The main concern I have had throughout this project is that people wouldn’t “get” it and yet I really didn’t want to spell it out to them. I wanted the experience to be exploratory and for the audience to work it out for themselves and enjoy the pieces for what they were. However from user testing and further research, my testing participants only really got it when they were given an encouraging hint. This is why the control pages were added to ensure the point was not missed. I am disappointed the linear narrative didn’t work out because I really feel as if this would have been stronger than the multi narrative had it have been better planed out with one more specific point than larger overall points. I feel I definitely made the decision to change from the linear narrative structure far too late and struggled with it for too long. This is where too much planning and research can cause problems because I was convinced I could make it work but sometimes you just need to know when to move on. This has frustrated me a lot because I feel that had I come to the decision to change to an interactive collage/layering of videos sound and image I could have really executed it much better. Although for this project I feel like it impacted the final result in a negative way, for future projects I will know to react sooner and be able to make a firm decision to change pathway if need be.
In terms of time management, I behaved with the best of intentions and believed that my production plan was realistic. The filming sections went very well and remained on schedule, with all of it being completed across 5 days and with the help of Jessica Long (see methodologies). However, it was the editing that took the time and learning the software that required patience and dedication. Additionally collecting the Instagram images for my overlapping video was very time consuming!! You can only search a hashtag word on a mobile or tablet and then there is no way of seeing the full image with the hashtags included at the bottom unless you screen shot it in two halves and then photoshop them together. This was not difficult but it took a lot of time. Issues regarding export qualities and waiting for files to render was something that was out of my control but something I should have been prepared for, however my lack of experience with Premiere Pro and After Effects meant I was not to have known. The overall video design, although they were all story boarded thoroughly, it was a case of trial and error to get it looking its best when it actually came to editing the footage. Even though this caused me a set back in terms of time, I feel it was beneficial to my future production pieces and has truly given me a solid foundation of experience to take on bigger and better projects in the future.
The coding of the website was something I knew would take me a fair amount of time due to my lack of confidence with code. The trickier parts which Dominic helped me with (see methodologies) went to plan and together we had four organised meetings over a 3 weeks period which we all productive and worthwhile. I had chosen to do an artistic piece because it meant I could utilise my creative strengths and manage a lower level of code. I feel that my coding skills have improved dramatically however it did take even longer than I anticipated – especially with the reworking from a linear click through to a 3D gallery scroller.
Overall I feel like this project had a lot of concerns from start to finish but a majority of them was because of my own lack of confidence. It is frustrating that now at the end of the project that I feel I have reached a peak of knowledge and experience and could go on to now completely smash another project under the same brief, so although I had a lot of short comings I feel in the long run I have proved that I can overcome them, I am committed and persistent and will do everything I can in my power to reach an end result.
This project has been a definitely been on quite a journey. From the initial idea of the transmedia narrative carried out across different forms of social media to now being more of an abstraction/visualisation type piece. From my fine art background, I have always felt most comfortable with working with creative art, however I find it a massive struggle to overlap fine art and digital art due to my lack of confidence with the technical side of things. I feel that my technical skill never quite does my creativity justice. I am aware that this is why we have the option to collaborate, so they we can utilise other peoples skill sets, however I feel that from my own personal perspective I wanted to challenge myself and force myself to improve in terms of my coding and technical ability which this project has allowed me to do. Additionally I feel that I put too much emphasis on this graduate project being a “thing”, a “product” that had to have a point to it, i.e. something that had a start and an end or was more of a sellable package like a game for example. From the very beginning I wanted to create something people would interact with and appreciate without it being just “another app” or “another website” . I have always had an interest in media audiences and the sociology/psychology surrounding why people engage with it, and this was extended further with my dissertation research which was about audience who watch TV and use Twitter simultaneously. Instead of using what I knew about social network to create one, I wanted to make something that looked at it from another angle and since social media has been such a phenomenon in the last 10 or so years so I felt this would have plenty of scope. This idea had come from ongoing observation of people. From being in uni and using social media to communicate with course colleagues and sports teams, to working in a busy restaurant and over hearing people discussing what they had seen on social media over dinner. It fascinated me how much it came up in conversation. This is where I decided to put my observation to good use. Until now the observations I had been making were relatively “indirect” (Wilson 2002). I think this fascination came from my own personal usage of social media. Yes it is something I have and use, but I regularly question my own usage and test my own dependance on it. I enjoy going on holiday and not taking a phone, and I sort of judge myself for using it if I am say, away on holiday. Social media used to be about sharing things, but the accessibility of the internet and the popularity of internet devices has meant that we can share as and when we like, absolutely anywhere with signal, which lets be honest is everywhere. The question I always ask is that if people are having a good time and what not, then surely they can’t be having that good of a time if they willing to stop to post something online? Its not like before where you would come home and take time and effort to sit at a proper computer attached to the online world with an ethernet cable.
What was interesting is that once you start taking notice of something, how much you see it, but then when I questioned people, most commonly, they were always quite quick to deny how much they actually engage in social media. This made me question how any research that I carried out might be difficult because people wouldn’t be truthful. If I was to question people directly “this would assume that they have an ability to recall earlier behaviour accurately- which may not always be true” (Wilson 2002). This is why the research process needed to be thorough however, it needed a different structure to normal because by asking to them to “make self observation” (Wilson 2002), their answers would be likely to change. Having made this observation, I feel the application of Wilson’s (2002) social research methods was the best suited.
When studying something so large scale and broad as social media I feel this was a good decision, especially when wanting to create something artistic which isn’t really that artistic – it needed to be broad. By using focus groups, interviews, questionnaires and general indirect/direct observations in a less formal environment I feel that this gave me a solid overview of the subject without overkilling it and still allowing for creative flair.