‘Signed Off’ Final Presentation


Social medias are websites or in the recent years’ applications that allow users to create, share, and participate in online social networks. Users invest time and money into building their presence online, and continuously pour efforts into perfecting that presence and drawing attention to it. Jobs have arisen due to the demand of strategies on how to the best encourage participation and attract attention in online social media sites for companies and their products. With social media now being such an important part of life with human growth, interaction, development, and relationships all at its feet; the question arises of how does it affect us arises?

‘Signed off’, is a final project experiment which I subjugated myself to undergo. The task of the experimental project embarked on the basis in which I, Mariah Rajah, would completely and purposefully disconnect myself from all social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Twitter. This experiment hopes to track through daily blog posts, captured video, and photos how the disconnect affects my attention and participation structures, as well as provoke or bring into the light underlying psychological disturbances caused to either emotion or affect during the two-week experiment.

With the support of research material, I hope to prove how social networking sites are a large contributor to the decline in generation Z’s cognitive ability to process, find, and pay to longer forms of  information whether video content or text, to disregard the need to take part in face-to-face contact and interactions, to lack social skills, to display signs of attachment and addiction, to lack the ability to deal with problems without the need for mediation communicative applications, as well as to crave or demand the need for instant gratification in all aspects of life. ‘Signed Off’ hopes to shine light on the ways social media has removed human behaviors from humans and led them to only being to best functioning individuals in online spaces.

Signed Off’ PowerPoint Presentation

Becoming Unavailable


To successfully and adequately capture through daily vlogging reflection and blog posts how ‘unavailability’ from social media networking sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram strongly affect a person’s’ 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’s e-portfolio site.


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.


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.


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 ‘unavailable’. 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: “What does it mean to be unavailable?”

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 ‘unavailable’ 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

**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  – doing 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)


  • 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?