conceptual study

“How Social Media Can Make History”

Filmed June 2009 at TED@State

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history

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Life through the eyes of your Mobile Internet device…

  popes

Are we truly enjoying the moment if our main concern is getting a picture for our Instagram, checking in on Facebook or Tweeting about how much we are having a great time?   

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This image is great at reflecting how social media and real life are overlapping… We are watching events that meant to be felt as well as listening to and seen, however if were too engrossed in our internet devices then are we actually living real life to its full potential? Are Camera Phones Making Memories Or Ruining Gigs? The article Should mobile phones be banned from gigs? sums up how they are effecting human interaction for the negative and whether it would be better to put a stop to it. When looking at these images – I don’t know about you but I just want to scream “PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND JUST ENJOY IT!”. Plus theres nothing worse when someone in front of you has their phone out and blocks your view!!

mobiles

Pinning the concept down

1. What is the idea?

The Hash tag Life – Social Media meets Real World

A combination of interactive media artefacts, representing a conceptual study of social media usage, offering an insightful perspective on how it is impacting society

1. Glamourisation of lifestyle. The need to share everything, and the need to make like look better than it is.

2. Privacy – be careful what you share. Emotional attachment to social media profile, how audiences feel when they know someone is viewing their profile, selective viewing of our profiles – you wouldn’t say it in person so why say it online.

3. Online virtual reality in reality. What if we could see the conversations in real time in real life that people were having via technological devices?

2. Keywords

Social media audiences, story, reality, virtual reality, privacy, realism, visualisation, SM culture, art, digital art, technologies

3. What is innovative about my idea?

People do not tend to address the issues I wish to raise, and so with a fine art take on modern digital media, my project will exhibit the observations of social media audiences that will highlight just how connect we are becoming and the potential issues raised due to this.

4. Description of Audience

Heavy social media users, i.e. those with multiple social network accounts, regular up loaders, those interested in Internet usage and future technologies.

Bournemouth University Students at Talbot Campus – the visualisation will tell their story more specifically, however the overall concept will be applicable to general social media users.

5. Description of the cultural and industrial context and purpose of this project

Combining theory, knowledge and understanding of a given concept and audience, this project demonstrates my ability to observe a target audience, offer creative analysis, as well as interesting insight via stimulating content that will express imagination, innovation and exploration of a given media artefact that is social media culture.

There is continued debate about society’s increasing dependence on the internet as a whole and more specifically portable internet devices and social media networks. This project will demonstrate how the behaviour people have online is actually quite bizarre when contrasted within the real world space. This will highlight why having conversation with people in person and communicating via face to face communication systems still hold a high level of importance. It will accentuate that although we are all buried within our phones, tablets or laptops, participating in an online world and perhaps bypassing the real world – the real world is what we should appreciate and participate within. It will be eye opening in terms of audiences reflecting on their own usage and own time wasted/spent online. The idea of the “outside looking in” is relevant when imagine what I wish to portray and bringing about a physically visualisation of what actually goes on online and the emotional attachment that comes with this.

6. The technologies I will use are…

Portfolio Website – HTML5, PHP, CSS, JQUERY

Website content – Image, video, sound, developed using Photoshop, After Effects, information gathered via the Internet.

Exhibition – Projection of website content on larger scale, Installation, print materials

Online meets Offline: What if we could hear tweets/posts?

There is an ongoing debate that social media is becoming more and more anti-social. With people glued to their smartphones and being contactable 24/7. People are so caught up in having a relationship with with their social media outlets, they are letting the real world bypass them.

These clips taken from Bruce Almighty (2003), directed by Tom Shadyc, distributed by Universal Pictures demonstrate feature Bruce, played by Jim Carey, struggling to cope with the amount of prayers he can hear. In the film, Bruce has been given the powers of being God, by the man himself, played by Morgan Freeman, which is why he can now hear peoples prayers within a 50 mile radius. Prayers are usually thoughts or private mutterings and meant for only god himself. This got me thinking, what if we could hear tweets, or posts or messages or emails. This is reflective of my tutor’s analogy of Twitter – that its just a bunch of people acting like seagulls standing on a rock and shouting and that the words don’t mean anything and they just end up getting blurred together for mass viewing but are not for communicative purposes.

(Clip taken from Finding Nemo (2003), directed by Andy Stanton, produced by Walt Disney Pictures)

…back to Bruce Almighty.

This clip demonstrates how social uncomfortable hearing the prayers is making Bruce. He cannot cope with the situation he is in and needs to take a break…this could be something we have all experienced where we have become to indulgent in our social media behaviour, particularly amongst procrastinating students who will often say “I am so bored of distracting myself on Facebook”.

This clip was perfect for demonstrating just how ridiculous the world would be if tweets or posts or whatever anyone shares online was actually a physical object in a physical space in an offline world. The sheer quantity is ridiculous. What I like about this however, is how it makes you question the importance of what people post… would people post online as much as they do if what they were posting was an actual object? For example, Bournemouth University, if they actually had a physical wall to represent a Facebook wall – how many people would actually write something on it for the rest of the study body to see? Again, this highlights how silly sharing online would actually seem to be if it were in the real world. For example, you would not walk down the street in the morning and shout to the nearest stranger “I HAD PORRIDGE THIS MORNING FOR BREAKFAST AND IT WAS FANTASTIC #readyfortheday “.

Going back to the idea of a joiner image building a physical picture of an environment whereby it was represented as how it was talked about online, instead of just the physical object that it is, is an exciting idea to be moving forward with.

The Hashtag Life Reworking

The Hashtag Life #2

 

 

Further Idea Development:

  • Creating an interactive joiner image. A joiner image is where lots of photographs are taken of the same object from one viewpoint, giving a strong end result that offers a distorted and quirky final image.
  • Create a social joiner image of one location, made up of layers based on what is posted about that given environment.
  • Instead of trying to tell the story using social media channels (like the original Hashtag Life), this would let social media do the talking for itself, allowing for the audience to “be the story” without really realising.
  • This would represent how connected we have actually become – and how without the internet we might fail to position ourselves physically as well as socially.

 

Concept Development: Don’t panic. Just do not panic. *

Okay. So things are looking a little terrifying right now and my writers block is still firmly cemented in place.

My concerns from the very beginning of this project have really come to a head, in that:

1.) To successfully pull off an interlinked story with so many characters in the medium I want, there needs to be a script so detailed that it would blow peoples mind. I don’t have time for that, and if your going to do these things properly they have to be done right.

2.) Importantly, running something live will be exceptionally difficult to record and hand in for the assessment brief, and won’t really have much to say at the exhibition.

3.) Generating the content for a story once done would be great if we had participating actors and actresses… like most things in uni – everyone is eager and over enthusiastic at the start of the year… but bring on the looming deadlines and felling of impending doom with everybody buried in their own work – people aren’t quite so quick to volunteer their time. This is completely understandable and something I had accounted for but means a plan of action needs to happen and needs to happen ASAP!

Change of direction 

Since meeting with my production tutor Liam, I have decided that instead of trying to write a story that expresses and utilises social media about a group of characters… instead I shall look at conceptualising the whole process of audience consumption of social media itself combining all the ideas I wanted to portray but instead creating a conceptual study and artistic installation for the exhibition. My concerns are that it would not meet the brief, however Liam has clarified that it does, and will stand alone as its own unique piece.

Its at times like these I ask myself why I struggle to commit to an idea – I have had this idea bouncing around my head for so long and done so much research and reading but when it comes to putting pen to paper, I struggle. This is something I need to note for future project work – Just commit and face the fears. Tell the world is great, make them believe in it as much as you do.

Read the next post for the mind map of conceptualisation ideas…

(Email to Mik and Simon clarifying the idea change with Liam)

Research: Narratives and Storytelling

Oxford Dictionary Definition:

Narrative

noun.

plural noun: narratives

1. a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. 

As human beings we have related and communicated with one another through the method of story telling for years and years. Listening to one another enables the broadening of culture and allows for better self construct in relation to a wider social environment.

Storytelling can be educational; formed, informed and re-formed in order to suit those surrounding them. Narratives are a form of discourse, the discursive way in which we organise, account for, give meaning to, and understand. The way in which people choose to organise their self identities are based on the experiences they have had, and by using narration of their lives they can develop a better understand the past the present and the future.

 

Narratives

 

 

Multiple linked Narratives:

– Entertaining but only when full attention of audience has been achieved.

– Requires fast pace storyline, maintaining suspense and large quantity of narrative materials

Multiple Independent Narratives under the same topic:

– Free standing, more engaging, short and sharp so better hold attention of audience.

Realistic Fiction:

–      Stories that have their characters, settings and plot lines displayed as if they could really exist in reality

–      Requires detailed scripting and total audience engagement

Artistic Non Fiction:

– Allows audience to “be the story”, to put themselves within the content.

Fixed Single Narrative:

–      Good for clear interactivity

–      Bad for immersive experience, unspecified narrative pathway

Unstructured Pathway Narrative:

– See multiple independent narrative.

 

Theoretical Paradigms

 

Structuralism:

–      Human culture is analysed, semiotically – as a systems of signs. What signs that we are connected to an online world?

–      Roman Jakobson, Claude Levi-Strauss, Jaques Lacan, Michael Foucalt, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes

Post Structuralist:

–      Approach to textual analysis – reader replaces the author as the primary subject of enquiry.

–      History/culture/external factors need to be understood as well as the object itself because they can cause bias and misinterpretations.

Genre

 

Transmedia Storytelling:

–      Multiplatform method of narration

–      Knowing the audience is already out there – social media users, haters, lovers…everyone wants to have an opinion regardless of what it is.

–      Content is important but context and finding are key.

–      The transmedia, i.e. video, sound, image, links, colors, etc, requires the user/viewer/player to transform the content into context by engaging his or hers own, natural cognitive psychological abilities, and enables the meaning and realisation gained to surpass the actually medium and content itself.

 

Documentary:

–      Poetic. Historical material/lyrical

–      The Expository Mode = social issues, argumentative

–      The Observational Mode = social factors/freedom

–      Participatory – reliant on audience input/feedback, honesty and enthusiam

–      Reflexive – audience present

–      Performative – emotional and subjective context.

 

Media Theory:

– Self Identity, subjective identity, social identity (Barker 2008)

– Anti essentialist (changeable – target, those on the fence   about social media and could have their opinion swayed one way or the other. )

– Essentialist (Fixed opinion – those who will either love or hate the process, concept and idea)

– Semiotics – Saussure (1974) “signifier and signified”

– Barthes (1968) “denotation and connotation”

– How meaning is created from something   simplistic. This is essential because the project work mimics social media processes, functionalities etc.

– Sosnoski (2010) Cultural Configuration – “the performance of a cultural practice so that the listener or reader can learn how to behave as a member of the culture” – creating an insightful relatable experience.

– Gerbner (1960) Cultivation Theory – Cultivation of media technologys leaves people with a misperception of what is true in our world.