If you have read my 'About' page you may already be aware that in addition to carrying out graphic design work, I am also a Media and Communication Undergraduate and at this moment in time, I am currently writing my dissertation - which is what I want to discuss more in this post.
In addition to undertaking Visual Communication, throughout my three years at University I have also studied a range of research modules - in particular, those surrounding technology due to my keen interest in social media. These included New Media, Social Media and Fandoms, where I conducted research into YouTube / YouTubers, but more specifically the fandoms and community aspect. Over the years I have conducted research surrounding both Dan and Phil and more recently, Jeffree Star. Having been involved within the YouTube community as an active viewer since 2012, studying such areas at University enabled me to obtain a further insight and understanding of the communities / fandoms that would not have been possible otherwise.
Having conducted research surrounding YouTube for two and a half years, my final major project took a different turn. I was presented with the opportunity to either conduct a practice project where I could demonstrate my graphic design skills or produce a dissertation surrounding a topic of my choosing. Whilst the practice project was tempting, during my second year New Media module, upon seeing the community aspect of social media, in August 2019, I decided to transform my Instagram account into a photography one instead. Despite being an amateur, I renamed my account 'beckycleephotography' and began to post images of nature and landscapes that I had taken. As I continued to post content on the platform, I began to generate a larger following than expected (now over two thousand followers) but more importantly, I noticed that I had begun to accumulate my own little community - which was heartwarming. These followers always interacted with my content via likes, comments or even a direct message which undoubtedly was a morale boost! Yet this is also where the inspiration for my dissertation arrived.
As I begun to spend an increasing amount of time on Instagram, it led me to wonder why I, or anyone posts on the platform and what do they get from posting content? Do followers mean anything? Do likes and comments hold any significance? Are we our true selves online? With all of these questions arising and due to my involvement within the Instagram community, I decided that this would be the foundations for my dissertation, which leads me to today. Focussing on other individuals like myself - amateur photographers who post nature and landscape photography, I am exploring 'In What Ways Has Instagram Created an Attention Economy for Expressions of Everyday Individual Creativity?'. I am currently in the process of writing up my findings section, with the intention to have a full draft completed within the next two weeks!
I hope this has given you more of an insight into the academic aspects of my work and thank you for reading!