Journal #3

From this week’s readings, the one that spoke/stuck with me the most was “Facebook Tinkers with Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment” by Vindu Goel. It made me consider the susceptibility of a person being affected by what they see online. I understand that when someone sees a post online with a negative (sad, mad?) tone it can make them temporarily, for a short duration “adopt” their feelings as well, through sympathy or shared negativity. However, it makes me wonder how strongly negative the posts that the users who experienced manipulated news feeds saw, this is because the negative posts were so influential that the emotions from it carried onto the readers who in turn also wrote negative toned posts.

Will knowing about how people are (easily?) affected by certain positive or negative posts make our class blogs more cautious about the general mood of our posts? Does doing this make our posts no longer authentic and “real” because were choosing to hide certain thoughts and feelings we feel in order to seem more positive? This article made me think of another medium which I follow closely. I used to be really into watching vlogs on youtube, which are ‘video blogs’. They ranged from 5-20 minutes and they’d essentially be a look into someone’s daily, weekly or occasional life. Since they control what they film and what they edit into each of the videos, they control what they want the viewers to see. With this, they can only include happy, positive and eventful things that happen in their lives because they want to entertain their viewers. Does this also fall under inauthenticity of content of someone’s personal life? Regarding this, an example of a vlog youtube channel I used to watch filmed himself and his wife and their daily life. Eventually he announced that they were getting a divorce and everyone went crazy because they thought it just came out of nowhere. This was because the creator decided not to include certain events where it was obvious that their relationship wasn’t how it was before because he didn’t want his viewers to see it and because it wasn’t entertaining. He made a point about how the 10-20 minute daily videos he posts are just a quick glimpse into his life, it doesn’t include every single moment and happening. However, this doesn’t mean that what he does posts is inauthentic, it’s just selective.

 

Goel, Vindu. 2014 “Facebook Tinkers with Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment”. New York Times. June 2014. Available from:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/technology/facebook-tinkers-with-users-emotions-in-news-feed-experiment-stirring-outcry.html

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