Building an online “Persona”

“Persona, the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others” (As defined by Goggle. It isn’t really a word that doesn’t get used much these days in every day conversation but the concept is portrayed quite often in modern media. Video games such as the appropriately named “Persona” series by Atlus uses Personas as supernatural beings controlled by humans to fight demons.

Box art of the Persona 3 video game, portraying a person and their alternate self.

Now, that is quite far fetched. But what is a persona in a real life setting? As stated earlier it is the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others. Think about it. Do you have a persona that you like to show to in public? Do you wish to be perceived in a specific way? Of course this links into social media. Social media has become so popular over the years, it’s essentially a public profile for billions of people worldwide. With so many users of social media and the huge focus on connecting with other users, people use these platforms to convey their public online persona. Heck it’s even gotten to the point where employers are looking at Facebook profiles of applicants.

Quite fascinating really. So what does this say about the modern generation? With the enormous amount of users monthly, it’s clear that a lot of people want to be seen, they want to be known. Now, generally speaking, Facebook only allows people that you have added as friends to view your posts but platforms such as Twitter, are completely public. So all the thoughts and posts are posted with the intention of being seen. With all of that being said however, regardless… Some things should stay private.

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Physical and Digital, is digital really intangible?

When it comes to physical versus digital, people generally associate physical with material things, items that are tangible. Meanwhile digital is associated with intangible things. It doesn’t necessarily have a physical form. This links in with materialism. Which is defined as “the theory or belief that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.” Now, with that in mind what is the difference between the web and internet? Kind of a hard question to answer when you think about it isn’t it? The answer is web is software, the digital aspect. Meanwhile the internet is the physical, it’s the hardware, it’s what’s tangible. You can touch the router, you can touch the wires.

But this brings the question, is digital really intangible? Think about how we access the internet. We need physical equipment. Monitors, keyboards, routers. Can we use something digital to make something physical? Well of course we can. Take a look at this:

The creator of this video is using digital technology to give these toys made out of plastic come to life and give them personality.

You’re a journalist! And you’re a journalist! Everybody is a journalist!

Times sure have changed haven’t they? Remember when phones weren’t portable? Remember when CD players were the latest “in” device? Remember when professional journalists were the only people who could report on news events? Yeah that was a thing. But now with the advancements in technology the average joe can report on currents just like the professionals and do it even faster than them too. Because of this, the term citizen journalism has been invented. As the name says, it means a person who isn’t a professional journalist, reporting on current events.

So, with everyone and anyone becoming a journalist, this means it’s all good right? We’ll get all kinds of news from all over the world and much faster too. Well, believe it or not there are some draw backs. As good as this sounds, there are people who have this as their worst nightmare and those are the corporations who control the news. These people are known as “Gate keepers” They are the ones who edit and filter content as they see fit. So, with that in mind what are some examples of citizen journalism? Reddit is a big one.

Logo of reddit

So, what are the effects of this? Big news corporations no longer have control over the news. They can no longer portray the news as they want it. Because everyone’s going to be writing about it. The average person will see it from one perspective to another.

Remixes and mash-ups what is their purpose?

Remixes. A term that is most commonly associated with music. Generally speaking a remix is altering a piece of media by either adding or removing something. One thing related to remix culture is mash-up. The difference between with a remix and mash-up is with remix, you add or remove content. But with a mash-up you leave the original media as is and you only add to it. For example you add a song over another song. Here’s an example of a remix. First is the original song and the other is a remix:

As you can tell from listening, both songs are completely different in tempo and feel. Now, what about mash-ups?

So it’s a Super Mario 3D world mash-up with the Fresh Princes of Bel air theme. Despite both songs being completely different they’re still able to work together to produce a song that feels harmonious. Now, what does all of this mean? Some could possibly think, it’s not that creative considering you’re using old work in order to avoid making something completely new. Fair point. But it’s because of remixes and mash-ups that it allows people to create a new experience with something we’ve already heard of or seen. People have already heard the Space Jam theme. People have already heard Uptown Funk. But have they heard of Space Jam mixed with Pearl Jam? Or what about a techno remix of Uptown Funk? The point is, these two things allow people to expand upon existing ideas and form new ones.

Power to the audience

You know how everything always tastes better when you cook it yourself? (Granted, if you know how to cook). That same rule applies pretty much with anything relating to creating. Video games, technology, clothes etc. Everything is better when you’ve had a hand in creating it. Sure you may not be the best cook in the world but making that Chicken Risotto tasted better because you made it. Now you may be thinking, what am I getting with this?

The focus on interacting with media platforms. Reddit for example. Reddit is a social-aggregation news site. But where does the content come from? The users. What’s another example? YouTube. Arguably one of the biggest sites on the internet, all content comes users. Hardly if any content at all comes from the creators.

So what does this say about the internet? Majority of the most visited sites in the world are websites where content comes from the user. We’ve progressed so far with technology that all the good websites allow the user to mess around with the website, they allow them to create content.

Changing nature of technology and the “message”

“The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” – Federman, M. (2004)

Technology is a wondrous thing. It’s used in our lives constantly. There used to be a time where the most powerful piece of technology wasn’t available to the public. Now it is, just look at modern smartphones. Rather than using a big bulky computer to browse the internet or share information, people can now do it with smartphones. Sounds kind of cliche but the power really is in our hands. But, what does this mean?

It was always thought that with new technology, the entity commonly known as “big brother” would be watching us. But the reality is, we’re the one watching each other. Just look how fast the common person can take a photo of an event, post it onto social media and then have it viewed by hundreds of people. But, with this type of “power” we can convey messages. The message can change depending on what medium we choose. Whether we choose to use pictures, movies or words. Sure, you can use different mediums to convey the same message but, it will be interpreted differently depending on how people see it.