Portfolio Part 2 #ALC708

In this modern age, the advent of new social media technologies has led to a rise in long-distance relationships or LDR. There are many couples who are engaged in this kind of romance in the virtual world, taking risks and surviving through it. In the contrary, there are those people who disagree to the idea of going through long-distance relationships, viewing it as complicated and challenging, and there are some who also assume that LDR just doesn’t work or last. There are a lot of negative connotations driven by it, primarily because of the distance—which sucks!

That may be the image many of us have of long-distance relationships but the reality can be different. To enquire into the reality of maintaining long-distance relationships in the virtual world, I decided to focus on a particular concern of whether LDR does work and the hope around it, particularly with the question: Does distance make the heart grow fonder? The video highlights significant points such as intimacy, communication, and more, to be able to support and balance my argument which is towards the possibility of LDR working (which I believe so), and being a function of technology. In turn, may most of you be able to watch and be informed with a valuable lesson too.

Upon watching my video, this is evidently an area of personal interest to me, which is supported by research and drawn from a number of scholarly resources, wherein I stated key points and also short quotations, making it educational as possible for the audience — pro-LDR or not. While at the same time, approaching it creatively, inspiringly and expressively, with the intention to present a clear topic, outline, and transition.

The strategies I utilised for my video project includes my voice recordings as audio, and presented my own video footages (it is very relatable) and some images with importance to LDR. It was a balance of my own media together with outsourced materials. This was also a great opportunity for me to relevantly express myself, my relationship, and surroundings positively too, and it feels awesome. The use of Creative Commons materials I included within my video were sourced images from Flickr and Pixabay. A very special thanks for Apple’s iMovie as well, for providing the background music selections within the video and making the execution and production possible.

In relation to the challenges I have faced to accomplish this video project, I just want to say that this was the very first time I ever did an edited video, and it definitely wasn’t easy, (you were right, Adam!). All the time and work it took was surely extra, and I had to work my way of learning every little detail and features about video-editing on my own, especially through my first encounter with iMovie. I also struggled to be creative and critical at the same time, at some point I was anxious of being at the wrong direction. But I really tried my best and most importantly, I undeniably enjoyed the challenging process and learned so much from it. Despite all the struggles I faced, everything in this exercise WAS ALL WORTH IT.

It definitely is clear to me now – why it is called #LearningByDoing. We just do not stop learning in life. I can’t help but smile to the thought that indeed, it seems impossible until its done. I am proud of myself for accomplishing every bit of this video portfolio. I would like to express deep gratitude to this unit, it was overall fun coming out of my comfort zone.

My broader online activity in relation to the unit:

I have made my visibility in Twitter, engaged in most of the weekly Tiffit challenges, and tweeted unit-related content in hashtags #ALC708, while being fun and insightful as well. I also have interacted with some of ALC peers online, made  relevant comments to posts and tweets, joining some of their conversations. I also interacted in podcasts, shared relevant points, and answered to comments and feedback. Every person in this unit I digitally connected with have taught me something.

References:

IMAGES: (sourced from Flicker & Pixabay)

Long distance love by PRODvortygirl (CC BY 2.0)

Long Distance Relationship by Brian Ingmanson (CC BY 2.0)

Kiss me hard before you go by Katie Shanice  (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

FaceTime med by erik forsberg (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Chris & Jessica Engagement – Falling by Jeremy Blanchard (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Skype chat call video calls (CC0 1.0)

Adult city girl indoors laptop (CC0 1.0)

Smartphone mobile phone mobile app (CC0 1.0)

Smartphone hand photo montage faces (CC 1.0)

Man woman pair love (CC 1.0)

Hand ball faces world population (CC 1.0)

MUSIC: Provided by iMovie

All other audio, videos and images by Angel Dolor.

Billedo, CJ, Kerkhof, P & Finkenauer, C 2015, ‘The Use of Social Networking Sites for RelationshipMaintenance in Long-Distance and Geographically Close Romantic Relationships’, Academia, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 152-157, doi:10.1089/cyber.2014.0469

Jiang, C & Hancock, J 2013, ‘Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships’, Journal of Communication, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 556–577, doi:10.1111/jcom.12029 

Kerner, I 2013, Does distance really make the heart grow fonder?, CNN, retrieved 29 May 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/17/living/relationships-long-distance-benefits/

LaFata, A 2015, Does Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder Or Does It Make You Forget?, Elite Daily, retrieved 29 May 2017, http://elitedaily.com/dating/does-absence-make-heart-fonder/1098279/

Marinos, S 2017, How to make a long distance love last, Herald Sun, retrieved 29 May 2017, http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/how-to-make-a-long-distance-love-last/news-story/4b19ea2cc8380f5a0fb23c85516caed2

Pearson, C 2013, Long Distance Relationship Benefits Include Greater Intimacy, Study Says, Huffington Post, retrieved 29 May 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/long-distance-relationship-benefits_n_3616839

Vorwerck, M 2013, Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Study says yes, USA Today, retrieved 30 May 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/20/long-distance-relationships-2013/2568295/

Wong, B 2017, What Every Person In A Long-Distance Relationship Should Know, Huffington Post, retrieved 29 May 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/how-to-survive-a-long-distance-relationship_us_58c96c4ae4b0934e249cbed4

LDR: KEEPING UP WITH HUMAN CONNECTION ONLINE

As a millennial, from the time I hit adolescence up until present, my online self has always been active all over various social media platforms. I couldn’t help but cringe from the memory of the young awkward me having an account from long-gone social sites such as Friendster (am I the only one?), MySpace, Multiply, and even chat with everyone in Yahoo! Messenger and mIRC. Mindlessly, I would post any stuff about my life that fascinated me during that time, and uploaded unfiltered photos and ridiculously thought I was ‘cool’ to do them back then, even out of boredom.

With grown up me at the moment, I own active accounts at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Gmail, yet now I have been wary and socially responsible on how I use them. With much appreciation for ALC708 unit, I had a deeper look at my virtual persona and reevaluated them… and figured out that my online behaviour have evolved into something more. Just as how I attempt to live my life, I have learnt to use my online persona and  engagement with intention. My use of social media has not only been generally about sharing news or funny viral videos on Facebook, to personally ranting in Twitter, or posting a #selfie or viewing stories in Instagram, but also primarily been because of — connectivity, explained by C Waite (2013, p. 16) as the dependency of an individual towards ‘virtual copresence’, specifically with the way in which I have maintained relationships online, in terms of being away from home.

From Manila to moving over here in Melbourne in less than a year independently, adjusting to a new ‘home’ and life in a foreign country has not been an easy journey. I used to have anxiety attacks and sleepless nights from missing everything and everybody (physically) in the Philippines. So, how was I able to cope up with homesickeness? What made it bearable? To me, social media has absolutely been an even more intrinsic part of my everyday life. My online engagement (off-campus) has been all about long-distance relationships (LDR) with family, friends, and others. In maintaining to do so — the stronger and deeper the connection, the better it is. Trust me, it takes heaps of patience and effort (plus an excellent wifi connection!) to do so.

By taking an active role in social media, below is a bit of overview of how I kept up with my journey alone and LDR life:

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.02.05 PM
Screenshot image via Angel Dolor’s Facebook profile.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.05.02 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.10.47 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.11.34 PM

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.12.43 PM
Tweets embedded from Twitter profile @angldlr.

A very special thanks to the digital era of advanced technology. If not for social media, all these wouldn’t be possible and I would have gotten out of my mind at this point.

Some (well, majority now) days, when I get busy with my day-time job, studying, completing uni assessments, exploring new places, and being a nap queen, I tend to feel disconnected towards my long-distance relationships too. Of course it hasn’t been a perfect one as it cannot be monitored all the time, and ‘instant updates’ from loved ones doesn’t always come on-the-spot. Yet given so, I make sure to consistently take an active role with my online engagement at the start or end of day at the very least. I am continuously working towards better ways to deal with being good at LDR online engagement, and it hasn’t been easy either! This is an important aspect of my personal online self that I deal with best through learning by doing, just like actively-engaging online through tweeting or writing a blog post. (Brown 2016) Hence, let me share with you all a number of ways I have learned on how to effectively deal with  it through a short Prezi video.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 9.33.49 PM
Screenshot via Prezi

5 ways to maintain an active role in LDR: with Prezi By Angel Dolor, 9 April 2017

Hope this would greatly help anyone who needs it! In summary, I enumerated it as follows:

Ways to maintain an active role in LDR:

  1. COMMUNICATE WELL –  Keep them up to date with what’s going on with your life. Talk about plans, problems, celebrations, and more! Overshare if you want too. It’s a two-way relationship, so learn to also listen. And remember, honesty is the best policy.
  2. ADD VIDEO – Impromptu or scheduled, make time for Facetime, Messenger Video, Skype, Viber or whichever video call works for you!
  3. PLAN A SURPISE – Make an extra effort to do something unexpected! Give flowers, write letters, or book that plane ticket.
  4.  MAKE PERSONAL TIME – Make sure to enjoy your own life as it is! It is highly important to have have some Me Time as well.
  5. KEEP POSITIVE – No matter how busy, outdated, or hard times may get, always be willing to learn to keep up with whatever happens.

Honestly, I still find myself in awe on how strong and resilient I have been throughout the months that have passed, especially with how much growth I gained through coping up with the virtual LDR life. It’s not the craziest nor the worst thing to imagine, between Snapchats, Skype, and Viber calls — sometimes it even feels like I am more in touch with my cross-country best girlfriends than actual flatmates or brunch pals. Amazingly, I have grown to be very patient (I really used to be short-tempered.) and through a little research, I learned that it does have some perks, and positive benefits or impact on an individual. Findings supported by a 2013 study published in the Journal of Communication, discovered that long distance relationships actually include less anxiety (say goodbye to fighting over who left the seat up or getting pissed about someone showing up 20 minutes late). (Shape 2015, para. 7). Secondly, a recent study from the Pew Research Center reported that nearly a quarter of all relationships have an online element that keeps things going, but it is very important in an LDR to help your relationship, not hurt the people involved in it. Lastly, don’t you think that absence really makes the heart grow fonder? I certainly believe so, if you keep maintaining an active role in it.

To all the people out there who can virtually relate to this blog about keeping up with LDR online engagement, just hang in there, mate. Keep calm, and consistently focus on what you would like to happen without being controlled by constant difficulties brought about by distance. Instead, use online human connection to continue spreading the love, concern, and kindness around like confetti. After all, everything we convey and say in the virtual online world will always and forever be there (and in our hearts), NO matter where are and where we’ll go. Best of luck! If I can do it, you can too. And to all those who have kept an LDR for a long-term, kudos to you!

(Word count: 1196 not including citations or captions)

References:

Brown A, 2016, ‘Multiple Me(s): Thinking Through Myself Online’, Exploring Digital Zones, WordPress, 11 March, retrieved on 09 April 2017, <https://adamgbrown.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/multiple-mes-thinking-through-my-online-self/&gt;.

Mckenzie M, 2015, 6 Ways a Long Distance Relationship Makes You More In Love, Shape, retrieved 09 April 2017, <http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-and-love/6-ways-long-distance-relationship-makes-you-more-love&gt;.

Smith A & Duggan M 2013, The Broader Online Environment around Dating and Relationships, Pew Research Center, retrieved 09 April 2017, <http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/10/21/part-3-the-broader-online-environment-around-dating-and-relationships/&gt;.

Waisbord S, 2015, ‘Journal of Communication’, Wiley Online Library, vol. 66., retrieved 09 April 2017, <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291460-2466&gt;.

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

My broader ALC708-related online activity:

Through this unit, I decided to willingly quit my ‘social media hiatus’, through accepting and owning my online identity more creatively and responsibly. I actively have an increased online engagement not just with social activity, but knowing further implications of my online activities. I certainly went outside my comfort zone with the following:

  • Made About.Me profile, in the online discussion forum
  • WordPress account, which would later on be helpful in making it a personal blog
  • A group Periscope video made in the campus with classmates
  • Liking, commenting, and sharing relevant content & actively engaging with peers via Twitter from #ALC708 hashtag and weekly Tiffit challenges