As Mary Shelly stated in Frankenstein; “The instrument has taken control of its maker, the creation control of his creator.”
The blueprint of our society has now become dependent on social media. We find ourselves living simultaneously within the digital social media world as well as the physical world where Jean Baudrillard argues the absence of the original reality due to the takeover of the “instrument.”
“Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” (Baudrillard, 1994)
This has shifted the communication paradigm and changed the way that people interact and portray themselves online. Thus, my digital artefact—The Social Media Myth Buster—is a series of four blog posts that investigate, test and review the tips and tricks that industry professionals and mirco-celebrities say are the best ways to attract more engagement and brand building on Instagram.
I have been using Dance Editorial’s Instagram account as the test subject for each tip and trick. With a focus on building rapport, hashtags, posting times and aesthetic, my digital artefact provides a social utility to social media marketers, budding social media gurus (like myself) and people interested in creating a larger engagement on their personal or branded Instagram accounts.
Over the past few weeks, I have completed two blog posts based on my research and review of two Instagram techniques.
Within my first blog post, building rapport, I focused on a tip from Neil Patel who was accredited by Wall Street Journal as a Top Web Influencer. I tested the ‘three pronged trick of piggybacking’ throughout the week and reviewed it based on criteria.
This trick looks at engaging with Instagram users by commenting on their content to create a relationship between the target audience and the brand (DeMers, 2015). With over 700 million users active on Instagram, my digital artefact explores a central element of cyberculture–the formation of identity.
In relation to the cultivation theory which examines the effects surrounding the intake of media, our target audience on Instagram make up their mind about the identity of our brand by how we portray ourselves online.
“It is believed that the more people are exposed to the socially constructed realities that they experience in the media, the more likely they are to perceive that as reality.” (Tyler, 2016, p. 31)
Essentially, the online persona overrides the physical persona thus informing the formation of a simulacrum through the engagement and creation of our branded identity on Instagram.
My second blog post looks at the importance of using the right hashtags. Building upon my first blog post, I used a tip from social media scheduling site Hootsuite’s to find and use engagement centred hashtags. It is proven that posts online do at least 12% better with hashtags than posts that don’t (Aynsley, 2016). Over the week, I researched appropriate hashtags and applied them to each post to test the ‘tip’ surrounding hashtags and engagement.
Through my investigation of social media myth busting, I have been proving Jean Baudrillards theory of Simulacra. Simulacra is a state of reality which no longer has a reference to it’s original—thus has overwritten real life where online reality is blurred with physical reality.
Through my social media myth busting topics; hashtags and aesthetic using filters, I have discovered a developed need for humans to ensure their Instagram images are consumed to generate the most engagement. The use of hashtags and filters are forms of mediation to which we view our lives—thus, the human memory of the event is replaced with the digitally enhanced version—thus a simulacrum.
The social media myth buster started as an investigation into engagement on Instagram, but what I have started to see arise from my constant surveillance of Instagram and its interaction is the fact that my digital artefact has become a capsule reflecting current societal beliefs and values. It argues the notion that as humans, we have a need to mediate our experiences through the lens of social media in order to relate to it.
This introduces the notion of humans becoming cyborgs where my digital artefact investigates the ideas surrounding human evolution and the extension of man’s consciousness through social media. Marshall McLuhan noted that the final phase of the extension of man is the technological simulation of consciousness (p. 11).
Building upon my class presentation and Marshall McLuhan’s theory, I have furthered my research into the notions of becoming cyborgs with a new theory of cyborgology. This theory was coined by Chris Hables Grey, Steven Mentor and Heidi Figueroa-Sarriera to describe a new order of ‘humachines’ “where the digital and material constantly augment each other to create a societal landscape of new ideas” (2017). Cyborgology and Stelarc’s performance art have brought out ideas surrounding the physical body being obsolete (Zylinska, 2002 p. 7). This directly correlates to my digital artefact as it examines the role of the physical self within a new social landscape and the formation of an online identity surpassing the physical one.
With this in mind, I have decided to create a fifth summary blog post at the conclusion of my next two social myth busting blog posts. The additional blog post will tie together my investigative findings–in relation to the social media myths–with the media theories in order to present an investigatory report about the current state of the human condition. This will focus on the ideas brought up around cyborgology and the current values of society.
Aynsley M, 2016 “The compete Instagram Hashtag Guide for business,” Hootsuite, 2 August <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-hashtags/>
Baudrillard, J 1994. ‘Simulacra and simulation,’ University of Michigan Press.
DeMeur. J 2015 ’10 reasons your brand needs to be on Instagram,’ Forbes, 8 July, viewed 26 April 2017 <https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/07/08/10-reasons-your-brand-needs-to-be-on-instagram/#2642267d0bd6>
McLuhan. M, 1964 ‘Understanding Media: The extensions of Man,” MIT Press <http://robynbacken.com/text/nw_research.pdf>
Patel, N 2016, “5 Instagram Hacks that Social Media Experts don’t want you to know,” Forbes, 16 August, viewed 26 April 2017 <https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2016/08/16/5-instagram-hacks-that-social-media-experts-dont-want-you-to-know/3/#1f299e8f41c1>
Shelly, M 1881, ‘Frankenstein,’ Lackington, Hughes,Harding, Mavor, & Jones.
Tyler. S 2016 ‘Instagram: What makes you post?,’ Pepperdine Journal of Communication Research, Vol. 4, no. 14 <http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1041&context=pjcr>
Zylinska. J, 2002 ‘The Cyborg Experiment: The extensions of the body in the media age,’ A and C Black, <https://www.google.com.au/search?q=The+Cyborg+Experiments%3A+The+Extensions+of+the+Body+in+the+Media+Age+edited+by+Joanna+Zylinska&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU724AU724&oq=The+Cyborg+Experiments%3A+The+Extensions+of+the+Body+in+the+Media+Age+edited+by+Joanna+Zylinska&aqs=chrome..69i57.756j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8>