Keeping Up With The Stalkers

By Josie-Amber O’Neill, Veronica Clavijo, Amanda Karaoulis and Kim Valkanis 


‘Keeping Up With The Stalkers’ is the outcome of four university students being asked to only collaborate online and come up with a video narrative based on the idea of a surveillance society. Decisions on genre, script, filming locations, character roles, equipment usage, and who to Snapchat were all taken very seriously by the four participating group members Josie-Amber, Amanda, Kim, and Veronica. Many obstacles were thrown in the students’ way including the major obstacle of one group member living and studying in another state entirely.

‘Keeping Up With The Stalkers’ is a mockumentary that depicts and outlines both dystopian and utopian views about surveillance within society, particularly with social media. The narrator/presenter, Dr Clavijo, starts off with a calm and professional tone, speaking about ideas of what society may think of surveillance. The mid shots and centring position perhaps indicates that authoritative individuals are in a situation of power, to monitor and source out information from everyday people. The everyday people would be the cuts to settings, showing mock-ups of young individuals responding and using social media in relation to surveillance. Towards the end of the video, the narrator panics about her own social media accounts being ‘stalked’, as illustrated through her anxious body language and facial expressions. This demonstrates the ideology that people have of surveillance already, which is to be worried about who is ‘secretly’ watching them and panic about how much of their personal information is being shown for the world to see. Furthermore, the end cut of the video that portrays a blue screen with ‘PLEASE STAND BY’ written, may exemplify that surveillance technology doesn’t really end, but awaits to continue to watch everyone’s daily life.

Embarking on this collaborative project was something new for all of us. We had never met or spoken before and some of us had never used a lot of the online programs we explored to collaborate. Our group delved straight into discussions on genre before even deciding on a storyline. With the creation of a Twitter group chat, a Google Document, and an interesting attempt at Google Hangouts, we decided that narrowing down some genres would be the best starting point for us. We discussed the possibilities of horror, comedy, documentary, television commercial, soap opera and finally mockumentary. These, in particular, were our top picks because we felt they would be the most entertaining to watch, and also to script and film.  We thought about how surveillance could fall into each genre and explored the types of storylines that could be followed. We all liked the idea of horror initially, however, felt it may be an obvious dystopian choice when tackling surveillance society. During the Hangout, we came to the conclusion that a mix of utopian/dystopian views could be explored through a mockumentary style clip. With some research explored, we found ‘The Engagement Scam’ mockumentary was an excellent guide to structuring our surveillance film. Therefore, we believed a mockumentary would be the best way to express our collective thoughts on living in a surveillance society, as well as providing a somewhat comedic view whilst still  delivering an important message.

We took to our Twitter group discussion to hash out some ideas and themes that could be explored within this genre. We began to brainstorm and collaborate through our Google Document, using it as a launchpad for our ideas. That and the use of our Twitter group discussion proved easy for all of us to communicate at any given time. Even if we were in a different state! The next online adventure we embarked on was a group Skype call in order to narrow down the storyline and script writing process for our project. We decided to play with the idea of Social Media surveillance for our storyline, taking a look at how normalised it has become in today’s day and age to surveil anyone and everyone’s actions through various social media platforms.

As the scripting process began we used an online collaborative program called Celtx to draft our script, as well as the continued use of our Google Drive and Twitter messages. We quickly came to the realisation that we would have to strategically plan and write scenes in order to incorporate everyone into the video. One major challenge was that Veronica, our off-campus student was based in an entirely different state. Choosing mockumentary as our genre proved to be the wisest choice! We decided to make Veronica the narrator/presenter of the video, which allowed for her to individually film footage without the need for other people in the scenes with her.  Kim, Amanda, and Josie-Amber would then meet up and film the rest of the required scenes together. We decided that Snapchat would be the best way to keep in contact with our long distance filming quests and used a group Dropbox to upload and share footage with one another.

We decided it best to allocate editing to one person so as to keep it consistent. Josie-Amber was tasked with this job, quite happily so, and she also created some original music for the mockumentary. Josie would edit as per our script and would upload to YouTube as ‘unlisted’ so all group members could easily access and watch the clip to provide any advice and feedback for changes. Dropbox was great for getting big files across to each other, as was another program called We Transfer, however accessing the clip through Youtube was the quickest way to view it on demand.

All in all this collaborative assignment was an interesting experience, one that will no doubt be beneficial in each of our professional lives, as there will most likely come a time when an online collaboration with co-workers is necessary. Each one of us within Group 28 feels as though we collaborated in an effective and efficient manner with one another across several means of digital communication, factoring in our geographical locations to one another, especially Veronica. We feel as though we managed to put together an assignment we can look back on and feel happy with how it  turned out and reflect on what we’ve learned along the way- in particular, collaborating collectively as a group to produce a single work, as mentioned previously, and learning to communicate with other group members effectively.


Screenshot taken from our Skype conversation by Kim Valkanis, 22/9/2016


Every Step You Take, I’ll Be Watching You

Have you ever thought what it might be like if someone was always sitting in front of you? Looking at you from an unflattering angle. Watching everything you do. The Netflix binging, the all-nighters you pull to finish uni assignments on time (pshhh, not that I do that on a regular basis…), the awkward dancing, the private moments meant for no-ones eyes. Everything.

Seems like a crazy idea, right? Well, it’s more possible than you think.

According to the Daily Mail (2015), the average person spends more time on their phone or laptop than they do sleeping. And every second of that could be being watched by someone around the world via the webcam or the devices front facing camera.

Webcam” by David Burillo, (CC BY 2.0)

Triple-J recently did a story on a young Melbourne man whose webcam had been hacked during a very private moment, and had then been asked by the hackers for $10,000 or they would release the footage to his friends and family (you can read this story here).

One of the larger cases of a ransom ware attack happened in the U.S. earlier this year, when the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centres data base was hacked, and the staff were unable to access any of the data of the patients (Everett, 2016). This carried on for 10 days, until the medical centre paid the hacker group approximately $17,000 (which they had negotiated down from $3.6 million) in order to regain access to the necessary files.

Cryptolocker Ransomware” by Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ransom-ware attacks are becoming increasingly more popular as “sophisticated malware can be ordered online” (Filshtinskiy, 2013), and the scary thing is, there’s not a great deal that can be done about it and not much to defend from it (Seltsikas, 2016), especially since most of the hacking is being done from overseas, and Australian law can’t really do too much about that.

Given the context of the hack, the targeted person or group could either fight back or not give in the the hackers (like the man in the aforementioned Triple-J article did – who ended up not paying the ransom and instead told his Facebook friends and family what had happened), or make a deal with the attackers and pay them the requested ransom (like how the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre did); granted they are two very different scenarios: one involved the lives and well being of hundreds of people, whereas the other involved the dignity of a young man. Creepily enough, there’s a website which allows one to view a live stream of footage from places all over the world (here).

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” by Kenny Mcdonald (CC BY 2.0)

While there may not be a great deal you can do to protect yourself from randsomware attacks on your computers data, you can protect yourself from webcam hacking. How you ask? Simple. Cover your webcam with a sticker or piece of paper – Mark Zuckerberg does it.

If there’s one thing I’d like you as a reader to take away from this post, it’s that if ever you find your computer has been hacked – speak out about it, don’t try and negotiate with the hackers, and seek professional help from an IT expert.

Also cover your damn webcam.



Davies M, 2015, “Average person spends more time on their phone and laptop than sleeping”,  Daily Mail Australia, 12th March, retrieved on 1/09/2016,

Everett C, 2016, “Ransomware: to pay or not to pay?”, Computer Fraud and Security, Issue 4, pages 8-12, April 2016.

“Webcam hackers caught me wanking, demanded $10k ransom”, Triple J HACK, 28/07/2016, retrieved on 01/09/2016, <>

Filshtinskiy S, 2013, “Cybercrime, Cyberweapons, Cyberwars: Is There Too Much Of It In The Air?”, Communications of the ACM, Volume 54, Issue 6, pages 28-30, June 2013.

Every Bond You Break

It’s currently the middle of the uni trimester, I’m 6 or 7 weeks off finishing for the year, neck deep in assignments, and the only thing on my mind (apart from studying, of course) is going on a holiday far far away.

Now, I’m a 19-year-old, 5’4, blue haired, emotional teenage dirtbag *baby* (not that it’s relevant, but I’m setting the scene here), so naturally, I wouldn’t be able to go off exploring the world on my own, I’d go in a guided tour like Contiki or Intrepid where I’d be with other people such as myself.

So I go and I do my sleuthing around on Google looking for trips and deals, and not 15 minutes later I’m on Instagram and LO AND BEHOLD THIS.

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Sneaky Instagram Ploy”, taken 18/08/2016

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen. That right there, is a targeted advertisement. On my Instagram feed. But how did it get there?

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow for ads to be generated targeting the user of the device based on their recent search history, the contents of their email (I’ve discussed Googles dabblings in emails in a previous blog post) (Johnson, 2013), and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been greeted with ads on Facebook and Instagram for things I’ve recently searched for online (online shopping is a curse).

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Damn, Contiki, back at it again with the white ads”, taken 18/08/2016

So why do we keep seeing these ads on our social media? Don’t they just get annoying? I mean, who’s going to buy into that kind of a marketing scheme?

Me. And many, many, many others. According to Malte Brettel (2015), there is clear evidence that these advertisements on social media work; prolonged exposure to advertisements and prolong the persons ad recall, their awareness for the product, and their intent to purchase the product. In short – the more I see the thing, the more I’m going to want the thing, and the higher the chance of me actually buying the thing.

While many people would argue that this is an annoyance, and that they don’t want a Big Brother type figure watching over them, Doug Chavez, the global head of marketing research and content at Kenshoo (and advertising company, for anyone who’s interested), disagrees.

“If you’re providing a better experience for me, or helping me get a better product at a better price or get better information, consumers are generally pretty fine with that. I don’t see this as big brother at all.” – Doug Chavez (2014)

While Mr Chavez isn’t technically wrong, I do love seeing things I’m interested in for a good price, it would be nice every now and then to not be swamped on Facebook and Instagram with advertisements…. also I’m not sure how much more of this impulse buying my bank account can take.



Brettel, M. Reich, J. Gavilanes, JM. Flatten, TC. 2015, ‘What Drives Advertising Success on Facebook? An Advertising-Effectiveness Model’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 162

Edwards J, 2013, “Here’s a diagram of how Facebook’s FBX ad exchange works”, Business Insider, 04/01/2013, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <>

Johnson J P, 2013, “Targeted advertising and advertising avoidance”, RAND Journal of Econimics, Volume 44, Issue 1, p128 – 144, <>

Wagner K, 2014, “Your Google searches may help decide your Facebook ads”, Mashable Australia, 05/06/2014, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <>



Every Move You Make


Pokemon Go is just a Government surveillance scheme!!!


“Pokemon GO” by Eduardo Woo, available at under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, full terms at <>


Ok so probably not. But then again…

In the recent weeks, the world has once again become obsessed with Pokemon, this time in an app for your smart phone which allows you to catch Pokemon in real time, in your own augmented-reality. Pretty cool huh? But to do that you have to agree to allowing access to your location, contacts, phone storage, and other somewhat seedy things. The creator of the game – Niantec – admitted that by downloading the game they did have access to players location, phone storage, Google account information (if you’ve joined that way), camera and contacts. However they at no point had intended to spy on peoples Google accounts, and that the problem was in the process of being fixed to limit the amount of accessible information to the bare minimum.

Naturally people don’t want their information shared around and for Google to know their location at all times, but fact of the matter is, as soon as you switch your location on your phone on, that’s exactly what’s happening. On an i-Phone, the phones location history is kept so that you can see where you’ve been, and also how long you’ve spent in each location, so this isn’t exactly a new thing to be happening.

If you ask me, people need to just calm down about the whole Pokemon Go phenomenon. Quit freaking out about being watched all the time, and just accept that yeah, if you want to play a game in a cool virtual augmented reality, you’re going to have to be watched a little with your phones location. You win some you lose some.



“Pokemon GO” by Eduardo Woo, available at under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, full terms at <>

Johnson L, 2016, “17 secret i-phone tips and hacks that you didn’t know about”, Digital Spy, 06/07/2016, retrieved on 14/08/2016,

Kulwin N, Bergen M, 2016, “Pokemon Go creators say they didn’t mean to spy on Google accounts”, RECODE, 11/07/16, retrieved on 14/08/2016,

Every Breath You Take

Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing surveillance; online and offline.

But first: a story.

A few years ago I went on a holiday with my family to Vietnam. A beautiful country which I would highly recommend visiting, but that’s not the point of this blog. My parents booked the entire holiday online – which is normal – but the unexpected thing that happened, was my mother noticed that our entire itinerary was put into her google calendar… except she hadn’t been the one to do it.

Because all the bookings had been confirmed via email – her gmail account – all the information had been automatically put into the calendar. And not just things like “holiday begins/holiday ends” no no, this was exact locations in Vietnam on google maps, address and all, and also the duration of the stay at each place. Google does this automatically whenever you get an email about an event – a setting which can be changed. It meant we were essentially being watched for the entirety of the trip. This was a fair few years ago now, so that was pretty much my introduction to online surveillance.

Fact is, with pretty much every device having a location tracker on it, it’s possible for people to know exactly where we (or the device) are at any point in time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, nor is it 100% a good thing – it’s just something that is. Surveillance is a part of everyday life now – from the location services on our phones being switched on – to the advertisements we are shown on Facebook which relate to our most recent google searches, everything we do is being noted down and used to cater to our needs, wants, and to help us realise the things we didn’t even know we wanted – yes I’m talking about the ASOS Sale banners that I get shown on Facebook (as if I wasn’t a broke uni student already). While you may not feel completely comfortable with being surveyed online, and having your data passed on, you pretty much signed up for it when you accepted the Terms and Conditions (at least on Facebook).

ALC203 – Portfolio Part 2


So for an assignment for a uni class of mine, I was given the task of making a brief video in which I was to discuss the ways in which people constructed relationships online (which you will find at the bottom of this post, also linked here).

To do this, I wanted to look at how people constructed either sexual, romantic, or platonic relationships online, compared that to how sexual, romantic or platonic relationships are constructed offline, and then also briefly looked at how those relationships are maintained either online or offline by interviewing a couple of people.

Apart from messing around in a media class in high school a few years ago, and also making a 60 second video last year (again for a uni class – filmmaking) which focused on continuity (which is a completely different kettle of fish, let me tell you), this was the first solo video I’d ever put together by myself – and it was…. fun???. I absolutely loved making this, but going about making it had its own set of challenges.

See the class that I made this video for is called Exploring Digital Media: Contexts of Online Participation (ALC203 at Deakin University – should anyone out there be interested in taking this class), and in one of the first weeks of that class we looked at Copyright and Creative Commons.

What’s that you say? Glad you asked.

A Creative Commons license is a public copyright license that enables free distribution of work, and is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon their work – which in short means you’re allowed to use it in your own work without getting your ass sued (as long as you give the author credit).

Our teachers gave us the advice to either create our own content when making this video, or use this beautiful website right here to ‘ethically source’ material to use in our videos. So everything I used I either created myself, or found through the Creative Commons website.

To be able accurately discuss the topic of online relationships, I had to do a little bit of reading, and actually use scholarly sources (and no, Wikipedia is not a scholarly source). To do this I primarily used the readings which were given to us in class, but I also used a few other snippets of info which I found at the Deakin Uni library (online of course – who even has time to go to a library in person). Picking and choosing what to use was a little overwhelming – because despite there being so many good things to use, I couldn’t just copy and paste entire paragraphs and read that – but then I also couldn’t just go off on a rant of my own which has zero evidence to back it up; there’s a fine art to balancing scholarly information, and your own opinion… lets just hope I did okay.

Actually making the video was – to begin with – a little daunting. Talking to myself in front of a camera made me feel so weird, I have no idea how full time YouTubers do it. But once I got over the fear of looking like a fool on camera (which you can totally just edit out anyway), the whole experience was so much fun. Piecing everything together was a challenge in itself – as I found out while editing, I say “um” and “like” a lot.

If I could give a piece of advice to anyone who’s in the process of, or will in the future make a video, it would be to just go for it. Once you have all your research and everything done, you don’t need a fancy-schmancy editing program (I used Windows Movie Maker), or an amazing set up. Just do it, it’s actually great fun. Also give yourself plenty of time – anything that can go wrong, will definitely go wrong.

(Critical Reflection: 660 words)



My online activity for this unit, I feel, picked up in the second half of the unit. I used Twitter more, commented on YouTube videos more, I felt more engaged even politically through using media more. I found once I became more active, and posted things like online polls on Twitter (like this), or even just using gifs to show my current mood, other people became more engaged with me too.Becoming part of the conversation lead to even more conversations. I found that I became more visible, and once I connected with someone on one platform, I found them (or they found me) on another.

(Broader Online Engagement: 106 words)



• Music
Olmos // Hold Me


DeMasi, S 2011, ‘Shopping for love: online dating and the making of a cyber culture of romance’, in Seidman, S, Fischer, N and Meeks, C (eds.), Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, pp. 206-13

Marshall P D, 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol 1, no 1, pg 35-48

O’Neill J, 2016, ‘ALC203 Portfolio Part 1’, My Online Identity(/ies), WordPress, 20th April, retrieved on 14/05/16,

Poletti A, Rak J, 2013, Identity Technologies: constructing the self online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Caberra-Frias L, 2013, Cyber Courtship: Computer Matchmaking Trends in Online Romance, Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics & Policy, Vol 4, Issue 1, page G:1-G:4.

ALC203 Portfolio Part 1

I remember the good old days of 2009, when I was in year 7 and had only just made an account on Facebook (despite being one year below the age requirement – but shh, I won’t tell if you don’t), and I would mindlessly post whatever was on my mind. Looking back on my 12-year-old-self’s amazing status’ of “I’m bored.. lol”, and “Josie is: playing Farmville…lol”, I cannot help but cringe. Needless to say that letting people know exactly what I am doing or thinking at any given time without a filter is completely ridiculous (*cough, Twitter, cough*).

Nowadays, I am more careful about what I let people know and see, because whether or not I delete something that I have posted online, someone somewhere will have already seen it, and because it is the internet, it is never really 100% gone – it is still there forever (I even contemplated whether or not I should include the above comment about me creating Facebook when I was underage, since, you know, I was underage, but I digress).

See, my overall construction of online identity changes from platform to platform; I rarely ever post on Facebook anymore, and if I do it’s usually to let people know about something of UTMOST importance to me (eg, my most recent post being a shared video about the line-up of an up and coming music festival – Splendour In The Grass),

screenshot from Josie-Amber O’Neill shared facebook video, retrieved 18/04/2016

and having multiple platforms on which to present myself allows me to focus on a different aspect on myself on each website, while still changing and evolving the ways in which I do so (Brown, 2016).

Interconnecting my various media accounts to one another is important, and very tactically done. On my LinkedIn I wouldn’t post anything other than professional information and links to anything that might improve my chances of getting a job. But on Instagram, I’d link people to my Soundcloud, and on my About Me, there are links to Soundcloud, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube – all the more “social” and creative platforms that I use, as well as LinkedIn. My more creative platforms serve as a sort of ‘hub’ to every other platform, professional or social, but the professional platforms remain strictly professional. But, as pointed out by C. Waite (2013), although “digital communication provides greater avenues for individual expression, the broader social consequences will be less freedom and personal control”, so I have to be very careful in what I post.

My online self is generally just an amplified, more focused version of my offline self – a performance (Marshal, 2010). On my LinkedIn I let any potential employers know the business/ skilled side of me – for example, I am fluent in German (something I would not necessarily post about on Instagram), or that I have a Cert 2 in Warehousing Operations (something I would probably never discuss unless asked).  Whereas on Instagram, I let people see my more creative and more social side. My Instagram makes it seem like I’m always either painting,

Colour mixing #abstract #afterlight #vscocam #watercolour #tillith #painting

A post shared by Josie-Amber O'Neill (@josieamberon) on

playing guitar,

or out with friends; despite 70% of my life being me sitting at home looking like this:

photograph by Josie-Amber O’Neill: “selfie”, taken 11/04/16

(above Instagram images/videos embedded from @josieamberon profile)


Whatever I post online is exactly what I want people to see, because whether I like it or not, it’ll still be there after I die – however, I have less control on what OTHER people post about me online, photos or content involving myself could be posted without my knowledge or consent, and then the removal of that content could be more difficult than thought of; and even so, the content is still there once it’s been ‘deleted’. “Self presentation in online environments, unlike in analogy life writing, does not have narrative beginnings and ends distinguishable by birth or death.” (Poletti & Rak, 2013, p. 90). There are even websites around now such as Dead Social and Lives On that continue to blog for you after you die, using information gathered on your blogging patterns from when you were alive – so I guess that if you continuously posted vulgar comments online, you’d continue to be a jerk in the afterlife… probably not the best way to be remembered.

Before university, I never had a Twitter account, and honestly never intended on getting one – it was just another website that had the potential for disaster. But since creating one, I’ve begun to see the appeal. Twitter, and indeed a lot of the internet, is just one big conversation. Since creating my account, I’ve been able to casually and somewhat informally communicate with my university tutors and peers, and have been able to complete assessments on there – such as posting various class activities, live tweeting events or things happening to me, or just simply staying ‘in the loop’.

tweet 3
screenshot of Josie-Amber’s tweet, “in-class activity about online manipulation”, retrieved 17/04/2016
tweet 2
screenshot of Josie-Amber’s tweet, “with response from university tutor on topic”, retrieved 18/04/2016
tweet 1
screenshot of Josie-Amber’s tweet, “promoting LinkedIn profile”, retrieved 18/04/2016


The best way to be aware of what is happening online, is to stay active online. Before studying digital media at University, I had no idea what a Prezi was or how to make one, yet I was able to make one in about 10 minutes in class alongside fellow students simply by fiddling around, experimenting, and having a go.


“Online Identity” at Prezi


The same was with Twitter; I’d had a vague understanding of what it was, but after using it for a few days, it was easy enough to get the hang of, and now I use it almost daily to keep up with the daily news.

If there’s anything that I’d like for you as a reader to take from this post, it’s this: while it’s important to stay active online, remember that peoples personas online are just a performance, and shouldn’t be viewed as an EXACT embodiment of who they are in real life; just be careful about what you post and share online, because once it’s there, it’s there forever.


(Word count: 956)


My broader online engagement and activity

My online activity and engagement since starting this unit has certainly increased, and I’m very much more aware of any further implications my online activity could have. While I was already active online before starting this unit, it was more social activity, and I’ve since created and begun using more platforms to stay relevant and professionally visible online, such as AboutMe, LinkedIn, and WordPress, which will help me in later life.




Poletti A, Rak J, 2013, Identity Technologies: constructing the self online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Marshall P D, 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol 1, no 1, pg 35-48

Coldwell W, 2013, Why death is not the end of your social media life, The Guardian, retrieved on 18/04/2016,

Waite C, 2013, The Digital Evolution of an American Identity, Routledge, New York.

Brown A, 2016, ‘Multiple Me(s): Thinking Through Myself Online’, Exploring Digital Zones, WordPress, 11/03/2016, retrieved on 18/04/2016, <