While the Internet allows for a relatively free to use platform to share content and express views publicly many feel a large amount of pressure to only upload or post content if it is of a high quality or will be accepted by the views of the community around them.
The Internet allows for a wide avenue of content, not only for entertainment purposes but it also is a platform where people can publically publish content and freely express views and opinions. With the advancements in technology alongside the development of Web 2.0 consumers can now experience and connect to the Internet like never before. ‘Web 2.0 has made creating content less complicated which in turn has resulted in more content being published online due to the technical barrier being removed.’ (Understanding Social Media, 2013) Though this statement is correct it is more complicated and deeper than just the technical barriers been removed when it comes to content sharing. While we are currently creating content at a rate like never before not everyone feels confident in what they publish due to the rapidly increasing quality of not only images in terms of resolution but also mainly the content and skills behind the photo or post.
Through the analysis and recording of my daily Internet usage I was able to gather an insight into how I personally use the web. My engagement with the Internet was primarily as a consumer and ‘user.’ Only on the odd occasion did I feel the urge to post a photo to a public/large audience on Instagram or Snapchat. It wasn’t until the end of the week that it really dawned on me that I am in a routine when it comes to my Internet use. I always check my notifications from various apps in the same order every morning. I watch the same peoples stories on Instagram and Snapchat and I only watch videos from people that I am subscribed to on YouTube. I also noticed that I really didn’t feel like I could produce content similar to these people so I was in turn deterred from uploading my own content to a public space. I found this quote to sum up my feelings and findings: ‘When you make a link you can link to anything… people must be able to put anything on the web.’ While this does hold true and everything and anything can be found on the Internet it is more the desire of the person to produce the content rather than the ability. Without the desire and satisfaction no one would publish content online. So why is it that some are so willing to publish content while others like myself are far more satisfied by enjoying the content rather than contributing?
While I don’t personally author, publish and distribute online media as much as others I did find throughout my research what it is that makes Web 2.0 flourish. The notion of ‘Content Creators’ (Users of the World Unite, 2010) plays a large role in what makes Web 2.0. The Internet to me is one large advertisement. Everyday ‘users are encouraged to upload to YouTube’ (Users of the World Unite, 2010) and Instagram alongside tagging friends in various posts, sharing content and contribute to groups and chats. Most of these posts do intentionally or not feature brands and services. Many people will also intentionally tag brands on their Instagram accounts (myself included) to gain recognition by their current audience and new audiences. ‘Most users of social media also tend to follow a large number of celebrities and public media’s on micro blogs.’ (Detecting and tagging users’ social circles in social media, 2014) Twitter (though I do not personally use it) is a prime example of this. I did find when I posted content online I was somewhat skeptical about whether or not I should. Would people like it? Would I be judged? Is the quality good enough compared to other accounts in the same audience? These questions were on my mind every time I posted something. Has social media become a ‘monopoly’ and has it brought on a ‘limitation to innovation?’ (Long Live the Web, 2010) Social media is meant to be user generated content and a way that individuals can express themselves behind a keyboard freely either for good or bad.
In terms of expectations, before I started the week of recording my usage I thought that I wouldn’t post any content to a public audience nor would I realize how much I use the same applications and services. I was very much reluctant to branch out and trying any new methods or apps. I also did not expect how much of a user of the Internet I am. Everything I do from listening to music to connecting with friends and even ordering food is done through the Internet. The most valuable conclusion I could take away from this activity was that I need to change my routine, try something new and break out of my shell when it comes to online publishing, authoring and distributing. There is such a valuable resource at hand and simply being a user is not maximizing my potential or my time. Social media content in particular is not only a form of entertainment it is ‘leverage for insight into public opinion and sentiment.’ (Transparency in Social Media Tools) With this been said it demonstrates how even though there is pressure when it comes to producing and posting content online it still is a platform for each and everyone to use how they want and when they want.
While I felt my initial daily blog entries lacked the detail and specifics they did however make me think deeper about the task and how I use the Internet as a consumer. Through this research I have been inspired to move forward and try to become more of a content produce rather than an idle screen scroller. With today’s technology, especially smart phones photography and editing is easier, faster and more accessible to the average consumer. Due to this ‘the usage of social media has grown at staggering rates.’ (Societal benefits of freely accessible technologies and knowledge resources, 2015) This been said the perfect content is only limited by the imagination of the photographer, author or publisher.
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Russell, M., Bertino, E. and Matei, S. (2015). Transparency in Social Media. 1st ed
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Kaplan, A. and Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), pp.59-68.
Hinton, S. and Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. 1st ed. Los Angeles, CA [etc.]: SAGE.
Liu, T. and Qin, H. (2014). Detecting and tagging users’ social circles in social media. Multimedia Systems, 22(4), pp.423-431.
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