Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Tutorial 11/10/17

Research questions - social media/wellbeing-mental health. Illustrations to 'pop up' to raise awareness on topic

Timeline - set weekly goals. 3 illustrations a week etc. Little goals. Method - questions, interviews online - 'what is the best place for your illustration to disrupt'

Chapter outline - Ch1 Intro (research question), Ch2 context (key texts), Ch3 (case studies) has anyone tried to interrupt social media with their practice? Ch4 my practice, Ch5 conclusions

Feedback on research question on friday
- email rachel research question by friday AM, make sure it links to practice
- research practitioners - pick some to be case studies
- organise interviews

I found the tutorial with Rachel to be really useful, I think I've got a clearer direction of how I can combine my practice with the theory element of COP. My next step is to work on refining my essay question and also to look into practitioners who explore the topic of social media - find some case studies - get some inspiration.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens - Danah Boyd

Networked Sociality

'Most teenagers now go online to connect to the people in their community. Their online participation is not eccentric; it is entirley normal, even expected'

'Although the specific technologies change, they collectivley provide teens with a space to hang out and connect with friends'

'Social media has enabled them to participate in and help create what I call networked publics.' 

'Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simutaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology and practice.'

'Rather than being seen as a subcultural practice, participating in social media became normative'

'Social media services like Facebook and Twitter are providing teens with new opportunities to participate in public life, and this, more than anything else, is what concerns many anxious adults.' 

Four affordances, in particular, shape many of the mediated environments that are created by social media. They are as follows:
Persistence - the durability of online expressions and content 
Visibility - the potential audience who can bear witness
Spreadability - the ease with which content can be shared
Searchability - the ability to find content 

'Persistence means that conversations conducted through social media are far from ephemeral; they endure.' 

'In networked publics, interactions are often public by default, private through effort

'What is new is the way in which social media alters and amplifies social situations by offering technical features that people can use to engage in these well-established practices' 

'Many adults I meet assume that their own childhoods were better and richer, simpler and safer, than the digitally mediated ones contemporary youth experience. They assoicate the rise in digital technology with decline - social, intellectual, and moral. The research I present here suggests that the opposite is often true.' 

'All too often, it is easier to focus on the technology than on the broader systematic issues that are at play because technical changes are easier to see.' 

'Consider, for example, the widespread concern over internet addiciton. Are there teens who have an unhealthy relationship with technology? Certainly. But most of those who are 'addicted' to their phones or computers are actually focused on staying connected to friends in a culture where getting together in person is highly constrained.' 

'Networked publics allow them a measure of privacy ad autonomy that is not possible at home where parents and siblings are often listening in' 

'What drive-ins were to teens in the 50's and the mall in the 1980's, Facebook, texting, Twitter and instant messaging and other social media are to teens now.' 

'The success of social media must be understood partly in relation to this shrinking social landscape.' 

'Teens told me time and again that they would far rather meet up in person, but the hectic and heavily scheduled nature of their day-to-day lives, their lack of physical mobility, and the fears of their parents have made such face to face interactions increasingly impossible.' 

'The ability to understand how context, audience and identity intersect is one of the central challenges people face in learning how to navigate social media.' 

Interpersonal relationships 

Root of anxiety about social media addiction - how easily time slips away - easy to become absorbed - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 'flow state' - time dissapears, attention focuses and people feel euphorically engaged - ideal state for creativity/artistry/athletes/actors to harness performance - also experienced when gambling/playing video games/interacting with social media - deep engagement does not seem to be a problem in and of itself unless coupled with a practice that is socially unacceptable, physically damaging or financially costly 

'Teen 'addiction' to social media is a new extension of typical human engagement' 

Ivan Goldberg - internet addiction disorder - satirical essay - intending to parody societys obsession with pathologizing everyday behaviours, inadvertently advanced the idea

'Anyone who engages in a practice in ways that society sees as putting more socially acceptable aspects of their lives in jeopardy are seen as addicted'

'Being 'addicted' to information and people is part of the human condition: it arises from a healthy desire to be aware of surrounding and to connect to society.' 

'Social media - far from being the seductive trojan horse - is a release valve, allowing youth to reclaim meaningful sociality as a tool for managing the pressures and limitations around them.' 

'As they make their way toward adulthood, teens need to learn how to engage in crucial aspects of maturations: self presentation, managing social relationships, and developing an understanding of the world around them. The structured and restrictive conditions that comprise the lives of many teens provideds little room for them to explore these issues, but social media gives them a platform and a space where they can make up for what's lost.'

'By exploring broad networks of people and diverse types of content, teens can easily get access to values and ideas that differ from what their parents try to instill.'

'Media narratives often propagate the notion that engagement with social media is destructive, even as eductional environments increasingly assume that teens are networked. Many adults put pressure on teens to devote more time toward adult-prioritized practices and less time socializing, failing to recognize the important types of learning that take place when teens do connect. When teens orient themselves away from adults and toward their peers, parents often grow anxious and worried about their childrens future. The answer to disconnect between parent goals and teen desires is not rhetoric that pathologizes teen practices, nor is it panicked restrictions on teen sociality. Rather, adults must recognize what teens are trying to achieve and work with them to find balance and to help them think about what they are encountering.' 


Both Boyd and Turkle have explored the idea of a 'flow' state but in juxtaposed circumstances. Turkle argues that social media and constant connectivity interrupts the flow state and decreases concentration whilst Boyd argues that getting lost in social media for seemingly endless amounts of time is just another example of people slipping into a 'flow' state of full engagement. 

Boyd seems to be focusing on the positive aspects of social media and how networking sites are allowing teens/young adults to engage and connect where as Turkle seems to be focusing on the negative effects of this constant connection. Boyd argues that social media allows the youth to reclaim sociality and offers social media as a 'public space' where people can 'hang out' and 'spend time' with friends. Turkle argues on the other hand that this constant connection with friends and accquaintences is leading to diminished relationships, lack of complexity of emotions and lack of empathy towards other people. 

Although social media may allow for a 'public space' in which communication and connection can be reached, are these communications real? Do they have substance? Or are they simplifed and reduced versions of real face-to-face relationships? 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alone Together - Sherry Turkle - Notes and Analysis

The second self - subjective side of personal computers - what they do to us/our ways of thinking/relationships/self/being human

'Social media accomplishes the rudimentary and because of this we reduce our expectations of each other'

'With constant connection comes new anxieties of disconnection' Life online becomes life itself

New experience of place - 'What is a place if those who are physically present have their attention on the absent'

Face-to-face communication is routinley interruputed by texts/calls/notifications - Do you ever really have a persons attention? Do you ever really pay attention?

'If it is always possible to be in touch, when does one have the right to be alone'

Connectivity brings complications - sustain and constrain
- Sharing a feeling is a deliberate act, a movement towards intimacy
- Technology supports an emotional style in which feelings are not fully experienced until they are communicated - 'gold standard of autonomy'
- Uneasy to text/message about feelings as there's a possibility of no response - validation becomes part of establishing an emotion

Narcissism traditionally indicates people with a personality so fragile that it needs constant support - this can also be supported by selected and limited contact with people - contact lists make people appear on demand - take what you need and move on, if not gratified, you can try someone else

Social media asks us to represent ourselves in simplified ways and comform to those simplifications - spend more time perfecting an online persona

At a screen you feel protected and less burdened by expectations - although you're alone, the potential for instantaneous contact gives an encourgaing feeling of already being together

Shortcuts for actual social interactions

If you send fond feelings or appriciation digitally, you protext yourself from a cool reception - One of the emotional affordances of digital communication is that one can always hide behind deliberate nonchalonce

Present yourself as you wish to be seen - Proccess people as quickly as you want to

It is not unsuaul for people to feel more comfortable in an unreal place than a real one - they feel that they show their better and maybe truer self

Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - The mental state in which a person is fully immersed in an activity with focus and involvment - Flow state = clear expectations, attainable goals

Concentrate on a limited field so the anxiety dissipates and you feel fully present - In a flow state you are able to act without self-consciousness

If lonely you can find continual connection. But this may leave you more isolated without real people around you. So you may return to the internet for another hit of what feels like connection - 'consumed by that which we were nourished by' Shakespeare

Connectivity becomes a craving - when we recieve an email/text our nervous system responds by giving us a shot of dopamine - stimulated by connectivity, we learn to require it even when it depletes us

Not having your phone is a high level of stress - anxiety is part of the new connectivity - all consuming efforts to keep up appearances

Texting is too seductive - instantly contactable, instantly viewable - But who says we always have to be ready to communicate? - Longed for here is the pleasure of full attention, coveted and rare - Technology is associated with shared attention

Texting has evolved into a space for confessions, breakups, and declarations of love - all matters are crammed into a medium that quickly communicates a state but is not well suited for opening up a dialogue about the complexity of feelings - Texting compromises that intimacy it promises

We defend connectivity as a way to be close even as we effectivley hide from each other - loneliness is failed solitude

Lack of empathy with the availability of social media - Have to find a way to live with an addictive technology and make it work to our purpose - we are drawn to connections that seem low risk and always at hand - Simplification and reduction of a relationship is no longer something we complain about, it becomes what we expect and what we desire - It is time to look towards the virtues of solitude, deliberateness and living fully in the moment

From reading Sherry Turkle's 'Alone Together' I have started to realise key points of interest. I'm looking more in the direction of how social media and online spaces impact our ability to communicate with each other on a face-to-face level. How does this impact our relationships with other people? Why do we feel more comfortable communicating feeling and emotion through a screen as a pose to face-to-face conversations? I think this is what I'm interested in anyway - I feel that it links back to my own practice. I enjoy emotionally driven work, I enjoy things that are personal and feel that I process my own thoughts and feelings through work I create, as do many others.

Need to do more research and read more books and try pin this down further.

Revised COP3 Proposal

Over the course of the summer my proposal for COP3 has changed direction. From the impact of zines on the feminist movement I have jumped to looking at the impact of social media on human interaction. This may seem like quite a leap from my previous essays but part of my research over the past two years has looked at the impact that social media has on body image and self perception. I would now like to expand this area of research and look at the impact that social media and digital technologies have on our day-to-day lives and our social interactions.

I have so far highlighted a few books of interest alongside some online journals with articles written on my subject matter. I have been in touch with Professor Ben Light who specialises in digital communication and their impacts. We are currently in correspondence about research and will be setting up a skype call at some point to help further the direction of my research. I feel that at this point my research question is still rather broad but that further reading will help me to pin-point my exact point of focus. I would still like to be able to bring in some element of DIY culture into this module and feel that this could be possible by exploring zines as a form of communication in the practical aspect of COP3. This could include creating a selection of zines that explore online phenomena that could draw influence from my research, essay writing, personal experience and the experiences of others.

Context and Themes: Books
- Alone Together - Sherry Turkle
- Disconnecting with Social Networking Sites - Ben Light
- Social Media: A Critical Introduction - Christian Fuchs
- The Cyber Effect - Mary Aiken
- Its Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens - Danah Boyd

Context and Themes: Websites
- New Media and Society
- Social Media and Society
- The Impact of Social Media Use On Social Skills
- The Impact of Digital Technologies on Human Wellbeing

Monday, 25 September 2017

Change of Direction

Over the summer I've been reviewing my proposal for COP3 and have decided to alter the direction I was heading in, in order to allow this module to be something that I find slightly more engaging. Previously I was thinking of focusing on Femzines. I have an interest in DIY culture and the communities that rise up around that and felt that combining this with feminist elements of my research and study would allow me to write and create work on something that I was passionate about.

Over the summer I've been reading alot about social media and the impact it has on our generation. I've read a few articles and probably should have read some more books before this point but I feel that this is the direction I want to take COP3 in. I don't feel that it's overly far from my previous essay's as in both first and second year I've touched on advertising and media and the effect it has on women and mental health. This is just a vague blogpost to highlight the fact that my ideas are shifting a little. I think the next best thing for me to do is to start researching and reading and begin to define my ideas more clearly. I need to buy a notebook.