We Tried, But It’s Viral Now

Virality. A word spell check still refuses to recognize, no matter how widely used it is now. “Viral” often refers to infection, disease. But now also refers to quickly spreading content, infectious content, if you will.

But such a word presumes that there is no control over the spread of content, that it just happens, which isn’t true for most cases. Henry Jenkins argues in Spreadable Media (p. 20) that when we share content we actively choose to spread such content to our contacts on social media, via email or even play it for someone, we carry that content outwards of our networks to other networks through sharing.

But how much choice do we really have in sharing those short funny videos for example? Can we articulate or explain why we do?

One example to measure our ability to answer such question to is the famous “Charlie Bit My Finger” video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM]

Back in 2007, a family in England posted the home video above. It’s a cute moment between brothers, three and one year olds. It was meant to be shared between family and friends, and it wasn’t until years later that views started doubling daily, until it became one of the most viewed videos on YouTube with more than 800 million views.

What happened?

People shared the video on every website, and they shared it because people where sharing it, and so on and so forth. No one knows who was “patient zero”, probably a famous website or a media outlet, that led to the video’s outbreak.

In an interview, the dad who posted the video commented on the videos popularity.

“I had to make a decision: Is this something that we accept is us and do something more with or is it something we just park and say, ‘That’s really nothing to do with us,’ and then everybody else will be exploiting it and making money from it?”

The thing is, he didn’t realize it wasn’t even his decision anymore. The video has simple gone viral and there was no control over it. Years later in 2015, the story is still going on, and people are wondering what happened to the Charlie Bit My Finger boys.

They have found fame, YouTube revenue and became part of our culture, in a way. Time’s magazine refers to  watching the video now as “nostalgic”, all based on something millions of us do everyday, record our kids doing something funny. No one can really list a formula other videos can follow to assure a similar success, it was just something that “went viral”.

I agree with Jenkins in how he explains the difference between virality and spreadability, but viral content isn’t necessarily commercial content desperately clutching to the advantage of public participation, even if that is the case lots of times, it’s only because when it works, it really does get uncontrollably viral, and there’s no explanation for it except that everyone thinks it’s “interesting” whether it is a toddler biting his brother’s finger, or a Korean pop song.

Networking For Good

How we network as individuals and within groups has changed with time and technologies, and with such change appear advantages and disadvantages that are being studied to determine how the future of networking would look like.

In the book Networked:The New Social Operating System, authors Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman discuss the three major revolutions that have transformed how we form social circles and interact within them: the networks revolution, the internet revolution, and the mobile revolution. The book also focuses on how this change has affected our networks as individuals, how we now approach our relationships with our families, friends, and work mates.

In this post, we take a look at two examples of how the new concept of networking can help us understand where bigger networks link together, where interactions doesn’t only take place within a network or from individuals to the surrounding few networks they belong in, but across networks to make it more possible to serve a bigger, mutual goal. One is a feature social networks have developed enough to offer, the other is a result of public collaboration across different networks.

1- Safety Check-in

After the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015, Facebook offered the Safety Check feature to alert the noch! network of an individual who has his location set to an affected area that they are Bye fine.

Mobile phones would show a simple alert from Facebook that reads “You appear to be in an area affected by X disaster, are you safe?” and there would be two options “I’m safe” or “I’m not in the area”.

As rescuing efforts tried to free people from under the rubble among the rising deaths, it was an effective way to check on someone in the midst of chaos, and a quick way for users who were near all the distress to assure their loved ones, friends, families, and every other network they were part of that they were alright.

Google has also been working on a People Finder feature to locate an individual’s network in the aftermath of a disaster.

This addition to the functions of social networks show how the technological revolutions happening so far (the networking revolution, internet revolution, and mobile revolution) can be integrated to serve our interpersonal communication. They are here one step ahead of how our social intuition works, as they usually are. It relieves us from the worry of an additional task in a difficult time of emergency.

2- Crowdsourcing help on a large scale

Seven days ago, a picture tweeted by Icelandic journalist Gissur Simonarson went viral. The picture was of a Syrian refugee father selling pens on the streets of Beirut with his sleeping daughter on his arm.

After the great amount of support under the hashtag #BuyPens, and questions of how to locate this man and help him support himself and his children, a crowdsourcing campaign was launched to raise money for him with a goal of $5,000.

In 6 days, the campaign has raised over $178,000 so far and there’s still 8 days left. more than 6,700 people from all over the world donated through the website. The story has been picked up by news websites and blogs all over the world.

A common expression between commentaries and entries on this type of crowdsourcing is “gives me hope”. Social media has gathered people everywhere with all their differences under one giant umbrella of accessible information, and whenever something happens on that big of a scale that changes someone’s life or helps a cause, we are reminded that it isn’t social media itself that does damage when it happens, but how people interact within their networks on social media. Connections aren’t formed by the medium, but by the people.

In these ways, the three revolutions have transformed how we perceive information and interact with each other, whether it is within our small circle or with the more generic networks we are sharing with millions of other people.

Research Proposal: Is Extended Consumption of Social Media Linked to Anxiety Among Teens and Young Adults?

Instant connections. That’s what new age social media promises us; we will always be connected to each other, to strangers, to our networks, and to our ideas. But with Integrais the incredible rise of the use of digital social networks that took place in the last few years, people have come to rely more on their portable devices for social interactions, and both users and researchers are asking: have we reached the feeling of being more connected, or have we become more isolated?

Is the focused attention on self-promotion related to the rise of anxiety among teenagers and young adults? Or is it the motivation this generation needed to keep up with fast-rising competition? This is what this research strives to answer.

The number of American adults who own a smartphone has doubled in the 4 years between 2011 and 2015 according to a Pew Research report. Smartphones have become essential in how we do most of our daily activities, including chatting and texting with our friends and family, and posting on social media.

By taking a look at usage patterns and behaviors of internet users between adolescence and adulthood (13-25 years old), a better understanding about the ties between the two issues will develop. Whether a causation or correlation occurs between rise of social anxiety and depression among teens and adults, and the digitalization of social connection.

The subject of interactive behavior on social media sites has been discussed heavily during the past decade due to many factors:

  1. Type of information: What is being shared and discussed on social media and how it affects participants.
  2. Privacy concerns: When we post online, we contribute into a global record that is not easy to delete, our actions online have consequences that are as fast as our ability to send something out to the world.
  3. Psychological aspects: How users feel while interacting with no one and everyone at the same time. On twitter for example, is the value of what you write calculated by how it makes you feel, or by the response it gets. Does social media make us happier by giving us a window to vent out and share, or limit us by confining our opinions in boxes of what’s popular? Through posting and reading what others post, have we created an ideal experience that can turn devastating if not “post-perfect”?

Researchers have even developed the term iDisorder to describe the stress-related disorders caused by overwhelming the brain with information from social media.

On the topic of social media and anxiety, there are studies supporting different notions. There are many aspects that causes social media users to worry and can cause alienation from the networks that are supposed to connect, few of them can be highlighted in the term FOMO (fear of missing out), the constant feeling of something amazing happening within or outside our circles without having a mean to instantly connect to it, because we live in a time when a lot of amazing things happen very fast, we need to constantly feel on top of things.

Another aspect of anxiety in the new age is the “am i good enough?” questions. Am I good enough to compete in this ever-growing community of great talents? Do I know the right people to help me get where I want? Am I taking the right steps to belong in the right circles for me? All these questions are going through minds of young people, these questions didn’t go through younger minds with this intensity and urgency decades ago, add to it the social pressure built within an overly growing network and you might be able to link anxiety to the stressful effects of this type of interactions.

This being the argument accusing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other networks of spreading what became a voluntarily heavy responsibility, some researchers argue that social media is not to blame for anxiety, and that as much as it can spread negativity it can also spread happy thoughts and inspire its users to a better mental state.  

These and other angles of anxiety-related disorders and how they might be linked to social networking will be the focus of my research paper. By going in-depth into anxiety issues among social media users, the results reached will hopefully give a clearer perspective of how involved certain patterns of social media consumption is with these issues of anxiety.

Why Is That Art and Why Should I Care?

Studying art is not an easy task to define, mostly because most people think being an artist has more to do with talent than school and books. Being talented is important, but then again there are millions of talented people around the world, how can any of them set themselves apart by studying art?

When you exert a big amount of effort into knowing more about something, you simply accumulate an advantage over someone who doesn’t.

This applies on the arts as well. While you can’t read a book and suddenly become an artist, knowing the basics of the industry, the history, what other artists already tried, how they think, and how people react, all adds up to your knowledge on the subject and feeds this advantage that most certainly will show in the work.

daliThe book 1st Why Is That Art by weg Terry Barrett discusses of four main areas of art; realism, expressionism, formalism, and postmodern pluralism. As a student in the iMedia program, I’m interested in art as an application tool, and design is something wholesale jerseys I want to pursue further in the professional world. But why Showroom do I have to learn about postmodern pluralism in 2015?

The answer is in what this book offers of information that goes into the foundation of how I think of art and design. Learning the very old basics of a profession in the digital world is not an oxymoron, because we rely on the value of these teachings to innovate new things.

We have amazing technologies at our service today but we are missing an advantage older generations had; learning in a linear way, starting from the very basics and going up on the difficulty scale of developed skills. We start from an advanced level of application because it’s available and so accessible to us we don’t even think about it. We don’t think how a photograph is made, we don’t have to go into a darkroom and spend time developing a picture, we can take ten pictures in one second and they are just there for us to use.

Knowing the basics thus reconnects us with this missing link. Personally, reading about the philosophies of important figures in the art world inspires me to think differently and opens this new perspective of how I view their work. It’s a basic foundations every artist needs to be aware of to build on further skills. Acquiring knowledge about what interests me in art isn’t technically difficult, the web is full of resources of articles and books taking an in-depth look through history and application on many subjects such as realism. It might be more challenging to know what to search for, how to start finding information, and filtering what is related to a specific area out of the sea of text and pictures.

This can be done by starting with the very basic information; a definition, available examples of works, and further suggested readings.

Being aware of art as an industry, as a philosophy, even as a business, feeds into my interest in design. As available as technologies have become to create such designs, it also facilitates the learning process of such art.

 

Keep Playing The Game: The Gamification of Everyday Life

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If you have been living here on this planet during the last few decades, chances are you played a video game or a hundred. And if you haven’t been told you should play less video games and do something useful, then you said it to others. But here is the twist: if you look closely, you’ll find that you’re always playing some sort of Behind a game, even when you aren’t. Social networking is a game, online shopping is a game, creative work is a game.

Throughout her book Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal counters the belief that video games are a waste of time. She argues that video games can actually make our world better and solve the most urgent and real problems, and that Post will happen only if our daily life follows a set of constructs every good video game offers.


 “Video games can actually make our world better and solve the most urgent and real problems”


The gaming world isn’t a disconnected spectrum to McGonigal. It Remember is in many ways more rewarding and satisfying than the real world. It has defining traits; a goal, rules, a feedback system and the user’s volunteered participation. Users do unnecessarily hard work and even sometimes fail and новостей try again. The gaming world satisfies human intrinsic needs of being successful, having meaning in what they’re doing of instantly rewarding work, and connecting with other players in a social, interactive setting.

McGonigal’s approach to defining what is “a game” and how it affects reality made me think, what else around us might follow the same pattern as a game? and more importantly, how making this connection can help improve this activity and how we do our work?

Filmmaking is a game

I met a director who made a short documentary about the homeless a year ago, back then he was right in the middle of his work and it seemed to be a particularly exhausting task. His team has been working really hard, non-stop for months on the film. A question someone might ask is: Why? Why put yourself through such a hard process, and the answer would come as: “because I enjoy it.”

Even though none of the team probably thought of it as a game, their creative process was following the same pattern as a video game. They all had a goal; creating a high-quality film that goes on to be acknowledged by the intended audience and results in a positive change in society. They had rules; they used certain equipment, they had to follow certain techniques and regulations while interviewing their subjects.

The feedback system in this process was seeing their work come to life with each step, showing early versions to some people and do more editing, sometimes changing certain points in the project. All of this was done voluntarily, no one demanded they work on this project. They did have a commercial goal among their targets but they all had other day jobs and were making a living.

Working on this film- same goes for writing a book or doing similar creative work, provides the artist with a valuable sense of realizing an idea, of seeing a thought come to life in a shape and a form, it is extremely satisfying to do this and succeed, or not succeed, learn and go back to the drawing board. This gives more meaning to all the work that is being done. As failure only pushes gamers to try the level again with a different strategy, failure often does the same for artists, at least the ones who are persistent enough to keep trying. In fact you would find at least one failure story recounted by successful artists in different fields.

Realizing that dell’orso” a complicated task like making a movie can be broken down to steps and goals following the wholesale jerseys gamification module highlights how many other cases we rarely associate with the word “game” can follow the same lines. Think about an activity you feel obligated to do, grocery shopping for instance, thinking of your weekend shopping as a game where you need to get the items on your list in the least amount of time while searching the many products to choose the best and most affordable. what if you can share your successful completion and saving results with your friends? how about if the supermarket gives you an incentive of more discounts if you play the game?

McGonigal’s hypothesis grabs the attention of game designers, she herself is one, as well as gamers and people who don’t play video games that often, because it is easy to relate to and understand the link. Maybe one day gaming does make the world a better place.