Bring Us Souvenirs from Paris! Part Deux

Tonight’s cancellation of class brings you Part 2 of my two-part blog series based on an out-of-class assignment.  You can find Part 1 here.  My two articles look at social media and distraction, but from two different perspectives.  The research article I cite in Part 1 discusses the levels of distraction during study time, whereas this article considers distraction to be a bit more useful….

My second intriguing article (from 2014 and unrelated to my field of research) is a qualitative study on how social media can help you quit smoking:  A Mobile App Offering Distractions and Tips to Cope with Cigarette Craving.

Quitting smoking? There's an app for that.

Quitting smoking? There’s an app for that.

The authors (Ploderer, et al.) designed and piloted a mobile app designed to distract quitters who are suffering cravings.  Appropriately named “DistractMe,” the app offers tips for distractions, as well as coping mechanisms for quitting; the latter was found to be more popular amongst the 14 participants.

My dad quit smoking around 5 years ago using nicotine gum.  He still chews it religiously and still suffers cigarette cravings, so I will definitely be recommending him something like this app — a recommendation it is likely he will promptly ignore even while acknowledging it is a good idea for an app.  Even so, I’m sure there are those who would find an app of this sort to be a helpful stop-smoking aid (as further evidenced by this list on healthline.com).

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Exploring Instagram

Since the start of this semester, I have been planning to download Instagram so I could blog about it, per the requirement for my Social Internet class that we blog about social media tools we have never used.  However, it wasn’t until recently, when I was staring at the picture I took of my tennis shoes for one of my blog posts, Running Joke, that I decided I could actually get some good use out of the app.  Sure, the photo I shot with my phone was fine.  It got the point across, and my tennis shoes are pretty cute, so it was an okay picture.  I even styled it up some with more props (i.e. my earbuds and water bottle).  But the lighting was pretty dreadful — flat and boring — and I felt the picture could have used some spicing up, especially since it was destined for my blog post header.

Therefore, armed with information from DMCrim’s Instagram blog post, I deleted a couple of less-used apps from my phone (#AndroidStorageProblems) and downloaded Instagram, as well as OneDrive, so I could attach my new brilliant photos to my blog posts more easily.

Once the Instagram app downloaded, my first order of business was to immediately tap every button on the screen to see what they do, my SOP for new things.  I would not do well at the controls of an airplane.

ALL meme

Once I had learned my way around a little, I decided to retake the photo of my tennis shoes and see if I could make it better, a la Instagram.  So, I snapped the picture and went to work.

For reference, here is the original, without alteration:

original

I quickly discovered two things:

1) One of the first filters is named “Amaro,” which made me think of a character from one of my favorite TV shows, Law & Order: SVU.

and…

2) THERE ARE SO MANY FILTERS — HOW DO YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE?!?!?!  With my aforementioned propensity for button-pressing, I obviously had to try out. Every. Single. Filter.  After some serious consideration, I chose X-Pro II.

X-Pro II

I then added some warmth, saturation, and shadow effects, and I sharpened up the image a bit.

full effects

It was around this time that I realized if you press the picture itself, it shows you the original image until you release — a really great feature!  I was wondering how different the picture looked.  As it turns out, a lot more different than I expected.

before and after

before and after

Once I was done editing, I decided to share the picture on Twitter.  I thought it was a good tie-in, since it was my first Instagram photo (an app which I initially thought to download to blog about it for class) and I had created a new Twitter account specifically for my Social Internet class (I never used my old one and it was full of random junk).

So, with little time and effort, I downloaded a new app, learned how to use it, manipulated a photo, and shared it with the world via two social media sites, Twitter and Instagram.  I now have a new tool to use when creating visually dynamic pictures for my blogs, as well as a way to share glamorous, edited images with friends and family.  I would definitely call this exploration of new social media a success!  Now, if you will excuse me, I have a blog post header to change…