The Lonely Girl who really wasn’t

The development of Internet communication, specifically, social media has expanded the traditional notion of identity. Now, it is possible to craft online identities in addition to those in real life. These online personas can shape people’s interpersonal perceptions towards individuals in the real world.

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Original Meme

In 2006, ‘Lonelygirl15’ established a YouTube channel, on which, she posted regular vlogs. Bree, who featured in the videos, was a teenage girl who lived a seemingly normal life. It soon became evident that she was perhaps, lonely and bored, hence the creation of Lonleygirl15. The youtube channel and vlogs gained a massive international following and became extremely popular, in a seemingly short amount of time. Bree had become one of YouTube’s youngest and most popular stars. She reinforced this popularity, starting her own forum and myspace account.

However, after gaining a mass following, it was revealed that Bree and Lonelygirl15 were, in fact, fictional and the channel and videos were produced by a number of writers and actors. Fans, YouTubers and the media alike, had been duped by an artificial online persona, who, projected online, the parts of her life that the writers wanted viewers to see.

Is this so different to what we do each day when posting on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat? We post, often times, edited images of the most exciting parts of our lives, leaving out the mundane occurrences, in order to create the perception we want surrounding our name, image and brand.

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To PC or not to PC: Locked vs Generative Platforms

I am, by no means, a gamer of any sort, but, looking into locked vs generative technological platforms, led me to the debate surrounding PC gaming, as compared to, console gaming.

There is fervent discussion about, both, open and closed technologies. Specifically, how closed technologies enforce ideologies that limit the generativity of audiences, by controlling the flow of content across channels. Simply put, this relates to the types of access provided by both open and closed source technology.

The intended result for locked appliance technology is that of pure consumption. This is evident, when considering console gaming. Sony’s Play Station and Microsoft’s Xbox are perfect examples of the iteration of products that lead to increased consumption, with the release of new models every few years. This ultimately creates technological obsolescence for old consoles, when a new model materialises. In contrast to console gaming, PCs give you the freedom to upgrade whenever YOU decide to, not when Sony or Microsoft decide to, rendering the PC, a generative technological platform.

PlayStation and Xbox both market games as ‘console exclusive’, yet, Steam provides these games, inclusive of; Dead Rising, Transitor, and Hotline Miami 2, online, for everyone, at a fraction of the price. Essentially, Steam is providing the same products as big brand names, like PlayStation and Xbox, in an open source environment, that is ultimately, cheaper and easier to access.

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Original Meme 

The Rise of Produsage: The Arab Spring

In February 2011, Egyptian President Mubarak resigned following weeks of protest against his regime. The Egyptian Revolution, A.K.A the January 25 Revolution, was sparked following “calls for protests from online youth groups.” The protests, organised solely via social media, specifically Twitter, led to clashes between security and dissidents, causing 846 casualties and over 6,000 injuries. Social media played a key role in these demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa, which became known as the Arab Spring, effectively leading to the overhaul of governments in countries inclusive of Egypt.

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Credit: Justiceinconflict.org

In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift from consumption to production, with the term ‘Produsage’ becoming popularized. Produsage can be described as ‘the writing readers’ or ‘the viewers who picked up a camera”. It is all about giving media users the ability to produce content, and in the case of the Arab Spring, the personal use of social media in order to spark a revolution.

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Orignal Meme

Social media users have initiated the transition from Monologic media, such as television, whereby the process of receiving information comes in the form of dissemination, to the use of Dialogic media, like Twitter, that allows for the transformation from dissemination to dialogue and conversation. This shift allows for such insurgent activity as the Arab Spring to spread both rapidly and successfully.

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Credit: Thedailybeast.com