Category Archives: Define:

Define: “Social Media, Redux”

Redux – noun. Recycling a topic because I wrote a slightly relevant column for it in Feature Writing. Wouldn’t you?

I’m a big fan of social media. Judging by how much of my day I spend checking Facebook or Instagram for the latest scoop on just what my friends are doing, I could even be considered an addict. Snapchat is also a driving force behind my social media consumption. Who doesn’t want to endlessly spam their friends with pointless photos of your lunch, shoes or even study you’re desperately trying to avoid by roping some poor shmuck into a Snapchat conversation that spans hours? Maybe even posting a witty or widely appealing status on Facebook to watch the likes and gratifying comments roll in? Just me? Okay then.

As it turns out, the prevailing attitude regarding the recent phenomenon that is social media isn’t all that pleasant. Granted I get this general impression from a quick Google search where I literally searched “social media is making us less social.” This is an entirely different story on its own, with research pointing toward the fact that we remember and learn things entirely different because of the ease of access that comes with the advent of Google and other search engines. I digress though, if you want to learn more about it, you should Google it.

An article by the website elitedaily.com was the first result in my Google search (which took no more than 0.25 seconds), and their stance on the subject of social media is a negative one. Paul Hudson over at Elite Daily seems to think that the miasmic effect that social media has on social behaviour doesn’t come from the technology itself, but from the need for constant stimulation and relief from boredom desired by humanity as a whole. In fact, in the time I’ve been writing this article I’ve checked Facebook no less than three times. Make that four.

The constant checking my phone for news on the activities of my friends can be attributed to one of the countless mantras of the social media generation which was brutally cut down to an acronym, FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. If you’re scared of heights, you’d avoid ledges. If you’re scared of spiders, you squash them (or run away screaming, but I don’t judge). To squash the proverbial spider of FOMO, sufferers keep their three-to-five-inch screens inches away from their faces as frequently as possible.

A website who I thought would be more favourable toward the use of social media, socialmediatoday.com, posted an article last year asking the same question I am, “is social media is making us less social?” While the author, Stephen Dale, set out a few good arguments and statistics, he eventually took the “social media is indeed making us less social, wake up sheeple” approach (NB: I may be paraphrasing here). If anything, I think my social media-driven FOMO makes me more social. But that’s just me.

Going back to a point I made earlier, for some people Facebook (and similarly, Twitter and Instagram) can be a fantastic source of gratification. Comedian Marc Maron articulated this really well on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Maron likens the obsession of the world at large with social media to a seven-year-old child crying out for acknowledgement. A webcomic called Zen Pencils took Maron’s words on the subject and visually represented the phenomenon as similar to the way a heroin user gets a hit.

Despite all this, I’ll remain a faithful user of social media. It keeps my FOMO pressed down and keeps me in touch with people I wouldn’t generally be social with. It makes me more social, but I’ve never been one to check my phone at the dinner table.

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Define: “Employment Anxiety”

Employment Anxiety – noun. Anxious feelings toward the prospect of leaving Uni and getting a job.

FAIRFAX FULL YEAR RESULTS

I’ve run out of ideas. Sort of. Well, interesting ideas. So that is why for this blog post I want to talk about one of the things running around my head.

And that is my latest made up term, “Employment Anxiety.”

Some, if not most, if not all university students will at some time feel this. It’s not really made up I suppose. I may have made that part up.

In any event, I’m getting near the back end of my university career. Then I get to start my career career. If I can get a job. Which is a pretty terrifying concept. So where am I going with this? Well in journalism getting a job seems more like an insurmountable task than something to look forward to.

I feel this way generally because we keep being told that journalism is competitive business. Like I said in my first blog post, one of the first things we were taught were to blog consistently to keep our readership up and increase the odds that we’d be selected for a job doing what we’ve spent a minimum of 3 years working to achieve.

With ominous threats of downsizing and shrinking news rooms, lecturers don’t really fill us students with confidence. Of course this isn’t just some negative noise we’re exposed to, these things really are happening.

It’s concerning enough that when I hear about another journalism student say they’re not sure what they’ll be doing when they finish Uni or say they’d rather do something else on completion I have a little moment of internal victory.

Employment Anxiety is also affecting what I put on this blog. If I wanted to write a scathing report on the state of the Murdoch media, would that hurt my chance of getting a job later on? This is all providing someone is actually listening.

So there you have it. Witty outro.

Define: “Citizen Journalism”

Citizen Journalism – noun. Something I know little about and am still writing a blog post about anyway.

In the last post I made I said Citizen Journalism would be a post for another week. Well it’s this week.

Citizen journalism is pretty much that – citizens doing just what a trained journalist would do. So if I turned this blog into a platform for me to report on things I see in my local area (which would be nothing) or issues of national importance.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, it could be deducted that I’m quite opinionated. And if for whatever reason I would gain a large following and have the voice to preach my particularly left-leaning brand of journalism to whoever would listen, you’d be getting just that – journalism that is pretty biased and not that good.

Not that all journalists and news outlets are paragons of truth and justice, which is fair evident with the past few weeks of the Courier Mail (and other papers) routinely bashing Kevin Rudd over seemingly minute details.

This image was shamelessly taken from reddit user dominoconsultant.

So if I had my inexhaustible and blindly loyal followers, I’d be able to (mis)inform them on a mass scale, largely because 1) I have little to no accountability and 2) I’m only two thirds of my way through my journalism course, with not much experience in how journalists and other professionals actually work and deliver news (future employers: we’re getting to that part. Honest.)

And that of course is my biased and slightly left-leaning view on the whole scenario. I think that citizen journalism is kinda bad.

It’s not all bad though. People are given a voice and have the opportunity to participate more in the news media and keep professionals on their toes, in terms of accuracy and speed. Because journalists can’t be everywhere, people with smart phones can also help out with breaking news stories that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

I’m going to include a few links on where I read up on this, so if this blog post seems ill informed I can shift the blame to others.

About.com 

The University of North Carolina

Social Media Today 

Define: “Social Media”

Social Media – noun. The term given to the time wasting devices to end all time wasting devices.

“I was told there wouldn’t be reptiles.”

Here I sit, doubled over with laughter after watching Karl Stefanovic get freaked out by a fake spider which is – in fact – not a reptile.

Although I need to make my blog post for the week, I find myself stuck in a never-ending spiral of Karl Stefanovic and Arnold Schwarzenegger videos. Despite being hailed as one of the greatest things to happen to journalism (or so QUTOJ1’s unit co-ordinator Susan would lead you to believe) social media has plenty of practical applications, almost none of which I use. Instead, I prefer to use social media to waste time on pointless videos of Arnie making terrible puns (strong language by the way) .

While I am guilty of being a serial procrastinator, one saving grace I have is that my Twitter feed is filled with politicians and journalistsposting about genuinely important things. Even though I check Twitter much less often than Facebook or Instagram or even Snapchat, it counts for something right?

With the Federal Election campaign currently running, politicians using Twitter an other forms of social media are at an all-time high. Some attribute this trend (at least here in Australia) to the Kevin 07 campaign which grabbed hold of social media with both hands, which came with old Kevin “Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle” Rudd being a bit of a nerd.

So with the veritable pre-election battleground being shifted to the social media front like a particularly boring and prophetic sci-fi novel from ‘50s, we’re now seeing a rise in a form of audience participation in leadership debates (like the one held last night) like we’ve never seen before. Sure The Worm has been a thing for a while, but the use of twitter to determine the public’s reaction is practically unheard of. The ABC did up this handy graph which shows Australia reacted to the big issues in the debate. Not how, but how much.

This brings me to The Big Problem with social media. Quantity =/= Quality. For every informed voter making a tweet about the debate, there could be at least another two armchair socialists commenting on how Tony Abbott’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes or two Liberal fanatics that are tweeting: “is it just me or is Kev’s face totally punchable LOL #auspol.”

And let’s not even get into bloggers turned journalists, which as far as I’m concerned can be a blog for another week.

So that’s another blog post in the books.

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Define: “Blogging Guilt”

Blogging Guilt – noun. The feeling of guilt caused by not constantly updating a blog.

I don’t know what to blog about. But here I am, trying to make something out of the nothing that resides between my ears.

Aside from that, if I wasn’t required to blog by this class (being Online Journalism 1, check out the hashtag) then I’d probably still be sitting here at my desk, wondering just what I should write a blog about.

I have blogging guilt.

I’m not entirely sure that’s a thing. There are quite a few things about blogging I don’t understand, so I wouldn’t be completely surprised if I made that term up.

In any event, the source of the guilt I’ve been feeling came from the week two guest lecturer we had for Online Journalism 1. Nikki Parkinson from the Styling You fashion blog dropped by to have a chat. And it so seems that with the widespread adoption of social media by the world at large and not just the geeks and college kids, journalists as professionals need to adopt the ever-changing medium in the fight to stay relevant.

They say that news has to be new and that’s not really news to anyone.

Something your average Joe Blow wouldn’t know is that blogging is a part of social media and is a different way to interact with people over the web. It can also be a solid base for a journalist to build a career on. Don’t take my word for it, Nikki’s done that herself, just ask her.

So that is where I start to feel guilty. If I can use a blog to build a folio that could help me land a job somewhere down the line, why aren’t I doing it? With more and more jobs calling for people who are social media savvy, could not owning and updating a blog be detrimental to my chances of landing a job as a journalist of the future? Hell, if said blog gained enough of a following I could end up monetising my internal ramblings made external and live off that!

But for the moment, I can’t take advantage of all the tips that Nikki gave us during our lecture in building my blog for my career. Partially because this blog is for assessment. Partially because I’m still getting used to terms like “blogosphere” and all kinds of different blogging jargon.

If I do start blogging though, some of the pointers I’d have to take away from Nikki would be to write about what I know, be myself and try to tell an entertaining story. But then again if I did that, I’d be writing about Hip-Hop and Kanye West.

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