A ‘Shadowban’ (from what I can gather based on my extensive freak out search on google) is essentially the silent ban Instagram places on a person’s account when they have been in violation of some of Instagram’s basic principles.
Unlike an official block or ban, Instagram doesn’t let you know you’ve been banned, and thus you’ll have to use your detective skills to determine if you have in fact been banned. The major clues you’ll have are that the hashtags you use will stop working for you and (as a result) you’ll notice a decrease in engagement on your Instagram posts (specifically organic engagement).
I haven’t found a definitive reason for being ‘Shadowbanned’ other than that it’s imposed when Instagram deems you “suspicious”. I’ve read cases of it being from over-liking posts, under-liking posts, over-using hashtags, using the wrong hashtags, using apps that control your activity on Instagram automatically, bulk-following people, or acting like a bot.
So back to me: I’ll level with you. I’d previously read about the ‘Shadowban’ and didn’t believe it existed… UNTIL NOW.
I can’t 100% confirm whether I have or have not been (insert dramatic music) ‘Shadowbanned’, but my engagement and following have dropped considerably ever since this:
None of the hashtags seem to be working, my likes and follows have dropped, and something just seems… off. I use to have a steady degree of likes and follows that came from hashtags from outside my immediate circle of followers, and now the only people liking my posts are my followers (god bless you all, you know who you are). I don’t know how I insulted Instagram, but I’m thinking maybe I made some questionable hashtag choices.
But whatever the reason, all I can do is wait and pray for this dark period in my life to end. If no one can see my badly lit, terribly angled, over-filtered selfies, do I even exist?
SO, I made a video on online dating: more specifically, how presentation of oneself online can influence online dating. I wanted to try and make it humorous and light, while still trying to discuss the topic with a bit of depth.
In terms of the different strategies I used in the video, I’m a big fan of “D.I.Y”-ing it. I prefer making my own content as much as I can instead of using Creative Commons images and media. The only skill I have not yet mastered is making music, so the music I used is the music I use in all my videos (I sourced from Creative Commons).
I tried to use the texting in the back ground to keep audience engagement, I don’t how effective that strategy was though.
In terms of reflecting on how I went with this video, I mainly want to focus on a key phrase my mother told me just a few weeks ago: “don’t leave things to the last minute, because everything bad that can happen will happen.” I want to focus on this because THAT is EXACTLY what happened.
I had a strong idea of what I was going to do, but I got side-tracked with other assignments and life problems. So, I told myself that this assignment could get done closer to the due date (this is code for: leave it to the last minute).
That’s when I dropped my phone.
My phone is the only device I have that actually makes decently good videos, and it’s got iMovie, which is the program I use to edit videos. When I dropped it, it decided that recharging was an overrated function and honestly, everything kind of just went downhill from there.
My other assignments were piling up, I had more technical difficulties, the only internet I have access to dropped out for about a week, and to top it all off I got sick.
I had fantastic aspirations for this video, but none of them really ended up coming to fruition because of time constraints. The content of the video wasn’t particularly as in-depth as I would have wanted it to be, and in terms of weaving sources into the video, I believe I could have done it a lot better.
I initially wanted the video to be more of a discussion about how online dating can distort expectations. A person might form an opinion or judgement of a person while talking to them online, but this may not be the same as in reality. And then how all of that ties in with how much dating has changed from in-person to online. The topic of the video kind of just changed as I was researching and writing the script, and now it’s about something completely different.
In summary: the lesson I have learnt from making this video is never (and I mean NEVER) again assume I can finish it at the last minute. That is not the case. The challenges I faced when having to do this assignment, knowing I would be submitting so so late, were not the challenges I should have been facing. I should have been more concerned about angles of the camera, lighting, sound, trying to write a script that could embody both humour and insightful discussion about online dating, and trying to creatively weave in sources to make my video a bit more academically grounded.
Instead, the challenges I faced were trying to calculate the amount I’m going to lose from the assignment to give myself hope that I might pass, trying to keep my phone charged enough to film AND edit the video, and coming up with a script and props that could convey a topic as best as possible in miniscule time.
So. Friends. Please. DO NOT EVER. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Leave your assignments to the last minute. Thank you.
Chalkley, T., Hobbs, M., Brown, A., Cinque, T., Warren, B. and Finn, M. (2015). Communication, Digital Media and Everyday Life. 2nd ed. Victoria, Australia: Oxford University Press, pp.129-139.
Blackhart, G., Fitzpatrick, J. and Williamson, J. (2014). Dispositional factors predicting use of online dating sites and behaviors related to online dating. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, pp.113-118.
Whitty, M. (2008). Revealing the ‘real’ me, searching for the ‘actual’ you: Presentations of self on an internet dating site. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(4), pp.1707-1723.
Ellison, N., Heino, R. and Gibbs, J. (2006). Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), pp.415-441.
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7(3), pp.321-326.
Toma, C., Hancock, J. and Ellison, N. (2008). Separating Fact From Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(8), pp.1023-1036.
Drouin, M., Miller, D., Wehle, S. and Hernandez, E. (2016). Why do people lie online? “Because everyone lies on the internet”. Computers in Human Behavior, 64, pp.134-142.
This year I moved out of home for the first time, I met a lot of the goals I’d set myself (most of which I’m positive were by sheer luck or accident), and I finally beat my own record for binge watching a television series in one sitting.
I was pretty happy with this year on a personal level. Ecstatic even.
But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end (do you like how I weaved the title of this post right on in there?) and there are a few potentially horrible things that have to happen in the transition to 2018.
Firstly, I need to visit the dentist. It’s been a year. I am terrified. Please keep me in your thoughts.
Secondly, on a more serious note, I have had to make the difficult decision to give up veganism (please don’t laugh this is serious). I’ve recently been informed of some health issues I have been having, and it’s been recommended to me by several doctors (please, what do they know) that I give up veganism to correct this. I’ve been faced with a bit of an ethical crossroad with what to do, but I’ve decided to be a bit selfish and save myself this time round (because I’m a sell-out).
I loved being a vegan, both from a dietary standpoint and just being in such an overwhelmingly supportive community. I will try to live as ethically as I can until such time as I can return to the dairy-free, egg-free, meat-free, honey-free, gelatine-free existence I know and love. But until then, I’m ashamed to say that technically my vegan card will have to be revoked.
Thirdly, I’m coming to the end of my incredibly long, twisted, strange journey otherwise known as university. Coming into my last year of university has been scaring me subtly throughout the last couple of weeks (like when you’re happily swimming in the ocean and then you suddenly think of the movie Jaws).
University is a stressful and exhausting process in and of itself. Remember when you were in high school and you sat there with all your friends talking about how much more chill university would be? How much easier life would be an adult? And that you wouldn’t even have to be at university all day because you only have 4 classes (yeah… Hahaha… Ha. “Only 4.”)? And then you get there and you’re like “woah, this is actually so terrible how did I even think high school was difficult”. Well, I have a feeling coming out of university is like that, but somehow more difficult.
Having said all this, I am of the opinion that a year is only as good as you make it. So I for one, am going to try my best to make 2018 the most productive year I can.
For the all important ‘New Year’s Resolution’, this coming year I have decided to combine 2 things I have wanted to do for a while:
The first is the age old, ever vague, often impossible goal of “getting fit”. I really need to focus on my health this year. They say to treat your body like a temple, but it’s apparent I’ve been treating mine as more of a decorative trash can (the type that you don’t realise is actually a trash can, but it doesn’t change the fact). From experience, a lot of the “getting fit” actually happens more in your head than it does in your actual body (not that I have EVER been fit, so who knows if this is true or not), and I think after years and years (and years and years…) of making this my new year’s resolution (with at least half of the rest of the world) and failing miserably that I am actually ready to do this. Commit to it 100% (or at least 50% cause P’s get degrees).
When the gym is open I'm too lazy to go, and now that the gym is closed I have made the courageous decision to be fit… what a shame *opens a packet of Oreos and her Netflix account* 🌱 #health#fitness#lazygirl
If that weren’t enough, I have also wanted to start a vlog for the longest of times, but always figured I never had anything good to say or interesting to show. Well regardless of whether this vlog will be good or interesting, I’ve built up enough courage to put it on the internet anyway. I think the vlog will at least hold me accountable for my “getting fit” part. Who knows? It might actually make it enjoyable.
Once upon a time, there lived a Twitter user by the name of A.J. Ellwood.
A complete novice to the complexities of social media, she had a tight following of 26 other naïve Twitter users (most of which I’m heavily suspicious were bots) and a feeling of dread and anxiety that came with every social media post. Having gotten a Twitter account for the soul purpose of passing a 20% assignment academic success, I never really gathered or appreciated it’s necessity in my life as a digital media student. Oh, how the tables have turned.
(This was my first ever tweet. My blog is a judgement-free zone, but I give you permission to judge me just this once.)
If we fast forward little under a year and a half to the cat-mug-wielding, newly blonde A.J. Ellwood (proud vegan with an almost 500-follower count who has branched out into the wild worlds of WordPress, LinkedIn, and SoundCloud) we see a very different online identity. Without bragging too much: I’m much more engaging, funnier, my branding is on point (if I do say so myself) and I’m no longer posting ambiguous tweets about the use of Pokémon Go in real estate.
You’re probably wondering how such a “glow-up” (as the kids are calling it these days) could’ve happened to little-old-vegan-me. A lot of it has to do with developing my online identity (as the intellectuals are calling it these days) and establishing what it is that I hope to achieve by using online platforms such as Twitter (or Instagram or Snapchat).
So what exactly is online identity? It is a concept that is incredibly multifaceted, used to describe how we as human beings can be incredibly multifaceted, and each have the potential to only express a certain aspect (or aspects) of ourselves online. “In such an anonymous environment, identity can be broken into fragments, deconstructed, and reconstructed” (Kennedy, 2013).
Thus, for example, if you met me in the real world, you could be surprised at how different I am from how I present myself online. This is because I am only sharing one part of what makes up my whole identity on the internet (for all the world to see). This isn’t to say that somebody will necessarily be entirely different from how they present their online identity. “The ‘self-presentation’ undertaken by users of social media is not completely free of the constraints of the ‘real’ world, but develops within a complicated network of conventions, social expectations and other people’s identities” (Brown, 2015).
If we take my online presence as an example, anybody who’s stalked my social media accounts well will know that I tweet a lot about veganism. I am a vegan (sorry I have to inform everybody at least once a day or I explode). I follow a lot of vegans, I am followed by a large amount of vegans. Veganism is a large aspect of my life (it’s what I eat and I spend a lot of time eating). However, in the real world I do not spend as much time making funny quips about veganism…
Ok, that was a lie, I do. This was a bad example.
In the real world, however, I do have larger range of interests than just veganism and digital media (which consist of about 95% of my posts on Twitter). I think this is probably best exemplified by my Instagram account. I still post a little bit about veganism (obligatory food pics, don’t judge me), but generally I post overly filtered pictures of me out doing things I enjoy, like shopping or going to the beach. Then if we move onto Snapchat, I tend to post a lot of gross pictures of me and my everyday goings-ons (because its slightly more convenient and quicker to post that way).
I think out of all of the social media platforms I use, Snapchat is probably the ‘online me’ that most closely resembles my ‘real life me’. But even still, it will never be the same, because there are certain parts of my real world life that either aren’t entertaining enough to put on the internet or I’d rather not share for personal reasons.
A brilliant depiction of what I believe encompasses the idea of online identities is given by Goffman (1959) who says, “this social performance can be compared to a theatre where within each scene of life, the central actor chooses the appropriate wardrobe, props, and backdrops to project a desired identity to an audience through complex self-negotiations, making adjustments in an effort to maintain a consistent identity.”
What I’ve been able to draw from thinking about and examining my online identity, is that I’m actually quite impressed with how I’ve managed to curate such a specific identity on social media almost entirely subconsciously. Having said that, I’m not perfect (not yet, anyway) and neither is how I portray my online identity through social media.
This topic has made me heavily consider where it is I hope to go from here.
I have a reasonably well put together Twitter account, an Instagram account that I devote too little time to, a Snapchat account that I devote too much time to, and WordPress, SoundCloud, YouTube accounts that go basically untouched unless I have assignments to do. (And a LinkedIn account, but I’m still working out how to use that).
One of my main goals is to revamp my online identity just a little bit. Now I am conscious of the decision-making process that goes into developing this kind of identity, I want to actually pay attention to it instead of just doing things on the internet at random. I still want to maintain a positive and humorous approach to digital media, but I want to explore topics like digital media, activism, and politics (for example) a bit more seriously and through a larger range of platforms. I have limited this blog post to 3 key social media platforms because they are really the only ones I use.
Here is Prezi presentation to outline (in vague detail) the kinds of things I hope to accomplish over the next year:
We’ve reached that point of the blog post where I summarize all the things we’ve learnt today and then bid you adieu:
We’ve learnt that online identities are a common way of reducing your online presence to a very specific version of the ‘real world’ you.
We’ve learnt that I need to further curate my own online identity, and think more critically about what, where and how frequently I post on social media.
And finally (the real take away point) we’ve learnt that I am a vegan.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Chalkley, T., Hobbs, M., Brown, A., Cinque, T., Warren, B. and Finn, M. (2015). Communication, Digital Media and Everyday Life. 2nd ed. Victoria, Australia: Oxford University Press, pp.220-222.
Labrecque, L., Markos, E. and Milne, G. (2011). Online Personal Branding: Processes, Challenges, and Implications. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 25(1), pp.37-50.
Poletti, A, & Rak, J (eds) 2013, Identity Technologies : Constructing the Self Online, University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [11 December 2017].
I started my journey down the road of digital media a little over a year ago, and it honestly astounds me how little I’ve done in that time.
I’m constantly being told that in order to succeed in this industry, I must constantly be doing things. I should be a communicator, a writer, a performer, a producer. I should be creative, resourceful, passionate, driven. I should have initiative and imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I have all of these qualities (not that I’m bragging or anything). But I’ve let myself believe that what I lack is the time with which to do them.
In the last year:
I’ve started and finished at least 10 television series.
I’ve taken at least 30 naps.
I’ve spent approximately 3-6 hours of my life every week staring into space.
I’ve written 4 blog posts, all of which were specifically for university assignments.
Over the last week or so, I pondered exactly what has been stopping me from being more proactive about my online presence. Short of tweeting frequently, maintaining Snapchat streaks, and tagging people in memes, I don’t honestly spend a lot of time involving myself in media.
I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily afraid of putting myself out there online. If you’ve read my previous blog posts you would know I’m nothing short of an “over-sharer” (and if anything, I need to learn that while it’s perfectly acceptable to be confident online, some things just shouldn’t be said). I do, though, find it very difficult to find what exactly to focus on. I have so many interests and ideas, but when I write about them or talk about them, I come up blank. Thinking about what to blog about left me completely lost.
So, I have made it my mission in life to start doing something about it, and the first step I am taking in this fantastical journey is by blogging… about blogging. Blog-ception, if you will. I guess all that’s really left to say is: watch this space.
Now please enjoy this lovely but unrelated picture of my cat:
Group 16, was formed and created by the creative genius, Adam Brown. Once, we were just five Deakin University students who were unknown to each other, but now, we are a squad of rap superstars. With many hours and sleepless nights, we created a piece of greatness that undoubtedly will take the world by storm. Here is our story on how we, your average Joe’s, created the hit, #HackersRHacks.
Within our group, there were many options that were considered for the video. We first initially considered doing a musical. However, given the amount of time and resources we had to complete this assignment – and the fact that the video was only 5 to 7 minutes long – seemed a bit difficult and unachievable. So, the next idea that was discussed was a news report. The issue that was raised with this is that we were aware of many of our peers who were already basing their video as a news report or something of that nature. To be different, and to show our creativity, we decided to put a spin on the conventional journalism report. It didn’t take long for us to find each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Through this, we combined the elements of news reporting and music to created #HackersRHacks. We decided that the news report would allow us to accurately convey information about the topic and raise awareness to the seriousness of hacking in society. The rap would appeal to youths and people of similar ages as us. It would be a way to gain the attention of our audiences and entertain them, rather than bombarding them with slabs of information.
A rap of our standard took a long time to prepare and to perfect. The first challenge that struck our group was that we needed to come up with a topic that would fit in with both the serious nature of news reporting and the fun elements of hip-hop. After discussing numerous topics through our communication group on Slack, we eventually agreed to settle with the topic of hacking. We believe that this topic is quite a prevalent surveillance issue in the real world and, as a bonus, it is really easy to rhyme with other words. As we progressed from Stage One: Planning; we were hit with our next hurdle…making a rap that appeals to people and still discusses the issues of hacking. Our group member A.J. volunteered to test her musical talent and became the mastermind to our #1 ARIA chart hit, #HackersRHacks. (Tupac, Eminem, Jay Z, we apologise in advance for our *lack of* talent and envy your creative minds). Once we had lyrics, we needed music. Samson, another legend of the group, took on the role to create original beats to be the backing track behind the rap. Using his knowledge of creative commons and what the fans want to hear, Samson created music that is dark and mysterious – linking perfectly to how hackers infiltrate their victims. Despite the skill of freestyling, it came to the attention of the group that a script may be the better option to ensure we keep a balance between news reporting and the rap. This gave us the opportunity to make sure that we were keeping it relevant to surveillance and hacking.
We could write for hours on end about how we created a life-changing rap that included a hidden meaning that would make you question the meaning of our existent, but, we will keep it short. Throughout the rap’s entirety, it was important that we conveyed the seemingly common and potentially dangerous impacts hacking can have on a person. We wanted to use our skills to create a catchy, and an educational piece to remind our fans on how to combat the potential for hacking. We thought it was important to include that no-one is immune from hacking. It is something that is happening every day, and sometimes without our knowledge. Through the lyrics, you will be able to note that we even discuss ways to make your password tough and one that is hard to break into. This is just one of the examples of how we used surveillance and hacking within our assignment.
The power of the internet came into play throughout this assignment, especially with communication. As we began conversing, we were made aware that not all of us studied at the same campus. With the majority of group members being at Burwood, Samson was the only team member who was based in Waurn Ponds. This was an obvious hurdle for our group as it was nearly impossible for all teammates to be at the same place at the exact same time. However, we were able to overcome this demographic issue by using the technology that we have at our fingertips. Numerous applications and social media platforms were used in order to collaborate and produce the video in time for submission. When the day of filming came (which was organised via Skype), Samson made the track down to Burwood and participated with all group members in every aspect of the rap. The video creation itself was one that tested all our skills and abilities. When we first began the filming of the masterpiece, it was clear that some of us may have felt somewhat uncomfortable to be on camera in public, but as the video came close to completion, all our worries and anxieties were gone as we became more excited about the work we were producing.
All in all, we can honestly say that we worked well with each other. We used an abundance of internet platforms to collaborate, and we were considerate towards everyone’s ideas. As you can probably see in the video, we got along straight away used every opportunity we could to discuss ways to make our assignment different and better than we could imagine. We enjoyed all aspects of the creation of the rap and believe that we collaborated above and beyond to what we would normally have done. We are proud of our final work and hope you all love it as much as we do!
Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Tinder *cough cough* I mean… Twitter, and seen weird, overly specific ads? What I mean by that I guess is like ads that seem strangely coincidental. Ads that make you stop and say to yourself, “Woah, I was just googling cat sweaters the other day, and now here they are on sale according to this strange, overly specific ad I am looking at on Facebook!”. If you said yes, then like… same.
To give a little bit of a #relatable background, a few weeks ago I was (like all of us have been at one point) completely over university. Trying to make my frustrations a little bit more light hearted, I asked my friend over Facebook how feasible dropping out of my degree and becoming a “professional exotic dancer” would be (@ future employers: I was kidding). We laughed, because I’m funny, and moved onto the next topic of conversation thinking little of it. To this day, an undisclosed pole dancing class is still trying to recruit me and I do not know how to stop this.
This caused me to really think about online marketing. Are advertisers just surveilling our every move to sell things to us? Is this a breach of my privacy or just clever marketing? Will I ever have the core strength necessary for pole dancing? While I can only objectively answer one of these questions (I have zero core strength), surveillance in marketing is one of those really thought-provoking things we encounter on a daily basis, that remarkably, usually provokes no little to no thought. We scroll past them without even really thinking about it. Unless they draw you in enough to actually click on them, they’re relatively invisible. Like ninjas in the night.
‘Behavioral Targeting (BT) is a technique used by online advertisers to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns, and is playing an increasingly important role in the online advertising market’ (Yan et al. 2009). This is a relatively fancy way of saying that advertisers will ‘surveil’ (unsure if this is a word) your behavior online to determine the best way to make you buy things.
In a study conducted surrounding participant’s opinions regarding ‘Online Behavioural Advertising’, ‘participants found OBA to be simultaneously useful and privacy invasive’ (Ur et al. 2012). Like most forms of surveillance, it’s a concept that both positively and negatively impacts people. Like the dentist, I mean: no one wants to go, but it’s better for you in the long run. No one wants their privacy taken away, but like… As a 21 year old, if I see or hear another ad about funeral insurance I’m pretty sure I’ll snap. Cat sweaters are much more interesting.
So in summary, I haven’t really described anything but examples of what targeted advertising is all about and how much I enjoy cat sweaters. All cat paraphernalia. But who doesn’t? As to my opinions of surveillance relating to advertising and marketing, I honestly love it. It can be hilarious to see the sponsored ads the magically appear when swiping righ- … scrolling through the internet. How else are we supposed to feed our passions for pole dancing and cat sweaters?
Ur, B., Leon, P., Cranor, L., Shay, R. and Wang, Y. (2012). Smart, useful, scary, creepy. Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security – SOUPS ’12.
Yan, J., Liu, N., Wang, G., Zhang, W., Jiang, Y. and Chen, Z. (2009). How much can behavioral targeting help online advertising?. Proceedings of the 18th international conference on World wide web – WWW ’09.
Ellwood, A. and Bajada, D. (2017). Episode 1: Tailored Ads and Spotify Stripping (short ver.). Let’s Get Weird Wednesdays.
Bajada, D. (2017). She got no core strength, y’all.
Blackburn, C. (2017). Priorities.
Haines, H. (2017). Running Away From Her Problems.
So, I’m sitting here in the library. I have 2 assignments due on Friday that I’ve barely even looked at. Stressed out of my mind. What am I doing?
Stalking people on social media.
I bet you have a lot of thoughts regarding that statement. I mean, firstly: A.J. Get off your damn phone, you have assignments to do. Secondly: why are you STALKING people? Like, that’s super intense even for you. But think about it. When are we not stalking people on social media? We’ve reached the point when we have developed apps actively allowing people to monitor what we’re doing at any given time. We’ve coined the term ‘Facebook Stalking’ to justify our behavior when it comes to surveilling others. Yet, we never really stop to consider just how far our actions could be considered stalking. When does surveillance on social media cross the line and become stalking?
According to an article written by Daniel Trottier, he classifies surveillance on social media into two categories. There’s Facebook “creeping” or “a milder version of stalking”, and Facebook “stalking”, which is observing and attaining content on Facebook with an express interest to monitor another person (Trottier, 2012). By labelling these actions in a negative light, it’s almost as if we’re frowning upon the task of perusing through other people’s content on social media. Despite this, it’s still an incredibly socially acceptable form of procrastination everyday task.
I propose we change the term 'Facebook Stalking' to 'Internet People Watching'. It sounds much less threatening #ALC205#WeAllDoIt#DontLie
In a study conducted surrounding the relationship between relationships and surveillance on social media, it was determined that an extremely common theme is that of monitoring former partners. “Preoccupied and fearful exes retain access to their former partners’ lives. Maintaining this virtual connection with one’s ex may enhance feelings of uncertainty about the future of a relationship that, without social media, may have had a clearer and more certain ending” (Fox and Warber, 2014).
While I’ve certainly highlighted many of the issues and problems surrounding surveillance on social media, we can’t deny the somehow addictive and positive qualities it holds. Down to the sharing of cat videos, events, drunken Snapchat stories, memes, and even ideas that we wouldn’t otherwise see if we didn’t allow ourselves a bit of freedom to stalk other people on social media. Besides, given that we allowed ourselves to have accounts on social media and constantly share what we’re doing/thinking/feeling with other, aren’t we also conceding to being stalked by others.
So, when it all comes down to it. We’re all stalkers and we’re all being stalked. It’s the new circle of life on a digital scale. Instead of being eaten by lions, we’re being consumed by the amount of time we dedicate to social media. That was a metaphor and a half. But seriously, from one stalker to another: it’s all ok. We all do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
(Plz stalk me @HeyHeyHeyItsAJ on Twitter or sarahellwood14 on Snapchat for quality drunken stories #shamelessplug)
Trottier, D. (2012). Interpersonal surveillance on social media. Canadian Journal of Communication, 37(2), 319-332.
Fox, J, and Warber, K. (2014). Social Networking Sites in Romantic Relationships: Attachment, Uncertainty, and Partner Surveillance on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(1): 3-7.
Bajada, D. (2017). “Girl, whatchu doin?”.
Ellwood, A. (2017). “I Facebook stalk myself when I think no one’s watching”.
Story Time: so, I’m wandering through the hallway of my residence when I run into the guy I’ve been crushing on for the last couple of weeks. We flirt, he walks away, and I precede to do my overly embarrassing victory dance (complete with flailing arms) believing no one can see me. Well, imagine my surprise when I look up and find myself staring straight into the lens of a CCTV camera. I didn’t even know it was there. Was someone on the other end watching me? Was it recorded? In complete and utter shame, I speed walk straight to my room and vow to never repeat that experience again.
In that moment, I discovered the true power of surveillance. Surveillance is a strange and rather broad term that I’ve never really taken the time to examine before. It’s defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary as ‘the careful watching of a person or place, especially by the police or army, because of a crime that has happened or is expected.’ Specific. To be fair, my dancing could be probably be defined as a crime, but is surveillance really used so limitedly? Ok… so that would be a lot to cover in one blog post and as ambitious as I am, I’m nowhere near that ambitious. So, let’s start of simply with the good, old CCTV camera.
In an article by Ashby (2017), he discusses the benefits of the CCTV camera in terms of using it for investigative and evidentiary purposes. A study conducted to determine the effectiveness of CCTV in investigating crimes on a British Railway found that ‘useful CCTV was associated with significantly increased chances of crimes being solved for all crime types except drugs/weapons possession and fraud’ (Ashby, 2017). Aside from its usefulness in investigating crime, the article also mentions how useful CCTV cameras are for preventing crimes in the first place.
Uh ok… Well that’s all well and good but not all CCTV cameras are placed in particularly “crime-centric” areas. In fact, in 2014 the British Information Commissioner’s Office proposed that there is an overuse of CCTV cameras, explaining ‘how CCTV and other forms of camera surveillance can be used to process people’s information’ (ICO, 2014).
In summary, are CCTV cameras good or bad? I guess we’ll never really know. There’s the whole safety aspect of reduced crime, and the knowledge that you may feel safer being around one. But is this taking away your rights for privacy? Do we even need privacy? Is there even such a thing privacy? (Insert dramatic fade away music here because I can promise you, I don’t have the answers to these questions.)