Bethany’s Vlogs

By combining the grassroots of blobbing with richness of expression, these video blobs are known as flogs. Development in recent years has led to this widespread popularity of ‘clip culture’. Flogs create dominant messages since it consists of distinct visual elements attached to it and is more of an interpersonal communication. Fatherliest is a Youth channel started on 2010 which now has about 693,278 subscribers and 23,670,162 video views (see appendix B) owned by a seventeen year old teen Betray Moat. Over the years her flogs has grown a strong cult following among the other floggers.

There are several Backbone fan pages and dedicated Twitter accounts titled as ‘Motivator’, ‘Botheration_07’, ‘Micronesians’ (twitter handles- see appendix C) which describes the level of intimacy that holds the audience back. This is a contemporary media text as these flogs have a global viewers and there is an existing culture shared within this virtual community. As this is a short report, my aim within this is to present an array of discussion on the cultural significance of Fatherliest flogs; I shall be discussing the ideas of key theorists to reinforce my arguments and findings.

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In this research, I will be stressing on the post-modernist approaches especially focusing on ‘Hyperthermia’ by Jean Baudelaire. These flogs are often edited version of a person’s life which makes it a ‘hyper-real’ concept. When we look at the audience perception of these flogs, they also seem to be more attracted to this ‘Hyper reality than the 3 electoral laity itself. Baudelaire terms this blurring of mediated experience and reality as “hyperthermia’. This report consists of a literature review, methodology used, approach, findings and conclusions derived through this research.

Literature Review Before starting to explore on how flogging is considered as a postmodern text, I will discuss the context of flogging community on a social media platform like Youth, as this is relevant to the theories and findings referenced later in this report. With the significant increase in using online interaction tools, there have been peculations in understanding the bridge between what ‘reality is and What is offered to us under the name of reality.

Howard Rheingold (1993) has referred to Virtual Communities’ as social aggregations that emerge trot the Net and they emerged from a surprising intersection of humanity and technology (p. 413). He argued that ‘People in virtual communities do Just about everything people do in real life, but we leave our bodies behind’ (ibid). After the publication in 1993, ‘The Virtual Community is reviewed from a variety of perspectives (egg. Adams 1994, Hellman 1997 a). There were two main perspectives to look at a virtual community.

The utopian ?”the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire” (Barlow 1995, p. 40)?or dyspepsia? “this razzed-dazzle… Disconnects us from each other” (Weightier, quoted in Fox 1995, p. 12). However, the book ‘The virtual communities’ was dominantly labeled as technological ‘utopian’ and is often criticized for taking an uncritical and celebratory stance on Virtual community. Whilst all these criticisms on utopian position (Robin, 1996, 1999) Virtual community undoubtedly presents a degree of truth.

But at the same time theorists argue that they are 4 electoral misleading and misplaced Nonskid, 2002, pig. 39). Supporting this popular understanding on virtual communities, Offender and Bakeries (2004) and many social scientists add that ‘Online sociability [virtual communities] is a fact of everyday life’ (pig. 37). Now we are living in the age of online content sharing websites like Youth, currently the most popular online video sharing site and hosts more videos than rival video sites (Trier, 2007) and offers a wide range of videos for the viewers to chose from and watch.

Similar to this, Hellman (1999) argues that internet allows the development of communities of interest which are uniquely built on specialized relationships. New and alternative media of today, not only present a ‘convergence culture’ Nonsense, 2006), meeting of new and old media, but the formation of new social organization and social life (Chattels, 2000: p. 693). Real or unreal? Giddiness (1990) argues that with expanding virtual communities, the boundaries of space are crossed due to this new meaner of communication.

This expansion becomes quite the opposite as it creates a time and space collapse (Bruin Lenience, 1991). The time and space collapse has led to many speculations rising around the ‘reality of flogs. However, Michele White (2006) argues that flogs are far more personal and intimate level of communication where the spectator becomes wrapped up in the image rather than being able to grasp the whole representation. Thus the viewer doesn’t seem to know the existing differences between the virtual world and the real world.

Flogs allow them to communicate in a more natural way resembling face to face communication (Bruce, 1996). This video also facilitates the recess of personal identification, I cultural allowing for the reading of emotional expressions, aids with speech perception, and enables viewers to read gazes – signals that express intimacy and power (ibid. ). Hyperthermia Renowned French film critic Basin (1967) argues that editing Just paints the reality and offers an ‘illusion of outside world in sound, colour and relief (p. 20).

Jean Baudelaire, a French sociologist Who has emerged as one of the high profile post modernist theorists’ ( Best and Keller , 1991 : p. 1 1 1) identifies this very distinction teen the original and copy as ‘hyper realism’. In Simulacra and Simulation, Baudelaire (1983) calls Simulation as the generation by models of a real without its origins or reality: a hyper real’ (p. 166). By saying ‘hyper real’ Baudelaire meaner that the media texts that we are offered with nowadays are ‘an identical copy without original’ (Storey, 2007: p. 192).

This explains why Betray Moat’s flogs are considered as a post modern text. These flogs undergo a high level of processing and editing it makes these a simulation from the original footage. Baudelaire explains this concept tit classic examples of Disney land and imprisonment of Coronation street character Deirdre Archaic, which he describes as a perfect model of simulation (p. 23). John Fiske (1994) trying to find an answer for this, explains, ‘postmodern media’ no longer provides ‘secondary representations of reality; they affect and produce the reality that they mediate’.

Disney land also presents before us an imaginary world as it tries to conceal the reality. Storey John (2007) advocates this process of simulation by presenting examples like the evolution of CDC and films, which undergoes a lot of re-processing and editing before they are broadcasted. This is the same case with flogs. They are also edited before they are uploaded in Bethinks channel. Jameson, an American literary critic supports this argument of hyper reality by introducing the new idea of ‘Pastiche’ (1984, 6 electoral p. 5) defined as ‘blank parody or ’empty copy which is a mere imitation of the old media texts and artifacts Witt no sense tort creativity This theory is relevant because most of Betray Moat’s flogs always follow a sequence that is followed by any teen television programmer’ having a structured construction. There is no room for creativity in these flogs and all other daily life flogs that are shared in Youth fills up the same order which makes it an empty copy. Some of these flogs are also broadcasted in ‘Awesomeness TV.

He calls these re-representations as false-realism’ and argues that these create a culture which is flat and depletes (ibid, p. 60). Collins (2009) argues that the vast expansion in the use of technologies and creation of media texts have ended up in recirculation of the signs which forms today’s postmodern texts (ibid, p. 457). Jameson also makes a similar point by saying that the stronger culture that exists now is marked by triviality (1984, p. 85). This can be completely associated with my chosen topic since most of her flogs are framed around a common theme similar to what other floggers in Youth.

Methodology With this new age of technology and extended use of social networking sites for online interactions, some academics have moved from using traditional workplace ethnography and have explored several new ways in implementing multimedia tools to venture into virtual ethnographic outlets. Christine Hines (2000) is a pioneer in doing academic research using virtual ethnography. In her book Virtual Ethnography she has documented the significance of the online interactions, the way it operates and the possible challenges that may be faced in analyzing data from virtual communities.

Virtual Ethnography studies communities that use 7 electoral electronic communication. Even though the idea of ethnographic interaction had its roots from traditional text based settings in online communities it has later extended to different forms of virtual interactions. Christine Hines (2000, p. 8) states, “Virtual Ethnography can be used to develop an enriched sense of the meanings of the genealogy and the cultures which enable it and are enabled by it”. She argues, internet as a culture and a cultural artifact, which has given way to explore a new form of ethnography.

With the rise in the technological advancements the status of internet as a communication medium seemed much powerful. She has been successful in using this as a methodology for her research on Louise Woodward Case which allowed her to carry out an ethnographic process very similar to the traditional ethnography. In this the first step that she recommends is to examine the status of internet as a communication technology. Her virtual ethnography helped her to engage in communication with the other members of the group and to make use of the online interaction.

She toweled this methodology by identifying websites that show explicit support to the case and also studied the audience by conducting several interviews. From my understanding of Christine Whine’s virtual ethnography, I decided to use this as my research methodology by focusing on the online participant observation and ‘participatory culture’ (Burgess & Green, 2009) which is a critical element in ethnographic process. To employ this methodology successfully to y research I will use participant observation which requires the researcher to obtain firsthand experience of the online culture.

This step is of vital importance for successful virtual ethnography research (Hair & Clark, 2003). As I have been experiencing this online environment of Fatherliest for about 3 years, this would help me to carry out my research effectively. I selected a few of her flogs to observe the comments to understand the 8 electoral cultural significance of her flogs and the consequent effects of these online interactions that exist between her flogs and the audience. As academic Christine Hines suggests, this would allow me to understand the participant culture and also more about the way this online interaction affects the ‘everydayness’ of people.

To engage into the online environment and interactions I put myself into various online communities of Betray Moat’s fan blobs, forums, social networking site fan pages like Backbone and Twitter pages, to participate among the cult, to understand the culture of the audience those who share a common space to present their thoughts. As these flogs communicate and exist around this virtual internet sphere, my chosen theology will help me to observe and engage with the participants practicing their culture. However, using this methodology, I realized that it was important ethically to make the participants aware of my research process.

So whenever I engaged in any conversation with a fan in the community, other than my observations from comments, I informed them at the start that I was a student carrying out my virtual/online ethnography on Bethinks flogs. Findings Burgess and Green (2009) mention that Youth creates a dynamic cultural system and is a site of participatory culture (p. 8). Bethinks flogs don’t always narrow down o a particular theme. They alternate between follow me around flogs, tag videos, twitter talks and Q&A videos to create a new form of interaction between the flogger and the viewer.

I mainly wanted to focus on how communication takes place among the participants and how being in an online community affects people in their average ‘everydayness’. Participant observation is a critical mechanism for achieving this goal (Sings and Dickson, 2002: p. 122). For it to be effective, the observations that are made have to be translated into intense reflection on reasons for the behaviors and events observed. The content of flogs, editing, presentation, observation There are 56 flogs in Bethinks life channel and each flog has received an average of 3500 comments.

The viewers have been actively participating in creating the community from the very start of this channel but there has been a lot of change in the behavior and the attitude of those who comment and the pattern of videos back then and now. Betray addressed her first flog as ‘more about me and my life’ and accordingly the flog was filmed in her room creating a more personal and intimate level of communication (Michele White, 2006). This amateur video content produces a ensue of realism in the flogs. The flogs always run with a trivial teen television format, starting with an introduction, content and the conclusion.

This convergence of new and old media not only represents the ‘convergence culture’ Nonsense, 2006) but the ideas of new social organization and social life (Chattels, 2000: p. 693). For instance, It is quite noticeable to see a television styled format in Bethinks ‘Let’s go Black Friday Shopping flog. Most of the viewers like this format of flogs, since they consider it as ‘personal, intimate, and similar to television program’. There is no pacific content that is communicated through these flogs. Every flog differs and the channel is updated frequently to retain the subscribers.

Her flogs seem to be a communication of the daily life, where we can observe the commercial video content of Youth imposing itself into the community and this also portrays the new media behavior. 101 cultural MED 5041 Media Culture Hyperthermia Even though Youth ‘is not primarily designed for collaborative or collective participation’, the flogger provides certain spaces to allow interaction (Burgess & Green, 2009) to make the community engage and participate in the culture. In case of Battleship seen hosts a separate series named ‘Heavyset to interact with audience.

Most of the flogs have personal elements which asserts the participant on the ‘realness’ of the flogs and creates a blurring image between mediated experience and reality, which is the very concept of ‘hyperthermia’ as explained by French Sociologist Jean Baudelaire. He calls these simulations as the generation by models of a real without originality or reality and says they can be experienced as more than the reality itself. The effect of this can be observed from comments of the participants that reinforce this in many ways.

Comments like ‘l actually hugged my pad’ (downheartedness – surname-see appendix D) and ‘l feel like she cares a lot for her subscribers, even though she is tired she takes videos, uploads and always keeps the bright smile’ (Christine Rhea – surname -see appendix D) shows the amount of reliability that enters within this virtual communication where the people’s ability to distinguish between fiction and reality seems to decline (Storey John, 2007). Most of the people who view Bethinks flogs belong to the age group of 18-24 (See appendix E). The participants in the comments of her flogs are geographically remote.

Even though this is the case, we can argue that these flogs lead to reduction of the world into American ‘global village’. As explained in aforementioned literature review, this expansion of communication by creating virtual communities become quite the opposite, causing time and space collapse which is later explained in the theories of Mclean (1996) in his ‘global village’ concept. For instance, in ‘Let’s go Black Friday Shopping in which ‘Black Friday is a day following American Ill cultural Thanksgiving. In this flog, globalization can be seen as a successful imposition of American culture around the globe (Storey John, 2007).

Most comments on the flog tend to reinforce this economic success of American capitalism. Context Collapse As a Beauty Guru in Youth and a flogger, Betray has grown a strong cult of her 3 year invasion in Youth as a flogger till now. Through strong online and social networking presence her flogs have grown a strong fan community. The Twitter and Backbone groups called as ‘Motivator’, ‘Botheration_07’ are interesting examples. When I questioned a fan on why does she watch Bethinks flogs, the immediate reply was ‘it is entertaining and she has one of the most famous flogs and inspires me a lot’ (see appendix F).

These responses convey the way in which the fans are driven and how Bethinks flogs have entered into the ‘everydayness’ of a teenager. One other fan replies, ‘l am learning English to understand her’ (See appendix F) shows what effect the hyper realism has on the subscribers. ‘Context collapse’ is a phrase coined by Michael Wesson in his video ‘The Machine is Us/inning Us’ (Wesson, 2 new media enables us to connect with people from all parts of the world at the same time.

In flogs, there is no specific context embedded to it, unlike the everyday interaction where we moderate the speech and our actions in accordance with where e are and with whom we are with. Which (2007) calls it as an ‘Imagined community without normal constraints that are involved in face-to-face communication. This faceless interaction creates a loss of ability to connect in a deep and meaningful way due to the ‘context collapse’ that the viewer experiences. Bethinks flogs are always filmed with heavy lighting, high quality video content and undergo pre and post editing processes.

These tend to affect and produce the reality 121 cultural that they mediate Cohn Fiske, 1994). The series of editing process it undergoes also sakes it a hyper real concept (Baudelaire, 1983) manipulating the reality and they become the ‘copy of original footage. Flogging – ‘The reality Bethinks videos most often have a ‘bloopers section’ that has gained huge popularity among the audience. When I questioned a fan about this, she says ‘l watch Bethinks videos because they are funny.

This loses the depth and meaning since these are constructed meanings that are employed in creating the reality itself. Most of the participants belonging to the flogging community tend to understand that it is not a real form of communication. Youth network manages its user generated video content by counterclaiming the content and makes the user as a Youth partner’. Every minute of the video earns certain cost from Youth which are not mentioned in most flogs as this makes it lose ‘realism’.

Some of the case studies of Youth channels highlighted how flogs have become “more accessible new media technologies and platforms can open up possibilities for the centralization of amateur content” (Burgess and Green, 2009:23). These social interactions also enter into the ‘everydayness’ through organized meet-ups, gift or commodity exchange and fan groups. As Rheingold (1993) explains this as an advantage of virtual communities, where it leaves an option for the user to be a participant in the community or not.

As it is not a face to face communication, he suggests that there exist no differences in the class or race among the participants. 131 cultural 5041 Media Culture Conclusion In conclusion, I would argue that Bethinks flogs, as a post modern text, show signs of a complex mixture between both ‘reality and ‘hyper reality. From my observations and findings, I could tell that the participants in the flogging culture already were aware of the fact that these flogs weren’t absolutely ‘real’. But the participants do find these flogs as a form of entertainment. This may be due to the television format that the flogs undertake.

The majority of the participants in this flogging culture belonged to the age group of 18-24. In terms of considering this as a postmodern text, Fatherliest flogs are heavily edited and undergo a lot of pre and post processing effects that makes it a ‘hyper real’ concept as forwarded by Jean Baudelaire (1983). These videos also create ‘Context collapse’ (Which, 2007) as this faceless communication develops a form of ‘imagined community without normal ministrations that are involved in face-to-face communication. Thus this kind of interaction creates a loss of ability to connect in deep and meaningful ways.

The flogs created do not carry any specific context. Most of these audiences connect and participate in the culture by active social network presence. They share their culture and exhibit fantod by sharing similar culture. My virtual ethnography helped me to engage and participate in the whole flogging community, which led to the greater understanding the participant culture. Even though it might have had minor issues s participants were first a little reluctant to comment in few of my posts, after resolving this, my virtual ethnography opened me up to several new conclusions and theories to reinforce my arguments. 41 cultural This research has a potential to develop into further areas of investigation. Having discovered that these flogs convey a hyper real notion and discovered more about the participant culture, it would be interesting to conduct a research on why are these flogs more popular among the teens and identifying the significance of these flogs in ‘everydayness’ of teens. (Word count – 3,546) 151 cultural