Connected

‘Twitter connects you with the world!’

 

‘Twitter can be the opening door to the job market!’

 

‘Twitter gives you a voice in the noisy world!’

This has been my rather biased Twitter information in my ALC203 unit concerning digital media. I was definitely persuaded by these arguments, but I was still not completely convinced. Even though the examples of people getting jobs through Twitter was fascinating, I had not myself experienced this connectedness. Until my fourth tweet.

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Screenshot of Twitter post, March 2017

I was tweeting a link to an article by the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler and his phenomenological critique of the non-philosophical connectedness within digital media. And without hashtagging to anything else than the unit, I got a like from someone I did not know. I clicked in to his profile and discovered that he was a filmmaker and a philosopher who had translated several of Stiegler’s works. I instantly felt connected to the world. It was not big, but it certainly opened my eyes. It only took me four tweets to be heard in the noisy digital world by someone of similar interests. The equality within digital media that I reflected upon in my last blog post was rapidly being materialised. How I as a university student could have something to say about technology and French philosophy that a philosopher would ‘like’. This new feeling of connectedness made me reflect upon the meaning of the word in this digital age.

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Connected (https://flic.kr/p/hoAXrY) by Omran Jamal (CC BY 2.0)

Even though Twitter clearly connects you with the globalised world, the connection seems rather distanced. The short film ‘Connected’ by Luke Gilford also reflects upon the meaning of being connected in contemporary society. The film portrays a middle-aged woman feeling lonely and disconnected in the digital world. This leads her to a wellness retreat that is to enrich her mind and soul. Here, ironically she turns to technology to be connected with other people through a device with which she can interact with other people. This irony of technology being the problem and the solution to disconnectedness portrayed in the short film is very essential to how I interpret digital media. While digital media definitely connects people across boarders and class, in this connection, the physical intimacy of being connected to people and to the world seems to vanish.

While Twitter perfectly can fulfil a professional connectedness in the digital and globalised noisy world, I still doubt that it can fulfil a subject constituting connectedness to the world and the people in it.

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Anne Bro 2.0

Week two of my exploration of this frightening online world is unlocked, and as my online activity increases, my online critique proportionately decreases, which puts me in a confusing state of excitement over this enormous pile of possibility that I now see, and frustration that all of my critical reflections about digital media are being confronted.

Two weeks ago, I was only using the digital platforms Facebook and SnapChat, and I was only using them for the purpose of communicating with my friends. When entering the #ALC203 unit, I was to explore different online platforms such as about.meTwitter and LinkedIn by creating profiles to actively be a part of the world, and not just passively observing it. This was so new and artificial to me that I had to write down all the profiles that I had now created, just to remember their names. Hours were spent on these platforms to anthropologically observe how people acted, and to click on all the different features to figure it all out.

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And here I am two weeks in, and I am using the profiles like it is a part of my daily routine. It feels very natural to me, which may be due to the fact that even though I have been avoiding digital medias, I have been growing up in a world where those platforms are an integrated part of the world. I am posting, liking, exploring, and commenting. In other words, I am becoming a part of the Web 2.0 produsage-terminology (Bruns & Smidt 2011) rather that just studying the meaning of it. And I feel engaged in the world.

The English professor of creativity and design, David Gauntlett, is describing my emotion rather sophisticated. As a passive consumer of media platforms such as television, I build upon the sit back and being told-culture, whereas my active use of media platforms such as Twitter is making me a part of the making and doing-culture. By participating in the world, I start to care because I experience how I have a say in the world, even though I do not have a degree jet. Gauntlett goes as far as saying that because of this change of culture, digital media can have a positive effect on major issues like global warming. If citizens become active citizens who feel engaged in the world, they are more likely to care about global warming and hence make an effort to find ideas of solutions, because they can contribute to the world as well as experts can. Even though I think this theory seems to simplify complex structures, I admire the equality in society that the theory builds upon.

With this being said, I am still concerned with some of the more philosophical consequences of digital media. Having seen the second episode of Black Mirror called ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, where people in a dystopian future live their lives based on digital media, without the ability to escape its manipulative advertisements. Even though the episode might be exaggerated in the prediction about the future, I critically consider the consequences on basing ones life and the interaction with people and society upon social media, which in one way or another inevitably is a business with an agenda.

Without being too critical towards the capitalistic structure within social media, I look forward to be an active part of week three as well.

References:

Bruns, A and Schmidt, J 2011, ‘Produsage: a closer look at continuing developments’, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 3-7

Gauntlett, D, ‘Participation culture, creativity, and social change’, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNqgXbI1_o8 (16.03.2017)

ALC203

This is my first step into the digital age. Of course I am on Facebook, but that is about it. About time maybe as I am a part of the technological generation. But I have been making an afford to stay out of as many social platforms as possible. Until now. In the last two hours, I have quadrupled my social media platforms.

I am rather critical towards the digital arena as you may have noticed if you have discovered my Ed Atkins reference from his artistic film ‘Even Pricks‘ in the profile picture. If you did discover this and are wondering what I am then doing in this world, I will try to explain.

I am undertaking a unit called ALC203 at Deakin University in Melbourne. Here we are to explore digital media by interactively being a part of its mysterious world. Yes, I have independently chosen to undertake this unit. And yes, I am a bit afraid of what I have gotten myself into. But I think that my critical mindset can have a positive influence on this unit as well as I think the same critical mindset needs to be challenged by this unit.

Looking sceptically forward to research this area first hand!