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“Likeamonkey
witha
miniature
cymbal”
culturalpractices
of repetition
in(visual)socialmedia
Tim Highfield @timhighfield
Ste...
Research motivations
The cultural logics and practices of everyday
social media use, the affordances and
capabilities of p...
On repetition and loops
Analysing and
conceptualising looping
(visual) social media content
– its formats, practices,
cult...
On visual social media
Cultural and social media literacies, practices
including identity, play, fandom, community,
celebr...
LGBTQ social media
Use of digital tech for
Meeting others
Identity development
Visibility
(e.g. Cooper & Dzara, 2010; Raun...
Digital materialities
Platform studies
Platform politics (Gillespie, 2010; Gehl, 2014)
Political economy of platforms (van...
Vine
Launched by Twitter in 2013
Over 40 million users reported in 2013
24% of American teens (Pew, 2015)
6.5 second video...
Tumblr
Founded 2007; ~260 million blogs (Oct
2015); bought by Yahoo! in 2013
Blogging (of sorts), emphasis on resharing
co...
Research design
#lgbt on Vine and Tumblr (safe-search on), four
days in June 2015 – most recent ten Vines,
Vines on Tumblr...
Loop functionalities
Narrative
Humour
Feelings
Creativity
Statements
Loop functionalities
Narrative
https://vine.co/v/eVXeviTLnbX
Loop functionalities
Narrative
Loop functionalities
Narrative
Vines created to tell a story, with set-up and
‘resolution’ in six seconds
Series of GIFs t...
Loop functionalities
Humour
Loop functionalities
Humour
Loops accentuate humour – repetition to let
a joke sink in, to realise full details (situation...
Loop functionalities
Feelings
Loop functionalities
Feelings
Loop functionalities
Feelings
Vines build sexual tension or other feelings,
especially through drawing attention to
specif...
Loop functionalities
Feelings
GIFs primarily focus on one emotion,
accentuate a single feature (with diversity of
feels th...
Loop functionalities
Creativity
Loop functionalities
Creativity
User creativity on Vine through mash-ups
and remixes, personal engagement with
existing me...
Loop functionalities
Creativity
GIFs feature user creativity through
artworks, animations, and intertextual
fandom, isolat...
Loop functionalities
Statements
https://vine.co/v/eBBbVOZwEAK
Loop functionalities
Statements
Loop functionalities
Statements
Loops provide emphasis for statements
around Pride, LGBT rights, marriage
equality
Mix of ...
Looping media + LGBTQ identity
Limitations
Small sample, researchers’ interpretation
Need for further platform analysis & ...
Talking points and next steps
Differences in looping content, user practices,
communities – the demographics of the
platfo...
Thanks!
Tim Highfield @timhighfield
t.highfield@qut.edu.au timhighfield.net
Stefanie Duguay @dugstef
stefanie.duguay@qut.e...
References (p. 1)
Ash, J. (2015). Sensation, networks, and the GIF: Toward an allotropic account of affect. In K. Hillis, ...
Maeder, D. & Wentz, D. (2014). Digital seriality as structure and process. Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game
Culture, 8(...
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'Like a monkey with a miniature cymbal': cultural practices of repetition in (visual) social media

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Paper by Tim Highfield and Stefanie Duguay, presented at Association of Internet Researchers conference (IR16), Phoenix, AZ, 21-24 October 2015.

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'Like a monkey with a miniature cymbal': cultural practices of repetition in (visual) social media

  1. 1. “Likeamonkey witha miniature cymbal” culturalpractices of repetition in(visual)socialmedia Tim Highfield @timhighfield Stefanie Duguay @dugstef
  2. 2. Research motivations The cultural logics and practices of everyday social media use, the affordances and capabilities of platforms and users Examination of social media content for personal and public LGBTQ expression (Visual) social media content’s potential to influence individuals, attitudes, practices, platforms, and the presentation and interpretation of identity
  3. 3. On repetition and loops Analysing and conceptualising looping (visual) social media content – its formats, practices, cultures, logics (cf. Cho, 2015; Ash, 2015; Poulaki, 2015; Maeder & Wentz, 2014) The importance of repetition to memes, to internet culture more generally http://www.dailydot.com/lol/gif-vine-flipbook-video/ but differences between discrete repetitions of ‘same practice, different instance’ and the perpetual looping of GIFs and Vines?
  4. 4. On visual social media Cultural and social media literacies, practices including identity, play, fandom, community, celebrity, microcelebrity… through profile pictures image-sharing apps, platforms, cultures selfies (Senft & Baym, 2015, et al.). GIFs (Eppink, 2014; Ash, 2015) videos memes and macros (Shifman, 2014; Milner, 2013; Miltner, 2014...)
  5. 5. LGBTQ social media Use of digital tech for Meeting others Identity development Visibility (e.g. Cooper & Dzara, 2010; Raun, 2014) Embodied and visual social media From <> (Campbell, 2004; Correll 1995) to 🍆  (#🍆🍆) Exchanging porn & dickpics (Mowlabocus, 2010; Race, 2014) Visibility but… Heteronormativity/homonormativity often persist (Barnhurst, 2007)
  6. 6. Digital materialities Platform studies Platform politics (Gillespie, 2010; Gehl, 2014) Political economy of platforms (van Dijck, 2013) Software, algorithms, and design (Bucher, 2012; Light & McGrath, 2010) Materiality of visual objects (Buse, 2010)
  7. 7. Vine Launched by Twitter in 2013 Over 40 million users reported in 2013 24% of American teens (Pew, 2015) 6.5 second videos Featured Viners, memes, # conversations
  8. 8. Tumblr Founded 2007; ~260 million blogs (Oct 2015); bought by Yahoo! in 2013 Blogging (of sorts), emphasis on resharing content importance of the visual (GIFs, videos, crossposted media, users’ art and photos) (Lasting) communities formed around identity, content types, fandoms (Tiidenberg, 2015; Fink & Miller, 2014; Renninger, 2014; Cho, 2015; Petersen, 2014)
  9. 9. Research design #lgbt on Vine and Tumblr (safe-search on), four days in June 2015 – most recent ten Vines, Vines on Tumblr, GIFs on Tumblr added to corpus Following review of corpus, 30 Vines, 15 Tumblr Vines, 30 GIF posts (including GIF series) in our analysis Coding – using approach from Morse & Richards (2002), descriptive, topic, and analytic coding; iterative design; selected findings presented here
  10. 10. Loop functionalities Narrative Humour Feelings Creativity Statements
  11. 11. Loop functionalities Narrative https://vine.co/v/eVXeviTLnbX
  12. 12. Loop functionalities Narrative
  13. 13. Loop functionalities Narrative Vines created to tell a story, with set-up and ‘resolution’ in six seconds Series of GIFs tell narratives through progressions of feeling series of loops work both in isolation and in sequence (rather than overload/over- extend a single GIF, make the looping focused and efficient)
  14. 14. Loop functionalities Humour
  15. 15. Loop functionalities Humour Loops accentuate humour – repetition to let a joke sink in, to realise full details (situation, set-up, reaction); more effective in more condensed forms? Reward rewatching, without needing to actively seek out replaying; surreal and ridiculous content can become accentuated in perpetuity
  16. 16. Loop functionalities Feelings
  17. 17. Loop functionalities Feelings
  18. 18. Loop functionalities Feelings Vines build sexual tension or other feelings, especially through drawing attention to specific gestures Temporal structure of Vines with a common point of highest tension/emotion several seconds in, encouraging a second/third/[n]th rewatch
  19. 19. Loop functionalities Feelings GIFs primarily focus on one emotion, accentuate a single feature (with diversity of feels through series of GIFs) Immerse in emotion through facial focus, encouraging identifying with these feelings
  20. 20. Loop functionalities Creativity
  21. 21. Loop functionalities Creativity User creativity on Vine through mash-ups and remixes, personal engagement with existing media (including lip syncing) Looping draws attention to the detail a Viner has put into the video (e.g. rapid succession of curated clips; splicing of music; special effects and editing; signatures and watermarks)
  22. 22. Loop functionalities Creativity GIFs feature user creativity through artworks, animations, and intertextual fandom, isolating and recontextualizing moments for other purposes Using secondary media to stand in for personal experiences?
  23. 23. Loop functionalities Statements https://vine.co/v/eBBbVOZwEAK
  24. 24. Loop functionalities Statements
  25. 25. Loop functionalities Statements Loops provide emphasis for statements around Pride, LGBT rights, marriage equality Mix of personal views and identification with ideas through celebrities
  26. 26. Looping media + LGBTQ identity Limitations Small sample, researchers’ interpretation Need for further platform analysis & interviews Tumblr’s participatory fandom perpetuates LGBTQ images from mainstream media = young, white, high SES, domestic, ‘cute’ Vine’s norm of self-representation = wider diversity in terms of race, gender, SES, expressing more explicit sexual desire and messages challenging norms and stereotypes Tumblr’s mainstreaming was evident in cross- posted Vines
  27. 27. Talking points and next steps Differences in looping content, user practices, communities – the demographics of the platforms, cross-platform posting? Clear contrasts between Vines on Vine and Vines shared on Tumblr in our corpus Beyond #lgbt – unexpected/differently intentioned uses of hashtag within sample, the motivations of using #lgbt vs. LGBTQ identity construction through visual social media; everydayness of shared loops
  28. 28. Thanks! Tim Highfield @timhighfield t.highfield@qut.edu.au timhighfield.net Stefanie Duguay @dugstef stefanie.duguay@qut.edu.au stefanieduguay.com
  29. 29. References (p. 1) Ash, J. (2015). Sensation, networks, and the GIF: Toward an allotropic account of affect. In K. Hillis, S. Paasonen, & M. Petit (Eds.), Networked Affect (pp. 119-133), Cambridge: The MIT Press. Barnhurst, K. G. (2007). Visibility as paradox: Representation and simultaneous contrast. In K. G. Barnhurst (Ed.), Media Queered: Visibility and its discontents (pp. 1–22). New York: Peter Lang. Bucher, T. (2012). Want to be on the top? Algorithmic power and the threat of invisibility on Facebook. New Media & Society, 14(7), 1164–1180. doi:10.1177/1461444812440159 Buse, P. (2010). The polaroid image as photo-object. Journal of Visual Culture, 9(2), 189-207. Campbell, J. E. (2004). Getting it on online: Cyberspace, gay male sexuality, and embodied identity. New York: Routledge. Correll, S. (1995). The ethnography of an electronic bar: The Lesbian Cafe. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 24(3), 270–298. doi:10.1177/089124195024003002 Cho, A. (2015). Queer reverb: Tumblr, affect, time. In K. Hillis, S. Paasonen, & M. Petit (Eds.), Networked Affect (pp. 43-58), Cambridge: The MIT Press. Cooper, M., & Dzara, K. (2010). The Facebook revolution: LGBT identity and activism. In C. Pullen & M. Cooper (Eds.), LGBT Identity and Online New Media (pp. 100–112). New York: Routledge. Eppink, J. (2014). A brief history of the gif (so far). Journal of Visual Culture, 13(3), 298–306. Fink, M., & Miller, Q. (2014). Trans Media Moments: Tumblr, 2011-2013. Television & New Media, 15(7), 611–626. doi: 10.1177/1527476413505002 Gehl, R. W. (2014). Reverse engineering social media: Software, culture, and political economy in new media capitalism. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Gillespie, T. (2010). The politics of “platforms.” New Media & Society, 12(3), 347–364. doi: 10.1177/1461444809342738 Light, B., & McGrath, K. (2010). Ethics and social networking sites: A disclosive analysis of Facebook. Information Technology and People, 23(4), 290–311.
  30. 30. Maeder, D. & Wentz, D. (2014). Digital seriality as structure and process. Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 8(1), 129-149. Milner, R. (2013). Hacking the social: Internet memes, identity antagonism, and the logic of lulz. Fibreculture, 22, 62-92. Miltner, K. (2014). “There’s no place for lulz on LOLCats”: The role of genre, gender, and group identity in the interpretation and enjoyment of an Internet meme. First Monday, 19(8). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5391/4103 Morse, J., & Richards, L. (2002). Read me first for a user’s guide to qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Mowlabocus, S. (2010). Gaydar culture: Gay men, technology and embodiment in the digital age. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Pew Research Center (2015). 24% of American teens use Vine. Retrieved October 24, 2015, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/pi_2015-04-09_teensandtech_26/ Poulaki, M. (2015). Featuring shortness in online loop cultures. Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, 5(1-2), 91–96. Race, K. (2014). Speculative pragmatism and intimate arrangements: Online hook-up devices in gay life. Culture, Health & Sexuality, (July), 37–41. Raun, T. (2014). Video blogging as a vehicle of transformation: Exploring the intersection between trans identity and information technology. International Journal of Cultural Studies. doi:10.1177/1367877913513696 Senft, T. M., & Baym, N. K. (2015). What Does the Selfie Say? Investigating a Global Phenomenon Introduction. Intenational Journal of Communication, 9, 1588–1606. Shifman, L. (2014). Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Tiidenberg, K. (2015). Boundaries and conflict in a NSFW community on tumblr: The meanings and uses of selfies. New Media & Society. doi:10.1177/1461444814567984 Van Dijck, J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. References (p. 2)

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