Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

In the past, one would use the home as a sanctuary, a place of privacy. It used to be considered a place where you could test the social boundaries in a safe place where no prying eyes would see. You could swear, burp, fart, get drunk and swear and it would be no body’s business because, well, you were in the privacy of your own home.

With the growing popularity of amateur culture and converging medias, the internet has allowed us to achieve different levels of “fame” through blogging and now, through youtube (which has introduced the visual side of communication on the internet). This form of media communication on the internet has done something special as it allowed us to have access to the “screen” (which is considered to be the highest alter upon which we can worship – media-wise) and be in complete control of it. This is especially true because our activity in amateur videography is important because it is taking place during a time that is being focused almost entirely on the silver screen. In order to understand why we are so in love with seeing ourselves on youtube, though, we have to get a better understanding of the old media version’s use.

Home movies are filmed “simple situations”. They often had a staged feeling to them because of the economics, technology and conditions of what was being shot. The audiences were obviously highly localized and the content was supposed to be comparable to a “slice” of everyday life. Although this last metaphor is true, these films were still often stereotypical. These movies are special because they are said to be, as stated by Dr. Strangelove, “the closest to the scene”. They have a documentary feel and the aesthetics of these types of films have been used in other forms of media, (i.e. The Kids in the Hall opening credits).

Home movies today today aren’t as positive as they used to be. The role of filmmaker has switched from the parent to the child, and now parents are the victims of these new films. Examples of these films today would be videos containing a drunk parent, a sibling getting in trouble or freaking out, a parent freaking out or doing something that would be considered obscure in society, but the parent thinks they are safe as they are in their home. The parent not being in control of what is being seen gives these movies a completely different feel, and this feel is breaking social rules.

Not only are the rules being broken, but no consequences are happening after these breaches of privacy! Norm violations are happening domestically, and the idea of what happens at home stays at home is being erased from our society. This is happening because teenagers are getting ahold of the camera, and are videotaping parts of family-life that are supposed to be private; these videos are becoming normative.

In the “butt-rape girl” video, a brother records his sister getting in trouble for making a potentially dangerous choice to go out and meet someone she found over the internet. The boy interrupts in the middle of his mother’s lecture and starts teasing his sister while she is freaking out and breaking down. Instead of stepping in and intervening, the mother started laughing, even though it was quite obvious that the boy’s intentions were to exploit his sister over the internet. The boy received no consequence, but his sister’s consequence for the video will be permanent/lifelong. Although it may be humorous for us an audience to think about, I highly doubt that this girl is happy with the fact that if her identity is found out, she will forever be known as “butt rape girl”.

Youtube is, again, destroying people’s identity thhttps://pabloandgillian.wordpress.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=151&TB_iframe=true&width=640&height=475rough exposing them at their most vulnerable, when their at home under the assumption that they are away from public eyes. They are breaking interpersonal trust through these rule breaking videos and behaviour.

Here are some examples:

My Mom Drunk – 34, 220 views

Man on Myspace!! (raped in the butt) – 50, 074 views

Greatest Freakout Ever – 20, 900, 895 views

– Gillian Holloway


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“Dr Himanshu Tyagi, a psychiatrist at West London Mental Health Trust, said that people born after 1990, who were just five-years-old or younger when the use of Internet became mainstream in 1995, have grown up in a world dominated by online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.” It is said later on in the article on http://www.medicalnewstoday.com (called ‘Facebook Generation’ Faces Identity Crisis), that these children tend to act more impulsively, erratically and that the risk of suicide is increased.

Dr. Tyagi goes on to explain that not only are these children at risk for social disorders, but they are also at risk for losing the real meaning of interpersonal relationships which we as people use to build our identities. This is done through feedback on how much we disclose about ourselves and how we act around people in real life, with the internet we have a screen as a barrier and can put on facades which could lead to alterations in our personalities, (and by could I mean usually leads to alterations in our personalities). Dr. Tyagi goes on to say “A session in front of the computer was also likely to create ‘an altered perception, a dream-like state, an unnatural blending of their mind with the other person – something that rarely happens in real life. The new generation raised alongside internet is attaching an entirely different meaning to friendship and relations, something we are largely failing to notice’.”

With all this negativity, it is hard to see how the internet and these websites could even be looked at in a positive way, ruining kids’ identities and being tied to suicide? Redefining friendship? Perhaps parents should step in and introduce some old fashioned communication skills into their children’s lives.

– Gillian Holloway

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Social networking sites have been increasingly their popularity everyday! According to Leyla Bilge, Thorsten Strufe, Davide Balzarotti, and Engin Kirda from Eurocom state that “Well-known sites such as Facebook have been reporting growth rates as high as 3% per week”.Many social networking sites have millions of registered users who use these sites to share photographs, contact long-lost friends, establish new business contacts and to keep in touch.

Since technology is always increasing, how easy it would be for a potential attacker to launch identity theft attacks against a number of popular social networking sites in order to gain access to a large volume of personal user information.

According to Bilge, Strufe, Balzarotti, and Kirda there are two types of attacks that occur in identity thefton Facebook.The first type of attack is the automated identity theft of existing user profiles and sending of friend requests to the contacts of the cloned victim. The hope, from the attacker’s point of view, is that the contacted users simply trust and accept the friend request. By establishing a friendship relationship with the contacts of a victim, the attacker is able to access the sensitive personal information provided by them.

The second, more advanced type of attack they show is that it is more effective and feasible to launch an automated, cross-site profile cloning attack. In this attack, attackers are able to automatically create a forged profile in a network where the victim is not registered yet and contact the victim’s friends who are registered on both networks. Bilge, Strufe, Balzarotti, and Kirda’s experimental results with real users show that the automated attacks they present are effective in identity theft.

People today are so open with sharing their personal information and even with adding strangers onto their profile page. There needs to be a point where people need to realize everything should not be put online. The more you share with the world, the easier it is for an attacker to to take over your identity. So as a mother would say ” Be Careful out there! The world is indeed a scary place and I don’t want to see you get hurt”.

– Lyara Brine

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As many of us have discovered by accident, there are no take-backs on the Internet. Once you upload or enter something on Facebook and YouTube it will always be there, even if you remove it. This is how Facebook and YouTube have become today’s generation of archives. They are keeping a record of our history.

This morning, millions of students were shown that they can’t actually rewrite history. Everything they do, all of the groups they join and interests they state or friends they make, it is all being recorded. Not only is it being recorded, it is being presented as content to other users of the Facebook.

Facebook and YouTube , like it or not, have brought us to realize a very real issue in online identity. Everything we do in public or semi-public spheres can be tracked and chronicled. We don’t see our digital footprints as much because systems haven’t cropped up to collect them, but collecting them is trivial. Facebook has simply put one of those systems in front of us but it isn’t hard to see the reality. As we grapple with this reality (that our privacy is only a construct of a system, and that our identity can be tracked and chronicled) how will students change their behaviour?

I don’t think students will change their behaviours. Facebook to most is similar to a game. Students don’t take Facebook seriously. They play on it like it was a game of “LIFE” or “Sim’s”. Students need to realize that what they post online can come back and haunt them. In the end everyone should being asking themselves this question: “Is this something I will regret posting when i’m older?” If you answer yes, then maybe it’s time to rethink what your uploading or putting online.

Preserve your identity.

-Lyara Brine

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In the beginning…

The first few entries I wrote don’t really connect to this blog material-wise. They do connect with the topic of our project, though. To tie the blog entries from the beginning into our current theme, I have racked my brain to come up with something that the majority of these entries have in common with the first few stray ones. I have come to the conclusion that they are a part of my identity.

If popculture does indeed create scripts, (as explained by Dr. Strangelove), then the examples of Andy Warhol’s art and role in this area, Terry Richardson’s photography and Gossip Girl all contribute to mine. I must like these things for a reason and according points made in different lectures, I therefore must project these interests to the people around me whether or not I consciously know it.

I guess what I’m getting at is, we even display our identities when we don’t even realize it. Through a neat project (such as this) and social networking sites down to the way we dress and act in reality. Aspects of our identities come out everywhere, even where we least expect it to.

– Gillian Holloway

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And you are?

Culture creates scripts that tell us what to do not but does not provide a specific rule regarding the way we have to live that HAS to be followed.  It does not say “you will do these things”, but instead pulls things from different aspects around us and creates different traits that make each culture distinct. Culture provides choices, it forces us to choose how we want to represent ourselves.

This has changed over the years as pop culture has become more interrupted by the increase in amateur production.  Now, through youtube, facebook and other social networking websites, we are able to create our own identities regardless of what popculture is pulling from around us.  Technically, through these websites we are creating popculture more than it is being created for us.  Take these internet media moguls, for example:

  • Phil DeFranco: this guy is insignificant to most people’s daily lives. We do not know him personally, nor what his sense of humour is really like. Through his youtube channel, he has created a funny-guy persona in the sense that he makes these videos based on news in pop culture comparable to the Daily Show. In real life he could be a socially awkward man with poor hygiene and very few friends, but through his channel he comes off as the token funny-guy most people can relate to in their group of friends. Is this really who he is or is this an identity created solely for the purpose of maintaining an audience?
  • Perez Hilton: although mentioned in a previous post, Perez Hilton is a perfect example of someone who has constructed an identity through blogging on the internet. The man is realistically an overweight loser with too much time on his hands and an immature sense of humour. But time and time again we find ourselves turning to him to find out the latest gossip on the celebrities we love to hate, (or love with all our hearts). He has his favourites, and has a few people he is obviously not so fond of, and this is easy to see through his doodles on their pictures.  Before, this man was a cult treasure, only people who followed many celebrity blogs knew about him, but he has managed to create the fame he obviously lusted after from the get go, and is now photographed as a celebrity in the same fashion that he talks about pictures taken.

Perez Hilton pictured here with Audrina Patridge from MTV's The Hills.

  • Liam Kyle Sullivan: I saw this man perform when I saw Margaret Cho. He does the youtube videos online with his character Kelly as well as a few other ones. His most popular video is called “Shoes” and is a song sang by his character Kelly. He has created so many fictional identities through these youtube videos, that it is hard to even get an idea of who the star of these videos is in real life. I didn’t think that this sort of humour would translate well into a live performance, but he did each of them well by alternating between live performance as one character and then screening a video and coming out as another one.  He illustrates perfectly how even the most obscure of characters can be created over these websites.

How does this translate into real life? I personally have friends who do not act the way they act in person ovaveer these websites. Without the social barrier it is a lot easy to put on an act.  I have some friends who use fake names and who take aspects from the life they want to live or provide the illusion of living and come up with this completely new character of the internet.  The list of interests, favourite music, books, movies, quotes, etc. provides a vessel of constructing the identity someone would ideally have if they could; there are endless possibilities. In one of my next entries I will follow up on these points to prove how this is done more commonly than one might expect.

–          Gillian Holloway

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In the case study called Social Networking: Communication Revolution or Evolution? Cheryl L. Coyles and Heather Vaughn’s created a survey that asked ” What are undergraduates’ reasons for using social networking sites(Facebook)”.   They surveyed 68 college undergraduates in the United States that were between the ages 18-22. The two questions they sent out in a survey were 1) How many social networking accounts do you have? and 2) On average, how many times a day do you log on to a social network site?

The results were not surprising, but in the end eight categories were created in order to determine why undergrads use Facebook. The total percentage is greater than 100% because the respondants listed mutliple reasons. 41% said they use Facebook “to keep in touch with friends”. 17% said they use Facebook because “ It’s fun and entertaining. 12% said they use Facebook to “post or look at photos” while another 12% said they use Facebook when “their bored”. 10% said they used Facebook “only in response to someone contatcing them on the site” while another 10% said they use it because ” everyone else is doing it”. 7% said they use Facebook because ” they don’t have any contact info. 3% use Facebook because ” you can send a meassge to multiple people”. Then there was another 19% of undergraduates who had a diferent response than above.

With these results, Facebook’s sole purpose is basically to maintain friendships that were created offline. Facebook helps people maintain these offline friendships online. Most students use Facebook on a daily basis and are always looking at their friends profiles. People are constantly maintaining their profiles so others are well aware of what they doing recently; this is how identity is playing a role. Facebook is all about self-expression and people always want to show a “good side” to their friends online. You will most likely only see a positive status update by one of your Facebook friends unless that person is striving for attention or a specific reaction. Even then, they are portraying themselves a way that THEY want you to see them. So tell me, why do you use Facebook?

-Lyara Brine

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