On: October 28, 2011
New Media Studies is a programme that is constantly changing, evolving and thus outdated on an annual basis. Its theoretical base is a solid one, its pragmatic learnings are however determined by the hegemonic character of the relation between man, machine and the technology that mediates meaning to both facets. The How-I-met-your-MOM-Projectgroup was grateful to contribute to give a provoking insight on the current relation between New Media students and Web 2.0 platforms.
We channelled the assignment of portraying different ways of content distribution into a three minute video starring 38 New Media students. Our methodology is based solely around the data we were able to retrieve from a week of strict Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn monitoring. Our mission was to visualize to demographic data—age, gender and nationality—as well as the things that connected our fellow students as a whole.
This was however not our initial intention. Our presumption that people are engaged in such a large degree of sharing personal information through the various social media platforms, proved to be inaccurate. This meant that the amount of over sharing did not allow us to shock our fellow students on the matter of personal privacy, which was the original plan. Perhaps foolishly at the beginning, we believed that New Media studenet shared more information than anyone else. In contrast we found out that the opposite was true.
New Media students are perhaps one of the most cautious and aware groups when it comes to sharing information. Obviously infiltration was not the issue here, because the public MA New Media UvA 2011 Facebook group already existed, giving us a precise list of participants and befriending most of our test subjects was easier than most of our foreign students find it to buy marijuana in Amsterdam. The self restricted habit of sharing nevertheless prohibited us from confronting the New Media 2011 Master class with their infringed privacy.
Still, we were able to sketch, quite accurately, a matching portrait of our fellow students. We designed the video in such a fashion, that step-by-step our blank viewers, with no foreknowledge, gradually got to recognize themselves and the group as a whole. We measured the success of getting our message of online integrity across by the sighs, yelling, screaming and recurrent laughs during the presentation, as well as the intrigued questions posed by our audience afterwards.
We now realize that social network platforms are indeed a way to data mine basic knowledge on an individual or group, whether this is in a personal, or in a more general sense. No wonder that a lot of employers use these platforms for recruiting purposes. For an in-depth understanding of your fellow student on a real personal level, it is perhaps better to surpass the digital dimension and meet at a bar. After all, the reason why we need to be in a one meter radius to hear what people are saying, is because that is the distance we communicate with our friends, familiy, fellow students and the ones we love.