Instagram Cyber Culture: #vegan

My digital artefact involves experimenting with instagram as a cyber culture for the food industry. My research aims to observe and determine what contributes to a successful food cyber culture social media, such as:

– Hashtags #foodporn
– Quality of the visual experience (photo or video)
– Different genres
– Range of genres per blog
– Tagging other food or Instagrammers
– Recipes included
– Frequency of posts

I have chosen to break down this research firstly into categories, and what works best for each. I will be assessing the most popular types of categories of #foodporn out of the following:

  • Vegan
  • Cheesy
  • Fast food
  • Dessert

I began my instagram account by following around 100 other relevant food accounts, to assert my space in the food industry cyber culture. The second step was to create original content relating to each category.

For the first part of my research into the realms of social media food cyber culture, has so far looked into the category for #vegan or #cleaneating food. This was my first choice of categories to come as it represents a part of my lifestyle and how I like to indulge in food; it was easy to create content when I eat this kind of food.

I have attempted to capture vegan images of recipes that are of high quality, with recipes included, and hash tags used appropriately, such as:

#vegan #veganlunch #veganfood #veganrecipes #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #vegetarianlife #vegetariano #cleaneating #food #foodporn #foodie

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So far the vegan cyber culture has been very highly followed and liked. I have slowly integrated other food genres into the instagram account with hash tags relating to that particular genre, and so far the vegan category still prevails. The experiment and research is not yet complete, only observations have been made at this stage. The study is still in the content creation stage and will not be ready for analysis until all genres of food cyber culture have been explored.

To keep up with the action, follow my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chocolate_vegetables/

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Animals In Zoos Or Prisons?

So today I decided that I wouldn’t mind going to prison, being told when to eat, sleep, clean, and live behind bars. I thought, WOW, what a great idea.

Jokes. But this is how what I imagine being the human equivalent for a zoo… not so great.

 

To say that animals don’t have any sort of emotional spectrum is just a joke, Bekoff (2007) states, “Many animals have rich and deep emotional lives and are clearly and overtly sentient”. Bekoff furthermore describes “evidence that animals such as cows, whose emotional lives are infrequently considered, can be moody, hold grudges and nurture friendships. It is not surprising that animals do not like being shocked, cut up, starved, chained, stunned, crammed into tiny cages, tied up, ripped away from family and friends, or isolated.”

So why do we continue to objectify animals? We objectify them as food, ‘bacon’ instead of ‘pig’, so we don’t feel bad about that, and so much goes to waste, so many slaughtered animals for wasted food.

We also objectify animals as entertainment in zoos..

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As children, we are educated and told that zoos are where they protect the animals; but little do we know that they would have had to rip these animals out of their natural habitat and from their families, and flown them to a foreign country that their species is not an occupant of, to be studied and used as a tool for amusement. It is sad that this is still the reality; I believe that in the next 70 years, zoos will no longer be around because of this ever-growing opinion and truthful education of the negative effects that zoos have on animals. In a recent survey, only 32% believed that zoos should remain for educational purposes; but after looking into the reasoning’s of this percentage, many are extremely uneducated and believe dramatically false information about zoos. A proper education about the habitats and ALL the effects that a zoo has on its animals, should be available to the public, so that children aren’t taught that visiting the zoo is ‘entertaining’.

 

I find that the only place for some moral justification in this topic, is for holding animals captive, in attempt to help a species to repopulate if they are nearing extinction, but even still, I am not 100% with this argument, because “the benefits to the overall species population do not compensate the individual animals for the negative effects of living in a zoo”. But to even look deeper into this argument, a recent “study found that extinction rates over the last century were 114 times higher than they would have been if humans had not been around. Fully 396 species have gone extinct in 100 years. Under normal conditions (that is, without the presence of humans) that loss should have taken 11,400 years.”

So how can we justify that locking sentient creatures up for “protection” is ethically OK? Humanity takes away and use up more resources than we need, and then feel bad about it once it’s done. I understand that not all man kind feel this negatively towards animals; but the fact is, that’s its still happening, we are playing god in something that is not to be tampered with, and were losing.

 

But to just lock animals up in a zoo, or for personal amusement or entertainment is just cruel. To be ripped away from your family as a child, not knowing what’s going on, or unable to communicate, and basically placed in the equivalent of a prison cell, but with strange creatures staring at you all day? What do you think this would do to the psyche? The negative affects overwhelmingly out weigh the positive.

 

So to conclude, I wouldn’t actually like to live in a prison at all, I like my family, and where I live, and I definitely agree that if someone stole me so that I could live in prison for the rest of my life, I would probably be depressed and want to kill everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Bekoff, M 2007, ‘Reflections on Animal Emotions and Beastly Virtues: Appreciating, Honoring and Respecting the Public Passions of Animals’, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 68-80. (Viewed 30th March 2017)

 

Comis, D, 2005 ‘Settling Doubts about Livestock Stress’, Agricultural Research (Viewed 30th March 2017)

 

n.a, 2014, “Animals For Entertainment”, BBC, Available From: < http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/using/entertainment_1.shtml > (Viewed 30th March 2017)

 

Casey, 2015, “Humans Are Behind The Mass Extinction Of Animals”, CBS News, Available From: < http://www.cbsnews.com/news/humans-are-behind-the-mass-extinction-of-animals/ > (Viewed 30th March 2017)

 

n.a, n.d, “Should animals be kept in zoos?”, Debate.org, Available From: < http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-animals-be-kept-in-zoos > (Viewed 30th March 2017)

 

n.a, n.d, “5 Secrets Zoos Don’t Want You To Know”, PETA Kids, Available From: < http://www.petakids.com/save-animals/zoos/ > (Viewed 30th March 2017)

The Saviour, And Those Who Need Saving?

Poverty porn can be described as the media exploiting the poor in order to derive sympathy from the audience and furthermore, charitable donations. But when analysing this concept; it entails graphic and vulnerable content. Would you be okay with someone trying to take photographs of you, or follow you around all day, whilst you’re in your most vulnerable state? Because that is how I would imagine it to be, I would feel objectified. But it is this exploitation that brings awareness to those who can possibly make a difference.

Is poverty porn empowering the privileged whilst exploiting the poor? There are two sides to the discussion on poverty porn; that it exploits the poor in their vulnerable state, and, that it sheds light on what needs to be known in order to make a difference.

The saviour, and those who need saving.

Considering that “Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day”, it can be conflicting for those who are privileged enough to decide where to delegate their charity. This is causing mass competition for charities to be the in support of ‘the poorest’ in order to get donations. Because essentially, that’s what they are trying to tell you, they produce their most crippling poverty porn in order to convince you that their cause is the most just, and that you are donating to the one who need it most. But even still, is this right? Is it morally right to convince an audience that your cause is most deserving even if its not? And even after all this work that has been done by organisations dedicated to helping the poor, “the data, released ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows the gap between richest and poorest continues to widen.”

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If we were to analyse this instance of poverty porn, would you feel as though its true? Is it just? Two seemingly foreign photographers, capturing the vulnerability of poverty… As if you wouldn’t feel like an object? But the other side of the discussion argues that this is a necessary evil, and that in order to make a slow and consistent change, this is the harsh reality that we need.

I am not saying that poverty porn is all bad; yes it exploits tho poor and shows the privileged the worst side of the less fortunate, but if the privileged are never informed of the conditions and state of global poverty, then would they chose to help? Would they feel the need to help if they weren’t confronted with this kind of sympathy? It is this sympathy though, that is causing poverty porn to get more vulnerable and intrusive.

These kinds of charities evoke sympathy with their poverty porn, and this sympathy is what compels donations, making the rich feel better about themselves for donating money, as though they are a saviour and the poor are those who need saving.

Yes, poverty porn exploits the poor to the media, but until a dramatic and powerful solution is conducted, then what other choice do we have, is it not better to be aware and making small contributions than to be oblivious or for the problem to be hidden. There is much dispute over the concept of poverty porn, but the solution to poverty is not going to happen over night, and without that change, what else could be expected? “The world’s 62 richest people now own as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the global population”, this statistic is crushing, but its this horror that implores devotion and help towards those who are in need.

Of course, if the option was there to end this exploitation, I am sure we would take it; but poverty is devastatingly real and enormous, there is no quick nor easy solution to bring an end to suffering.

 

References:

Beresford, P 2016, ‘Presenting welfare reform: poverty porn, telling sad stories or achieving change?’, Disability & Society, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 421-425. Available from: 10.1080/09687599.2016.1173419. (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Shah, 2013, “Poverty Facts and Stats”, Global Issues, Available From: < http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Temperton, 2016, “The world’s 3.6 billion poorest people are getting poorer”, Wired, Available From: < http://www.wired.co.uk/article/global-poverty-oxfam-world-economic-forum > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Emaily, 2014, “POVERTY PORN – EMPOWERING THE WRONG HERO”, Remedial Criticism, Available From: < https://remedialcriticism.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/poverty-porn-empowering-the-wrong-hero/ > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

“But First, Let Me Take A Selfie”

“Popularly regarded as a shallow expression of online narcissism, the selfie is both adored and reviled; yet it flourishes as one of the most effective outlets for self-definition.” (Murray, 2015)

Selfie’ – “a photograph taken with a smartphone or other digital camera by a person who is also in the photograph, especially for posting on a social-media website.”

Selfies are such a controversial topic amongst mainstream media celebrities, and their effects are increasingly becoming more of a conversation; would one associate the selfie with positive self-esteem, or narcissism?

How would you differentiate the selfie, to the self-portrait? In a sense, the selfie is the self-portrait of this era and technology; but no one thought that Van Gogh [Self-Portrait, 1889] was a narcissistic attention seeker. So why is it that on one hand, social media promotes self-love, empowerment, and confidence, but on the other hand accuses people who take selfies as narcissistic attention seekers?

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 3.26.03 PM

I know that whenever I would post a selfie on Instagram, it takes a lot of courage, because I know that there is that one half of the internet that associates selfies with attention seeking narcissists; but it makes me feel good whenever people ‘like’ the photo; it empowers me and gives me confidence.

So which is it? Am I a narcissist or empowered?

Halperna et al (2016) discuss that “narcissist individuals take selfies more frequently over time, this increase in selfie production raises subsequent levels of narcissism.” So does this mean that selfies okay as long as there’s not an excessive and frequent amount of selfie taking and posting? Or is it that every selfie that you take increases narcissistic tendencies? I find this finding conflicting; there are many who might relate and agree with this statement, but from personal experience, some of the most selfless and least self absorbed people I know, still take the occasional selfie.

But there are two sides to a selfie, and it would be unfair to call everyone who took selfies as attention seeking because it would be fair to say that most people who have the ability (own a camera) to take a selfie have done so. So how is it even fair that half of a culture can be judgmental towards something harmless that they have probably done?

On one hand “women’s experiences of their bodies change through interactions, sense of community and taking and sharing selfies”, and it is this opinion that enforces the positivity that selfies and self esteem can bring to a community. It seems that social media is divided on this issue, there tends to be a very blurry line in between self-esteem and narcissism. Self esteem relates to our values, personal accomplishments and care that we show towards others; a positive self love! “Self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem grow out of knowing yourself very well”.

Narcissism contrasts to this as an extensive negative version; narcissism is based on fear of weakness, and unhealthy focus on ones self. “Narcissistic people crave attention and admiration in order to ward off feelings of shame and to disguise a sense of inner defect. In other words, they have no authentic self-esteem and look to others to provide a substitute for it.” (Burgo, 2012)

Although some may be looking for attention and a way to ‘disguise a sense of inner defect’, that is not what the selfie represents, Murray (2015) asserts that selfies associate to self-definition, and self-exploration. Are we being criticized for attempting a search for ones self, and confidence within that? Although selfies may have a hidden negative effect for some; it has been demonstrated through the discussed studies, and enforced by experience, that selfies are majority a positive phenomenon.

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References:

Seidman, 2015, “What is the real link between Selfies and Narcissism?”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/close-encounters/201508/what-is-the-real-link-between-selfies-and-narcissism > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Gogh, 1889, “Self-Portrait”, Wikipedia, Available From < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Gogh_self-portrait_(1889)#/media/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

n.a, n.d, Dictionary.com, Available From: < http://www.dictionary.com/browse/selfie > (Viewed 15th March 2017)

Murray, 2015, Consumption Markets & Culture, Volume 18, 2015 – Issue 6: Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference, “Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media”, Page 490-516, Available From: < http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10253866.2015.1052967?scroll=top&needAccess=true > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Burgo, 2012, “Narcissism vs. Authentic Self-Esteem”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shame/201212/narcissism-vs-authentic-self-esteem > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Katrin Tiidenberg, Edgar Gómez Cruz, 2015, “Selfies, Image and the Re-making of the Body”, Body & Society, Vol 21, Issue 4, pp. 77 – 102 (Viewed 20th March 2017)

Firestone, 2012, “Self-Esteem Versus Narcissism”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201206/self-esteem-versus-narcissism > (Viewed 20th March 2017)

Daniel Halperna, Sebastián Valenzuelaa, James E. Katzb, 2016, “Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfiers”?: A cross-lagged panel analysis of selfie taking and narcissism”, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 97, Pages 98–101 (Viewed 20th March 2017)

What’s Your Favourite #foodporn?

Since the food industry has been introduced to social media, it has been morphed and experienced incredible growth. This online food cyber culture has been investigated, but I believe is still undervalued for potential.

My digital artefact will investigate the realms of #foodporn and the cyber culture of the food industry in relation to genre popularity, and success.

foodporn2.jpg

To further explore the digital artefact and aspects of food cyber culture, look into the Prezi  link below for further information!

http://prezi.com/1blpqi5-sghx/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Reflection

Many of the themes and ideas discussed in BCM240 (media, audience, place) require further study and understanding than only that of the classes and the readings. In order to discover my own philosophies and opinion on each individual topic, I utilized further articles to expand my knowledge. Some interesting information that assisted me to grow as a blogger and researcher was the research method of ethnography. Toombs (2014) article specifically helped me to understand the concept of participation in research; and how ethnography can lead to more results than simply qualitative data. Couldry has also been a consistent reference for media research and blogging experience, as his common discussion includes the importance of media theory and practice. His discussions have played a role in assisting and further developing my blogging skills. Lastly, Napoli (an independent reference) has contributed consistently to my understanding of the audience in the media environment.

During the combined course, skills were learnt and developed throughout the topics; television and media spaces, media and ethnography, Internet and the family home, cinemas and changing experiences, personal devices and public spaces, the value of media attention, and regulating media for audiences. Combined with the assistance from readings and independent references, my knowledge and understanding of media, audience, and place has been enlightened and continued to flourish.

Multiple research methods such as interviewing, accompanied by ethnography also helped with understanding other perspectives, often identifying more relevant features than on our own. Looking at the introduction of the television and the Internet, my grandmother offered interesting insight to an experience that cannot have been something that I could have just Googled online.

The ethnographic process came into play in almost every blog; we would immerse ourselves in an experience and the results would be our personal outcomes. When assessing the cinema experience, Hagerstrand’s constraints came into action much more than I had anticipated. I had previously acknowledged that the cinema had limitations (that being my reason for not attending so often), but his specific constraints had not yet been identified to me. In this case, Hagerstrand’s constraints helped me to identify my reasons for changing my film experience from the cinema, to other platforms such at ‘Netflix’.

Conducting our own experiments was particularly interesting, quite often results were not what they were predicted to be. Looking back to the attention experiment; I thought that I would accurately predict my families behavior, but often things were discovered that would not have previously been recognized.

Many of the topics were intriguing and continued to bring further examples and information to light. But in order for my blog to reach its potential with audience reader engagement, certain methods took place. Relevant tags are implemented onto every blog post to ensure maximum coverage to those interested. I also incorporated the use of links to twitter to expand my audience reach to additional media platforms.

To engage with other bloggers, I understood it essential to communicate through comments and likes to offer further support and constructive criticism. If I have further relevant information to offer in support; then my engagement with another blogger can only be beneficial to both parties. I always appreciate when another blogger comments positive feedback on my work; it allows an interconnection between the subject, we can learn and grow together.

My main feedback from task 1 suggested that I look at the design and overall impression of my blog, I will admit that I had put much more effort into the blogs content than appearance. Specifically I was advised to engage more with the ‘About’ component of my blog. I had never been to tech savvy with WordPress and to be honest, I had never known that I had the ‘About’ section on my blog. I had seen it on other blogs but assumed it to be an optional extra. I attempted to personalize it and keep it interesting to my readers. I included my subject details, my University, and a fact that I had found to be interesting; “Bubble wrap was originally intended to be wallpaper”. I had understood this fact to be interesting, and hopefully engaging to my readers; irrelevant but intriguing. I also included a picture, of a cockatiel and a look alike banana; this photo was funny and hopefully offered humour to my audiences. Additionally feedback included a general personalization of my blog, so along with the picture of the cockatiel I included some information about some pet cockatiels that I used to have.

I enjoyed the blogging process, it allows freedom, time and space to answer and discuss questions. Almost as if we were just discussing in a tutorial; however I know that people do get anxious to offer differing opinions to a diverse class. The blogs allow us to take our own spin on a topic, ask our own questions, and make a discussion personal. I enjoyed taking my own spin on different ideas, the freedom to tackle themes in a personal manner was helpful and allows supportive constructive criticism between peers and different audiences. It was a graceful experience to be able to branch off on our own to discover our own independent sources. Use of independent sources allowed a broader scope with every class discussion to make it my own. Use of provided and independent sources combined, allowed for a more in depth and report and discussion.

Although, I will admit that I found some instruction to be complicated and a struggle to manage and follow. Additional specifics would have been useful to many bloggers I believe. But even with challenges, it has been helpful to engage with peers and fellow bloggers in reaching an understanding.

 

References:

Couldry, N 2004, ‘Theorising Media as Practice’, Social Semiotics, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 115-132.

 

Ellegård, K, & Svedin, U 2012, ‘Torsten Hägerstrand’s time-geography as the cradle of the activity approach in transport geography’, Journal of Transport Geography, vol. 23, no. Special Issue on Time Geography, pp. 17-25.

 

Napoli, P 2009, ‘Revisiting “Mass Communication” and the “Work” of the Audience in the New Media Environment’,Conference Papers — International Communication Association, pp. 1-33.

Toombs, 2014, Falling in: how ethnography happened to me and what I’ve learned from it, Available From: < http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2014/03/17/falling-in/ >

BCM240 Digital Project Proposal

Throughout the entirety of my Media Audience Place subject, what has really suck with me and continued to intrigue me, has been the increased use of phone usage. I plan to focus my project onto the amount, why, and how that the generations that have grown up alongside the sudden increase in technology (generation X and generation Y) use phones, in comparison to that of a generation that has had to learn to adapt afterwards (Baby Boomers). My reasoning for looking at this specific subject is because I find it interesting, from observing at my parents behavior with technology, that some have learned to adapt to the increased amount of technology, and some have not. What is furthermore notable is the use of specifically social media accounts in Baby Boomers, and why some may be selective about platforms that are considered such a norm.

Through this research I believe that evidence of a storyline between someones childhood and how they are brought up, will become increasingly apparent. Over this study, I plan to incorporate the use of qualitative, ethnographic and narrative primary research, alongside with the collaboration of secondary studies. So far through minor research and brainstorming, I plan to present my project and findings over the media platform Soundcloud. I will present in the form of a series of podcasts hopefully accompanied with a photograph relevant to each podcast topic. Blog posts would have been a standard avenue to tackle with this topic and research type, but I believe that with the use of Soundcloud I will be able to capture a more personal and authentic study which can have the option to include recorded interviews. Through my experience, it is much easier to engage with a vocal narrative, and allows excessive emphasis through different vocal techniques such as tone; furthermore, through editing I will be able to add in relevant affects.

Considering the entirety of this project, so far I am still at the beginning, and cannot predict changes and alterations that I may make in the future to better suit the study and production. But for where I am at now, I plan to focus on four specific questions that can go into four podcasts (allowing that more podcasts will be added if an exceeded amount of data is accumulated for a specific question). But for limitations on my study; I will present no more than ten podcast episodes, roughly 5-7 minutes in length.

My podcast questions and topics will include:

  • Perceptions and interviews from Baby Boomers and Generation Y, on how effectively they believe that they have adapted to technology (specifically smartphone and social media usage) and any issues they encounter. Furthermore, how they think the story of their childhood has had an impact on their use of technology and social media.
  • Baby Boomers use of social media. What they use it for, is there a difference in gender or demographics in relation to use, did they feel an obligation to be involved with social media platforms? (This topic will include a survey)
  • An ethnographic (consented) study will be conducted on individuals from both generations, on how effectively each can tolerate not having access to technology or social media for a day.
  • Lastly, over the period of an hour, I will monitor four participants from both generations (equal volunteers of male and female), to discover how frequently they use their phones, what they use their phones for, and how distracted each participant becomes if their phones buzz with notifications.

 

It is important to the study that I allow an even diversity of participants from both genders, sexes, and range of overall volunteers, to reach the most actuate results for the study. It is also necessary that each participant gives consent, and acknowledges how their information will be used, and how they will be presented. This research topic and the outcome of the study, rely on the authenticity and diversity of the participants involved; in order to achieve the results and an accurate conclusion, the participants involvement will be exceedingly valuable.

Through previous studies (Kumar & Lim, 2008), conclusions have been asserted that there is an overall difference for generations and use of technology and social media. However my study will differ, I plan to immerse myself into a personal study that shows more than just statistics. Through the incorporation of ethnographic, narrative, and qualitative research, this study will determine the statistical nature of the research topic, and give reasons to why there are differences in technology and social media usage in this qualitative data. Overall, through use of ethnography and authentic research, the clarity of the story behind technology and social media usage will enhance.

 

 

References:

Kumar, A. & Lim, H. 2008, “Age differences in mobile service perceptions: comparison of Generation Y and baby boomers”, The Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 22, no. 7, pp. 568-577. [Viewed 1st October 2016]