Tag Archives: Facebook

Me. Myself. I

28 Oct

An image or a photo capture a moment of time and space that when looked upon in the future remind of us a particular memory of days or years gone by. But, what if those images captured are so much more? What if these images are reflections of the people we wish we were or want to be or once were?

Take a look at the photos on your phone what kind of photos do you have? Do you have a photo of a pet, an old friend, some flowers or scenery, images of a concert you went to? What do these all mean to you? Did you upload them onto Facebook or Instagram? Are they even important?

Our images are reflections of the perceived important things in our lives. But, are they any quality? Palmer (2012) notes that camera phones are associated with more mundane yet intimate photography this is due to their mobile nature and readily available format. We take pictures of anything from the meal we prepared to potential outfits in a store instead of discussing them. In essence, it is far easier to take a picture and send it then try to explain it to someone; this has all become part of a new form of communication or “visual chit-chat”.

Selfie Culture

The Oxford dictionary defines selfies as:

“A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”

So let us delve a little deeper into this camera phone phenomenon and attempt to understand the ‘selfie’ culture. I will be honest with you I am not much of a selfie taker; I am actually really bad at it and find it all a little ridiculous. I was once asked by a friend to take a selfie of the outfit I was going to wear – she helped me pick out jewellery to go with it – and I ended up with a pseudo-awkward picture that wasn’t straight and did me no favours – it has since been deleted.

This made me think a little about the over-indulged and narcissistic culture we all live in. I have lost count of the amount of celebrities popping up on my Instagram and Facebook  with pouty lips and in various states of undress on my news feed and re-gramed by friends on Instagram. I don’t get it.

Rihanna does. She has posted countless selfies to her Instagram including this one:

rihanna_bubble_bath_greece_photo

Palmer (2012) notes the appeal of the iPhones – but this can also include the popular Android phones – camera is the aesthetics and ease of use. The camera creates the idea that the world is readily available and accessible. Whilst accessible this culture has led to a vast array of problems stemming from the abuse of this technology by ‘young people’ – teenagers.

Selfie’s and Sexting

The image of a near naked celebrity and the subsequent proliferation of that image create the illusion that it is okay to post near nude images of one self –perhaps not to everyone but to teens that idolise these celebrities.

Palmer (2012) states the two main purposes for photo apps is to make images more aesthetically or artistically pleasing and to facilitate the distribution of these images. If we look at the example of Snapchat whereby users can take an image or video of themselves and send it, once opened it is then deleted and cannot be ‘retrieved’.

What is most disturbing by the Snapchat trend is the spread of sexual images, the iPhone app although not intended for that purpose seemed like a good idea as the image self-destructs anywhere up to 10 seconds after the picture is opened. The one fatal flaw is that iPhones can take screenshots; even though the sender may get a notification of that happening they are powerless to stop that person then re-distributing the photo.

tech-snapchat-logoSnapchat Logo

Is this all a result of celebrity culture whereby female celebrities are increasingly wearing less and less or is it a result of the immature teenage mind whereby individuals simply do not understand the ramifications of their actions?

We have all heard of the Steubenville case but it isn’t isolated, the images distributed of the drunken semi-nude girl at a party then vilified or worse the girl committing suicide as a result of the subsequent humiliation faced by the girl. But, at what point do we look at the education of young people in understanding the consequences of such actions.

Where do we go from here? Well perhaps it is time we look at the way we use social media in our everyday lives and educate teens more aptly about the dangers of social media.

How we do that is anyone’s guess.

Resources

Palmer, D (2012), ‘iPhone photography: meditating visions of social space’ in L. Hjorth, J.Burgess and I. Richardson (eds) Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, mobile communication and the iPhone, New York and London: Routledge pp85-97

The New Wave

15 Sep

Ten years. A decade. Well just over. That is how long it has taken for mobiles to become a predominant part of our social and cultural spheres. I remember only getting a phone when I was in Year 11 or 16 years of age, tell that to a 16 year old and they would probably look at you as if you are weird or living in the dark ages. I remember the days of organising when to be picked up and having to stick to that time, today I am rarely on time. I mean well but somehow I never get anywhere when I am supposed to. Well, unless it is to work or if I am going to a job interview. My friends have learnt to live with my lateness –sorry!

Mobile technology has developed and is vastly different to the mobiles of the 80s and 90s. The first phone I had was a Nokia 3315 and I will be honest it is still the most reliable phone I ever had. Sure it didn’t have all the mod cons but it lasted for 4 years until I got a new phone for Christmas and it still works to this very day!

nokia3315

I am also very late to the smart phone party, I only upgraded to an iPhone 5 this year and it was only because my trusty Nokia – not the 3315, but the Nokia e72 – stopped charging. You may be reading this and saying I am anti-technology but I am not, I love social media and find myself wasting an increasing amount of time on both Facebook and Instagram.

But, let us rewind a little to understand the history of mobile technology Goggin (2013) notes that media is affected by the mobility of people. People do not tend to stay in the same place so media needs to constantly evolve to meet the needs of people who use media.

In terms of mobile phones they have evolved from being something that looks like it is coming straight out of a science fiction movie to a hand held device. The first phones were like a brick or a heavy boulder; heavy and impractical.

evolution of mobile

As the technology has progressed phones have become lighter and smaller and much easier to carry around, they have also gotten a whole lot cooler and ‘fancier’.

What I mean by fancier is the evolution of the phone from a single use of texting and calls to its use as a transmitter of television and radio via the use of the internet. The mobile telephone today is regarded as essential to social and cultural technology especially for interpersonal communication (Goggin, 2013).

Let’s think about that for a moment our phones have become essential to our interpersonal communication but shouldn’t we just communicate with the person in front of us? One of my personal pet hates is people Facebook messaging each other whilst they are sitting opposite one another or simply having the phone on the table poised to respond to texts as they come in. Why bother to spend time with friends or family if they will be on their phones the entire time? Are we all too busy or self-indulged and narcissistic to simply enjoy one another’s company? There is a term for this and its called phubbing, but we shall not get into it, you can read all about it here.

Goggin (2013) notes that since 2005 3G mobile phones have been used increasingly as a form of mobile TV. These phones have increasingly been target by producers to be capable of holding images and video to engage a new audience.

This is the other issue I have with this new wave of technology with a shift to using the phone to capture ‘moments’  at a concert or festival. Do people actually believe the video they are recording will be quality post event?

holding phone

The IPhone or Samsung of today is now a whole lot smarter than my first phone and I must say I am intrigued to see where else this technology will be taken. 30 years ago I doubt anyone would have envisaged the IPhone or Samsung Galaxy so it will be interesting to see what the next 30 years will bring.

Time will only tell.

Resources

Goggin, G (2013) ‘Changing Media with Mobiles’, in J. Hartley, J.Burgess and A. Bruns (Eds) A companion to new media dynamics London: Blackwell Publising Ltd pp 193-208