Let’s reflect

RESEARCH, REsearch, reSEARCH, research, re s e a r c  h… r     e  s  e a   r c  h.

These thirteen weeks have been interesting, stressful and a learning experience. As I conclude this research paper, I can reflect on the process as a whole.

Overall, it has allowed my abilities as a researcher to develop further than before. This improvement is based on how I tackle sources, including my own primary data (survey) and from there, how I analyse what I have gathered. As a student, this is incredibly valuable as research is so often a requirement. I used both primary and secondary sources as I wanted to have access to as much information as possible, in regard to this topic. Research isn’t as simple as many would assume. Yes, it includes a search engine of some sort but it also includes the use of accountability, flexibility and integrity.

Accountability refers to a researcher’s duty to the public, including one’s stakeholders and the participants when gathering any form of primary data. In my case, I created a survey as a way of gathering primary information. Prior to beginning the survey I attached a greeting which included an introduction, my key contact details (my email: sm918@uowmail.edu.au, twitter handle: @sophemacy and link to my blog: www.sophemacy.wordpress.com) and this short statement – “By beginning this survey, you’re consenting to your answers being used in this research project”. This is important as a researcher as you’re responsible for making your participants aware of how their data is being used and where their information is published. A researcher is also accountable for how their participants react or respond to the findings which makes your contact details vital so communication can occur.

Another research value to consider is flexibility as it is needed as a researcher. Flexibility coincides with a researcher’s ability to adapt when you don’t acquire what you initially thought or anticipated. For instance, I had to be flexible about the number of survey responses I received. As researchers, we can never be certain of an outcome. Despite posting my link onto Twitter and pinning it directly to my page, responses were still coming in slowly. I then posted it to Facebook and the BCM212 moodle page which allowed me to gather more data. However, this resulted in less than twenty responses overall. As Dr. Kate Bowles stated in a lecture, “We need to develop companion skills: adaptability, and ability to work calmly within uncertainty” (2017). Although, I had a limited number of responses, the responses I did have were detailed and gave me the data which I used in my final report. In Tolerating AmbiguityDugan alludes to how we dislike the feeling of “being uncertain” as we see it as a “liability” but ultimately, we can adapt to the circumstances we are given. This is a fundamental part of the researching process. 

Lastly, the use of integrity is fundamental as a researcher builds from the ideas of others. Within the University of Wollongong’s Academic Integrity Policy it states “academic integrity is foundational to the work of the whole academic community, including students, teachers, researchers, coordinators and administrators” (UOW, 2011). We all have a great responsibility to reference and cite our sources. Throughout this process of researching, I used a separate document to reference directly after finding a source. This made it easier to see where I was getting ideas from and each source’s value to my project. To remain ethical, researchers must uphold the value of integrity. 

Initially, I intended to post regular updates via Twitter for my stakeholders but due to the word limit I used this platform (my blog) instead. Other than that, I followed my communication plan and Gantt chart to the best of my ability. I saw the value in following a schedule as it’s difficult to cram researching into your weekly timetable. The results I gathered and interpreted have been essential to my final report. I followed my initial plan for methodology as I used primary data from my survey as well as secondary sources. Creating a survey online via Google Forms allowed it to be spread quite easily, as simple as copy and paste. I promoted my survey to my stakeholders via Twitter and Facebook. This was beneficial to the process as it gave me more time to research as I wasn’t spending time physically handing out sheets of paper and creating pie charts and graphs myself. Google Forms was a great tool as it would automatically summarise my quantitative results.

I plan to remain updated with memetic theory and its evolution. I’m constantly engaging with memes and literature so I’ll continue to make the connection between them both.

Feel free to read my initial proposal if you wish to know how I began this process.

I’d thought I would end with a meme:

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References: 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a ‘Nosedive’ into today’s culture

Black Mirror’s first episode of season three; ‘Nosedive’ discusses the common questions that arise with the growth of technology and increased use of social media.

Why is there such an obsession with our online self rather than our real (offline) self?

The episode begins and we immediately meet Lacie (who is played by Bryce Dallas Howard). A character who is obsessed with achieving a certain aesthetic. It isn’t just Lacie but everyone in society as they rate each other on social media (constantly). This rating affects how one feels about themselves as well as how others perceive them. ‘Nosedive’ is a satirical and dark dystopian story about the potential dangers of creating false online personas. Lacie lives in a narcissist, pastel world that lacks in humanity.

Yes, this is an extreme and fictitious take on today’s social media craze. However, we can all relate. How many times have you scrolled down your Instagram feed and seen food perfectly organised and untouched? We’ve all seen at least one #acaibowl amrite? I love food so I say why not but there is definitely an obsessive nature that comes with creating a perfect online ‘mask’ for yourself. It seems like it would be exhausting to monitor your own self. We all have agency or choice in the matter but that choice can be easily swayed by others and their perception of us.

What mask are you wearing?

A transmedia story

Technology continues to develop and so does the way we engage with our chosen entertainment. This as a result has allowed for the growth of transmedia storytelling. Transmedia storytelling is based on the idea that a single narrative can be bred into a collective. These versions being made onto multiple media platforms. Dr. Pamela Rutledge alludes to the idea of each being a puzzle piece contributing to the storyline as a whole. Daniel Clowes‘ Ghost World is a great example of a piece of transmedia storytelling as it began as a graphic novel and was then adapted into a film.

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Although, the storyline remains, there can be obvious differences from changing the medium (the medium is the message after all). The graphic novel’s colour scheme alone is different from the film. The graphic novel is limited to 3 colours; blue, black and white (see below).

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By translating it to film, realism is achieved and the story becomes more apparent via the perspective of the director, Terry Zwigoff. The film also introduces a new character into the plot line. The character of Seymour personifies common elements seen in the graphic novel. Seymour is fundamental to Enid’s characterisation and ongoing development as the protagonist. Henry Jenkins says an ‘ideal‘ transmedia story allows for “each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” The character of Seymour is the “unique contribution” the film needs for the storyline to thrive on screen.

This additional medium enhances how the audience engages with the text, one can choose whether they want to read or watch Ghost World. Despite the original form being the graphic novel, the film allows the story to mature further. A story is no longer restricted to the one medium but many through the act of transmedia storytelling.

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Ermahgerd?

Fame is an unusual concept based on how society values you. Actors, musicians and the incredibly wealthy are who we see to be ‘famous’. The idea of fame seems to be attractive to the general public, but once you’ve got fame does one still want it? Even as a meme star?

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Reddit, the home to many, many, maannnny memes allows everyday people to be “blessed by the meme gods” and receive widespread attention across the internet. The Ermahgerd Girl is a key example of the consequences of being the face of a meme. Maggie Goldenberger was doing what most 23 year olds do – travelling the world when her face begun to spread across the world wide web. This circulation led to new versions being made, from ERMAHGERD GERSBERMS to popular culture classics such as BERTMERNA new language was formed, using an uncommon “R” sound.

[This week’s reading] Vanity Fair concluded with the fact that Goldenberger felt delighted by the internet “laughing with her at the obviously ridiculous character she was playing—not at her” as well as the great feeling of nostalgia. However, Goldenberger was shocked that many years later she was photographed again, not as a character but of herself whilst holidaying in Hawaii.

[side-note: go Goldenberger for always being on holiday]

This picture under took the same process of circulation but with her real name attached. The picture was getting negatively attacked by internet users and continued to widely spread. This is when the internet ruins its own greatness as all the unnecessary negativity holds power.

So I ask, would you like to be the face of a meme like Goldenberger or these guys?

It seems the ultimate meme formula includes a relatable image to interpret, the ability to caption that image and the image’s durability; to remade over and over.

I re-created The Ermahgerd Girl meme to reflect today’s context:

 

 

To be or not to be?

Citizen journalism allows for ordinary people, like you or I to be content producers with no gatekeepers required.

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With this in mind, would you be a citizen journalist or are you already?

The internet has allowed a wonderful power shift to occur within this age of information. Content can be watched, read and engaged with from a range of devices. It is no longer a case of restricting yourself to watching the typical six o’clock news on a television but a choice of what, where and who. Speaking for myself, I mostly read my news from Twitter or from online publications. Content made from either @internet_user99 or The New York Times can be equally relevant.

The reliance on citizen journalism is absolute as the public can spread necessary information to each other without forced agenda or financial incentives. Jeff Deutchman, the director of 11/4/08 said “…there is something really interesting about the level of democracy involved in using crowd-sourced footage.” In his film 11/4/08, Deutchman used crowd-sourced footage to justify the documentary’s purpose; to show the direct result of Barack Obama getting elected as the 44th President of the United States.

Deutchman alluded to the fact that filmmaking is no longer as traditional as a “top-down structure where the director is in control” but a form of collaboration with the public, including citizen journalists. Both film-makers and journalists record culture and reflect upon it whilst citizen journalists are figures of culture.

Moral of the story, the internet is the best as it allows for citizen journalism to thrive (and because it’s home to the dankest memes).

 

References:

Image: Feel free to click on the image and it will direct to the source

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“The notion of glitch is also present in other realms of contemporary culture, where the reuse and remix of existing elements into something new is fundamental.”

Have you ever been in the process of crafting something when an aspect goes wrong but somehow you enjoy it more than your initial idea?

*cue the introduction into  _-_/G  L !TcH..> art *

Which piece do you find more aesthetically pleasing? (see below).

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’13’ courts 01 (2007-2012) Ward Roberts 
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1947 film noir, Nora Prentiss glitch by Hugh Manon

What about now…

Is your answer still the same?

A reinvention of the original image is made. This as a result changes the definition of its initial art-form (from photography to glitch art). It is no longer simply a photograph but now a short animation with multiple digital layers. The aesthetics have also altered, from pastels to several colour schemes. The still image is now brought to life through its conversion into a different medium. By changing mediums, the piece itself has differing effects on you. As an image – there is no interaction but as an animation the audience are active observers.

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I’ve made my own piece of glitch art (below). Initially, it was a painting from many centuries ago and now it’s transformed into a digital animation within the present century.

Tweet me @sophemacy what you think.

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