Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bootsma sacked…Social media next?

Carlton Football club’s recent sacking of football player Josh Bootsma due to inappropriate use of social media with sexual imagery has lead myself to question, who is to blame for the sexual obsession within our society? The use of social media has become an imperative part of our everyday lives including those as young as 12 years old. A study by Pew Internet found the alarming statistic that 73% of online American teens ages 12 to 17 used an online social network website, a statistic that has continued to climb upwards. It’s not just inappropriate sexual behaviour that seems to be unfolding constantly now with the use of social media but also the horrible “trolling” use of racism and bullying towards anyone through keyboard warriors. I found two interesting articles both based on Josh Bootsma’s use of the app Snap chat, discussing the perils of social media that I will discuss and evaluate.

The first article is from The Age newspaper with the headline “Josh Bootsma sacked, Peta Searle abused: the perils of social media”. This article written by Will Brodie discusses the correct decision to axe Josh Bootsma and the idea that social media use is taken for granted by the younger generation, “The generation coming through now, they’ve basically grown up with an iPhone in their hand”. This article demonstrates the negativity towards Bootsma’s inappropriate actions and the impact social media has on today’s society.

Josh Bootsma sacked, Peta Searle abused: The perils of social media

The second article written by David Penberthy for the Herald sun is an editorial piece that discusses the fact that we are all products within an environment that is made up of the digital age and obsession with sexual society, he states “Not only are people permanently connected, a lot of them a permanently aroused”. The title “Sexual obsession cheapens society” sides with Penberthy’s point that it is not Bootsma’s actions that should be discussed it is the actions of society and the internet world that we have now become. 

Sexual Obsession Cheapens our society

The article in the age has a significant concept of the fourth estate within social media and the media world. The fourth estate has always been known as the press, the media as Burke states, “that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all”.  The idea that the fourth estate is diminishing due to social media is projected in this article, as Bainbridge states “While new technology has changed news practice forever, and audiences (through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and through blogs) are actively participating at a far greater rate in the manufacture of news”.  Thomas Hammaberg states that the media play an enormously important role in the protection of human rights, however social media has allowed the spread of online and citizen journalism which has created the ability to manipulate and produce idea behind a computer rather then from a author to audience relationship. This is represented in this article in relation to racism by trolls on sites such as instagram where recently Adam Goodes and Cyril Rioli were subjected to online bullying by unknown individuals, SEN morning host Andy Maher stated “Cowards, each and every one of the same types who spit filth at Adam goodes”.

Hegemonic power is heavily portrayed in both articles. Both authors are pushing the point that social media is not creating positivity within our society and to accept the idea that this behaviour is all stemmed from the acceptance and heavy use of social media with our young adults, “what was once a fantasy world now constantly encroaches into their daily lives” states Penberthy.

The public sphere according to O’sullivan is of something which is open and accessible to all and a key component of modern, participatory, democratic life. This theory is the dominant factor produced in both articles as they both discuss the idea of how our private lives are becoming the public lives with social media, as Bainbridge states today’s social networking sites (particularly Facebook) are similarly predicated on this idea of making the private public (or at least publicly accessible). Bootsma was delisted from the Carlton Football club for sending private sexually explicit images of himself on a public application and social media website, when did sexual images become appropriate for the public sphere? The articles both discuss how social media websites and platforms have allowed for this inappropriate behaviour to become acceptable and part of our lives, “for so many people, people like Josh Bootsma, traditional relationships have been debased and devalued to the point where they don’t know where the porn ends and real life begins” states Penberthy in the herald sun article.

Jordan Lewis spoke out in article one discussing the sympathy he has for the young celebrity players of the AFL whom take the use of social media for granted, “It’s not until when you get to the AFL level where everything is scrutinised that you realise that what you put on social media five years ago people can still access it…” As Bainbridge states “Celebrities are also cultural products, communicating a variety of ways of being. Celebrities construct or negotiate forms of identity, and can be both inspirational (‘I want to be like that person’) and aspirational (‘I want to be that person’)” this relates to the article as it shows the influence AFL players have on today’s society and how easily influenced they can be constructed to become by the pressures of social media and celebrity influences. An issues the AFL deal with on a regular basis is the fact that these footballers are now seen as modern day celebrities and they are “role models” to the behaviour and culture of today’s society and young generation. Bootsma’s actions were the final straw of bad behaviour and the strain on the reputation of the Carlton football club and the players.

Technological convergence is a focused theory in Penberthy’s article in the Herald Sun, as stated by Bainbridge “the internet has completely revolutionised the way we communicate, do business and access the media, because it allows for ever-increasing interactivity”. The internet has become so important in our everyday lives Penberthy discusses that we are not even able to distinguish between what is real life and what communication is merely through the internet, “not only are people permanently connected, a lot of them are permanently aroused”. The technological convergence of internet and culture is also discussed in Penberthy’s editorial “rather than being a trigger for universal disgust and alarm, for millions of people it became nothing other than a viral internet sensation which they shared with friends” which connects with Bainbridge’s point that the internet enables people to receive information from all over the world, thus assisting cultural convergence.

Post modernity is not seen in the article written by Brodie however; is promoted at the end of Penberthy’s article as he exclaims that Bootsma is just like every other person participating in the online and social media world and within modern society that type of behaviour has become more than acceptable around the world and in society. He compares Bootsma to anybody on Tinder, someone who filmed an inappropriate video and has now gone viral as well as anybody on a dating site, that type of behaviour has become acceptable in our society, “Josh Bootsma, chin up mate. You are no better, and no worse, than all the other weirdos out there”.
Both articles produce an authoritative mode of address to their acquired audience. The audience in both articles form both a formal and submissive relationship with the news delivered and the authors of the articles. I believe Penberthy’s article takes a different approach to targeting his audience in comparison with Brodies as he uses a subjective viewing position where he creates an image that we, (the audience) empathise with Boomsta’s actions and behaviour due to the effect of social media on today’s society. Brodie’s article in comparison positions his audience on the opposite end where he creates an idea that Boomsta’s actions and behaviour has no one to blame but himself and social media is just another gateway for these people to be allowed to act in this manner.

Both these articles are of high importance in a media spectacle. The actual event being reported (that being Boomsta is sacked for sending explicit images) is not in the public interest however; is interesting to the public. These types of events are always front-page news as it is openly an interesting event to the public however is not a necessity to know, one reader commented below Brodie’s article “this should be front page news and headlined for the next month. Punish carlton now.” This shows the importance of this event in the media spectacle.

Both articles produce a media spectacle for Bootsma’s sacking from the Carlton football club and produce the image that this type of event is interesting to the public. The fourth estate and the power of social media is promoted in both articles however; they do imply that maybe a fifth estate for social media is taking place as more and more people and civil journalism thoughts are being accepted in today’s society. Both articles push the negative impact and hegemonic power that the social media platforms are having on today’s society and the young generation, “what was once a fantasy world now constantly encroaches into their daily lives”. The public sphere is discussed in relation to how public our private lives are becoming due to the impact of social media within our every day lives. Penberthy in particular discusses how normal relationships have been changed and acted upon as now acceptable due to the impact of social media, “traditional relationships have been debased and devalued”. Celebrity culture will always have a significant impact on the young generation and with social media it is allowing their behaviour to be connected more easily with non-celebrity cultures creating a more acceptable behaviour when in fact it is not. The technological and cultural convergence is becoming more and more revolutionised with the use of social media and internet as we are now having more interactivity even with sexually explicit events such as Bootsma’s leaked snap chats. 

So I still ask the question…do we blame ourselves for the accepted behaviour due to social media or do we merely blame the convergence of technology and culture within the social media platforms?