Public profile, private: Conclusion

So after interviewing the two students from the University of Wollongong, I learnt more on the life of being a Tumblr blogger as well as the lengths people go to keep their “Public blog private.”

Through further research I can conclude that spaces like Tumblr become the dark place –

They are the virtual rabbit holes and seedy undergrounds of the amusement parks and bright cartoon movie premieres – where users play hide and seek with their confessions, simultaneously seeking readership while at the same time hiding their real life identities from scrutiny.

So I guess you could describe Tumblr as “seedy.” It’s a place where people go but don’t want to be known or recognised. Where their thoughts and desires are met – like a shady strip club where you avoid making eye contact in case people know who you are.


This all links to the idea of the ‘Public Sphere’ as Habermas’s concept describes confusions that have plagued progressive social movements. In this instance, the social movement is how hidden we are behind the screen and yet are expected to allow the public to know our absolute self. Because we are all connected through media profiles, it would be obscene to not know who your ‘liking’ or re-blogging from, but within Tumblr, what you post is who the Tumblr sphere see’s you as.

 

Tumblr Universe: Part 3

Tumblr is different from Twitter and Facebook, where individuals write their lives for all to see through personal pictures and status updates. Tumblr is a social media website where people upload and re-blog millions of posts each day.

The second interview was with a male student from the University of Wollongong. To keep the idea of privacy and the public sphere, I have decided to also keep his identity hidden – because hey, if he doesn’t like people knowing his Tumblr, why should I give out his identity on a platform where we write about our thoughts?

After identifying this idea, I compared WordPress and Tumblr, where both media platforms allow an individual the opportunity to write, comment, like, and post texts/images on their own page. But the major difference is still that Tumblr is a platform that society hides from one another.

 


The university student mentions “It got a little to mainstream and I had felt like I had lost my little private hub.” Suspended between real and fake, individuals begin to be caught in time and the digital space waits to be heard and for their identities to take public shape. So in the end, this “hub” is broken down.

Listen to the previous interview here: https://classicmerge.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/tumblr-universe-part-1/

 

 

Tumblr Universe: Part 2

Jürgen Habermas describes the “public sphere” as a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed. Access is guaranteed to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere comes into being in every conversation in which private individuals assemble to form a public body.

The combination of people communicating behind their phone or computer and the one movement of clicking and re-blogging an image is what keeps up their Tumblr page. Given the rapid pace of adoption, there hasn’t been time to consider the privacy challenges raised by those who use the site.

To get a taste of privacy and what affect the public sphere has on how and what we use on our devices, I decided to interview a female Wollongong university student. The interview was conducted to process the information from the previous post that informed readers on what Tumblr is, how privacy is detrimental, and how public blogs are becoming more private.

The confusion of what Tumblr is, is something that often puts the public off from using it. Learning how to re-blog, follow, and heart posts is something that takes time, but by the time you’ve learnt; the effort to edit your own blog theme is what essentially begins to keep you up at night.

So even after putting all this effort in, why do we still hide our Tumblr identity?

 


Keep in touch for the next interview for either an interview that undermines this idea or one that defends this idea that Tumblr has become something that users keep private from the public.

Find the next interview here: https://classicmerge.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/tumblr-universe-part-3/

 

Hiding your public blog

The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some sort of retreat from the world, and man, under the refining influence of culture, has become more sensitive to publicity, so that solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual.

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As the use of online networking has begun to flourish, more and more internet users are able to access social network platforms at anytime, anywhere. However, the risk and concern for an individual’s privacy has increased with this thriving idea and thus causing privacy issues for society. Privacy can mean different things to different people. Some explain it as their right to control what other people know about them. Others believe the right to be left alone to do their own thing or keeping their actions, discussions, movements, and information free from public knowledge. Added to the complexity of defining privacy is the fact that there are different types of privacy; including both bodily privacy, territorial privacy, communications privacy and information privacy.[1]

With this increasing use of media, the content has changed drastically over the years and what we post has become more or less censored. Who view’s our posts can be hand chosen, and who we initially give out our media accounts out to has become a detrimental factor on who we trust. To conduct this idea of privacy and how/who we distribute our media accounts to, I decided to conduct an interview with two university students who are constant users of the media platform, Tumblr.

Tumblr became an infatuation amongst teenagers, especially adolescent females, a few years ago when it first established in 2007. Although not everyone joined the band wagon of re-blogging and liking images and texts, a lot of those who did join the Tumblr sphere often avoided telling people that they were a part of the community.

With more than 42,598,600 posts, the site has made its way into people’s lives worldwide. As societies across the world are increasingly connected to one another through the internet and other technologies; blogs, charts, tweets, wikis, and networking sites are establishing through Tumblr through re-blogging and liking these posts.

David Capece of Fast Company aptly typecasts Tumblr as a hybrid form of social networking, photo sharing and microblogging—something like a lovechild of Twitter, Flickr and Facebook

Much academic work thus far has focussed on television and popular media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, but I seek to open the debate and question the ways in which other forms of social media like Tumblr contribute to the privacy and the public sphere in general.

So stay tuned on the following blog posts on the interviews as to why publishing an individual’s Tumblr page so secretive?

Find the interviews here:

https://classicmerge.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/tumblr-universe-part-1/
https://classicmerge.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/tumblr-universe-part-3/

 


[1] What is Privacy? | State Records of South Australia. 2016. What is Privacy? | State Records of South Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.archives.sa.gov.au/content/what-is-privacy.

Reflecting 9 weeks of BCM

“Blogs are distinguished from other websites in their dynamism, reverse chronological presentation and dominant use of the first person. The term “bloggers” refers primarily to those who write them as opposed to those who read them.” – Historian, Rebecca Blood.[1]

It has taken me 2 years to learn to enjoy writing and keeping my blog up to date, but BCM240 has brought about topics that have intrigued my interest and concerns which in return has made it easier to inform readers of past, present, and future crises. Therefore by having the opportunity to voice my opinion, thoughts, and experiences on topics, that have the chance to change views, I was able to learn to engage with audiences on a deeper level and become a full time blogger. These serious topics have been depicted through my blog “Classic Merge” as an easy read, energetic, and engaging style that has targeted a wide demographic.

Nine weeks into BCM240 and I have learnt more about various audiences, media practices, and regulations than I have thought. By using different scholar resources and media platforms, I was able to engage with my audience on a weekly basis and keep up to date on news that referred back to controversial topics. Rebecca Blood mentions in the book “Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media”[2] that bloggers also use links within their posts. Collectively, blogs and the links that connect them are referred to as the blogosphere, a term clearly derivative of the public sphere. Therefore during the first few weeks of blogging when I referred back to the ideas of television, media audiences, cinemas, thinking spatially, and locating the networked home – which in the end all managed to refer back to one another – I linked back to scholar references and historians for further reassurance. For the first task, I decided to link back two of my blog posts. Because my family comes from a European background, it made it difficult to interview and write exactly what my grandfather’s life was like with/without television; therefore I attached post on the idea of thinking spatially, where I received more views and private feedback on.

“Blogs are popular in part because they enable easy, inexpensive self-publication of content for a potentially vast audience on the World Wide Web” (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus & Wright, 2005)[3]

Blogging has become my own diary that I am able to share with people around the world. By giving me stats, I’m able to review where most of my audience is coming from and adapt to what they want to read. Although the stats give me an indication on where my audience is from, it doesn’t give me information on what they expect from me and my writing style. This was a problem I encountered when a post didn’t have my usual viewers. The anxiety of realising I had to constantly adapt to different readers created more controversial comments that I didn’t allow to be posted when audience members believed statistics didn’t refer to them. After a few relaxing moments I reviewed the comments and learnt to disregard readers who disliked the writing style and kept the stylish theme, easy going writing style, and humorous links to create a relaxing environment.

To get me through the problem I reminded myself that bloggers are driven to document their lives, provide commentary and opinions, express deeply felt emotions, articulate ideas through writing, and form and maintain community forums. To reach out to more of a variety of readers to also overcome the negativity I begun to share my posts on forums and media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where majority of Communication and Media students, as well as Journalism students, communicate. This helped me share my thoughts as well as receive feedback from students who have also completed the tasks.

The feedback given from the first blog tasks gave me more of an idea on how to write and what to link into my posts. Tutor, Stephanie Hanson, mentions “Good use of secondary sources to support your discussion” which gave me more opportunities to be open minded on using scholar sources instead of typical web paged links. Her positive comments reflected on the great mark I received and gave me the confidence to continue on blogging each week. I was fortunate to receive more positive comments on the design layout of the blog, which I happened to have changed the day before. I believe that having a blog that is set out with categories, images and videos, and tags; helps readers to navigate their way through my blog. Not only did my design create positive feedback, but by promoting visitor participation through using forums, community blogs, and media platforms, my readership increased.

With this positive feedback, I aim to achieve higher readership and input more content that links to certain topics throughout BCM. Therefore I believe that the first task of handing in two blog posts has helped me gain confidence into continuing on blogging, sharing, and commenting throughout, and after, my university degree. It has given me the opportunity to learn a different writing style and by having statistical data I have learnt to cope with understanding the needs of worldwide readers.



[1]
Rebecca Blood. 2000. Rebecca’s Pocket. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html. [Accessed 2 October 2016].

[2] Tremayne, M.T, 2006. Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media. 1st ed. University of Texas: Routledge.

[3] Herring, S. C. (2004). Slouching toward the ordinary: Current trends in computer mediated communication. New Media & Society, 6(1), 26-36.

Regulating children of the 21st century

“My kids will never touch this amount of technology” – Georgia Stjelja, future mother of children who will not depend on technology to be entertained.

Not only have I said, liked, and laughed at this comment, but I believe it serves a significance in the kind of regulations of children in the 21st century. Growing up in a European family I was taught and forced to understand rules that stopped me from going over the boundary. These regulations varied from not being allowed to watch Mature Audience movies, to “no phones at the table” – which even at 20 years of age still applies.

Rules such as these have kept our family at bay and respectable to our elders and society. These rules have taught us to listen, respect, and understand those around us. But when individuals come into contact with the online world, do the rules change? Are there even any rules?

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This was another concept my parents put into place when my brother and I first begun using the messenger program, MSN. The use of “stranger danger” was thrown around more often, and the overlooking eyes of my parents started as they sat there on a random night to oversee conversations. So has the use of regulating the use of the internet and technology use improved? Or have people become so used to technology based settings that they have begun overlooking certain circumstances?

On the one hand it can, especially when focused on information technology, provoke utopian visions of a childhood radically unlike anything known before: at ease with arcane knowledge, empowered, connected and freed from the constraints of locality. At the same time these very visions promote fears about the despoliation of childhood and the transformation, for the bad, of relationships between the generations.

Although we tend to see these issues as being new, similar promises and concerns have accompanied each new wave of media technology throughout the past century. From the beginning, technology has created anxiety throughout society, so for children to be adapting and relying on the use of technology, society has slowly become used to the idea – except my parents…

As the Australian government implicated the movement of giving high school students the opportunity to use government funded laptops in school, learning itself changed. But unlike using the computer at home, these laptops had restricted sites and students (me) were often looking for someone to hack the system. The high stakes of losing your laptop were put at risk for 60 minutes of listening to YouTube or logging back into Facebook.

 

Paying attention to the world behind your phone

Where conversation’s now take place in the form of Emojis and limits to 140 characters, our attention span to the outside world has shortened.

Sometimes a photo or video can help prove a point, this one in particular is a great example to reflect on the way society has become accustom to using their phones as an everyday tool.

Beginning with the video shows a powerful message that we have become unrecognisable without our phones; they have officially become apart of who we are and what we do. So how many of us actually pay attention to our surroundings and attentively listen to those in our company?

To gain an understanding on a human’s attention span I decided to watch someone who is constantly on her phone, my mum. Over a two day period I realised how much she is attached to her phone. During the first 24 hours, I didn’t tell her I was watching her so that she wouldn’t subconsciously not touch her phone. I watched her for hours turn over from Candy Crush, to Facebook, to her emails, and back to Facebook.

Although she was constantly looking back and forth from her phone, she was also cooking, working, and cleaning at the same time. (Unfortunately I’m not as good as a multitasker). The next day I explained to her what was happening and as I thought, she hardly touched her phone…instead she turned to her computer to work all day without any distractions.

It was weird to see her change her ways once I told her I would be watching. But if I were to be in her company she will be hearing me instead of listening attentively.


A recent study by Microsoft Corporation, based in Canada, has found this digital lifestyle has made it difficult for us to stay focused, with the human attention span shortening from 12 seconds to eight seconds in more than a decade.

“The findings revealed human attention span has fallen from an average of 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just eight seconds today. Humans now have less of an attention span than a goldfish (nine seconds average)”

Although this is noticeably a negative factor in today’s society, researchers believe the, positive?, is that the ability to multitask has significantly improved.

And yet having the memory of a gold fish has now become a compliment to humans…

The Microsoft study findings coincide with a 2014 study by the British unit of advertising buyer OMD that found the average person shifts their attention between their smartphone, tablet and laptop 21 times in an hour.

This actually got me thinking, even writing this post and reading the findings, I found myself checking my phone for notifications – also because I wanted to stalk a few more people on Instagram…besides the point.

To get this point of attention span across to you on a deeper level, the American Psychological Association researched the affects of attention and driving to distraction. It was said that, whether hand-held or hands-off, their attention to the road drops and driving skills become even worse than if they had too much to drink.

In one study, when drivers talked on a cell phone, their reactions to imperative events (such as braking for a traffic light or a decelerating vehicle) were significantly slower than when they were not talking on the cell phone.

I want to conclude on an emotional video that I hope will get the point of concentrating and focus across whilst driving.


So not only do we have a slower attention than a fish, but we have taught ourselves to depend on our mobile phones to connect with people rather than giving our full attention to not only the world, but our own safety.