Becoming Unavailable

Vision:

To successfully and adequately capture through daily vlogging reflection and blog posts how ‚Äėunavailability‚Äô from social media networking sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram strongly affect a person’s‚Äô attention and participatory structures, along with the effects it has our wants,needs, and interpretations of people, persons, and things. All of which will be justified and supported through research of willing individuals and attestable written resources. The end-result will be presented in the form of short short film/video of some sort which will be posted to Mariah Rajah‚Äôs e-portfolio site.

Introduction:

Throughout the semester we have covered a wide range of topics but in all of them we always seemed to return the topic of availability. We question time and time again that in this day in age is it possible to be unavailable? And what does it actually mean to be unavailable in a world where not being able to reach someone is a sign of tardiness and carelessness.When thinking of a possible project idea the focus was drawn on three main topics that are of interest:

  1. Availability
  2. Attention structures
  3. Participation

After focusing in on these three topics the realization came that they each play a part in tackling the question of, “Do we have the ability to ever become completely unavailable? ” First of all, availability is by far one of the biggest affordances and constraints of the internet. Social media has allowed us to constantly be in touch. We can tag, track, and see when we’ve read each other’s messages. All of these affordances have in a way lead us to always be online even when we aren’t. Being available online means you are expected to participate in conversation both personal and global.

As an individual of an online community you have the responsibility to share, comment and create and if you do not you are therefore doing that community a disservice. Your participation is always needed and wanted on both your and your audiences’ end. This want and need to participate ultimately allows us to choose whether we are or are not available. ¬†It also means that you are aware of what is going on around you and you are in a way forced to take part or else you are “creeping”. Being available has also had an impact in the way we divide our attention. What we focus on and how we focus on these things ultimately affects our participation and our availability. These three concepts all interact and interfere with our ability to actually disconnect and become unavailable in a world that demands availability.

Objective:

This project proposes an experiment in which I will purposely disconnect myself from all social media networking sites (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr)  which I participate in for two weeks.

In those two weeks I will vlog, blog, and capture photographs daily about how I am dealing with not being available online. Since a large portion of the project will be reflections I plan to capture this by doing daily vlogs that give detailed descriptions as to how I am dealing with the disconnect.

In tracking this I want to highlight the shift in myself and the transition from an avid online user to someone who has become “unavailable”:

  1. In order for this project to be executed properly test subject  will research how other people have dealt with taking breaks from social networking sites (via online resources: Videos, articles, etc.)  and interview colleagues; then compare this to self-assessed criteria in order to accurately record whether or not it is an internal or an external issue that has had the same effects across the board.
  2. By conducting research that almost entirely embarks on the premise of availability and the affordances and constraints it entails, student will try to also highlight the psychological effects this disconnect has upon an individual such as anxiety, worry, detachment etc. Also with the hopes that this project demonstrates that availability has changed our wants,needs, and interpretations of people, persons, and things.
  3. Lastly, in this project student wishes to prove that there is a way by which we can become unavailable in a world that desires for everyone to constantly be online and involved.

Deliverables:

As the nature of this project is to produce multimodal aspects I hope to:

  1. Capture daily videos reflection that track my changes in behavior (participation & attention), needs, wants, interpretations, and emotions. (which will be posted on openlab e-portfolio by the end of each day for the 2 weeks)
  2. Photographs that highlight how I spend my time in being ‚Äėunavailable‚Äô. Which will be accompanied with short captions/posts as to explain the thoughts and noticed changes. **all which will include hyperlinks to sources that either support or argue against points** (which will be posted on openlab e-portfolio by the end of the day)
  3. PowerPoint presentation at the end of experiment to showcase learnt experiences, changes, and understandings of how unavailability effects more than what we think it does.
  4. In its entirety, answer what I have found the answer to be for the question: ‚ÄúWhat does it mean to be unavailable?‚ÄĚ

Target Questions for Daily Vlogs:

  1. How are you feeling today without your online presence?
  2. Have you noticed a change in yourself?
  3. How has your relationship with your smart device changed?
  4. What other activities have you been participating in?
  5. How has your attention shifted? Has it shifted?
  6. Do you appreciate the new found freedom that comes along with not participating in online social media networking sites?
  7. What is the biggest and hardest part of this transition?

Projected Timeline:

Initial starting date- TBA

  • First two weeks – document and capture the ‚Äėunavailable‚Äô time period. Keep detailed records in reflections that will allow myself to compile an archive as to which draw information from for film.
  • After initial steps are taken next step will be to begin the editing process as to allow enough time to properly capture essence of project.
  • Further capture video, composite adequate research which adds to an archive that will support short film and answers the question of unavailability.

Research Materials:

  1. What Does Profile Unavailable Mean on Facebook?
  2. 7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space
  3. Get Off The Internet: A Challenge to Reconnect With Yourself
  4. Facebook effects on social distress: Priming with online social networking thoughts can alter the perceived distress due to social exclusion
  5. When Your Smartphone Is Too Smart for Your Own Good: How Social Media Alters Human Relationships
  6. Measuring Emotional Contagion in Social Media
  7. Generation Z: Technology and Social Interest

Resources to be Used: TBA

To Delete or Not to Delete?

It never occurs to us that what we post online sort of remains there…forever? Seems quite dramatic to say that but it is actually not. The age of the internet so to speak has enabled us to recreate ourselves or in other words represent ourselves in the way we want to be seen. When we create an online profile we create a depiction on how we want to be seen: we primp, polish, include, and exclude things about ourselves to coin the identity we want to exude. We brand ourselves in this act. We create a persona or identity so to speak and do all we can to uphold that identity but what we engage or participate in, and these things that we do are always present and will remain a part of ourselves as trace.

Now, in understanding of the internet all that we create, share, and participate online has all contributed to the building of the internet itself. The conversations, both controversial and ¬†agreement has led to the building of communities. Now as I said before, what we post online remains forever. These brands of who we are remain. ¬†“In theory, the right to be forgotten addresses an urgent problem in the digital age: it is very hard to escape your past on the Internet now that every photo, status update, and tweet lives forever in the cloud” (88, Rosen).¬†Over the years people have been against this ‘ploy’ of the internet. It seems as though the only people who have this objection to the duration or longevity of a post are those who post something ridiculously embarrassing or controversial and after realize the effects it causes on either employment or their ‘identity’ so to speak. ¬†People have brought to the table the idea that whatever is posted should have the ability to be deleted…forever.

The golden rule of the internet has and will always be, “if you do not want something seen do not post it”. A simple rule to follow, but however in this day in age everyone feels the need to generate conversation, participate online, and share, share, share! My point is that if there is a right to delete and by delete I mean to erase all trace, meaning all screenshots, shared, and bookmarks of that said image or video then there should be an understanding as to what uploading actually entails. When you post you are explicitly giving permission for people to share, ridicule, or praise. Now that post goes on to create conversation and users and composers go onto create new ideas from that said post. What we contribute to the internet has continued to create more content and stimulate the minds of others. If things had the right to be erased then all that surround them, incorporate them, justify them, and raise because of them would then too be erased. What we post has not only contributed to the branding of who we say to be but also the branding of others and the ideas of others.

As in Cohen and Kenny’s, “The Online Personal Brand” analyzes and synthesizes the ideas that inherently work together in order to create an identity. When I looked upon the social medias I had I realized that I had posted only what I wanted people to see. There were no embarrassing photos. I was polished. I represented myself in the best filter possible. The choice to share only certain things was both a constraint and affordance for me; it also created the opportunity for me to brand myself in such a way that either encourages curiosity or discourages it. The fact of the matter is that this all stems from a legal issue. Defamation of ones character as mentioned in the Carroll chapter is one of the underlining reasons as to why the issue for deletion of online publications has arisen. As we can agree certain issues arise when we post things but the question is under what guidelines or stipulations is it deletion necessary? Is it ever necessary to delete and if we ever delete what does this mean for the internet? Will the internet have less viable sources or ideas in circulation? Does the right to delete create more problems than it solves?¬†

Unavailable.

Throughout the semester we have covered a wide range of topics but in all of them we always seemed to return the topic of availability. We question time and time again that in this day in age is it possible to be unavailable? And what does it actually mean to be unavailable in a world where not being able to reach someone is a sign of tardiness and carelessness.

When thinking of a possible project idea I focused on three main topics that interests me:

  1. Availability
  2. Attention structures
  3. Participation

After focusing in on these three topics I came to realize that they each play a part in tackling the question of, “Do we have the ability to ever become completely unavailable? ” First of all, availability is by far one of the biggest affordances and constraints of the internet.¬†Social media has allowed us to constantly be in touch. We can tag, track, and see when we’ve read each other’s messages. All of these affordances have in a way lead us to always be online even when we aren’t. Being available online means you are expected to participate in conversation both personal and global. As an individual of an online community you have the responsibility to share, comment and create and if you do not you are therefore doing that community a disservice. Your participation is always needed and wanted on both your and your audiences’ end. This want and need to participate ultimately allows us to choose whether we are or are not available. ¬†It also means that you are aware of what is going on around you and you are in a way forced to take part or else you are “creeping”. ¬†Being available has also had an impact in the way we divide our attention. What we focus on and how we focus on these things ultimately effects our participation and our availability. These three concepts all interact and interfere with our ability to actually disconnect and become unavailable in a world that demands availability.

For this project I propose an experiment in which I¬†will¬†purposely disconnect myself from all social media sites that I participate in for two weeks. In those two weeks I will vlog, blog, and capture photographs daily about how I am dealing with not being available online. In tracking this I want to highlight the shift in myself and the transition from an avid online user to someone who has become “unavailable” which will be captured daily via video interviews. Secondly, by conducting research that almost entirely embarks on the premise of availability and the affordances and constraints it entails I will try to also highlight the psychological effects this disconnect has upon an individual such as anxiety, worry, detachment etc. ¬†I hope to ¬†to demonstrate that availability has changed our wants,needs, and interpretations of people, persons, and things. I also hope to answer the question of if we are truly able to become unavailable or not.

Possible questions:

  1. How are you feeling today without your online presence?
  2. Have you noticed a change in yourself?
  3. How has your relationship with your smart device changed?
  4. What will you or have you done to replace the time you spent being available online?
  5. What other activities have you been participating in?
  6. How has your attention shifted? Has it shifted?

Research Materials (thus far):

Cohen & Kenny

Jones & Hanfer

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/profile-unavailable-mean-facebook-72521.html

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/unplug-please/

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/challenge-to-disconnect/

 

**Class Notes**

Focusing on Attention Structures – Jones & Hafner (pg82 – 97)

Key Concepts: 

Multitasking & Partial Attention (82)

“Digital Media and Polyfocality” (83)

“One important though sometimes neglected literacies is this ability to use digital tools to manage, distribute, and focus attention”

Cast switching – switch from one activity to another

Dual activity – paying attention to two important things; switching back and forth

Continual partial attention –¬† constantly but partially, attending to the information from their communication devices, motivated by the fear of ‘missing something’ (82)

Example of Fola 

Analog  Рdoing laundry, watering grass, taking niece to park

Digitally – switching back and forth in tabs

  1. Is this multitasking and what type?
  2. How do we categorize this?
  3. Is this meta-cognitive multitasking?
  4. Does the concept of, “In the background” alter multitasking?
  5. What is considered noise in multitasking?

Managing attention:

  • Making yourself unavailable
  • Get attention when you give attention
  • Always on (Participation and Interaction)

Branching – which involves keeping a goal in mind but allocating time for other things. (84, last paragraph) links to polyfocality( directing attention to more than one focal point) !!Not just in digital spaces!!

Attentional tracks – distribute attention among a variety of different things such as conversations (85)

“Paying attention means more than just saying focusing your mental energy on a particular exchange, remembering who you are talking to and what you are talking about. it also involves sending appropriate signals or feedback to other participants in order to show them what you are paying attention” (85)

Attention Structures (87) –

“Attention structures are the technology means used by people to make sense of the over abundance of information that they face in the digital age” which are effected by the 3 elements :

  1. Historical body – You and Your mind
  2. Interaction order – Your relation with the people around you
  3. discourses in place – The communication tools available in the situation

(overlap in the social action)

“The Attention Economy and Digital Literacies” (90)

Attention economy – where value is created from the exchange of attention and ‘[w]hat matters is seeking, obtaining and paying attention’

  • facilitate participation by creating new channels for distributing attention
  • creates other types values

Illusory attention – give the illusion of personal attention even though they are addressing a large audience.

  • automatic replies
  • away message
  • filtering
  • ‘boomeranging’ (branching)
  • reminders

“Ideas become popular, and then become more popular based on the fact that they are popular in the first place, just like search results on google. Originating a meme, or playing a significant role in its distribution, is one way of attracting attention.” (91)

“In order to attract attention effectively, one also needs to gain some understanding of how social filters (see Chapter 2) function and amplifying information and in distributing and drawing people’s attention to content.” (92)

“while digital media have undoubtedly given people the tools with which attract attention, some are concerned that this is leading people to do ‘anything’ as long as it gets attention.” (92)

Social Media case study (92-93)

Hashtags

  • demands attention
  • enables and localizes participation
  • paying selective attention
  • categories
  1. What type of multitasking device is a hashtag?
  2. How have hashtags, favoriting, bookmarking changed out ability to attention?

Singling out

  • ‘@’ a person, place, or thing
  • gives explicit attention

How to Gain Attention Online (95) –

  • Do some something cool and/or stupid
  • Be controversial
  • Interview cool people;
  • Post pictures and videos;
  • Give your work a great title;
  • Write a guest post for a large blog
  • Leave comments and relevant blogs or social media channels;
  • Create a poll

What different strategies do social media platforms allocate to gain attention?

  • Notification in various places (email, popups, forwarding, etc.)
  • quick, popular, invites participation
  • gets point across by multimodality
  • is not overwhelming

Tracking Viral Visual Images

How does this event generate or incorporate the following topics:

  • Visual rhetoric
  • Emotional appeal
  • Multimodality
  • Circulation
  • Virality
  • Attention
  • Eventfulness
  • Provocativity

Reminders –

  • Keep in mind the Lebduska in mind and be prepared for discussion
  • Check schedule for update
  • ¬†11/3 and 11/5 working on project based work in class
  • Mid-semester reflection 1-2 pages single spaced Document emailed to Professor Belli by sunday night 11/01
  1. How have you developed as a writer, in major, professionally?
  2. How have you grown?
  3. What have your gravitated towards ie. topics?
  4. Are there specific topics you are interested in perusing for final project?

Aylan Kurdi

It was very important to us that we placed Aylan’s death in context, with some serious reporting about what happened to him and the broader picture of current political and social attitudes towards refugees across Europe, particularly in Britain and Germany. I still think it was right to use the pictures, but I might be wrong about that, and I’m aware that good intentions and serious intent are not always enough. РThe Guardian

The boy– Aylan Kurdi¬† is not just ‘the Syrian boy who drowned’ in early September. The context of the image was to illustrate the sadness of the refugee situation. However, it became an outcry for what seems to be all lost children of such tragedies. The author upon our search was not found but what was listed was newspapers from various regions in European that used the photograph when the story first broke, but to our research the first actual person who took and posted the picture could not be found.

The visual imagery appeals to the ethos of a person by not only the raw nature of the image but also the questions it rises such as: how many more children have died this way? and how many of these stories go untold?

This image went viral due to the fact that we believe it contained an innocent child who encapsulates the fight and struggle of the refugee epidemic. It circulated based on this heartbreaking fact that he had not only lost his home but now his life too due to this situation. As the image circulate we attached our own meaning and in doing so create our own story as to why this is relevant to our culture or even why it is relevant to read.

The meanings the picture took on were both negative and positive in cases. For instance, people took the image as a way to be proactive and pay tribute while others created memes mocking and taunting the situation.

When it came to researching the image and story it was shockingly simple due to the fact that all we had to search was ‘Syrian boy drown’, and in a fraction of a second we were flooded with millions of stories and images. This not only shows how much the story circulated and its virality.

Video Platforms Promoting More than Just Virality.

When smart phones came into play so too did the affordance to make and capture video anytime and any where. When social media sites arose so too did the affordance to share those videos instantly. Take for example, in recent updates on Facebook viral videos of the same category can be aggregated together making it easier for Facebookers to watch videos relating to the same topic or theme. This curation generates more viewers and allows for more participation.

Facebook is a multimodal platform. It allows for the sharing of text, image and videos unlike websites such as WorldstarHipHop. Worldstar is a video sharing website essentially like YouTube. It shares videos ranging from talent exposure to criminal and sexual content. However, Worldstar has become the platform for posting violent videos that have been purposely captured. It has become an epidemic in a way; a fight breaks out, the cell phone goes up, and someone yells, “WOORLDDDD STARRR” which indicates that someone is recording with the intention of posting the video on that site. Worldstar unlike YouTube does not censors their content and for this reason it has made them a powerhouse platform. So what is it essentially that has allowed Worldstar to become such a major viral video hosting sensation?

One, the platform hosts some of the rawest, raunchiest, stupidest, and coolest videos to surface on the internet. Secondly, it is the epitome of controversy. The videos posted are ethically and morally provoking and for this reason it has become a platform that people flock to in order to view the latest most provocative video. As mentioned in, Lebduska’s article on Racist Visual Rhetoric, pathos and ethos allows us to attach ourselves to the medium. We feel ethically responsible and even though we become morally currupted from viewing the posts we somehow need to watch them in order to be a part of the conversation and to contribute to the debate against such acts. As in Cohen and Kenny, ” You have to somehow feel that, if you don’t share it, you may be doing someone a disservice by leaving them out of the loop” (117). We take upon ourselves to actively participate and add to the circulation because we feel as though we owe it to other people to see these acts. We share, tag, like, and comment these videos into a viral sensation without truly understanding what in fact they are promoting.

Thirdly, it is a platform that promotes the type of videos it hosts. Violent and sexual content is posted daily and mostly by a younger generation. Those who post these videos are trying to raise eyebrows. They want and crave the attention and will go to far extremes to achieve it. “While digital media have undoubtedly given people the tools with which to attract attention, some are concerned that this is leading people to do ‘anything; as long as it generates attention.’ (Jones and Hanfer, 92). ¬†Even in the example of America’s Funniest Home Videos,¬†viewers purposely sent in videos of sometimes violent accidents all in the hopes of winning the titles of funniest home video.

Platforms like Worldstar promote the violent video it hosts and in a way beg for the participation. Sites such as this allow and urge users to not only to view the video but also create them. You have to ask yourself how far will we go in order to become viral sensation?

 

JUST DO IT!

There is more that what meets the eye with Shia Labeouf’s “Just Do It” viral video. The video has transformed the¬†Nike¬†logo. In this video we are able to see the true effects of circulation of a medium. The video is to say the least subtle and gives a hard push to anyone who has been lazy in following dreams. Mr. LaBeouf,¬†Luke Turner and Nastja S√§de R√∂nkk√∂ created the video with the intention of it being used for transformation. Since then the initial video has been remixed and transformed into various medias ranging from still images to song parodies. These have in turn have lead to more participation and involvement. This only leads to question what mediums have been created in such a way that not only provokes creation but also allows it as a part of its own creation.

http://prezi.com/c09d67nrvtcr/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Does Circulation and Multimodality Define Success of Media?

For the success of any media whether digital or not there needs to be an adequate amount of circulation in order to actively categorize the media as successful. Upon creation of the media the author understand that there must be an attention generating or grabbing component. This component is what increased the chances for circulation. Take for example, the Pepe The Frog Meme, it was created and within a matter of days had spread as far as being adapted into various other scenarios than the first intentional creation. Which also leads me to the point which stipulated that circulation promotes multimodality.

Multimodality is not only the composition of different forms of media, but as I see it ¬†the expansion and recreation of a media into various forms (also can be interpreted as remixes). Both, circulation and multimodality promote and invite an audience in both a social and economic aspect. You have to think of it this way, a print billboard in a dark alley with little to no foot traffic with gain no attention and will not circulate the advertisement however, at the same a billboard in a bright and rather well lit area with enough foot traffic could also face the same problem if the intended media does not generation attention and invites participation also known as the circulation of said media. As mentioned in, Laurie E. Greis’s, Iconographic Tracking: A Digital Research Method for Visual Rhetoric and¬†Circulation¬†Studies, states that, “Studying an image’s eventfulness is also necessary for addressing the complexities of visual production, distribution, and circulation brought on by a viral economy.” (pg 335) In other words, the media itself allows entails the strategies for both commercial use and social experimentation.

In both, Hanfer and Jones, and Cohen and Kenny it became apparent to me that the way by which we sell our creations online is by corresponding to the demands and the usage of our intended online users– marketing and advertising 101, but what is not so obvious is in as mentioned ¬†in Hanfer and Jones the concept of, “Interaction and Involvement” (pg 61). With Web 2.0 came the revolution of users interaction and involvement in online subject matter, “The producer of an image can draw on a range of techniques in order to engage and involve their audience, express power relations, and express modality (how truthful something is…” (pg 61). Here we see how there is a manipulation of sorts in order to promote and circulate a media. As producers of media we play on peoples emotions, strengths, weaknesses, fears, and joys in order to promote and circulate our work. All in the same, ¬†Cohen and Kenny’s chapter, which also is systemic in the sense that it allows their audience to carefully understand the do’s and don’ts of producing a successful meme exemplifies the idea that as creators we must be able to chose wisely how we promote our work in such a way that it circulates and generates noise– in a good way.

We as producers, authors, and writers must understand that the way by which we share our work and enter it into an online society subjects it to the  scrutiny of fame or failure. The success of a media in my interpretation is analyzes and addresses the needs and wants of an audience but does so in a way that it generates equal social  and economic circulation which eventually allows the creation of new and extensions of that said media. Circulation is a vital part to any media as it is to our body. As it is in our body the exchange allows to grow and reap benefits and so too does this component online.

Moving with Images

The Museum of the Moving Image was unlike any other museum that I have been to. The build screamed modern and from the door I could tell would be an interesting experience. Upon entering the building I was fascinated by the vast white space and the lovely wall of flowing food. As I made my way through the first floor I quickly saw that this Museum was set up like a web page. There were videos complied with just enough information that was easy to follow that wasn’t overwhelming. The way the Museum was curated not only made it easy to follow but easy to participate. The interactive components and timeline.

Floor after floor like other museums followed a pattern of theme and artifacts that supported that theme. On the first floor, in the ” How Cats took over the Internet” exhibit I was overwhelmed with joy. Cat memes have always been one of my favorite CAT-egories. The way the museum elaborately followed a timeline and gave detailed description of each made the exhibit very interesting and thorough. Although, I was unable to come up with my own meme, I was in fact able to see one of my favorite memes the ” Grumpy Cat”. Grumpy cat became a viral sensational and has been able to venture from online fame to market value. The inclusion in the timeline only shows how important and groundbreaking the grumpy cat meme really was. It was the first meme in my opinion to be used in more varieties than other memes.

My trip to the Museum was honestly more interesting than I thought it would be. Moving with Images and being able to create my own was truly a wonderful experience. I loved being able to participate and leave being a trace of myself in the exhibit.

NEW ‘MOMENTS’ IN TWITTER

As a non-Twitter Tweeter, I must say that the new feature is quite refreshing. The usual chaos of Twitter has always been a turn off for me. According to, Twitter’s Moments Will To Tame the Chaos, by Farhad Manjoo,

“The feature, called Moments, tries to transform Twitter‚Äôs chaotic timeline into a series of narratives that are easily navigated by people who aren‚Äôt familiar with the service‚Äôs strange rituals.”

Now with this new addition it is easy to filter through the piles of trending content;  at a first glance shines lights on the changes in the filtering process of hashtags and the actual nature of a hashtag, the archiviblity of twitter, the curating of these said moments, and the actual meaning of a moment. However, it does raise the question of how all this content is being complied:

  1. How are these moments being filtered?
  2. Are “moments of the moment” based on the number of tweets?
  3. In what ways does this addition differ from other Social media feeds that offer the same categorical trending feature?
  4. Is this a loss or a gain for Twitter in the sense that they lose their identity of being the social media that allows users to bounce from one topic to another, or is it a gain because it opens to being a more organized and better structured medium?
  5. How are these moments curated and by whom?
  6. Are moments viewed in different ways via different mediums (smart phones vs. computer screens)?
  7. How long do these moments last?
  8. What are the ethical responsibilities of Twitter in this new feature to Tweets and their content?
  9. How has the Terms and Services changed based on this addition? Has it changed?

How do you feel about this new moment in Twitter’s history? Where do you think it goes from here? How long do think it will last? Will Twitter’s Moments only last a moment?