Digital Photography: the power of sharing

Source: Info Trends

Source: Info Trends

We take photographs for numerous reasons to record memorable moments. With the help of mobile phone, we can take photos and upload them on social media immediately. The use of digital photography brings a shift from special or rarefied moments to everyday images. (Murray, S 2008) Taking photos from everyday becomes an important digital sharing practice. Taking photos, uploading on social media and sharing with others becomes ubiquitous within internet users. Currently, there are more than 2 billion internet users and the third billion will be reached by the end of 2014. They share photos or with text on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A blog from The New York Times says that the act of taking photos is no longer enough to confirm reality; only sharing with others can give us that validation. Internet users share photos to tell stories while celebrities share photos to promote themselves and interact with their fans. Sharing photos on social media also becomes an important marketing tool for brands to promote their products and communicate with consumers. In other words, all participants are now aesthetic producers, adding photographs into content for their profiles, blogs, feeds as well as consumers.

Statistics from 2013 shows that 62% of internet active users have shared or curated a photo or video. Visuals positively affect engagements include reading, clicks, shares and purchases by 80%.

Source: dlvr.it

Source: dlvr.it

Sharing photos of our daily lives seems become a trend that most of us see it as a better way to share our stories and experiences. Basically, we freely share everything in our daily lives, from products we like, places that we enjoyed and sights that inspire us. Internet users share photos with many different reasons. A study conducted by The New York Times Customer Insight Group, titled “The Psychology of Sharing,” claims several main reasons why people share information online. First, we share to bring valuable and entertaining content to others. Second, we share to define ourselves to others. We also share to grow and nourish relationships. Another reason why we share is for self-fulfillment. Finally, the last reason is to market causes or brands.

For celebrities, they share to promote themselves and increase exposure further to build a better relationship with fans.

Source: Ellen DeGeneres Twitter

Source: Ellen DeGeneres Twitter

Social media has allowed a new way to follow and track the lives of our favorite celebrities. Most celebrities have their own social networking sites account for sharing information and interacting. Celebrities have started letting public look into their everyday lives from a first person point of view. More stories and photos are being leaked to the public first on social media than by way of the traditional outlets. Rihanna, top 5 Instagram user that has most followers, updating photos of her celebrity and personal life.

Source: badgalriri

Source: badgalriri

It also offers an opportunity for fans to show their supports via follow their favorite celebrities and even repost on their own Instagram. Fans, sometimes, share photos of their favorite celebrities in their social networking sites without permission. Scholar, Henry Jenkins, asking whether fans are copyright infringers, creative collaborators or niche marketers. Some suggest that fans are different from plagiarists, scrapers and other copyright infringers.

As for brands, they share to promote their products and build brand recognition. When it comes to marketing business, pictures speak volumes. Posts on Facebook, for instance, increasing engagement when include album, picture or video by an average of 180%, 120% and 100% respectively. Social media differ to traditional media in one key respect which is they enable two way conversations. Therefore, brands can ask consumers to share photos with them. Instagram, a photo-sharing program quickly became the fastest growing marketing tool on social media. Big brand such as Coca Cola uploads creative photos on Instagram to promote the brand.

Source: Coca-Cola Instagram

Source: Coca-Cola Instagram

Their product can be seen somewhere in the photo. Those photos deliver the personality of young, positive and creative. Coca Cola creates the photos in an aesthetic way and engages audiences effectively. Brand created photos are posted on brand’s official Instagram feed while consumers shared images are posted on their personal feed but can be searched by typing in hashtag (#) with the brand’s name. (Chang, C.Y 2014)Photos can help to reflect brands without being directly sales related. It also creates a vibrant visual community between brands and consumer perceptions.

 

When Dumb Ways to Die Becomes a Meme

When we talk about train safety campaign, we usually cannot come up with any example that could stick into our minds. Safety advertisements, especially government ones, tend to use fear to attract attentions and deliver message as directly as possible. After Metro Trains Melbourne released their latest public service announcement, Dumb Ways to Die, it received great attention not only from Australia but all around the world.

It is an animated music video created by the McCann advertising agency, featuring a variety of cartoon characters that dying in unusual ways. The song from the video, Dumb Ways to Die, was written by John Mescall and performed by Ollie McGill from the Australian band The Cat Empire. It has been released on iTunes and reached the top 10 on iTunes’ global charts. The catchy song is the key reason that the campaign would become a success. The purpose of the campaign is to promote train safety and reduce the number of train accidents. Its target audiences are children and young generation who usually pay less attention to traditional public safety massages. The video has become a viral and generated 2.7 million YouTube views in just 48 hours. After two weeks, the clip amassed more than 28 million views and 35,000 comments on YouTube. To date, it receives more than 90 million views on YouTube and that is impressive. According to Metro Trains, the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign has contributed a 21% reduction in “near-miss” accidents in 2013 compared to 2012.

Statistic from Google Trends shows that the search interest of Dumb Ways to Die reached its highest point at June 2013.

Google trends

Source: Google Trends

With the help of social media, Dumb Ways to Die becomes much easier to share and discuss. Recent article claims that active internet users tend to share positive content and upbeat stories rather than things that make others sad or upset. Dumb Ways to Die has the power of positivity and it results in an internet hit. Metro Trains Melbourne then uploaded a karaoke version to encourage viewers create their own version of the song.


Therefore, Dumb Ways to Die not only becomes a viral video but becomes a meme. Sydney Morning Herald reported that Dumb Ways to Die inspiring more than 65 cover versions, 85 parodies and 170 re-posts on YouTube. The term of meme introduced by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

A meme is a concept of information that spreads from person to person in a specific culture and environment. Recent article from WIRED describes meme as an idea, behavior or style that spreads viral from brain to brain and IP address to IP address. In a nutshell, the process of meme can be called imitation. A meme can be a gif, video, photo, commercial and image macro. The use of internet meme is a cost-effective way to create conversations about certain issue or trendiness.

b3c

Source: Know Your Meme

Here are some notable examples of different version of Dumb Ways to Die. On November 28th, after original version uploaded on YouTube just two days, the LaughPong YouTube channel uploaded a Mars version titled “Cool Things to Find”.

It was produced by Seattle-based creative team Cinesaurus. Within 24 hours, the video accumulated over 145,000 views and 390 comments on YouTube. Teddie Films also created their “The Walking Dead” themed parody of “Dumb ways to die”. It used dark-humored musical safety message for keeping alive around zombies and made fun on characters from The Walking Dead. The video has received more than 1 million YouTube views and 2,600 comments.

Other parodies and covers including a classic rock version arranged and played by Marco Arata, a take from YouTube band The DDL Boys and a clip to teach people how to play the original song with guitar and ukulele. There is also a scary version titled “Dumb Ways 2 Die – Real Life”, producing by YouTube channel Levan Nomone. It features clips of real people doing dumb things.

 

All in all, there are many creative versions on YouTube showing their love to Dumb Ways to Die. Those videos and images are the best proof that the campaign goes success to gain great awareness and becomes a well-known example of internet meme.

The value of citizen journalism within social media when regular media failed

With the help of digital technology, the usage of social media is significantly growing in the last decade. Online participants now have opportunities to write stories by themselves and share to the world through online platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and blog. Thus, we are no longer only relying on traditional news media to obtain information and the concept of “Citizen Journalism” was born. It brings huge impacts on contemporary development of journalism.

140956933_3448b081b8_z

Source: Gigaom

Citizen Journalism can be defined as individuals report information just like professional journalists. Although some scholars, such as Morley Safer, question the quality of citizen journalism, others suggest that citizen journalists are reshaping the news industry and to some extent they provide important opportunities for improving a quicker publication and dissemination of information. (Watson, H et al. 2014) The culture and technology of the internet offer a platform of freedom where governments and news organisations have limited power to enforce censorship on the press. The structure of internet has open up a field which provides a platform that allows public to gather and share information, ideas, thoughts and news at anytime and anywhere. Therefore, citizen journalists try to take over the job when traditional media failed to report the certain events in a country. The importance of citizen journalist can be seen in a case from Turkey which happened in 2013.

A peaceful protest started at the end of May in 2013, Turkish people tried to protect Gezi Park from being sacrificed from urban development plans. At the beginning, it was a peaceful sit-in at Gezi Park to against the redevelopment.

Solidarity-protests-with-Gezi-Park-held-across-Turkey3

Source: Islamic Invitation Turkey

However, the situation of the protest changed substantially when Turkish police violently evicted activists and attacked protesters with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.

Source: everywheretaksim

Source: everywheretaksim

Source: everywheretaksim

Source: everywheretaksim

According to Vice News, there is no or limited report about the protest from local media because they are under the pressure from the government. A group called 140journos, created from three students, trying to gather information of the protest from citizen journalists and report through Twitter account.

Source: Global Post

Source: Global Post

Source: Global Post

Source: Global Post

As Global Post describes it, 140journos has gained over 300 citizen journalists. Although the government tried to control the access to 3G networks, protesters successfully used public and private networks to stay online. With the help of mobile phone and the internet, protesters could take photos and film videos then instantly share the true story of the protest to their relations and the world.

Source: Roar Magzine

Source: Roar Magzine

They utilised Twitter to share information, Facebook to update the status in occupied Gezi Park, Flicker and Tumblr to upload photos and put videos on YouTube. (BBC News) An activist, Damla, answered to Telegraph reporter “It has had a massive impact, and if it wasn’t for social media we wouldn’t have the right information on anything. It’s been our saviour.”At the same time, a hacker group “Anonymous” tweeted that they were going to break down personal website of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and of the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose leader is Prime Minister Erdogan. They also put links of photo evidence of the police’s violent movement on their Twitter account.

Source: Telegraph

Source: Telegraph

By using the internet and mobile phones, every protester took over the role of traditional journalist to distribute information

Source: Motherboard

Source: Motherboard

when local media did not work at that period of time. Recent study shows that mainstream media in Turkey have cooperated with the government by using exactly same words in the headline to report this certain event. (Yuksek, D 2013) When news media failed to report the truth of certain events, citizen journalists become main sources of information. While the prime minister claimed “Social media is the worst menace to society”, there is no doubt that Twitter and other social networking sites became crucial tools for people in Turkey. Emrah Güler from ROAR Magazine commented that there are three main characters of the protest that made information spread effectively, including humor, structure and citizen journalism. Without the efforts of citizen journalism, people could be misled by untrue story reported by news media that under government’s control.

Turkey is not the only case that can demonstrate the importance of citizen journalism. Although most of them lack of professional training, the power of citizen journalism cannot be overlooked.

The effect of Facebook addiction

zuckerberg

Source: DailyTech

Mark Zuckerberg, from Harvard University, launched the site called “thefacebook.com” in 2004. The site became a hit within two years after it extended beyond educational institutions. Anyone can become Facebook user by registering with email address and it is free to join. With 1.3 billion active users per month, Facebook becomes one of the most popular social networking site and the number is still growing. Love it or hate it, there is no deny that Facebook is already became a part of our life.

According to DigitalBuzz, 48% of Facebook users aged from 18 – 34 checking their Facebook would be the first thing they do when they wake up.

Facebook-addiction-1

Source: digitalbuzzblog

A recent study claims that the desire to stay on the top of social networking sites is the most difficult to resist compared to sex and sleep. How many people on earth can say that they can live without Facebook? The answer is too obvious to point out.

What spell that Facebook cast on their users? What makes Facebook so special that can attract billions of users? Facebook offers a new way to connect with each other and reach news that happened all over the world. Facebook users also obsessed with Facebook activities such as updating statuses, uploading photos and videos, checking in, and liking or commenting on posts. Once users registered on Facebook, they start being friends with anyone around them or following fans pages and it is a beginning of life engaged with Facebook. However, over past few years, the phenomenon of over rely on Facebook attracts significant attention. Here are few signs that can tell if a user is addicted to Facebook or not.

Source: brandrepublic

Source: brandrepublic

Firstly, checking Facebook whenever possible which means users would check their Facebook page anytime, anywhere they have opportunities to access. They tend to check most recent newsfeeds or comments that their friends left on their posts or perhaps just a habitual movement.

Source: Hongkiat.com

Source: Hongkiat.com

Secondly, spend more than an hour per day looking through Facebook. Thirdly, add as many friends as they could even someone they just met once. Finally, compromising real life and live in online social life. Facebook addict start to over-reliant on Facebook and give up the real social life. All of these actions are daily behaviors of Facebook addict. They have serious impact on people who overuse Facebook, especially young generation.

With smart phones and 3G/ Wi-Fi become commonplace, people can access social networking sites whenever they want and the number of “phubbers” grows dramatically. Although Facebook provides a brand new way of connection, it also brings negative effects to addictive users. Recent research from California State University shows that overuse social networking sites like Facebook can have serious psychological disorders, including narcissism, antisocial behaviors, mania, and aggressive tendencies among young adults. The healthy implications of excessive Facebook usage could occur not only on youth but also adults and even elders. Users make friends or connect with friends and relatives through Facebook instead of face to face could also results in losing skill of social interaction and communication as well as speaking skills. Moreover, a BBC News report suggests that online relationships lack of “real” social interaction could keep people apart. While people spend more time on social networking sites like Facebook, it may increase the level of social isolation.

Source: skinflint

Source: skinflint

The other negative impact is that it could decrease productivity both on study and workplace. Effectiveness and productivity may fall down due to frequently checking on newsfeed and comments on Facebook. Nowadays, students have a number of ways to access social networking sites which could be distractions whenever in class or study. It is more difficult for students to focus on educational tasks. On the other hand, work performance could also be affected by obsessing with Facebook as well.

Last year, a pair of Ph.D. students at MIT’s Media Lab, Robert Morris and Dan McDuff, came up a machine called “Pavlov Poke” to control their social media impulses. They set up some code to monitor their browsers and connect with a special device. If they visit Facebook site too often, they would get a shock sent from the device connected to their keyboards. They claim that the shock is not dangerous but is enough to get your attention.

 

Facebook is designed to enrich social lives; however, the impacts of overusing it cannot be overlooked. Although it has led to positive changes in the way people communicate and share information, misusing Facebook could bring negative effects on real life. It is important to let online users realize the consequences of over-reliant on Facebook and educate them how to make Facebook a valuable tool for communicating and receiving information.

Why Instagram?

Instagram was first developed in 2010 by an American company. Instagram is available on App Store and Google Play which enables its users sharing their lives through pictures and videos. It also enables users connect their Instagram account to other social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flicker etc. Since 2010, Instagram has over 180 million active users and 50 million photos are being posted daily with 1.1 million likes generated per second.

 There are five main buttons on Instagram user interface. Firstly, users are able to edit their profiles and follow other users. Following people allows you to see photos that been uploaded by people who is in your follow list. From within the “Homepage” button you can scroll through posts in chronological order by all of the users you are following by. The “Star Icon” button is where you can see photos by other users with most likes. The “Camera” shaped button allows you to take a photo or choose a photo from your device’s photo albums and share it. Anytime someone follows you, likes one of your posts, comments on your posts, or tags you into a photo, you will be notified from the “News” button.

 Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media; it is too big not to join. There are many reasons for Instagram users to find that it is attractive. First of all, Instagram offers 20 different filters that can be used to enhance photos. Users do not have to equip with professional photographic technique, even boring photos can look amazing with some of these filters. Users can also add a caption or hash tags to the photo. Photos with same tags which taken by different users around the world will be categorized in same section. Moreover, the photo can be geotagged from where the photo was taken and the photo will be categorized in specific location. Secondly, just like other social network, Instagram is based on having followers. However, when you are struggling with Twitter character limitations and feeling free to be yourself on Facebook, where every family member is on your friends list, sometimes photos make it easier.

 For personal, Instagram not only provides an opportunity for users to share their stories but also enables users to connect with each other, even someone you will never meet. Taking a glimpse into their lives, you will be surprised how different or how alike you all are. From a photo of your lovely breakfast, to a stunning view on beach, every moment that you deem special can be broadcasted instantly to all of your followers. Moreover, you also will find people with a large number of followers try to use those followings to do something good. It raises awareness on specific events that happened around the world.

 For company, Instagram gives brands a chance to tell their stories through visuals. Social media become an indispensable tool for companies to build and maintain their brand images. Instagram has become a more mature social media platform for marketers to deliver messages and communicate with customers. With creative photos or videos and relevant content to maximize the use of Instagram, followers will pass on the story of the brand to others and increase exposures. In some cases, Instagram can be a useful tool for charity or non-profit organization to promote donation. There are some companies have done a tremendous job within Instagram, among them Nike (5.5 million followers), NASA (1.4 million followers), Adidas (1.6 million followers) and so on. You can find out more brands, celebrities, sports, non-profit organisations on Instagram from its “Notable Users” page.

 Social media have changed the way people communicate and how they reach information. Nowadays, phone number no longer is the first thing that you are given when you try to make friends with others. Adding friends through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram becomes more and more common, especially between young people. People from all walks of life stay optimistic in social media; Instagram is especially emphasized, because of the size of potential viewership. Instagram not only provides a platform for personal users to connect with each other but also offers brands an opportunity to establish a long term relationship with customers. Instagram seems to play an important role in our daily lives; it is excited to see how Instagram continues to grow and how they react to competition within photo sharing industry in the future.