The most difficult diet ever …

A quick decision

I didn’t plan, when to do my media diet, as I figured the good time would come up automatically. It didn’t … when does it fit into your plans to be offline for 24 hours … never for me. So yesterday I made a quick decision to start fasting, if I had to be able to upload notes from the project today. It really didn’t go very well. Here’s a diary from the fast.

 

November the 7th, 13:00

Okay, so I’m beginning my media fast now … a lot against my own will! This really doesn’t fit into my plans, as my exam in another course just began, and I have to start working on that, meanwhile I have some readings to do for this course. Damn you assignment!!

 

So what does a media fast include? Obviously social media, tv, radio, my smartphone (except text messages and phone calls, I can’t reject them). And it’s going to be difficult! I really don’t watch tv, and I decided that my computer (with no internet) isn’t part of my media diet, because I have to read the book for book club and start on my other exam. But living without my smart phone and all its beautiful apps for 24 hours? Damn you assignment!!!

 

I just wrote on my Facebook profile that I will be out of touch for the next 24 hours, and then I shut it down. … 2 seconds later I got a notification on my smart phone … Julie answered on a message, I sent her 5 minutes ago. But I didn’t click on the notification, so I don’t know, what she answered. But I guess I have to turn off notifications.

 

Got damn it, let’s see for how long, I last ….

 

November the 7th, 13:30

It’s been 30 minutes, and I have 7 new notifications on Facebook. I guess I shouldn’t have written my “goodbye note”, before logging off. I have to wait 23 and a half hours, before I can read people’s comments for my update. Jesus Christ, I might as well start knitting.

 

November the 7th, 16:00

It happened. I broke my media diet, and checked a message on Facebook. There is a lot of stuff going on with our master’s program right now, and I logged on to see, if there were any others who had gotten a really weird letter from the university today. There was, and yay, I DIDN’T check my 10 very INTERESSTING notifications, I had gotten. Only the message concerning university, and then I logged out again. But still … I failed.

 

November 7th, 16:15

I just broke my media diet again and wrote an email for my teacher on the other course. I need some information about the exam, and I figured, it was too risky to wait till tomorrow, because I need an answer before the weekend. I guess, this media diet isn’t working very well for me.

 

Note: And so it goes on. During the 24 hours of fasting I read all the emails I received, because of my exam in the other course. My teacher and I wrote back and forth about some problems with the assignment, and I had to read her replies. And let’s just be honest, I didn’t manage not to read the notifications on Facebook either. I was too curious … what if missed out on anything?! What if somebody invited me to anything?! What if someone had an extremely important note for me?! I know, it’s terrible … I’m an addict.

 

 

Thoughts on the experiment

During this fast I found out that I really don’t have a lot of phone numbers on new friends. For example all of the communication with the people from my masters program is via Facebook. So when I received the letter from the university, the only natural thing for me to do was to go on Facebook and chat with them there.

I’m extremely addicted to media use. The thought of not being able to read the news, hear a radio podcast, turn on the tv, was really annoying, and I ended up reading news online, even though I wasn’t “allowed”. I needed to know if something happened in the world, I guess it’s the curse of being a journalist.

 

If I should have gotten through this experiment without using media at all, I think it would have been necessary for me to turn off my iPhone and use an older cell with no internet access. It is so easy to go online from a smart phone, and sometimes I didn’t even think about it, when I went online. It’s reflexes for me, I guess some kind of security of knowing what is happening.

 

 

Vlog

Here’s my vlog for the social media tracking experiment. I recorded a typical updating session to show, how my patterns are, when I look on social media. Enjoy

 

 

My social media use – 1 page description

As part of the BB#2 assignment for Monday, I’ve created a one page description of my social media use based on my trackings, field notes, condensed notes, etc.  

 

Definition of social media:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Bloglovin, Quiz Battle, LinkedIn. All platforms where I interact with other people.
  • Email – I consider my email accounts as social media, as I communicate with other people.

Summary of notes:

During my 48 hours of tracking, I logged on social media 48 times. Every morning I had a long update session, in which I checked and read all new updates on the different platforms I use. In my tracking period all these updates where made in the bus to school. It means that I don’t check social media, before I have walked my daughter to day care, been in the shower, and left my home. I don’t think that’s common for every morning, but on the days where I’m going to school, I don’t have time, before I’m in the bus.

Facebook is the platform I spend most of my time, when I’m on social media. I’ve made several trackings, where I find my iPhone, automatically press the Facebook app, scroll down the news feed, and put away my iPhone again. I know that Facebook is the social media platform with the most updates, and therefore it’s most likely that I see something new.

I have a clear pattern, when I’m on Facebook. I scroll down the news feed, and if there is no notifications or messages, I often skim the groups I’m a member of to see if there’s any new activity. In the tracking period I didn’t upload anything, and I expected that, as I only upload on Facebook once or twice a month. During the tracking period I liked 14 status- and picture updates on Facebook. I commented on four.

I uploaded one picture on Instagram. I try to update my profile as often as possible, so it was expected to have at least one update under this experiment. Besides uploading, I liked at least one picture, every time I logged on. I think that is, because I try to interact more on Instagram to get more likes on my own pictures.

Considering location, I was surprised that the most popular location was the bus, the bus stop, or my couch. I logged on once, while being in bed, and a couple of times sitting at the dinner table. It probably has to do with that I spend most of my time at home with my daughter, and I don’t want to stare in to my iPhone, while being with her.

Besides, I only used my computer once in the entire tracking period, all of my other logins where made from my iPhone. That is unusual, but it has to do with the fact that I was very busy in the 48 hours. I didn’t have time to sit at home and study, and therefore I didn’t use my computer.

Here is an example of one of my tracks – this is the first one:

First track:

Time: October 22nd, 9:02

Device: IPhone

Location: Bus stop, Sorring

Actions:

  • Hotmail app: Skim and deleting emails, six new, only adds, all deleted
  • Facebook: Scroll down and read news feed since last login. Chat with Julie about the assignment. Commenting and liking my husband’s profile picture.
  • Instagram: Scroll down and see news feed since last login. Like one picture.
  • Bloglovin: Scroll down and read news feed, one new entry since last login, read it.

 

Screen shots of updates

Screenshot Facebook

 

Screenshot Insta

My Tracking Plan

In the following, I will considerate how to capture my social media use for 24 hours. I love my iPhone, and I have absolutely no idea how often I update myself on Facebook, Instagram, Bloglovin, and other sites during one day. But I’m sure it’s more than I even can imagine. Every time I get a little bored, need a break, am on my way somewhere, etc. I automatically click on the apps on my iPhone, which I know will provide me with new information, I didn’t get the last time I checked.

I also use my computer for these updates, but only when I’m at home or in school. So my iPhone certainly is my main tool for being updated. As I have to video my use for a later analysis, I have to be a bit creative, when I track my media use on the iPhone.

My methods will be as following:

Brain dump: What do I expect of my investigation? How much do I think I use social media, before I track it, and which platforms do I use the most? When and where do I use social media the most? How do I feel about tracking my social media use, and later post it to people who I barely know? What do I mostly do, when I am on social media – lurking, commenting, updating.

Writing down: Every time I use social media, I will write it down in a schedule made for this purpose. The logs will contain:

  • Date and time for logging on
  • How much time I spent on each social media use
  • Which platforms I visit, and in which order
  • What do I do, when I log on the social media – lurking, updating, ect.

Video: When I use social media on my computer I will video it will my iPhone. And for iPhone use I will video with either a small digital camera of or my old iPod Touch. I need a device I can use on the run, as most of my social media use on iPhone is done away from my computer.

I’m pretty exited in getting some more details about my social media use. It might be frightening to know how much time I spend(/waste) on these platforms during a normal day.

Born into a virtual world

My research questions for this course are considering whether or not the digital identities of children are influenced by their early exposure on social media platforms. I’m 29 and a lot of my friends on Facebook are having children these years. Everyday when I open my Facebook profile, I see pictures of children smiling, showing off their new knitted sweaters, baby’s first bath, children eating ice cream and so on …. and so on.

I enjoy being able to keep up with my good friends’ lives. I was born and raised close to Copenhagen, so most of my good old friends still live there. We don’t see each other very often, and then Facebook updates are a good way to stay ajour. It’s though as there is some kind of unsaid list of do’s and don’ts on Facebook. It’s okay to upload a picture or two a month, but you get extremely tired of the people constantly posting pictures of their offspring.

The worst experience for me was probably when a guy in my Facebook network posted a picture of baby’s first dump on the potty. Below the picture he wrote: “Parents will understand how big this is”. ………………………..! I’m a parent. I do NOT want to see shit on my Facebook wall … do not! I don’t know this guy very well, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be more enthusiastic, if he was part of my close network. How is this little guy going to feel, when he grows up, and people from his parents’ network are going to say: “Hey, I saw your first shit on Facebook – good job”?

It might be me who’s just being old-fashioned. I’m sure that the new generation will handle exposure on online media platforms a lot better than the online generations are now. I’m the kind of person who panics, if somebody posted a picture of me in some weird situation (drunk, or whatever) on my Facebook wall for everybody to see, before I wake up and am able to delete again. But I think the younger generations are better at handling these kinds of situations. They are born into it in a different way, than I am, and when my daughter who is now 2 years old grows up, she will have a whole different professionalism with being online, I’m sure.

But is it the parents’ job to expose their children on social media platforms? Of course you can post pictures occasionally, or at least I hope so, because I do that myself. But creating Facebook profiles for your children, when they are born? Publishing their creations on the potty? Or when they’re older, giving them too long leash to communicate with other people, who can possibly be really mean to them? I don’t think so … I think it’s our job to protect our children online, and really consider how we would feel ourselves if our entire family album of pictures was published for everybody to see.

Concerning my last point about children communication with others, I have an example to share with you. Mikkel is from Skærbæk in the Southern Jutland. He’s 11 years old (which is too young to be on Facebook), however he’s extremely active on his wall. Most of the people commenting are friendly to him, but a lot of comments are extremely mean, calling him gay, ugly, disgusting, … and as I mentioned, he’s 11 years old. I’m sure the boy is strong, but I don’t think it’s very considered by his parents to expose him so much to other peoples’ opinions.

Highlights of a brain dump on social media

Some weeks ago we were asked to do a ‘brain dump’ on the question: When was the last time you interacted on a social media platform. I’ll write a short summary of the main points in my brain dump here.

The last time I had then interacted was when I was figuring out whether or not to have a profile on Instagram. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, and therefore the platform was interesting to me, but I didn’t know if I liked the idea of having a public profile with pictures everybody could see. Of course I could choose a private profile, but for me that makes no sense, as I have Facebook where I’m connected to my friends, and if I want to share pictures with them, I’ll post them on my wall. However, it seems like Instagram is taking over from Facebook, I was surprised when I flicked through my friends’ pictures, and noticed that a lot of them are very active on Instagram, but never upload anything on Facebook. I have had a profile on Instagram for about five months, but I only used it for lurking around, thinking about what “picture profile” I wanted to have myself.

  • Should it be a private one, where I posted pictures of my familiy?
  • Should it be pictures of food and nature with a lot of universal hashtags which people from all around the world could find by searching on the hashtags?
  • How often would I update?
  • What was my goal?

All these questions were rushing through my head, but then it came to me one night that I really think it’s funny to interact with other users on Instagram. I had had sushi with a good friend of mind, and I uploaded a picture of a piece of salmon nigiri, and hashtagged the pictures #sushi. All of a sudden two people, whom I had never met, liked my pictures, and it struck me that they must have found it through a hashtag search. I clicked on my own hashtag, and then I saw lots and lots of other pictures of sushi, and it inspired me.

I added my Instagram stream in the right sidebar, so you can see what I’m talking about. And as you can probably see, I’m still not only posting pictures with international hashtags, but also with my family and so on. But it’s definitely something I think about and will keep exploring.

I think the reason why it is important for me to have some kind of theme on Instagram is, because my profile is public, and therefore future employers, readers of my blog, or old networks might find it. On Facebook you have a different kind of control over who is watching your content. You don’t on Instagram, and I think that’s one of the interesting parts of it, but also a reason to think more about what you post and why.