Hashtags? Good or bad?

2. Using the readings from this week, define ‘hashtag activism’. In your opinion, does ‘hastag activism’ have real world consequences? What are the benefits of this form of activism? What are some of its constraints? Please cite any additional resources you use.

Hashtag Activism “has been labeled a ‘microblog’ technology due to the medium’s restriction of posts to 140 characters or fewer.” (Murthy, 2012, p. 1060) Users are able to produce comments about whatever they wish, yet caped at the amount of characters. They have a network of friends that they connect with and whom want to connect with them. The ability to express ones’ opinion can be viewed by many and effect masses.

Hashtag Activism has real world consequences! People are allowed to express their feeling although if it offends another then lawsuits can be arranged. Miley Cyrus verse Sinead O’Conner via twitter was repeated on mass media sources.  Everyone was updated on the next post. Unfortunately, the tweets were very un-lady-like and often negative towards each other.  Having their “fight” exposed to the public allows for the public to place judgement. The “public fight” allowed the two to be exposed to the public which allows those following to place judgement. I personally felt that Sinead was in the right, unfortunately as the public fight continued, I disagreed with Sinead. Since hashtags were invented, one can follow a specific topic they wish to learn about.

My office manager had the whole staff on her facebook, but once a family fight hit facebook we were all deleted. No one wants to see a fight over facebook it is “trashy.” Therefore I respect my manager for deleting the staff. Yet, I feel that one that participates in immature fights over social media is unprofessional and lacks maturity. I feel like that situation made the idea of my manager being more superior to I was then turned into nonexistent. #childish #growup #dirtylaundry

Alerting the public of emergency situations has proven very successful over social media. Hashtags have allowed to public to connect with information quickly and the information is instant and can change instantly. Being connected to #TOsnowstorm one could find out when the power in a certain area was attained again.

Those who do not know how to use “Hashtags,” like myself. Hold the opportunity to screw up the integrity of a hashtag. For example, I took a photo of a meal I made #homeCookMeal, but dad came home with take out, then I hashtagged it as the same as my dinner I made. I was being funny, but when you see the collection of “#homeCookMeal” a photo of takeout will appear. This lowers the integrity of the hashtag since a photo of the opposite meaning of the hashtag is there.

As we can see we require social media to spread hashtags. Hashtags can serve as a rapid connection to emergency situations. Therefore Hashtag activism holds the good for the public. There will always be hashtags that serve no purpose. With that said there are multiple hashtags that the general public will not hold its’ integrity. Either because they do not understand the meaning behind hashtags or they use them as antonyms, like myself. Overall Hashtags are worthwhile in our media especially when information needs to be collected and at rapid speed.


Creative Meme Assignment


• Why did you choose this meme?
Sometimes I cannot help myself by creating things with a dental background. Being a Dental Hygienist, I eat, sleep and think teeth. Meme’s are an excellent way to get serious information to a larger audience. They say “a picture can say a thousand words,” therefore powerful messages can come from one photo. I choose this meme, because majority of the population does not have adequate home care for their oral care. People often forget that there are serious consequences when avoiding daily oral care. This photo I believe reminds the public that you can lose teeth. Therefore if one does not want to keep their teeth, simply they don’t have to care for them

• How does your understanding of the meme position you as a reader within a larger community? What is this community?
Everyone except those who have already lost their teeth will understand this meme. In fact, maybe those who did lose their teeth maybe did not know it was due to the lack of daily oral care. Therefore, everyone in the world should understand this meme. My targeted community would be the world.

• What does the meme mean?
The meme holds a large amount of dental education. That if one does not exercise daily oral care they have large consequences. Not only is your facial structure distorted, your use of basic eating techniques are distorted as well. Everyone feels the urge to consume food, you need teeth to chew. If you do not have teeth you will be on a liquid diet. There goes the hamburgers, steak, and spinach pie people enjoy eating. Some people do not realise how connected daily oral care is to your overall health.

• What are its points of reference (i.e. intertextuality, indexicality)?
Intertextuality: I know I have heard the line that I used in my meme before. I cannot remember where it came from since I have been using it for years with my patients. When I google the saying, I find that it is a common saying for the dental world. It would be similar to “Don’t put your fingers in your mouth.” “Put your money where your mouth is.”These are common sayings without a clear creator. Although the words make a relationship to ones brain that lack daily care can be damaging.

Indexicality: My meme does not hold a strong indexicality, other than the teeth reference. It is not as general as “Disaster Girl” as written in our notes. Disasters can be combined with multiple situations. Dental reference only refers to lack of care results in lack of loss. Although it also implies that your facial structure could become distorted. Also could refer to lack of social acceptance. Therefore my meme can be expanded but still does not hold the general indexicality like “Disaster Girl,” like in our notes and when referenced in Sean, Rintel’s work in the conversation.

• How does the meme work as a cultural artifact?
The meme is known as “virally shared nuggets of cultural currency.” Therefore a meme will be a cultural artifact. It is attached to a specific generation of the internet community. Memes touch the lives to many and have educated those that have seen them. It is hard to think the Memes could be an artifact, but I cannot predict the future. They are viewed by many generations and cultures therefore they are substantially part of our daily lives.

Part 2

• How does your meme ‘work’?
My meme is highly functioning meme because it touches everyone. Everyone has/had teeth in their lifetime, but do they know how important they really are? “Only brush the ones you want to keep,” refer to your teeth. Your teeth are the sole purpose to why one can chew their food. My meme holds a strong message socially, health related, and function to live.

• Who/what is your audience?
My audience is the world; it can touch the young and to the older generations. It touches all cultures to the world for everyone has/had teeth. I am a dental hygienist therefore I feel it is of the outmost importance to spread the knowledge about the importance of daily oral care. Your mouth is connected to the body. If you do not care for your mouth you are at risk of cardiovascular disease, uncontrollable diabetes, premature labour and other systemic diseases. (dentalhealth.org)

• Does its interpretation require specialized knowledge?
I chose a photo to decrease the requirement for specialized knowledge. When I practice dental hygiene I like to use the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). I assume that if I can educate a 3 year old then I can educate all ages. The photo I chose was of a man with only a few teeth, he was missing all of his front teeth. This is important for most people only brush the ones they see. We call them the sexy six. My hopes were to use a photo with minimal teeth to express that, yes some stay but they are not the ones you want. In the photo the man has retained his mandibular canines (bottom fang teeth), those in the dental background will know that is because they have the largest roots in the whole mouth and often the last to go due to their size.

• Describe its templatability. Did you build on an existing meme? How does your meme connect to the other(s)? How does your meme differ?
My meme can be used for other types of organisms with teeth. Other than that the meme is not able to be templatable. You could possibly apply it to taking care of a vehicle, it would rust out without care. “only feed the children you want to keep,” sounds awful although it is hard to come up with meme’s that can be build from my meme. Since if you don’t care for something it would die like your teeth. Therefore, any spin off memes would be dark in nature.

• How did you create your meme? Describe the process and the tools you used in its creation.
I used the memegenerator.net to create my meme. I was worried before starting this assignment, I knew the type of photo I wanted but was stressed how to cite that it was not mine. I was quickly relieved to find there was a generator that I could use that I did not need to worry about “buying” or citing the photo of choice.
I typed in toothless person; I found that the site was not working a 100% because I had to back up what I was typing for the photos to stay. When I typed “toothless person” completely all the photos would disappear. Creating the meme was easy, especially because I knew what I wanted to create, I had been thinking about it for a long time. If you know where to go on the internet than it is usually simple to create what you want. It’s the lack of knowing where to go that can be the most challenging.

1. Rintel, Sean. “Explainer: What are memes?” The Conversation Jan 13. 2014.http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-memes-20789

2. http://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/mouth-and-body/healthy-gums-and-healthy-body

Participating in the Online Community

Given your experience with the various tools used in the course, what is your take on ‘participation’ within contemporary digital culture?

     “Online community is composed of members sharing common interests. They interact with each other to discuss topics, exchange ideas and seek support. Thus, individual member’s behavior may be influenced not only by his/her own motivations such as perceived usefulness, but also by other members and the community.” (Zhou, 2011, p.68) The contemporary digital culture has allowed immediate access just about any type of information one would require at a rapid speed. It allows anyone to create information that can be accessed by everyone. Urgent information is accessed just as fast as it has been reported.


Do you perceive yourself to be a participant?

     Due to my “technology” skills I would consider myself as viewing participant, not a lot of creating participation happens with me. This is why I have chosen this course, therefore I can learn more of what I do not know how to complete.

 In what ways do you measure participation?

     There are multiple ways to measure participation.  “Facebook, the largest global online community, holds more than 200 million users around the world.” (Zhou, 2011, p. 67) The fact that there is such a large population accessing the World Wide Web will result in multiple ways of creating participation. The World Wide Web can be viewed as a large high school community.  “Sense of belonging has also been found to affect online community user participation (Teo et al., 2003; Lin, 2008).” (Zhoa, 2011, p.75). As we have learned there are many platforms that one can express participation in order to feel like a contributing member to the online community.


Is participation emancipatory?

Yes, participation is emancipatory although the copyrights can be limiting. “YouTube’s one flaw is that, despite the potential immortality of every video on its site, there is no guarantee that any given video clip available today will be there tomorrow, or even five minutes from now. (Levinson, 2013, p.59) Therefore, yes, one can be limited to what they can post. Although over all participation allows multiple views that are easily accessed. People have a say, and have options in what they want to participate in. “They may feel that it is unnecessary to comply with people’s opinions. They decided whether to participate in a community mainly based on their own volitions.” (Zhou, 2011, p. 75) No one forces someone to participate in the online community.


Are there trade-offs to participation?

     Yes, there are multiple trade-offs when it comes to communicating within the online community. In the “online community users interact with each other in a collaborative environment. Their participation will be affected not only by their own motivations, but also by social processes.” (Zhou, 2011, p. 76) For example: “Obama girl” video showed that Obama was a person that was cool, interesting and attractive. (Levinson, 2013, p.43) Some say that this video helped with the election process with the younger voters, vote for Obama.

     When you allow anyone to post something in the online community you have access to multiple opinions. Important information can be give by anyone that could just be expressing their opinion without financial gain. There is a sense that someone isn’t purely after your money can be pay-off alone to participate in the online community.


     Everything you read and view will be of bias in nature of the creator. Google/YouTube allows the viewer to examine multiple literature and media for the public to make their own decisions. Back in the day, judgment was based on what others informed you. This would be your social circle, which is very limiting and largely bias. Value cannot be placed on the benefits when one participates in the online community. Creating is just as important as viewing. Therefore I hope to learn more about creating in this course to become a larger part of this community.  




Levinson, P. “Chapter 4: YouTube.” New New Media. 2nd ed. Toronto: Penguin Academics, 2013. 41-64.

Lin, H.-F. (2008), “Determinants of successful virtual communities: contributions from system characteristics and social factos”, Information and Management,45(8)522-527.

Teo, H.H., Chan, H.C., Wei, K.K. and Zhang, Z. (2003) “Evaluating information accessibility and community adaptivity features for sustaining virtual learning communities”, International Journal of Human-computer Studies, 59(5)671-97.  

Zhou, Tao, (2011) Understanding online community user participation: a social influence perspective. Internet Research. 21(1)67-81.


Meg’s First Experiences with the WORLD WIDE WEB

My first experience of the World Wide Web was when I was in a split grade 4/5 classroom. I was in grade five and a grade four students was teaching the teacher;

“You just type https://www. and the company you want to browse.”

The grade four student was lightening fast when typing on the computer. We were supposed to be all practicing learning our typing skills on the computer, but my wondering eye was intrigued to find out what was happening with the grade four student and the teacher. The student showed him http://www.yahoo.com on the computer. I thought to myself, “Yahoo, like the chocolate milk?” As I continued to watch I was blown away that 1) I had no idea what was happening, and 2) seems like the teacher was in the same boat. As the year progressed, I came home and there was a computer in the basement. I barely knew how to work one and I can tell you now my dad did not know how either.

That’s when I learnt about, “You have mail.” We had an AOL account. (America Online). The first interaction was writing emails to my best friend in America. Then came AOL messenger. At this time more of my Canadian friends had the service and we were able to chat with each other. I believe chat rooms were invented first. This is where you could go to a chat room “dogs” and there would be people in there interacting with others talking about “dogs.” Then of course ICQ instant messaging came next. The cool thing about ICQ was you could download different “skins” and could make the program personally unique. As we can see my “online” experience has purely been messaging my friends locally and long distance. I feel that I this experience is the sole practice of my typing skills. Which of course are not traditional but I am quite speedy based on the years of experience I hold.

My skills have since improved in various areas of the online world. Over the years I have learnt how to search topics, research easily, learn how to do it yourself projects, immediately connect to current news and of course continue to keep in touch with all my friends. I continue to advance my skills by taking Adult Education Degree with Brock University online. If one does not stay current, one cannot compete in the ever changing world.

Learning about Memes

What is a ‘meme’?

I asked my friends what was a “Me- Me,” they looked at me confused. I continued to explain the New New Media course to them. My one friend broke out laughing, she said you mean “Meem.” Therefore my first experience with memes was that I was pronouncing them wrong. Turns out memes are essentially a picture/poster producing information in many areas. “As Richard Dawkins, in his 1974 book The Selfish Gene, took a different tack, shortening the Greek term “mietes” (imitator) to coin “meme” as a cultural analogue to the biological gene: “self-replicating unit of information.” (Rintel, 2014). At the end of the quote it says “self-replicating unit of information,” this is because memes are easily disturbed over the World Wide Web. The impact of information produced from a meme can summarize a large article just by using one word or sentence with an image. Therefore you will find that you are sent memes more frequently that large literature attachments from a wide range of your network of people. Memes can be used for informing the public or for pure entertainment for the public. All in all there is always something to learn from a meme. Memes do not require a large amount of knowledge to understand them. “All memes (offline and on) are capable of existing in layers (Davison, 2012 ,p.127).” As Kendzior teaches us that we must hold importance of who is creating and spreading the meme. For in most situations you should be reading between the lines before believing the meme in certain areas. Areas for pure entertainment are ones that one does not require to dive into the meaning behind, for it is mainly just for laughs.

In “The Power of the Meme”, Sarah Kendzior writes: “ Memes create the illusion of participation in a political system from which people feel increasingly alienated, a system run on wealth that is incomprehensible to a normal person.” In your own words explain what Kendzior means. Kendzior opens our eyes that yes “memes” are powerful but what might be more powerful is who is behind the “meme.” Kendzior says, “Memes tell us more about the people creating and spreading them than they do about the topics they address.” Similar to bias’s in the news it is important to know who and why they are being produced. Memes are quick to the point although it is due straightforwardness of a meme that we might not take the time to read between the lines.

Do you agree/disagree with the author’s argument? Explain why.

I see Sarah’s point of view although I feel she generalizes the population in her views. I see Sarah’s point of view although I feel she generalizes the population in her views. I feel that she generalizes her demographic as the world in a whole. She states that, “23 per cent of Missourians who lack regular internet access, who live outside the meme.” Due to the fact that the “use of a library computer, the only source of internet access for a significant part of the Saint Louis population.” Kendzior states that for one to interpret a meme they require; access to the internet, knowledge of technology and hold political literacy. I feel that the population could lack political literacy and still understand majority of political memes. Therefore I disagree that one requires all three requirements.

Why should we care about memes? In other words, what is the cultural value of a meme?

Memes are an excellent source of information. For example I am planning on making a meme of a edentulous person smiling, and having the text read “Only brush the ones you wish to keep.” Being in the dental profession this is a quick reminder that if you do not use your brushing, flossing and rinsing techniques you will lose your teeth. Memes produce facts quickly with the use of text and images. I feel that memes in the medical dental profession could be the most effective way to educate patients.

I feel that Sarah Kendzior’s thought about political memes will hold a bias. We should investigate who is creating and spreading before believing them fully. Although I feel that is due to the fact that we are dealing with “political” memes, and “political literature” should always be investigated before believing them. I feel that if the government of Canada were to produce a meme on sexual transmitted diseases this meme would not need to be investigated. For the source and the fact that is on health protection that our interests are being held at the most importance.

Davison, Patrick. “The Language of Internet Memes.” The Social Media Reader. Ed. Michael Mandiberg. New York & London: New York University, 2012. 120-134. https://lms.brocku.ca/access/content/group/COMM-FILM-PCUL2F00D01SP2014MAIN/W4%20Davison.pdf
Kendzior, Sarah. The Power of the Meme. Aljazeera. 30 Oct. 2012.http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/2012102914110457228.html
Rintel, Sean. “Explainer: What are memes?” The Conversation. 13 Jan. 2014. http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-memes-20789

What are some of the ways in which your everyday digital practices having you participating, willingly or not?

I actively participate in online searches for just about everything. What did we do without technology? My parents get into arguments all the time and since “google” someone is deemed correct. How did people live before without instant communication? When I catch a “breaking news” on tv I instantly search it on the web. These days we have access to soooooo  much data, I wonder if all the data is completely appericated?

How have your participatory practices evolved over time?

As a generation X student I thought I was “in the know” of technology. Technology advances at an alarming rate. Unless you are focused on the rapid changes, one can easily be lost. I am lost but working toward finding my “in the know” again.

How can we think critically about participation in relation to our contemporary digital environment that eschews technological determinism?

If one does not participate, one will be MIA (Missing in action).  You must keep up with the times or else you will be obsolete.

In other words, what are the affordances and constraints of a participatory culture?

Those that practices and are open to change will be the most successful over time. My father refuses to learn about computers therefore struggles with the internet. He is retired but even if you do not require technology for work purposes then you are missing out on what you do not know.