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Video Making: Treading The Well Worn Track.

For the focus of my most recent video, I opted to analyse a civil liberty that is becoming increasingly crucial in a progressively volatile world, online activism. The video conducts an examination into some of the challenges and possibilities that a virtual platform presents to those driving social change.

My journey began amid the vast shelves of Deakin University’s online library. A simple search turned over hundreds of resources on various aspects of digital activism, briefly skimming through the titles, I chose my favorites. The remainder of my day was then spent lounging outside in the afternoon sun, highlighting, note-taking and sipping on icy cold beverages (water only).

For the next stage I took to social media, tweeting out to peers, eager to hear any examples of online activism they’d come across in their studies. Receiving a tentative response, I continued on with my research, finding various materials, TedTalks, discussion panels and even some past student videos covering the topic. After days of collating information on the pros and cons of online activism, it was now time for me to condense my findings into four concise points;

  • Accessible Audiences
  • The Corporate Internet
  • Like-minded Collaboration
  • Superficial Engagement

Happily, filming went off without a hitch. Taking only half a day to complete, I was relieved to be so far ahead of schedule. This was shaping up to be the most straight forward assessment yet! (Famous last words anyone?)

That night as I was falling asleep I began to feel unsatisfied. At that point I only had me talking at the camera and I knew, no matter how charismatic my mother told me I was, I needed something more. An interview with an activist! That, my friends, is a bingo.

Naomi Hogan, throughout her lifetime, has advocated for various organisations seeking to bring change to environmental, social and human rights issues. Currently residing in the Northern Territory, Ms Hogan works as a coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance. I was fortunate to chat with Naomi, who shared first hand the benefits and downfalls online media has presented in her line of work. The anecdotal evidence she provided, further enriched the content of the video and my own grasp upon the subject. But in every great story the hero must also face their fair share of adversity. Thus far, my journey to completion of assessment two had been virtually unhindered. That was until we reached the editing stage.

Now for some reason, despite having efficiently made various videos using a skillful combination of iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, for some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to try my hand at editing with Adobe Premiere Pro with only three days to spare. Never before have I encountered a program more user un-friendly than Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Right about now you may be shaking your head or laughing at my foolhardiness (don’t worry, I laughed too…after I finished crying).

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‘Midnight Crisis’ by Alcy Meehan

On the eve of the submission day I conceded my time was being wasted on Premiere Pro. I packed my bags, exported all the work I had done and headed back over to the familiar interface of Movie Maker. In a moment of sleep deprived ingenuity, I realised I could easily animate an opening title on the ever-reliable PowerPoint. It took 5 minutes of minimal effort to create a video that put my hours of Premiere Pro attempts to more shame…as if it were possible.

The road to completion was one fraught with challenges. Whilst I may now be able to boast a more informed understanding of the nuances of online activism, I cannot however do the same for Premiere Pro. I suppose then the moral of this piece is, sometimes it’s ill-advised to choose the path less traveled and if in doubt, trust Microsoft PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker.

Unless anyone else has some suggestions on an editing program?

 

References

ABC News 2017, Netherlands government launches global abortion fun to counter Trump cuts, ABC, 19 Jan 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/netherlands-government-launches-global-abortion-fund/8213744>.

Carty, V 2015, Social movements and new technology, Westview Press, retrieved 19 Jan 2017, Deakin University Library’s Catalog.

Dordevic, J & Zezelj, I 2016, ‘Civic activism online: Making young people dormant or more active in real life?’ Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 70, pp. 113-118, retrieved 19 Jan 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.070

Erkman, M 2014, ‘The dark side of online activism: Swedish right-wing extremist video activism on YouTube’, MedieKultur: Journal of Media & Communication Research, vol. 70, no. 56, pp. 79-99, retrieved on 19 Jan 2017, Communication & Mass Media Complete.

‘Film’ by Douglas Arruda avaliable here under a Creative Commons Attribution.

How social media creates a better world: Jan Rezab at TEDxSSE 2014, YouTube, TedX Talks, 5 May, retrieved on 2 Feb 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcBBHxlH7-w>.

Kimmorley, S 2015, ‘In good company: How Thankyou water got the attention of Australia’s biggest retailers’, Business Insider Australia, 5 May, retrieved 19 Jan 2017, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/in-good-company-how-thankyou-water-got-the-attention-of-australias-biggest-retailers-2015-5>.

Techopedia, 2017, Cyberactivism, Techopedia inc., retrieved on 3 Feb 2017, <https://www.techopedia.com/definition/27973/cyberactivism>.

Terzis, G 2015, ‘Death trends’, Kill your darlings, vol. 22, pp. 9-24, retrieved 19 Jan 2017,

The Stream – Is social media killing online activism? 2016, YouTube, Al Jazeera English, 11 Jan, retrieved 20 Jan 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVagsYL9AsQ>.

MUSIC
Morning Sun
by Nicolai Heidlas Music (CC BY 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas/morning-sun-free-happy-background-music)

Back in Summer – Upbeat Ukulele Background Music
by Nicolai Heidlas Music (CC BY 3.0)

(https://www.soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas/95-bpm-back-in-summer-upbeat-ukulele-background-music)

Swingin’ Jazz – Happy Background Music – Ukulele and Guitar – Jazz / Blues
by Nicolai Heidlas Music (CC BY 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas/jazz-blues-background-music)

Into The Clouds – Background Music
by Nicolai Heidlas Music (CC BY 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas/into-the-clouds-background)

SOUND FX
Smile Ding
by Alex Potter Sound Design (CC BY 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/alex-potter-sound/smile-ding)

Wrong Buzzer Sound Effect
by Jonas Abelsen (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/jonas-abelsen/wrong-buzzer-sound-effect)

Large Group Applause
by RinaldiSound (CC BY-SA 3.0)
(https://www.soundcloud.com/rinaldisound)

Broader Online Activity 

Please see Tiffit Tally.

Why we should stop saying “be yourself” and start saying, “be whichever one of yourselves best suits this situation.” – An analysis.

It’s often said that simply “being yourself” will steer you toward success. I’d get offered that job I want so badly, if only I nailed being myself in the interview. If I remembered to just be myself on the date I’ve got coming up, it could easily develop into something more long term. All those kids in school would totally have wanted to become my best friend if only, you guessed it, I was being myself.

Yet what this ceaselessly advised concept fails to take into consideration is the contextual nature of self-hood. Each of the above scenarios calls upon a different aspect of who I am, a professional, a partner and a friend. I will be the first to acknowledge that in each of these environments my self-presentation is completely transformed. And this, I hope, is something we have all experienced, it’s called social skills. So why do we have more difficulty in an online world, accepting the occurrence of multiple selves as still authentic?

Mazur and Li (2016) argue that we utilise social media to enact public performances of identity. Marshall’s article furthers upon this idea of online performance, indicating ‘what is constructed via Facebook but equally through Twitter is a construction of character for a kind of ritual of the performance of the self’ (2010 p. 40). However Mazur and Li later clarify that these enactments are not counterfeits, but rather selective ‘experiments with facets of themselves and their identity’ (2016, p. 102). And this selectivity is not limited to online, as quoted by the Bard himself, the world is a stage, and we are simply actors in it. Social media does not cause the façade, though perhaps it gives us the tangible evidence of it occurring and that is unsettling. As Marshall states, ‘…these sites and the exchanges that develop on them are extensions in the production of the self…’, these extensions are still us (2010 p. 42).

Contextualising conduct is a difficult concept to accept in a society whose cognitive processes rely on clear labels and neat categorisation. Shaffer and Kipp indicate that as we mature we become more sophisticated self-theorists and are therefore increasingly more comfortable with the grey area that surrounds the malleability of identity across contexts (2010, p. 509). Below is a screenshot of the two main folders on my phone. I’ve divided my accounts into social and professional platforms and whilst these two aspects of my personality are compartmentalised, they’re still both sides of a greater me.  ­

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Screenshot of phone screen.

In April of 2013 Hillary Clinton was quoted in an address to the National Multi-Housing Council saying,

‘You just have to sort of figure out how to… how to balance the public and the private…’ (Wolfgang 2016, para. 6)

This line earnt Clinton a great deal of backlash from news outlets, fueling public perception of the in-authenticity of “crooked Hillary” (Engel 2016; Wolfgang 2016). Yet after analysing my own identity, I’ve come to appreciate Clinton’s words and the need to differentiate between what we keep private and what we allow others to see.

Upon conducting an analysis of my own online identity, I flicked back and forth between my public profiles searching for consistencies. In the end, I surmised into three adjectives the self I present to the public.

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Alcy Meehan‘ created on Venngage.

Active

I try to keep up daily contribution on the Twitter feed, by either posting or participating in conversation threads and ensure I give prompt responses when engaged. Though having only published one blog post, there is room for improvement.

Contained

The platforms that I’ve made public, despite being open for consumption, are all sites that give me inbuilt control of what gets directly connected to my name and homepages. Therefore, they allow me to appear open, but with a great level of control.

Inviting

Whilst I do apply a level of formality on pages such as LinkedIn, more often the tone I adopt is a friendly one, and I usually invite direct discussion with others.

We’re constantly reminded of the permanency of the online world, explained well in this TedTalk. It interested me to see what essence of Alcy a Google search would yield. The first result that appeared was my LinkedIn profile, a comfort to know that if any employees where to be doing research, it would lead them there. Next, I found an array of articles from my local newspaper chronicling my attendance at leadership conventions, thus giving credibility to my leadership experience.

Tweets embedded from @AlcyMeehan profile. 

This brief search turned up quite a positive profile and I owe the absence of incriminating photos or content to my early understanding, in adolescence, of the internet’s immortality. Gabriel’s article challenges the negativity we associate with social media identity, especially in relation to youths cognitive and social growth. It is a populist idea that all teens have a limited capacity to reflect upon and pre-evaluate what they share. Gabriel instead argues, social media encourages early evaluation of self-concept and what identity teens want to project (2014 p. 105). This early understanding, I’ve demonstrated first hand, has now allowed me to continue ahead with a relatively respectable and professional online public identity, free of some great disaster…so far.

Despite all this my analysis did bring to attention the extent to which I undersell my career goal conviction. Adopting indecisive terms such as, “I don’t know what I want to do yet”, “I’m ready for multiple careers”, gave me an air of instability, a repellent for future employers. Therefore, I was prompted to change the language I was use when defining my goals to something more definitive, “I will continue to follow my passion for helping others by working in the field of
Psychology”.

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Screenshot of my about.me page.

Six weeks in and this unit has encouraged me to take a more active awareness in my online presence. Updating my LinkedIn, display pictures and undertaking the follower culls, works toward ensuring I’m putting my best foot forward (it’s the left foot in case you were wondering). And no this isn’t insincere or fake, if I didn’t take a shower for a week or withhold some of the things I’d like to say, I’d never hear the end of it! So please, don’t judge when I add a filter or draft and redraft my tweets online.

(1,033 words, not including citations and captions).

References

Engel, P 2016, ‘Hillary Clinton defends her ‘public and private’ positions on issues’, Business Insider Australia, 10 October, retrieved 6 December 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/hillary-clinton-public-and-private-positions-2016-10?r=US&IR=T>.
Gabriel, F 2014, ‘Sexting, selfies and self-harm: Young people, social media and the performance of self-development’, Media International Australia, vol. 151, pp. 104-12, retrieved 6 December 2016, Sage Journals Online.
‘In the Eyes’ by Chris Combe available here under a Creative Commons Attribution.
‘Juan Enriquez: Your online life, permanent as a tattoo’ 2013, YouTube, TED, 2 May, 5 December 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu1C-oBdsMM&feature=youtu.be>.
Marshall, D 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: Celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, pp. 35-48, doi:10.1080/19392390903519057
Mazur, E & Li, Y 2016, ‘Identity and self-presentation on social networking websites: A comparison of online profiles of Chinese and American emerging adults’, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 101-18, retrieved 6 December 2016, PsycARTICLES.
Shaffer, D & Kipp, K 2010, Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence, 8th edn, Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont,­ CA.
Wolfgang, B 2016, ‘Clinton says she has ‘both a public and a private position’ on Wall Street: WikiLeaks release’, 8 October, retrieved 5 December 2016, <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/8/hillary-clinton-says-she-has-both-public-and-priva/>.

My broader online activity

See Tiffit Tally, please!

Posthumous posting, it’s not only a question of personal ethics and morality.

In June of this year my father underwent an emergency heart surgery, don’t worry he’s fine now. However, in the few days leading up to the operation I had my first taste of mortality. Ironically what unsettled me most during this period of unavoidable “what if” discussions, was when my mother said,

“If something bad does happen we’ll have to get your dad to write down all his social media passwords so we can hold onto them after he’s gone.”

I’m sorry, what?

The idea of commandeering a deceased persons Facebook account was, a thought, I found so incomprehensibly morbid.

Reflecting on it now I see that between us we embodied the polarising sides Coldwell identifies in his article, ‘It divides people on a gut level’ (Coldwell 2013, para. 3). Yes, it had.

Yet the issue of posthumous posting, is not only a question of personal ethics and morality but also of legality. Within its publication the Kentucky Law Journal (2014) highlights the rising discrepancies between legislative law and social media provider’s contracts. When activating a new account we’re required to sign a User Agreement, a document that is often ignored, guilty. Yet within its contents there are terms and conditions that would be violated upon turning a deceased individuals account over to another, or even simply insisting it be left in peace. Because of these conflicts, court orders are repeatedly petitioned between site providers and grieving families (Gaied 2016, p. 281).

Each platform outlines its own policies with respect to post-life online activity. Some media platforms, like Facebook, allow users options to pre-set before death (Facebook Help Centre 2016). Others, such as Twitter, establish blanket rules that ensure users accounts will be deactivated after a specified amount of time (Hollon 2014, p. 1033). There continues to remain numerous grey areas surrounding legal processes concerning ownership of social media content after death. An issue that will need to be resolved as social media continues to become permanently embedded into the human existence.

Journalist Michael Hiscock, predicts that by 2065 Facebook will be overrun with deceased users, truly a ‘digital graveyard’ (Hiscock 2016, para. 4). We’ve certainly entered the digital age if it is now necessary to include in your will, “and in the case of my death I hand over my Snapchat to…”. On that note, be right back, going to go talk to my lawyer to ensure no one gets access to my Tumblr account when I’m gone.

For a comprehensive analysis on the various procedures required for posthumous account deactivation across social media platforms see here.

How do you feel about it?

  • Should a robot keep active for you?
  • Should your sites be deleted?
  • OR should it just remain untouched, in memorial of you?

Comment below.

References
Coldwell, W 2013, ‘Why death is not the end of your social media life’, The Guardian, 18 February, retrieved 1 December 2016, <https://www.theguardian.com/media/shortcuts/2013/feb/18/death-social-media-liveson-deadsocial>.
Facebook Help Centre 2016, Memorialized Accounts, Facebook, retrieved 1 December 2016, <https://www.facebook.com/help/1506822589577997/>.
Gaied, M 2016, ‘Data after death; An examination into heirs’ access to a decedent’s private online account’, Suffolk University Law Review, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 281-300, retrieved 1 December 2016, Legal Source database.
Hollon, J. R 2014, ‘Tweets from the grave: Social media life after death’, Kentucky Law Journal, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 1031-50, retrieved 1 December 2016, Legal Source database.
Hiscock, M 2016, ‘Dead facebook users will soon outnumber the living’, The Loop, 20 June, retrieved 1 December 2016, <http://www.theloop.ca/dead-facebook-users-will-soon-outnumber-the-living/>.
‘The art of social media’ by mkhmarketing available here under a Creative Commons Attribution.