Online media is completely embedded in my life, it has been this way ever since Web 2.0 allowed for consumers such as myself to actually interact with media. I wake up to my alarm and immediately check my major social media platforms, I get ready for the day listening to music online, I leave to go somewhere and use google maps and tram tracker to find my way. I’d get to my destination and continue checking my media accounts to stay in the loop, I’d probably take photos and videos of where I was and perhaps upload them, then later after I’d go home I’d browse the web for simple entertainment. My whole day is spent accessing, interacting with and discussing online media.
During our week of self-documentation I discovered just how much media I consume on a daily basis and began to analyse what these media’s did for me and how I used them. I knew that there was a lot of it but I was shocked to find out just how much ‘a lot’ was. In my initial estimations of use I only really considered the main platforms of media that I use; Netflix, Facebook and Instagram. I didn’t factor in all the small things that I use on a daily basis to function in the way I do, including transportation information and apps, email, google, youtube, banking applications etc. I didn’t factor in any of these things because I only access them on my phone, and for some reason I forgot that my phone is a media server that uses internet. I guess it’s been too long since I haven’t had any internet access on my phone as I have a plentiful amount of data and never worry about overusing it. I learnt from this that I’ve been blissfully oblivious to the reliance I have on the online media world. I’m not sure I’d successfully make it through a day without it. Through thorough reflection I uncovered 3 main reasons that I use online media; for social upkeep and satisfaction, for professional and administrative use and for pure entertainment lead consumption.
The first reason is the easiest to unpack. Everyday of my media documentation I consistently used Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. My uses for these three platforms slightly differ from each other as Facebook is the site in which I get global information and consume high levels of popular culture through photos, articles and videos. “The initial purpose of Facebook was to allow university students to create and maintain social ties which were relevant to the university experience” (Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use, 2008, Pg. 579), however Facebook isn’t used by me to just ‘keep track’ of my friends, it’s more to keep track of the world, what’s happening, the latest funny creations and stories, and lastly to give any friends an overall account of my life through uploading photo albums on my profile. “Facebook is a computer-mediated Social Networking System that has become one of the most popular means of communication” (Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use, 2008, Pg. 579) since its exponential growth since 2004,this has allowed for it to be so full of different medias. Instagram is much more directly social based. I mainly follow friends and family and Instagram is an easy way for me to discover the best parts of their weeks through edited photos and videos (which you can read about in my first blog post). Snapchat is much more informal than its counterparts. Snapchat is used by me to converse with friends and share with them what I’m currently up to. Together the three are used by me (and I’m certainly not the only one) not only by choice but also by a forceful desire to always be up to date with the world.
Professional use of online media is my most interesting internet usage point, as it is the only reason that is easily justified and makes complete sense. Internet is found by this reason not just a platform for entertainment and social connection, but a platform for learning, directing and effectively completing essential tasks. I’m not just talking about using google drive for assignments. Universities have discovered that “social media sites can be valuable tools for collaborative learning” (Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media, 2011), but universities aren’t the only ones using the internet as a tool for connectivity. I’m also discussing the overlooked applications (by me) that I would be in trouble without, including online banking, Uber, Email, Maps and online work roster systems. I found myself very aware of each time that I accessed the internet and realised that I needed it on countless occasions, most notably when I lost my bank card and required the internet to lookup a cancellation number, and to check that my account had not been accessed by an outside party. If I had not been able to do these things immediately on the Friday night that it occurred then I would have had to wait until Monday to head into a bank branch and cancel my card at customer service, giving anyone who happened across the card a whole weekend to steal my money if they so desired. This banking service is just one way that companies and education systems have taken advantage of the technology at their fingertips, it makes so many things much simpler and makes connections from one party to another during every hour of every day possible.
Last but not least is my pure consumption of media, where I seek out the online environments to entertain myself, only lightly interacting with the online content. This was usually achieved through Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud and online streaming sites for films. “A substantial number of service providers in the Web 2.0 domain seem to understand that next to the high-volume hit products and services, there is a high… market potential of individual…products and services” (Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 2008, Pg. 245), these services are sought out by individuals mainly for reasons of entertainment and lead to high levels of consumption. I found that Netflix in particular was used by me over and over and over again. This was due to my desire to effortlessly relax and watch a film or tv show without any advertisement, without having to find a new episode and most importantly without having to move. It makes watching film so simple compared to any other method of doing so. I tried a different streaming source, but found it hard to locate and didn’t trust that it wasn’t harming my device with viruses. Through Facebook my consumption was also simple, I didn’t search anything, I simply followed my news feed down and down, then refreshed the page and repeated. In doing this I didn’t necessarily interact with online media as I simply viewed things for the sake of it.
Online media is important to me. I rely on it for many things and it continually supplies me with new and fun ways of interacting and connecting with people and information. I’ve learnt that I am actively involved with media every day for all purposes, stretching from education and sourcing important information to simply watching a 7 minute dog video that brightens my day. The internet is an excellent tool that I’ve been taking advantage of to benefit myself, however after recording my excessive use I’ve come to realise that I may be too dependant on it for my own good. Online media will undoubtedly continue to develop, and by doing so envelop more people into a digital world, helping them through communication and interactivity.
Moran, M; Seaman, Jeff; Tinti-Kane, H., Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media, 2011, Boston.
Ross, C. Emily, SO. Sisic, M, Arsenault, JM. Simmering, MG. Robert, RO. Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use, 2008, University of Windsor, Canada.
Constantinides, E. & Fountain, S. J Direct Data Digit Mark Pract (2008) 9: 231. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 2008, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 231–244.