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A Pandemic Dissertation

All I can say is that this was incredibly unexpected. I have written my dissertation in my childhood bedroom rather than the stuffy, yet somehow cosy, Mountbatten Library. In some ways I am grateful. A one-month extension has allowed me to spend more time writing and reviewing, my focus being solely on this project.

I have since realised that I have not discussed my dissertation on my blog, only an occasional survey share over on Twitter. So for those interested my research question is:

“How does the transparency of social media influencers, which are impacted by the ASA guidelines, encourage a change in their publics’ behaviour?”

I think my interest in this subject stems from my own interest in influencers. Personally, I have noticed my own behaviour change as a result of seeing influencers on Instagram. Recently I bought a dress purely because I had seen a fashion influencer share it on her stories. One of my other Instagram favourites is Mrs Hinch and her satisfying cleaning content. I have even enjoyed cleaning my oven at Uni, mad I know. I bet our oven is cleanest of all student houses in the country.

Now I am not going to discuss my results or any conclusions I have made (maybe another blog post is in store for that). But, instead the trials of writing a dissertation, let alone doing so within a global pandemic.

It has been a crazy time! Of course there have been some challenges along the way. For example, having to adapt my data collection methods to suit a pandemic, particularly organising a zoom call for my focus group. An odd experience, but fortunately for me it turned out to be incredibly beneficial.

Despite all of this, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my dissertation, maybe an odd concept for some. My course mates are probably judging me through their stress as we speak. But I have enjoyed the experience. Of course it has been tough and certainly has been a challenge. For me, researching a topic I am genuinely interested in has truly helped this enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong, at times it has been tough to motivate myself to write. But that comes with the territory of having to write 10,000 words. I guess that just proves the importance of choosing a topic that truly interests you rather than simply picking one out of thin air.

I have to admit that what often upsets me is the reminder of the lack of pictures with me smiling proudly and holding my hefty, perfectly bound, copy of my dissertation. I have put blood, sweat and tears into each one of these 10,000 words, I am certainly going to be cracking open a bottle of bubbly and celebrating. Whilst also taking a multitude of pictures in my back garden holding just the front cover (because who has the ability to print 60 odd pages from home!).

So I guess what I am saying is thanks but no thanks Covid-19. You have been a royal pain for many of us, ruining our life’s plans. But, we soldier on just as we do best. I will celebrate my dissertation success… eventually!

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