One of the final things that we did in the semester in Dr. Medjesky’s class was read the book Breakup 2.0. Disconnecting over New Media by Ilana Gershon. In this book it talks about how social media apps are being used for dating purposes and even the breakups of a relationship. One thing that we were asked to do for this assignment was to update the book in the sense that we are in a new age of society of social media that is being used compared to what used to be popular a few years ago such as Myspace or Facebook. I will go on to talk about one of today’s new social media apps.
One of the newer social media’s out today is Snapchat. Snapchat is a new app where you can take a picture of yourself and send it to people with a message on it. The kicker to this app is that the picture can only last for about ten seconds. After the ten seconds is up the picture can never been seen again. Since it first came out there have been new update’s made to the app to try and make it better. One of the updates made was called a “story.” A story is where you can take pictures and put them specifically to where everyone can see them and you don’t have to scroll through your list of friends to send to certain people. The only problem with this is that anyone that has you as a friend on this app even if you don’t know them can see it.
Now, one might engage in the use of this new app as a way to communicate with friends or the other would be trying to hook up with someone. Either way, Snapchat has been used for a variety of different ways especially in the sense of nonverbal communication. In this blog post, I will discuss Snapchat and the stories I have heard from friends about their experiences with this new media, along with 6 key elements of the media. The 6 key elements are: Media Ideologies, Idioms of Practice, Structure of the Medium, Remediation, Second-Order Information, and What is the Public.
Media Ideologies are a set of beliefs that people use to create their own way in thinking about how technology and media are used. It is important because they are used to shape how a person views a message through the use of media and how they interact with other people using that certain media. Each person views a message differently so it is important to understand what the person who sent the message means by it. An example here would be my one friend Todd sent a snap to many people including his ex-girlfriend. The snap he sent was of him at the bar watching a football game with some buddies of his. His ex-girlfriend saw the snap and took it as an invitation that he wanted to start talking to her again. This would explain what a media ideology is because what Todd sent was just a picture that he was at a bar with his buddies watching a football game. There was nothing forward about the message except that he was letting people know where he was at and what he was doing. His ex-girlfriend on the other hand looked at the picture that he was at the bar drinking because he was lonely and wanted to start talking again, which was not the case. Todd said that she started snapping back pictures of her saying that she missed him and that she wanted to try and work things out together and would try to go to the bar that night to meet up with him. There are two types of media ideologies; formal and informal. A formal ideology would be a text message when talking to your friend. It gets the message across better and quicker. An informal ideology would be snapchat where the message or the picture in this case can be viewed at in many different ways and could be interpreted differently than what is meant by the picture. So a formal ideology would be a snap of what Todd did would be the same picture that he sent, except the time he type a message and put it with the picture. A informal ideology would be what originally happened with the picture that Todd sent and his ex-girlfriend misinterpreted it for something else.
Idioms of practice is used to help understand peoples media ideologies. Idioms of practice is a way in which people try to figure out the use of the media and come upon their view as what is an appropriate use and non-appropriate use of the media. An example I can use here for this would be that my friend Markus has his mother as a friend on Snapchat. Usually, when he snaps our group of friends it is always something of humor, but when he snaps with his mother it is the complete opposite because he wants his mother to think that he is not how he is when he is talking to his friends. When Markus snaps his friends it is of non-appropriate use of the media because he is snapping inside jokes that the guys all understand. When he snaps his mother he is using appropriate use of the media because she does not understand the inside jokes and does not fully understand the media just yet. There are two type of idioms of practice; implicit and explicit. Implicit types of idioms are not apparent until someone violates an expectation of something. An example of this would be breaking up with someone in the wrong or shadiest way possible. The reason why idioms of practice are formed is because new social media apps tend to form different kinds of problems for people. In the book Break Up 2.0, Ilana explains that there are two main reasons that explain why there are so many types of idioms when it comes to the new media; 1. People don’t have the time to figure out how to use the media when communicating with other people. 2. The new media can cause problems for people and they will rely on the help from their friends to try and figure out how to use the media.
Structure of the Medium is also used to help influence media ideologies. A example of this could be the amount of letters you could use in your message before sending it. If you run out of letters then sometimes the message won’t come across very clear before having to send a second message to finish off what you meant to say altogether. In the book, Ilana talks about some of the interviews she has with other people. A lot of what she got out of the interviews was that fights would start over the social media. After the fight started it would lead to either text messaging or a phone call then would lead to an actual face to face break up. This is very familiar to what happened to a person that I know. My friend Cam was with a bunch of his friends at the dorm one night after he had hung out with his girlfriend at the time. Cam was sitting on the edge of his bed with two of his friends who happened to be girls. He put his arm around them giving them both of hug thinking nothing of it. Well one of his buddies was sitting right across the room from them and was taking pictures for his Snapchat. He got a picture of Cam hugging the two girls and put it on his story along with the rest of the pictures he took. Cam’s girlfriend saw it and immediately texted Cam asking who they were. It lead to a huge fight over the phone and then lead to a face to face altercation about the situation. Although it wasn’t over messages on Snapchat they would break up because of one message that was on Snapchat.
Remediation is how people’s media ideologies and uses of one medium are always connected to people’s media ideologies and uses of other older or newer media. When comparing new media to old media, Ilana uses the example of how a cell phone accomplishes what a landline used to do before cell phones were created. The same goes for Snapchat as it accomplishes what FaceTime, Facebook messaging, and Twitter direct messaging does. When it comes to breaking up over through medium of Snapchat I find it to be shady or inappropriate. Breaking up over Snapchat could be comparable to what breaking up over a text message was like many years ago. It wasn’t fair to the person it was happening to. Plus, I wouldn’t want to be the person receiving the message that I was getting dumped and had to see the girls facial expression along with it. Personally, I do not know of anybody that has broken up over Snapchat, but just like I said earlier I know a couple of people who broke up because of a Snapchat message. Along with Cam there is also Jenny. Jenny was dating a guy that she met in high school. When we all graduated they went different ways with where they went to college, but stayed together. However, one of her best friends went to the same school with him and caught him being with another girl. He was cheating on Jenny. Jenny’s friend sent her a snap of her boyfriend with the other girl. She was upset and immediately called him to try and figure out what was going on. They would end up breaking up that night because of all that had happened. Snapchat is a new media that no-one has tried to breakup with somebody yet. But, people have broken up because of a message that was sent on Snapchat. Snapchat is the what leads to another use of media or even text messaging before the breakup happens.
Second-order information is something of importance when it comes to understanding messages that come across confusing. It is background information that can help you understand how words or sentences should be read or interpreted. How we hear one thing or perceive one thing is caused by second-order information. Second-order information is important especially when it comes to understanding a message on Snapchat. It can help understand how a person is really feeling versus how they look in the picture or what they actually mean versus what they said in the message. A girl that I met here at the university by the name of Hailey actually uses this when she communicates using Snapchat. She was upset with her boyfriend the one day because of something he said so she wasn’t allowing him to understand anything when they were talking. Hailey either sent a message of just herself or she will send a picture with a message that does not correspond to the facial expression that she is making. Her boyfriend would have to rely on the use of second-order information just to understand what she is trying to say or what she means by her facial expressions. He knew her very well and still could not understand what she was meaning by her facial expression or what she was saying in the message.
When it comes to talking about what the public is in social media it is just as what it sounds like. What public is on social media is just like what public is in real life. The public in life is whoever can see what is going on. The public in social media, in this case Snapchat, is a message that anybody is able to see from the person has sent. The public in this case could range from a snap being sent to multiple people or everybody that is on the person’s friends list. If it was sent just to one person it would be a private conversation. However, depending on how long the message is sent for the person who received the message could “screenshot”, taking a picture of the message received, the picture and post it on to any public forum where anybody could see it. Snapchat can be dangerous if someone were to do this depending on what the message is that you are trying to send. It is more dangerous when it comes to posting a picture to the story. The story is the place where anyone can see your picture. It doesn’t matter if you meant for them to see it or not they will see it either way. This makes for a bigger risk of people taking a screenshot of the message you put and posting it to an even bigger public social media. Since the start of Snapchat there have been updates to help make the media better and easier to use. Such updates were filters, more words to use for a message, and even an update to the story. The update to the story was made so that people could edit their post and even delete a picture if they didn’t mean to post it there. Before the update had even happened there was a girl that I knew that I went to high school with who regretted a decision she made by posting a picture to her story. To not use her real identity we will call her Jane. Jane was a girl that I knew growing up from going to the same school and being in the same homeroom class each year. When Snapchat came out there wasn’t everything to it like there is now. All you could really do is send a picture message to someone and post one to your story if you felt like everyone needed to know what you were doing. Jane was snapping her boyfriend who went to a different school. They were snapping back and forth when he asked her for a topless picture of her. Jane agreed to do it and went to send it to him, but when she scrolled down her list of friends to find his name she accidentally hit her story as well. So not only did this guy get a picture of her, but everyone else on her friends list were also able to see it. Jane was embarrassed and there was nothing she could do. The picture would last for the rest of that day before it disappeared. Luckily for her no-one took a screenshot of it and posted it on another public post on social media.
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