The Social Self

What is sense of self in the world of self promotion and marketing

Social media has become the way people represent themselves to each other, but these selfs that are being displayed how real are they. Sometimes social media can be represented as a ‘Third space’. Pennington (2018) defines Third spaces as “sites where hegemonic and normative ways of seeing the world are challenged and, perhaps, transcended. For Hoover and Echchaibi (nd: 3), third space is something that is ‘fluid, conceptual, and imagined,’ as much a tool to ‘think with’ as a site of investigation” Basically this means social media is a place where reality and imagination combine to present this combination image of self to others.

As Instagram is really the only platform I post content (if still very irregularly) too I will be focusing in on instagram, the sense of self I portray and the way the platform in general presents people and their sense of self.

So how do I use instagram ?

My instagram is a public facing account (my only public social media account apart from twitter for university). I use my instagram page to mostly display my current Judo adventures, although there are a couple other posts mixed in there. As a consumer on instagram I mostly just skim through a few friends stories and posts and am not engaged in really any other content except for the IJF (international Judo federation) posts sometimes around competitions I am watching.

My posting is actually quite in line with smith et al. (2015) findings which is quite interesting and suggests I might be framing my own self projection based on my experience of looking at athletes projected self online.

I generally take the approach to anything I post on instagram needs to be appropriate for all audiences from friends to potential employers as it is public facing. So this means I am representing a semi professional self and things I do that I find interesting/cool enough to share. I would say my profile is quite authentic but also very selective in the sense that I say it how I see it when I post but I don’t post much.

It also worth noting as Slater et al. (2017) discusses the limited affect of the kind of inspirational images in instagram not really actually being all that useful for the user but self compassion (“healthy ways of relating to oneself in times of suffering, whether suffering is caused by failure, perceived inadequacy, or general life difficulties” Braehler et al. (2020)) this kind of behaviour can be seen through some of my posts after injuries/disappointing competition results. Which again I was not conscious of that being part of my activity or necessarily why I thought these things were post worthy but I makes more sense now.

The affordances of instagram that allow me to do this is the nature of the following aspect combined with the public profile ability where I can provide a public facing image and not see everyone that has seen my contents own content to but they can see mine if they want. Instagram specifically works well for this as they can see when I post new things without having to come looking for it and they can get a quick picture view of what I do by heading to my page.

Another big thing is the way stories can be close friends only implemented into instagram now. Now that I am living across the world I intend to use these affordances to show some more of my adventures that my friends would normally know about through discussions in person. This also allows the semi professional self being maintained and the quality of posts unaffected but establishing both selfs on one platform.

The way instagram organises news feeds also provides an easy way to have a global reach as it focuses on who it thinks you will interact with over when things were posted, this means people I know in Australia, Malta and elsewhere will still see my posts with less importance on when I post than other platforms.


Pennington, R. (2018) ‘Social media as third spaces? Exploring Muslim identity and connection in Tumblr’, International Communication Gazette. 80: 7, pp 620-636

Slater, A, Varsani, N & Diedrichs, PC 2017, ‘fitspo or #loveyourself? The impact of fitspiration and self-compassion Instagram images on women’s body image, self-compassion, and mood’, Body image, vol. 22, pp. 87–96.

Smith, LR & Sanderson, J 2015, ‘I’m Going to Instagram It! An Analysis of Athlete Self-Presentation on Instagram’, Journal of broadcasting & electronic media, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 342–358.

Christine Braehler, Kristin Neff, 2020, “Chapter 20 – Self-compassion in PTSD”, Etiology, Assessment, Neurobiology, and Treatment 2020, Pages 567-596

Citizen Journalism,

Factual news or uneducated ramblings?

With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and increasing access to the internet and ability to make media and create ‘news’ by individuals the question arises who/what should be trusted. Should important information only be delivered by legacy media sources (newspaper, TV, radio), should it be government provided or is a post by someone online just as valid?

With social media being a democratised approach to media publishing, that is anyone can post anything and it can be accessed widely. This leads to massive amounts of media with varying opinions publicly accessible. Unfortunately one downside to this quantity of media is publishers can be focused on getting clicks on their articles rather than creating quality content. Does this lead to ‘fake news’/content that is not properly fact checked being released to be first to post and receive clicks?

For example in 2017 TMZ saw footage of what appears to be a dog being mistreated on a movie set leading them to publish articles about it which is still live today even though it has been shown to be a large quantity of clips from different times combined to misrepresent the situation. Here is a brief article about the situation.

A quick definition of citizen journalism before we continue defined by Wall (2015) “citizen journalism is defined as news content (text, video, audio, interactives, etc.) produced by non-professionals”

So what do I think generally about citizen journalism then? Generally I think citizen journalism has had a positive influence on news and media cycles and can often been seen to hold those in power accountable especially in locations of harsh/dictator like rule. However as we approach news in general not just from citizen journalists I think it is harmful to only get your information from one source and to not question anything you are hearing. So as a piece of a wholistic news puzzle I think it is helpful but I do not think it is the be all end all of news/media.

As Al-Ghazzi (2014) talks about I think it is important to understand the context of a situation and using your own understand of the world tp provide commentary is not always helpful and does not necessarily apply across cultural contexts. Also as meikle et al. talks about the wholly encompassing nature of social media to include satire, peoples everyday activities, event organisation, businesses, jokes, news articles and more. This means its important to understand the truly anyone nature of citizen journalism and its even harder to work out an individuals motives for posting/ creating citizen journalism than organisation where they generally have some clear leanings even as they try to avoid biases in journalistic reporting.

All these things considered let’s take a quick look at how citizen journalism has played out in Malaysia. Mahamed et al. (2021) talks about eh development of a specific website for tis content in 2007 to an organisation in 2011 to support and provide opportunity for proved reputable citizen journalists to now the new generation and their use of these pathways to express opinions and feel more engaged in impacting their future.

Citizen journalism in Malaysia has been shown to bring more diverse issues to the attention of media who often didn’t look to far outside their normal realms of discuss previously and has been a good additive to traditional media discourse as talked about here.

I think Malaysia is a good example of great citizen journalism using the tools available to citizens well to add to the wholistic picture of news in Malaysia.


Graham Meikle and Sherman Young – From Broadcast to Social Media (ch. 3 in Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 59-78)

Wall, M 2015, ‘Citizen Journalism: A retrospective on what we know, an agenda for what we don’t’, Digital journalism, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 797–813.

Al-Ghazzi, O 2014, ‘“Citizen Journalism” in the Syrian Uprising: Problematizing Western Narratives in a Local Context’, Communication theory, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 435–454. COPY CITATION TO CLIPBOARD

MAHAMED, M., OMAR, S. and KRAUSS, S. (2021) “Understanding Citizen Journalism from the Perspective of Young Journalists in Malaysia”, Utopía y Praxis Latinoamericana, 26(Esp.1), pp. 133-144. Available at:

Consuming popular culture

This week in BCM111 we looked at media, popular culture, the interactions between the two and how globalisation in combination with the internet has impacted them. So this week I am writing about piece of popular culture I personally consume and how the theories learned in BCM111 apply to it.

First let’s have a quick look at what is popular culture? Storey (2015) talks about 6 definitions for popular culture but the commonalities between them are mass appeal, mass produced and for the people. While some of the definitions have other specific points this is the main concept we will be looking at here.

So thinking about my consumption of media specifically to narrow down the options the most popular culture I consume at the moment is Ted Lasso. Ted Lasso is a tv show currently airing its second season weekly on Apple TV +, it is about an American NFL coach who is now coaching a European football (soccer) team.

I believe that the main key theoretical reason for Ted Lasso’s popularity throughout all westernised countries is Cultural Proximity. Cultural proximity is defined by Lu et al. (2019) as “similarities in history, ethnicity, religion, language, and geography. Among them, similar language was often highlighted as an important determinant of audience preferences … Besides language, there are other cultural elements at play, such as dress, ethnic types, gestures, body language, humor, music, religion, gender image, lifestyle, personal experiences, education, family, and organizational affiliation”.

So why is this relevant to the popularity of Ted lasso? being a show centred on a sport that is globally played and recognised is a great starting point for large cultural proximity.

This is a large factor bridging between European league being the setting for the Show while brining an American coach into this environment you are immediately bridging the gap between two of the largest cultural driving regions in the world and making them both has strong cultural proximity to the show. Trepte (2008) talks about the significant cultural differences between the US Asia and Europe using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to show these differences and how cultural proximity across these barriers can be challenging. However Trepte (2008) also uses these dimensions to show how some things do match across these cultures and I believe Ted Lasso’s use of football (soccer) with an American NFL coach achieves cultural proximity across the US and Europe.

The fact that Ted Lasso is also in English helps with the reduction of cultural polarisation as Kziazek and Webster (2008) talk about multilingual non native English speakers are far more likely to be culturally fluent with English media then the other way around as native English speakers often shows cultural polarisation.

So in summary Ted Lasso is current popular culture with strong cultural proximity and relatability to the masses across a large global audience.


John Storey – What is Popular Culture? (Cultural Theory and popular culture: an introduction, Routledge, pp. 1-16)

Lu J, Liu X, Cheng Y. Cultural Proximity and Genre Proximity: How Do Chinese Viewers Enjoy American and Korean TV Dramas? SAGE Open. January 2019. doi:10.1177/2158244018825027

Thomas B. Ksiazek M.A. and Ph.D. & James G. Webster Ph.D (2008) Cultural Proximity and Audience Behavior: The Role of Language in Patterns of Polarization and Multicultural Fluency, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52:3, 485-503, DOI: 10.1080/08838150802205876

Trepte, S. (2008) Cultural proximity in TV entertainment: An eight-country study on the relationship of nationality and the evaluation of U.S. prime-time fiction: . , Vol. 33 (Issue 1), pp. 1-25.