A Story of Social Media in a Three-Act Structure

Overture

This is it. I can’t believe it. This is really the end . . . at least for now . . .

2799487-3272129633-gif-cWe can hardly contain ourselves either! (Reddit)

It has been a long journey since we, here at #Relatable, began as a young and innocent Tumblr blog about global LGBT rights.

crying-waterfalls*Sobs profusely* (Mashable)

It has been a wild read for social media in 2016. We have seen great heights:

0-holding-pokemon-goLike this! (Vogue)

. . . and we have seen even greater lows . . .

cannotunsee5. . . like this . . . (Fusion)

Nonetheless, we can say that the highs and lows balanced each other out to create a year that can best be described as:

largeIs this not #relatable? (WeHeartIt.com)

Before 2016 comes to a close and 2017 rises over the sunset:

f9e15c260647824dfee798323d4db480This is a scientific explanation of time. (Pinterest)

We would like to run a mini-retrospective of our life and times: call it a mini-clip show about evolution but like the fun kind of evolution where no one gets hurt!

weeeF*** Yeah! Evolution! (Photobucket)

Without further ado:

raw*drum roll please* (Tenor)

Let us introduce you to the grand opening of :

A Story of Social Media in a Three-Act Structure
________________________________

Let’s go to the beginning: I hear that’s a marvelous place to start!

raw-1Get your popcorn out! The entertainment is just about to begin! (Tenor)

Act One: The Twittersphere

For what even is a retrospective of social media if not for a few tweets from our CEO, Satanic High Priest, and Master of Ceremonies: @MrAmorelli!

1. Rose Quartz

Ah nothing beats the original, huh?

tumblr_inline_mhd42tahAR1qz4rgp.gifThe Crew of the Starship Enterprise agrees! (GitHub Gist)

As one of my first #SMPASocial tweets, I originally chose this article to tweet about because, as an avid Tumblr user, I had just thought that rose quartz/pink was just a cool and trendy color.

animation-chanel-pink-trumbl-Favim.com-3232408.gifLike this. (Favim.com)

I never really thought about the greater implications, socio-cultural relevance, or the deeper personal meaning that was innate to a simple color like this.

tumblr_o37k89XCYm1us7frfo6_500.gifCoulda fooled me! (Tumblr)

However, I acquired a better understanding of how Rose Quartz became a popular color choice later in the semester after reading Henry Jenkins’ Spreadable Media, which talked about the elements of content that made it spreadable, or encouraged users to spread and engage with something specific.

tumblr_o6wxermpbn1s3v7rfo1_500More spreadable than this pocket knife could EVER spread! (Tumblr)

Rose Quartz became popular and spreadable in online communities, where users can actively appropriate, remix, and produce their own content from pre-existing forms, because its application in personal content creation could be used to serve multiple personal needs. As explained by Jenkins, “The circulation of media content within participatory culture can serve a range of interests, some cultural, some personal, some political, some economic “(Jenkins 25).

tumblr_nyqn7iboas1v06xlqo1_400Some economics she got there! (Tumblr)

Although the article does go into depth about the implications of the color, Jenkins’ conception of consumer culture’s reproduction of pre-existing gave me a stronger understanding that this appropriation and production were encouraged cause the underlying connotations of the color often served the needs, often either personal, socio-cultural, or economic ones. It is the zeitgeist because it has a meaning that resonates with people and encourages them to produce.

giphyZeitgeist Incarnate. (Tumblr)

Wow! Thanks, Jenkins!

5524720_1f696429be08a1c2e370ba5f16a74f0cPINK thumbs up to Jenkins! (FunnyJunk)

2. The Beginning of Kim K

Wow! Social media and the socio-cultural, socio-political implications of millennial maven Kim Kardashian West!

1427136228-giphy-8.gif

No, I’m being dead serious . . . (Town & Country)

No seriously. Before this class, I had written about the socio-cultural implications of Kim Kardashian through the lens of parasocial relationships or the kind of illusory, one-sided relationships that a viewer builds with a person, such as a celebrity, who has never personally met the user.

mf2sdeumwrrxExample A (Zimbio)

Parasocial relationships help to explain why Kim K has become so popular on social media although she has not met her millions of followers personally. It is through media that she is able to create a perception that she is almost friends with you without ever having to interact with you.

when-she-knew-things-were-about-go-downhill-herExample B (PopSugar)

Of course, I learned all of this before this class. However, I never learned about it through the perspective of social media or how one can establish these sorts of relationships online.

giphyOn the internet, everyone knows your Kim K. (Giphy)

In a reading by David Kerpen, he explains that, “you have to authentically believe that being active in growing your social network will lead to deeper, stronger relationships with your customers” (Kerpen 65). In a way, this made me realize what was key to her success:

SUCCESS.gifSuccess! (Photobucket)

Yes! Authenticity! On social media, Kim K’s greatest asset is her ability to maintain a sense of normalcy and authenticity albeit being significantly wealthier than her fan base. As the article portrays, Kim K’s decision to limit her social media usage in the wake of a bad accident, she is not only helping her mental health, she is also remaining on-brand by reacting appropriately to a bad situation.

33d402fd03bcfbb29563fa2c02a8366bPicture: appropriate reaction. (Pinterest)

Although probably more health-centric in nature, the decision to limit is surprisingly on-brand and allows her to seem real, authentic and maintain her fan base even in the face of limitation.

giphy-1Schmoney, as the youth say! (Giphy)

3. The Empire of Kim K

Here we go again!

giphy-2*eye roll* (Giphy)

Hold your horses, Mary!

44d40d7ee87a8369_kanye8“But wait, I’m on a motorcycle in this music video.”(PopSugar)

This time we aren’t going into the parasocial, we are examining the idea of Kim K as both a consumer and a producer that shows the media convergence of culture, where old and new media habits combine to form a new cultural orientation!

giphySome things never change. Others do. (Giphy)

In other words, Kim K is both a real person who actively consumes a wide variety of products and a brand who actively produces a plethora of content for public “consumption.”

giphy-1Imagine the french fries as Kim K and
Kim K as the American public. (Giphy)

The publication of a coffee-table book of Kim K selfies, she takes on both realms. The selfie is, in essence, a product which is actively made and consumed by the user. Kim K uses the selfie format as a venue for personal expression, using the limitations of the technology at her disposal.

kim-kardashian-art-new-jeff-koonsA Jeff Koons for the Proletariat! (Man Repeller)

However, her own form of self-expression also acts as a means of production, where her content is actively consumed by the public for their personal or socio-cultural reasons. She produces and she consumes, in a way that very few have effectively turned into a successful, multi-chain career.

0630_forbes-cover-072616-celebrity-kardashian_1000x1292How many times were you on the cover of Forbes? (Forbes)

I was able to fully comprehend this idea through a work by Henry Jenkins where he explores convergence culture. In convergence culture, the consumer becomes the producer by actively engaging and creating their own content from the means that are available to them. For example, Facebook allows one to consumer all the other content in their news feed while still being able to publish and propagate content that you have made on your own terms.

tumblr_msaq8ryfls1s5e5bkoPictured: Convergence Culture. (The Atlantic)

“Rather than talking about media producers and consumers as occupying separate toles, we might now see them as participants who interact with each other according to a new set of rules that none of us fully understand” (Jenkins 3). In a way, the lines between producer and consumer are blurred to the point where they can often be one and the same.

kim-kardashian-gifs-kim-kardashian-39204063-500-281According to this post, you are one now! (fanpop)

Kim K is especially representative of this through her public consumption of technology while also publishing her own selfies as a commercial product. She combines the old, corporate habits of media production while also engaging in a way that is with the new, participatory form of culture.

giphy-3It really shows on your face. (Giphy)

4. Vine Culture

Let us “break the internet” as all the adults trying to pretend to be millennials would say! (haHA)

w21Uowc.gif
Then I break the internet 10-12 times a day. (Imgur)

At first, it was interesting to recognize how important Vine was as a forum of self-expression and community building in a society that has historically degraded, underestimated, or ignored their contributions to the general culture.

tumblr_n4rmlujcbr1ru5h8co1_500Pictured : Intro to American History. (GifNews)

This brought me back to the potential democratizing power that internet communities could hold as explored by Yochai Benkler. In a way, Vine represents a cultural subversion of his original idea where the most culturally significant, ie. entertaining, content could become popular, as opposed to ownership by one singular controller of content.

download
Media control takes a deadly turn. (Colourbox)

In a way, this helped to democratize through the elevation of comedy perpetuated, created, and consumed by black audiences. However, Vine’s demise destroys all the potential that the popular, albeit nascent, social media site had to offer.

giphy!SOCIALMEDIA! (Giphy)

Furthermore, however, it relates to Henry Jenkins’ conception of the rise of remix culture where the consumers of a product are encouraged to take it and reproduce it into their own forms.

giphy-1Pictured: One Remix. (LiveJournal)

Vine was an epicenter for creation to be remixed, remade, and reformed products were at the forefront. This was an exemplary instance of convergence culture as well where the lines between producer and consumer are blurred through new media technologies.

74ce2de2d4d6e974a26b5c50dbb054fdWelcome to New Media! (eMaze)

These two insights, however, made the article more depressing as it truly captured how awful it is to lose Vine as it was so representative of the inclusive, participatory, and converging definition of culture codified online.

200_sRIP Vine: You will be missed! (Giphy)

5. Snapchat Spectacles

Wearable technology in the form of glasses: sound familiar?

screen-shot-2013-03-08-at-9-35-38-am.png
*cough* Google Glasses *cough* (StephenChukumba.com)

The new frontier or just another joke that will be laughed at by my grandchildren in 40-50 years?

kids-laughingP.S. these multicultural kids are laughing at you. (Medimanage)

Either way, the limited-edition nature of Snapchat Spectacles makes it, by far, a much more plausible way to market what is, by today’s standards, a silly, novelty product.

snapchat-thumbs-1435852887-responsive-large-0
Good job, Snapchat! (PopBuzz)

However, what seems to make the product work is in its marketing. It revels in a sort of new form of advertising known as microtargeting, where people are targeted specifically. As explained by David Kerpen, microtargeting is an extremely effective way of marketing to a wide audience as it keys on the individual traits that people, thus, making the advertising more personable and more likely to strike a chord and engage the user.

giphyTargetting made easy. (eClincher)

This stands in comparison to the more traditional way Google Glasses were marketed with an all-encompassing marketing scheme with very little attention to the needs of the people. Also known as niche marketing, this provides a potential reason for the demise of the product.

niche1What’s YOUR niche? (Neil Tolbert)

Although the article clarifies that the spectacles are being advertised to outside of Snapchat’s target audience, it is clear that they are promotional in nature and are unlikely to be mass-produced. It is a niche product being advertised to only the kind of people that are actively engaged and care about such forms of technology.

smgif
Trendy AND Delicious! (Giphy)

As with all #Relatable content, marketing is every-THANGGGGGG!

logoSee? It says happy! (Infoline.com)

Act Two: The Evolution of a Blog

Every good play has a compelling and tear-jerking backstory!

8f4db03e472598ed80638b3b0cc05912Example A (Pinterest)

b127d3edaaf734d3f72e5e3eef64fb4b
Example B (Pinterest)

giphy
Example C (Giphy)

Without further ado, let us bask in the glory of a backstory!

giphy.gifI can’t wait to see how this turns out. (Giphy)

1. This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius a new Blog

It was a warm September evening when a young boy, Jake, was tasked with the creation of a blog for his #SMPASocial class…

tumblr_mpxxxcdHoO1steklgo1_500.gifReal life depiction of this blog being born. (WiffleGif)

Little did he know that an era was born:

Surprising, no?

rawShut up Beiber. (Tenor)

Before #Relatable became your most trusted source for #relatable college content, we were a nascent “militant” LGBTQIA+ blog centered around covering and reporting on international news impacting the queer community.

tumblr_m7n89drpvp1qhh2mzo1_500Basically . . . (Tumblr)

At the time, Jake was so proud of the original blog and wanted to use it as a space to comfortably, succinctly, and proudly record under-reported news about the diverse, multi-faceted queer community.

tumblr_ntyqxknhbo1rms5soo1_500Pre-#Relatable! (Tumblr)

However, those dreams were not realized as Jake originally thought.

raw-1*thinks* (Tenor)

It was a chaotic place where freeform, bloated think pieces without organization or direction roamed. Chaos was on the horizon.

raw-2CHAOS! (Tenor)

This era reached its nadir when the blog was assigned to create a post with an interactive slideshow. This was what was produced:

In one gif:

1096*Barfs* (ReplyGif.net)

The problems of the original blog are clear. The slideshow was well-executed but without any substantive descriptions or exploration. The visual integration was only loosely correlated to the content itself. There is no stable writing style. There is no focus. It was a mess.

tumblr_mzm6n0g0j31r6tn9jo1_500.gifBob Belcher cleaning my messy blog. (Tumblr)

Without direction, without guidelines, without a steady principle or focus, the blog was nearing its end.

ln7qkThe End . . . OR IS IT? (PopKey)

As opposed to a fun exercise, upkeep became a chore. It didn’t serve the “safety valve” function that it was originally intended to be.

jmvrmNot that kind of safety! A free speech safety valve! (PopKey)

It was time for a change!

tumblr_n29mxf59zz1t0twwxo1_500CHANGE IS GOOD! (Tenor)

The time was now! (By now, we mean early October)

raw-3Eddie Redmayne gets it. (Rebloggy)

2. Renaissance, or as the French say: “Rebirth!”

After weeks of consideration and a personal conversation with Professor Usher, it was decided: a new blog was to be created!

chestburster-gif-crop-original-originalDepicted: Birth! (Slate)

This new blog would have direction, an aim, a style, a form, and a strict intention:

53028e8a56220NEW! (GimmeBar)

Ergo, on October 5th, 2016, #Relatable was born!

millenial-matters-2-again

As opposed to the severity of our young years, #Relatable would become a place where humor, satire, parody, and irony would combine to create a brutal caricature of contemporary media advertising and marketing!

tumblr_n03hdy77ni1s00ervo3_250Razzle Dazzle ‘Em! (Film Forecaster)

It was a Renaissance, a rebirth or sorts, that was both exciting and terrifying.

monaMona Lisa Deconstructed. (Pinterest)

Would we become what we wanted this time?

tumblr_m0hzpfb80r1qlwwiyo4_250Only time will tell . . . (Tumblr)

3. Sustainment

To quickly answer the question this blog posted before: Yes! #Relatable would become everything we ever wanted and more!

raw!bingo! (Tenor)

This time: It was fresh! It was satirical! It was funny! It was even fun to write!

giphyFresher than U! (Giphy)

Productivity grew exponential as this graph below shows:

hqdefault.jpg*Clears throat* Graph. (YouTube)

As you can see, #Relatable has experienced unprecedented, exponential growth in its less than two months of existence!

edits-r-usReal Science!

As an outlet to poke fun of the trivial pursuits of collegiate life, it became a medium with an actual “safety valve” purpose, where I could express dissatisfaction and anger but with a giant pile of irony and comedy.

meter08THE IRONY LEVELS ARE OFF THE CHARTS! (Dolske.net)

It was a lot more fun now to actually make posts. I cared about their quality and their content.

giphy-1CARE BEAR STARE MEANS WE CARE! (Giphy)

I could now revel in my type of humor . . .

Screenshot (182).pngDetail of a blog post.

. . . that was often so subversive that people were often confused whether it was comedic or not.

screenshot-180Detail of a blog post comment.

It was a rebirth, a renaissance of sorts, where all became better in the process.

giphy-2Whoopsie-Doodle! (Giphy)

A. The Award Goes To:

Tonight on this glorious of nights, we are here to present the award for “Best Feature-Length Blog Post on #Relatable”

dick-poop-funny-name-screw-up-conan.gifAnd we are honored to be the presenters for this award, tonight! (Perez Hilton)

Although we are all here to win, it is an honor for anyone to be nominated in this distinguished category.

large.jpgExactly! (WeHeartIt)

Without further ado, the award goes to . . .

raw
*Drum roll* (Tenor)

15 Things Every College Student Should Do Before They Graduate

https://hashtagrelatablelisticlesforcollegestudents.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/15-things-every-college-student-should-do-before-they-graduate/

theatermove.gif*Commence Applause* (The Atlantic)

giphy*Applause intensifies* (Giphy)

The impetus for this post winning the award was in how it truly codified the kind of humor, the writing style, and the visual integration for almost all future posts to come.

giphy (1).gif
Thank you, Sally! (Giphy)

It is the juxtaposition between the sincerity it takes in what a college student should do with the severity and somberness innate to Egyptian burial rituals.

animated-egypt-image-0108Ancient Egyptian Style! (AnimatedImages.org)

Also, it was just plain fun to find step-by-step explanations on Egyptian mummification and preparation.

tumblr_mvwsvzZbSX1r1io1co1_500.gifSo quick, so simple, so elegant! (Tumblr)

Although not the by-product of a specific assignment, it was extremely rewarding to be able to successfully execute one of my ideas in an extended format that could be appreciated by others.

mummificationEducation made fun! (Montgomery College)

I, truly, believe that this was one of the first posts that made me realize, “I’m really going to like making this blog after all!”

raw.gifWalk Like An Egyptian! (Tenor)

So for that, we thank you!

giphy-1*Applause* (Giphy)

Act Three: The Blogosphere

SILENCE!

raw.gifSILENCE! (Tenor)

Act Three is about to commence!

madonna-opera-glasses-o.gifLet’s enjoy the show. (GifSoup)

As shocking as this may sound, there are other blogs out in the world worth carrying about that aren’t #Relatable!

raw-1*SCREAMS OF TERROR* (Tenor)

Sorry to trigger (or whatever you millenials say) but we must acknowledge other blogs out there with quality that almost matches that of our own.

wniaryjTRIGGERED! (Imgur)

With out a former tableau, we give you: other content

tumblr_inline_n8gdtbjc3z1rzizrkGet your corn popped and let’s start the show! (Tumblr)

1. The Final Countdown : Election 2016’s Greatest Hits

spongebob-flames.gifAHHHHHHHHHHH! (ElissaNunez.com)

In a year with as many low points as 2016 had, it’s nice to see someone make fun of one of its lowest and, arguably, worst points: the U.S. Presidential Election.

giphy (2).gif2016 in a nutshell. (Giphy)

It’s also refreshing to see the word “greatest” in an election cycle dominated by hatred, polarization, frustration, and plot twists that could only be conceived of as from the crazed mind of a telenovela screenwriter.

telenovela-gifsESCANDALO! (PopSugar)

The overall design of the post mixed with a simple writing style allowed for an easy-to-follow, easy-to-read experience that wasn’t too hard on the eyes or the brain. It was light and fluffy like a post of this nature should be.

c732zFLUF-FY! (Imgur)

This blog was awash in many moments that I had either (a) completely forgot about due to the constant stream of information that I was bombarded with or (b) that I had no idea had happened in the same place due to the aforementioned stream.

screenshot-173Honestly, one of the best moments in this post was when the reader is privy to Jeb Bush’s classic, yet underrated, quote: “Please Clap!”

giphy (3).gifPlease clap(Giphy)

I didn’t even realize that this was a thing that had happened! It was funny to know even in a place like D.C. engulfed by constant political rhetoric and media discord that I could miss out of one of the funnier points in an already bizarre, delusional election.

BX2Imix.gif
Basically this election’s news cycle for me. (Imgur)

On a side note, Ted Cruz’s impersonations of characters on The Simpsons will scar me for future generations to come.

tpoytmoTed Cruz: Presidential Candidate Extraordinaire! (Imgur)

How could I forget the first part of this blog: a well-placed Gif of multiple incarnations of childhood favorite SpongeBob SquarePants running in circles as fire ravages the young sea creature’s mind and psyche?

spongebob-flames.gif#Relatable , #amiright ? (ElissaNunez.com)

Is this not a physical, not metaphorical, representation of where we are all now under Chairman Trump?

iwovivcYes, that joke really was built around this image. (Imgur)

Overall, it was a strong, simple, and easy-to-read post that kept me engaged in interested the whole time through. Two thumbs up! Bravo! Bra-Vo!

nZDX8kC.gifBRAVO! (Imgur)

2. Saturday Styles: Looking Back at “Manus X Machina”

manus-machina-mailchimp(The Antique and Artisan Gallery Blog)

From the funny to the fashionable, we now turn our attention to the world of sartorial decisions that any mere mortal, such as yourself probably, would cover in fear at:

giphy-1FASHION! (Giphy)

Yes, we are indeed talking about (a blog post dedicated to) FASHION!

giphyJust way too much! (Giphy)

However, this ain’t yo mama’s fashion blog!

oh_hell_noNot! At! All! (Reaction GIFs)

Instead, this post focuses on the “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” exhibition displayed at the Museum of Modern Art over the summer of 2016.

img_1319.jpgOne picture photographed by the blogger herself. (Museum Hopper)

As detailed by the blog, the exhibition focuses on the juxtaposition between handmade and industrially designed clothing that has confronted the contemporary fashion industry. The MET chooses to place this conflict in a high-art setting presenting an ideological conflict that is both elegant and fierce in collaboration and execution.

x2v2u8huhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . (Imgur)

Enough of that kind of talk!

giphy-2We’ll just leave him be for now. (Giphy)

What really makes this post work is in the experience is provides and that you can vicariously live through as well.

raw (1).gifWow is right! (Tenor)

The post is written in a tone that emphasizes the experience over everything else. You can understand the crowded nature of the exhibition by both her description of the area and in a logical sense through the provision of attendance numbers.

Screenshot (176).pngDetail of Blog Post (Museum Hopper)

There is a strong visual integration that shows off the beauty, elegant details found in each piece that was presented. The photos are crisp, clear, and help you to engage with the stunning detail and effort made into creating these pieces.

img_1323.jpgThat detail is beyond comparison. (Museum Hopper)

It also felt like the linked documentary at the end of the post (“The First Monday in May”) was a strong accompaniment. Although it didn’t talk about this specific exhibition, upon viewing, it added to the overall tone of the piece by providing a different perspective on the exhibition experience, the behind-the-scenes, and the amount of work and dedication it took to create it.

anna-wintour-gifs-2-w529-h352…and to be at the Met as well. (New York Magazine)

Also, to put in very millennial-esque, Ana Wintour is very gif-able.

anna-wintour-gifs-3-w529-h352Ana Win-tearing it up! (New York Magazine)

Fashion is clearly a passion to the writer which adds a layer of sincerity and earnestness to the whole blog experience. In the end, that sincerity was what really made me enjoy the post and for that we thank you.

tumblr_nf1sszz07a1s0my1wo1_500YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSS (Tumblr)

Finale

Well, I guess this is the end.

originalJim Morrison gets it! (WeHeartIt)

But don’t fret!

do_not_fret_my_son_by_mikichan17-d7ht510Everything will be okay in the end! (DeviantArt)

Don’t worry fam-a-lam, we will always be in der klerb wit u in spiri, b!

editsdsfjfsdkjifsdjkfsd.jpgThese hip old people like totes get it!

In the immortal words of Mr. Rogers

tumblr_miwfoknhjc1rc2rr6o8_250This is so touching like I cant #even! (Rebloggy)

So with one last bad joke we would like to say . . .

anigif_enhanced-18660-1409801128-1*Tears up* (Quotes Blog)

Goodbye!

finFIN! IT’S SPANISH FOR GOODBYE! (Tenor)

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