Feedback and Response from Target Audience:
Hazel, 23 : It’s powerful, it’s moving and it’s made me rethink everything I do online. I wonder how it could progress as a campaign – perhaps more type and information would be useful but I totally get why you’ve not done that.
Jen, 21 : I really like this and I think the development you’ve gone through to get to this stage is fascinating – I sent you my Insta information and it was a really personal thing to do. I also didn’t know this area existed and it’s made me quite embarrassed and shocked that I didn’t know how much Social Media was following us.
Matt, 24 : Ok so this wouldn’t necesarily have an effect or any power over me because I am fully aware of what I do online and how it’s tracked. I like the introduction of coding and algorithms as I use these in my studies, it’s always intresting to see how they’re used.
How have your expectations for the final piece evolved over the course of the project?
Throughout this process, I’ve been challenged on a personal level, having to deal with personal problems I never thought I’d be faced with. I think that’s helped me take a step back throughout this process and has forced me to take some days away from the project, meaning when I step back, I feel I’m looking at it with fresh eyes.
Initially, I was floundering in the magnitude of what I’d taken on, the research I had to do and the outcome I had in my mind. My first step was to forget the final outcome and focus primarily on what I want to achieve from this project and the question I want to answer. Yes, I spent two weeks on one idea, only to change it overnight and going down a completely different route. But it took talking to Ben and Jamie to make me realise that I wanted to express my personal frustrations at how we are merely reduced to simplistic labels because of what we’ve viewed or searched for online.
Has the initial question changed during the process and have you successfully answered it?
As above, I changed the project direction in Week 2 and had to evolve the question – I started looking at how our mental health is affected by beauty marketing within social media, but this was too big a tasks and my final outcome would have absolutely reflected the confusion and magnitude of the initial question. I then had to sit down and really nail down exactly what I wanted to answer – why have I chosen this topic? Why do I get frustrated by adverts or targetted social media campaigns? Why do I hate that I’m put into a “social bubble” because of things I’ve read online and how can I make more people aware of this?
So I changed the direction of my focus to making others aware of how their search history and social media usage is used by sites. I think so many people are still completely unaware of how they’re being tracked and monitored online – my survey showed a high percentage were totally unaware of this.
I believe my project is on it’s way to answering this question – I think it’d be a really powerful campaign to make people stop and rethink what they’re doing online. However I personally feel it’s still too vague and perhaps if I’d included a QR code for people to scan as they walked past the posters it could send them to a webpage with links and ideas as to how to control your own online identity/
What methodology was employed to answer the question?
For this whole project, my focus was on opening up discussions with others my age – it was to start this conversation about a topic people might not know much about and creating this awareness.
Firstly, I created a survey to see how many people within my target audience were aware of what was being tracked when they use social media and how targetted ads work. It was really eye opening to see how little people knew about this topic.
I then discussed the topic with Ben and Jamie which totally redirected my project, focus and, inevitably, the final outcome. Following this I spoke to family and friends again within the target audience to help me get to grips with what I was trying to achieve. I also had to ask for permission to use personal information for the campaign as I used my own friends personal information and Instagram ads interests list for the posters etc. I also utilised this personal information to help with the use of censorship to remove the identities on both a visual and necessary level.
What have you personally taken away from this project on reflection?
I’ve had a tough time recently and it’s made me realise self initiated projects are a great way to really get away from things going on in your life – it’s a tool to take a step back and refocus. I think self initiated projects are vital to finding your own voice and style, as well as take the time to research and get in deep with a topic you might not have otherwise thought about. I think I look at the Migrant Journals and realised the amount of influence you can have by really doing your research, getting away from wanting publicity or fame and using this time to learn something new.
What do you need to develop on this piece to take it further?
I’m really keen to continue developing this project – my target audience was women in their late 20s and I think I hit that target audience with the campaign. BUT it could definitely be developed and utilised to raise awareness for ALL social media users. It’s something that’s rarely touched on, because businesses want their adverts to go to the right people, Social Media needs the adverts for people to use their sites for free and it’s all one lovely vicious circle that the user has absolutely no control over. So making more people aware of the impact of their Google searches or Insta stalking can only be a good thing! Before things get a bit too “Black Mirror”…