Friday, 8 April 2016

Reflecting on NMN: Module 11

While I try to be introspective, reflecting on this class is difficult: it all happened so quickly!

Due to our projects on the topic, I have a larger appreciation of the selfie and its importance in identity formation. Instead of instantly decrying selfies as narcissism, I can now appreciate them as passing representations of selfhood. While I don't totally agree, I do see merit in Brian Droitcour's argument: "the real narcissists are the ones who never take selfies. They imagine their self as autonomous, hermetic—too precious to be shared" (2013).

I'm reassured that communication on micro-blogs can hold intrinsic social value. As people become increasing separated by technology, geography etc. some parts of our lizard brain still crave human connection. In the study Major Memory for Microblogs, the researchers found that "Facebook posts naturally producing deep social encoding" (Mickes, L. et al, 2013, p. 488). While Facebook and its competitors can't replace in-person social interaction, social media sites can be an adequate --albeit awkward-- substitute.

Also, from this study, it was gleaned that Facebook users were more likely to retain information that was "written casually by lay people, without professional [sic], or perhaps any, editing" (Mickes, L. et al, 2013, p. 488). Going forward, I think I can employ this knowledge in my journalism practice.

On a personal note, this Twitter conversation with Dr. Laccetti was significant for me. As it relates to our reading from Nathan Jurgenson (2012), I have reconciled myself with the idea of an "authentic" online persona, that rejects "the cultural norm that expects perfection, normalization, and unchanging behavior".

I'm still staunch in my dislike for online petitions. However, it's indisputable that online activism can create some positive outcomes. Many of our NMN readings support this assertion, but Henrik Serup Christensen perhaps puts it most concisely: "the Internet has a positive impact on off-line mobilization... it is a worst harmless fun and can at best help invigorate citizens" (2011).

I have immensely enjoyed the creative nature of this course. Making podcasts, videos and multi-modal blogs have been such a treat. As an open studies student there was a learning curve. Thanks for your patience, fellow students and Dr. Laccetti.

A photo posted by Gwyneth Dunsford (@gwynduns) on


Christensen, H.S. (2011). Political Activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or Political Participation by Other Means?. First Monday,, doi:10.5210/fm.v16i2.3336.

Droitcour, B. (26 April, 2013). Selfies and Selfiehood [blog]. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from

Jurgenson, N. (26 November, 2012). “Glad I Didn’t Have Facebook in Highschool,” Cyborgology,

Mickes, L., Darby, R., Hwe, V., Bajic, D., Warker, J., Harris, C., & Christenfeld, N. (2013). Major memory for microblogs. Memory & Cognition, 41(4), 481-489. doi:10.3758/s13421-012-0281-6.

Thomas, E. F., McGarty, C., Lala, G., Stuart, A., Hall, L. J., & Goddard, A. (2015). Whatever happened to Kony2012? Understanding a global Internet phenomenon as an emergent social identity. European Journal Of Social Psychology, 45(3), 356-367 12p. DOI:10.1002/ejsp.2094.


  1. I agree about the value of the Mickes et al piece re: Facebook and retention. I have still not reconciled myself with idea of 'authentic' online persona. We still live in a world where tweets, emails, etc. come back to define you. Personal growth is not yet universally recognized or appreciated.