I don’t have any delusions – like most 20-somethings these days, I am constantly connected to the internet.
I wake up with my phone and go to bed with my phone. My day between these two points is filled with laptops, gaming consoles and searching for a strong wifi signal. My degree is 90% online-based (I mean, I am writing a blog post right now for one of my subjects), the company I am currently doing an internship through is almost exclusively online, and everything I do in my spare time is online.
Even the activities I engage in that aren’t technically in the media space as still in the media space. Before I buy and read a book, I look up a review online. While I’m at the gym, I am listening to music through a streaming app on my phone. I’m definitely part of the online generation and I’m not particularly concerned about it.
My mum knows nothing about the internet. She doesn’t even know how to turn a computer on. Despite this, she wanted a caravan and so enlisted my help to navigate eBay. I was reduced to shock and laughter when she found one she liked, currently being auctioned for about $700 with a few days left. She said to me, with a deadly serious expression, “find the owners number and I’ll call them. I’ll offer them $500 cash in hand, today. They’ll take it because they won’t have to wait.”
She didn’t understand the rules and concept of eBay as an online auction site and honestly believed an ol’ fashioned barter system would work for her. The lack of exposure she has had to online spaces has caused her to be unable to comprehend how they work.
I can’t laugh at her too much, though. My own understanding and engagement in online media spaces have changed the longer I’ve been in them and the more I’ve grown to understand them. When I was 15 and new to Facebook, I used it constantly. I would write status’ that literally no-one cared about. I was that annoying person who took their every thought, action and second of their day and sent it out online for everyone to see.
Moving past the gripping sausage roll escapade of 2009, my current online persona is (hopefully) more thoughtful and less annoying. I’m still the same person, and I still have the same thoughts. When I’m in BCM240, I think “I’m in BCM240”, and when I want something to eat, I think “I would like to eat that”. I don’t, however, write a status about it, because that isn’t how I want to engage with my media space and it isn’t who I want to be in that online space.
I think that, as a budding journalist, I do think about who I am in my online spaces. Before I write a tweet, Facebook post or publish a blog post, I think “will this come back to bite me at some point in my career”. I’m very aware that moving forward, our online selves and our real selves are becoming more and more the same thing. I think this subject will be beneficial so I can understand the relationships between online media spaces, audiences and myself as a journalist and media user.
I’m hoping to get the “bigger picture”.