CONSIDERING GLOBALISATION

Understanding the impacts of the digital age and what to make of it with regards to globalisation is pertinent to ensuring significant and meaningful work, despite physical location.

With social practices having “emerged out of computer-related industries” (Aneesh, Hall & Petro, 2011), the internet has made fundamental changes to our lives in terms of increasing connectivity, enriching collaboration and allowing for access to a multitude of resources. As an interactive media designer, understanding the impacts of the digital age and what to make of it with regards to globalisation is pertinent to ensuring my work is significant and meaningful despite my physical location.

SO, WHAT IS GLOBALISATION?

Malcolm Waters described the term as “a social process in which the constraints of geography on economic, political, social and cultural arrangements recede,” (Flew, 2014, p. 142) and Anthony Giddens (Flew, 2014, p. 140) added that it is “influenced above all by developments in systems of communication.” My favourite synopsis was Frances Cairncross’s, who equated it with “the death of distance” (Flew, 2014, p. 141). Within this context, it is the cultural dimension (Chhabra, 2015) as well as the general “increase in interconnectedness” (Hannerz, 1996) that is of particular interest.

Image source: Altmann, G. (n.d.). Retrieved from Pexels.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Marshall MuLuhan (1962, p. 31) exemplified globalisation as it relates to community with his notion of the global village. His concept has become reality within the virtual communities that exist today, whereby anyone around the world can engage with one another as though they are face-to-face locals with the ability to get to know each other (Cover, 2016). McMillan & Chavis (1986, p. 9) defined the sense of community with the inclusion of four elements. These elements involve feelings of membership, feelings of influence, integration and fulfilment of needs, and shared emotion connection.
 
There are particular activities we can partake in that assist with fostering a sense of community as designers. The first is to connect with a broad range of social media audiences. We Are Social’s 2018 Digital Report (de Spinola, 2018) provides visualisations of global social media activity across a range of platforms and exemplifies the existence of markets residing in other parts of the world.

Image source: de Spinola, C. (2018). 2018 DIGITAL REPORT – AUSTRALIA.

Having a strong social media presence and following can assist with increasing collaborative opportunities, as well as opening up a channel for feedback. Similar to the discussion in my previous post, Embracing Participatory Culture, developing an online community through lower threshold activities can lead to a more committed and passionate group of people more open to partaking in higher engagement activities.
 
Live Streaming platforms such as Twitch are also worth mentioning as they can be used as a tool for forming deeper connections between people in divergent locations. Likened to creating a connection whilst communicating face to face, Flew (2014, p. 140) speaks of globalisation not having become an incidental aspect of our lives but more so a “shift in our very life circumstances.” Fostering a sense of community in these ways is considered incredibly valuable, if not integral, to operating successfully as a globally applicable design professional.
TRAVERSING LANGUAGE AND SPACE
As visual design work is often in digital form and symbolic in nature, it is more easily globalised than other language-based mediums. However, the use of online translation tools is a luxurious convenience that ensures even textual content is accessible to non-English speakers. In addition to this, the concept of digital distribution means it’s no longer necessary for creations to traverse physical spaces between designers and consumers (Idealog’s Guide refers to this as weightless exports), as it is instantaneous.
 
The value of alt-text is often underestimated. Including alternative text as a part of your images is a particularly important and incredibly valuable part of SEO, web design, blogging, and media marketing. Including a description with your images is considerate to those who are vision impaired, and allows for them to be searched for, which thus increases the number of possible connections to your content.
 
Finally, designers can find work through the use of websites such as Freelancer and UpWork, which give users the ability to work when and from wherever they like. Sites like these allow for your work to be independent of your geographical whereabouts, which helps to make it more relevant and meaningful on a global scale.

Image source: Pixabay. (2015). Retrieved from Pexels.

IN CONCLUSION

Hopefully this insight into globalisation as it relates to the design profession has opened your mind to some new concepts, as well as encouraged you to partake in the activities that were mentioned, if being able to work from anywhere in the world is something that appeals to you. Personally, increasing my awareness of the implications of globalisation as well as equipping myself with knowledge regarding how I can make my work more pertinent and meaningful on a global scale is incredibly empowering. Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know if you can relate or if you possess any opposing opinions, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,
Olivia Meredith

 

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REFERENCES
Aneesh, A., Hall, L., & Petro, P. (2011). Beyond Globalization: Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices (pp. 1-29). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Chhabra, P. (2015). Dimensions of Globalization. RESEARCH HUB – International Multidisciplinary Research Journal (RHIMRJ), 2(6). Retrieved 25 March 2018, from http://www.rhimrj.com/admin/upload/Prabhjot%20Kanwal%20Chabra1.pdf
Cover, R. (2016). Digital Identities: Creating And Communicating The Online Self. San Diego, CA: Elsevier. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
de Spinola, C. (2018). 2018 DIGITAL REPORT – AUSTRALIA. We Are Social Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://wearesocial.com/au/blog/2018/02/2018-digital-report-australia
Hannerz, U. (1996). Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places. London & New York: Routledge.
McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
McMillan, D., & Chavis, D. (1986). Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory. Journal Of Community Psychology, 14. Retrieved 26 March 2018, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e5fb/8ece108aec36714ee413876e61b0510e7c80.pdf
 
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ADDITIONAL READING
Athique, A. (2017). Transnational Audiences: Media Reception On A Global Scale. Oxford: Polity Press. Retrieved 25 March 2018, from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Chung, P. (2008). The Creative Industry of Singapore: Cultural Policy in the Age of Globalisation. Media International Australia, 128(1), 31-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1329878×0812800105
Proctor, R., Nof, S., Yih, Y., Balasubramanian, P., Busemeyer, J., & Carayon, P. et al. (2011). Understanding and Improving Cross-Cultural Decision Making in Design and Use of Digital Media: A Research Agenda. International Journal Of Human-Computer Interaction, 27(2), 151-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2011.537175
 
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Note: All photographs were sourced from http://www.pexels.com, meaning they are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, however, links are provided below out of consideration for the creator and for your convenience (listed in order of appearance).
Sorenson, J. (2015). Flying Plane. Retrieved 22 March 2018, from https://www.pexels.com/photo/flight-flying-plane-air-travel-59519/
Altmann, G. (n.d.). Silhouette of People Standing Neat Tree Under the Moon. Retrieved 27 March 2018, from https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-people-standing-neat-tree-under-the-moon-22138/
(2015). Atlas Ball. Retrieved 22 March 2018, from https://www.pexels.com/photo/atlas-ball-shaped-business-compass-269633/