I thought I knew what people meant with their pictures and videos on Facebook but this MOOC on Future Learn gave me a broader perspective and helped me to understand that we are different and post for different reasons.
The course is a taster of an anthropological study by UCL that focuses on a number of different global locations such as England, Turley, India, Trinidad, Brazil, Chile & China. What I learned over this six week course (which is still open if you fancy joining) is that it’s not all about vain ‘selfies’ and ‘bling’ or closed ideology echo chambers like I have experienced or rather I think I have, there’s so much more to why we post.
In the early part of the course, we looked at an English village and how they use social media, I wasn’t too surprised to find that people kept each other at a distance but you would be amazed to know how a facebook chat saved someone from a stroke and you’ve heard of ‘selfies’ but did you know about ‘groupies’ and ‘uglies’?
Before taking this course I imagined social media use to be the same everywhere, a place where people show off, argue and post any random nonsense that comes to their mind seeking attention constantly but this isn’t the case
People take pride in their appearance on social media in Trinidad, this in part to their self emancipation from slavery by European colonialists, terms like ‘Ghetto’ and ‘Stush’ define poverty and affluence. While there’s some variation in the degree to how much Trinidadians view outward appearance as important, it is still important to them to look good on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
For those affected by the earthquakes in Northern Chile, Facebook and Instagram was a way of people coming together and a way of letting the world know about their plight, these photos were very vivid and very honest, here, it was their poverty and hardships that the people wanted to let the world know about, not their social status
By way of these examples from the course, we can see how differently we use social media across the globe, there is so much more I could share, you might think anthropology is boring, I did but I made a lot of surprising discoveries on this course, I enjoyed it, you might too, so if you want to give it a go it’s still open for the next week or so and will run again from June 13th and from October 31st 2016, if you want to jump in and get immersed, you can do so here