Media is quite often analysed in its influence on people, critiqued on its effect on us. What Gauntlett and few other professionals analyse is the opportunities media offers for us, in the process of authoring, publishing and distributing. This perspective looks at media “as triggers for experience” (Gauntlett 2015). Depending on how well we learn to use media depends on the outcome it has for us, as it can both “enrich and complicate our lives,” as Eugene (2012) suggests. Observing online media especially with an open mind is crucial from this perspective, to look beyond what manipulates and alters us, but instead the positive contingencies it offers. Distancing oneself from the personal impact that our changing online culture has can be difficult with the mass amount of content being circulated. Learning about digital literacies and practices is the difference being empowered and manipulated in the online world.
I created a blog through wordpress, that documented my online media interaction and thoughts on what I observed. It has come a long way from the step of creating the blog and writing a bit about myself, to reflecting and critically analyzing my involvement in consuming and creating online media. I documented what I researched and discovered about the rules and cultures of online media, pulling apart blogging tools and laws and thinking critically about what role they play in my own experience. I then kept an online diary in my blog for seven days, keeping track of my what I did in a typical week online. This documentation not only listed what I did online, but how I did it, what exact ways did I produce or consume the media and what was my reasoning. When analysing why I did certain things, I thought about the influencers, what were the catalysts for my reasoning.
My online media use was not what I had predicted of myself exactly. A lot of my online media usage was consumption based, searching specific content such as weather forecasts and topics of interest, as well as mundane scrolling through social media apps, looking at what people I knew and people of high calibre were publishing. My own content publishment was minimal. I publish content on Instagram particularly very rarely, usually of something that I have attended that I am proud to share about. I don’t write a lot of content, most of the media I publish is photos and videos. I thought about this further, and the reasons seem to stem from my attitudes towards people’s opinions. The people consume and respond to media makes me feel self conscious of writing too much of what I truly feel. The thoughts of what they’re thinking, whether they’ve digitally responded to it or not, has my mind churning through possibilities and reasonings. Personally, I perceive my personality and train of thought as quite possibly inquisitive and colourful, worth publishing to be viewed by others. However, the judgement and hyperscale frenzy of online media makes me worried about what response i will get. The high scale sharing of data at a rapid rate, where as soon as it’s uploaded to the online world it can be spread to anyone with access is mammoth publicity.
Upon my research however, I’ve learnt that creating your content and gearing it towards specific audiences (outside people you’ve met in person) can be simpler than first thought, with a little research and practice. Tagging creates “a specific and contextually relevant set of posts” as described by Tom Ewer (2011), which can help users interested in your topics and content find you. It makes your content mean something, categorized so that it is easily accessible amongst the blur of content circulating. This is also specifically important in my field of interest, public relations and marketing. When working with an organization’s online presence and media production, it must be distributed with easily access points to key audiences. It is important to navigate efficiently and find these categories that narrow down what you’re interested in finding. The spur of information is easily categorized through social media apps such as facebook and instagram, simplified amongst the mass of disorganised content streaming wildy.
More specifically in terms of authoring, having a point of difference in an environment that is so easily accessible by so many is difficult. Copyright laws are there to protect original content, but only in certain circumstances. Not many people are well informed about these laws, publishing as they will. It’s only when content gets to a high calibre, shared and consumed by more users does this originality analysis come to play. I find authoring easy enough to do, creating content that is original and appeasing based on my creative background and public relations skills. Publishing is easy enough to learn and do with so many easy access points, such as blogging site, social media portals and news outlets. It is a “revolutionary new trend” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010) that connects with millions of people universally. You can also create your very own website, but the easiest and most widespread way to distribute content is through existing social media and blogging communities, filled with people looking for content that can be found through search terms and categorising.
In conclusion, online media is so dense with opinions and varying practices, it’s important to keep a hold on what you believe is ethical and just, and only authoring and publishing what you wish in the way you wish, as the online sphere allows it. Though I understand distribution well, I feel my experience in authorising and publishing on topics more personal and for my own personal benefit is limited. On a professional level, it is very easy to adapt to techniques already used in the industry, but when your personal online authoring may not be monetary, rather just informative or entertaining, high level influence can be difficult. Sometime focussing on your online presence can take you away from your true feelings and attitudes, as you start to look at what others, other marketable, profiting spheres. I’ve learnt that online media can be successfully distributed with positive personal gain, when approached with caution and wider knowledge. Experience and practice is key to receiving maximum gain.
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Siapera, Eugene. Understanding New Media. London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications, 2012. Print. (p.2-16)