Visual Dimensions to Online Communication
According to Pasfield-Neofitou (2012), Visual includes in-game, three-dimensional objects, IM display photos, as well as emoticons. In this, users describe themselves, their likes, and their activities using texts and images. On the other hand, online communication is the use of digital bodies. The use of Internet memes has significantly risen in the world today. In their article, Guadagno R., Rempala D., Murphy S., and Okdie B, interrogate the impact that computers have had on human behavior. This dwells on emotional response and the effects of Internet videos. What makes some Internet videos go viral? Is it an issue of social influence where the Internet users spread the video among themselves? Is it due to emotional contagion or is video virality influenced by some online consumer behavior? This article is essential currently, as technological advancement has brought about a change of events. Technology has led to the use of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) through blogs, websites, and videos among others. This paper will look into the strengths and weaknesses of Internet memes by critically addressing the issues discussed in this paper.
This article discusses the emotional effects on Internet users as a result of Internet video viewing. Respondents’ feelings are gauged against the type of videos they are given to watch. These videos range from funny, disgusting, angry, and cute videos. Other than their feelings, the participants’ viability of forwarding these clips is tested. Another aspect that is put into consideration is the source of the video. The data is then analyzed and tabled.
The use of Internet memes has positively impacted society. For example, the article cites President Barrack Obama’s supporters creating a “Yes We Can” video, which was shared on the Internet and went viral. It was the highly watched video on YouTube, and one would post related messages on this popular online video during that year’s campaign thus influencing others who in turn swore their support for Barrack Obama. This was an effect of social networking and Internet memes, and it led Obama to win with absolute majority votes.
However, Internet users mostly share humorous videos as compared to anger-eliciting ones. This is because positive content help in reinforcing bonds between the persons involved while anger-inducing videos escalate negative feelings. As much as feeling good is important, there will be negative issues that life will bring, so the fact that Internet consumers will dwell so much on the videos that will excite them is questionable.
There is also the problem of social validation; a situation where the Internet consumers influence each other, especially experienced between in-groups. One will feel that because certain content was forwarded to them by their friend, it is a good thing, and they end up forwarding the same material to other people. This may negatively influence Internet users, especially if they are teenagers and the video they are consuming has negative content. In addition, social validation influences a person’s choice. One will be more comfortable viewing what has been forwarded to them by a friend and may never chose to independently choose what to view.
Our emotions are not differently elicited, and what is humorous to one person may not be humorous to another; therefore, forwarding and sharing of Internet videos may not help achieve the intended impact or deliver the intended message. This will at times lead to feelings of neglect on the part of the person who sent the video, particularly if the video was forwarded between in-group scenarios.
Though online communication is a very effective way to convey a message with the majority of the world’s population embracing social media and one is left with no other alternative but to join the moving current, Internet consumers should evaluate the intended impact before disseminating a particular video.
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Pasfield-Neofitou, S. E. (2012). Online communication in a second language: Social interaction, language use, and learning Japanese. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Sagun, K. K. A. (2013). Internet Memes as Information Dissemination Tool for Libraries: The Ateneo De Manila University Experience. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 103, 542-550
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