INSTAGRAM’S SHIFT TOWARDS LIVE: HOW STORIES AND LIVE VIDEOS SHAPE HOW WE EXPERIENCE BEING AT EVENTS
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, The
Instagram has long been about sharing perfect pictures. For their Instagram posts many users beautify scenes from everyday life, elevate photogenic aspects, and articulate special moments in a style that fits the standards of Instagram culture (Leaver et al., 2020; Manovich, 2017). The term “instagrammable” found its way into many dictionaries and is widely used as a promotional label, for instance in tourism, food, and the museum sector. However, since the introduction of Instagram Stories and Instagram Live – in 2016 – an increasingly large part of the content shared on Instagram is no longer instagrammable in the same sense. These features afford instantaneous sharing of images and videos that are not necessarily displayed permanently, introducing a very different visual language and new visual practices.
At festivals, Instagram is a ubiquitous platform. Many event-goers share their live experiences through posts and stories, often using event-specific hashtags, locations, and stickers. Based on an elaborate empirical examination of event-goers’ Instagram practices, this paper argues that Instagram’s shift towards live shapes their live experiences in distinct ways.
The social complexity of disconnection: contradictions and ambivalences in living well with smartphones
1RMIT University, Australia; 2Deakin University, Australia
Smartphones are intimately connected with colonialism and decolonisation; always-already imbricated in processes of empowerment and disempowerment. Popular media discourses can position consumers as wilfully ignorant about their tacit involvement in systems of surveillance and control (Bongiovanni et al., 2020). While it is true that by purchasing a smartphone one becomes a (perhaps unwilling) participant in and beneficiary of colonialism, surveillance and extractive capitalism, to attempt to survive and live well within these systems without a smartphone can seem almost impossible. This paper takes seriously the necessity of the smartphone as a tool for collaboration, connection and organisation. It simultaneously critiques ‘digital wellness’ discourses about smartphones, noting that such discourses position users as atomised individuals who are responsible for mitigating the ills of digital media.
Smartphone disconnection and ‘wellness’ discourses typically focus on the device as a site of distraction, compulsion, and addiction, and propose various forms of disconnection as the solution to this problem of ‘unhealthy’ smartphone use. What these discourses miss, however, is an acknowledgment of the relational dynamics specific to smartphones, and how those dynamics complicate efforts to manage use. In mapping these dynamics, our paper raises questions such as: what kinds of labour are required on the part of other people to support a person’s efforts at ‘digital wellbeing’? What kinds of relationships, or status, enable a person to disconnect and have other people understand, or compensate for, this action?
From “Text for Location” to “No Phone on the Dance Floor”: Negotiating Visibility in Underground Electronic/Dance Music
Cornell University, United States of America
The mediation of mobile and social media technologies has reshaped how people imagine, understand, and, in turn, calibrate the visibility of their self-expression, information sharing, and relationship-building. This paper presents a case study of how promoters and attendees in underground electronic/dance music culture (EDMC) maintained the boundaries of the “underground” by co-constructing norms of mobile and social media use. Drawing upon 20 nights of field observations at live music events and 27 semi-structured interviews with promoters and attendees, I highlighted two scenarios in which promoters and attendees leveraged the spatial and temporal affordances of mobile and social media to calibrate their visibility. First, the last-minute and indirect sharing of event location afforded the community to bar outsiders from entering while allowing insiders to authenticate themselves by navigating to their gatherings. Second, the dialectical shaping between promoters’ venue policies and attendees’ folk theories of phone etiquette maintained a reduced level of mobile media use at such gatherings. These practices brought to light how mobile and social media afford new spatial-temporal conditions of visibility and bring forth new possibilities for people to not only manage – but play with visibility.
Feeling good, feeling safe: Domesticating phones and drugs in clubbing practice
Roskilde University, Denmark
The role of recreational drug use in club/rave cultures is well-documented. Substances work to alter what the body is able to do and feel, sustaining modes and intensities of social and sensual engagement different from everyday life. In this respect, club culture’s leisure appeal is in the literature mostly understood in terms of its otherworldly, ritualistic, and contained qualities.
Conversely, smartphones as everyday technologies have given way to a hyperconnected and communicative reality, that draws its user into multiple contexts, publics, some of which are very public and traceable. The paper approaches and arguably resolves this clash of narratives by applying the domestication framework. Thus, the work of both phones and drugs in clubbing culture is considered along the axes of spatial organization, safety and control, and moral economy. Empirically, the paper takes draws from interviews with gay men in their 30s and 40s attending the same Berlin techno scene.
The analysis shows that both drugs and media in clubbing are contested technologies of pleasure and risk management. The findings mirror the tension between clubs as “sacred spaces” apart from everyday life, and the individual attendees wish to reintegrate it into other aspects of life and identity formation. Finally, it is suggested that by challenging the boundaries of domestication analysis in this way, re-aligns the domestication framework with contemporary academic concerns, making what has proven a powerful approach even more useful to a new generation of leisure research.