Soliciting engagement from the online community is hard.
Especially when you have to first build the community.
I think that the Integrated Media project is a challenge because we are creating a community, and then asking them to interact with us. Projects like this take effort. They also take a lot more time and money then we have to establish a reputable concept and image of who we are and why we are creating/facilitating discussion.

Darius’ work with the Goa Hippy Tribe worked so well because he was latching on to something that was already bubbling away and he fuelled it a little more.

By and large, a high-brow/low-brow divide between audience proximity and texts still exists. This is changing with the development of Web 2.0 and Quality TV, however it is still seen by many as culturally degrading to have a close relationship with texts. Interactive, transmedia texts are pushing this boundary… but there is still a boundary that exists… what does the audience, the participant gain from the interaction?
With Stranger Photography, they get to see their photo online, curated with other works, but that’s about it. We are asking them to engage further with the work once it is distributed online… but why would they do that?

What makes a movement like Humans of New York so successful? People look to Brandon to have their stories told, but what got people to that page in the first place? And who comments on these photos? Why? What do they gain from it?
Personally, I am happy to stand back, to just read the stories, look at the photos and then take away the meaning and let it sit with me.

In retrospect, if it were possible, that would have been a great way to approach the task. Maybe we were blinkered by this idea of staging an event to consider other possibilities… Like just simply looking at what issues were current and eliciting discussion online (right now, I think it would have been fantastic to do something regarding the Commit to Community TV program…) jump on board a movement and document it rather then construct something totally new…

Hindsight will forever haunt what could be.

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FLIPPED LECTURE: FACEBOOK AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Dr Alex Lambert’s lecture provided great insight into the role of Facebook as a commodity and how it’s new feature, the graph, is used to enrich via connections.

 

Alex points out that, it’s “…not just about data, it’s about the connections”. In today’s society, Facebook plays a central role in creating revenue for businesses (especially advertising) through data harvesting. It sounds like a mean thing, and it kind of is. Each one of our likes, our posts, our shares and comments functions to enrich the connections on Facebook. As users/participants we may feel that primarily we are creating and displaying our identity, however in doing this we are losing our privacy, something that we once used to value and hold dear to us.

 

These new ego-centric networks make YOU the centre point of your virtual world. Here the personal is foregrounded, a behavior that seems to fit very well with the lazy, self-centered image that surrounds Gen-Y. The nature of Web 2.0 and Social Media functions largely around building an image, even a brand of yourself, and broadcasting that to a larger community. Through doing this we are already commodifying ourselves, it only seems logical that in a world constantly looking for new markets someone would find a way to use that information for capital gain

 

I believe that it is clear that our behaviours have been shaped by technology. This more self-conscious, image-conscious type of person is a result of needing to constantly be aware of what is going on around us and how we, or someone we are with may broadcast this to the wider community. Alex Lambert points out the notion of performed identities, in regards to the public space (Facebook) and the private space. Computers and internet in the home (and at our fingertips) has contributed to a blurring of the lines between public and private, but Lambert suggests that how we act in each is context dependent and still different – singing in the shower only happens when we know no-one else is watching.

 

Moreover, Lambert proposes that we find the idea of performed identities (being able to select and create what is published) satisfying. This might be because we are able to exercise large amounts of control as to how we are perceived by others, or it might have something to do with the fact that it is largely acknowledged we now have this sense of heightened awareness that we can play to (the way one poses in front of a camera) when coming into contact with any media.

 

However, in building our image, in being central in our own web of connections, what do we actually gain? We give away so much of value to others, but is building an image worth is when there is little gained apart from a notion of self-worth that is generated by a largely virtual community?

THE ICEBUCKET CHALLENGE: Social Media and virility

Trending social media over the past week has been the Ice Bucket/Ice Water Challenge, and it seems to have been a brilliant way to get people on and using social media to raise awareness. How well this aids the cause or shows support I don’t know, but sharing and tagging seems to continually fuel the “movement”. 

The concept is simple: film yourself getting ice cold water tipped over your head, share it and nominate 2 or more people to complete the challenge after. It’s meant to raise awareness for Motor Neuron Disease, whether or not it does I am skeptical, but this kind of idea would be ideal for our projects. It’s a get the ball rolling kind of thing, and publicly tagging people means that they are quite likely to complete the challenge as it is something that others will be able to see. 

This is the perfect kind of concept that enables us as social media producers to look at reach and audience, it would be easy enough to start something ourselves and then other people would get involved as the process moves along.