Favorites

The weekly posts throughout the semester are one of the unique things that I enjoyed about this class. I have been shown different points of view as well as different platforms to use. One piece that I really enjoyed for its writing was Graham’s piece “Internet Etiquette: Put Down Your (Pitch) Fork” in which he discusses and compares Ronson and Boyd. This piece stood out to me for both what it says, and how it says it. You can tell through the prose that Graham is very passionate about what he is saying. The whole posts revolves around how the internet is an inescapable part of today’s society. He brings up both author’s points of view, quotes from both books, and then still uses is own point of view. He brought it all together by saying, “civil rights development and even political development took and is still taking quite a while to develop: so do your best to make the web a better place but don’t be a lofty idealist”. It’s up to us to make the internet what we want it to be and that’s shown here.

A post that moved beyond words for me was Ellie’s remediation piece of her poem. I sat in awe after listening/watching it. The words themselves were so powerful, but the way in which Ellie used her voice, shaping the tone and controlling the line breaks. In addition to the amazing use of voice she also added pictures, which mostly don’t seem to belong to her, but help give a visual that alludes to the poems topic. The pictures also create a mood that is enhanced by the words and the way in which they are said. Everything about this piece was powerful and Ellie did an amazing job taking words on paper and putting it into a video.

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Remediation of a Digital Voice

For my remediation project, I chose to do our most recent post: the profiling of a digital writer. I chose this post to do because when conducting my interview, I feel like there was something missing regarding the more expressional value Jordan’s work has considering his follower pool is not an exceptional amount. I focused on the impact he made/was trying to make instead of also asking about his thought/emotional process. Therefore, I am not changing much to the original post but rather adding to it with another dimension and some tweets as examples. Jordan has social media accounts on almost all possible social media networks, but twitter is where he puts in the most effort. It’s on his Twitter that he posts the most, both comical, little blurbs and his promotions, so that is the platform I mainly focused on.

What makes you post what you post? Is it just what comes to mind or is there deep thought before posting?

Jordan: Sometimes I will just think of something to write because I find it funny or just want to say it out loud for some reason. Other times there will be an issue going on and I hear a lot of people talking about it. For the most part I try to avoid posting about my opinions at least on Facebook where I have a lot of family members and older followers that might disagree. I do post my opinion about issues more on Twitter and Instagram than I do anywhere else because my followers are more accepting and less judgmental on those sites; I don’t know if it’s because they’re younger or if there is just a lot of people I don’t actually know that happen to like the things I write.

Do you think you have an impact and/or could have a larger impact somehow? If so, how would you go about this?

Jordan: When I post about things I don’t really post to make a big reaction. I post things that I want to talk about or that pop into my head. I haven’t really thought about whether or not I could make an impact on people’s lives. I’m not sure I would want that weight on my shoulders. I don’t know, I just like having the freedom to post whatever I want and if people agree then cool but if not then they don’t have to read what I write. I guess if I tried to make a bigger impact I would talk to some of my connections and see what they could do. I’m friends with a handful of people that are famous on social media that could help get my word out about something it’s just never been something I thought a lot about.

Are there things you would not post on Twitter that you would in a personal journal/some other outlet others would never see?

Jordan: Oh God definitely. Twitter is like… a public diary. Somewhere to vent and talk about whatever you want, but still something that other people can see. I think everyone has things they don’t put out there for everyone to see and judge, but I don’t really want to talk about those things because that would be making them public! Let’s just say I try to avoid posting certain personal opinions or feelings that could either start drama or something that I don’t want.

Do you get a certain satisfaction when you post something to Twitter that you wouldn’t receive writing in a personal journal/some other outlet others would never see?

Jordan: I guess just knowing I got something off my chest or shared something…. But I don’t think it’s any different than the satisfaction anyone could get from having their thoughts heard.

Two examples of the range of Jordan’s posts: a promotional tweet and a comical thought:

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A Profile on a Quieter Voice

The person that I chose to interview is my friend Jordan Johnson (he asked for further info not to be given out). He does not write professionally, but frequently and on platforms that have been growing increasingly the last few years: social media. When this assignment was introduced to us, it was his posts that came to mind. He has an account on most forms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat… and I’m sure the list goes on. Jordan and I have been friends since we were little and I know he enjoys social media as a way of connecting with others, both people he knows and does not know. I have always been struck by his outgoing character that isn’t afraid to say what he wants regardless of the topic. He talks about things that range from comical videos or tweets to serious issues such as race and violence. My goal for the interview was to see if he had any intentions when he posted, and even if he didn’t, to see his process before posting on social media.

Which social media platform do you receive the most attention, and why do you think that is?

Jordan: Probably my twitter account. I’ve had the same one since I started in middle school and it’s where I have the most followers. I also do a lot of promotions for EDM shows which has gotten me a lot of followers. That’s not what all my tweets are about though.

What makes you post what you post? Is it just what comes to mind or is there deep thought before posting?

Jordan: Sometimes I will just think of something to write because I find it funny or just want to say it out loud for some reason. Other times there will be an issue going on and I hear a lot of people talking about it. For the most part I try to avoid posting about my opinions at least on Facebook where I have a lot of family members and older followers that might disagree. I do post my opinion about issues more on Twitter and Instagram than I do anywhere else because my followers are more accepting and less judgmental on those sites; I don’t know if it’s because they’re younger or if there is just a lot of people I don’t actually know that happen to like the things I write.

Do you think you have an impact and/or could have a larger impact somehow? If so, how would you go about this?

Jordan: When I post about things I don’t really post to make a big reaction. I post things that I want to talk about or that pop into my head. I haven’t really thought about whether or not I could make an impact on people’s lives. I’m not sure I would want that weight on my shoulders. I don’t know, I just like having the freedom to post whatever I want and if people agree then cool but if not then they don’t have to read what I write. I guess if I tried to make a bigger impact I would talk to some of my connections and see what they could do. I’m friends with a handful of people that are famous on social media that could help get my word out about something it’s just never been something I thought a lot about.

Jordan’s answers remind me a lot of what I feel like mine would be if I was in a similar situation. I wanted to see what it would be like to get in the mind of someone who doesn’t write professionally or with any intentions of writing professionally and I definitely think his responses show the freedom that social media allows us to have. He brings up the fact that not everyone posts just to try and get feedback. I am however interested to see that if  by bringing up these questions,he will change the way in which/what Jordan posts in the future and maybe he will consider what he can do with his words.

Social Action Without Response

When encountering this assignment, for a long time I was unsure what to post. There was no social action I could think of that would make a difference or be successful, and the social media accounts I have don’t necessarily have a lot of followers. I decided because of this, the best thing to do was post on twitter using a hashtag since that is an easy way for people who don’t even follow me to see certain key terms. A social issue that really interested me stems around gender equality, but the more subtle things that go on, often unnoticed, as opposed to the issues we hear about every day such as equal pay. I focused on women in the work force and used two key terms: the glass ceiling and the motherhood penalty. The glass ceiling refers to the invisible barrier women often face when it comes to receiving a promotion in a job; studies have been done that proves this to be true whether we realize it or not. The motherhood penalty revolves around the idea that mothers have a more difficult time trying to find jobs because they are considered to be less incapable or committed to their job since they have children, studies were done on this where fake resumes were sent out and the number of mothers that got called back were extremely lower than non-mothers and fathers. I posted a picture with words written on it and highlighted then I used the hashtags: gender equality, glass ceiling, motherhood penalty, and I threw in gender pay gap too since this plays a role and is a more popular issue. Unfortunately, I received no responses but I hope that eventually someone can see it and become informed on something that they never realized because I never would have either. Here is a link to my tweet.

It’s A Complicated World of Public Shaming

In both Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated, there are endless discussions regarding social media and the impact it has on society. At one point in Boyd’s book she discusses bullying, and although she focuses on an examples with participants a lot younger than Ronson’s example of Justine Sacco, they both highlight some of the ways social media can seep into all parts of our world. When talking to two sisters, Abigail and Ashley, it eventually became evident that Abigail regarded her sister as a bully, recounting endless stories to Boyd. She first discusses an IM incident where Ashley and her friends would say mean things about another girl in their 4th grade class, eventually spreading to the little girl, then came parental involvement, and eventually what Ashley could and couldn’t do was all based around this one incident. Although it is pretty obvious that what Ashely was doing would never have positive effects, she didn’t intentionally mean for it to grow to the proportion it did. Even Abigail noticed, “…Ashley didn’t seem to understand that she hurt people whenever she lashed out” (129). The power of social media doesn’t stop as you get older either, as we see in Ronson’s book.

Justine Sacco made a huge mistake by making her acerbic joke about not getting AIDS in Africa because she’s white to the public on such a sensitive issue. As Ronson spoke with her, Justine obviously didn’t intend for the wrath she ignited, but in an instant (a plane ride), her entire career, social life, and life in general were flipped upside down. All day she had been making crass tweets that got little, if any, attention from her followers and the bad wording of one tweet sent the media into a frenzy. To most people, this was not a joke, it was just a privileged, white woman being oblivious to the struggles of others and reveling in their misfortune. But Justine never really received the chance to explain her intentions, her life had already changed before she even turned her phone back on. Justine had a different perspective when viewing her tweet, “to me, it was so insane a comment for an American to make I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was a literal statement” (73). Although I don’t agree this justifies her actions, I think it is a bit extreme that her entire life got derailed by us, other people spending our free time on social media. Ronson pointed out, “Justine Sacco felt like the first person I had ever interviewed who had been destroyed by us” (71). I think in both of these books we can see that as the people behind the screens, we have the power to decide the content that we upload and indulge in, but it all comes down to a choice.

Behind the Screen or Camera?

Out of all of our assignments I have never been worried or nervous about one but when we received the video assignment, my anxiety latched on tight until it was finished. We all use our phones and other devices every day for almost everything we do, and it’s always with us when we’re not actually on it. I hardly ever take videos unless it’s on Snapchat or at a concert, so I was especially nervous when I found out we had to edit it. Long story short, it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be and I picked up on some differences between video and text.

When writing in text it is difficult to get your exact emphasis, feelings, and tone into what you’re writing because there’s always the possibility someone isn’t going to read it in the same way you intended. With video, you can change your voice, use mannerisms, facial expressions, etc. to more specifically portray what you mean/want to say. However, along with using your face I can see the possibility of some people limiting themselves to what they post. I know when trying to think of an idea one of the questions in my head was, “what can I do that won’t look stupid or make me look stupid?” When you’re writing behind a screen I think it can be a little easier to express yourself and feelings in the sense that people aren’t actually watching your face.

But then there were the videos that people just did a voice over and didn’t have their face in it at all, which I honestly never thought about but was a good idea. For these videos instead of just writing about a point, you can share pictures, videos, etc. from other people so you’re not just saying but showing the point you are trying to make.  The combination of music, voice, and visuals forces you to view the information differently than when reading words inside your head. Overall, I think it depends on the topic and what the author is comfortable with doing in order to get the best post because they both have positive and negative qualities.

Privacy, what’s that?

In the second chapter of Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated, there are many things discussed revolving around the privacy of teens when participating in social media. She speaks of two things that seem to go hand in hand in many cases: social steganography and the surveillance of parents. As she mentions, it has always been common that teens want privacy from their parents in certain aspects of their lives. The parents of teens today did not grow up with technology the same way that our generation has, usually causing them to want to be ever-present and all-knowing in their child’s life. Teens on the other hand don’t always want their judging, rule-implementing, and lecture-ready parents tracking their every move regarding social interactions. To combat this Boyd mentions, “many of the privacy strategies that teens implement are intended to counter the power dynamic that emerges when parents and other adults feel as though they have the right to watch and listen” (70). From this stems steganography where teens tend to code their messages by posting lyrics, sub-tweeting, etc. This made me think about when I was younger and in middle school or early high school and how my mom would look me up on social media to see what I was doing. I remember feeling frustrated not only because it was my page that I didn’t ask her to view but because there was no reason for her not to trust what I was doing. I was always safe, didn’t talk to strangers, or post things that could be deemed as unacceptable or inappropriate.

Parents seem to think that we don’t care about our privacy to the outside world or understand the dangers, but at what point can they trust that the way they raised us is enough and we will share what we want when we want? I found an interesting video in which Kelly Wallace from CNN discusses that her biggest fear is her children becoming involved with social media. This video was striking because she says at one point, “how will I possibly keep tabs on everything they’re doing?” as if in order to be a good parent she must know every single detail of her child’s life. She goes on to say that in reality parents might not even have a clue because of the ways teens have chosen to encrypt their messages. She gives an example about how someone might post a group photo but intentionally not tag someone as an act of aggression, something that would easily slip by parents viewing the picture. Her solution is to sign up for the social networks that the teens are on and befriend them. However, if teens go through such lengths to keep their parents from knowing what is happening on their social networks, where is the line to be drawn for privacy between teen and parent?