The Perception Project

Dana Point Harbor, CA

” This is my representation of the word ‘home.’ I took this photo of my home in CA before I left to attend school in NY.” Gabrielle Escarrega

 

This semester I created a Facebook page that I maintained weekly, with the exception of spring break and the prior week to finals. Each week I requested individuals submit personal photographs representing specific words that allowed them to express their personal thoughts and feelings through imagery. Throughout this assignment I provided a “word of the week” which span over a timeline of of eleven weeks. In these eleven weeks I posted eight words: Value, reflection, passion, challenge, beauty, celebrate, adventure and home. What I discovered in this semester project is more people than I expected were interested in sharing their personal experiences and participating in a collaboration to project varying views and opinions.

In my first week creating this page I introduced what my page was about and its purpose. I believed it would be an easy task to create a community Facebook Page, but quickly learned that this process required the creator to obtain 30 likes before the page is recognized on Facebook. Although this created an initial barrier in creating my semester project I was surprised to find individuals quickly “liking” my page. After a day my page was a recognized as a community page on Facebook called, “Life Through Their Eyes.”

Throughout this semester I made a continuous effort to engage people and connect to others by liking other photography pages. I also attempted to further promote the page through Tumbler and find individuals with similar projects. I was able to connect to other pages that were related but did not share the same objectives. I linked to photography journals that posted photos representing a timeline of their life. I found these pages to be very interesting since my project primarily focused on the visual aspects of expression. Unfortunately I was unable to get individuals from Tumbler to like my Facebook page, but I think this is possibly because individuals who are avid bloggers are more interested in the capabilities of specific platforms; therefore, Tumbler bloggers and Facebook users prefer to maintain their accounts based on their interests and involvement on social media.

Throughout the middle of the semester I did search for studies regarding image and word association but did not seem to find any that particularly related to my semester project. What I did find while doing background research was a study that related to individuals responses after hearing a word and associating it with a noun. This study focused on how images and  words affected individuals spontaneous responses to other words. In relation to my project this study was interesting because while  providing words throughout the semester I found individuals responded better to Facebook posts that included images rather than just words. Furthermore it seemed more individuals responded to more elaborate photos of landscapes or photos without people, rather than photos with people. I believe this may be due to individuals avoiding images they can’t relate to. Also individuals tend to appreciate artistic photographs over  average photographs.

My biggest challenge throughout this project was time. People have a very short attention span and I believe the most effective way to keep them engaged would have been to post something daily. Regrettably I found it was difficult to post more than a few times a week due to time constraints and work in other classes. Also I did not have enough photographs to provide daily.

My semester project provided me with a more comprehensive understanding of divergent voices in convergent media. By requesting individuals to assist in the collaboration of my page, it brought over 30 voices together to create what I consider an opportunity to see how others perceive one single word. It is incredible to think while many of us read books, see photos, or watch videos, there is often going to be a  a varying degree in which we comprehend words. Therefore it was a fascinating experience to see how differently and similarly many participants perceived words. In some sense it was reassuring to see how strongly people felt about specific words and their motivation to share these feelings on the page. In addition it was a positive experience to see how humanistic the participants of my page were while sharing their personal relationships and life events. Throughout my semester the timeline of photos displayed on my page can say a lot about a person, and I believe the individuals on my page shared important moments that will influence their perception of words for the rest of their lives. 

If you are interested in seeing my semester project:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-Through-Their-Eyes/337852879650238

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