Reflection

Since I first started thinking about the best way to create a digital storytelling project that will expand on the issues from BCM240 which revolved around the spatial nature of media practices and audience experiences, were explored in my last 4-5 blog posts. So, whilst thinking about how I could approach this project, I came to the conclusion that I will use film reviews as a platform to explore these issues. But, before starting that, I had to find out for myself, how to find a blogger who shares a story with me and then establish a relationship with that particular blogger.

Having been a blogger since March of last year, I have become increasingly comfortable with my writing style. Although I still have a long way to go before I can claim myself to be an established blogger, I believe that this project has helped me take a significant step towards that stage. However, despite having been a blogger for almost a year, I still haven’t found a particular audience to target my writing towards and still haven’t attracted the amount of readers that I had intended. Therefore, I felt that, whilst working on the project, it was important to find some research which could help me attract more readers and find my target audience.

Josie Ahlquist (pg. 6, 2014) , a higher education leadership doctoral candidate at California Lutheran University, stated that “bloggers establish their own voice and expression”. However, the problem regarding blogging, is how to make yourself heard amongst so many others. In the same article, Marci Walton, who had been blogging for less than a year, highlighted that it is important, as a blogger, not to focus completely on the statics of it. Walton (pg.6, 2014) states specifically that instead of participating, in what she calls ‘the numbers game’, bloggers should instead work on gaining personal connections as ” personal connections matter, especially in the world of storytelling”.  Having read this, I have since then worked quite hard on making personal connections and in fact have had my blog reviewed by a popular blogger which I manage to get in contact with.  This was a big step for me, as it meant that I now have one established reader who could possibly share some of my writing and henceforth expand my audience.

In regards to the content of my digital project, I decided to expand on two topics from BCM240 which I found the most interesting: the change in the way we watch television and the spatial aspect of social media and how we use it. Admittedly, the 2nd topic veered in a different direction from what we had learned in class, but I still felt that it was a subject well worth delving into. The use of social media, particularly at the moment, is at an all-time high and it was interesting to explore the darker side of it, particularly Facebook. Additionally, I felt that a short review of the film “Unfriended” was a perfect introduction into what I had to say. I felt the same way about my previous post about a Doctor Who episode. The review of the episode blended nicely into the concepts that I wanted to talk about. So, overall, I was very happy with the content I produced, and I hope that it will attract more readers.

Having discussed what I was happy about my project, I now want to focus on the regrets I have about my project. My principal regret I have about my digital project was my time management and organization. As a university student, I really need to organise myself better than I have lately. There was much more that I wanted to do with my project, which I wasn’t able to because of time constraints. I originally conceived my project as a 4 part blog post, yet because of the length of the first two blog posts, I had to split it into a simple two-part project. The second regret is that I wish I had some experience in making a video blog. Being a bit shy, I hate recording myself on camera and that was going to be a problem if I wanted to make a vlog.

Overall, I was satisfied with how my project came out, but was more pleased in what I learnt from the task. My writing style continues to improve, as does my connections with fellow bloggers. I hope that in 2-5 years time, I will look back on this project as a stepping stone.

References

Bessette, LS 2014, ‘Student Affairs Leaders Share Tips for Blogging’, Women in Higher Education (10608303), vol. 23, no. 8, p. 6. Available from: 10.1002/whe.20094. [1 November 2015].

Part 2: Unfriended: The Spatial aspect of social media and its users

When we discuss the idea of ‘thinking spatially about media audience courses’, this can refer to many different aspects of the media. Today, on Halloween night, I have decided to, as part of my 4 part digital project, to take a look at the 2015 cyber-horror film “Unfriended” and discuss how the spatial aspect of social media is represented within the film, as well as a general review of the film.

Image from: http://www.contactmusic.com/images/feature-images/unfriended-poster-636-380.jpg
Image from: http://www.contactmusic.com/images/feature-images/unfriended-poster-636-380.jpg

Out of all the films that have explored the anxieties and spatial aspects of social media, no film has done it better than Levan Gabriadze’s 2015 techno-horror film “Unfriended”.  Set entirely on the main character (Blair)’s computer screen, “Unfriended” delivers both as a straightforward and  entertaining horror film, but also as a commentary on the spatial aspect of social media. One interesting fact about the film is that the film, was shot all in one house, with each character occupying a separate room . Interestingly, this is completely relevant to the idea that the film attempts to convey (that idea being that although isolating us in reality, social media brings us closer virtually, regardless of where we are located.)

insta004

This idea, that is explored in “Unfriended”, is really quite fascinating, but can also be seen as problematic. Living  in a world of technological change, it’s not a surprise that we are beginning to become consumed by our mobile phones, laptops and tablets. However, being a teenager myself, it is becoming slightly worrying  to see people, particularly teenagers, become increasingly glued to their screens, even in the company of friends and family. I, myself, am guilty of being one of these people. So, the question I intend on investigating is this: why do we feel the need to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, whilst in the company of others?  Runcan ( pg.127, 2015) states  that “the young generation [generation Z] belongs to a new type of social networks based on virtual communication”. An underlying problem, established in Runcan’s statement, is that of place. Because technology allows to access everything a lot faster, it therefore allows us to communicate faster. This increase in speed has therefore made us less patient and more demanding.

The invention of Skype, which is the social-media format used throughout “Unfriended”, is arguably much more significant than that of Facebook. Before I continue, I would like to point out that I am on Facebook almost every day and think it is a marvellous tool and use it much more than Skype.  On its website, Skype describes its purpose as “doing things together, whenever you’re apart”. In all honesty, this is the perfect summary of Skype. The major difference between Skype and Facebook is that Skype is used in a much-more positive manner. People are not constantly checking their Skype and when used, it is often to talk with someone who is too far to talk to face-to-face. Contrastingly,  Facebook is used constantly to remind others about how we are feeling, what’re doing, who we are doing something with and where we are at a certain moment. With this sort of use, it’s no wonder that we are becoming increasingly self-centred and narcissistic. Whilst debating whether virtual reality is a type of media space, Runcan (2015) argues that defining the concept of virtual reality is essential in order to assess whether it is a type of media space. However, Runcan (pg.129, 2015) goes on to state that “the difficulty comes from the fact that this space does not exist physically”. The fact that virtual reality is not a physical space remains a significant obstacle in questioning whether it can be considered as more than just a network.

My final point, in this admittedly over-long post, is regarding Runcan’s (2015) discussion  of “Facebookmania” as a concept. Runcan (pg.129, 2015) relates the term to “a state of uncontrollable nervousness manifested through agitation and, sometimes, aggressiveness because the need needs to be satisfied without any delay”. Being a 19 year-old, you won’t be surprised to hear that I, along with many others, suffer from Facebookmania. So, in response to the question I asked myself earlier, I believe that Facebookmania is a form of addiction which is often neglected and is prominent in the lives of many people, particularly teenagers, today. The principal issue that we face, with this addiction, is that it draws us from a real, if geographically-limited place to a unregulated and sometimes dangerous virtual place. And if the horror film “Unfriended” warns us about anything, it’s this: addiction to technology can be dangerous…

References:

Runcan, R 2015, ‘Facebookmania – The Psychical Addiction to Facebook and Its Incidence on the Z Generation’, Social Work Review / Revista de Asistenta Sociala, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 127-136.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑