Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 2)

I started to look at the “social media” aspect of #selfie images and how a lot of the images are taken in bedrooms or other places in the house, often away from any “friends” and then uploaded onto the internet for “friends” to look at, like and comment on which seemed to me a bit anti-social.  I then started looking at how we use social media and found a lot of people update their statuses and interact with people on-line when they are alone, either at home or travelling, either way, not really interacting with any human beings in the real world.  This struck me as such an odd thing to do, speak to people on-line via texting or typing messages back and fore, rather than communicating in a more natural way, like speaking face to face.  Conversing over the internet leaves out a whole lot of other communication skills that we have developed over-time and have began to use without even thinking about it, for example, reading body language.  We can tell when someone is approachable, happy, angry, sad, friendly within seconds, just by our ability to analyse how that person stands, how their arms are positioned, how they lean against something which we loose when using social media.  We also can not establish that persons voice tone, typing makes it harder to convey a sense of feeling and with that, meaning, its harder to decipher a text written in a certain way than someones tone of voice.  We also loose other expressions like those minuscule movements of a persons face which give away boredom or hope.  And then the hands, we use our hands to communicate so much, whether its waving to say “hi” or hold someones hand in a show of sympathy or care, or even when waving them around, gesticulating when we speak, that is lost too.  But then we are still using our hands to communicate to a degree, we are using them to hold our phones, grasp them tightly, hold them high to take #selfies, and to type messages out to our “friends” which then becomes a gesture, we use them more as tools to convey the idea that we are being “social” by using these sites.

I started to look at how we hold our phones and the similarities in hand gestures and realized that they were not so far apart.  I have begun to move away from the Insta-Rips and am now concentrating on taking photos of peoples hands, in the poses we see people holding them in when taking #selfies specially, but without the phone present to see what they would look like.

Below is the first edit I have done.  I have used my friend Alex as a model for me, and have been playing around with crops and whether to include a background or not, so far the white background is my favorite, the black being my second.  I like the uncluttered-ness of the background and the way the focus is all about the hand and nothing else, and I like that the hand is also seeming to “reach-out” from no-where to make contact, much like how social media enables us to reach out and grasp other’s friendship when we are alone.

Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 1)

How many times have you skimmed through your social media newsfeed only to be confronted by yet another selfie of someone standing in their room, pouting into the mirror?  Or been out with friends and gone to speak only to be met with tops of heads, while they are engrossed in their phone?  It seems to happen to me, A LOT, so I’m guessing its happening to most people at some point or other.

This project originated from the #selfie culture that seems to be taking over the internet and newsfeeds on most, if not all, social media.  I began by taking my own selfies and originally wanted to use them to create something but I couldn’t fathom what.  I think part of idea formation for me, especially with this project, was that looking at images of myself was a bit too close to try and decipher what I wanted to do with them, for me they were just me and that was that.  I moved on to looking at items which define a selfie, from mirrors to mobiles and the apps with which we share these images on.  I started to look at other peoples images of #selfies and did a Google search using #selfie as the search term.  I came across a website that groups all images shared on Instagram by the words they are # categorized with and started to filter through them, looking for images where the phone was in the shot, and the image taken in a mirror and started to download them to my computer.  I then went back through them and started an editing process where I started to get rid of background in the images that didn’t really seem that interesting or relevant to what I was trying to focus on.  In the end that just left a lot of arms and hands and phones floating around inside frames….

Voyeurism ad Surveillance – How my project became the Fb Project

I shared with you my ideas about this project in this post and after a lot of thought and experimenting with different ideas I now have a concrete project that I am working on.

I spoke in the last post about Voyeurism, Surveillance, Big Brother and social networking, with ideas to investigate what people share on-line and how people disregard the privacy settings, meaning that whatever they share is not only viewable to their friends but also anyone else who happens to stumble upon their page.  I was quite set on this idea but as time has gone on I have now been thinking about the manner in which we share data and how social networking breeds sharing (and over-sharing) of information we might not necessarily have meant to share to everyone.

I have started to look at the methods we go through when sharing information onto social network sites, in specific, Facebook.  I chose Facebook as it is a common denominator among myself and my friends, there are very few people I know who don’t hold an account.  When looking at this I found that a quarter (approx) of Facebook users fall into the 24 – 34 age bracket (in the UK) and the figure for that group stands at 8178000 (taken from SocialBakers website) which in itself is astonishing.  When you think about it, these figures seem to make sense, this is the age group that first had Facebook (launched 9 years ago, wikipedia ) and it is the age group that have embraced new technology and can understand the potential in social networking, whether it is to keep in contact with friends or use as a tool to market yourself or even play games.

My thoughts and research led me to creating a new Facebook to see what information I needed to give and what information you are likely to share when asked.  I took screen shots of each “Information Field”.  I wasn’t totally aware of why I was doing this but at the time it seemed like a good idea.  I have since gone back to them and kept looking at them and wondering what I could do with them, questioning how we share things, why we share things and the means we have to share things.  It struck me that sharing information on-line was quick and easy, something that we have to do when making purchases, visiting websites and has become part of normal life, it seemed people just clicked and shared because it was so easy.  This train of thought led me back to the book idea, what if I challenge how we share information?  Take it back a step and make it a physical action that requires more than just a click of a button.

I am now looking at those screenshots and formulating an idea which turns Facebook into an actual physical book experience where the viewer of the book is asked to fill in the information required (with a pen or by printing out and sticking photos in etc).  Would they be willing to share the information if they had to think about what they were doing and go through physical motions to do so ?  Will it make people more aware of what they share and who can see it?

Hopefully this project will raise questions of personal security on-line and make people think about what is shared and who with and even the way we share information.  I have always been careful about what is shared and who with, I don’t want my info to be shared with 100 of my friend’s friends and then shared with their friends etc.  I also don’t want this project to be a shocking account of what can be viewed on-line, or become a campaign about internet sharing and safety but I do want to question the means of sharing and how and why we share.

Voyeurism and Surveillance

Our new project, Voyeurism and Surveillance, got given to us a short while ago.  I had been toying with the idea of a Big Brother themed idea, because to me Big Brother is the bridge between the both, it has a voyeuristic feel to it – a social experiment where total strangers enter a house and live together whilst every movement is captured on CCTV and broadcast for the general public to ‘enjoy’ as a tv show, whilst covering the surveillance aspect through the house-mates movements and conversations are picked up and monitored as an experiment.

This moved on to more modern ways of voyeurism and surveillance, the internet and social networking.  It is crazy to see what people upload to social networking sites and what you can find out about someone due to what the put on their ‘Profile Page’ –  a page that tells you about them, their date of birth, family members, where they work, the area they live, the music they like and even hobbies, interests, sexual orientation, whatever they want to share, you, as the viewer, can potentially see.

I originally started looking at people’s profiles that had lots of information viewable (not my actual friends, strangers profiles) and thought about using information that I could find out about that person to create a book about them and all this “found” info but am still unsure of this as I don’t really feel that there is much of a message for the viewer of my work to see.  I did think about internet security and how, even with things in place such as ‘Privacy Settings’ , people didn’t seem to are about what they were sharing and wanted to make people more aware of their internet security and to raise the question’s “Why share?” and “Is it necessary to share this much information?” .  I am still thinking along those lines, and still want to make a book but I’m thinking of pushing this whole concept and idea further in terms of audience participation.  Changing people’s thoughts about internet security and information sharing may not come from just seeing a book full of information I have collected from other people’s profiles, it may come from the processes we go through in sharing information over the internet, it’s so quick and easy to type in something and click a button that we rarely think about it any more, but what if we went back to pens and paper to share information and it became a more physical and thought about process?