News feeds – tailored to you (perhaps)!?

There is a growing body of research which links social media use with body dissatisfaction. However, the thing with social media is that what shows up in your news feed is very cleverly influenced by things like age, gender, location, interests, and many, many other possible varying factors. It is therefore, often difficult to know what images/information is popping up on other people’s news feeds. As such, this can be an issue in which misunderstanding and misrepresentation can arise.

My age seems to imply that I require recommendations in my feed for new glasses, anti-aging cream (pictured on a celebrity that clearly has no need for anti-wrinkle cream), those black ankle boots I looked at on another website once (slightly creepy how they do that), and of course, that ‘slimming’ little black dress for the upcoming festive season. However, I would predict that your adverts/suggested pages etc., are very different to mine, and perhaps unlike mine, may even contain something that you actually want to see.

With regards to body image, this means that whilst I may identify appearance related media upon my news feed, it is unlikely that this is the same material that younger people are seeing on their own news feeds. Therefore, it would be silly for me to assume that I am aware of the media messages being consumed by this age group. Having said this, my research focuses on young people. Thus, if this information is important, as research suggests it is, there is a clear requirement that an attempt is made to find out.

What is #FeedMyBodyImage?

#FeedMyBodyImage is a simple activity, where young people aged 16-21 are invited to help create a visual representation of appearance related media content (a ‘Media Montage’), as it is experienced by them on their own news feeds. This information will be used as a discussion tool both on this blog and the EveryBODY Talk Facebook page, which anyone is invited to join in. In addition, the visual representation will be utilised within focus group sessions, and to help inform further research.

Of course, given the individuality of news feeds that I have just discussed, there will be much variation in news feed data. However, it is hoped that this will be a good discussion point in itself. Therefore, the more diverse media images collected, the better.

What does it involve?

If you are aged 16-21 and you would like to take part in this activity by submitting images for the ‘Media Montage’, there are three simple steps to follow:

1. Scroll through your chosen social networking feed.

2. Send images related to appearance to the EveryBODY Talk Facebook page via private message, or by email: C.M.Whitaker@leedsbeckett.ac.uk (only publicly available images e.g., adverts – no personal pictures of you or your friends please).*

3. A ‘Media Montage’ will be constructed from images and made publicly available for viewing and discussion on the EveryBODY Talk Blog and Facebook page.

*All personal information, such as usernames and email addresses will be permanently deleted on receipt of images.

What types of images?

As I mentioned above, we are looking for publicly available images for this activity. This means images which anyone could see online if they were looking for them, but happen to be on your news feeds – so nothing from your friend’s pages, or private accounts that you have access to. Examples of this may be adverts, inspirational quotes from public figures, or something posted by a fitness blogger perhaps.

Do I have to take part to join in the discussion?

Absolutely not! Once the Media Montage has been constructed, this will be uploaded to the EveryBODY Talk pages, where anyone can have a look and comment if they wish. However, please be advised that social discussion surrounding the Media Montage may be used for research purposes.

As always, if you have any questions, and/or suggestions, or just want to say hi, please do get in touch. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Contact’ tab on the Home page, or by either of the methods mentioned above.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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