The Digital Self

After seeing the Black mirror episode about the digital self living on after death through a computer generated collection of online data of that person (tweets, fb posts, pictures, any material we’ve uploaded online) and recreating that person, made me think about how harmful this digital environment can be if we get too absorbed. Of course, I myself use all these social media tools and I cannot deny that I’ve been sucked into this Facebook world so deeply that I would even call it an illness, but I truly believe that it deserves less importance and one needs to take care with the things one posts, especially when these media objects are never a true representation and always an idealised ‘slice’ of truth about us.

I am not so much of a status person, as I have never understood why wants to post about what they ate or saw that particular day, but rather a photo uploader and a music/video sharer. That is why I’ve decided to focus on the importance of photography as it is the key element of facebook. Images that are determined by the number of ‘likes’ ‘comments’ and ‘shares’ are the new cultural capital and make people feel that their existence is confirmed in a world where being noticed is not as easy as it used to be. The uploading of self-shot, weird angled, mirror-reflected photos of oneself are seen to be more popular between women- ever since the rise of the smartphone and apps like Instagram that give the option of filters to make the image look more pretty, and therefore less like oneself. When did it start to be ‘okay’ to post five pictures of oneself a day without being called a narcissist? Also, do we really have nothing more entertaining to do with our lives than care about our digital online virtual self which could be deleted and lost within five seconds if called for?

Photography in all its tradition form should be more respected. I think it is great that photography became so cheap and accessible to everyone giving us the opportunity to document our loved ones, holidays – those ‘Kodak moments’, which made photography so popular, yet we need to go back to photographing those rarefied, valuable moments, that will trigger emotions within us  when we look through all those folders we have on our hard disc in ten years time.

This is where I think everyone needs a little bit of Zygmunt Bauman and Liquid Modernity in their life ( as I could not agree more with his statement that ‘On a planet criss-crossed by ‘information highways’ nothing that happens in any part of the planet can actually, stay in an intellectual ‘outside’. ). He refers to a condition in which the subject is under constant translation and mutation, unable to occupy a form of lasting permanence, and thus, of lasting meaning. The result is that our Western world is thrown into a state of continuous renewal. With this urge of constantly moving forward we are emerged into a world whose values have been lost.

And as Stiegler puts it, perhaps rather harshly: ‘‘a society of disposability destroys motivation in all its forms.’

Rant over.


Flash mobs presentation


flashmob presentation script:


In summary, flashmobs are an indication of the evolving communication technologies that continue to empower people. what emerged on the streets of Seattle and Washington was an activist model that mirrors the organic, decentralised, interlinked pathways of the internet- basically the internet came to life.

Slide 2:

So what’s next for the flashmob?Although flashmob solidarity continues to thrive as people are planning the next global flashmob, they really have become a media event above anything else. Because making a political statement in ten minutes and wilting into the background, doesn’t quite work symbolically.

Slide 3:

As always when these events get bigger and hit millions of views of youtube views- there’s going to be a backlash and decrease in levels of popularity and coolnes. The ‘next big thing’ then appears and at this moment in time that happens to be the “harlem shake” – whose videos have gone viral since beginning of feb.

slide 4:

this is what happens in the “simultaneous and instantaneous” world in which we live where there are no familiar boundaries and no organized points of view. Flash mobs and internet memes will forever exist only as a form of quasi-communication, whose purpose is self-proliferation and infinite repetition.

Slide 5

And so we must ask ourselves how much of this flash mob movement was a creation of the media? And how can we use digital media to become empowered participants rather than passive consumers?

Notes week 6

  • Storyville- BBC i-player- How hackers changed the world/ Hactivism
  • Bangladesh Warm crime- lofi cyber culture- – cyber war
  • Forensic architecture- investigative journalism-evidence gathering- crowdsourcing verification- how ambiguous is all this stuff?
  • Mode of deployment “get excited and make things” – Before the Keep calm & carry on movement
  • Citizen science
  • Makey Makey- an invention for everyone- Jay Silver on
  • Net Art- Good and Bad times for making and thinking- David Gauntless “making is thinking” making and creating culture. 
  • = repair/restart 
  • Biomapping with Christian Nold
  • The quantified self- body as machine/mind as control/cybernetic feedback
  • 3D printing, public libraries, makerspaces = accessible knowledge
  • Urinal by Rob Myers – Duchamp inspired- conceptual example –
  • Technologies as an unconscious- making reality plastic- print your own gun. raises questions of governance. real plastic guns vs fake plastic guns .
  • Internet switched off in Egypt in January 2011 – specific words banned from text messages.
  • The free universal construction kit – = connect toys you couldn’t connect before
  • Arduino Blog 
  • open traffic counting platform –
  • London hackspaces have exploded- M.I.T – self organised and funded. CNC computer control tools. Biolabs/Biohacking/ ever more fashion students are collaborating with hackers because of the technology they want to incorporate into their fashionwear but do not know how. 
  • a haberdashery for technology and education dedicated to helping people to produce and not just consume technology.
  • the makers guild around Brixton -Guild is a medieval reference around craft- 
  • Balloon and Kite Mapping, grassroots mapping – form of environmental monitoring


burberry introduces smart personalisation

The British heritage brand is embedding radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips that will unlock bespoke content in a bid to entice consumers to pre-order bags and coats from its new season, immediately after they hit the catwalk.

The chips will activate short films to bring the product in question to life, telling the story of its creation, from sketches to runway edits. They will also show video of the customer’s name being engraved on metal nameplates — also new this season — that are stitched into the lining of the coats and bags.

Users will be able to see the videos when their items (which arrive within nine weeks) are put in contact with smartphone or tablet devices logged into For consumers in London who are able to visit the brand’s digitally integrated Regent Street flagship store, the same RFID chips will prompt the videos to appear on its large-scale mirrors, which turn into screens.

Black Mirror Season 2 Episode 1

I watched this episode the other day and it truly left me slightly disturbed and thinking…

Here is the basic synopsis:

Martha (Hayley Atwell) and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) are a young couple who move to a remote cottage, where Ash’s parents used to live. Ash is a big user of social media, tapping away on his phone, just a bit too much. Martha doesn’t really mind, she loves him and they’re looking forward to their new life together. The day after the move, Ash is killed, returning the hire van. At the funeral, Sarah (Sinead Matthews), a friend of Martha’s, tells her about a new service that lets you stay in touch with the deceased. By using all his past online communications and social media profiles, a new ‘Ash’ can be created – disarmingly ‘real’ and a help to a grieving partner. Martha is disgusted by the concept and wants nothing to do with it. Martha decides to stay in the cottage, despite her sister, Naomi (Claire Keelen), being worried about her isolation. Then one morning Martha receives an email from ‘Ash’. Sarah has signed her up. Martha is furious and deletes the message. But then she discovers she is pregnant and in a confused and lonely state Martha decides to talk to ‘him’. The programme mimicked his voice, and enabled her to have incredibly lifelike conversations with the dead man.

Things turned more bizarre when she uploaded “Ash” onto a lifelike body. The sex was better – or at least more efficient – but Martha missed what made Ash human: his unpredictability, his flaws.

The show touched on important ideas – the false way we sometimes present ourselves online, and our growing addiction to virtual lives – but it was also a touching exploration of grief.

I really found it quite scary as it is entirely possible to do this in the near future, but I am sure I would not want to be able to use this program although as the series displayed it does give you comfort in a way- however, it is false and always will be as you simply cannot bring that person back to life. It is nothing different to the way people try to speak to the dead through mediums and psychics – technology is just an alternative method- which is comforting but creepy at the same time. It also raised the question of what your own after-death persona would be like if it was based on your online presence.

After all the advent of the Facebook timeline means our profiles now serve as memorials after we die anyway. I was wondering what I would want to happen to my Facebook account when I die… because it is definitely as though a part of you is still living on in the virtual world – I feel that for myself I would not want it, but then I have seen myself the comfort it brings to others to continue writing on someone’s wall, going through old pictures or even tagging new ones.

Here is a screenshot of the form that you fill out via Facebook:

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 11.45.48

It is our policy to memorialize all deceased users’ accounts on the site. When an account is memorialized, only confirmed friends can see the profile (timeline) or locate it in Search. The profile (timeline) will also no longer appear in the Suggestions section of the Home page. Friends and family can leave posts in remembrance.

In order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone. However, once an account has been memorialized, it is completely secure and cannot be accessed or altered by anyone.

I then researched below some of the tools that make the kind of device shown in black mirror possible:

“Weavr” — a piece of AI software, created using information from Ronson’s Wikipedia page.

In order to create a Weavr, a user must first create a profile on You can create one based on your own actual interests — feeding it with favourite keywords and geographical data about the places you tend to go. Or, alternatively you can scrape a Wikipedia page to create one based on a public or fictional figure. Once you publish your Weavr, it starts a life of its own, trawling social media sites and posting onto a central blog. If you wish you can also give your Weavr a Twitter account so that it tweets every time it posts to its blog, which it does around 25 times a day. You can then follow your digital alter-ego using your actual Twitter account to keep track of their digital adventures.

Weavrs feed off any platform with an API — including Twitter,, Flickr, Etsy and YouTube — reappropriating pieces of content that other people are sharing. They then publicly blog about how they feel, where they go and what they experience. Weavrs are geolocated and will check in to venues on a daily basis using Foursquare. You can view the Weavrs in your area using the augmented reality browser, Layar.

Flash Mobs Ignite talk

Below are some useful links to help get prepared for the ignite talk on flash mobs.

  • how trendy are flashmobs still in 2013?
  • viral is only viral when it’s original.
  • core structure of flashmobs:
  • selection of high frequented & public places
  • Flash Mobs lead to a highly surprising and emotional experience among its participants and passers which leads to an increase in the acceptability and success of this marketing instrument.
  • the popularity of Flash Mobs can be increased very fast by embedding them in social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Blogs.
  • However, Flash Mobs and similar innovative marketing instrument whose success depends on the level of newness should be used with some caution. A too much and too frequent and therefore inflationary use may lead to neutral or even worse, reverse effectsas they become predictable.
  •“Smart mobs emerge when communication and computing technologies amplify human talents for co-operation.” Unsurprisingly, flash-mobbing is included as part of the smart-mob phenomenon. However, Rheingold’s notion of the smart-mob has a political element – contributors to the why-war website argue that they would like to see this political element in flash-mobbing, as it has the potential to become a new and effective form of political protest.”
  • SMART MOBS:A platform for online social activism and digital citizenship in schoolsA smart mob is a self-organizing group of people who operate like a swarm of bees or a flock of pigeons. Scientists have long studied the intelligent ”emergent behavior” of hive-style animals. But texting on cellphones is now allowing humans to behave in the same way — forming into a group that is controlled by no single person, yet which moves as if it has a mind of its own. Since mobile text-messages can be instantly forwarded like e-mail pass-arounds, the mobs frequently involve masses of people who have never even met. ”They enable people to act together in new ways and in situations where collective action was not possible before,” writes the technology thinker Howard Rheingold in his book ”Smart Mobs,” published this fall.


    Flash mobs also appeal to a wider audience both on and offline. The fun and contemporary stunts are circulated on traditional and digital media reaching out to a wider audience helping to generate stronger brand awareness and drive traffic to websites and products.

    Here are the five most common themes we have found for a successful flash mob:

    1. Use social networking to its full potential. Set up a Facebook event, organise “tweetups” and use mobile apps to assist on the day whilst the event takes place.
    2. Be proactive. Take pictures and upload the performance onto YouTube or Daily Motion. The more your pictures and videos are circulated, the more you optimise brand awareness.
    3. A good product behind the flash mob is essential. A creative stunt will bring you heaps of traffic, but if you don’t have the product to keep people’s interest, all your hard work could be wasted.
    4. Pick a bustling, central location – give people no choice but to notice you. A flash mob won’t work if there is nobody to see it.
    5. Choose an appropriate performance and make sure it stays true to your brand or cause. If you’re a start-up, a “Freeze flash mob” could be an exciting and thought-provoking way to get people talking about your brand!
  • So how can you create a successful flash mob for your business? Here are five easy-to-follow steps.
    1. Organize the event using your social channels. Consider a Facebook event, Twitter hashtag, and blog post about it. Include where it will be and when, encourage people to keep it a secret and give them the heads up that the dance moves are coming.
    2. Teach the moves. Get your choreographer ( used their employees) to create a dance routine that works for a variety of dance levels. Then publish a training video on YouTube and share it across your channels.
    3. Record the dance party. As the flash mob is occurring, have multiple cameras all around it. Record everything.
    4. Quickly edit and release the video. Kevin Micalizzi from stayed up until 2am editing the video that night to ensure it launched in a timely fashion. You want to share the video when it’s fresh in participants’ minds so they look for it and share it.
    5. Anaylze results. Beyond the number of YouTube hits, flash mob dancers and Facebook event attendees, consider if your flash mob met your marketing goals. Did it create the awareness and buzz you needed? Reassess and determine your future efforts from there.


everything is about video…

I myself am a big fan of video creation- especially good cinematic style adverts and fashion films for fashion brands which are becoming ever more popular and necessary for a brand to succeed.

For example the latest calvin klein provocations campaign 9min short which for me is mind-blowing in terms of cinematic techniques, poetic narrative and not to mention the amazing clothes. Before seeing this video I was not too much of a calvin klein fan and knew only about their clean sterile cuts, but now after seeing this video I appreciate them much more and will look forward to seeing more of their shorts because it has created an extension of the brand in my mind now- this whole world that you see in this video.

The reason I write about this is because I came across “Twitter users may soon have a new way to share videos in their tweets.” with ‘Vine’ – a small start up that twitter acquired in october. the length of these videos is said to be 6 seconds and no more. This will definitely change the psychology of content creators and consumers. Shorter, faster, simpler – I guess this will work for product display very well however I hope that doesn’t affect the great ads which are 1-2min long which create moments, worlds, stories.


Below is a link to a video I made in free time created with archive footage from the 70s of fashion production, lifestyle, status, and includes some classics such as Betty Page. it also plays with the idea that everything is a remix

the 8 best social media campaigns 2012

Came across this interesting article

2012 was a good year for social media. With more than 1 billion active monthly users on Facebook, more than 175 million tweets per day, more than 104 million visits per month to Pinterest, and more than 4 billion hours of video watched on YouTube each month, social media is exploding. Well, really, it has exploded.”


Why this is one of the best social media campaigns of 2012:
The product is smart; razors are expensive, and Dollar Shave Club provides significant business value. The brand kept the video short and relatable, yet bold. The video included a few “choice” words and humor that resonated with the target audience.

Another of the top campaigns was:

Honda #Pintermission (Pinterest)

The goals of campaign were to drive awareness to the newly created Honda Pinterest account, while encouraging followers to “get out and live life to the fullest.” The brand also sought to deliver personalized messages in order to build relationships with followers. Here’s how the campaign was implemented on Pinterest:

Honda offered $500 each to the most active pinners (as identified by Mashable) to take a 24-hour break from Pinterest (a “Pintermission,” if you will) to go out and do what they’ve been pinning about doing. Each pinner also received a personalized invitation and, if they accepted, they had to set up a personal #Pintermission board where they shared photos of their 24-hour Pinterest break (not during the break, of course).


Honda’s use of Pinterest was very creative and innovative. The message of the contest corresponded with Honda’s messaging (particularly around its new CR-V) to get out and live life. It’s also fascinating to build a campaign on a platform that encourages users to take a break from that platform. And then, of course, encourage those who took the break to share what they did on their day off.


  • Engage the audience- get them to participate in the campaigns themselves
  • choice words
  • humour
  • sharing of images
  • sticky hashtag (example the #MakeItCount)
  • being selective- ex. Grey Poupon Facebook page: used an app to scan their users fb profiles and see whether they had good enough taste to be real fans of their page. This way they ensured that their Facebook community was really there for the brand.


Week 5 notes

social business as a form of campaigning in itself. 

  • crowdsourcing
  • fundamentally being about change
  • processes, communications, purpose, commerce,
  • example: Applebee’s overnight social media meltdown: photo essay
  • social media: “it’s a boundary fucker”

Read: What is web 2.0 O’Reilly

The cluetrain Manifesto 1999: The end of business as usual/ reformation business/ markets are conversations/ campaigns are conversations that bring about hybrid change/ the game has changed.

The Guardian ‘All trials campaign’ to keep science public – all pharmaceutical trials should be published whether they fail or succeed. — not a networked campaign

Buzz Machine 2005, “dell lies, dell sucks” – started blog criticising DELL customer service and user experience – at first it was ignored by Dell but then they took this experience to turn it around and created open innovation: where lots of customer ideas actually turned into reality.

A similar open innovation website is which allows you to pitch ideas and even profit from them. networks and hierarchies// making social business reality

Adapting to life in perpetual beta – there is no social media strategy – from a social brand to a social business- catalysed, mediated by technologies.


The IT crowd, the IT departments- affects underlying department- they have the keys in their hands- denfense/security – open innovation platform. democracy in the workplace- driven by social media. — ties back to employment

Angry Birds: exploitative example- used open source// tragedy of the commons 1960s- people will always exploit.

Stiegler “in certain dosis it can be a cure, or a poison” – relates to social media

Who actually gets to define identity? mental health? – all are being contested over now

IkeaHackers : making different things from ikea furniture- using what’s already there to create new things. – takes it even further.

Plasticity of second life: how social media interact with our desires and fears- Alone together – deeper psychological structures beneath  – money version of crowdsourcing, reward systems- social validation tim o’reilly – face of silicon valley – “the only way to create value is by solving real world and environmental problems. Business should just change and be about making the world a better place – shift in business ideology- big hairy audacious ideas make big companies.


Ignite talk on craftivism:

  • practices positive change
  • highlights causes
  • form of self expression
  • Betsy Greer 2003-creator
  • kneed for good
  • values
  • causes
  • opposition to mass production
  • help local communities
  • enable environmental sustainability
  • anti-capitalist thinking
  • yarn bombing- covering statues, buildings with yarn – especially military structures
  • coopa roca- high fashion brand- women in brasil living in favelas get to sew and their work can end up on the catwalk
  • technology will save/repair us
  • communication tools helped the spread of craftivism: flickr, fb, sharing pictures, helped create community online, — physical and digital relationship overlapt
  • cohesive goals: free time and disposable required
  • failure to raise awareness- you cannot find any criticism of craftivism anywhere- no debates about it
  • measurement of awareness is itself a strategy –
  • result of social change is not visible.
  • hackspaces// stitchlondon

further class notes:

open source: practices emerged more successfully. computer scientist: orthodox thinking- affordances of technology

google/android- open source vs apple: closed.

trajectory of social changes are coming from everywhere and is highly ambiguous, but where is it going?

Kickstarter task:

Create, define, outreach, promote, rewards,

Idea: create a multicultural musical version of Bob Marley’s “one love” with people from all over the world singing in diff languages, using traditional instruments. create a 5min new version of his song.

  • Pledge £5 or more: you receive a personalised gift card
  • Pledge £10 or more: you receive a personalised gift card and a download of the song
  • Pledge £25 or more: you receive a personalised gift card, a signed cd and a download of the song.
  • Pledge £300 or more: you receive a signed guitar (original from the song) plus all the above
  • Pledge £1000 or more: you can spend the day with the team and realise one of your ideas for the music video and be credited for it.

Video Idea:

Animation of a spinning globe, zooms in on each continent with different “sounds/musical traditions” – all comes together to produce “one song” – bob marleys one love version starts to play – “come together ”