Peer Review: Fears of the Future

I have been following the development of ‘Fears of the Future’ over the past ten weeks. This project has been created by Noelle Jackson and David Gusevski to “explore the fears, thoughts and future plans of university students”. Noelle and David were originally developing an artefact that explored the lifestyles of millennials. The ideologies behind the original project, titled ‘Generation Zero’, are very similar to that of ‘Fears of the Future’. This project’s main aims are to showcase the thoughts, feelings and experiences of a particular generation or community.

I was originally planning on reviewing Monique Lombardo’s ‘Travelling Twenties’ as I spent the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 travelling and thought that it was a topic I could personally relate to but after the iterations were made to Noelle and David’s artefact, I thought it would be interesting to explore an idea that I will be facing soon enough. Even though I still have another semester left at university, graduation is inevitable and I found that I related to a lot of the content being produced. Since this project has changed since the initial pitch presentations, I can only evaluate and reflect upon what was presented in class in week 10 and the few following weeks.

‘Fears of the Future’

‘Fears of the Future’ has been created on two platforms; WordPress and Instagram. The WordPress blog explores general information and statistics as to why the majority of university graduates are feeling fear towards the end of their undergraduate academic career. The Instagram account is the perfect platform to share a photographic journal of interviewed students. Each interviewee is given three separate posts. The first post is a photo of the interviewee with their main reaction and emotion as the feature. The second post displays the interviewee’s quote, while the last post is a video of the interviewee answering the question “What are your plans after graduation?”.

‘Fears of the Future’ Instagram Page

Following the projects iterations, Noelle and David decided to formulate a survey to gain further knowledge about a student’s fear of graduation. The survey is just one other methodology for Noelle and David to develop a hypothesis for the overall research of ‘Fears of the Future’. By getting their peers to complete this additional survey during their allocated presentation time in class, they were able to generate more content for their text-based, information filled blog posts.

The projects first methodology consisted of interviewing a variety of students from the University of Wollongong and asking them questions to potentially break down the anxiety, dread and overall fear of the unknown. Through short interviews with these students, Noelle and David captured the reactions to the thoughts of graduating and what they see in their immediate future.

‘Fears of the Future’ has a great social utility. It is a place for graduating students to connect with one another and a platform with a wide variety of external resources to inform and educate others about why students are feeling this emotion. ‘Fears of the Future’ also has the potential to be a resource for friends and family members of graduating students, for them to discover why the current student is acting a certain way towards the end of their degree. As Noelle and David are students who are also about to graduate, the personalisation and autoethnographic approach to particular blog posts allows the ‘Fears of the Future’ page to stand out and hold its own.

Example of posts from ‘Fear of the Future’ WordPress blog

The potential trajectory for ‘Fears of the Future’ is almost limitless. The subject of the content being produced right now can be expanded in many different avenues. Noelle and David could consider adding something like a podcast to their website. This would allow for a more conversational discussion of why some of the people from the Instagram videos answered the ways they did. They could also consider foregoing the Instagram account and just having the videos feature as blog posts. This would be easier for people wanting to view all of their content and would allow for everything to be viewed as a whole, opposed to having the two methodologies act as individual projects. ‘Fears of the Future’ could also expand to include content for a younger audience. A high school edition could be beneficial to expand the median age of their reader-/ viewership. With this, there is also the potential for advice – how are the students from the original videos feeling in a few months time? Was the all-consuming fear necessary?

Four examples of the content being published on ‘Fears of the Future’ Instagram page

The original theme of this project showcased just how important #FEFO (Fail Early, Fail Often) is. Without the constant iterations and redesigns, ‘Fears of the Future’ wouldn’t be where it is today. ‘Fears of the Future’ also fulfilled the requirements of #FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny); it wouldn’t be hard to find participants and the production of the short videos and blog posts would be fairly quick, it would be inexpensive as the information would be collected from primary qualitative data and research found on their own accord, and the idea is simple but has room to grow throughout time.

I look forward to seeing what else Noelle and David can produce on ‘Fears of the Future’, as I believe it has the potential to be a great resource for both university and high school students.

Check out ‘Fears of the Future’ on Instagram and WordPress.


My Four O’Clock 2.0

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Sixty-nine per cent of reddit users that engaged in the three questions asked (1. Do you filter what you post on particular social media sites? 2. What’s something you never thought you would post on social media but in the end, you did anyway? and 3. What’s something you regret ever posting/ sharing on any social media platform?) disclosed that they definitely filter what they post on social media. Some explained that particular social pages of theirs house a particular type of content whereas others were more wary of what they post on social media as a whole.

Awario explain part of this social media filtering in three short quotes.

  1. “The core of Facebook ‘culture’ is friendship”
  2. On Twitter, “your readers are not friends anymore. They are a huge crowd with a very short attention span”
  3. “Instagram… allows you to use filters that could make almost anything look beautiful”

One user explained that they prefer to keep their political views off of social media as they would like to refrain from people they know, who don’t know each other, from starting “a complete shit show in the comments section”.

Another user put their filtering system in simple terms; Facebook was for their least sexual content, Instagram was for mildly sexual content, Snapchat was “basically porn” and Twitter was for all of the above. I couldn’t help but compare this to my own personal filtering system when it comes to social platforms. I find that I share my more personal achievements on Facebook as that is the platform with people that I’ve grown up and communicated with. I’ve also found that my Facebook account has some of the highest security settings. Instagram sees a very filtered version of my life and it’s the platform that I will hardly share anything ‘real’ with. Like the reddit user, my Twitter also sees a combination of everything. I use Twitter to connect to similar communities, whether that be television shows or sporting teams; to share assignments and the projects I’m working on; or to just house my thoughtless rambles.

Forty-four per cent of the responses stated their job as their main reason for filtering their social accounts. Linda Skates reported on ABC that “applicants are being warned it is now standard practice for their social media profile to be checked when it comes to assessing their suitability for jobs.” One response came from a small business owner and they stated “… before I contract employees, I do a general background check which includes a brief glimpse of their social media”. They also continue to say that they personally portray themselves “in a way that accentuates [their] highlights as a person, and choose to omit [their] rather likeable qualities”.

One participant replied that they never really thought they would post anything to do with their day or life, but they have found themselves occasionally doing so.

Fifteen per cent of users that responded stated that the thing they regretted posting the most was NSFW material.