LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION: INFLUENCERS AS ASPIRATIONAL AND REFERENCE MODELS FOR TEENAGERS CREATING CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
1Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; 2Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
In this communication we presents part of the outcomes of the H2020 Transliteracy project (2015-18), an international initiative that explored the acquisition and development of ‘transmedia skills’ in informal learning environments by teens in 8 countries (from Australia, Europe and Latin America). The research was based on two main questions: What are teens doing with media?; and how have they learned to do it? To answer them, the project followed an ethnographic approach based on the precepts of short-term ethnography (Pink and Morgan 2013).
The research revealed that teens are particularly active in the production and management of social media content, which forms a central part of their media universe (Boyd, 2014; Ito et al., 2010). In fact, most of the teens that took part in the study have an account on a social network. They use social media to construct and manage their digital image, in some cases going so far as to develop a complex and quasi-professional personal online brand (Masanet et al., 2020). Teens create profiles, share their own photos and videos, comment and "like" others content, etc. In this context, influencers are especially important, as they become aspirational and reference models for the construction of their own image. In fact, most of the teens participating in the study acknowledged that they follow YouTubers and Instagrammers; these are figures they look up to, in some cases their media idols, and constitute attractive, aspirational models (Márquez and Ardévol, 2017).
In this communication we explore the role of these celebrities as models for teens when creating their own content. We have observed teens identify with influencers. They are the same age and share the same goals, objectives and media practices. They also talk about topics that interest teen audiences, share experiences and offer advice on day-to-day matters. The teens follow these celebrities because, in one way or another, they see themselves reflected in them, but also to imitate and to acquire ideas for constructing their own online identity. By observing the celebrities' speech patterns, aesthetics and creations teens obtain inspiration for devising and producing their own content. It is here that we see the emergence of new forms of creativity, characterised primarily by the aesthetic reworking and reinterpretation of influencer content, which teens adapt and translate to their own contexts (Taddeo and Tirocchi, 2019). We have observed some teens have a broad encyclopaedia (Eco, 1996) of references and models that form the basis for appraising other people's work but also for reinterpreting content and creating their own. This can be considered a form of intertextuality or intertextual competence that takes places in the process of creating meaning, during which an author uses information from previous texts to configure their message. It is a form of appropriation in which the author draws from existing work to construct a novel idea or original product (Sorókina, 2006). So, in viewing content created by influencers, teens are building a narrative and aesthetic encyclopaedia that will help them to construct their own digital identities.
INSTAGRAM AND THE TELEVISION FICTION SERIES EL INTERNADO: LAS CUMBRES. NEW NARRATIVE PROSUMER TRENDS
1University of Huelva, Spain; 2Antonio Nebrija University, Spain
Currently, audiences are engaged in a synchronous relationship between watching on TV and reading on social media. In this informational environment, people share their opinions, and emotions about television content through social media, especially youth people and teenagers. Bearing in mind the social media has altered the way that people communicate, it is extremely important to remind that this situation has changed the way in which audio-visual products are consumed. Faced with a scenario disrupted by streaming services, these audiences have moved away from their passive role to become proactive citizens who create and interact with the content.
The television industry is following these dynamics, establishing a point of convergence with social media that promotes the creation of digital content. Such corporate culture involves prosumer audiences in a regular and creative communication. In this sense, media convergence constitutes the cornerstone for the rise and growth of multiple virtual communities that work under ubiquity, participatory culture, and collective intelligence concepts, where the use of technologies and social media prevails. Indeed, it has become a discussion topic in the field of education, where different proposals related to the use of audio-visual media through a teaching and learning approach is extensive. Significantly, this is a complex transmedia literacy process of production, functionality, and sustainability.
Although Social Networking Sites are not mainly designed for the educational field, they are increasingly adopted in formal and informal learning environments. Over time, social media platforms have been analysed for their teaching advantages–learning process, especially those which have been attracting the attention of young people. The use of these platforms, and specifically Instagram, is characterized by dynamism and youthful interactivity, collecting profiles of well-known Spanish fiction series with thousands of followers. In this context, the role of media literacy becomes extremely relevant, as it enhances media and digital competences to train empowered and critical citizens in the prosumption of information. In general, one of the most important challenges to researchers lies in understanding the impact of digital technology use in general and social media use in particular among young people.
The focus of this study aims to analyse the youth prosumer generated-content on Instagram as a result of the new Spanish series El Internado: Las Cumbres. A series targeted at a teenage audience and produced by the on-demand content platform Amazon Prime Video. The methodology used for this project was qualitative and exploratory. A content analysis was carried out on the hashtag #elinternadolascumbres promoted by the official Instagram series account, in order to study the posts that teenagers share under it during a month before and after the premiere of the first season of the series in 2021. According to this analysis, we should try to understand how a hashtag can be related to the stimulation, usage, and interaction with the digital entertainment among youth people, taking into special consideration the narrative, and aesthetics skills in order to understand how they take an active part as prosumers when they generate contents through the publication of posts.
SMARTPHONES AS A PLACED RESOURCE: EVIDENCE FROM A MIGRANT SLUM
Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, India
Purpose and Objective
Recent years have seen an influx of technology, leading to India's emergence as a global digital media player (Times of India, 2014). Studies of children’s use of digital devices at home confirm that they engage in a range of tech literacy practices (Marsh et al., 2018). However, most such researches have focused on wealthy and upper-middle-class populations (Alper et al., 2016). This research aims to document tech-literacy practices of families living in an urban slum in the Southern part of Delhi. The research questions for this study are:
1. What was the role of smartphones in the everyday lives of children and families living in an urban slum?
2. How do these engagements with smartphones contribute towards the literacy development of children and adults?
This study is situated in the sociocultural framework of literacy (Heath, 1983; Street, 1984). I build on a tradition of research in the New Literacy Studies (NLS) that argues literacy is an ideological practice that is socially situated and tied with society's power dynamics (Street, 2003). Extending the argument of the NLS while acknowledging the presence of the digital devices, Prinsloo (2005) argues that despite their global presence, the digital resources “are best studied as resources situated in social practices that have a local effect” (p.87).
This qualitative study took place in a migrant community in New Delhi with people hailing from
the country's eastern parts. The data collection for the study began in January 2018 and
continued till June 2019. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and
participant observations. In one and a half years, we conducted a total of sixty -four semi-
structured interviews with parents, children and other stakeholders of the community. The
data collected were transcribed and grouped using thematic analysis (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Merriam, 2009).
Results of preliminary data analysis regarding the tech-literacy practices of families are
summarized in the following three broad themes as follows:
Multiple entry points to learning: Interviews with parents and children revealed that using technology-facilitated access to an array of co-learning opportunities for families. These include information about the latest happenings worldwide, enhancement of numeracy skills through online games and improved problem-solving skills.
Maintaining language and identity: The families employed smartphones to uphold and foster their children's mother tongue by accessing video streaming websites such as YouTube to expose children to Bengali films, songs and culture. In the process, the parents acted as brokers of content while the children helped them broker or act as 'experts' for using smartphones.
Smartphones as an aid in work-life: The smartphones helped adults navigate challenges at work and enhanced employment opportunities for the participants who had limited literacy skills but could navigate smartphones.
The study documents the use of smartphone as placed resource in a marginalised community that ranges from domains such academic, social, cultural and professional. The findings are imperative to add to the non-exsistent pool of research done in this area in South-Asian countries and to drive educaional change.
MEASURING THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL FABRICATION IN SCHOOLS: A RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL
European University Institute, Italy
Nowadays, it is clear that new skills are required for students to feel empowered in the digital era. These include creativity, leadership, communication, adaptability, curiosity, and basic ICT literacy. However, it is not yet clear how these skills can be better promoted and which methods are most effective.
This study presents a project which leverages digital fabrication tools to promote these skills of the XXI century. The project is called Teens4Kids and has involved over 850 students in the period 2018-2020. The project trains teenagers to be able, in turn, to teach primary school students digital creative skills with coding, 3D printing, laser cutting, and electronics. The teenagers follow technical classes as well as pedagogy classes offered online by MIT on creative learning, and then they train kids in primary school on digital fabrication.
In addition, the paper presents the methodology developed to assess the effectiveness of the project through a randomised controlled trial. By doing so, the study aims to provide a basic framework for the assessment of digital fabrication in school to promote the learning of new skills, which can be of interest for future assessments in this area.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS CREATIVE ENVIRONMENTS: EXPLORING YOUTHS’ PERCEPTIONS FROM SELF-REPRESENTATION TO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
1University of Cagliari, Italy; 2University of Cagliari, Italy
After reviewing the main literature about this topic, the contribution reports the main findings of an empirical study, carried out within the research project IANG (open survey on new generations), aimed to investigate a) the practices for self-representation of young people on social media, also for affirming their distinctive identity on the social web; b) the creative uses of social network sites, like Facebook, visual social media (like Instagram and Tik Tok), and instant messaging platforms (like Telegram and WhatsApp) to communicate and relate with peers and private organizations; c) the innovative adoption of social media to gather information and to connect with public sector organizations and institutions, like municipalities, regions, and universities.
An online survey, composed by 40 closed-ended questions, was administered in December 2020 using social media platforms and mailing lists by projects’ members. The study collected 452 responses from a self-selected sample composed by people from 13 to 35 years old. Results show interesting paths of creativity in using social media platforms both for representing youths’ identity, as well as in defining creative paths of civic engagement that could be used by public institutions to rethink and integrate their communication mixes.
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“FUTURI (IM)PERFETTI”. SOCIAL FORESIGHT AND DIGITAL CREATIVITY AS PRACTICES TO EXTEND THE ABILITY TO ASPIRE
1Università degli Studi di Torino; 2Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi, Italia; 3Forwardto
Methods to explore plausible futures in the economic, social and environmental fields is the object of an interdisciplinary research approach defined as futures studies. Sociological studies on social change has offered a decisive contribution to the epistemological status of future studies (Bell 1996). Thanks to the rise of practices such as social innovation, techniques have been developed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, defined as social foresight, characterized by the prevalent use of qualitative techniques. In some cases, these "future exercises" aims to formulate different possible scenarios on specific problems, such as, for example, stimulating a common vision that can lead to action, or the empowerment of the voice of disadvantaged subjects or more simply excluded from the debate on “what to do” (Barbera 2008): this is the case of methods such as 3Horizons or Causal Layared Analysys (Inayatullah 1998). From this perspective, the future is a practice of exploration based on collective intelligence and creativity, aimed at building possible and / or favorite futures (Pellegrino 2013).
The Italian project “Futuri (im)perfetti” is an experimentation of social foresight promoted in 2020 by the Giacomo Brodolini Foundation, in collaboration with “Forwardto" and supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo. The project is aimed at creating a cultural association that will be a place of inclusion where young people can exchange skills and ideas with their “innovator” peers.
In this context, 8 online workshops on utopias and dystopias have been conducted using social foresight methods. 60 under-30 participants have been involved in participatory design sessions to plan alternative future scenarios, starting from their own aspirations. Images of the future sedimented in the collective imagination (Leonzi, 2009, Ragone 2015) that offered a social repository or that have been diegetically included into the narratives of the future have been analysed. The scenarios have been then re-mediated by participants into a multimedia "Manifesto of the future ” about civic participation, using art-based methods (preforming arts, video, graphics, multimedia, storytelling).
The paper aims to: i) describe the main theoretical and methodological assumptions of social foresight in the context of the project ii) discuss the results of the participatory sessions for the design of the "Manifesto of the future" led by the Forwardto team.
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