Life in Media

When analyzing my media history, my life circulates around media quite a bit. I can relate to Alex Williams article Here I Am Taking My Own Picture. There has been many times where I have been in the same place as Morgan Adams: “recent college graduate, decided that her picture on her home page at MySpace.com had lingered a little too long, a full month. To snap a new one she called on the only photographer she thought she could trust: herself” (Williams 1). Morgan Adams was me as a high school, there was a very distinct schedule of when it was time to add a new Facebook profile picture. Having deleted most of my pictures, this schedule cannot be seen today. As I’ve developed through technology, my way of expressing my appearance has gone from updating every three weeks, to not wanting to look needy and questioning if every three months is still too soon. With not updating every three weeks, it does not mean I stopped taking selfies. My laptop and cellphone are over flowing of pictures I have taken of myself, they just sit waiting for me to use them when I feel my profiles need updating. It is normal for my friends and I to stop whatever were doing to take a random selfie. I have pictures I’ve taken of myself standing in the back of a store surround by boxes of beer stacked above my head, to being on a ferris wheel with my cousin, or even sitting in the car waiting in a parking lot for my parents to get groceries. For some the same picture is used across all their social media, but for myself I enjoy having a different aesthetic for how I want to use the site I am on.

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Facebook I generally keep my profile a picture of myself, but every once in a while, I may feature a friend or family member. To me my Facebook is the place where I keep up-to-date with friends and family. My profile picture is not something I want to look goofy, I want it clean, polished, and to not necessarily tell some sort of story. My cover photo on the other hand is never just of me, it may be a pic I snapped at the latest concert, my friends and I making goofy faces, something that when you look at it you go there’s history to this picture.

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Twitter has never been one of my main social media sites. I don’t connect with many people, and generally use it to follow along with events such as the US election or an award show that is live tweeting. Due to the fact I hardly use twitter my appearance, while still important, done not have to be as strict as I keep my Facebook. My profile picture gets updated maybe once a year, and my banner is typically something I enjoy that could vary from music to television.

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Some media I keep less personal, such as Pinterest, as I get many people I’ve never met following along with my boards. Through my social media, I tend to keep my personal life personal. The only way I do share my personal life, is through my pictures. In places such as Pinterest, I can simply add a profile picture and name, and be whoever I want to be. I can post a million wedding dresses and look like I’m about to have a wedding, or post thousands on thousands of pictures of hairstyles, but I may never actually style my hair like that. Nobody ever knows the truth.

Looking at my social medias, the most frequent place my “selfies” took place, were in the comfort of my own bedroom. In my bedroom there was wardrobe changes, hair flips, curling irons, and hours on hours of snapping and deleting: “the kind of performance young people have engaged in privately for generations before a mirror […]and her journey of self-expression, documented in five digital self-portraits” (Williams 1). It is much easier to take a picture in a private location, where you can take several pictures in several poses where only you can approve of what is shared: “Being able to take pictures of yourself in privacy allows you to do it without inhibitions. Each person takes better pictures of themselves than anyone else can because they know their own bodies, they know their own minds” (Williams 1). Reading Williams article, I realized that the habits they were examining in 2006 are still very popular today: “Young people have become so candid in sharing their intimate images online” (Williams 1). Now in university I am less likely to be posting like I did back in high school. I don’t want to seem attention seeking, and when I do post pictures, they are ones that I’ve studied for hours pondering if the picture is good enough to be seen by others: “dynamics of sites like Facebook have forced teens to alter their conceptions of privacy to account for the networked nature of social media” (Boyd 1051).

With social networking comes along the differentiated forms of messaging and texting. I can communicate with my friends through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Messenger, Snap Chat, Instagram, etc. With so many social media apps allowing you to communicate with others, anybody can talk to anyone from anywhere. Being in university my friends, who once were no more than a five-minute walk, are now miles and miles away. Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with those friends, who I can no longer visit in person. This also includes mobile communications, there are so many forms of communication, that it is almost impossible to have no way of communication to people around the world. It is hard to imagine back before these technologies weren’t a prominent daily object.  When social media first started, sites such as Facebook allowed you to post to one another’s walls. While other Facebook users could still see the things in which you posted, it wasn’t very private. Now there is personal chats that others can’t see. Chat’s allow you to communicate with one person, or several at a time. I use mobile communication devices to stay in contact with those that I may not see every day. I believe that mobile communication devices have made friendships strong, but also easier to destroy. With technology such as screen shot, individuals have to be careful who they are speaking to, and the manner in which they come across. The article Networked Privacy: How Teenagers Negotiate Context in Social Media demonstrates a perfect example as to how careful teenagers actually are around social media: “Social media enabled practices require people to contend with the limitations of individual control and address how to actively navigate contest when boundaries cannot be taken for granted” (Boyd 1052).

On average I spend around three hours checking my active social media sites, and on top of that I am always on my phone communicating with friends and family. While I do spend quite a bit of time on my media life, I know others who spend double the time. I live in a generation where, if you don’t answer a text message within a couple hour, something must be majorly wrong. I am very connected to my media, but it doesn’t faze me to be disconnect for a couple days. During summer, there have been times where my grandmother can’t wait to get home to check her Facebook, while I’d much rather stay unplugged a little longer as I enjoy the sunshine or just communicating person to person. I don’t think people realize how media crazed this world has become, media is all around and some don’t even notice how they are being driven by the media they are connected to. When looking at what I’ve done over media in my life already, you can see where I stopped updating Facebook of my every action, or where I lost a few followers because I don’t post as much. Media is something that will always be there, it allows everyone to be connected somewhere, somehow, in some way.

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