TUMBLR 2010

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http://www.undergroundmermaid.tumblr.com

I joined the Tumblr world in 2010, and I really had no idea what the hell it was. I had heard a few of my friends talking about this platform, but none of them could really explain it to me and it sounded like a fairly niche world.

But, in a technical nutshell, Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform and a particularly good example of convergence. It is a site that allows more than one type of post: text, quote, images, video, audio etc. (DeMers, 2013)

When I say this space is niche, me and any of my friends who have a Tumblr have a kind of unspoken rule– you don’t talk about Tumblr outside of Tumblr. You just don’t do it. It is a space that can only exist within that space. This is because Tumblr is so intricately personal. It’s about blogging and re-blogging other people’s text posts and images. These micro posts all add up and create a certain aesthetic that represents a small part of who we are. The thing with Tumblr, a lot of these images that we post and share, are extremely vague. It could be the colour combination that attracts your eyes, or the clothes someone in the image is wearing. But you reblog that image for a reason, and usually a subconscious one. These all pile together and create something much bigger.

Tumblr is largely community based. It almost has it’s own sense of humour. So many of the posts and memes that are created on this platform don’t really resonate for those who don’t participate. I mean, now, I have seen a lot of Tumblr originated posts shared on Facebook, and I don’t know what it is, but once they’re removed from Tumblr, the edge is gone. They’re not merely as funny. It is such a unique world to be a part of and only once you’re in it, will you understand.

Tumblr isn’t private but it may as well be. You cannot search an individual based on their name, you must know their URL, and unless they give this to you (fairly unlikely), you must count on getting lucky and stumbling across one’s page. People do not ‘ask’ to follow you– they just do. And no one really cares who follows them (unless it’s their mother– that would be disturbing). It’s a world where we all understand the lack of limitations, how free we can be, how freaky we can be. Only because everyone else is too.

Being in this social media space delivers a sense of freedom to its users. This world is very self-expressionist, and everyone within it knows that. We’re all there for a similar reason–to communicate with or without words, and for catharsis.

 

REFERENCES:

DeMers, J. (2013). How to Use Tumblr for Your Business |. [online] Social Media Examiner. Available at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tumblr-for-business/ [Accessed 16 October. 2016].

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FACEBOOK 2008

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http://www.facebook.com/annikatague

Before I start talking about the widely used Facebook, let me talk about where my social media journey all began.

This was on Myspace in 2006. At the time, I was 11? And now that I say that age out loud (or type it and say it in my head) I understand why everyone around me at the time was terrified of presenting themselves on the internet. This being said, my Myspace didn’t have any photographs of me or talk about my personal information. But there was rumours going around my middle school (and hey, maybe they weren’t rumours at all) that our deputy principle was finding students who were using Myspace underage and reporting to our parents and the police. This terrified me, and at a sleepover one time, I was losing sleep over this and forced my friend to wake up and help me delete my Myspace account.

Now, my usage may have taken a little lull, but by the time I moved to Australia, I reactivated my page and I was back on the web. I spent hours beyond hours designing my profile to look just so, to have a constant and cohesive theme, to express the perfect “aesthetic” that represented me and my interests at that time. It was in about 2008 that most of my American friends had made the shift to Facebook, and in order for me to keep in contact with them, I created an account as well.

It took me a while to really grasp what this platform was about. Why couldn’t I design my page to look pretty? Where could I tell people about my favourite films and books? And why, oh why, couldn’t I have a song to play while people browsed my page? It then became clear to me, that Facebook was more about a means of communication– and this aspect of it functioned far better than Myspace.

“Facebook’s functionality invites users to articulate the more mundane, inconsequential goings-on of everyday life, whereas MySpace was more highly curated.” (Robards 2012, p. 391)
This was true– I was now able to tell all of my Facebook friends that I was about to go to the beach. Because I thought they cared.

“Debra (21), who used Facebook more than MySpace but still maintained her MySpace profile, also commented on the more precise, ‘to the point’ nature of MySpace. Comparing MySpace with Facebook, she explains that ‘MySpace is a lot more . . . “this is who I am”.” (Robards 2012, p. 391).

While this new site allowed me to share every day details with my audience, as opposed to the more physical and visual nature of Myspace, this has shifted over the years.
I have been an active Facebook user for about 8? years now, and I very rarely post a status of my every day activity. Facebook is kind and has a new feature that shares our memories with us– things that happened on that day, however many years ago. I am often reminded of the cringey and unnecessary statuses I posted between the ages of 13-17.

While I have changed on this space over the years, so has my relationship with my audience. My Facebook world used to have no limitations (maybe because I was naive and unaware of them at the time) but now, I am very careful of the language I use and even the posts I like/comment on. I have my father on Facebook, my mother’s best friends, my aunts and uncles, my boyfriend’s mother, father and grandmother.
I can’t talk about my delinquent drinking behaviour or use foul language in inappropriate contexts for a laugh. But more importantly, I don’t want to anymore.

Facebook is a space for me to receive news (it never used to be) and for me to keep in contact with these older (and younger) people in my life. I have to represent the poised and well-behaved Annika that I am (sometimes). Things slip up every now and then, but you know, I like to control my content as much as possible– for the sake of my relationships.

 

REFERNCES:

Robards, B. (2012). Leaving Myspace, joining Facebook: ‘Growing up’ on social network sites. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26(3), pp.385-398.

MY SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNEY.

Here I am, Annika Tague, on my laptop, logged into my WordPress account in order to write this post that I am currently writing. While yes, this site is for bloggers, it’s still within the realm of social media. A world and space that today, we are so deeply immersed in, we forget  it is considered it’s own entity from our real world.

It is a world in which we can choose who we want to be, because we can present ourselves in a very particular way. Our faults don’t have to leak through into this space if we don’t want them to. We have the power to be whatever version of ourselves we like best. And this seems to alter per platform.

Facebook Annika is different to Tumblr Annika who is very, very different to Instagram Annika. They’re all me, but different arteries that supply blood to the same beating heart.

“A personal brand, or brand, in the traditional sense is based on values. It basically means an ensemble of content that we communicate about ourselves, that defines and differentiates us.” (Makkai 2016, p. 101) This is what we do. We create a personal brand for a certain set of audiences. As individuals using social media, we allow certain people to view our different pages. My mother follows me on Instagram. My father has me on Facebook (however, I blocked him from seeing anything I post directly)– neither of them have access to my Tumblr page. Although, there are links on this WordPress account, which I know they have access to, so who really knows what they’ve seen or know about me, hey? Regardless, these spaces are affected by the audiences we allow them to have and the indirect ways that we show our essence.

Over the years, I have added different social media platforms to my ‘collection’ and they have shaped me and the way I present myself through them, and I have allowed myself to shape these pages. It is within these spaces that I communicate myself to a predetermined audience. Privacy settings have allowed me to choose who I share content with and the ways they interact with my posts.

I am me underneath one huge social media umbrella, but it is within each platform that I present a dissected version of myself.

 

REFERENCES:

Makkai, J. (2016). Personal Branding of Contemporary Novelists in the Digital Age. Journal of Media Research, 9, 2(25), pp.100-105.

REGULATING MY MEDIA CONSUMPTION.

Being the youngest child of four (the eldest three all being males) has definitely lowered my levels of regulation on the types of media I have consumed over the years. I don’t think this was done so on purpose, but my parents didn’t have a whole lot of control over the movies I watched when I was younger and in the company of my brothers and their friends. In recent years, I have re-watched the films that I saw many times at a young age and have been knocked over by the amount of crudeness that was in front of me.

Look at ‘Scary Movie’ for instance, definitely up there with a lot of other inappropriate movies– regarding drugs, sex and violence. I think I may have been between the ages of 6 and 8 when I first saw this film. I’m fairly sure my parents were aware that I had seen this movie (only after the fact) and while yes, they may have been uncomfortable about it, what could they do? It wasn’t going to stop me from experiencing these films. And maybe that’s why I’ve always been slightly more mature from a young age. I had seen and experienced things I didn’t really know about or understand, until later in life when they had some relevance to me. It was earlier that I began to see these things, because I was thrown into that media space, with no regulation.

In terms of how the media regulates this kind of consumption, there’s the obvious things– film ratings and recommended viewing audiences, advertisements etc. These all work to a certain degree. But without digging myself into a massive hole, I’ll admit that I have dabbled in illegal downloading of films and music. I don’t anymore, but that’s because of access to new and innovative sites that help prevent pirating.

I am a subscriber to Spotify Premium, which costs me a mere $11.99 a month, directly debited from my account which I hardly even notice. This prevents me from illegally downloading music, there is a such a wide selection on top of my already existing music library that there is basically no need for me to download illegal files. $22,500 per song really ain’t worth it.

Then we’ve got our best friend, Netflix. We are all so so grateful for this creation. It supplies us with a wide arrange of movies (which yes, we all get bored of quite easily) to choose from. It’s the range of genres we have access to that stops us from illegally streaming or downloading (at least for a little bit). I just make sure I get addicted to a new show on there every so often so I don’t stray into the illegal side of things.

The great thing about Netflix and Spotify and all those kinds of sites, is they remember you. You have an account, you listen to certain songs or watch certain documentaries and the website makes a note of this. “Hey Annika, since you watched ‘Stranger Things’, we thought you might like, ‘American Psycho’.” You know what, Netflix, I think you might be right! It’s my media space, it’s a world of my movies and my music. And it’s a perfect way to keep me from dabbling in the illegal stuff.

EASILY DISTRACTED.

In order to set up a “small informal test” to see what happens to an individual’s attention in the space of multiple media platforms, I kept it quite simple and informal. As you asked me to 😉

Now, I may sound like a typical nagging girlfriend, but my boyfriend cannot multitask to save his life. For instance, if he’s on his phone, scrolling through Facebook and I say his name, “Abel”… “Abel”… “Abel. Abel. Abel. Abel.” And then, to be honest, I usually end up smacking the phone out of his hand or pull his ear. Once his eyes are in focus, and his brain is occupied, it’s like his ears switch off. And that’s just with one media platform in front of him, with me to distract, or vice versa. In order to test his levels of focus/distraction around more than one form of technology, we sat down to watch a movie, with our phones sitting next to us. I merely took note of the amount of times Abel picked up his phone– and then what he did with it.

Within the first 45 minutes of the movie, he picked his phone up twice. Once, to read a message he received from a friend, which he didn’t reply to. And second, to scroll through Facebook. He clicked to watch a ‘funny’ video– I slapped the phone out of his hand (informal test indeed). Other than that, the only time I saw him glance at his phone was during a lull or boring part in the film– and whatever the distraction, it never lasted too long. However, this test was undertaken during a fairly riveting and engaging film. Had it been a movie we had either watched before or didn’t grab our attention, I am sure Abel (and myself) would have found ourselves more easily distracted. All of that aside, if our mobile phones were not with us and we had left them in another room, we would only be distracted by ourselves.

After watching the commercial from Thailand about “disconnecting to connect”, it’s so easy to understand how we become so absorbed by our phones, by the cyber world, but there’s a time and a place. Learning to be ‘present’ with ourselves, the people around us, and the environment we’re in, is beneficial in so many ways– learning to focus in decreases the height of mental illnesses. While using our phones or tablets can be a great way for communication, it cuts us off from what is real and becomes a major, controlling distraction.

YOUR PERSONAL PHONE.

I know these days basically everyone, in the first world, owns some kind of mobile phone device. The youth get criticised by older generations for constantly having their faces glued to their screens and not partaking in the real outside world. I agree– mobile phones can suck a lot of reality’s beauty from right under our noses. Partly, it is our fault, and partly it is society’s, boredom, a strive for connection or communication. There’s plenty of good reasons that we can blame for this technological takeover.

However, that all aside, our mobile phones are quite personal. You wouldn’t let just anyone browse through your messages or photos. The icons on your screen are organised in a particular way to suit your certain brain pattern. You have set a certain image for your home screen, a certain image for your lock screen– and regardless of how simple this meagre decision may look, it means something to you. You selected a certain message tone, ring tone, alarm bell. Your music library, your collection of apps. All of these things come together and create the space that is YOUR mobile phone and nobody else’s.

When we’re on our phones, and yes, somewhat sucked into a deep cyber space, we are in a world that we ourselves created. When you’re “alone” in a public space and retreat to your mobile device for solace, you are entering a world that is you. Where you can tap into social media or messages to contact family and friends, where you can use social media to browse, or google, or check the weather so you can organise your afternoon plans. Check your bank account so you can buy that dress you can’t really afford. It’s all about you when you’re in that media space. It’s personal, whether you’re surrounded by lots of people or not.

While I was waiting for my takeaway coffee at a cafe in town, I noticed a young man sitting at a table, waiting for his coffee, while browsing freely on his mobile phone. I politely asked him if I could take his photo for a university assignment, and briefly explained what it was about and what I would be discussing. He seemed to think it was a fairly interesting and relevant topic of discussion and politely obliged. I asked him to continue browsing on his phone, just like before, as if I wasn’t there. It took him a few moments to stop cracking a smile, and here we are:

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I then asked him if he wouldn’t mind telling me what he was looking at. He said he was just scrolling through Instagram, somewhat aimlessly, while he waiting for his beverage and his friend to meet him. It was just a means of keeping busy.

Colberg (2013) discusses the differences between ethical and legal consent in regards to street photography. The lines cross over quite a bit, when it comes to paparazzi taking photos of celebrities (which people deem as okay and our right– they are subject to this because of they are a public figure) and then with the every day public. Personally, I think the ethics come strongly into play as soon as the image is subject to publication. When asking my subject to be photographed I made it very clear that this image would be published on my blog, which is accessed by the public but mainly viewed but university students and staff. I told him that he was more than welcome to remain anonymous, which he agreed to.

REFERNCE LIST:

Colberg, J. (2013). Conscientious Extended | The Ethics of Street Photography. [online] Jmcolberg.com. Available at: http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/the_ethics_of_street_photography/ [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE.

Not too long ago, my boyfriend, Abel, and myself went to the movies on a Saturday evening. This was a mistake. Not only is Saturday NOT cheap Tuesday, but it’s also prime-time movie going. You know what was also a mistake? Going to the movies at 7:20. Saturday is prime movie night, and the hour of 7 seems to be the favourite time slot. Luckily, we had booked our tickets online. Things seemed easy because of this… we walked up to a machine, scanned a barcode that was downloaded onto my mobile, and then our tickets were printed out. How exciting and innovative. Times are changing. But then, if you had pre-ordered your tickets, you were sent to a separate, self-serve concession stand to buy your food and beverages. ‘Cool, we don’t have to talk to any people,’ we thought. We stood in that self-serve line for a good 20 minutes. No one moved. Time stood still. We were going to be quite late to our film, because there were some imbeciles up the front who either a) didn’t know how to use the machine or b) didn’t decide what they wanted to order until they got to the front of the line. We watched as members of the line exited and went to stand in the normal concession line. We felt like fools, we had wasted so much time. But more importantly, what bothered me, was the installation of this self-serve food line, at all. It was ridiculous, it’s supposed to speed up the process but all it did was slow everything down. No sorry– stop everything completely.

Anyways, we finally made it into our seats. Side seats, which we had booked specifically to avoid people. Bit of a joke on us, due to the time and day of the week, the entire cinema was completely packed and we spent the next 2 hours sitting next to a 17 year-old couple, canoodling.

Hägerstrand (Corbett 2001) talks about three categories of “constraints”/limitations in regards to human spatial activity. I would like to touch briefly on how these came into play during my specific cinematic experience. So firstly, we’ve got capability. For Abel and I, getting to the movies was quite simple, because we both have our licences and both have cars. We usually leave approximately 20 minutes to arrive there so we have plenty of time to get food, drinks etc. A certain problem that arose on this particular Saturday evening (and honestly, this problem was only a problem BECAUSE it was a Saturday evening), was the lack of parking, This was obviously because so many people were watching a movie, or eating at one of the nearby restaurants. And because these people were occupied by their films or their meals, their cars were not in operation and hence sat heavily and still in the carpark.

So next, we have the constraint of ‘coupling’. We were required to be in a specific place for a certain amount of time in order to view and consume the film. Normally, time seems to stop or become irrelevant when you’re in the cinema. You become so deeply immersed in the film, in the story and the lives of the characters, that you forget what’s on the outside of the cinema’s walls. On this evening, this was not the case. The movie we had selected to watch, ‘Sausage Party’, was ridiculously stupid and cringeworthy and while I sat there, waiting for it to get better, I also looked at the time on my watch, praying for it to end.

Thirdly, we’ve got the constraint of authority. This didn’t come too much into play during our trip to the cinemas. In fact, there was more a lack of authority due to all the self-serve counters on offer.

Regardless, we had a nice evening. We watched a shit movie. We will never go back on a Saturday night. But regardless. We had a nice evening.

 

REFERENCE LIST:

Corbett, J. (2001). Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography. Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science.