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Type: Conference paper
Title: Public sharing of private spaces: #watchingtv
Author: Barbour, K.
Citation: Symposium of the Digital Intimacies: interrogating the interface between intimate lives and calculative digital media platforms, 2016
Publisher: School of Communication and Arts, University of Queensland
Issue Date: 2016
Conference Name: Digital Intimacies 2016 (12 Dec 2016 - 13 Dec 2016 : Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)
Statement of
Kim Barbour
Abstract: Through Instagram, people are publically sharing images of what have previously been considered private spaces, including their homes. When these images come from publicly accessible accounts and use popular hashtags, they change the way that the privacy and sanctity of the home can be understood: through these images we get insight into everything from interior decorating, the place of technology through televisions, computers, food, and pets, to depictions of family life. Drawing from data of Instagram images tagged with #watchingtv, this study investigates the way that watching television, which can be understood as a private activity, is performed through the popular social networking and image sharing site. A number of visual themes emerged from the images associated with this hashtag. Some were expected, such as point-of-view images of feet up on coffee tables or ottomans, with the television in the background, or couple selfies for date night. Others were unexpected but not surprising – there are a significant number of people who photograph their pets watching animal programs. Others give insight into family lives and gender roles, through images taken by mothers of fathers relaxing and watching television with their toddlers, while images of mothers similarly engaged are almost entirely absent. A final theme excluded the television altogether, and instead focused on the food that accompanied the television watching experience. The production and sharing of images of homes and their inhabitants can be seen as a performance, through which we selectively share elements of our personal lives and spaces. This project, and the upcoming research emerging from it, aims to look broadly at the public presentation of private space, asking how images can be understood as expressions of changes in our conceptualisation of a public/private dichotomy.
Rights: Copyright status unknown
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Media Studies publications

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