CATFISH: THE ULTIMATE ONLINE PERSONA

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CATFISH: /verb/

lure (someone) into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona.
“he was being catfished by a cruel prankster”giphy

The term ‘catfish’ has gained popularity over the last few years, stemming from the 2010 documentary “Catfish’ and continuing with the MTV series with the same title. People hiding behind their screens, pretending to be someone they are not, often with the intention of gaining and maintaining a relationship with someone over the internet. The victims of cat fishing are often understandably hurt, betrayed and upset, but are we all in a way catfishing????

Obviously, not all of us go to the extremes of claiming another person’s identity as our own with the intent to seduce someone online, but to a small extent could our online media presence be a form of catfishing? There is often a certain pressure to present yourself in the best possible way, making your lifestyle look desirable to audiences and making your Instagram feed A E S T H E T I C A L L Y pleasing. Certain social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook are standard platforms for portraying ourselves as what is ideal to society. It’s very rarely an indicator of moral depravity, but instead an instinctual and universal desire that motivates us all.

 

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THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT: A TRANSMEDIA STORY

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1999 marks the year the narrative fiction horror film, ‘The Blair Witch Project’ hit cinemas and made a whopping 41,383% return on investment, making it the first successful use of transmedia storytelling.

This low budget film set the scene for internet marketing, as the release of the film coincided with the beginning of the internet. The approach taken to market the movie was the first of it’s kind and has inspired marketers across the globe to follow in it’s footsteps, often without the same success.blair withc

The marketing team made people believe the story was real, starting by playing a documentary about the disappearance of three young filmmakers on the SciFi channel called ‘The Curse of the Blair Witch.’ This began to get people interested, so the producers followed this up by releasing ‘missing persons’ posters of the individuals around the local area along with contacting local news sources and creating news stories about the missing students.

The most engaging and interactive aspect of the campaign was the use of the The Blair Witch Project Website, which included a number of captivating components that further reinforced the reality of the story. There’s information about the filmmakers, the mythology and aftermath. Included, is excerpts from ‘Heather’s Journal’ which give insight into before and during the film, which gives it a true transmedia perspective.

Since then, there have been countless transmedia stories that have been successful. Especially with the introduction of social media, there becomes countless opportunities for campaigns to really utilise the benefits of the world wide web.

I created my own YouTube Video as a sort of sequel trailer to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ which could be used on a social media platform such as Facebook or Instagram to continue the transmedia story telling.

References:

Jenkins, H. (2015). Transmedia Storytelling. [online] MIT Technology Review. Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/401760/transmedia-storytelling/ [Accessed 31 Apr. 2017].
Doty, M., Doty, M., Pressberg, M., Ali, R. and Chan, J. (2017). How 1999’s ‘The Blair Witch Project’ Foretold Hollywood’s Shift to Viral Marketing. [online] TheWrap. Available at: http://www.thewrap.com/blair-witch-project-hollywood-digital-viral-marketing-pioneer/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

SELL YOUR SOUL

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Agreeing to sell your soul isn’t often a popular nor desirable option to choose, but April 2010 saw more than 7,500 individuals sign their soul away to GameStation, an online gaming store, when customers ignored the option to untick a box that was included in their updated EULA.

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85% of customers unknowingly signed their souls away to the popular online store as they carelessly scrolled past the EULA, clicking “agree” without first reading the updated information.

The information was as follows:

By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions. We reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.

The apparent April Fools joke has prompted questions about the legality of EULA’s and how easy it is for corporations to include a whole load of ‘legal mumbo jumbo’ into the terms and conditions. Also raises concerns about the accessibility of our own souls to massive companies with nothing but a click of a finger.

References:

Fox News. (2010). 7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls. [online] Available at: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls.html [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

 

DAMN

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Kendrick Lamar released his 4th album “DAMN” on the 14th of April 2017. After the initial hype and excitement calmed down people began analysing the extensive sampling Lamar used in the creation of the album. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, Rat Boy’s Knock Knock Knock and Ha by Juvenile are just a number of songs Lamar sampled from. Even using a Fox News segment discussing Lamar’s lyrics in another song, he uses this interview as an example of acknowledging the media.

Lamar is renowned for his unique sampling and beats, often collaborating with numerous artists to help him achieve the best remixes of all time.

I had a go at creating my own remix, kinda sounds like a cross between demonic EDM and if Donald Trump were to be elected Prime Minister of Australia.

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

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Analysing flight patterns, studying star constellations, recognising weather conditions in the environment. They’re not literary analysists, astrologists nor meteorologists simply a group of 4chan trolls creating chaos on the internet.

Shia LaBeouf’s ‘He Will Not Divide Us’ art installation was intended to be a non violent, thought provoking political statemeHe-Will-Not-Divide-Us.jpgnt. A 24/7  Facebook livestream encouraged participants to chant “He Will Not Divide Us” into the camera in attempt to unite Americans.

4chan heard about the project and decided to have some fun. After they forced the installation to be relocated TWICE, the livestream was set up to show only the HWNDU flag and sky in the background. Working with the limited information they were provided with, 4chan were determined to go to lengths not even the FBI would consider in attempt to bring down the flag along with LaBeouf’s dignity.

O N E day later the flag was found and replaced with a Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and a Pepe the frog shirt. Never underestimate the forces of the internet.

 

References:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-shia-labeouf-4chan-wp-bsi-20170403-story.html

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/03/10/4chan-tracks-down-shia-labeouf-secret-latest-he-will-not-divide-us-location/

PICTURE THIS

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It’s 1:06pm on a Saturday afternoon, you’ve just finished your weekly grog run to Dan Murphy’s. Pleased with your choice of Vodka Cruisers you reach for your phone with the intent to send a Snapchat to your group of friends, when suddenly a loud crashing noise distracts you from your task. You look up. A car crash has just occurred in front of you. Instinctively, you press the record button on Snapchat and begin broadcasting the trauma in real time. This is called citizen journalism.

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Technology and video recording has allowed for everyday citizens to capture events as they happen, sharing them across various media platforms to millions of viewers around the globe. A concept becoming increasingly common in a society where the most common source of news sharing is Facebook.

Recent years have seen a surge in citizen journalism when it comes to police brutality and shootings especially amongst people of colour. The #BlackLivesMatter movement stemmed from the death of Treyvon Martin in 2012, since then it has not been uncommon for individuals to record and broadcasts these particular arrests to the rest of the world, in attempts to show the truth.

Michael Brown, Keith Lamont Scott and Alton Sterling are among the many names of individuals who have lost their lives at the hands of police. All cases were recorded with a phone and shared across the globe, showing first hand how powerful citizen journalism can be. Philando Castile’s death was caught on a Facebook Livestream by his fiancé, allowing viewers to watch on as the tragic event occurred.

This transition from monologic to dialogic media has allowed audiences to become active participants compared to passive consumers, giving regular citizens a chance to share content to the world with limited restrictions and no gatekeepers.

References:

Brown, J. (2016). New social media tools empower citizen journalism. [online] Phys.org. Available at: https://phys.org/news/2016-07-social-media-tools-empower-citizen.html#jCp [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Huffington Post Australia. (2016). More Than 250 Black People Were Killed By Police In 2016 [Updated]. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/black-people-killed-by-police-america_us_577da633e4b0c590f7e7fb17 [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

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Honestly, this weeks lecture left me walking out a little like this

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But, after some thorough research into post-industrial craftsmanship, digital transformations and A E S T H E T I C S  I am finally beginning to understand the shift from industrial manufacturing to consumer participation production. The digital era has allowed for greater engagement and interaction in all aspects of consumer driven production. The line between producer and user are becoming increasingly blurred as new technologies allow for anyone with access to a phone, computer or any other staple 21st century device to create, customise and change content at the convenience of their fingertips.

Industrial beliefs suggested that the manufacturing process and the final product were two entirely seperate entities. Art was able to be observed, but not altered leaving no room for customisation. Today, there are unlimited possibilities when it comes to user participation and modification in conception and throughout. Nike’s customisable shoes are an example of user interaction along with a number of Glitch art generator tools that allow users to add an A E S T H E T I C spin on already created artworks.

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The Medium is the Message still has a clear correlation to the way interaction is happening due to the convergence of new technologies and it is more than exciting to wonder what’s in store for the future of craft.

References:

Channel, I. (2017). What is ~A E S T H E T I C~ Experience? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://youtu.be/Q_rQbXlmgHI [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Haridy, R. (2017). Art in the age of ones and zeros: Datamoshing. [online] Newatlas.com. Available at: http://newatlas.com/art-technology-digital-datamoshing/48152/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

THE MEME IS THE MESSAGE

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Back in 1967 Marshall McLuhan, an esteemed Canadian professor coined the term “The medium is the message.” Since then, this term has transcended time and is now more applicable and relevant to everyday life than ever before.

2017 what a time to be alive! The internet is exploding with an abundance of memes ranging from lighthearted, meaningless bee movie gifs to confronting, deep and more controversial creations than the CIA cares to admit. In this day and age memes are used to communicate the most serious of topics with a comedic perspective. Consumed, shared and created on the internet, memes have become a beacon of communication and understanding amongst not only millennial, but high profile CIA workers. Memes are a medium, and as McLuhan states the medium is the message, therefore making memes the message, and quite powerful at that.

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