My Digital Artefact for BCM206 was an Instagram meme page titled @Memeiated. The account was based around posting memes without a specific theme or genre and throughout the semester I found meme templates on Subreddits and Instagram pages and used these to make content. I found Instagram to be the best platform when doing this due to its format being based off of pictures and with my biggest task for this digital artefact was garnering and connecting with an audience this seemed like the best route to take.
As someone who spends a lot of their free time making memes and similar content as a hobby, the biggest takeaway I found from running this account was realising how easy it was to fall into the liquid labour mindset. Having the ability to produce and upload content from my phone there was a blur between working on the project and my own free time given how easy and accessible content creation was incredibly prevalent throughout the semester. There were multiple meme accounts who I drew inspiration from throughout the semester including @MemeManMyles , @ShitHeadSteve & @Tank.Sinatra as most of the content that these accounts produce are their own original memes and content so I was able to draw heavy inspiration from their accounts throughout the semester.
One of the biggest learning curves I experienced this semester came from the creation of content. I constantly found myself spending prolonged periods of time searching for meme templates when I could have been creating content to post. To remedy this I began spending my spare time browsing popular images and meme templates that specific week and used them as templates as opposed to specific meme templates. This idea sprouted after I began collaborating with fellow meme accounts and asking them for advice on how to speed up the process.
This is mainly due to the fact that oftentimes the meme template subreddits receive very few submissions. By stockpiling a wide range of templates that could be used in a multitude of formats I was able to save myself both time and effort when it came to searching the internet looking for up-to-date pieces of content to create. This also challenged my creativity and was able to create relevant content whilst being limited to a certain amount of meme templates.
A significant moment when working on the project was the first time I was featured on Instagram’s explore page, when this first happened I was unsure of why the post was being bombarded with likes and comments only to ask a fellow account who I was collaborating with that alerted me that the meme received enough exposure for Instagram to deem it suitable for the explore page. This was an important development in the progression of my digital artefact as it allowed for me to realise what sort of content viewers were interested in and allowed me to better grasp an understanding of my audience. However, this experience was short lived as I shortly noticed a plummet in interactions and impressions as a result of being removed from the explore page. Despite this being incredibly disheartening it allowed me to realise that when the algorithm is in my favour when posting content it’s imperative that I make the most of it and ensure that I gain as many permanent followers in this time as opposed to just gathering likes as followers are ultimately more valuable than likes in the social media sphere.
In relation to both these previous experiences one of the main moments of this project came from the collaboration I had with a fellow meme page by the name @sillyoldguuse. At first I reached out to them for advice on creating content but then we began collaborating on potential ideas for content and he even sent over a few blank templates he had found for me to use in some memes, from here I noticed that by him sharing these posts to his instagram story increased the exposure of my content and in turn allowed for me to gather more likes, interactions and followers.
As mentioned earlier, the main emerging technology that I feel related to my project was the way that I experienced the liquid workforce first-hand when creating content. Whilst working on the project I felt as if I was never separated from it throughout the entirety of the semester and was always searching for content to create or exploring new templates for me to use when making content. The evolution of the workforce has most definitely led to a blurring of lines between work and free-time. This was mainly because of the fact that the piece of technology I used to create content was my mobile phone and the PicsArts app. In relation to this concept, an article by Kevin Kelly titled New Rules for the New Economy explores the way that the typical idea of an office has changed over time by likening the office of a farmer to a tractor, stating how despite it being mobile and an unconventional place of work, Kelly states that the farmer “rides in a portable office on his tractor. It’s air conditioned, has a phone, a satellite-driven GPS location device, and sophisticated sensors near the ground.”
With my ‘office’ literally being in my pocket throughout the entirety of my day it is incredibly difficult to separate myself from it as it has ultimately become embedded into a part of my everyday life, there is just no escaping it. Despite the liquid labour having its flaws it has still managed to create an incredibly accessible workplace for many people. This was evident in the instance of my collaborations across the subject and being able to constantly be in communication with my peers anywhere at any time.
All in all I feel as if the account was a mixed bag of success and learning curves. Whilst I was able to be featured on Instagram’s explore page and receive a large amount of likes on a few instances it would have been significantly more beneficial if I had known how to better capitalise on these short spurts of exposure to create a more solid following. However, having the opportunity to collaborate with fellow creators allowed for me to learn from these experiences better and understand how to understand my audience and create a solid account.