Space and Mobility: Locative Social Media

Social med

The world of geo-social media is indeed a tricky issue to tackle. On one hand the benefits of this kind of networking are seemingly endless. Geotagging and geomapping technology can help people connect in ways never before possible. Things like:

* Creating mobile social networks for people at live events.

* Checking where restaurants, stores and businesses are near you and rating them

* Business people can find others that are involved in their industry.

* Paperless ticketing, where by people can use there smartphone as a digital ticket.

But of course equal is the amount of negative issues that may arise from being so connected. These kinds of things can be:

* Stalking

* Safety concerns about people knowing your whereabouts.

* The balance of control that huge telecommunication companies have over everyday people.

* How much of this kind of information is used by the government and is that ok?

But even with that being said the government and media can also use this kind of technology to help people in events such as local emergencies or even for tracking criminals.

The main problem is I’m simply too dumb to know or even really understand if geosocial media is good, great or potentially dangerous.

How am I (or anyone else) supposed to understand the full ramifications of constantly tracking and triangulating global positioning software through numerous satellites 500km above the earth’s surface in order to give me the heads up on where the pizza place is in this town?

Like I say…I’m too dumb to really know, and we probably all are.

Social Media, Social Movements and Political Revolution

The term ‘slacktivism’ is a derogatory term for internet activism. The kind of thing whereby hipsters ‘like’ videos or photos on social media and then brag to people that they have made a difference in the world….

Image

 Although some criticism of internet activism is merited, the fact of the matter is that most of these complaints come from baby boomers that feel like their generation that grew up in the 60’s were far more proficient at activism and also feel that the hippy movement was about actual protesting and focused on free-living and things that made a difference.

….But realistically, hippy’s and hipsters are pretty much the same thing and just because you got stoned in a field and listed to Janice Joplin and Hendrix all day when you were young….doesn’t mean you actually achieved anything.

Internet activism can definitely become a huge force politically, no doubt! We have already seen this during the ‘Arab Spring’. But it’s important to keep in mind that in the internet does not create the revolution, social media and the web is merely the medium in which the message is spread. (It’s exactly the same as hippy’s handing out no-war flyers in the 60’s, just a far more efficient medium). What creates a revolution or a movement is commonality shared between oppressed people-

“In every effective social change effort that you want to look at there is an inner-core of tightly bound people” (Kessler, 2010).

It certain does appear that cyber-attacks will become a weapon of war. Methods like sit-ins and DDoS attacks will evolve and become far more sophisticated in the future and will most certainly be used to cripple people, organisations and destabilise governments in ways that we cannot even begin to understand in our present time.

Oh and as for KONY 2012, I think South Park summarised the situation best.

Reference

Kessler, S 2010, ‘Why Social Media is Reinventing Activism’, Mashable, 9 October, viewed 22, Sep 2013

4Chan Report

Executive summary

The following Report provides analysis and insight into the social media website 4chan.

By examining the sites history and growth, as well as the way in which it operates, the report is able to explore a number of aspects regarding the way groups are formed within this subculture, the reputation of 4chan and its users, the way sharing content is encouraged, the way conversation is encouraged and the way anonymous relationships form between users.

By analysing these features it of 4chan, a better understanding of the sites culture and identity can be established, leading to the finding that unlike most social media platforms, 4chan is purely based on content and the creativity of its members rather than interpersonal connection. 

  

History

Christopher Poole, from New York, first created 4Chan in 2003 at the age of 15. His idea of creating an image board was influenced by Something Awful Forums. Poole created 4Chan so that people would post Anime and Japanese Comics which complemented to the popular Japanese Futuba Channel 2Chan. He liked their concept as people shared images anonymously, and decided to make an equivalent image board but in English (Moot, 2003).

Poole not only wanted image boards, but also a message board to allow discussions about a variety of things with people across the world (Douglas, 2008).

He initially had a separate domain for discussion boards called World4Ch but were later moved to 4Chan.org. 4Chan definitely had a programmer as his employee, whom had met Poole through online Tetris. The remaining of the people who mediated the website were volunteers. The mediators’ responsibility was to mediate both the images and the discussions and be aware if there are any inappropriate posting, so that if there was any, it is their responsibility to delete it. (Brophy-Warren 2008).

In 2004, 4Chan went offline for a few months then returned online with some developments made. Non-anime related boards such as video games and automobile boards were introduced (Jibaku, 2004). 4 years later, in 2008, Poole added a board for topics that did not fit under the anime and manga categories but related to Japan in general called Otaku Culture.

Los Angeles Times reported that 4chan is one of the most used image boards on the internet. 4Chan’s Alexa Internet rank, a California-based minor company of Amazon.com, had 4chan ranked usually 700, though there were times that it has been as high as number 56 (Sarno, 2008).

4Chan’s server was first in Texas running at 100 Mbit/s then was moved in 2008 to a server in California running ten times faster at 1Gbit/s (Moot, 2012).

Because 4Chan is free of charge and there is a large amount of users, this caused financing issues for Poole. He knew and admitted that donations given to 4chan will not keep the website alive and online so he took on advertising on 4Chan to keep succeeding with the website being alive and online (Moot, 2008).

Poole signed a new deal with an advertising company in January 2009, and was in debt to $20,000 in February that same year. He continued to increase his debt as he was not only not making any money but also losing more money (Hesse, 2009).

 Groups

Poole split his website into six categories:

  • Japanese Culture
  • Interests
  • Creative
  • Adult (18+)
  • Miscellaneous (18+)
  • Other

The above categories are aimed to provide users for related board topics to discuss things like anime, manga, technology, sport, photography, music, torrents, travel, physical fitness and every other things that had no board; random (Moot, 2003).

Joining groups and focusing on certain genres is a natural way for the site to operate, as it allows users to follow their specific interests and in doing so creates many groups and sub groups within each category.

Reputation

4Chan has the reputation to being ‘The Meme Factory’ as most of the memes come out from there and are shared on other websites, sadly without giving any credits to the website it first appeared on (Jeffries, 2011).

4Chan requires no name or email address, only a character recognition box with a few letters and numbers just to make sure that the user is a human and not just a computer. This keeps the person posting anonymous unlike before the developments were made, one had to log in using their Facebook username and password (Jeffries, 2011).

The reason anonymity was implemented in this website is because Poole believes in the value of multiple identities including anonymity (Dibbell, 2010).


Sharing

Sharing of content is not only encouraged but it is the entire basis of how 4chan fundamentally operates as a social network.  In many ways 4chan embodies the Web 2.0, participatory culture and the term ‘Produsing’, meaning-

“The production of ideas takes place in a collaborative, participatory mode which breaks down the boundaries between producers and consumers and instead enables all participants to be users as much as producers of information and knowledge” (Bruns, p.1).

One of the most recognized and humorous forms of photo sharing amongst web users in today’s digital world are Internet Memes. Memes are something almost anyone with a social media account, regardless of whichever platform the user is on (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc) would have either encountered, or “shared” themselves.

The memes are believed to have originated from the anonymous-based platform, 4chan.  The most recognized and widely shared of Internet Memes are known as LOLcats. Beginning around June 2006, 4chan began a theme called Caturdays. Each Saturday, users would create and upload bizarre images of cats accompanied by text which would poke fun at common social media-based posts, how the cat may be feeling on the day, or would very obviously encapsulate a human’s feeling, based on ‘common’ posts or social media status’s.

The term garnered national media attention when it was covered by Time Magazine, in the U.S when it was written that LOLcats non-commercialized phenomena of this sort were extremely rare, stating that LOLcats have “a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to them”.

Amongst LoLcats, other popular Internet Memes include: Rickrolling: the meme known as the ‘duckroll’ – the replacement of the ‘egg’ in egg roll. “Chocolate Rain”: the increased promotion of Tay Zonday’s ‘Chocolate Rain’ song and video clip on YouTube, which inspired covers of the song by John Mayor and Green Day. Boxy: based on the internet celebrity, the lively Catherine ‘Catie’ Wayne. And, Pedobear: the anthropomorphic child predator, which was used to show mocking of users that had a sexual interest in juveniles.

Conversation

The conversation that takes place on 4chan is in the form of ‘comments’. Once a photo has been uploaded into a category, it begins a thread, or follows an existing thread, to which other users can comment on the photo and post feedback. Though there are rules and site regulations in which a user must adhere by, the uniquely distinguishing point of the social media platform is that users have the ability to comment anonymously. To encourage absolute freedom of speech, the site doesn’t require, or allow, users to register with a username, or handle. Users have the option to not be anonymous, but most choose that option, as it is available and encouraged.

Presence

Users of 4chan adopt the presence of being ‘anonymous’ or ‘anons’. This concept was originally associated with being a part of a network of activists and ‘hacktivists’. Many trivial internet pranksters who wish to create Internet Memes join 4chan to maintain or create anonymity so they’re memes can express what users are wanting to represent and cannot be traced so as to not receive negative credit for the meme, but mostly just for fun.

4chan ultimately represents a globally unidentified network of anarchists which, in 2003, began a series of pranks, and hacks and protests against The Church of Scientology. This expanded to include protests in retaliation against US government agencies, child pornography websites, copyright protection agencies, the Westboro Baptist Church, and corporations including PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Sony.  Anons have also publicly supported Wikileaks and The Occupy Movement, and when appearing in public, they wear masks on their faces stylized as Guy Fawkes and in 2012, Time Magazine named Anonymous hackers as being one of the “100 most influential people”.

The power of social media and a site like 4chan cannot be underestimated when it comes to politics and the influence it has on public opinion because-

“The ability to coordinate individual actions can also make each one more powerful” (Kessler, p.2).

Relationships

The relationship 4chan has with other social media platforms are largely based on sharing content amongst users. Images created on 4chan are shared through Facebook pages and users, Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr, and this garners much success.

As 4chan promotes anonymity, the relationships between many of the platform’s users are mostly only on 4chan, though as previously mentioned, the anonymity factor plays a crucial role in 4chan being a known ‘meeting place’. Meetings take place through threads, and have been known to expand to include physical meet-ups based upon mutual interest of protesting for and against societal issues, throughout the world.

Culture

4chan has an infinite reach when it comes to accessing and engaging with cultures around the world. It has a truly global spectrum of users from various backgrounds, races, nations and religions, but amongst this expanse of different cultures there are a number of customs, beliefs and similarities 4chan users seem to share.

These beliefs revolve around internet rights and the freedom to share digital content. The creative commons debate (Garcelon, 2009) brings to light the questions raised around ‘remix culture’ and whether or not it should be acceptable to share copyrighted content in order to rework it. 4chan strongly believes it should be acceptable and given this very post-modern notion of analysing and satirising popular culture, it creates a social network that is extremely unified because no matter who you are or what you do, everyone is a part of popular culture in some way.

It is also important to consider that users of 4chan are ‘produsing’ all the sites content and shifting the pendulum of “the dictatorship of expertise” (Keen, p.35), when it comes to creativity and expression. 4chan thrives by giving a creative platform to all people, not just those that are exceptionally talented or simply lucky enough to work professionally.

Identity

4chan is fairly unique in the sense that it allows its users to either post images and messages anonymously without signing up or creating a user name, or its users can choose create a profile name. There is also now a third option whereby users can simply sign in through their Facebook account if they wish to reveal their full identity.

But overall the majority of 4chan’s users post anonymously. Creator of the Site Christopher Pool details his rational for why this is the case.

“I think anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, unfiltered, raw way. I think that’s something that’s extremely valuable. In the case of content creation, it just allows you to play in ways that you may not have otherwise. We believe in content over creator” (Poole, ZdNet).

Conclusion

The story of 4chan and the things that the website represents really cannot be underestimated when it comes to its importance to popular culture and the digital age we live in today.

Its success in naming recognition is still fairly limited in terms of being a household name in social media like Facebook and YouTube. However all though the name 4chan may not be the most well-known social media websites, the things the website has created certainly are.

4chans legacy will include the creation of Internet Meme’s and the humour of reflecting on the modern world and popular culture. It will also include Anonymous, the infamous ‘hacktivist’ group well known for its cyber-attacks on corperations, and governments.

And with this in mind it seems that the success of 4chan isn’t really about 4chan itself, it’s about its content. The platform itself is not important, but what is important is what’s being created.

Reference list

Brophy-Warren, J (2008) Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes, The Wall Street Journal, accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121564928060441097.html>

Bruns, A (2008) ‘The Future is User-Led: The Path towards Widespread Produsage’, Fibreculture Journal, no. 11, viewed 12 May 2012,
<http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_bruns.html&gt;.

Dibbell, J (2010) Radical Opacity, MIT Technology Review, Accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/420323/radical-opacity/&gt;

Douglas, N (2008) What The Hell Are 4chan, Something Awful, accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://gawker.com/346385/what-the-hell-are-4chan-ed-something-awful-and-b&gt;

Gellman, b (2012) The World’s 100 Most Influential People: 2012. Time Magazine. 18 April 12 

 Hesse, M (2009) A Virtual Unknown: Meet ‘Moot,’ the Secretive Internet Celeb Who Still Lives With Mom, The Washington Post, accessed 18 September 2013,

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2009/02/16/AR2009021601565.html>

Jeffries, A (2011) From the Creator of 4chan Comes the More Mature Canvas, The New York Observer, accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://observer.com/2011/01/from-the-creator-of-4chan-comes-the-more-mature-canvas/>

Jibaku, (2004) Big Update, 4Chan, accessed 18 September2013,
<http://www.4chan.org/news?all#59>

Keen, A (2007) ‘The Noble Amateur’, in The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture, Doubleday, New York, pp.35-63.

Kessler, S (2010) ‘Why Social Media is Reinventing Activism’, Mashable, 9 October, viewed 2 June 2012,
<http://mashable.com/2010/10/09/social-media-activism/&gt;.

Moot, (2003) Welcome, 4chan, accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://www.4chan.org/news?all#2&gt;

Moot, (2003) What Is 4Chan, 4Chan,
<http://www.4chan.org/faq#were>

Moot, (2008) The Long And Short Of It, 4Chan, accessed 18 September 2013,

<http://www.4chan.org/news?all#95>

Moot, (2012) Beyond One Billion, 4Chan, accessed 18 September 2013,
<http://www.4chan.org/news?all#106&gt;

Poole, C, (2011), 4chan founder to Facebook CEO: you’re doing it wrong. ZdNet. Accessed 17 September
<http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/4chan-founder-to-facebook-ceo-youre-doing-it-wrong/785&gt;

 Sarno, D (2008) Rise and fall of the Googled swastika, Los Angeles Times, accessed 18 September  2013,

<http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/12/entertainment/et-swastika12&gt;

 

Managing Your Privacy

To manage your privacy, it takes nothing but an open eye and a brain, but that’s almost everything. It tends to be quiet hard for an individual that’s new to a social network such as Facebook to figure out the privacy settings. Below are seven steps to keeping your Facebook profile’s privacy in tact.

First, don’t write your full name.

Second, when signing up, only fill in the required fields, because things like address and number aren’t really needed. But if one would like to receive notifications via SMS then make sure you select the option only me for your numbers visibility.

Third, put your photos on friends only so that not anyone can see photos of you, of your friends and your family up close.

Fourth, only add and accept people that you know and don’t have something against.

Fifth, set all your statuses to friends only so that not everyone who likes or comments on your status makes it viewable to their friends.

Sixth, set all the wall posts, posted by friends, to only you so that no everyone knows what’s going on with you and your friends. You might be mentioning lunch details, when and where. DON’T do that.

Last, if you really want a private profile, don’t like or comment on any public links. Your Facebook friends will see every public or friends of friends link you like. I’ve seen many awkward links that my friends have liked appearing on my news-feed, and it kind of changed my thought about them as it got disturbing.

These guidelines should be leaping you to a private life online. If it doesn’t, then you’re definitely not doing ‘nothing’; opening your eye and using your brain.

Google and Facebook

boy-reading

Google

Nicholas Carr is right! Google is making us stupid. Now a day, when particularly the younger generation search through Google’s search engine, they don’t read much to find the information they need. No denial in Google’s help when an individual is trying to recall a certain quote, date or even an occurrence within an event, although, this may also affect the memory of an individual. The person will continuously depend on Google for information rather than storing it in to their memory. This is somewhat related to what Socrates had said:

“[It] destroys memory [and] weakens the mind, relieving it of…work that makes it strong. [It] is an inhuman thing.”

Individuals narrow their thoughts to certain key terms in one sentence rather than reading topic related issues which eventually have the information needed through the information provided. Google affects ones concentration on the answer word for word without the background. This leads the searcher to simply memorize a fact but not understand its background information which is definitely pointless.

Narcissism

“No make-up. How hot do I look ;)” Today’s society has become a narcissist society through social media. One of the main reasons of this is seeking attention and to impressing individuals as well as competing with other “friends” – between mainly girls.

Individuals post statuses letting their friends know what they’re up to, where they are, what clothes they bought, who they are with and how they are feeling. Why do they post these things? They post them simply because they think people care. Majority of “Friends” don’t really care but are simply to curious, to either copy or hate on them.

Managing ones online identity is easy. To focus on Facebook specifically, here are some tips to keep your identity private.

  1. Only friend people you know
  2.  Only allow statuses and posts to be viewed by friends
  3. Disable your profile from being found in search
  4. Keep your location hidden
  5. Don’t check in to every single place you go to. Everyplace you check into, anyone who visits that page could see you’ve been there.

Creativity and Internet Age

 Image

The emergence of social media and the age of the internet has given birth to the greatest age of creativity the human race has ever known.

Technology has meant that creativity in today’s world is inexpensive, wide reaching and infinite.

The major problem that creative people and artists faced in years gone by is that creativity was expensive and even if a person had the expertise and/or passion to build something, paint something or play a musical instrument, it would more than likely be out of reach for the common person.

If you did have the finance to fund such indulgent activities the obstacle you would then face is reach. If you were a regular person before social media and you wanted to distribute or broadcast something you had created, the only way it was possible was through mass-media organisations or by government announcement.

In the past, creating something and having it reach a wide audience was only reserved for a very small group of the population that were either exceptionally talented or exceptionally lucky.

But in the age of social media everyone has the ability.

And that’s how it should be because creativity is for everyone, not a select few and certainly not for an aristocracy.   

And the issue of remixing, reworking or parodying previous works has exploded with the creation of sites like YouTube.

Despite what some may say, post-modern art-“The recycling of past styles and themes in a modern-day context, as well as the break-up of the barrier between fine and high arts and low art and popular culture (Desmond, p.148)”,is an extremely important way to express creativity because it allows us as human beings to understand and evaluate ourselves and the cultural norms that account for so much of our world.

Having said that….There is still a lot of stuff that sux.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM_K73IyBMo

 

Reference

Desmond, K (2011) Ideas about Art, John Wiley and Sons. UK.