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BCM112

BCM112 DA Ideas!

Hi everyone! For this session’s Digital Artefact I did want to step out of my comfort zone by not just copying my last semester’s idea (if you want to have a browse it’s under BCM114). I want to expand my horizons by creating something new and fresh that could also assist me in my future. This week I’ve really been zoning in on what interests me and how I could turn this into a Digital Artefact. My passion life is books and I hope to turn this into my career so how could I incorporate this in my life? The first thought that popped into my head was book reviews but as I learnt from last semester, I need to make people want to read mine so how did I stand out? Stay tuned for more…

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BCM 114

Making

So we’re finally here!! The ‘Making’ phase of my Digital Artefact!. Just like as it states in the Week 8 module presentation by  “one of the best ways to grow is to share!”. Thus, this is exactly what this process was aimed at for me. I wanted to continue sharing and gaining feedback so I cold grow and reach my digital artefacts maximum potential! On of the main issues for me as a beginner Instagram blogger was the fact that there was so much competition but I utilised this to my advantage and grew my audience this way for example, I chatted to other bookstagrammers an DM’d people who liked their content and ended up enjoying mine!

so many bookstagram accounts already!

Testing

This module for my digital artefact was also mainly involved around testing! After making my tangible models in my prototyping stage, I placed the emphasis on testing the changes I made through feedback loops. The whole point of this process was to create a ‘natural endpoint’ for the prototyping stage by evaluating the changes I made. It was vital that I didn’t halt my progress altogether but instead altered to meet what would benefit my project the most. So how did I do this? The main issues that arose during my prototyping stage involved the competition I would face in the bookstagram community as well as how to make my project stand out amongst others while still gaining valuable feedback. I mind mapped (as shown in my beta presentation and below) while also asking for feedback on my blog (a successful example of a feedback loop) and once I gained this, I evaluated how to input this into my artefact. An example of this occurring in my model was the feedback that I should focus on a particular genre for one month as his may attract more people and narrow down my focus thus giving a unique interpretation of book reviewing. I evaluated this advice and moved on to testing. I created a blog post specific to horror novels for the month of October and Halloween. The response I got was successful as it attracted a whole other demographic; horror-novel consumers. This allowed me to come to conclusion that in order to successfully share, I must utilise feedback and test this different user groups to gain my audience and followers. 

It was also vital for me to test with users who, in a sense, had no interest in my project. It was incredibly interesting to see if my project could gain traction amongst users who wouldn’t normally interact in the bookstagram community and could give me feedback that wasn’t biased and based on others work. I did this by asking friends and family, whom are not readers, to rate my blogs and also twitter users, who do not know me personally. This allowed me to gain large responses in a short amount of time (#FOST anyone?) and also narrow down a perspective for feedback. I did this through online surveys which allowed users to remain anonymous which further allowed for honest and helpful responses. I then received this and adapted it to meet my demands. 

Analysis

The next step in the making stage was to analyse my results, see what worked and what could be improved. I documented results found in surveys and acted accordingly. The main consensus was that people used Instagram the most, liked bookstagram because it showcased their passions or adversely didn’t like it because they weren’t interest in books. While the fact that people who didn’t like literature might not like a book related Instagram was already known, it was helpful to gain this as it drew attention to my artefact from a different audience, one that was impartial and could help. Thus I analysed by carefully observing my audience, interacting with them regularly and implanting the advice I got, no matter good or bad. I always implemented the idea that I should ‘test presuming I was wrong’ (Mitew, 2019). I was open to change and knew that what I did could be done better and always can, hence why I will always look for feedback. 


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BCM 114

The Femme Edition: Contextual Essay

‘The Femme Edition’ is a design focusing on the exhibition of literature aimed at young adults. TFE was “designed by women, for everyone” and is presented in the form of a website, which includes monthly and weekly blogposts, as well as an Instagram page which connects me to followers. I wanted to create the Femme Edition because through my research, I found that the bookstagram community was lacking in spaces for young people to grow and come together to chat about literature. As noted by ‘The Lit Nerd’, “Bookstagram can be a part-time job and is very competitive” (2019) so I wanted my space to be unique and my own but also incorporating #FIST. The Femme Edition can therefore act as a social unit, bringing people together whilst also contributing to my passion and hope to become a publisher. This digital artefact is essentially providing users with something they don’t already have by targeting young people and the love of all literature, not just one genre.

Based on my research involving online book communities, I decided to make a website and Instagram as this seemed the most effective way to reach out and share my thoughts whilst also engaging In the aesthetically-pleasing side of bookstagram. It is widely known that the book sharing side of Instagram is forever-growing and although it is a “part-time job” (2019) for many people, I knew if I was passionate and incorporated #BEBO (blog early, blog often) I could reach a number of people. I thought this method of sharing was useful for my audience because it would reach the most amount of people possible while not limiting myself to one platform. 

The Femme Edition was a project that required a lot of effort but was successful. Incorporating ideologies from my pitch and beta, we can see a timeline of progression e.g. my project started as a webpage involving a number of topics with no clear focus and was later specified into a book related website and Instagram.

Sheevokes, my first attempt at my artefact. I wasn’t passionate, there was no colour scheme or weekly layout as there is with my project now.

Beginning with my pitch, I originally planned to form a website for young women that involved a range of topics and issues such as body, health, travel, fashion etc… but after feedback from Instagram users I sensed that my project had no sense of direction. Whilst my project did incorporate the process of producing and curating content, it wasn’t particularly aimed at anyone. Moving on to my Beta section of my digital artefact, I had then narrowed down my original DA to suit the needs of myself and users, taking on advice through feedback loops to alter my artefact for maximum engagement. My pages were now growing and gaining attention. As shown in comments, direct messages and Instagram analytics, we can see that my page is growing and getting more likes and feedback the more I post (#BEBO). Step one was to plan out physically what I wanted to show. I mind-mapped and used other Instagram pages such as ‘The Lit Edit‘ for inspiration. I took incentive from how others spoke to their followers e.g. “How are you liking this book? Let me know in the comments” and their designs on their pages, usually bright and simple. One example of a feedback loop that I found beneficial to my project was the advice to blog about a certain genre one week, I took this and applied it to my blog and found that the response was good whilst also adding a range of ideas to my page, therefore engaging a wider audience.

The response and community reaction I got when going my instagram community of book lovers!

One of the accounts I took inspiration from!

Whilst critically analysing the growth and social utility of my project, we can see a clear aim of the audience (book-orientated people) and the progression it made to meet the standards I am at now. Below is a cycle displaying the growth of my project, week by week, based on the changes I made. Firstly I made, asked for feedback and changed, then iterated.

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BCM 114

Prototyping!

Things just weren’t working out…#FEFO

But thats okay! After the ideation process it is vital to enter the prototyping stage. One of the main components of this phase is iterations and changes from feedback loops which made the parts of my DA that weren’t working obvious. Prototyping basically means making tangible physical models of the problem solving you generated in the ideating stage (Mitew, 2019). In order to do this I incorporated lots of feedback devices as well as paper prototyping! I physically jotted down what was working and what people weren’t engaging with and came to the conclusion tat people aged more with a particular topic instead of a wide range of interests. My website ‘SHEEVOKES’ focused on many components but I narrowed this down to my main passion, literature. bookstagram and book blogs are so incredibly popular amongst the book-loving community so my purpose and audience was automatically fulfilled.

So how did I find and fix the necessary changes?

The answer? Feedback loops and lots of them! Firstly I ironed out what needed improved. I received comments on my blog, Instagram and through Instagram stories letting me know what I should change, an example being having a clear topic each week to chat about. I then incorporated this into my blog by making “book of the week” and monthly top tens! I iterated through many feedback loops, one being from students and tutors encouraging me to interact with my followers, doing so I gained more reach whilst also increasing my blogs likability as well as an increase in connection with my followers. In the charts below of Instagram analytics it is obvious from the comparisons that my first attempt at social media wasn’t reaching out to anyone in partular, however, ‘The Femme Edition’ has a clear audience who share the same interest but also benefit because my blog has its own quirks and uniqueness. Below we can see exmaples of feedback from instagram users, letting me know that my aim wasnt very clear and that i should narrow it down. We can see by my followers before and after that the feedback loops and iterations were effective.

Within my prototyping stage it was also vital for me to ensure my project was in line with the concepts of #FIST (fast, inexpensive, simple, tiny). I ensured this by keeping my blog and Instagram which are free to interact and create. I also needed to step up my #BEBO (blog early, blog often). This was encouraged by my audience in feedback loops so it was vital that I was interacting every single day and taking comments on board. It also made me seem like a real person and not just a website or piece of technology. Prototyping is such a vital stage in the digital artefact process and I can clearly see an increase in my interactions as well as an expansion in my online content curation through feedback and hard work.It was helpful to relate this and utilise the lectures as well. Teodore’s lecture on prototyping gave me insight into step-by-step DA building and how to engage with my followers. I put the notions of #BEBO into action and the results speak for themselves.  

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BCM 114

MY BETA!

While heading through the prototyping stage of my Digital Artefact, the iterations and changes from feedback loops that I needed to make became obvious. So prototyping basically means making tangible physical models of the problem solving you generated in the ideating stage. So firstly I ironed out what needed improved and I did this through the process of feedback loops. I received comments on my blog, Instagram and through Instagram stories letting me know what I should change, an example being having a clear topic each week.

I took this and started simple. I sketched out physically what I wanted to achieve in a mind map (as shown below) . I iterated different topics such as travel, fashion etc.. until I landed on literature! So now I incorporated the concept of #BEBO! Building early and building often was vital in the feedback process as it allowed me to observe how ym audience behaved to these changes. I tested on twitter and Involved my followers in the models I made and got positive feedback so I continued on my project due to the engagement I was getting!

The main focus for me was making a difference and serving a need so I was open to getting feedback early and starting over if need be! It’s so important to remember Eric Raymond’s quote “spending time looking some else almost-good-enough is more likely to give you good results”. I took this with me through the prototyping process, was influenced by others and it really helped. 

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BCM 111

First Things First I’m The Realest

Cultural appropriation VS cultural appreciation is a pretty fine line in today’s era of ever-evolving music and media, especially with the amount of nonconformity and variance of genres around the world. Music is a quintessentially nonrepresentational medium so how do we, as individuals, define what can be classed as appropriating? 

Cultural appropriation is nothing new to the music industry. For years, people of varying descent have been accused of misrepresenting the art-forms of different cultural groups and attempting to make them their own. Whether it’s Beyonce dressing as a Hindi woman or Iggy Azalea utilising the hip hop genre to gain in her career whilst contributing nothing to the African- American movement, cultural appropriation is a transnational issue that has been around since the early 20th century.  African-American music has been judged and stereotyped since its beginnings. While this level of criticism has always existed, there has also been a level of attraction to the culture surrounding, found in white American listeners. This is recognised to be extremely challenging and problematic, especially when it comes to modern-day music. Recalling the mention of Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea, the ideoscopes and ethnoscopes (Turnbull, 2019) surrounding her tend to point towards the appropriation of African-American culture. Eberhardt (2015, p 1) recognises this when stating “it is the appropriation of language, along with discourses of race and the content of her music, in which she subscribes to stereotyped notions of blackness”. This is a particularly rich example of a white dominance that views cultural resources as ripe for the picking. Iggy Azalea as a rapper has ‘glocalised’ (Turnbull, 2019) hip-hop in Australia, but has done so in a way that does not give back to the true meaning of the genre. 

Turnbull S, 2019, Lecture 3, ‘Global Music’, University of Wollongong, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/course/view.php?id=20203


In contrast, Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’ acts as a catalyst for the appreciation of cultural difference. Studying the underlying factors of Azalea’s music, we can see the difference between the two.  Authenticity.  Graceland was largely critiqued for ‘exploiting ‘ South African folk music in order to potentially further his Simon’s career. However, Simon was interested in the sounds of South African music and took the time to educate himself on the cultural differences. Even South African tribal leaders and certain musicians took the chance to celebrate this and saw it as an opportunity for the world to hear this music due to the respect that was shown in the process.  A quote from Simon states “Culture flows like water, It isn’t something that can just be cut off.” (Taylor, 2014 p 23) Simon understands that his “culture” isn’t his to own: it is intellectual property of the Southern African musical genre. 

Taylor, T, 2014, p23 ‘Global Pop: World Music, World Markets, Routledge, NY

We can see the problems that arise when it comes to transnational media flows and the challenges that accompany them. However, one thing will always be certain:  authenticity is will always be a pure force driving a musical genre. It is constructed as outside the purview of such ideas as appropriation. However, cultural forms are open to the construction of impurity when they are not respecting or valuing this work, or even worse, claiming this culture as their own.

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BCM 111

GROOVY BABY!

Quentin Tarantino’s newest thriller opens it’s viewers up to a world that to it’s younger viewers is brand new but to some is a wave hello to a past time. Made in Hollywood, Tarantino creates an engrossing, kaleidoscopic, detailed nostalgic collage of a film, an epic tale of backlot Hollywood in 1969, which allows him to pile on all his obsessions. This also gives viewers a peak into ideologies of homogenisation/hybridisation, cultural proximity as well as the divide between the Global North and South. The question I asked myself before witnessing what this cinematic throwback is: will I be able to relate to events that didn’t happen in my time or country? The answer: Of course. Tarantino brings the 1960s Los Angeles to life with great detail so that we, at no matter what age or knowledge of the Manson family or 60s stars, can sense the spirit of what was at stake. Tarantino’s utilisation of modern stars such as Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Mark Moh as Bruce Lee and Leonardo DiCaprio as a struggling Western star dabbling in Italian film gives a new take on Hollywood while interspersing cultures and lifestyle to suit a global audience. 


Cultural Homogenisation/Hybridisation is an ideology which categorises films in the way in which they reach audiences. Homogenisation of culture refers to a one-way flow from richer to developing countries. Once upon a time in…Hollywood seems to take the opposite approach and utilises hybridisation through Italian film and Chinese culture interspersed in the film. ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ or ‘Euro Westerns’ are showcased which actually contributed greatly to the film industry in that time. More than five hundred Italian Western films were produced between 1962 and 1980, the time period showcased in OAAIH. Tarantino’s use of this different film culture in his primarily American feature parallels the idea that the ‘genre’s use of urgency and violence held a fascination amongst audiences around the world in the 60s’ (Fisher, 2011 p3) Tarantino therefore cleverly intersperses this historical time stop in our film history through the “de-westernisation of Western ideas” (Allen, 2010)

Fisher, A 2011,, Pearson Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinem, p3, London

Allen, C. (2019). BCM111, Lecture 3, Topic 3, Global Film  [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from Univerisyt of Wollongong Moodle web site:  https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/course/view.php?id=20203



Quentin Tarantino delves into the Global North and South divide in his use of Chinese cinema and actors. The Global North/South divide is a line that divides the wealthy developed countries and developing areas. China falls under the south divide whilst America is one of the largest industries in the world for filmmaking. Tarantino intersperses the story of Bruce Lee and his motion pictures to educate the audience of a different culture therefore opening the film up to a relationship between different continents and blurring this imaginary line. Iwabuchi  (2002, p 23) touches on this idea of a transnational media flow in Asian movie culture in the sense that  the “emergence of Asian media practises since the 1980s reflect the fact that industries and cultural forms are playing a substantial roll in global cultural flows”. Tarantino is no rookie when it comes to this interspersion of Asian culture, Kill Bill for example. Tarantino has been utilising the growing Japanese and Chinese film movement since the 1980s and 90s, opening up audiences around the globe. Finally it is important to recognises that media is not only just made in America, Zhao (2007, p 145) stating that while America “has not homogenised the world, it has diffused a series of cultural formats in it’s industry”.

Iwabuch, K, 2002, Recentering Globalization, Popular culture and Japanese transnationalism, Duke University Press, London.

Zhao, Y, 2007, Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy, p143, USA



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BCM 114

Ideating Sheevokes

 Ideation is Creation!

In the process of ideating and establishing an idea to create a digital artefact, I was intensely drawn to what I know and what I am passionate about. Helping other women and creating a space in which women can join to connect about issues and things that they love. This is what inspired me to create an artefact based on young females and their general interest to fix the issue of taboo topics and communication. Building and constructing an artefact I would be able to keep for future portfolios was also important to me, as my future lies in the publishing industry, which incorporates communication with others and curating online media presences. Whilst thinking about my artefact, it was vital that I incorporated the ideology of #FIST, otherwise known as fast, inexpensive, simple, tiny. So how did I do this? What could I create that would be accessible and easy to make but also hit my audience and targeted goal within my time-limit? A website. This is how I landed on SHEEVOKES. SHEEVOKES will be an online forum/ website that incorporates a discussion page for all women to access when they need a chat or just want to share what they love. There will be five tabs: travel, love, books, clothes, workouts/ recipes.

‘SHEEVOKES’ will incorporate an Instagram account I will produce, which will feature my personal style and aesthetic but can also relate to the average woman. A website/Instagram was the platform chosen as it is the main platform that is most influential to young girls and can hit my target problem of communication amongst a wide audience of girls. These social networking sites are also one of the largest platforms for bloggers. 


#FEFO- fail early, fail often. 

Starting my ideation process didn’t prove to be easy. I was conflicted with what would best serve my purpose while also maintaining #FIST. I did encounter a few early fails, one being a book reviewing site. I realised that this wouldn’t necessarily reach out to as many people and didn’t help individuals with a variety of issues so, instead, I incorporated this into my second idea and therefore fulfilled all parts of fast, inexpensive, simple and tiny! 
Whilst creating,  it was so important to me that I was meeting the criteria of ideating while also fulfilling my passions in my project. Like Ward (2005,p 18) states “As you learn and develop, new elements are introduced, and complexity increases. Fortunately, these new elements add utility, functionality, or maturity, so goodness also increases”. This was so true in the cyclical process of SHEEVOKES. Even though #FIST still applies, the work and effort that is needed evolves with the project, therefore creating more opportunities for myself and the women that can relate to it. Further,  as I researched into my idea, I began to look at accounts with similar concepts to investigate feedback and interaction. This is a vital step for my process as these accounts are targeting the same audience as myself. Reading comments, viewing likes and tracking followers showed me that these accounts have a vast amount of positive feedback. This was a significant issue that was highlighted. This is a feature I wanted to go above and beyond on. Curating all of my ideas so that women can actually comment and strait conversations through chat rooms is what will set my account aside and go above the interactions that are currently available. 

My goal is to create a platform that is not only available to young women, but also engages them with others and sparked a conversation about issues for this generation. That is SHEEVOKES. 


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BCM 111

Confessions Of A Square-Eyed Generation

Media Grows and Culture Flows

TV. The box. The tube. We love television but do we think about how TV connects us around the world at a global scale and how it shapes us as individuals? Before the introduction of Australian TV in 1956, we were unenlightened to the power of globalised media and how cultural capitals can influence our viewing habits and view of the world in general. Television has grown over the past 20 years and can’t easily be defined anymore. With all of the options available to the average person, from Foxtel to Netflix, TV is a gargantuan force that intertwines generations of people at a transnational range. The movement from traditional local life to modern interaction with mass media has “produced identities that are already multilayered with elements that are very local, regional, and national” (Straubhaar 2014, p 77). Specifically, the way in which we consume TV and the options available to us create a flow of cultural interactions. Think about the last show you watched. For me, it was Euphoria. A show based in the US, but it’s cultural identity and influences such as lifestyle, age and relatable gender images make it a global success, thus improving communication across cultures and sparking a conversation. Euphoria provides a sense of escapism while still maintaining a grip on reality and common issues amongst it’s audience. 

Straubhaar, Joseph, D. ‘Choosing National TV: Cultural Capital, Language and Cultural Proximity in Brazil’ in The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift, edited by Michael G. Elasmar, Oxford: Routledge, 2014, pp. 77-110

Media on the Move!

So where does the TV we love come from? Surprisingly so many countries still import much of their programming, it no longer primarily coming in a one-way flow from the US. For example, the Dominican Republic is now importing genres, such as comedies, variety shows, and news from Mexico, a dominant producer for the Latin American cultural linguistic market, capitalising on the cultural proximity and language similarity. This ideology of global flows is so apparent and tells us so much about the world we live in today, especially within pop culture phenomenas. One success that I cottoned on to was Black Mirror, a British show that has flowed through cultures to become an international success. Black Mirror utilises it’s start-studded cast and cultural zane to entice it’s viewers worldwide. The show’s ability to form a new plot every episode, in a new country and even in a different language has all contributed to it’s fanfare. Although this show is primarily English, the episodes with linguistic differences are capitalised on to reach more people and become global sensations. Black Mirror also overcomes being too culturally jarring through the use of a different time and lifestyle with it’s Sci-Fi feel transporting people to a new place and time. Bielby (2005, p 38) reinforces this theory when stating that a “culturally diverse media presence allows a wider variety for flow amongst the world’s television viewers” Thus, flow can benefit the average individual due to the increased hybridity of programming and what we can now experience through all of the platforms available. However it’s does challenge the world due to the nature of the unknown and the vast differences in religion and values it may present.

Bielby, D 2005, ‘ Television in the Global Market’ ‘Global TV: Exporting Television and Culture in the World Market’, viewed 15/8/2019, p 37

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BCM 114

SHEEVOKES!

I wish to architect and launch a place where my knowledge of women and issues surrounding females can grow and expand. SHEEVOKES be a website catering to the female audience. It will be an online place for woman to share, contemplate, chat, and plan virtual and concrete girl centric things.

As a woman, I noticed that our communication and mutual growth can do better. Speaking to girls around the UOW campus, I noticed this lack of conversation. Rachel* stated that she lacks “a good group of girls to chat to when times get a bit tough”. So lets change that! 

This website will give young women the opportunity to reflect, better their mind through discussion and blog posts, better their health through easy to manage workouts for the busy woman as well as social health through the opportunity to colloaborate with other women experiencing the same issues. Having an online presence in which women can access allows them to feel safe and actually contribute to each other’s lives in a positive way. Through ideating, prototyping and making this project not only helps other young women but also assists me in my future goals in curating and processing media information. So Enjoy SHEEVOKES!