Beginning of the end

This is going to be my finale post for the unit IAB260. Thank you all for coming along on the journey but it is now at the end. When I first started this unit my goal, as stated in my first blog post was to ‘create my own beautiful piece of the internet’ and I think after 14 weeks of various posts and videos; I have completed this. To analyse what I have learnt and how I have progressed in this unit; I have written a short biweekly reflection for the past 14 weeks to understand what my key takeaway from this unit is.  These biweekly reflections will allow me to look at my own use of the content and see how I have gained a better understanding of social technologies and their applications; while analysing my own work in the areas of weaknesses and strengths.

Week 1 & 2

During week 1 and 2, I was unsure of what to expect from this unit, as the idea of moving away from blackboard was completely unheard of. I had never used Google + before and the idea of suddenly relying on it and it being one of the main sources of information terrified me. The idea of not having lecture didn’t scare me as much, as I was used to the Creative Industries where lectures often ended up being combined into my tutorials. During these first two weeks, I spent time trying to wrap my head around the various interfaces of WordPress, Google+ and the unit site. During this time, I created my first blog post, discussing my usual use of technology as a lurker and my lack of understanding of how to create a successful blog. During these two weeks, I struggled with how to reference images and gif’s and the idea of structuring a blog post. If I was to review my time here, I would highlight my weaknesses in writing a blog post and being an active member of the community.

A pie graph showing off my use of Social Media

Week 3 & 4

During this time, I created two blog posts. One was a discussion of my own experiences involving the tutorial topic of Persona’s. The other was a critical reflection on the topic of Online Communities. I had never realized there was a different between the Online Communities and Networked Publics; and this introduction to the area allowed me to gain a depth of knowledge about how people interacted online. The resources provided by the unit site such as Dr Zanna Howard’s video on understanding users allowed me to connect my own knowledge to this area and provided a starting point for my Persona blog post. Both of these blog posts represent my first attempts at critical reflection and as such reflect my early mistakes and learning of how to create this type of blog post. I quickly realized that I felt most comfortable connecting the weekly topic to my own experiences and as such always aimed to include this either in a written or visual format. I feel this is one of my strengths and has allowed me to connect to the audience on a stronger level. I felt that in these early blog posts, I did not always fully analyse the topic to the deepest level and provide my own independent investigation and questioning. I feel if I was to write these blog posts again, I would focus on working on these areas and would spend more time analysing the topic.

Cluster Map for my Facebook data created with Wolfram and Alpha. “Friend Network” by Wolfram Alpha LLC—A Wolfram Research Company from WolframAlpha. BY-NC-SA.

Week 5 & 6

During this time, I created a blog based on the topic provided to me. My topic was disasters and crisis, and how we utilize social media during this time. My blog post focused on my experiences within the 2011 Brisbane Flood and the Bushfires in California in 2014. I felt that my strength within this blog post was the amount of sources I had chosen to use and reflect on my work. I felt that an area, which I could have worked on in this post is my structure. My writing has always been one of the biggest weakness for me and while working on my Critical analyses; I continued to try and constantly gain feedback to push myself to improve. I felt that this was the least enjoyable topic, that I engaged with over the Semester. I would have preferred to study a different topic, which I felt I would have been of more interest to me. This weekly topic for example could have been looking at how professionals in businesses are utilizing social media to construct their look and feel and maybe as our critical reflection could have us create a brand for such a business.

The Wheel of Brisbane during the 2011 floods, a popular tourist attraction. “Wheel of brisbane during 2011 flooding” by PMBO – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Week 7 & 8

During this time, I worked on my persona assignment including a critical analysis on my use of social media. I also created a persona poster and identity map based on my traits, both of these items used my strong design skills. I was extremely pleased with the looked that I ended up creating for both of these items. I felt that they represented me, while also describing my own use of social media and being informative about this information. The part which I struggled with for this assignment was the structure of my critical analysis, I found it extremely difficult to create a ‘flow’ within the piece. If I was to redo my assignment, I would use a better structure for this critical analysis and focus more on the reflection as I really struggled to create thoughtful and insightful discussion for this piece. I also was pleased to receive feedback on some of my earlier pieces and spent time incorporating this feedback to push my reflections up to a higher standard.

Week 9 & 10

During these two weeks, I created a blog post based on the topic of life logging. I really struggled with this post, as while I had a lot to contribute about wearable technology, I struggled to connect my own thoughts to that of the topic question. I thought my strength here was that I approached the topic from a different view point, which meant that my blog post was more interesting but I felt that its structure was also quite weak. In week 12 after listening to the tutorial on structure, I went back and rewrote this post to try and create a better flow throughout it. While I feel it is an improvement on what it was previously; it still is not up to the standard where I am hoping to submit it. To counter my own weaknesses in this area, I will continue to edit and keep working on it. One of my favorite resources from this unit was also featured in this week. This article discussing the Internet of Things and Data, was incredibly interesting and I found it connecting to my own knowledge about the area.

My own way of Lifelogging

Week 11 & 12

My critical analysis for these two weeks was based on the topic of how artists communicate with fans through social media. I chose to focus on the artist Amanda Palmer, as I have followed her story for many years now. This was my favorite topic as I consider myself a creative but I found it incredibly difficult to write about. I found that I had far too many thoughts and opinions on the topic that trying to fit them all in the one blog post did not work successfully. After attending the week 12 tutorial on structure in blog posts, I went through and reviewed the week 12 blog post. I used brainstorming to dilute my ideas down in smaller pieces, allowing me to create connections between thoughts and tie up loose one. I also broke my post up using headings as recommended in the tutorial; allowing people to quickly read through my blog and not be bogged down. I rewrote the conclusion to try and create a better flow within the post, I felt this was successful and allowed me to create a better flowing post. I really struggled with the structure of this blog post and I feel that after a lot of editing, it has finally reached the point where I am comfortable submitting it.

Some of my creative projects from my Week 11 post

Week 13 & 14

During these two weeks, there was a large focus on writing my Finale Critical reflection. I was trying to spend as much time as possible editing, while also creating a detailed and well thought out analysis. I had also been working hard completing the gamification challengers to try and increase my contribution to the community. These quizzes also provide a great chance to test my knowledge and also consider what I had learnt about online communities in this semester. I had a fantastic time doing the scavenger hunt and I love the competition element as well. Below you can find one of the tasks I completed which focused on displaying my key takeaway (How I learnt to stop lurking), while also displaying some of the other stories and topics on my blog.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes from this unit are

  1. Apply analytical and critical thinking skills to understand the way people experience social technologies, including how people construct personal and professional online identities
  2. Assess and critically reflect on social technologies and their applications
  3. Demonstrate broad knowledge of issues and topics related to social technologies and deep knowledge of one or more specific topics
  4. Apply verbal, written and visual communication skills that effectively convey information in social media contexts

I feel I have been able to archive each of the learning outcomes through the combination of completing the weekly tasks and working through the assignments. I have demonstrated analytical and critical thinking skills through my bi-weekly reflective posts. The second learning objective was archived through assignment 1, where I assessed and critically reflect on my own use of social technologies along with their applications. Through commenting on a wide range of topics and discussing issues on the Google+ community, I have been able to show my deep knowledge on topics such as creativity and the idea of delivering technology to disaster areas. The finale learning outcome I have been able to archive through the running of my blog and my active participation within the range of communities involved with this subject. Overall I have been able to increase my learning and complete these objectives.

My video about Gamification 🙂

Weakness

The weaknesses that I found when working in this unit were mainly focused on my own writing skills including the structure and my ability to analyze and be critical. As mentioned during my weekly reflections, I have tried to identify these areas, so that I am able to improve on them. Below I have listed an area of weakness or an area where I wish to improve and the steps I have tried to take throughout the unit to improve on it.

– My weakness of structure, I have tried to improve on by attending the Tutorial on structure and incorporating feedback from my tutors into my posts. I wish the structure tutorial had been held earlier as it was a great asset in thinking about how to write more effectively. To fix this issue, I have started to follow a basic structure for a blog post and have began to break blog posts up using headings.

– The biggest problem I have had with gaining ideas is that I previously have not been using the tool brainstorming. I needed to earlier on in the unit do some preparation before I started to write on a topic, as often I would not have a good flow throughout the piece and would miss the point of the reflection. I feel that by adding some planning my blog posts they will improve and allow me to create a higher quality piece.

– The last area which I do need to improve on is my Analysing skills. By improving on this area and practicing it on resources, it will assist my learning and allow me to improve my understanding of my own work. To further help this, I am taking extra time to try and thoroughly work through the resources to try and push my analyze of them to the highest point possible.

While I feel I have increased my own skills in this area already, I feel that there is still room for improvement. In the areas of weaknesses, I am trying to make improvements to my own skills and knowledge while constantly improving. This unit has provided me with multiple opportunities to practice and develop these skills.

Key Takeaway

My key takeaway from this unit is the confidence of being a more active user of social technologies. I struggled at the beginning to break out of my lurker mold and comment on various posts and discussions but I feel towards the end of the semester, I have been creating successful discussions within the community. For example recently I began a discussion about creativity and how everyone is creative. I felt that this discussion was a great tie in with the Week 10 theme of the maker movement. I also have improved my own ability to communicate through social technology. I felt that the best way to engage with the other students was to be an active contributor to the community and talk to them about something that interests them. I found that fewer people would respond to me creating a comment about my blog post, then if I created a post about the interesting thing I had found. I also found that another great way was to try and comment on as many blogs as possible.

In conclusion

Overall throughout the subject I feel I have learnt more about how communities work along with the effort that it takes to build and maintain one. I feel that this unit has increased my ability to analyse a large amount of information while also being able to link it back to the strong amount of theory. While my weaknesses of writing to a structure and the ability to critically analyse I am still working on, I believe I have improved over the time within the unit. While I have not previously thought of myself as a strong user of social technologies but with the confidence I have gained from this unit. I am much more comfortable talking about various social media topic now and I have increased my knowledge of social technologies.

They don’t know that we are the Media!

With one in four people using social media in 2013, and online communities becoming the common way to interact with fans now; how can artists use Social Media to their advantage and connect with fans. In today’s post, we will have a look at what Social Media is and how artists are using it to create online communities along with being successful through crowdfunding websites. I will also be looking at how an Artist has built an online community and cultivated her brand to be successful in this online world. This will then be concluded with my own experiences as an artist and what my relationship with Social Media is.

What is Social Media?

First of all, let’s do a quick revise of what Social Media is. Jeremiah Osbourne-Gowey defines it at the most basic level a “collection of websites and applications designed to build and enhance online communities for networking and sharing information.”  He then goes on to explain the only difference between talking about “the game” or having friends over to hang out, is that “in social media… these interactions occur online”. Social media includes a range of different websites including “collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia); blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter); social news networking sites (SNS) (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn); content communities (e.g. YouTube); and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life) (Powers, 2014).”  These social interactions through Social Media are incredibly important aspects for an artist and provide a way to directly connect with their fans even when they are physically on the other side of the world.

So what are the benefits of an artist using Social Media?

There are many benefits for utilizing Social Media as an Artist such as the ability to connect to fans and build a community, a way to build a brand and name for themselves, to tell their story and network with other artists. But this doesn’t explain if an Artist can be successful through social media websites and crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter/Patreon or create this sort of community on Social Media. To answer this question, a real life artist and her online community will be discussed.

Patreon_Logo

Patreon Logo by Jack Conte and Sam Yam, CC BY

Who is Amanda Palmer? And why is she important?

Amanda Palmer is an example of how to create and use Social Media as a community to benefit her Artistic practice. She has over 319,000 likes on Facebook and her Twitter account has 78,600 followers. In June 2012, she finished her Kickstarter funded campaign and became the first and only musician to earn over $1,000,000 on Kickstarter. She then finished off with a grand total of $1,192,793.

When asked about why she chose to crowd-source her money, she responded with “I really could see the power of my direct connection with the fans, I just started selling music to them directly…But then when Kickstarter came along, it was a logical next step, because artists were doing this all over the place. And Kickstarter just gave us this legitimized marketplace to do what we were already doing, but with a name and a system everybody can understand.” Amanda also made the comment when speaking about her unusual close relationship with her fans due to her large use of Social media and networks, “In a way, if you look at the whole thing like a real relationship—i.e. the kind of relationship you would have with a lover or husband, or between two people, the parallels are all there. If you’re going to have a real relationship with someone, you need to spend real quality time with them.”

So why is this important?

Amanda Palmer is an Artist who uses Social Media. Her community and fan base are entirely online and follows the idea that “we shouldn’t fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable — and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.” Her website also follows the idea of “pay what you want,” where in her own words she states that “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. I believe that in order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.” While the pay what you want system is unusual and unworkable for some artist, its Amanda Palmer connection to her fans through social media which has allowed her to use it. She utilized blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube and Patrean. She makes daily posts and often responds to fans directly. This idea is what she calls the “Future of Music.”

What other people think of Social Media and its impact on Artists

This idea of being connected straight to fans and utilizing social media follows an unusual approach within the Artistic community. As Carlota Zimmerman states that “if you’re not taking advantage of the myriad of opportunities available to you on social media to discover and promote your brand or voice, and in so doing, generate more resources, you’re only sabotaging your own goals. “ He was amazed in his article at how many people didn’t utilize Social Media to its full potential.

Social Media can also be used to stimulate creativity. In a statement by Kylie Budge (2014), she discusses how “Creativity is stimulated differently for different people, but for some, it is the social aspects of creativity that assist them in feeling inspired and creating new work.” This idea of creativity being stimulated by social media can be applied when discussing artistic practice with either fans or even other artists. That being said, this statement is not applicable for all artists as seen below.

Case against Social Media being used by Artists

While there is much support for using social media, there is also a case against it in how much of a distraction it can be. This is highlighted by J.T Ellison who states in her article, ‘How Social Networking Kills the Creative Spirit, discusses how you may be “forsaking your Muse, taking the easy way out” by using Social Media. She also states that, “I am “friends” with people who are online every single time I open my computer and go to the sites. And I can’t help but wonder – when are they working? When are they feeding the Muse?”

My own experience as an artist

In my experience as an artist, Social Media can be a great hindrance and also a great help. I utilize Tumblr in the promotion of my artistic practice, but use Facebook to be inspired by other Artists and Creatives in my community. I agree with the statement Kylie Budge for this is applicable for my own creativity when I am gathering ideas. Once I have passed this stage, I find I prefer to work in isolation to truly commit myself to the piece I am creating. I also take time out in my week where I disconnect myself from Social Media to focus on my creative side. I have found that while social media can be helpful in the initial creativity stages; I am able to become distracted by it when actually creating the work.

2015-05-06 18.22.09

Some of my own creative work.

Overall

In conclusion, an Artist should be using Social Media to promote their art and create a deeper connection to their fans. I feel that without this, Social Media can be used as a distraction rather then contributing towards creativity. If an Artist wants to use Social Media successfully, they need to create a community around their craft and product through fan interaction and communication with other artists. Without this, an Artist’s use of social media and therefor their community will not be as successful as it could have been. But with the amount of positives benefits to using Social Media outweighing the negatives; this is tool which should be used by all artists.

If you are also looking for another source of inspiration or further information about Amanda, check out Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on The Art of Asking.

A new me, myself and my five other online Identities in an Online Community

UPDATE: This blog post was updated on the 21st of April, to reflect feedback and as I felt that the post lacked a couple of things. I feel I have clarified and addressed some of the confusion about my definitions of Online communities and Networked Publics. I then after reflecting further, re uploaded this as a new post to reflect the amount of changes within this post.

An online community is defined by Jenny Preece in her book, ‘Online Communities’ as “People, who interact socially as they strive to satisfy their own needs or perform special roles, such as leading or moderating. A shared purpose, such as an interest, need, information exchange, or service that provides a reason for the community.” This statement I feel reflects my personal view of what an online community represents. The only part that this statement I feel that it did not comment on is the online element. I feel this is incredibly important as without it, the statement could be applied to any physical club or community.

To qualify as an online community, according to Helen Baxter the community must have a clearly defined purpose, a membership process, terms of use and community rules, members generated content and people.  I feel this accurately describes spaces within Gaming clients such as Blizzard.Net and LOL. I believe that these gaming communities meet all the requirements previously mentioned.

These communities have all the required elements such as a clearly defined purpose, a membership process, terms of use and community rules, members generated content and people. The communities are gatherings of people who play the game and are there to either discuss the game or play it. The membership process is that you have to set up an account and choose a name and avatar which represents you. The terms of use and community rules are set by the game and can be found here for League of Legends and here for Blizzard. The content which is generated by people in the communities range from everything such as Fanart, Cosplay, game replays or videos of matches which have been recorded; even funny conversation involving the game. The more common generated content is usually short replays of specific moments which have been compiled into GIF format or small comics. These can be often found posted on the leagues client in the front page.

Another element which I feel is important when discussing online community, is “Networked Publics”, this is define by Danah Boyd, as “publics that are restructured by networked technologies.” Under this category she defines this area with two qualifying characteristics being “(1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined collective that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice.” She also explains that, “Networked publics serve many of the same functions as other types of publics – they allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and they help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family”.

Both of these statements support my own knowledge and experience in this world of online communities and Networked Publics; this is why I have chosen them to represent and explain my personal views. The conditions mentioned by  Helen Baxter are able to be used when discussing online communities in the examples of DeviantArt, Imgur, Reddit and Instagram. The examples listed are driven by member’s content and as such they are their strongest when they are considered popular and being widely used by people. Without this regular updating content, these communities would be useless and would quickly become forgotten. This connects to one of the qualifying elements mentioned by Helen Baxter with the member’s generated content being one of the most important elements in an online community.

ClusterMap

“Friend Network” by Wolfram Alpha LLC—A Wolfram Research Company from WolframAlpha. BY-NC-SA.

Cluster Map for my Facebook data created with Wolfram and Alpha

In my online usage, while I do not have a strong professional online identity, I have a created an identity by being a part of multiple online communities in the gaming world. I am a social gamer who has created an identity in this online community and is considered an ‘Passive lurker’. A Passive Lurker is defined by Elliot Volkman as “Members who return to a community to consume the content, discussions, and advice but do not contribute or share any of it.”  I do not often post my own content but I often read posts and will comment if I feel I can add to the conversation. The communities I participate in, are the Steam, Battle.Net/Blizzard, League of Legends and Smite communities. I prefer often to have an anonymous identity in these games with only my basic name displayed on my profile. All the before mentioned communities have an in built chat feature within the games, which allows for socialisation in and out of games. This element of chat is able to be connected to the 2nd qualifying factor mentioned by Danah Boyd. As these communities provide a way for myself to communicate with multiple friends without physical being there with them.

LOLMy League of Legends client displaying the amount of information a person can see and how I am able to communicate with friends in this community.LOL2

I also use Facebook, Skype and Tumblr on a fairly regular bases with my Google+ usage slowly increasing with this unit. Within these sites I generally maintain a slightly less anonymous profile but I still tend to be fairly reluctant in providing information about myself. I am a part of a couple of large Facebook groups for my various interests. Within these communities I tend to be an Active participant, with updating content to them on a semi regular bases. I usually post photos or statuses about myself in relation to the community, much more regularly then to my own public profile. Many of these groups have a wonderful sense of community and often members will support each other heavily while being a source of comfort for the participants. I think this is the main reason why  I post more content to these groups, because they provide a better source of  support and there is less judgement. Within these sites, I find that the users and community are more supportive and friendly; while in my experience, the gaming community is harsher due to the sense of anonymous and competitiveness that is seen in this area. I am more comfortable within the Facebook and skype community due to the fact that I am often able to see or hear the person I am talking to; through photos, videos and calls. I prefer this element of face to face interaction rather than trying to communicate through a character or avatar.

  vs

Warring Kingdoms Katarina Render League of Legends by RikkuTenjouSs, CC BY

Both of these images represent a part of me.  The first one is the character that I play the most of in League of Legends. The other is a photo that a friend took of me, while I was on exchange.

Overall I have enjoyed my time in these communities and I look forward to engaging further while learning more about this area. What does everyone else think? Do people agree with my views? Why? Or why not? I am looking forward to reading other people’s posts on the matter.

Lifelogging and Wearable Technology-Science Fiction Trend or something more?

Lifelogging sounds like a word out of an old science fiction movie but what does it actually mean and how might it be something that I complete without even realizing it. The week I am looking at whether I am creating an accidental lifelog through my own usage of social media. I will also be touching on the idea of the connection between wearable technology and lifelogging, along with what my interest in wearable technology is. While these areas all sound like something from the future, they might actually become a part of your daily life sooner then you think.

What is a Lifelog?

To start off, lets first define what a Lifelog is. When I first heard the word lifelog, I thought more of somebody using a Fitbit or Google Glass to track their health progress but this idea does not cover fully what a lifelog is. A lifelog is defined by Cathal Gurrin and Yang Yang as “the process that records personal data generated from everyday life activities.” This definition while covering what my initial idea of lifelogging is about; describes a much more broader definition, which is not limited by technology.

So how does this tie into Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology is considered one of the easiest ways for a person to lifelog their experiences. An article in the Economist discusses how a pin sized camera (Narrative Clip) is able to “take photographs every 30 seconds, ensuring that no experience–however mundane–will go undocumented.” This idea is potentially terrifying to some users but highlights a way for the user to lifelog their own life. With these sort of products on the market, Wearable technology is quickly becoming the easiest way for a user to keep a lifelog and previously where a physical journal might have been used, an electronic one is taking its place.

What does Wearable Technology mean to me?

I am fascinated by the area of Wearable Technology and I am always exploring it within my university degree and my own time. My love affair with Wearable technology started when I was a first year at university. My very first assessment was a report on a new area which was emerging around this time. There was multiple options to choose from but one of those caught my eye, that being The Pebble. The Pebble was one of the first Wearable technology watches to break into the main stream market. In 2012, they completed the first Kickstarter of their kind earning the spot for most funded Kickstarter ever, this was then taken over by their latest Kickstarter this year for Pebble Time. Even still the original Pebble, still currently sits in third place for the most funded Kickstarter. While I never have used a Pebble, I liked the idea of viewing the information quickly and easily, while also being able to use my phone hands free

What do I use to lifelog my own life?

This connection to Wearable technology has meant that when the topic of Quantified self-came up, I found it incredibly interesting. While I do not actively use wearable technology and as an extension, social media to create a record of myself. I have previously read about the idea and always found it fascinating. I  have kept various creativity journals either technology based or non; and currently use photos as a way of observing and recording events that happen in my life. Often these photos are not connected or posted to social media. Instead I have physically printed and posted them on my own map of the world; usually to represent where this photo was taken or the nationality of the person in the photo. As I have found I have a poor memory and struggle to remember things, these photos represent moments where I remember being happy and have a fantastic memory of that time.

2015-04-26 15.40.35

My own map showing off various photos

How wearable technology can be used in lifelogging

This is similar to products mentioned by Mike Elgan, who discusses a range of applications and various items which may be used in lifelogging. While I do not utilize the GPS tracking on my phone, my camera acts in a similar vain to the idea that the Narrative Clip has. Instead of having to physically take a picture, it is a device which records whatever it views from its spot on your clothing. The reason lifelogging is becoming appealing as Mike states, “is that good memories are pleasurable and lifelogging improves them.”

Issues with Lifelogging

One of the major reasons I do not share these photos with my social media account is privacy issues, as I tend to be a private person the idea of someone viewing these special moments without my permission, makes me uncomfortable. As I do occasionally use Facebook to post photos, I looked up their privacy policy to gain a better understanding of who might be able to access my photos and personal details. Facebook’s privacy policy states “We want our advertising to be as relevant and interesting as the other information you find on our Services. With this in mind, we use all of the information we have about you to show you relevant ads.” This concerns me a great deal and it is one of the reasons, that I have been slowly moving away from Facebook; as I dislike the idea of somebody being able to look at my personal information without my permission. I also currently use Dropbox, so to make sure that my privacy was being protected by them, I looked up their private policy as well. Dropbox’s privacy policy states that “When you use our Services, you provide us with things like your files, content, email messages, contacts and so on (“Your Stuff”). Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your Stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Services.” This I was pleasantly surprised to read, as it gave me a lot more confidence about what they were doing in relation to my privacy.

The issues of Privacy is a large issue when it comes Lifelogging; as is stated by Nigel Shadbolt who says  “there are likely to be privacy concerns about lifelogging practice and technology, and indeed these concerns are already being raised.” This statement is continued and expanded on later in the report where the author states that “LifeLog’s difficulties are indicative of the strength of privacy fears when the funding body is not trusted by a potential user community.” As I do not trust the Facebook Company, I would prefer to keep my own Lifelog minus the social and collaborative aspect of this area. But as I feel lot more confident about what Dropbox is doing with my files, I will continue to use them until I see evidence that this is no longer the case. I also further expanded my experience in the area, when I had a go at lifelogging for an entire day.

 Wearable Technology-Week 9-graph

A day in the life

To gain an experience of lifelogging, I recorded a full day in my life as I went about doing various jobs and studying. The small info-graphic demonstrates what went on in this day for me, while I did not post a picture or create a post to Facebook as such, I did utilize incidental logging, as I posted in the community about a funny video. I also incited conversations with various members of the community, asking about how their day was and what they thought of some of the recent game play changes. While this does not so much create a log, it does document that I spoke with these people and created a conversation point within the community. This sort of log does not count as a quantifying activity, as it does not provide any sort of data about what was happening at the time nor does it assist in collecting data about inputs, my current states and my mental or physical performance. If I had started a conversation about how I was feeling and had recorded it, this would have qualified. Instead the conversation was about a funny video and what was happening in their lives, while this may count as a qualified for them as they are discussing the events that happened in their life; it does not for me.

Conclusion

Within the area of lifelogging,  I do not use social media so much to keep a record as I prefer a hard copy of my own lifelog rather than a technological one. Any logging which is done on this site is often through the tagging of other people; often tagging me in their photos then through my own actions. When I do keep a lifelog, I prefer to use the basic non technological drawing book and often will communicate my feelings and emotions rather then my current physical state. I also don’t mind the ideas of wearable technology using lifelogging; but I have concerns over the privacy issues which arise from this idea. While lifelogging is unlikely to be for everyone, it is becoming more and more popular in the world today.

So how about that Weather?

As a Brisbane girl, I lived through and experienced firsthand what a natural disaster could do to my local city. I mean literally firsthand, my friend’s house was flooded and we were required to become the dubbed “Mud Army” mentioned by the Brisbane Times. When I personally went through this natural disaster, I often used social media sites such as Facebook and Skype to message my friends and family to ask if they were okay and for me to assure them that I was alright. It was also incredibly handy to have the ability to talk to my friends over such a large distance, without having to endanger myself physically.

The Wheel of Brisbane during the 2011 floods, a popular tourist attraction.

“Wheel of brisbane during 2011 flooding” by PMBO – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A quote from the Australia Government on the topic of Australian Emergency Management discusses how; “Recent disaster events, in Australia and internationally, have demonstrated the importance of social media, not only in delivering vital information to the community during emergency events, but also in strengthening relationships between emergency services and Australian communities. There is also an increasing awareness of the benefits of crowdsourcing, for example, to gain critical intelligence on emergencies and natural disasters.” This quote highlights how important the ability to share information to a large audience in such a short amount of time really is. I also agree with this quote as during my time within this natural disaster; I followed the Queensland Police and Bureau of Metrology on Facebook closely and often checked them for updates. I have continued this trend even after the flood as they often keep me updated on recent events. I like the flow of information which I receive from these pages and will often check the ABC Facebook page to increase my awareness of what is happening in the world.

In the area of communication, Facebook is still proving to be a popular choice due to it’s large amount of users which equal the population of China in size and it’s new tool called “Safety Check.” This tool has been specifically designed to let users know that their loved ones are safe during a natural disaster. If you are located within a certain area during a natural disaster, Facebook will send you a push notification to confirm whether you are safe and after conformation; will automatically send out a message to loved ones and friends to let them know. This is in a similar vain to “Twitter Alerts,” which as is stated by Gabriela Pena, “is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most.” and focuses on providing “accurate information from credible organizations during …natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.”

During other natural Disasters, I have used social media to keep in touch with internal friends and family. Oddly enough when the topic of Natural Disasters was first mentioned I didn’t connect it to the ones I myself had lived through; but with the ones that my international friends or family had gone through. For example; when the large Bushfires hit California in 2014, I was extremely worried for my friend who lived in the local area. By using social Media, I was able to contact him quickly and easily without having to wait weeks or days for a response. I was able to use sites such as ‘Cal Fire’ Website with its RSS feed and Google map tracking to keep track of the fire without ever having to leave Australia.

A picture of the Bushfires. “Colby Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains foothills — as seen from Glendora, California” by Eeeekster- Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This website follows the idea of Development of Opportunity mentioned by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. The California Fire Department has various social media accounts which they often use to provide a large amount of information to the public. This “Information Management” is defined by the Australian Center as to “Collect, process, analyse and disseminate information to …. residents in a timely manner on the impact of the … event, what actions were needed and to use this information as intelligence for the disaster management group.” This idea was also highly effective and well used in the 2011 Brisbane Floods, to allow council to provide accurate information and increase response on all of the social media networks in connection to their page.

Overall the ability to use social media in a natural disaster is incredibly important; especially when you may not be able to physically see the person you are trying to contact. I have utilized social media in the past in such a situation and will continue to do so, if not increase it during such an event. Now that you have read my experience in relation to natural disasters, what are your own thoughts? Have you been in such an event? Or what would you do? Who would your first thoughts turn to? Have a lovely Easter

Me, myself and my five other online Identities in an Online Community

UPDATE: This blog post was updated on the 21st of April, to reflect feedback and as I felt that the post lacked a couple of things. I feel I have clarified and addressed some of the confusion about my definitions of Online communities and Networked Publics.

An online community is defined by Jenny Preece in her book, ‘Online Communities’ as “People, who interact socially as they strive to satisfy their own needs or perform special roles, such as leading or moderating. A shared purpose, such as an interest, need, information exchange, or service that provides a reason for the community.” This statement I feel reflects my personal view of what an online community represents. The only part that this statement I feel that it did not comment on is the online element. I feel this is incredibly important as without it, the statement could be applied to any physical club or community.

To qualify as an online community, according to Helen Baxter the community must have a clearly defined purpose, a membership process, terms of use and community rules, members generated content and people.  I feel this accurately describes spaces within Gaming clients such as Blizzard.Net and LOL. I believe that these gaming communities meet all the requirements previously mentioned.

These communities have all the required elements such as a clearly defined purpose, a membership process, terms of use and community rules, members generated content and people. The communities are gatherings of people who play the game and are there to either discuss the game or play it. The membership process is that you have to set up an account and choose a name and avatar which represents you. The terms of use and community rules are set by the game and can be found here for League of Legends and here for Blizzard. The content which is generated by people in the communities range from everything such as Fanart, Cosplay, game replays or videos of matches which have been recorded; even funny conversation involving the game. The more common generated content is usually short replays of specific moments which have been compiled into GIF format or small comics. These can be often found posted on the leagues client in the front page.

Another element which I feel is important when discussing online community, is “Networked Publics”, this is define by Danah Boyd, as “publics that are restructured by networked technologies.” Under this category she defines this area with two qualifying characteristics being “(1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined collective that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice.” She also explains that, “Networked publics serve many of the same functions as other types of publics – they allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and they help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family”.

Both of these statements support my own knowledge and experience in this world of online communities and Networked Publics; this is why I have chosen them to represent and explain my personal views. The conditions mentioned by  Helen Baxter are able to be used when discussing online communities in the examples of DeviantArt, Imgur, Reddit and Instagram. The examples listed are driven by member’s content and as such they are their strongest when they are considered popular and being widely used by people. Without this regular updating content, these communities would be useless and would quickly become forgotten. This connects to one of the qualifying elements mentioned by Helen Baxter with the member’s generated content being one of the most important elements in an online community.

ClusterMap

“Friend Network” by Wolfram Alpha LLC—A Wolfram Research Company from WolframAlpha. BY-NC-SA.

Cluster Map for my Facebook data created with Wolfram and Alpha

In my online usage, while I do not have a strong professional online identity, I have a created an identity by being a part of multiple online communities in the gaming world. I am a social gamer who has created an identity in this online community and is considered an ‘Passive lurker’. A Passive Lurker is defined by Elliot Volkman as “Members who return to a community to consume the content, discussions, and advice but do not contribute or share any of it.”  I do not often post my own content but I often read posts and will comment if I feel I can add to the conversation. The communities I participate in, are the Steam, Battle.Net/Blizzard, League of Legends and Smite communities. I prefer often to have an anonymous identity in these games with only my basic name displayed on my profile. All the before mentioned communities have an in built chat feature within the games, which allows for socialisation in and out of games. This element of chat is able to be connected to the 2nd qualifying factor mentioned by Danah Boyd. As these communities provide a way for myself to communicate with multiple friends without physical being there with them.

LOLMy League of Legends client displaying the amount of information a person can see and how I am able to communicate with friends in this community.LOL2

I also use Facebook, Skype and Tumblr on a fairly regular bases with my Google+ usage slowly increasing with this unit. Within these sites I generally maintain a slightly less anonymous profile but I still tend to be fairly reluctant in providing information about myself. I am a part of a couple of large Facebook groups for my various interests. Within these communities I tend to be an Active participant, with updating content to them on a semi regular bases. I usually post photos or statuses about myself in relation to the community, much more regularly then to my own public profile. Many of these groups have a wonderful sense of community and often members will support each other heavily while being a source of comfort for the participants. I think this is the main reason why  I post more content to these groups, because they provide a better source of  support and there is less judgement. Within these sites, I find that the users and community are more supportive and friendly; while in my experience, the gaming community is harsher due to the sense of anonymous and competitiveness that is seen in this area. I am more comfortable within the Facebook and skype community due to the fact that I am often able to see or hear the person I am talking to; through photos, videos and calls. I prefer this element of face to face interaction rather than trying to communicate through a character or avatar.

  vs

Warring Kingdoms Katarina Render League of Legends by RikkuTenjouSs, CC BY

Both of these images represent a part of me.  The first one is the character that I play the most of in League of Legends. The other is a photo that a friend took of me, while I was on exchange.

Overall I have enjoyed my time in these communities and I look forward to engaging further while learning more about this area. What does everyone else think? Do people agree with my views? Why? Or why not? I am looking forward to reading other people’s posts on the matter.

SUDDENLY a wild Persona appears!

What is a persona and why do I need to know about it?

This was the question facing myself when I first heard the word, persona. It was in peer mentor training and an academic was presenting her research on how to deal with different student personas. I listened, thinking the study was interesting but not making the connection on how important the area was to my study. Flash forward around two weeks later, and suddenly one of my units mentions it. The lecturer talks about how we are going to cover it and I continue to not make the connection between any of the previous learning I had done about the area. Until this week, then suddenly nearly all of my different areas start mentioning personas and how we need along with why we should be using them.

http://www.familylobby.com/create-glitter-text-graphics.aspSUDDENLY a wild Persona appears (reference http://www.familylobby.com/create-glitter-text-graphics.asp)

I have received two emails to separate discussions about what sort of student personas; in my work, my supervisor has mentioned it and I have had a full workshop about them this week. I must admit I had never made the connection between a user profile or target demographic until the previous workshop; where we were asked to create a persona on our tutor. I can see how a persona is an incredibly important part of a design process and I think that I have lot more research to do on this area before I have to complete a persona on myself for the assignment.

pieChart_jpg
My own graph which I made using Meta Pie: http://www.meta-chart.com/pie

This week, I also followed the tutors advice and tracked my use of social technology. I have found I am an avid user of Skype, email and Facebook, with occasionally using tumblr and gaming programs to communicate. On a typical day, I usually spend about three over the entire day just scrolling through Facebook looking for creative inspiration through the multiple blogs and companies that I follow while messaging groups and friends to organize my work or just for socializing. Most of the time, I have Facebook open in the background of my desktop and will not check it unless I am looking for something specific or I have heard a notification. I do not usually post to facebook and more use it as a way of communicating with friends who do not have skype or I cannot see in person. I use skype nearly every night; spending anywhere between 1 to 5 hours in a call, while I either work or play games with the other players in the call. We use this as our main mode of communication, as a way of keeping in touch, playing games together and just keeping updated on each others lives. I also always have Battle.Net open. This is a specific gaming client for Blizzard games, which has an inbuilt chat system where you can type messages to one another while spectating their game.

Now for something completely different, I am going to try and use a new medium to communicate next week; just to try and explore.

Talk to you all then.