Author Archives: ErikaFriesenN

Identity in Transmedia & Editorial Control on Twitter

The idea of transmedia revolves around the idea of social movement identity.

“…it requires co-creation and collaboration across multiple social movement groups; it provides roles and actions for movement participants to take on in their daily life; it is open to participation by the social base of the movement; and it is the key strategic media form for social movements in the current media ecology,” (Constanza-Chock, 50).

But this identity changes, shifts, and moves highlighting different aspects of a particular movement whether it be protest, personal story, or reasoning.  Social media platforms have opened up a more diversified outlet for protestors and those trying to voice their opinion.  Within the last 10 years, social media has been the practical way for getting a message across to the general public.  The way the mass public can hear about a particular issue can happen within minutes  For example, not a political movement or social issue, but nonetheless, the debate of whether the dress is blue and black or white and gold sparked large debate this weekend, and just about everyone who had a computer heard about it.  The way that transmedia is successful is understanding the way in which activists know how to intentionally circulate media.  For example, the use of the hashtag# is the best way to bring up a key word or a key issue and follow it.   However, the use of social media is not the only useful asset.  The success of the Walkouts primary came from Myspace but also broadcast networks that highlighted the details of each event.


The issue of bringing political activism to social media is nothing new, if not increasing today more so than 5 years ago.  However, does our free speech within the internet get censored?  Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, show this inclination of filtering in relation to Ferguson.  While twitter blew up with Ferguson hashtags, Facebook took about a week to catch on to the Ferguson case.  Coincidental? I think not. On 20 August, Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, tweeted: “We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you … ” . His tweet linked to the news that James Foley had apparently been executed, on video, by Isis. While this was to protect viewers from seeing this particular content, it was the first time that Twitter explicitly stated that they were editing content on Twitter and had judgement in relation to what is being posted.


“News is now not just outside newspapers, it is outside newsrooms. It is impossible for humans to filter efficiently the vast numbers of images, videos, tweets and updates created and shared by humans, bots and devices. By 2020, according to consultants Gartner, there will be 20bn devices connected to the internet, and they will all have something to say for themselves,” (Bell).

Youth & Media at a Crossroad with Adulthood

Within reading the article this week by Shah and Abraham, I felt like the term Digital Native was explained and broken down, however the tone carried a slight sense of worry.  This digital age we are in becomes a sort of limbo of information.  We, the digital age, are seeing things from a new perspective and in a new light then those not of the digital age.  They have a sense of worry of the unknown, but I feel as if our age has more of a sense of wonder and curiosity towards the subject matter.

“The term ‘Digital Natives’ (Prensky, 2001) is slowly becoming ubiquitous amongst scholars and activists working in the youth-technology sector, especially in emerging Information Societies. The phrase is generally used to differentiate the generation that was born after 1980 – who has an unprecedented (and often inexplicable) relationship with information technology. It is a term used to make us aware of the fact that these people are everywhere”

‘Aware of the fact that these people are everywhere”… it almost makes Digital Natives sound like a bad omen.  Instead I agreed more from this section of the text,

“Digital Natives are sensitive and thoughtful; it is time to listen to them and their ideas, and to focus on their development as responsible and active citizens rather than on their digital exploits or technologised interests.”

Digital natives should be embraced and accepted in a society where they are most prominent.  However, I do not think we should punish or discriminate against adults who are not open to the group of digital natives.  This is because our ways of ‘growing up’ were very different what we have is so different than what we had 30 years ago.  Time increasingly changes perspectives of generations.  In 30 years who knows maybe we will have evolved to a different set of technology and us as digital natives will be a thing of the past.


I came across a blog by Harvard summer Interns that highlights the experiences of being born in a digital age. Small teams of interns formed video interpretations and presentations from out of their own perspectives and experiences, as well as the ways in which the topic intersected with being a Digital Native.


Social Media: Changing the way we talk about race and justice?

“… while there is still much good that comes from linking, liking and tweeting information about anti-racist politics, it’s crucial to begin transferring digital expressions of solidarity into concrete actions: checking privilege, insisting that others do the same, attending demonstrations, contacting institutions, sending donations, and volunteering time are just a few ways in which virtual engagement becomes actual, and affect leads to action.”

The idea of checking privilege is a crucial way of how one should present themselves on social media.   The article by Senft and Noble is very pertinent, especially within today’s social media and highlights topics often not discussed or pushed under the rug.  However, in relation to the statistics of social media by minorities, we can see through the PBS video shown below, that Twitter is becoming a platform that can be utilized to show issues of injustice or race, and begin a dialogue so these problems can start a conversation.  Stacia Brown explains within her video that while there is a lot of mockery of race in videos that mimic a particular stereotype, also “social media is also a great way to amplify voices that would not otherwise be amplified.”She claims that the visual nature of platforms such as Twitter allows users to document instances of racism and injustice, providing evidence that such incidents occur more often than mainstream media coverage might suggest.”  We see this in the use of hashtags pulling an online community, such as twitter, together making them aware of a particular situation. The accessibility of the Internet in the US is more prevalent then ever; it should empower an individual to speak out.


However, in regards to videos like that of the UCLA disaster, users need to consider their audience.  Audience is important when addressing social media.  Who is seeing the video? Would someone you know be offended? Do you generally feel okay about sharing that particular thought with the world?  When it comes to the internet, the idea of morality and the consciousness of others seems to be getting lost, and this  is something that is in need of some serious change. In a world where every key stroked leaves a ‘carbon footprint’ in the digital world, checking your privilege is vital.

Gone Catfishing?

We read in Chapter  4 of Boyd’s Book, that the dangers of the internet present a moral panic for parents, especially parents of adolescent girls.  However, since we have now left our Myspace days behind, our conscienceness of internet lurkers is more educated than before.  Children are taught the need and use of privacy within elementary schools and how to avoid dangerous situations.  But it still seems when it comes to online dating or chatting we still don’t know who we are really talking to?

MTV’s Catfish brought about a conversation that we were all wondering about… Do people actually get doped into relationships with people they don’t even know.  Sometimes it’s our intuition and human nature to trust those who are kind, but sometimes this gratitude may backfire.  In the case of Nev, Catfishs’ host, we learned how he was dooped for 2 years, until he began to really question what the situation was.  This show came out right before the Tinder app, and I think encouraged people to be more cautious about their social media.

The reason it is even called cat fishing is for this particular reason:

“They used to take tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin.”

This website highlights the different types of catfish, and the tall tale signs to know if you are being catfished.


One of these important ways to see if you really talking to who you think you are is through different scammer websites.   This particular link highlights women profiles from around the world who are pretending to be someone they are not. Whether it be a fake picture or name, this site shows the most commonly used photos from this particular dating website and what to watch out for.


Because the internet relies a lot on being anonymous people have the ability to alter or change a part of their life online in order to make themselves look better.  In this case this guy pretends that this girl with the killer tattoo is his girlfriend.  Since it was posted on reddit ( a very popular site) someone who who knew the REAL girl with the tattoo saw it, and showed it to it’s actual owner.  She of course retaliated by sending the internet a public note that she was not in fact his girlfriend and had nothing to do with this guy.  This goes to show that we may be able to pretend to be someone online, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to necessarily get away with it.

Finding A Kinder Way To Selfie

We see the idea of ‘super publics’ described in Boyd’s reading for this week defining an ever changing public. Thus using examples of Bloomberg dressing the ‘local’ paper as The New York Times, and referencing his audience as New Yorkers, not a village in Kenya.  This idea of dressing an audience is very pertinent to the selfie world.  The particular facial expression, smile, or random object in the background is  inherently trying to market and be shared with a particular public.  However, we can see this go terribly wrong when selfie etiquette is not properly met.  We often see this within the controversial Obama selfie at Mandela’s funeral or the Auschwitz selfie.  While  both may have been done in good taste, does that mean that they are actually okay?  When searching selfie etiquette on google the first thing that pops up is a list of 8 simple rules that selfie takers should be aware of and take precaution to.

1.Get permission. If you want to take a photo of yourself, with no one else in the picture, by all means, go ahead. However, if someone else is in it, make sure the other person is okay with it. Let her know what you plan to do with it and stick to your plan. Don’t post anywhere different without her permission.

2. Safety comes first. Never take a selfie in a situation that can put your life or health in danger. For example, you may think you look really cool driving along the highway with the window open, your hair blowing in the breeze. If you pull out your camera to shoot a selfie, you’re putting not only your own life in danger, you’re risking anyone else who just happens to be on the road.

3.Don’t succumb to bad taste for humor’s sake. If you are in a situation that you think is funny, stop and consider how it will appear to others. Never take a selfie in a public restroom where someone else may be in an embarrassing position or situation.

4.Be respectful. If you are at a holocaust museum, taking a selfie in front of an exhibit shows a lack of respect for those whose lives were lost in this horrific era. People’s emotions are still raw over what happened, and they are likely to be that way for centuries. There are places where selfies are never appropriate, including a funeral, ICU or critical care unit in a hospital, and disaster site where people died.

5. Show kindness. When you see someone who is less fortunate than you, don’t stop and pose for a selfie. Instead, do something nice like give a blanket to a homeless man, offer to get something off a top shelf for a handicapped person, or hold a door for a young mom struggling with toddlers and packages.

6. Offer help, not a photo. If you witness an accident or someone getting injured, call for emergency help and stay with the person. Don’t whip out your cell phone and start snapping selfies as you assist. The only time you should take a picture of the situation is if it can be of some help later to show what happened. Never post the photos of a tragedy or accident on social media.

7. Don’t post intimate selfie shots. I’ve recently seen some selfies that have made me blush, and I don’t get embarrassed easily. My first reaction is to block those people from my social media feed because it’s clear that they have bad taste. It might be fun to make out with your boyfriend on the bus, but it’s inappropriate to share it with the world.

8. Don’t overdo selfies in social media. If you want to snap photos of yourself waking up, eating your morning cereal, working out at the gym, walking into your cubicle, having lunch with friends, leaving work at the end of the day, and having drinks with friends, go right ahead. Just don’t think everyone wants to see every single aspect of your day. Choose one good one (preferably one that is interesting to someone other than you and your mama) and post it. If you do more, people may see you as narcissistic.

This list seemed to me the most logical and practical way of taking a selfie.  We often see crude things such as these unfortunate photos that don’t take other human beings into consideration.  While the selfie may be for you, you need to think about the public around you before you share that photo.


(How not to selfie)

While reviewing the images on the link above, I became really angered that someone would actually think it was okay to take a photo at that particular time.  Especially the selfie of the homeless man, as well as the selfie of the suicidal man.  These two examples are done in bad taste and make you question what public was there target audience?

Selfiecity clearly demonstrated the demographics of the selfie and how cities can demonstrate a particular emotion through a photo.  However, it would be interesting to see if they came across selfies in bad taste, or what they categorized as inherently a ‘bad selfie.’


Normalizing Instagram?

Editing our pictures is a common occurrence in modern society. Since the new update from Instagram, it is easier now more than ever to edit your photos to highlight a certain appeal whether it be a stellar sunset, or the shadows in the distance… there’s a filter for that. I am just as guilty as the next person, of taking a photo and doing a little something extra to make it my own. However, there is an app developer who wants to challenge this idea. The definition of a filter as described by Rettberg associates itself with removing of impurities or unwanted content. And the app that Joe Macirowski developed does exactly that. His app, Normalize, is supposed to restore photos to what they are ‘supposed to look like.’

He states that, “Instagram certainly isn’t new, and it’s actually an app I enjoy, but every now and again, I encounter a picture in the “real world” (AKA, any site outside of Instragram) where someone decides it’s a good idea to use it when trying to take a picture of something they’re legitimately trying to show,” Macirowski wrote. “Something had to be done.” There fore he developed Normalize. But as the article about the app shows it does in fact have some flaws. As shown in this picture of a filtered sunset, the graininess is removed but the color balance is thrown off because of the temperature and saturation of the photo.



Obviously, this isn’t the way a sunset is ‘supposed to look like’ but it’s a form of expression. It is not up to us to characterize how someone else’s photo is supposed to look on Instagram, but rather it is the freedom of expression from that particular Instagram user.


Instead of forgetting about filters and there ever changing presence on Instagram it is important to appreciate there existence. “Filters can get worn out or clogged up over time, letting more particles through than before, or altering the flow of the water, air, rays or words, mages, numbers and behaviours that pass through them. We can change, clean, adapt, resist or remove filters. But most of the time we simply take them for granted, not even noticing that they are there,” (Rettberg, 22). By using a filter, or choosing not to use a filter we are establishing a language through terministic screens.

The Moral Panic of Being a Parent

We see the idea of moral panic heavily reviewed and criticized in the text by Boyd. This ‘moral panic’ that parents face, not only takes away from a child’s social understanding but also could curb them later on. While it is the natural instict of a parent to protect their child, often times this can be exaggerated.  We can see in today’s world since the prevalence of Apple, that the use of Apps in relation to social media can be restricted, hidden or even turned off.

I decided to simply ‘google’ devices for monitoring child Internet activity. I was astounded by the amount of apps that parents have readily available to them these days. This website caught my attention:

It highlights 8 free apps for your smartphone to monitor your child’s activity within the Internet. The article highlights that we should not shut out technology together from a child’s life completely but we should be able to have the ability to control it. Control: however can be defined in many different ways. Throughout Boyd’s texts her accounts with many teens and the way their parents control or conform there Internet usage spreads along a wide range. For example we see the use of secondary devices like apps or websites that let parents check their child’s text messages, website streaming history, as well as their social media networks. One site, very popular among parents is the site The website locks the user in with keywords life: safe, and child. But what they are really doing is looking into the private conversations and lives of teens and children.

“What if we told you that modern technology has made it easier than ever for us to know what our kids are up to and keep them safe?  

This exclusive infographic illustrates that, while the threats of the digital world are real, they’re no match for an equipped parent.

TeenSafe brings protective parents and smartphone tech together to safeguard what we all value most, the great kids that depend on us.”



While there are dangers of the Internet the dialogue of children trying to survive in a virtual world may be curbed. We see the example Boyd gives of a nerd-like boy from the “ghetto” that changed his Myspace profile to represent gang signs, when his college application was set to end gang violence. While he may not support gangs, he did what he needed to survive within a social situation. This applies to life before the computer as well in different social circles. As parents are not there for every real life conversation their child/teen has, it should not mean that they should be tracked and their conversation should be analyzed. I am not saying that parents should not keep track of what their child is doing and not play an active role in their life, especially when it comes to the internet, but I do believe independence and forming your on social life is part of being a child and adolescence.

“Gimme A Break”

While we have the inherent culture fear of falling behind, we also become fearful of the unknown.  Throughout the years the pros and cons to new media have drafted many radical opinions.  We see the Internet as this unlimited resource.  But being unlimited, and so readily available is it too much of a good thing?  “Rather than ‘using’ it, people maybe become ‘used’ by it, (Fischer, 1992).”

Because of this Kit Kat, paired us with the city of Amsterdam to create an advertising campaign for Wi-Fi-free zones. These zones are an escape for the constant hustle and bustle of a day filled with emails, texts, tweets, Instagram, Facebook etc. According to Kit Kat, “The world is becoming one big WiFi zone. There’s even WiFi on Everest. Result? People are always connected. Time for a break.” This advertisement takes the approach of going back to basics and being disconnected.  It is a chance to talk IRL (in real life) without having #hashtags and @randomwittyname flood your every conversation. As Baym highlights in chapter 3, with a face-to-face conversation we see that the other person is engaged by their facial expressions, like smiling or by their body movements such as nodding their head to suggest that they agree and are paying attention.


Amsterdam is not the only place you will find these Wi-Fi free zones, you will even find them here in you’re own native LA.  While some believe that these zones are to keep a face-to-face dialogue, other businesses such as cafe’s are using these Wi-Fi free zones to draw more business back into their shops. Many shop owners are noticing that when the Wi-Fi is turned on so are the screens, making space unavailable for new customers that come in each hour.   I am as guilty as the next person of sitting at a cafe for 6 hours and nursing one cup of coffee, but business owners are realizing free Wi-Fi may be harming their business instead of making it more enticing.

A few place where Wi-Fi is being taken off the menu include:

– New York’s Café Grumpy doesn’t offer Wi-Fi or allow laptops in four of their five locations.

– The Literati Cafe in Brentwood unhooks during the lunchtime rush.

“The Internet is a worm hole to the outside world, and we love that people use our space for that,” Eiswerth  (Manager of Literati) said. “We are just trying to please as many people as possible and find the middle ground.”

– Nook in San Francisco’s Russian Hill district is banning Wi-Fi in the evenings and on weekends.

– August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington Vermont bans laptops and tablets.