Calmer 2017); Hanson did not start this hashtag and its variations (Justin 2017), but she helped make them popular. I started this course on social media communication intending to find out how I could improve my own social media usage as a genre writer. When I found that this course also examined the human geography, subjectivity and critical analysis of social media, I realised that a mammoth amount of data and research possibilities have been sitting right under my nose (Bingham-Hall & Law 2015). Although I do not have access to sophisticated software to properly research the big data, some of which is freely available to anyone who looks, this brief study of the #Pray4MuslimBan has demonstrated that hashtag events can provide a starting point for further study into both the online and offline social landscape (Hunsinger 2014; Hinton & Hjorth 2013a, p.46; Bingham-Hall & Law 2015). The observations I make will obviously influence my fiction, and may even increase my own social connectedness beyond social and cultural boundaries (Ch’ng 2015, p.623) through increased use of selfies to explore my own shifting identity (Hinton & Hjorth 2013c, p.92).

This brief study of the #Pray4MuslimBan has highlighted that a virtual community can mirror, augment and seek to change the intentions of offline communities, but the study also highlights social media’s ability to create imagined identities and act in collective way to create an online dialogue around real-world issues. The limitations Parks’s social affordances of membership, connection and personal expression have been highlighted in that they are merely mechanisms. They do not in themselves describe a virtual community, but these mechanisms operate to allow opinions to be expressed and a sense of belonging to political and ideological causes. Regardless of whether anonymous identities act within the social landscape, these Twitter accounts are still controlled by a human, and studying these profiles and hashtag events yields valuable insights into social and political events in real time.

Words: 1340

Reference:

Aussie Gold 2017a, ‘Aussie Gold Tweet 28 March 2017’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/aussiegold8/status/846590419970383873&gt;.

Aussie Gold 2017b, ‘Aussie Gold Replies’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/aussiegold8/with_replies&gt;.

Bassiouni, MC 2012, ‘Islamic Civilization’, Middle East Institute, accessed April 20, 2017, from <http://www.mei.edu/content/islamic-civilization&gt;.

Bingham-Hall, J & Law, S 2015, ‘Connected or informed? Local Twitter networking in a London neighbourhood’, Big Data & Society, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 1–17, accessed from <http://bds.sagepub.com/lookup/doi/10.1177/2053951715597457&gt;.

Butler, J 2017, ‘Pauline Hanson Says She’s Never Said Anything Racist Ever’, Huffington Post, accessed from <http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/29/pauline-hanson-says-shes-never-said-anything-racist-ever_a_22016461/&gt;.

Ch’ng, E 2015, ‘The bottom-up formation and maintenance of a Twitter community: Analysis of the #FreeJahar Twitter community’, Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. Vol. 31, pp. 1012–1030, accessed from <http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/IMDS-02-2014-0069&gt;.

Crystal, D 2009, ‘Valent’, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, pp. 507–518, accessed from <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/doi/10.1002/9781444302776.ch22/pdf&gt;.

Deplorable Oz 2017, ‘Deplorable Oz Profile’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/zezitom&gt;.

Guidry, J, Waters, R & Saxton, G 2014, ‘Moving social marketing beyond personal change to social change. Strategically using Twitter to mobilize supporters into vocal advocates.’, Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 240–260.

Hanson, P 2017, ‘Pray For Muslim Ban Hashtag’, Twitter, accessed April 19, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/hashtag/pray4muslimban?lang=en&lang=en&gt;.

Herman, A 2014, ‘Production, consumption, and labor in the social media mode of communication and production’, in J Hunsinger & TM Senft (eds), The social media handbook, Taylor and Francis, New York, pp. 30–44.

‘Hindu-Arabic numerals’ 2017, Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed April 20, 2017, from <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hindu-Arabic-numerals&gt;.

Hinton, S & Hjorth, L 2013a, ‘Chapter 3: Social network sites’, in Understanding social media, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 32–54.

Hinton, S & Hjorth, L 2013b, ‘Chapter 2: What is Web 2.0?’, in Understanding social media`, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 7–31.

Hinton, S & Hjorth, L 2013c, ‘Chapter 5 : Art and Cultural Production’, in Understanding social media, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 77–100.

Hunsinger, J 2014, ‘Interface and infrastructure in social media’, in J Hunsinger & TM Senft (eds), The social media handbook, Taylor and Francis, New York.

Hutchinson, J 2015, ‘The Impact of Social TV and Audience Participation on National Cultural Policy: Co-creating television comedy with #7DaysLater.’, Communication, Politics & Culture, vol. 47, no. 3, p. 21, accessed from <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=102152657&site=eds-live&gt;.

Justin 2017, ‘Pray For Muslim Ban Hashtag usage Jan. 29’, Twitter2, accessed April 30, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/king_jmo/status/825550086570532865&gt;.

Liddle, D 2017, ‘26 March 2017 Tweet’, Twitter, accessed April 20, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/DavidLiddle67/status/845844754713608193&gt;.

‘National Indigenous Television’ 2017, SBS, accessed April 21, 2017, from <http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/&gt;.

Nissenbaum, A & Shifman, L 2015, ‘Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board’, New Media & Society, accessed from <http://nms.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/1461444815609313&gt;.

Noel Castree, Rob Kitchin,  and AR 2013, ‘positionality’, A Dictionary of Human Geography, accessed from <http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/view/10.1093/acref/9780199599868.001.0001/acref-9780199599868-e-1432#&gt;.

Papacharissi, Z a (ed.) 2010, A Networked Self, accessed from <http://books.google.com/books?id=qhwpKkoFrgsC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=intitle:?A+Networked+Self?&amp;cd=1&amp;source=gbs_api>.

Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain Official Channel ‘Pauline Hanson Speaks Out Against London Terror Attack! #Pray4MuslimBan’, 2017, accessed April 19, 2017, from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg8eJ-Zo2vY&gt;.

Plive Calmer 2017, ‘Plive Calmer Tweet – 28 April 2017’, Twitter, accessed April 30, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/PliveCalmer/status/857779714475397122&gt;.

Rahman, A 2017a, ‘29 March 2017 Tweet’, Twitter, accessed April 20, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/aamer_rahman/status/846941425497444353&gt;.

Rahman, A 2017b, ‘Aamer Rahman Replies’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/aamer_rahman/with_replies&gt;.

TakeYourRights4All 2017, ‘TakeYourRights4All Profile’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/TakeYourRights&gt;.

The Truth 2017, ‘The Truth Profile’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/DaTruthTellers&gt;.

TrumpismAussies 2017, ‘TrumpismAussies Profile’, Twitter, accessed April 21, 2017, from <https://twitter.com/TrumpismAussies&gt;.