A Moment of Reflection

“Reflection is a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciations. It may take place in isolation or in association with others. It can be done well or badly, successfully or unsuccessfully” (University of Sydney, 2015).

From this definition of reflection, we can come to the understanding that this process of reflecting on ones own experiences and work can be beneficial in many ways including, identifying possible inadequacies or areas for improvement, understanding your own strengths, applying what you have learned from one situation to other situations and lastly transforming an experience into learning about individual values and beliefs. In applying this process of reflection to my experience of blogging throughout this semester, I hope that I can satisfy all of these above benefits, successfully growing and learning from this experience as a whole.

An important aspect of creating an online presence is building an audience to reach out to. A central point I gathered from Aaron Baldassare’s (2012) article is that “it is crucial to focus on the quality rather than the size of your blog audience. In exploring this tip I felt that this is tied in closely with using the BCM240 hash tag, directly linking my work to my peers who follow this tag, creating an aggregation of information. Instead of targeting a large online audience using multiple hash tags, I opted for ‘quality’, only using the one tag. In exploration of more ways I might have been able to increase my follow base, I could have posted links to my work on other media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, further expanding my viewers and increasing the feedback and engagement I get from outside audiences. Another tip I gathered from this article is to “get involved in the relevant community” (Baldassare, A 2012). I felt like this was a strong aspect of mine over the course of the semester, reading and interacting with other blogs and peers. Interacting with this BCM240 community helped improve the quality of my writing through informing me of the various topics they were covering in their blogs. In combination with this, the ability to comment on my peer’s works, as well as receive feedback from them viewing my blog benefited my learning experience as a whole.

Another crucial aspect of blogging is the developing of a writing style and voice. Janine Warner (2015) discusses in her Dummies article the significance of maturing a writing style and voice through “trying to write the way you speak,” remembering that blogging is in actual fact a “conversation”. I think this was the aspect, which I struggled with the most, attempting to create and reflect my personality in my own writing. Being introduced to blogging at the beginning of last year, I was unsure on how to structure a blog as well as the tone to use in my writing. As I have developed my online presence over the course of my University degree I have found that my writing has been shaped from formal and ridged to a more relaxed, informal tone and style. In developing this voice, Warner (2015) suggests to always “consider your audience”. In considering my BCM240 audience I have been aiming to write academically in order to engage this target audience, however, using a loosened style of writing that reflects my personality. As I widen my audience through the posting of my WordPress links on multiple platforms, I will have to ensure that I am using “plenty of references or glossaries” to help these new readers follow along (Warner, J 2015). As I continue blogging and building my online presence, I aim to develop this writing style further, eventually gaining a solid blogging voice.

When it comes to blog design and layout, Marie Asselin (2014) adds “Everybody loves discovering great content, but who likes stumbling around a clumsy design that makes it hard to access the content?” Upon beginning BCM240, I was blissfully unaware of the importance of blog design, offering all my readers a plain blog page with clustered content and no tabs helping the viewer navigate the page. Throughout the course of this subject I have slowly altered my page to give the readers a more pleasant experience than previous. Asselin (2014) highlights in her article the “significance to a well-edited navigation menu, acting as a gateway to everything”. This was one of the major changes I incorporated in my blog page, adding a menu for my viewers to navigate between my hash tags. In thinking of more editing that could be done to my design and layout, I would like to add more to my side menus, linking my twitter and email address, allowing for viewers to either contact me for queries or to follow my twitter activity.

An aspect that I felt I was strong in was exploring outside of the set readings in search of additional resources to aid my blogs in the topics I covered. These additional sources found added a bit more depth to my writing, either backing up my writing or adding further readings for viewers to explore in order to gain a better understanding of the topic. The broad nature of each topic question was good allowing for me to back myself in choosing which aspect of the topic I decided to tackle. This was good for my personal growth as a blogger as I could delve deeper into aspects of topics that I found more interesting, further personalising my online presence.

Through reflection of my online presence, I have been able to turn my blogging experience into a learning occurrence in which I have gained a greater understanding of my strengths, values and beliefs, identifying inadequacies and areas for improvement, and overall learning from the experience in order to inform future blogging situations. This practice of self-evaluation has been of great value to my growth as a student as well as a blogger.

References:

 University of Sydney 2015, ‘Reflection’, The University of Sydney, Article,

< http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/groupwork/docs/Reflection.pdf >

Baldassare, A 2012, ‘How to Build a Blog Audience: The 12 Laws of a Great Start’, Falconer, November 16, Article,

< http://falconerwebmarketing.com/build-blog-audience/ >

Warner, J 2015, ‘Writing A Good Blog’, Dummies, Article,

< http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/writing-a-good-blog.html >

Asselin, M 2014, ‘Tips For Creating An Effective Blog Layout’, Food Bloggers Of Canada, June 4, Article,

< http://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/2014/06/the-five-most-important-elements-of-a-blog-layout >

This Blog Restricts Cell Phone Usage

In the technological driven world that we live in today, telecommunication use has become an indispensable tool for most individuals. Through constant innovation, telecommunications have evolved drastically, allowing for society to use an array of devices virtually everywhere on the go. With this increase in accessibility and cell phone use, comes the issue and need for regulation in certain public areas.

Sourced – < http://www.safetysign.com/images/catlog/product/large/F7208.png >

Still to this day I can hear my mothers deafening voice from childhood ringing in my ears, shouting “No phones at the table!” “No watching television whilst at the dinner table!” “No television during weeknights!” These are just a few examples of media use regulation that was enforced in my home as I grew up. Now that I have grown up and moved out from my parent’s house, I find myself still enforcing some of these rules for my own benefit.

As we move away from the household, we can find certain regulations of mobile phone use in public places that are enforced for the safety of the user and others, these include:

Airplanes – The use of telecommunications during take off and landing of flights are strictly prohibited due to authorities claim that ‘cellular signals may interfere with guidance and communication systems’ (Law, J 2013).

Hospitals – Mobile phone uses within hospitals are generally banned on grounds that they could ‘interfere with the operation and functioning of critical medical equipment’ (Law, J 2013).

Gas Stations – The use of cell phones at gas pumps are prohibited due to the unlikely case that the mobile phone ignites the gasoline vapors in the air.

All these three areas are regulated highly with signage informing individuals of the rules towards phone usage.

Besides safety, phone usage can be regulated to ensure that peace and quietness is achieved which allows for a good environment for concentration and work completion. Some public areas where this regulation is ideal include classrooms, libraries, various job descriptions, church etc. All these areas might not enforce this regulation, however it is common knowledge that usage of phones within these areas is disapproved.

References:

Law, J 2013, ‘4 Places You Can’t Use Your Cell Phone… and Why’, Rogers, November 5, Article,

http://www.connectedrogers.ca/news/4-places-you-cant-use-your-cell-phone-and-why/ >

Societies Diminishing Attention Span

The Internet along with new media technologies has undoubtedly changed our lives in more ways than one. When we think about this change, things pop to mind such as being able to be connected online 24/7 with devices, new job prospects and more entertainment options. All these changes are seemingly positive, giving us the idea that the Internet and these new technologies have changed our lives for the best. But what happens when we explore into some negatives changes. One adjustment that would most likely not spring to mind is our ‘diminished attention spans’.

Recent studies conducted by Microsoft has highlighted the deteriorating attention span of humans, claiming that it has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8 seconds in 2015 (Watson, L 2015). This study has informed us that humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which being inferior to humans in many ways, can now hold thought longer than us. The reason for this deteriorating attention span has all fingers pointed at the increase in use of devices such as Smartphone’s and iPads.

Microsoft Canada’s research report on attention spans highlights the ‘Brain Plasticity’, claiming that the “brain has the miraculous capability to change itself over time. It is able to rewire and form new capabilities throughout the course of one’s life. This ability allows humans to adapt both to new, or changing situations in their environment” (Microsoft, 2015). This theory on the brains plasticity explains humans diminishing attention span as they adapt to new media technologies.

I decided to put my own attention span to the test during the writing of this blog. I logged every time my attention swayed from writing due to any technological disturbances for an hour. The log is as followed:

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 4.59.47 PMFrom the testing of my own attention span, I can identify the severe disturbance from technology, with five occurrences of my mind wondering from the task. With new media technologies constantly penetrating its way into society, my mind wonders, what will humans attention span be in 20years?

References:

Watson, L 2015, ‘Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones’, The Telegraph, May 15, Article,

< http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html >

Microsoft 2015, ‘Attention Span Research Report’, Microsoft Canada, Spring,

https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/490916/mod_resource/content/1/microsoft-attention-spans-research-report.pdf >

Image Sourced

Dono, A.M 2014, ‘7 Tactics to Boost Your Digital Marketing Conversion Rates’, SlideShare, 

< http://www.slideshare.net/annemarie6/7-tactics-to-boost-digital-marketing-conversion-rate >

Cinemas Providing a Shared Experience

Google Definitions (2015) define ‘Cinemas’ as “a theatre where films are shown for public entertainment”. In exploring this definition we can gain the understanding that these cinemas provide an opportunity for those willing to engage in a shared experience with their friend’s, family and community around them.

For this week’s blog, we were given the task of embarking on an expedition to the cinemas to engage in this shared experience of viewing a movie with those around you. My friends and I were up for this endeavour, booking tickets to the recent release in cinemas across Australia, ‘Straight Outta Compton’.

In social planning, Torsten Hägerstrand identifies that there are three human constraints that could hinder various aspects of an individuals plan. Hägerstrand’s three constraints are as followed:

  1. Capability Constraints – “those which limit the activities of the individual because of his biological construction and/or the tools he can command” (Shaw, S.L 2010).
  2. Coupling Constraints – “where, when, and for how long, the individual has to join other individuals, tools, and materials in order to produce, consume, and transact” (Shaw, S.L 2010).
  3. Authority Constraints – refer to “control areas” or “domains”. A domain is a time-space entity within which things and events are under the control of a given individual or a given group (Shaw, S.L 2010).

On our expedition to the cinemas, we were asked to explore these three constraints involvement in our own social planning.

We firstly analysed our capability constraints, exploring the two questions ‘can we get there, and how would we manage this’? In deciding if we could get there, we chose Hoyts Warrawong cinema only 15minutes driving distance from where we lived. We then planned as a group to convoy to the destination with two cars. This was not a constraint with all members of the group holding full licenses and owning a car.

Secondly we analysed our coupling constraints, asking ourselves ‘when we would attend the movie, and if we could get there for the session time’? As a group we had to identify a day and time that would best suit every member in being able to view the movie. We had to take into consideration University class times, job rosters, homework and movie time slots. With all of us living off a Uni budget, we opted to go for ‘Cheap Tuesdays’ at Hoyts in order to take advantage of the cheaper tickets. This day was perfect for our group as all of us were free from work and Uni commitments from the afternoon onwards. We then had to choose a time slot to view the movie, opting for a later slot so we could get a feed and snacks before hand. In this case, coupling did not prove to be a constraint.

Lastly we analysed our authority constraints, questioning ‘are we able to view the movie’? For this last constraint we explored wether we were able to view the film based on it’s age rating. All of us being above the age of 20, had no problems with this authority constraint.

Cinemas attendance has been notably declining over recent years, being severely impacted by technological innovation. “The incursions of home cinema, piracy and the availability of a multitude of other entertainment options have wreaked havoc on the cinema business” (Quinn, K 2014). We can see this decline in attendance increasing over the next 5 – 10 year, being severely impacted by the ’emergence of competition for product substitutes’ (Silver, J & McDonnell, J 2006such as piracy and Netflix. The only thing cinemas are able to do is raise prices of tickets to substitute for a lack of attendance.This decline in traditional theatre experiences was made evident to myself upon entering the cinema. We had pre booked tickets to Straight Outta Compton expecting it to be sold out due to it’s recent release. When we got to the cinemas, we were shocked to see that the theatre was barely full.

References:

Shaw, S.L 2010, ‘Time Geography: Its Past, Present, and Future’, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, April 15, 

http://web.utk.edu/~sshaw/Personal%20Homepage/AAG2010-Shaw-Time%20Geography%20Presentation.pdf >

Quinn, K 2014, ‘A cinema ticket in Australia can cost up to $40. Here’s why’, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 10, Article, 

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/a-cinema-ticket-in-australia-can-cost-up-to-40-heres-why-20140712-3bt9e.html >

Silver, J & McDonnell, J 2006, ‘ARE MOVIE THEATERS DOOMED? DO EXHIBITORS SEE THE BIG PICTURE AS THEATERS LOSE THEIR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE?’, School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology, 

http://eprints.qut.edu.au/12880/1/12880.pdf >

Collaborative Ethnography

The evolution of technology has brought around fundamental changes in world perceptions, culture and social norms. A principal redesign this evolution has made in day-to-day society is the option for individuals to be connected with the Internet 24/7 via smart phones, tablets and laptops. This array of devices at the disposal of users, has resulted in a ‘gradual decrease in live to air viewing of television over the past 5 years, as well as changes in ways in which users view television programs’ (OZTAM, 2015). A recent trend ‘OZTAM’ has discovered is the concept  of ‘multi-screening’, in which users operate another screen whilst viewing television programs. This is made evident in OZTAM’s (2015) report claiming “75 per cent of online Australians aged 16+ say they ever watch TV and use the internet simultaneously”. 

  • The data below highlights the devices used most whilst watching TV

OZTAM uses a process of ‘media audience research‘ in order to produce their reports highlighting Australian viewing trends. This “media audience research is content-focused, and skews towards quantitative research” (Bowles, K 2015). A way in which OZTAM are able to collect and analyse this research is through ‘Collaborative Ethnography’.

Ethnography is the study of ‘social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities’ (Reeves, S 2008). Lassiter (2015) refers to collaborative ethnography as an approach that ‘deliberately and explicitly emphasises collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it’.

Through using collaborative ethnography, the researcher is able to gain a greater understanding of consumer trends through creating a connection with those they are interviewing. It creates a two-way street in which the consumer receives something from the ethnographer and the ethnographer receives something from the consumer. Lassiter (2015) refers to this connection as ‘threads of collaboration between ethnographers and their consultants’.

As media use is set to increase over the years to come; so will companies using collaborative ethnography looking to exploit this research in order to gain knowledge of trends and patterns as well as strong relationships with consumers.

References:

OZTAM, 2015, ‘AUSTRALIAN MULTI-SCREEN REPORT’, REGIONAL TAM, Quarter 1, NIELSEN,

< http://www.oztam.com.au/documents/Other/MultiScreenReport_Q1-2015-Final%20amended%20P7.pdf >

Bowles, K 2015, ‘Media, Audience, Place’, BCM240, Lecture 3,

Lassiter, E.L 2005, ‘The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography’, University of Chicago Press, Chicago,

< http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html > 

Reeves, S 2008,’Qualitative Research Methodologies: Ethnography’, bmj, 

< http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a1020 >

Back in my day…

In choosing an individual to interview for my blog this week, I thought there would be no better than my very own mother. In beginning my interview with her, I informed her that I was going to query her on a few questions about her time growing up with the television. She was quick to respond proudly, “About time you asked me about my childhood. Back in my day….”. Upon hearing this response from her, I knew I was in for a long interview.

My mum, more commonly known as Martine Carroll, grew up in Mauritius, a small island East of South Africa and Madagascar (the one with all the talking animals). Martine grew up in a full house, with her Mum and Dad, as well as two older brothers and one younger sister. In the early stages of her childhood, her family did not own a TV. It was not till she was in her early teens that her family invested in a television. Previously to the owning of a television, her family and herself used to go to their grandparents house, where a TV was situated, to watch important events. One big occasion that has been quite memorable with her was ‘man landing on the moon’ in 1969, an event in which all her extended family huddled around their grandparents TV box to watch history being made. This to Mum was an amazing experience as the concept of being able to watch live events from around the world was all too new to her.

It was remembered by my mum the day that her dad bought back a telly one afternoon. Everyone was so excited, only to be disappointed when it took nearly two days to get it into working fashion. Their TV was situated in the corner of the living room, with a fireplace to the right, a couch and two armchairs parallel to the TV.

Mum grew up in quite a strict household, with multiple rules in place of using the telly. The list was as followed:

  1. No television during weekdays
  2. No sitting in Dad’s armchair
  3. A cloth was to be always placed over the TV once finished using to keep dust out
  4. No watching shows that were above their age of viewing

These rules ensured that there was always so much excitement between the kids when weekends came around, now allowing for Mum and her siblings to lounge out and watch their favourite shows and cartoons. Mum growing up speaking french, had a favourite cartoon called ‘Tin Tin’, in which she would watch whenever she got the chance.

A significant fond experience in which my Mum and her family partook in every Sunday night was, ‘Sunday Family Movie Night’. To Mum, there was nothing better than ending the week lounging around a fire with the family, after a long week of school and weekend activities, whilst watching a movie. Mum found this to be one of her favourite nights of the week as the family would bond over a movie and snacks.

From interviewing my mother on her experiences growing up with a TV, a couple of things were made evident to me. The first was the power the Television had in being able to bring the family together. The television provided an experience in which the family could share, especially on Mum’s favourite Sunday night. I believe that even with the advancement of technology and changes in cultural trends in todays society, this idea of the TV being able to unite a family together for a group experience hasn’t changed. My childhood was very similar to that of my Mum’s in the sense that we as a family would bond over a movie night. The second was the global awareness the TV provided the family. Much like today, Mum and her family were able to experience global events from around the world, in their very own living room. This provided Mum and her family an idea of current events. Lastly, I realised that the living room set up hasn’t drastically changed over this time, with the TV being the centre of the room, with everything revolving around it’s positioning.


The Inescapable Media Space

Hello my fellow BCM240 friends. I guess that it is that time of year again in which everyone’s blogging accounts are dusted off and begun to be exercised more frequently. I am a 2nd year bachelor of communication and media studies student, still sadly trying to figure out how on earth to blog at a uni grade level. Fingers crossed by the end of my degree I would have figured it out by then.

Seeing as I am being truthful with you all now, I will also like to admit that I am a serious social media addict. Every morning I wake up, I enter my routine phase of browsing my Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. This morning phase is then regularly repeated throughout the day as I check up on everything going on in peoples lives around me and the world. The power of being able to hear and experience news, videos and photos from around the world with ease, at the touch of a button is granted to all those who choose to participate. But what happens when you wish to escape this accumulation of information within the media space? It is pretty impossible.

I first hand experienced this problem one day when I had missed the game for an important rugby match the night before. I purposefully decided to not find out the score so that when I watched the replay later that night, I would not know what happens. I had not realised how difficult this process of ignorance would be. My Facebook and Instagram newsfeed was covered in posts of people who attend the game, or just commenting on the score. Newspapers that day had front page articles on the outcomes of the game. All news channels that day were also covering the result of the game. I don’t think I was able to make it more than 20minutes without discovering the score for the match.

In summing up this little introduction, I would like to wish all of those who wish to escape the media space all the luck, because it truly is difficult.