The Networked Self

This week we looked at a very interesting topic; The Networked Self. This can be defined as “a single self that gets reconfigured in different situations as people reach out, connect, and emphasize different aspects of themselves” as Rainie and Wellman put it. In other words, we present different versions of ourselves online that change depending on the audience.
Personally, I feel I present a similar version of myself online as I do in real life. On Instagram and Facebook I share content with my friends which I feel capture my personality well, and I follow accounts that I am genuinely interested in. I feel I have good Social Capital. However, it is an increasing trend that we are all inclined to wear a mask when we are online.
This is the main aspect of the Networked Self I wanted to focus on.
I recently came across an article in the Independent about a YouTube video by Doug Leddin entitled “Let’s talk about depression”.He states how to his friends and family he is a “happy, go-lucky, positive, hardworking and confident guy” but “all that is a bit of a lie”.
This resonated with me deeply. Understandably, people tend to only share their best attributes and qualities online. For fear of being judged, people conform to certain norms and beliefs and are afraid to express themselves fully.
People dealing with depression feel that presenting themselves in any different light other than the one which is normalised by society will have negative repercussions on their lives. They bottle up their feelings.
“The second I posted that video there was such a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Four years ago I couldn’t have ever spoken about depression or how I was feel. It was a huge relief”, he goes on to say.

Article: http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/mental-health/the-second-i-posted-that-video-there-was-such-a-huge-weight-lifted-off-my-shoulders-irishman-overwhelmed-by-response-to-mental-health-video-34626890.html

 

YouTube Video:
“Let’s talk about Depression”

 

Social Media is both a blessing and a curse; it enables us to connect with people from all over the world, but it also makes it difficult for even the most seemingly confident of people to open up.
Niall Breslin, or ‘Bressie’, is a prime example of this. I came across this article last year, in which he opened up about his battle with anxiety and depression. He presented himself as a confident, together person but behind the mask in the spotlight, he was constantly struggling.

 

Bressie Article:
http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/niall-bressie-breslin-on-anxiety-and-depression-in-college-1.2633156


This is a massively important aspect of the Networked Self that often goes unnoticed, because what one portrays online never really gives an accurate representation of the individual.

Quantified Self

This week we had guest lecturer, Kalpana Shankar, talk to us about the ‘Quantified Self’, and the ‘Internet of Things’. Initially I hadn’t a notion about what this meant, but it all became clear very quickly. The Internet of Things refers to the idea that living things and inanimate objects are all connected. An example of this is Life Logging. Something I do every day with the MyFitnessPal app. I really enjoyed this class as we were focusing on something that I was actually very familiar with, so I caught on quickly. It was also interesting to hear the opinions of others in the class towards it. It’s something I have never actually discussed with other people before despite playing such a large part of my life. People had mixed views towards calorie tracking which made for a good debate.
My-Fitness-Pal-App.jpg

https://www.myfitnesspal.com/

I recently discovered that my own smart phone has been automatically tracking my steps every day for over a year…thanks to the Apple Health app.  Without even realising I had compiled a year’s worth of data about myself. Data which has delightfully pointed out how incredibly inactive I am every day (!)

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https://www.apple.com/lae/ios/health/

Kalpana went on to talk about a new product which is coming out soon; a spoon which tracks your calories and the quantities of each food group to ensure you’re eating everything in moderation. The spoon comes with a USB port so that you can plug it into your Laptop or PC to track your calorie intake and compare it to the amount you should be eating based on your height, weight, age and activity levels. This is similar to the app I use, however it tracks the weight of food itself rather than one having to input it manually. This product would be perfect for people who are trying to change their eating habits, it does the hard work for you in a way.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3526312/Is-smart-SPOON-ultimate-weight-loss-tool-Utensil-counts-calories-bite-vibrates-ve-enough.html#v-7526131102049876289

 

Unplugged

unplugged logo
This was comfortably the most difficult task I have probably ever been given during my time in UCD – unplugging myself from my online self for 24 hours.


I thought they were long extinct, but there it was, hidden away in my drawer, in need of new AA batteries, my old alarm clock. I set it for the first time in I’d say 7 years.
8.30am. This was going to be a long day.
I switched off my phone as soon as it struck midnight, and went to sleep. The best nights sleep I’d gotten in a long time if I’m being honest. The first time I haven’t stayed up till 1.30am refreshing Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit and Twitter, in search of news that would save me from having to sleep.

At 8.30 I awoke, and staring at me from across the room, was my beautiful smart phone, mocking me. I stared back, but fought the temptation, and proceeded to shower and get dressed.
Instead of my usual starter of replying to snapchats and whatsapp messages, I had two slices of toast with eggs and a coffee.

The day itself was manageable, I arrived in college at 9.30 and got cracking on my assignments and studied for my Geology elective midterm which was postponed till the end of week 9. The one time I’ve been grateful for having a hefty workload was today, it kept me preoccupied.
I went for lunch by myself, as I had no way of contacting my friends, but it was surprisingly enjoyable. Instead of sitting in a group of four scrolling through our newsfeeds, I was left with my thoughts and really got to observe my surroundings.
I actually found that I worked a lot more efficiently without having my phone by my side. Instead of wasting my time liking comments I’ve been tagged in or replying to group chats, I was focused.

However, that’s not to say I wasn’t incredibly excited to get home and kill time before I could get back on my phone.
I left college at 6pm and hopped on the bus. The commute home was a lot lonelier than I anticipated without Spotify to keep me company, but thankfully I was able to enjoy all the gorgeous scenery that the dual-carriageway and 145 have to offer; I discovered four new shades of grey that I didn’t know existed on that journey.
My next destination was the gym, not only would I be preoccupied by exercise, I’d be too tired to complain about not having my phone, a win win.
The walk home was surprisingly enjoyable also, thirty minutes to ponder life’s mysteries along the blisteringly loud N11. What a day it’s been.
10pm, I arrive home, two hours till freedom. I see my sweet sweet iPhone sitting on my desk, laughing at me digitally. The ones you love always hurt you the most.

Those two hours were the longest eight hours of my life. I sat at the kitchen table eating my reheated dinner, reading a book, a literal book, with words and pages. What had I become, cultured? Not on my watch
*Midnight*
I turned on my phone, after 24 hours in solitary. What a feeling. 10 unopened Snapchats, 8 notifications on Facebook, tagged in three memes on Instagram, and 257 Whatsapp messages from a Whatsapp group that never sleeps. A proverbial goldmine.

Pecha Kucha

pechakucha.gif
In week 6 we had to outline our group projects to the class in a presentation. Each group used a presentation style known as a Pecha Kucha. This presentation style consists of 20 slides which are each shown for 20 seconds, totaling 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This format enabled groups to present in a concise and fast paced manner, but also meant that we had to be very selective of the content we included so as to avoid going over our allotted presentation time. Short and sweet.

I actually found a Pecha Kucha on how to make a Pecha Kucha here .

Our project was focused on examining whether or not social media and charitable trend challenges, such as the ‘Ice Bucket challenge’ or ‘No Make Up challenge’, actually help their intended causes. Countless friends of ours have posted such challenges online, and I myself have even been nominated for a few of them (some less charitable than others).

In the Pecha Kucha, we outlined the field we would look at, the topic, the questions we would ask, and the methods in which we would acquire the quantitative and qualitative data.
Quantitative data research involves gathering observable data that is in numerical form. The data is collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by finding pre-existing statistical data. Whereas Qualitative data research involves gathering non-numerical data which is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations for human behaviour.

Ours plans were to examine:
1) The level of popularity each challenge has achieved on social media, in terms of number of participants
2) The amount of money each challenge has raised
3) Compare the level of popularity with the amount of money raised
4) What was the motivation of the group who started the challenge
5) What was the motivation of the individuals taking part in the challenges
6) How did the individuals feel after having taken part in the challenges

This was a very enjoyable class as it was interesting to see what approach each  group was taking.

Digital Death

‘Every Place at Once’ by Dr Crystal Abedin was a very interesting article about Digital Death. It focused on how nowadays one can be immortalised via social media and technology and subsequently be in “every place at once”.

The piece was written in the first person and recounts Dr Abedin’s experience at her sister’s funeral. People were posting “streams and streams of throwback photographs” on her facebook page, recording the memorial service on their mobile phones, and a video of her singing was being played on a large screen. She noted how “digital artefacts are new vehicles through which we can grieve”.

“Do they have wifi in heaven?”, she asks in response to the masses of facebook posts that now exist online since her passing. She points out that nowadays one’s closeness to another can almost be measured by the amount of interaction between them on social media, and that this just a new way for people to show their appreciation for a loved one. It enables them to open up to the person they’ve lost; and I’d look at that as more of a celebration of their life rather than a just mourning of their loss and is probably the only public display of affection that I’m in favour of.
She goes on to say how her sisters friends would forever be “horcruxes of her”. This analogy resonated with me, it states that though Dr Abedin’s sister has passed, part of her will live on forever in the memory of others, immortalising her, which I really liked.

The Written Self

CurrentTrendsLogo
Welcome! My name is Tom, I’m 22 and I am a full-time Fitness blogger and certified Personal Trainer living in Dublin Ireland. I have been fortunate enough to turn my passion for health and fitness into a full time job thanks to Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


My obsession with fitness was ingrained at a very early age. For as long as I can remember sport and exercise has been a big part of my life. My Dad played rugby for Connacht and my mum used to run a local gym, so what is a hobby for most people was a constant in my life, and it didn’t stop there. I became heavily involved in sports when I was a teenager, representing my school in both Rugby and Athletics and I then went on to study Sports and Exercise Science in University.

The main objective of my blog is to provide my followers with the best information and approach to diet and fitness I can give them. I want to help people achieve their health and fitness goals without having to put their social life on hold, and I believe my evidence based approach is the most efficient way of doing this. My blog will consist of:
– Meal Plans
– Tips for gaining size and strength
– Tips for reducing fat and toning up
– Tips for improving mobility and reducing likelihood of injury
– A Regular update of my own Fitness Journey

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will be summarising the content from my latest Youtube video – “Biggest Fitness Myths debunked”

The Ethical Self

instagram-logo
This week we have been tasked with looking at a social media site of our choosing, and analysing its ‘Terms of Use’ and ‘Code of Conduct’. Despite having several social media accounts, I ultimately decided to research Instagram, as it is not only my most frequented app, but it is also the one I allocate most of time working on.

Having read through the Terms of Use, I was quite annoyed with the lack of rights given to its users. Although the Community Guidelines are reasonable and promote healthy activity on the site, its Terms of Use are surprisingly disappointing.

The following paragraph is taken from Instagram’s terms of use:
‘You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your account and you agree you will not sell, transfer, license or assign your account, followers, username, or any account rights. With the exception of people or businesses that are expressly authorized to create accounts on behalf of their employers or clients, Instagram prohibits the creation of and you agree that you will not create an account for anyone other than yourself. You also represent that all information you provide or provided to Instagram upon registration and at all other times will be true, accurate, current and complete and you agree to update your information as necessary to maintain its truth and accuracy.’

Simplified extracts from the Terms of Use include:
“Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that.”
I don’t like the idea of Instagram being legally able to take my photos and sell them on to other parties.
“Although you are responsible for the information you put on Instagram, we may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram, and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs).”
I also strongly disagree with Instagram firstly being able to share my information with other people, and secondly being able to access and read private messages (DMs) that I send to other people, i feel it is a massive invasion of m privacy.
it is very important for people to read the Terms and Conditions, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines of any site they use regularly, as many of them (like myself) are unaware of what they’re signing up for.

Terms of Use: https://help.instagram.com/478745558852511
Privacy Policy: https://help.instagram.com/155833707900388/?helpref=hc_fnav
Community Guidelines: https://help.instagram.com/477434105621119/?helpref=hc_fnav