TAKE SAFE SELFIES.

The word ‘selfie’ was known as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013, and since then the selfie phenomenon has ensued. There are so many different ideas on what is considered a selfie and more importantly, how and if it’s considered healthy.

I don’t entirely know where I stand on this topic, but that aside, I am indeed guilty of taking a selfie or two. And usually, when I’m on the quest to take the perfect selfie, I may snap a few more photos than the one you see posted online. For some bizarre reason, this is what people see as a huge problem in the world of selfie-taking. Because, you know, it’s not like there were any other photos taken than this one single image of Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of Vogue.

source: http://www.buzznet.com/2013/05/magazine-takeover-jennifer-lawrence/

 

They must’ve taken this photo in one shot, with no vanity or regards for her appearance whatsoever.

So, you get my point. I don’t think that’s a problem. To me, wanting to have a nice photo of yourself is something very liberating and should be celebrated. We live in a world that tells us how we should look and what we should strive to be, and if taking a photo of yourself in spite of all of that, and being proud of it makes you a narcissist? Than we have a very big issue surrounding what people deem to actually be a mental illness.

It really comes back to the whole concept of “the self”. Taking a selfie might seem self-indulgent, but how does this differ from writing a blog about yourself? Or writing an autobiography? Whether we like it or not, we are consumed by ourselves, and some of these things are just ways we find our place in the world– or give ourselves a platform to have a place.

In Jill W. Rettburg’s bookSeeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves, she talks about this history of self-portraits and the very first autobiographies. The difference in selfies today than the fragmented self-portrait paintings of the past, is that the camera is no longer a barrier between the subject and the viewer, “the outstretched arm is like a (forced) embrace, placing the viewer between the face of the person photographed and the camera (Warfield, 2014).”

Because of the drastic shift social media has made in society, I think we want people to step into our lives a little bit more. Maybe privacy is definitely not the sanctity it once was, we are now in an age where we want to share. Taking selfies or photos of our everyday, mundane lives and sharing this with the online world creates some kind of link or connection between all of us. While it might not make sense to some older generations, because life’s all a matter of what you’re used to, for us, it’s about communicating and making a connection with others.

Jennifer Saunders says, “Girls are now getting ill because all they spend their lives doing is finding the perfect selfie.” A 2015 study showed that women spend an average 5 hours a week perfecting selfies. “I hate the way it makes girls think they should look,” she said. “That Kim Kardashian look, it’s so automaton.” (Hinde)

Thank you Ms. Saunders for your opinion, and while yes, this survey showed that women between the ages of 16-25 were most obsessed with selfies and spend 16 minutes on one selfie session and repeat this three times a day, there is NO science to show that this behaviour is making us “ill”.

In FACT,  “Researchers from the University of California, Irvine studied college students and found that snapping selfies and sharing images with friends had a positive effect on their psychological and emotional states.” (Holmes)

There are a whole lot of different aspects when it comes to taking a selfie. Confidence and self-gratification mostly come into play. I think it becomes a matter of how this effects you. Getting a number of likes on a photo and some pleasant comments is of course going to boost your confidence, and that’s great. I think it’s only when we let this become a controlling aspect of our moods that there is a problem.

For just one moment though, we need to look outside ourselves. We’re being told that selfies are harmful to ourselves, because as humans, everything is about us. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is affecting others.

“A dolphin has reportedly died in Argentina after beachgoers surrounded the animal and pulled it from the water for photos.
It’s the second dolphin to be killed by selfie-crazed swimmers in a year in the South American country.” (Dengate)

Maybe we need to stop telling everyone how their mental states are at risk because of this selfie-craze, and instead teach them how to not use it as a weapon or means of harming living creatures.

Take safe selfies, don’t harm others in the process.

REFERENCES:

Dengate, Cayla. “Second Baby Dolphin Killed By Selfie-Taking Swimmers In Argentina”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Hinde, Natasha. “Jennifer Saunders Believes Girls’ Quest For The Perfect Selfie Is Making Them ‘Ill'”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Holmes, Lindsay. “Science Says Selfies Can Make You Happier And More Confident”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Rettberg, Jill W. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, 1st ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

ME AND MY PLATFORMS.

Aside from Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, I maintain space in other online platforms: Twitter, Pinterest, etc. But none of these stake a major role in my social media world.

My social media platforms all come together and show my audiences who I am (on the internet). They allow strangers to gain a preconceived idea of who I am and how I present myself. Looking at my Facebook, you’ll see a fairly true version of myself, but mildly toned down. My Tumblr will reflect my brain patterns; colours, images, texts that all resonate with my personality and supply you with a visual version of this. And my Instagram, will provide you with snippets and the highlights of my life. You won’t find the every day, mundane shit on here that you might find on (some peoples’) Facebook.

The way we interact with our audiences and content differs per media platform. That’s what’s so special about putting yourself online… you can do it accordingly.

I said I present a certain dissection of myself on each platform and that’s true, it may cross over, because hey, I am only one person– but I control my media spaces.

INSTAGRAM 2011

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-2-07-32-pm@annikaelisetague

Ok so I was very anti-Instagram for a long time. I just thought it was some new dumb version of Tumblr and I was not about that. But then I finally got on there and saw what it was all about, and let’s face it, Instagram kind of rules the roost these days. Every image we capture has an underlying question:  *will this make a good Insta post?*

You can’t help but have that goal in mind when you take a snap of you and your friends, lounging on a luscious round towel, soaking up some rays and knocking back some coronas. It’s like you’re in one of their ads– and maybe if you post on Instagram and tag them, you could feature on their page?! HOW EXCITING!

I don’t know why we care, I really don’t, but that’s what happens in this space. We get caught up with the other contributors of the Instagram world and we want, we need, the followers, we need the likes. It’s pretty ridiculous when we look at it that way. But that’s how companies have benefited: they advertise. No. Sorry. They get Instagram famous people to advertise. That’s what’s so wild about this world. Yes, there are famous people on Instagram, but Instagram has it’s own realm of famous people. We look at the lives of these people through their Instagram windows and we boil with jealousy– their lives look too perfect, and we want them.

Now, there’s this idea of self-presentation that Goffman (1974) discusses. He divides it into frontstage and backstage performances. Basically, the frontstage forces us to be extremely cautious and guarded in the ways we present our self, and the backstage remains generally less scripted or aware. (Smith & Sanderson 2015,p. 343) “as individuals consider how to self-present, they balance both individual goals and the “self” that they perceive the audience desires”.

This whole concept is extremely relevant in the Instagram world. We put forward a version of ourselves that we think our followers want to see, and what we want them to see. Obviously this space only showcases certain aspects of your life, that’s what it’s designed to do.

I use my Instagram to share pictures of exciting things I’ve been doing– places I’m currently traveling, something funny my friends are doing, a pretty scene I’m experiencing, and of course, OF COURSE, the food that I am eating. Posting photos of yourself is acceptably shameless. No one judges you anymore, because they do it too. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. We’re humans and we’re cruel and we make judgements of people, regardless of how kindhearted we are.

Instagram gives us this individual desire to create an image of who we are, what we do, and how we live our lives. It’s about sharing these aspects of our lives with our audience. Friends and family will appreciate what you do and what you’re posting, because they know you and they’re supposed to care. And then you can break out of this immediate bubble and pierce into the wide realm of Instagram– where anyone cares.

 

REFERENCES:

Reichert Smith, L. and Sanderson, J. (2015). I’m Going to Instagram it! An Analysis of Athlete Self-Presentation on Instagram. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 59(2), pp.342-358.

TUMBLR 2010

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http://www.undergroundmermaid.tumblr.com

I joined the Tumblr world in 2010, and I really had no idea what the hell it was. I had heard a few of my friends talking about this platform, but none of them could really explain it to me and it sounded like a fairly niche world.

But, in a technical nutshell, Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform and a particularly good example of convergence. It is a site that allows more than one type of post: text, quote, images, video, audio etc. (DeMers, 2013)

When I say this space is niche, me and any of my friends who have a Tumblr have a kind of unspoken rule– you don’t talk about Tumblr outside of Tumblr. You just don’t do it. It is a space that can only exist within that space. This is because Tumblr is so intricately personal. It’s about blogging and re-blogging other people’s text posts and images. These micro posts all add up and create a certain aesthetic that represents a small part of who we are. The thing with Tumblr, a lot of these images that we post and share, are extremely vague. It could be the colour combination that attracts your eyes, or the clothes someone in the image is wearing. But you reblog that image for a reason, and usually a subconscious one. These all pile together and create something much bigger.

Tumblr is largely community based. It almost has it’s own sense of humour. So many of the posts and memes that are created on this platform don’t really resonate for those who don’t participate. I mean, now, I have seen a lot of Tumblr originated posts shared on Facebook, and I don’t know what it is, but once they’re removed from Tumblr, the edge is gone. They’re not merely as funny. It is such a unique world to be a part of and only once you’re in it, will you understand.

Tumblr isn’t private but it may as well be. You cannot search an individual based on their name, you must know their URL, and unless they give this to you (fairly unlikely), you must count on getting lucky and stumbling across one’s page. People do not ‘ask’ to follow you– they just do. And no one really cares who follows them (unless it’s their mother– that would be disturbing). It’s a world where we all understand the lack of limitations, how free we can be, how freaky we can be. Only because everyone else is too.

Being in this social media space delivers a sense of freedom to its users. This world is very self-expressionist, and everyone within it knows that. We’re all there for a similar reason–to communicate with or without words, and for catharsis.

 

REFERENCES:

DeMers, J. (2013). How to Use Tumblr for Your Business |. [online] Social Media Examiner. Available at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tumblr-for-business/ [Accessed 16 October. 2016].

FACEBOOK 2008

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-2-08-43-pm

http://www.facebook.com/annikatague

Before I start talking about the widely used Facebook, let me talk about where my social media journey all began.

This was on Myspace in 2006. At the time, I was 11? And now that I say that age out loud (or type it and say it in my head) I understand why everyone around me at the time was terrified of presenting themselves on the internet. This being said, my Myspace didn’t have any photographs of me or talk about my personal information. But there was rumours going around my middle school (and hey, maybe they weren’t rumours at all) that our deputy principle was finding students who were using Myspace underage and reporting to our parents and the police. This terrified me, and at a sleepover one time, I was losing sleep over this and forced my friend to wake up and help me delete my Myspace account.

Now, my usage may have taken a little lull, but by the time I moved to Australia, I reactivated my page and I was back on the web. I spent hours beyond hours designing my profile to look just so, to have a constant and cohesive theme, to express the perfect “aesthetic” that represented me and my interests at that time. It was in about 2008 that most of my American friends had made the shift to Facebook, and in order for me to keep in contact with them, I created an account as well.

It took me a while to really grasp what this platform was about. Why couldn’t I design my page to look pretty? Where could I tell people about my favourite films and books? And why, oh why, couldn’t I have a song to play while people browsed my page? It then became clear to me, that Facebook was more about a means of communication– and this aspect of it functioned far better than Myspace.

“Facebook’s functionality invites users to articulate the more mundane, inconsequential goings-on of everyday life, whereas MySpace was more highly curated.” (Robards 2012, p. 391)
This was true– I was now able to tell all of my Facebook friends that I was about to go to the beach. Because I thought they cared.

“Debra (21), who used Facebook more than MySpace but still maintained her MySpace profile, also commented on the more precise, ‘to the point’ nature of MySpace. Comparing MySpace with Facebook, she explains that ‘MySpace is a lot more . . . “this is who I am”.” (Robards 2012, p. 391).

While this new site allowed me to share every day details with my audience, as opposed to the more physical and visual nature of Myspace, this has shifted over the years.
I have been an active Facebook user for about 8? years now, and I very rarely post a status of my every day activity. Facebook is kind and has a new feature that shares our memories with us– things that happened on that day, however many years ago. I am often reminded of the cringey and unnecessary statuses I posted between the ages of 13-17.

While I have changed on this space over the years, so has my relationship with my audience. My Facebook world used to have no limitations (maybe because I was naive and unaware of them at the time) but now, I am very careful of the language I use and even the posts I like/comment on. I have my father on Facebook, my mother’s best friends, my aunts and uncles, my boyfriend’s mother, father and grandmother.
I can’t talk about my delinquent drinking behaviour or use foul language in inappropriate contexts for a laugh. But more importantly, I don’t want to anymore.

Facebook is a space for me to receive news (it never used to be) and for me to keep in contact with these older (and younger) people in my life. I have to represent the poised and well-behaved Annika that I am (sometimes). Things slip up every now and then, but you know, I like to control my content as much as possible– for the sake of my relationships.

 

REFERNCES:

Robards, B. (2012). Leaving Myspace, joining Facebook: ‘Growing up’ on social network sites. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26(3), pp.385-398.

MY SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNEY.

Here I am, Annika Tague, on my laptop, logged into my WordPress account in order to write this post that I am currently writing. While yes, this site is for bloggers, it’s still within the realm of social media. A world and space that today, we are so deeply immersed in, we forget  it is considered it’s own entity from our real world.

It is a world in which we can choose who we want to be, because we can present ourselves in a very particular way. Our faults don’t have to leak through into this space if we don’t want them to. We have the power to be whatever version of ourselves we like best. And this seems to alter per platform.

Facebook Annika is different to Tumblr Annika who is very, very different to Instagram Annika. They’re all me, but different arteries that supply blood to the same beating heart.

“A personal brand, or brand, in the traditional sense is based on values. It basically means an ensemble of content that we communicate about ourselves, that defines and differentiates us.” (Makkai 2016, p. 101) This is what we do. We create a personal brand for a certain set of audiences. As individuals using social media, we allow certain people to view our different pages. My mother follows me on Instagram. My father has me on Facebook (however, I blocked him from seeing anything I post directly)– neither of them have access to my Tumblr page. Although, there are links on this WordPress account, which I know they have access to, so who really knows what they’ve seen or know about me, hey? Regardless, these spaces are affected by the audiences we allow them to have and the indirect ways that we show our essence.

Over the years, I have added different social media platforms to my ‘collection’ and they have shaped me and the way I present myself through them, and I have allowed myself to shape these pages. It is within these spaces that I communicate myself to a predetermined audience. Privacy settings have allowed me to choose who I share content with and the ways they interact with my posts.

I am me underneath one huge social media umbrella, but it is within each platform that I present a dissected version of myself.

 

REFERENCES:

Makkai, J. (2016). Personal Branding of Contemporary Novelists in the Digital Age. Journal of Media Research, 9, 2(25), pp.100-105.

REGULATING MY MEDIA CONSUMPTION.

Being the youngest child of four (the eldest three all being males) has definitely lowered my levels of regulation on the types of media I have consumed over the years. I don’t think this was done so on purpose, but my parents didn’t have a whole lot of control over the movies I watched when I was younger and in the company of my brothers and their friends. In recent years, I have re-watched the films that I saw many times at a young age and have been knocked over by the amount of crudeness that was in front of me.

Look at ‘Scary Movie’ for instance, definitely up there with a lot of other inappropriate movies– regarding drugs, sex and violence. I think I may have been between the ages of 6 and 8 when I first saw this film. I’m fairly sure my parents were aware that I had seen this movie (only after the fact) and while yes, they may have been uncomfortable about it, what could they do? It wasn’t going to stop me from experiencing these films. And maybe that’s why I’ve always been slightly more mature from a young age. I had seen and experienced things I didn’t really know about or understand, until later in life when they had some relevance to me. It was earlier that I began to see these things, because I was thrown into that media space, with no regulation.

In terms of how the media regulates this kind of consumption, there’s the obvious things– film ratings and recommended viewing audiences, advertisements etc. These all work to a certain degree. But without digging myself into a massive hole, I’ll admit that I have dabbled in illegal downloading of films and music. I don’t anymore, but that’s because of access to new and innovative sites that help prevent pirating.

I am a subscriber to Spotify Premium, which costs me a mere $11.99 a month, directly debited from my account which I hardly even notice. This prevents me from illegally downloading music, there is a such a wide selection on top of my already existing music library that there is basically no need for me to download illegal files. $22,500 per song really ain’t worth it.

Then we’ve got our best friend, Netflix. We are all so so grateful for this creation. It supplies us with a wide arrange of movies (which yes, we all get bored of quite easily) to choose from. It’s the range of genres we have access to that stops us from illegally streaming or downloading (at least for a little bit). I just make sure I get addicted to a new show on there every so often so I don’t stray into the illegal side of things.

The great thing about Netflix and Spotify and all those kinds of sites, is they remember you. You have an account, you listen to certain songs or watch certain documentaries and the website makes a note of this. “Hey Annika, since you watched ‘Stranger Things’, we thought you might like, ‘American Psycho’.” You know what, Netflix, I think you might be right! It’s my media space, it’s a world of my movies and my music. And it’s a perfect way to keep me from dabbling in the illegal stuff.