Essay

Online media in everyday life

What can we do with online media?

Online media is a tool used to create, share, learn, research, interact and connect. Through the use of blogging, in the course Networked Media at RMIT University students were able to reflect on their usage of online media and how it impacted their everyday lives.

This essay will touch on authoring, publishing and distributing via the online sphere with a focus on blogging and social media. It will identify and evaluate how I specifically use online media as part of the current Web 2.0 online landscape and the social culture of my generation.

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Analysis: Reflection

So, reflecting time.

This blog post will be a reflection of the other analysis blog posts and look at what I can use and work on for my essay.
I’d like to explore why I consume and utilise online media more than I engage or publish on it more in this essay. I will look at when I do publish and distribute and why it ‘makes the cut’ over other thoughts, work or images.

After completing the documentation process, I realise that I’m more likely to post online for work. Additionally, when I’m looking things online or using apps I’m interacting with businesses. Thus, it seems I’m engaging more with businesses that can help me in one way or another rather than my personal social media.

Leading on from this, I could look at the importance of online media and why we think we need it to live. This was evident in my evaluation that I used online media to assist me with things I see as important. I’m not sure how I would be able to do these things without it. This included studying, getting home from a night out and completing work.

The final question I wanted to address in this blog post is: ‘Is your writing critical enough?’. The answer is probably not. I think I touch on key elements but don’t explore them in depth or look at them with a critical perspective, instead of just personal. I will aim to do this more in my essay.

Analysis: Evaluation

In this blog post I will start evaluating my online media use, which will be further explored in the essay.

I consumed, a lot 

Every day I checked my social channels more times than I’d like to admit. Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat was not just my go-to time filler, it was habit. I found myself opening these apps without even making a conscious decision to do so.

I hardly even engaged in these platforms, except for two days where I posted photos on Instagram. I rarely commented on Instagram posts, sent out snapchats or posted status’s. I think the only ‘engagement’ I had with Facebook was clicking attending to a 21st invite. Its strange that while I was so seemingly obsessed with social media, I didn’t actively engage with it.

Other forms of online media I consumed often acted as down time. This included watching TV (on Stan or Netflix) and listening to Spotify. While they could be addicting, I found that I felt like I needed them at the end of a busy day to relax. Reading a book (which I do like doing) and going for a walk seemed like too much effort, but perhaps would have relaxed and calmed me down more.

Distribution isn’t my thing 

I found that I preferred consuming rather than creating content. Even when I did author something, I rarely distributed it. Even when it came to work I completed at my internship, it was distributed online by another party.

I think this and my lack of activity on social media is because I don’t have an urge to engage. But why is this, if I’m supposedly living in a generation obsessed with sharing their every thought and movement online? My friends are the same, most don’t post much except a simply Instagram post every few weeks. Maybe my friends and I over shared when we were younger, who knows, but I definitely think this needs exploring.

I struggle to function without online media 

Wow. That’s a scary thought. However, it is true.

I used it to figure out when my train was coming so I could leave the house at the wright time. I used it to get me home late at night. I used it to pay for food, accomodation, movie tickets, etc. I used it to listen to music, watch tv, relax. I couldn’t complete any of my uni work without it. I used it to plan a trip. I used it to communicate with my friends. I used it to communicate in a professional setting. I used it to take and share photos.

If I did the same documentation process over 7 days but without online media, I wonder how I’d go. Would I get less or more done? Would I fail at life without it? Could I communicate without it? Who knows, maybe I should find out some time.

Analysis: Evidence

Over a period of 7 days in week 5 of the RMIT semester, I documented my online media usage.

The documentation was used to observe and reflect on how I interact with online media, including authoring, publishing and distributing content.

Each day I would reflect on the day before by listing all the online media I used. This included social media, apps, emails – basically anything that used the internet.  To make this process easier I broke the days up by what I did, e.g. on the way to work, at work, on the way home, before dinner, after dinner. This helped me remember each platform I used and why. However, I did not write this out in my blog documentation.

After this process, I would evaluate what I what forms of online media I used the most/were the most helpful to me that day. I would then expand this form, describing what it was, how I used it and why I used it. Often the why came before the how, because it felt more natural that way. I also often used step by step guides or dot points to outline how I used that particular form of online media.

I also mentioned how and if I authored, distributed or published anything using these forms of media. It was rare that I did anything more than engage.

Each blog post had a different focus, which was illustrated through their titles. This allowed me to have a broader understanding of the online media forms I used, as I could look at multiple forms and compare the different reasons I used them.

The documentation will assist me in writing my final essay.

Wednesday: social for business

On Wednesday, I spent the day at work and the night at an event for my Internship.

I used:

  • Emails
  • Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook
  • ANZ GoMoneyAU
  • Uber
  • iMessage & Wattsapp
  • Google

At the event, my role was documenting what was happening via social media. I did this through two Instagram posts and Instagram stories. I also had to reply to any posts or stories where we were mentioned so that we were engaging with our audience.

I posted two Instagrams, one towards the start of the night and one towards the end. This created an introduction and conclusion to the event, which would also provide further context for the stories. To post an Instagram photo I took hundreds of images the company’s iPhone 7, filtered through them to find the ‘shot’, selected it on the app and adjusted the brightness and contrast to make it look more ‘insta ready’. I then added a caption, tagging the company’s we worked with – as you can see  below. I posted it, which made me the author and publisher of the work, even though it was distributed under the company’s Instagram. Therefore, they own it.
We used Instagram because we find that it is the best platform for our demographic: Females aged 25-50 y/o’s interested in fashion.

We hoped by uploading to our Instagram, potential business partners would see that we do events and thus would be great to collaborate with and potential students would perceive us as an education facility that provides great opportunities.

The more we post, we find that we increase our follower account. With that, means frequency and reach within our followers. You never know when a post will suddenly ‘hit’ a follower and cause action.

Tuesday: a bit of this, a bit of that

On Tuesday, I spent the day at my part time retail job at Sportsgirl. I was able to get home to do a little bit of studying and ended the night by going to the movies  with my friends.

I didn’t use many forms of online media. The ones I did use were:

  • Instagram, Snapchat & Facebook
  • Google docs
  • Lido Cinemas website
  • ANZ GoMoney AU
  • iMessage & WhatsApp
  • WordPress

Most of the online media I used on Tuesday were in relation to my social outing. I organised going to the movies on a group WhatApp. I asked if anyone wanted to see Beauty and The Beast since it had just come out. I had a few takers for the 6:30 session at Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn, so that was that.

I decided to book the tickets online since it was a Tuesday, therefore the tickets are cheaper and the film had only just come out. I thought it may have been a busy night.

To buy the tickets I took these steps:

  1. Went to the Lido Cinemas website
  2. Clicked on the link ‘buy tickets’, followed by ‘films + times’ link
  3. Scrolled down to find the session I wanted
  4. Selected 4 concession tickets
  5. Selected our seats
  6. Popped in my card details
  7. Got a confirmation email

Then, I simply messaged ‘done!’ to the group WhatsApp and all participants were ready to go.

Once we were at the cinema, I sent a quick ‘where are you guys at’ message in the WhatsApp to see how far away they were. This is because I don’t like being alone in public and the data usage on my phone was way over the limit – ah, the perks of being a part of the digital generation. Thankfully, they were there within minutes.

I walked up to the booth, showed the lady at the counter the tickets that were attached in the conformational email that was sent and we were off.

Online booking, making the cinema process extremely streamline.

Monday: study time

I spent Monday at home, dedicating my time to finishing an assignment.
I used the following media sources:

  • Looked at Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook throughout the day
  • Checked personal & student emails
  • Went on MyRMIT & blackboard
  • Google search
  • Used Google Scholar & RMIT University Library
  • iMessage & Whatsapp
  • Spotify

The assignment was for my class ‘New perspectives in popular culture’ and was an 1,000 word essay on the exploitation of fans by franchises.

I had already picked my focus: Hollywood film industry. To start work on the assessment I went to google, typed in a very broad term ‘film franchises exploit their fanbase’ and expected to get no results but I actually found some good links with useful information, including a case study – George Lucas and the Star Wars franchise.

I used the knowledge to search for information using the RMIT University Library database and Google Scholar, as my essay was not going seem well informed without scholarly or peer reviewed references. This was a process that took all day, as I had to search variations of phrases I thought would give me the information I needed, then look through the sources, then find something I could reference. Often I couldn’t find anything, so I had to do this process over and over again. Additionally, I kept writing paragraphs and finding out I needed more evidence to back up point.

I used the MyRMIT library search more than Google Scholar because I found it easier to use and I had more confidence in the sources. However, Google Scholar is a good platform to look up the reference you are using to see if/how many people have cited it and therefore get a better grasp of it’s a credible source or not.
It wasn’t due on Monday night so I didn’t submit it straight away. When I did, however, I went to the class’ blackboard portal on MyRMIT, clicked the assessments link which took me to turnitin which is where I uploaded and handed in my assessment. While I authored the essay, I did not publish or distribute it anywhere online, except the turnitin portal.