Author Archives: sofreshsteph

About sofreshsteph

Hey lovelies, My name is Stephanie and I am an artist and a storyteller. For fun I like to work on art projects, dance, and do things comediennes do, like improv and stand up.

Facebook sucks

So. I kind of want to go on a small rant about some things and I feel it is a little appropriate having read the #Ferguson article (which I really enjoyed) by the way. I liked the links to the “Why hasn’t #OccupyWallStreet trended in New York?” Article and it explained in greater detail why steady trends don’t ever become a an actual trend. Apparently it’s only things that burst into popularity that get to be “trending” which is how that stupid picture of that dress got to be so talked about. God that discussion made me feel so disgusted by what we have become. Honestly who could have possibly cared for more than a second. But I digress….

What I wanted to talk about was how dumbed down facebook seems to be, especially since easily likable things can trend so easily… and by easily likable, I mean pictures, things that you can see quickly and deem cool or not. I took some nice pictures at a fancy studio in hollywood and one picture got over 100 likes…. but every time I post an article that I think is meaningful and worth reading…. 0 likes.

It honestly makes me so sad.

From this “Trust Engineers” story someone posted about in the FB group I learned that FB changes questions it asks people to see what gets to best response and so small changes can have big effects in what is done and what is not done. It’s all very conditional, if one thing happens another thing happens because of it to get a certain outcome, and it’s the same with big TV channels and mass media, a lot of them tend to go for the shock factor and want to express it through their channels point of view. So in the Trust Engineer’s FB study on how different questions change responses, a lot of mass media networks claimed that Facebook was doing evil things and could have possibly killed people if they were having a bad day and somehow it made them more depressed (really FB was just trying to keep everything friendly and see which statements work when asking someone to take down a picture they didn’t like).

Anyway, that sort of reminds me of the article on immigrants and how they rather go through their own small radio stations and unite that way so they can avoid getting their perspective skewed.

Also, sorry this post has been all over the place…

I’ve been kinda bummed out about FB’s terribleness in the last few days and my mind is also…. all over the place. :/


In the research article, Nishant Shah and Sunil Abraham mention the social construction of loss.  It is the idea that each new technological innovation is “accompanied by a nostalgia industry that immediately valorises a pre-technological, innocent world that was simpler, better, fairer, and easier to live in. Similarly, the Digital Native identity is premised on multiple losses: loss of childhood, loss of innocence, loss of control, loss of privacy, etc, which together imply the loss of political participation and social transformation; the loss of youth as the political capital of our digital futures. (12)”

In the video this point is also made that children and teens are losing so much. It seems like a lot of the conversation is based on these losses and gains and it’s sort of like a tug of war but fear and negative implications tend to get the upper hand.
I think the fact that they called it a nostalgia industry is something that deserves close reading because it does offer a way to capitalize off the fears people have. Things like self help books or books against the new technology can be more easily sold, and also older technologies can keep you in their service. For example, DVD’s or VHS tapes surely don’t want to admit that Blue Ray is better….. the same goes for records, which are still popular among certain groups. Anyway, nostalgia as an industry seems like an interesting idea to me.

The article I chose to look at this week came when I googled “pre-internet nostalgia” and instead of finding what could be a pretty biased paper, I found a guy who worked in the technology industry but was also born before the popularization of smartphones. He would not be classified as a digital native, so he has some perspective on  what it was like before…. but instead of saying one way is better than the other he explains some of the feelings a lot of people go through, such as when they leave their phone at home: “I’m discombobulated this morning: I forgot my iPhone, so I have that homesick, disconnected feeling you get when you realize you’re phoneless.”  He describes the connection we have to our phones are a part of our re-wired system which is better described below:

“What’s really happening is that, after more than 10,000 hours of exposure to the internet and digital technologies such as my iPhone, my brain has been rewired – or, rather, it has rewired itself. Science has a name for this process: Hebb’s Law. When neurons fire together, they wire together. It’s no coincidence that the 10,000-hour rule has recently entered our culture’s popular imagination, explaining to us that after doing something for 10,000 hours, you become an expert at it, because that’s how much time your brain needs to fully rewire itself to adapt to a new medium.”

I think it’s important that digital natives know that their habits can be changed and that they can always innovate as Nishant Shah in his video example where a women’s groups in India was able to make a point about women’s rights through facebook. We know what the internet can do fairly well, so we might as well push the envelope and try new things that can hopefully help people.

pre internet brain

pre internet brain




Why Women aren’t Welcome on the Internet

This week I read two articles about how women are harassed on the internet. “High Tech or High Risk: Moral Panics about Girls Online,” by Justine Cassell and Meg Cramer, reminded me of some other articles I’ve read about women and technology and how in the early developments of each technology, from the typewriter to the telephone women’s involvement was stigmatized and their desires such as being able to use the telephone for communication were dismissed as foolish and stupid ideas. In Boyd’s work she mentions that moral panics come with each technological shift, from Victorian romance novels, to comic books to Elvis (112). Cassell and Meg Cramer state that “Because the telegraph was supposed to radically improve business, the effort it took to send every letter of a message was deemed worthwhile to expend only when the message held military or commercial importance, realms that were at that time controlled and dominated by men,” and so women discussing life at home was considered “frivolous (59).” I think the idea of seeing women’s ideas as frivolous is still happening today especially with the hate and discrimination they get, when people don’t understand or like what someone is saying, they try and dismiss it; “when people become famous, they are often objectified, discussed and ridiculed with little consideration for who they are as people” (Boyd, 149). And so women who have a fan base, whether they are actual celebrities or just regular people, such as journalists, often have to deal with aggression more so than men.

From an early age women are taught to fear predators online. But when girls are online they look use the internet for a to look at a wider variety of content and this gives them “metaphoric mobility” which can alarm parents because they lose complete control (Cassell,70). All in all, “the number of young women who have been preyed on by strangers has decreased, both in the online and offline world” (Cassell, 70). Flirtation and sexual harassment online tends to come from people their own age and only 4% of solicitation happened by people over 25 (112).
What I find telling is that even when these girls mature and become successful and use the internet to have a public presence for their career or just for fun, women are still encouraged to leave. The Internet and social media platforms have become a stage where people can listen to anyone, and through harassment and threats, people can encourage someone to “get off the stage.” In “Why Women aren’t Welcome on the Internet” Amanda Hess explains that being in a position of power or simply just voicing ones opinion as a woman can get you into a lot of trouble and that can be draining and time consuming, especially when you have to call the police and go over all the death and rape threats you’ve received. An idea in that article I found interesting was as distinction Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman draws between “tourists” and “vagabonds” in the modern economy:

“Privileged tourists move about the world “on purpose,” to seek “new experience” as “the joys of the familiar wear off.” Disempowered vagabonds relocate because they have to, pushed and pulled through mean streets where they could never hope to settle down. On the Internet, men are tourists and women are vagabonds.” People who threaten to attack women, are usually anonymous and often act like they own the place and feel like they have a right to be there, such as one computer programmer who “enjoys riling people up” and is “infamous for posting creepy photographs of underage women and creating or moderating subcommunities on the site with names like “chokeabitch” and “rapebait.””
I think it’s important that young girls be encouraged you understand technology so they can influence the way it grows and changes in the years to come and so we can all be tourist and welcomed on the internet.


Marketing the Selfie

If you happened to watch the Superbowl you may have seen the following McDonald’s ad. The will be offering food and randomly ask customers to “pay with lovin'” my way of hugs, phone calls to friends and family telling them “I love you” or even selfies. This is a lot like their “I’m lovin’ it” slogan.

In Seflie City we see different trends in different cities across the globe, such as more smiles in Brazil. I’ve been to Brazil and the people tend to be very happy even if they don’t have much. One of my close friends went to Russia and told me about their culture and how men tend to be a little more reserved, which seems to follow the idea that men also take less selfies and that both men and women smile less. I think that there is an evolution of marketing with the changing technologies and customer people’s behavior.   Phone calls were once only for men discussing business, then women made it more social and eventually people started using telemarketing to sell things. I know I making big leaps in my logic here but I feel like new trends like the selfie are for a while disregarded by the media in terms of marketing, but eventually the force of the trend becomes so strong that one by one they all begin to get more involved and now I am starting to see more selfies on TV and in ads for cell phones and they tend to look at it in a positive light. McDonalds has been suffering from competition (new chains like Shake Shack and 5 Guys) and because of new health trends but this ad will be getting more people to come in to their stores because they are advertising love and showing McDonald’s in a more humanistic light.

In a strange way McDonalds is trying to play into what Foucault’s said, “different cultures have seen [technology] as necessary to cultivate (and discipline) the self” (Losh, 4). People like to think that technology is helpful and can makes them better people and McDonald’s encouraging people to take a step in the right direction by offering food. I think if they were really genuine about it they wouldn’t have needed to make an ad because (I feel like) love isn’t boastful, now that everyone ones due to the Superbowl ad, people will be flocking to McD’s hoping to be a chosen one. It takes a lot of the surprise out it it. Anyway… it’s interesting how they are promoting selfies as well as themselves.


Tonight I’d like to talk a little about filters as described by Jill Walker in Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. According to the author there are three types of filters: visual, technological and cultural.   The first is a filter you can add to a photo like a vignette-ing or vintage faded color effect. The second is how not just pictures, but text and information are distributed and shared with you on social media sites. Each one is different, and facebook’s program has algorithms that keep what’s been receiving the most attention at the top of your feed. What’s interesting, is depending on the overall mood of what our peers and family post effects the what we say. So what’s trending really does stay a trend. Lastly, cultural filters are what people find acceptable and in what circumstances.
The outside images I would like to look at combine all three filters. It is the story of a military man named Damon Winter who took photos of his journey through combat and called his work journalism. This person ended up submitting his work to a major photography contest and won Pictures of the Year International. (Woah, what a cool thing! What an honor. Well… some people were not so enthused.) Some people got very upset because the cultural norm is that photojournalism entails the use of incredibly high quality cameras by professionals. Some upset people even called it the death of photojournalism as you can see by the title: “Hipstamatic and the Death of Photojournalism” which also refers to visual filters and apps. Damon Winter used Hipstamatic while underfire in the war in Afghanistan alongside the 2nd Platoon. His use of filters make the job look kind of dreamy and beautiful even though they are images of war. As the chapters we read mention, the overuse of filters can sometimes water down the impact of photos because they become somewhat glamorized. It is a weird sort of juxtaposition when you see his photos which a lot like movies, even though the overall message seems to be that war is not the answer.

there are a few articles but here’s the one I found first

hipstamatic and the war in Afghanistan

hipstamatic and the war in Afghanistan

AT&T’s New BBF Phone Plan


baby's first phone

baby’s first phone

I just want to start this by saying AT&T is a horrible company and they charged my dad 700$ for four days of using free wi-fi in a hotel in Mexico, but it is this news that brought me to the ad I would like to discuss before you. 

In” It’s Complicated” we read about identity and how adolescence is a period when people want to figure how they fit into a larger context like the world. Technology and social media has given them a playground inside their own homes.

Parents of today tend to find the world more dangerous and so they have moved their children from playing outside until dusk, to leaving them in the structured confines of a mall, to today pretty much micromanaging what their kids do and restricting them from going out when they want to.

At AT&T I saw an ad and I should have taken a picture of it, but I was just starting ch. 3 and it was only when I got home that I was like, “WOAH that ad makes SO MUCH SENSE NOW.” I couldn’t find a picture on the Google, so you will have to go on a journey and imagine with me:
you see two very young tween-type looking girls, one sitting on a couch and another on the floor both gazing into the first phones. The text said, A plan for your       BFF      . I personally felt like the kids were too young to have phones but these days it’s quite normal for kids in grade school to have them. The main point is that the selling point is the ability to talk to your friends. The phones offered were not high tech, some were flip phones or slide phones… very old school. The fancy multitasking phones were pitched towards older adults with jobs and such. And so, as Boyd said, for young people it’s not about the equipment it’s about the ability to communicate with peers.

For many young kids phones and computers are the only way to have a little privacy. For some reason reading the addiction chapter led me to looking into instagram since I’ve always wondered how certain people get so many hundreds and even thousands of followers when the content they post is honestly useless. I looked up apps like MagicLiker and a few other apps that promise to get you hundreds of followers. Basically you have to follow 2 people to get one person to follow you back. There are coins and incentives all sorts of other things. Most of the images and people asking for likes were young girls posting low quality selfies. I would later see they had 1.7K followers when they only have about 5 pictures. They pretty much spend hours on end or all their money paying for followers or getting them 2 for 1 fold.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know I stepped into that world and it was weird. A lot of people seem self-obsessed. I did get 100 likes (you get 100 to start) and used it for a picture of me doing a music video and I have to say the number made my picture feel like it was a little cooler than it actually is. But I wouldn’t waste any time on it.

It was interesting though how fake and calculated instagram can be. I always thought it was an honest place but I see how anyone at all can get anyone to follow them if they have the same goals in mind.

Spy Clothes #TV #ads #online

Archer inspired clothes



I recently was sent an email by a clothing and lifestyle company and for the first time in my life I saw advertising in a new way: I clicked on the link because I thought I would see clothes that would be suitable for a spy, and have features like secret pockets and maybe glasses where you can see the people behind you… but instead it was an entire wardrobe inspired by the adult cartoon TV series Archer. It was not shirts with the character on it…. like advertising, but it was clothes that he would wear if he existed in real life. It’s sort of made of people who think they show is cool and wish they could be more like Archer.

I feel this relates to the reading because it looks like a form of “remediation in which we blend and incorporate styles from conversations and writing with stylistic and formal elements of film, television, music videos, and photography, and other genres and practices (54).” The example adds another layer which is advertising, but I feel like the language in the ad is meant to be funny and is more like speaking one on one than a formal paper. The move towards informality is something we see on a lot of popular youth sites such as Buzzfeed.
The offer of…. being able to dress and look like Archer, even if you don’t buy the clothing, still unties the fans and gives them something to laugh at and enjoy as it is a “playful convention” and “in-joke” that “create insider symbols that can help a group to cohere” (51). The article states that these “phenomena are only enhanced by the additional cues found in shared videos, photography, sound…” etc (51). I personally have never seen anything like this and it is a pretty great way to market to people who may prefer to sit and watch TV than go out and shop and sift through things they don’t want. For a lot of people Archer is a funny sort of ideal man and it’s cool that you can sort of play dress up yet still buy modern things that would look good on anyone.
It’s interesting to see how these ties and cues continue to further develop.
I’d be fun to see a wardrobe inspired some funny actress or cartoon character that I like, it definitely gives the purchase more emotional ties because it reminds you of something you fondly admire and like.