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Skateboarding Media and Mobile Devices

Coming up next at ANZCA 2017 is Lyell Durkin, who shifts our interest to the media representations of skateboarding (now also an official sport of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games). There are many different views of skateboarding, but skateboarders themselves are regarding their practices as an art and a lifestyle; this view is also represented in the skate media emerging from the community itself.

Skateboarding media centrally include videos and photos that represent and memorialise tricks and moves; this is because many such moves are a great deal more difficult to describe than they are to capture in visual form. Such media began with print magazines and subsequently strongly embraced consumer camcorder technology, eventually also moving online to share such videos on YouTube and other platforms. Much such media content remains overwhelmingly male in its focus, too.

Mobile devices have played an important role in both the production and consumption of skate media, therefore. They do not only capture a memory, but become a tool for communication, not least also through visual rather than purely textual forms. This follows a memorabilia logic: 'record now, decide later' on whether and how to distribute the content; it enables the capture of events that would otherwise have remained unmemorialised, and used both for the review of tricks by the performer and for sharing with a wider group.

But the public posting of such memorabilia through social media also faces some hurdles; some posters feel that this material is too subculturally specific, and they are reluctant to share it with the full social circle. This is mitigated in part by also including some comedic falls in order to create appeal for a wider audience, for instance; the perceived need to do so is a sign of context collapse in social media environments.