The Final Countdown

In The Beginning

During the first week of uni this semester Social Technologies was definitely the class I was most scared about. Yeah, I’ve used social media tools before. I’ve spend hundreds of hours on them. Yeah, I’ve blogged before. I have had other classes that utilised a blogging format and in my spare time am the editor of the blog Collective Bliss. But have I actually thought about online personas and how I portray myself in online communities? Had I ever used Google+? Not at all. I do love challenges and continual learning however, so I was looking forward to learning something I didn’t have knowledge about and using Google+.

Blog Post 1: My Information Gathering Strategy

For the first few weeks of semester up until this blog post I had been reflecting a lot about how I use social media and how I portray myself on the different tools I use. This specific week we learned about information in social media, and I chose to track my social technology usage during a normal weekday. I was not very shocked, as my habits were actually the same each day during my commutes to and from work. I received great feedback from my first blog post though, knowing that while my writing style was nice and easy to read, I must reference back to outside literature. From here I knew that all of my future posts would contain as many references and sources as possible!

Blog Post 2: #iftheygunnedmedown

The citizen journalism and activism week was probably the most interesting for me, and the one which pushed me to research further and further. I have had many heated debates with friends and colleagues after acts of citizen journalism have brought to the mass publics attention things they may not have been aware of. Even after completing and submitting my blog post about three twitter hashtags that arose from the police mistreatment in Ferguson, I still spent hours researching similar cases and other acts of citizen journalism. The #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag was something that really opened my eyes about how much control the media can have over your assumptions of people from the photo they choose to display. It has made me think critically when viewing media from any medium – and not base judgements from photographs.

Blog Post 3: The Overly Attached Girlfriend

Memes! After the many hours of my life I had spent browsing through my favourite memes, I was very excited to actually research the history of one of them and discover what made it go viral. It was so much fun discovering the origins of memes that it took me hours to even choose which one to write about, but I liked the story of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme too much to pick anything else. I was amazed to see how Laina has made a career out of one comedic YouTube upload, and upon further research was shocked with the amount of people making careers from their content going viral. As Kevin Allocca said in his TED talk “no one has to green light your idea”. It tastemakers like your content, communities participate in the sharing of your content or it is just so unexpected people enjoy looking at it, you can go viral overnight.

Blog Post 4: Yes You Definitely Should Monitor Your Privacy And Security Settings

This was a fun post. Learning about trust and ethics made me really want to share the risks of not monitoring your privacy and security settings. From my research I even found out that Apple’s iOS devices have automatically enabled ad tracking which was a shock to me, because I generally look through all security and privacy settings on my devices and I work for Apple! Writing the post actually made me tighten the information viewable on my social media platforms to only people I know, and really think about what I am to post in the future.

Assignment 1 – Finding My Persona

While creating my persona poster and identity map end as the highlight of my Social Technologies semester, reading the assessment description I was definitely not looking forward to starting. It was rare for me to have a piece of assessment worth so much of grade based on a poster. Once I actually started brainstorming ideas and seeing the persona poster and identity maps of my peers in our Google+ community, my thoughts completely changed. It was great seeing the ideas my peers had and identifying and reviewing their personas really helped me dig into my own. I had never before thought about how I present myself on and use social technologies, and was shocked with some of my findings. By actively thinking about how I am portraying myself online and by analysing the personas of my peers in the future, I will be able to connect with people easier and develop myself personally and professionally.

Learning Outcomes

I love reading the learning outcomes at the start and then end of a semester, and realising that I have actually achieved them! To complete assignment 1 and my blog posts to a high standard I had go assess and critically reflect on social technologies, research the topics I wanted to know more about or were not strong with, critically analyse the topics and write them into a new style of writing – a blog post. I have learnt more about many aspects of social technologies, in particular the areas that I am still researching to this day; online personas, communities and networks, vitality and trust/ethics.

Key Take Away

My key take away from IAB230 Social Technologies is that I need to make a video, gain an online following from viral social spread, become famous, profit $$$…

Since that is probably never going to happen, I also have some other key take aways. While being who I want myself to be has always been very important to me, how I portray myself within online communities can have a huge impact on both my personal and professional life. This does not mean I need to change who I am, just what information I decide to share and how I decide to share it. Would a prospective employer look kindly on what I share? Is this important information for people in my network? Do I want everyone to have access to this information? All of these questions have become important to me while conducting myself within my online communities. While I already felt like social technologies could be used as tools for much more than networking, the disasters/crisis, activism/news and movements/viralty information has opened my mind to a massive potential for free social technologies to be used to inform the mass public in short timeframes.

In Summary

While daunting at first, running a class completely online and separate from Blackboard is a brilliant idea. For the first few weeks I found it hard to stay active online having not used Google+ before or had a class run like this. Once the barriers of connecting online were broken down it was a great approach to learning. By creating a community for our peers to liaise with each other online, it not only gave us a medium to use to discuss topics and share ideas, but allowed me to truly see how easy it is to create a sense of community with social tools. I have discovered that reflecting on your online persona and what information you choose to display within social technologies can be a great benefit to personally and professionally develop yourself online.

Advertisements

Yes You Definitely Should Monitor Your Privacy And Security Settings

Do you trust social media platforms to protect your personal information? That is a very hard questions to answer. While it is very important to do so, not all people analyse the privacy and security settings of your chosen social media platforms. What you decide to post and how you decide to encrypt your data is also just as important. In the following post two key items will be addressed: 1. why it is important to read through your chosen social media platforms privacy and security settings, and the settings on the devices that use them 2. why you should be careful about what you post online.

FBprivacy

G+privacy

I wonder who has seen either of the two above pages on their profiles? I know that when I initially started using social media platforms it took a long time for me to actually look at the privacy settings. From reading through the list of options for what kind of people can view what kind of information on your page, it is evident how important it is to modify settings and control and manage your online experience in a positive way. By allowing all of your information to be viewed by anybody, you could be opening yourself to the possibility of somebody you do not know collecting information about you.

If using a mobile device to access social media platforms, it is also very important to look through the settings. On many occasions users will quickly accept settings when downloading applications without reading what they’re agreeing to. On an iOS device for example, you can alter many settings under the ‘Privacy” tab within your device settings. Social media platforms could potentially have access to your location, contacts, photos, other applications on your phone and more without your knowledge. You can find out more about changing your privacy settings on an iOs device from the support page here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 9.52.48 pm

Another important part of your privacy settings to read are the advertising settings. I’m sure everyone has clicked on an online store from Facebook once, or updated a status to include a specific item, and noticed that the Facebook advertisements have miraculously started advertising specific things you’ve been linked to or from Facebook. While a lot of people notice this happening, not many people know that you can actually opt out of this advertising. Speaking of iOS, did you know your iOS devices actually track your interests by monitoring apps, songs and tv shows downloaded to offer you targeted advertising? It is a setting that comes switched on with almost every Apple Device and other app developers can utilise the information collected. By automatically enrolling a user in this targeted advertising, are Facebook and Apple protecting your personal information? Shouldn’t we be automatically not enrolled and choose whether we would like to use this feature? Find out how to opt out of interest based adds on iOs devices here.

iADWhile reading through privacy and security settings are very important, so is being careful about what information you share online and knowing what you’ve share in the past. A common way hackers break into peoples accounts and potentially steal peoples identities online is by screen scraping. Screen scraping is the act of clicking a “forgot password” link on somebody else account, and using their posts and information on social media platforms to answer their security questions. The Microsoft Safety and Security Centre also share another handy 11 tips for social networking safety to protect your personal data from criminals online.

Social media platforms may not always protect your information, however they do put the power in the users hands to choose whether their information is protected or not. A user must be careful to modify their privacy and security settings, and be very cautious of what they are posting online, because as they say at Stay Safe Online “once posted, always posted”. For the good of people uneducated in the areas of online privacy and advertising, when creating accounts on social media platforms privacy settings should restrict a lot of content being viewed from others and not allow targeted advertising. This should be something people can go in and change when they are informed on the topic and know what they are doing. YES I trust social media platforms to protect my personal information. But I have also thoroughly looked through each and every one of their privacy settings and made informed changes to them.

The Overly Attached Girlfriend

I thought my days of getting lost for hours scrolling through memes on MemeGenerator, Reddit, QuickMeme and other strange places on the internet were over, until IAB260 reopened the floodgates…

After scrolling through way too many of my favourite (and now new favourite) memes, it was hard to decide on which one to research the history of. And then I found the perfect meme. Perfect, because it is not just a meme but also a video that went viral. I specifically remember the moment it went viral, because my favourite number is 7 and I was the 7,777th person to watch the video on YouTube after a friend linked me to it within half an hour of it being posted.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 11.19.41 pm

But first, a little context. On June 4th 2012 Justin Bieber launched a #girlfriend competition to promote his new perfume, asking girls to submit a video of them singing his hit single Boyfriend – only changing some of the lyrics to reverse the song and have it about a Girlfriend. The winner of the competition would go on to have their song aired on TV during a Justin Bieber special.

Now I’m not too sure who won the competition, and who really cares. Because the real winner here was definitely YouTube user Laina. Before I explain why she is the winner, let me explain her claim to fame.

Now I would be surprised if you haven’t at least seen the face of the girl in the video above within three years. On June the 6th, two days after Bieber launched his competition, the YouTuber known as wzr0713 at the time posted a video in response to his #girlfriend competition. In the video the girl sings very creepy stalker-like lyrics as a parody of Bieber’s song Boyfriend. The video went viral, receiving over 1.35 million views within just 48 hours. Today the video actually has over 17.5 million views. The day after the video was posted on YouTube, user yeahhtoast shared the video on Reddit titled “Overly Attached Girlfriend”. The Reddit thread garnered over 800+ comments within just seven hours, and a QuickMeme page was instantly set up with users jumping on and posting their own memes featuring the Overly Attached Girlfriend face with funny stalker-like text.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 11.19.30 pm

On the 14th of June, less than two weeks after posting the video on YouTube, @laina622 posted her first Tweet announcing herself as the Overly Attached Girlfriend girl. Within three days, her following had grown to 7,800 followers on Twitter and 16,500 likes on Facebook. Floating around the internet their are tens of thousands of variations of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme. The top ten on QuickMeme alone have been shared over 6.5 million times. This truly was not only a video going viral, but a new viral meme being created from it.

mg

On September 3rd, almost three months after the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme had begun, user Vinnyb90 posted the above photo of Laina on Reddit titled “Misunderstood Girlfriend”. The Misunderstood Girlfriend meme is very opposite to the Overly Attached Girlfriend, always starting with text above that could be interpreted as creepy or stalker-like, yet ending with something nice or kind that she has done. While the Misunderstood Girlfriend meme has not gained as much popularity or internet reach as Overly Attached Girlfriend, it has still been manipulated thousands, and shared millions of times.

Now back to why I believe Laina was the real winner of the Justin Bieber competition.

Laina now has 241k Twitter followers. 517k Facebook likes. 1.26 million YouTube subscribers.

From one funny video filmed on a cheap webcam, Laina has become an internet sensation with tens of thousands of people around the world watching her new YouTube videos within days of them being posted. From one video posting a funny song for a competition, Laina now has a full time job creating videos on Youtube. If this were me, I would definitely feel like the winner of the competition.

Underneath you will find some of the most shared versions of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme from QuickMeme (careful – some are NSFW). Now I’m off to go film myself singing silly songs. Lets see if it works for me.

oag4

oag6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

oag3oag5

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

I would be surprised if you haven’t at least heard of the police brutality in America at the end of last year (and continuing?) and the tragic civilian deaths that occurred. I’m going to discuss two specific cases because their stories, including videos and pictures, went viral due to citizen journalism AND hashtag activism. I know there were many opinionated discussions among my circles of friends and colleagues – so if you don’t agree with my opinions that your choice!

#HandsUpDontShoot

On August 9th 2014, 18 year old African-American man Michael Brown was brutally shot several times by police officer Darren Wilson and then left at the scene while Wilson drove away, after stealing some cigars from a convenience store. The story received instant media attention due to the fact that Brown was not only unarmed, but some witnesses stated he was running away, had his back turned, had his hands in the air or was on his knees. In the St. Louis County Autopsy report it was found that Brown’s body had been shot 6 times (although the witnesses say even more shots were fired) including shots to his chest and head. Why doesn’t an office of the law shoot to slow down or injure? Why did Wilson shoot to kill?

#HandsUpDontShoot is a controversial hashtag that went viral after community unrest from Wilson killing Brown while his hands were held up. It is controversial because during the investigation there were mixed reactions from witnesses with some saying Browns hands were held up and some saying they weren’t. “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” became the main slogan and chant during dozens of rallies held throughout the U.S, and was used extensively on the web to raise awareness and show support for the justice of Michael Brown.

#ICantBreathe

On July 17th 2014, 43 year old African-American man Eric Garner was also killed at the hands of a police officer, this time one Daniel Pantaleo. Garner was approached by police on suspicion of selling single cigarettes (which is illegal), and after a verbal argument was subdued by several police officers. During the submission Garner was held in a chokehold (which the New York City Police Department banned the use of in 1993) and had his face and body forced into the pavement by officers. The whole scene was filmed in a shocking video, where Garner is heard repeating the line “I can’t breathe” eleven times. Garners body eventually goes limp, and officers called an ambulance. Garner was taken to hospital and pronounced dead within one hour. Autopsy reports later called Garners death a homicide – stating that neck and chest compressions were the cause of death.  This is an extreme case of citizen journalism, where the whole scene was recorded on a smart phone and instantly uploaded onto the web. The fact that people could watch the situation rather than read about it caused the video and story to go viral within hours. People were able to form their own views as they were not reading the story from another source – they were watching it unfold for themselves. You can watch the video here but be warned, it can be quite distressing. 

#ICantBreathe is a hashtag that arose after the death of Garner, as it was a line heard said by him several times while he was being subdued. Similar to #HandsUpDontShoot, this hashtag was used to raise awareness and show support online, and during the dozens of marches performed by tens of thousands of people throughout the U.S.

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown is hashtag that went viral within the African-American community as a result of several incidents (with the turning point being Brown’s killing) in which case the media portrayed the victim in a negative light via photos. After Brown’s death dozens of print and electronic media sources were sharing a photo of Brown looking angry and making a gang sign with his hand. Out of ALL of the photos they could have used – including photos of him in his graduation gowns, hanging out with friends and family and many smiling photos – they chose to use the one that made him look like a trouble maker. #IfTheyGunnedMeDown is an activist movement to challenge how the media portray black people by posing the question – “If they gunned me down, which photo would they use?”. It went viral with thousands of people posting a negative and positive photo of themselves and tagging #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. My favourite can be seen here, with @King_Ghidorah5 from Twitter posting a photo of himself laying on a bed with a gold chain around his neck making gang signs in one photo, and him in his military uniform reading a book to children in the second. This hashtag has been very effective in challenging people not to make informed decisions from the photos they view in the media.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 9.27.04 pm

(Image from The Root)

While these three hashtags can in no way reverse the horrific and tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, they have at least helped people unite against the mistreatment from our justice system and work towards solving the problem. For decades there have been cases of mistreatment by police in the U.S., and sadly it has taken community journalism and hashtag activism to truly show worldwide awareness.

Daren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo were both not charged or indicted by the Grand Jury.

Wilson has since resigned from the police force.

Daniel Pantaleo is still serving as a police officer.

A figurehead of justice and law does not have the right to kill an unarmed and surrendered human.

Critical Reflection

I Am Different!

Before delving into my online persona, I thought I was just another one of the 2 billion plus users on social media each month. I imagined that most of my habits, motivations, behaviours and goals were similar to everyone else’s. It wasn’t until I mapped out my online identity and visually represented my online persona, and compared it to that of my colleagues, that I understood just how contrasting different online identities and social technology habits can be.

2b users

 

Global Digital Statistics infogram from We Are Social (http://wearesocial.net/blog/2014/08/global-social-media-users-pass-2-billion/)

My Basket Of Apples

Because of my busy lifestyle and the fact that I am rarely home, my use of social technology relies heavily on mobile devices. In the Yellow Pages Social Media Report 2014 it was found that 71% of Australian adults now use smartphones as their main devices to access social media sites. This is very true for me, with my iPhone not only being my most commonly used piece of technology, but the main device I use to access social media. In the time that I am at home and using social technologies, I will predominately use my iPad. This is purely because of the larger size screen. My MacBook is mainly a work tool (be it professionally for my job, my business or for studies) and browsing websites. The only social technology I really use on this device is WordPress, posting articles for my website and blog entries for this class. I was quite surprised to read that only 1 in 4 online searches were conducted via mobile devices, however I come to the conclusion that my higher than average percent use of mobile devices is because I lead quite a busy lifestyle, and content I view is easy to access from a device that is with me constantly.

Too Much Technology?

I was initially shocked to discover that my use of social applications each day exceeded five hours, specifically Flipboard, Instagram and FaceBook where I am spending almost 4 hours per day. While these numbers at first seemed high, once I broke down my motivations to use each of these applications the shock subsided. I spend an hour and a half each day on Flipboard, however this is where my main online persona of ‘information hoarder’ has manifested. I’ve always been an avid learner, wanting to know more and more. The ability to control exactly what content you view on Flipboard makes it the perfect tool to feed my information gathering addiction, viewing a wide range of content including Apple news, tech news, business news, fashion, food, tattoos and holiday destinations, and allowing me to save each article for future reading. Facebook and Instagram are my two other most used applications. From my Identity Map I can see this is because they are used in 3 facets of my life; professional, social and lurking. I will use them to socialise with friends, lurk through interests to gather information and promote my business Collective Bliss. Because of these three uses, and the fact that I run two accounts on both platforms, it is quite easy for me to spend time here. YouTube is used purely as a lurking platform, viewing content and often ending up in a ‘how did I get here?’ moment from jumping video to video. While I use WordPress for Collective Bliss and this class, I will always write posts on a text editor before posting. So my time spent on WordPress is purely to input text, modify and add photos, links etc and post. LinkedIn is used for connecting with other professionals, other than the occasional article view and Google+ is purely used for this class, hence their low usages.

The Information Hoarder

As mentioned above, my main use of social technologies is that of an ‘information hoarder’, to gather information. I have a compulsive drive to find as much time as possible to view content in an attempt to increase my knowledge, and save as much of it as possible for future viewing. Even with tools I use for other reasons, I will still always have an underlying motivation to gather information. I might be lurking on YouTube watching videos, but still mostly videos relevant to information I find useful. I might be on Instagram viewing photos of things I enjoy, however I will still use it to find information about where to travel, which tattooist I would like to visit or what foods I would like to cook. I even initially thought I didn’t use Google+ or WordPress to gather information, but upon further consideration this is untrue. I am constantly gathering information via Google+ from looking at posts from fellow classmates and lecturers, only it is very specific information about social technologies. I am also constantly gaining information from WordPress, only it is analytical information pertaining to Collective Bliss – which categories of post are most popular, which times of day garner more views, in which geographical areas our readers are located. Although it took me a while to find my most suited online persona, all of the habits I have identified in my use of social technologies now convince me that I am an information hoarder.

What Other Motivations?

My main ‘social’ use of social technologies is with Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with people that, be it not for these social technologies, I would have struggled with. From living in many locations and travelling to almost 30 countries in my lifetime, I have friends and family from all over the globe. Facebook is used as a social platform for me to not only keep up to date with their lives, but let them know what is happening in mine. If it weren’t for Facebook I feel as though I may have lost contact with quite a few people in my life.

At an academic level I initially thought I used Facebook, WordPress and Google+ purely to keep in touch with classmates. From this class I have realised that I also use these platforms for lurking and hoarding information, constantly flipping back through other peoples posts for ideas and inspiration.

I also use LinkedIn as a ‘professional networker’, ensuring every representation of myself is kept as professional, and separate from my personal life, as possible. While I also use other applications professionally, I use them as a complete different persona and person all together. I use them as the editor of the online magazine Collective Bliss.

Editor in Chief

Social technologies also play a huge part in my professional and creative life, as the editor of Collective Bliss. Facebook currently has an active user base of 1.4 billion people per month. For a business wanting to gain as big a fan base and reach as possible, it is silly not to use such an amazing networking tool. With the average user fanning 4 pages per month, having an active presence on Facebook is important for any business growth. From the analytical information on WordPress, I have found out that 80% of our sites views come from Facebook. Without investing the time into running a Facebook page, we would have had almost 8,000 less views last quarter! Although my use of Facebook, Instagram and WordPress for Collective Bliss is anonymous and not linked to me personally as ‘Michael Iannantuono’, it really allows me to talk about topics I may have avoided on my personal networks. Being anonymous and having a large fan base (almost 1000 people on Facebook) really allows myself and our other writers to express some thought provoking, personal and taboo subjects that we may have been too scared to personally.

cb follows

 

Collective Bliss views that have come from Facebook in the last quarter

Final Thoughts

While initially I may have thought my use of social technologies was similar to everyone else’s, after analysing my uses I can see just how different my personas are. Now that I have an understanding of my different personas, and have learned how to identify the online personas of others, it will be a great benefit to me both professionally and personally. Due to the different uses people have of social technologies, changing my marketing techniques to target specific personas for Collective Bliss will garner us more followers in the future. When connecting with people both socially and for studies, analysing their online personas will help me find techniques to build rapport and discover the best ways of contacting them. Analysing online personas is not only a great benefit for personal development, but great benefit for understanding people at a higher level online.

References Not Cited

Simon Kemp. (2014). Global Social Media Users Pass 2 Billion. http://wearesocial.net/blog/2014/08/global-social-media-users-pass-2-billion/.

David Holmes, Kelly Brough. (2014). Yellow Social Media Report. https://www.sensis.com.au/content/dam/sas/PDFdirectory/Yellow-Social-Media-Report-2014.pdf.

Douglas Karr. (2014). 25 Mobile Marketing Stats For 2014 That Matter. https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-mobile-stats/.

Jay Baer. (2014). 11 Mind-Blowing Reasons Your Company Needs Facebook. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-tools/11-reasons-your-company-needs-facebook/.

Facebook Board of Directors. (2014). Facebook Q4 2014 Results. http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/AMDA-NJ5DZ/61718471x0x805520/2D74EDCA-E02A-420B-A262-BC096264BB93/FB_Q414EarningsSlides20150128.pdf