RESEARCH COMMUNICATION: BCM241

The subject BCM241 is Media, Audience and Place. Over the course of this semester, my last semester at university and my sixth semester blogging, I have gained an abundance of knowledge. I have gained an insight into the role of research in the media and how observation is key to guiding research based projects. A lot like other subjects in which I have blogged, BCM241 has opened my eyes to a new way of engaging with my audience. This semester being in this course has given me the opportunity to write in a way that is unique to me and allowed me to view many other students’ blogs and review their blogging styles as well.

This semester has not only been an eye opening experience in terms of what i’ve learnt, but it has been one of many unique challenges in terms of exploring the world of media from a range of different contexts. Before this subject I was not aware of the importance of ethnographic research, nor was I aware of the multitude of resources and theories available in the study of an audience in the media space. I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my style of writing over the course of this semester although as someone who likes a very minimal, somewhat perfectionist feeling theme, I have not changed my blog style.

I enjoy having a simple, easy to read and easy to navigate blog that anyone can work their way through should they need or want to. In terms of how I research and how I present information, I have found that I am constantly finding myself using links and quotes to refer to external sources rather than having a list of references at the bottom of my posts. I find this to be easier not only for myself as a blogger but also for my fellow bloggers in BCM241 to navigate and gives people the opportunity to engage more with the subject through further research/observation.

As for the content within the subject and the way that we as students have been urged to engage with it, I feel there has been a really good mix between students finding their own unique personality through blogging and actually finding information that is relevant to our lives and applying it to our studies as well as through social activities. As a way to engage the audience, the resources that have been provided on Moodle each week have been relevant and useful for this subject and have given a range of ways in which each student can process and evaluate information. I especially like that I can now see how each weeks topic applies to real life. Before undertaking this course I obviously was unaware of the correct term for certain things such as the study of different social habits, cultures and the difference between different groups of people (ethnography) or how models such as Hagerstrand’s often dictate how we act or what we do within public spaces.

It is important that we as students have become aware of these concepts and how they apply to real life. Concepts that are taught in BCM241 as well as other communication and media subjects will always stay relevant within the social spheres that are ever-present. As a researcher, I have gained the ability to summarise information and make the best use out of what I feel is relevant to my audience and express it in a way that I feel is the most engaging. I have found that being in the public eye has given me a range of challenges in terms of what I can and can not post online as well as getting consent from people should I choose to have them represented in my blog. This has been a good learning curb that I will continue to practice beyond graduation from university.

Through proposing my research topic and engaging in the research process for my own purpose, I can appreciate the time and effort that professionals in their fields go to in terms of producing the most accurate summary of information. I have found that through being given the task of designing, implementing and evaluating my own digital storytelling reflective project, I have been given a challenge. I think that through researching the very particular ways that people interact online and occasionally offline, specifically within YouTube vlogger’s communities, I can gain an insight into why people choose to watch others live their lives on a platform such as YouTube as well as why people are so interested in the lives of others and will choose to follow them as opposed to going out and actually doing the same kind of things in real life. From experience, I can say that this comes from pure fascination. Through my research, I hope to gain valuable insight and bring forward some relevant information that others can become engaged in, hopefully leading to an online conversation through Twitter and this blog.

As a student and a blogger, I hope to continue making use of the variety of research techniques I have learnt over the course of this semester. I think that one day I will look back on the time I spent blogging at university and thank myself for giving it my best and always striving for improvement. I feel that while this subject was focused on one distinct area of an overall course in media and communication studies, the techniques and values I have learnt throughout it will definitely be used within further education should I choose to engage in it over then next few years once i’ve graduated.

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HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION?

So this week’s topic is attention. Ah attention… We all have it, some have much more of a tendency to lose theirs than others and some will often avoid giving theirs to something they don’t want to deal with. Attention is the notice you take of something you deem important enough… For instance, right now I think that writing this blog post important enough to give my full attention to and not be checking my social medias! …Maybe

 

We’ve been given the ultimate challenge this week, creating an experiment to measure the attention span of someone who has multiple media devices around them. Let’s take this to the theatre room! So, in my house we have a theatre room, it houses many power points, surround sound and a majority of my immediate family most nights. However, I am almost 100% certain no one that’s ever been in there has given their full attention to the movie or TV show that’s playing. So I decided to test my theory on my family’s attention spans.

 

As I settled down to watch Moana with my sister and my mum, I put my phone on charge, next to the comfy lounge (prime viewing position might I add) and set up my laptop ready to get into full blown observation mode. I decided to discreetly tally how many times either my sis or my mum checked either their phone or the iPad. Technically, I was distracted throughout the movie and if I was actually observing myself I would have lost… BUT! This was not about me, it was about them… So we continued on with the experiment.

At first, everyone was really into the movie, no one checked their media devices for a solid 20 minutes. But then sis got a message… Her friend wanted to hang out. Strike one. Good for me she had to work early the next day and opted against it… I still had both subject in the palm of my hands… Mwa ha ha. Next it was mum, she whipped out the iPad and decided that playing her games was much more important that Moana (It most certainly is not), strike one for mum.

 

This pattern went on for a while, mum checking her iPad to see when her free lives had come in so she could keep playing her game throughout the movie and sis kept being distracted by her phone. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say they both lost and when I told them how many times they were distracted by the movie (12 all together, like wow) they both agreed that they could just rewatch the movie another time… And have both seen it before so it doesn’t really matter. Maybe next time I should choose a movie that no one has ever seen before so everyone wants to stay involved in it… Perhaps that will sway my result. Oops!

LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES!

So I’ve never had a professor give me homework that has just involved nothing more than going out to see a movie with a friend purely to enjoy myself and have a laugh. This weeks task was no different to the rest of my life, simply going out and watching any random movie with no educational benefit would just be silly! No no, this weeks task is actually a very challenging one… but it does involve watching a movie so I guess it’s not all bad.

Back in the day when scrunchies were cool and Friday nights in with the family were all the rage, a trip to the cinema (with the family of course) was a special treat & very much looked forward to by all in the Nicolaidis household. Cinema popcorn, choc tops and those (not annoying at all) seats that would flip as soon as you stood up… ah, those were the days! Now going to the cinema as a family is a rarity, everyone has their jobs and studies to worry about and there’s generally not one time where we’re all together long enough to plan a trip out to the cinema.

And here comes the teachy-learny part of this blog post, lets take a look at Hagerstrand‘s conceptual framework of time geography and how it relates to the cinema experience. Torsten Hagerstrand identified three constraints that people may face in their daily lives as they individually move through space and time. The constraints and how they affect family movie time are as follows:

  1. Coupling: This refers to the limit that is caused by things out of your own control such as people’s actions and other materials/tools. So basically, if you really want to see the premiere screening of the new Pirate’s of the Caribbean movie at 12:00 on a Tuesday because you have dance practice at 4:30 that afternoon but your mum doesn’t finish work until 3:00, there’s no way possible (due to a clash of timetable) that you will be able to see the movie together on a Tuesday.
  2. Authority: This is the limit of when an activity can take place or where an activity may be set. For example, a cinema’s opening and closing times as well as it’s location will affect your choice.
  3. Capability: This is kind of just what it sounds like, humans have certain capabilities when it comes to living and these capabilities limit the way humans interact. These capabilities can be as vital as the need for sleep and food or as trivial as a persons fear of horror films deeming them incapable of watching a horror movie without later having repercussions such as the inability to get to sleep.

Each of these constraints interact in many ways and you may not know it but we actually have them placed on us every single day and use them to make a vast number of decisions.

So with this knowledge in hand, I started making plans to go to the cinema. At first, I asked my family if anyone wanted to come with me but with our constraints very much conflicting that week, we couldn’t make time to all set out as a family like the good ol’ days.

Then, on my one night off a week a miracle happened! One of my friends sent me a message asking if I wanted to go to the movies to see The Big Sick, perfect! So with that, we searched cinemas showing the movie & decided we’d go for dinner prior to the main event. No coupling constraint was enforced on this occasion and everything seemed to run smoothly. Through searching Google, we found that our favourite cinema Hoyts was playing the movie at a time that didn’t suit our dinner plans so we opted for the Greater Union cinema in Shellharbour as the movie time was later and we still got discounted tickets… But we missed out on the recliners *Sigh*. All was not lost as the movie was really good and the company was tip-top… Plus we got to spend more time lazing around, catching up at dinner which was nice!

To sum up my little story on going to the movies and how Hagerstrand’s three time-space constraints affect basically every decision you make when waltzing through this thing called life, I’d just like to say that the whole experience is a fun one! A trip to the cinema really does bring back memories so I hope that we have movie theatres for many more years and kids growing up these days appreciate how freakin’ cool the overall experience is of seeing something on the big screen!

THE PITCH!

So after looking at the concept of a media space and how we all live in a world that is somewhat guided by the media space that we live in, it is time for me to propose my own research plan where I an use ethnographic research to observe the media space in which we live.

The media space I’ve chosen to explore is online video creators, more specifically vloggers on YoTube. As someone who watches a lot of YouTube in my spare time (Not tat there’s much!) I noticed that I tend to find myself clicking on the videos with titles like ‘A day in my life’ or ‘Follow me around’. I think it’s interesting to see what other people around the world get up to and seeing how living the YouTuber life effects their day to day actions.

To define what I will actually be researching, a vlog is basically a blog but the person who is posting it films it and presents it as a video. Vlogs are never the same and it’s unlikely that you’ll see the same style of editing between different vloggers (Yes, this is the name given to people who film their days and post it to the internet). The whole phenomena of vlogging and people watching vloggers is only very recent in terms of media spaces and how people interact with the media.

To research this I will definitely continue doing what I love to do and watch more vlogs… But this time its in the name of research so I won’t feel too guilty about it! I will use primary and secondary research to understand why people love to watch other people! This is something that isn’t limited to the online world either, it extends to television & magazines as well but don’t worry, i’m just going to look at the world of vlogging/vloggers for now.

Micro ethnography is a study that is more narrowly defined than holistic or marco ethnography. The primary research that I will be partaking in is very much on the micro level as it doesn’t relate to everyone on the internet and it doesn’t relate to a general religion or persons specific history.

As for secondary research, I want to find more information on why humans like to watch other humans. I will look at why we do it, why it is a form of entertainment and if we generally take advice from the people we are watching or start to undertake their mannerisms.

I will link this research to what I find from looking into Facebook groups/fan pages, video comments and Instagram pages as well as comments and tagged photos etc. (Primary ethnographic research). I will take note of what people are talking about in the comment sections and whether people act upon what is being discussed in these vlogs or if they tend to be influenced by these micro celebrities more so than others.

Hopefully through this I will have a better understanding of why people (Myself included) love vloggers so much!

 

 

 

 

LET’S GO PEOPLE WATCHING!

Ethnography, the art of people watching.

So we’re finally into week three of this semester thingy and I have yet another blog post to write. This week, the focus was placed on ethnography. “Hey Lis, what the hell is ethnography?!” I’m glad you asked… I too had a similar thought when I first heard the word being spoken.

Ethnography is the study of social interactions, behaviours and perceptions that occur within a particular group. These groups are often teams, organisations and communities and can be found anywhere within society. The aim of ethnographic research is to provide rich, holistic and effective insights into the way people behave within the location they inhabit. Ethnography involves placing the researcher in the group being studied so they can live out as well as observe the actions of others while taking qualitative data rather than quantitative.

(BMJ, 2008)

I light of what I’ve just researched and what you’ve just read, I have discovered that in my love of people watching, I too am an ethnographer in the somewhat smallest sense of the word. I enjoy the simplicity of just sitting on a park bench and watching the world go by. Often I will sit at the beach and people watch purely for the sake of wonder and seeing how different people react to different things… Like big waves & seagulls.

Each week we have written blog posts and most weeks I’ve caught myself scrolling through my fellow BCMers posts and taking note of how each and every person’s style of writing is so damn different. I don’t think there’d be a way to plagiarise in this course even if we wanted to! (Which I don’t… Just sayin’). But it’s funny how we’re all writing about the same topics yet everyone has a different take on what’s required or what each issue means to them. It’s kind of special to be a part of it I guess.

If you were to tell me this is the line of work I am going to go into when I’m all done with uni, I’d be more than happy to take on the role. After watching Ellen Isaacs’ TED Talk I realised the importance of this type of research and how it has changed and can be used to change LITERALLY EVERYTHING. My mind was actually switched on for that part of the day’s learning! It’s crazy to think that from something as simple as just watching how people interact with things, new social norms become relevant. Like imagine the first guy (this guy) to invent a way for people to cross the road without potentially getting hit by a car… Traffic lights were a result of ethnographic research and you’d think it silly to not have and use them in our everyday lives in this day and age! Bloody crazy.

So to conclude what could very well go on for several more paragraphs and end up taking up much more time than needed, ethnographic research (I think) is super beneficial to the way that a society works and how people interact. Watching the way people react to things that happen in the media will path the way for the future of media audiences.


References

Reeves, S., Kuper, A. and Hodges, B. (2008). Qualitative research methodologies: ethnography. The BMJ, accessed 08.08.2017.

TEDxTalks (2017). Ethnography: Ellen Isaacs at TEDxBroadway, video, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV0jY5VgymI&gt;, accessed 08.08.2017.

Wikipedia. (2017). Garrett Morgan, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_Morgan&gt;, accessed 08.08.2017.

REMEMBER THAT?!

“What do you remember about TV when you were young?” 

This is the question that started it all, you’d never think it but it was 110%, no… 120% the worst possible question to ask a bunch of people in their 50’s after watching reruns of Seinfeld as a fam.

It started with mum listing her favourite shows, ended in a fight about the best episodes of The Brady Bunch. I say it’s the one where Marcia gets hit in the face with a football before her big date with Doug… My aunty seems to think it’s the one where Jan shouts ‘Marcia Marcia Marcia!” because it’s all anyone ever talks about… The aunty also seems to think I’m the Marcia of the family, I don’t see it.

This question really did get the family thinking though, reminiscing on their younger years (1960’s, 1970’s) where getting home from school just in time to watch Petticoat Junction was the highlight of a day and Saturday afternoons were blacked out from any activity because Wrestle Saturdays was a tradition… Like being able to open one present on Christmas Eve.

A quote from my mum which stuck out to me was “Remember that colour TV was THE BEST thing to happen to this house?!” A colour TV? Really mother? Today you’d hear her complain that she couldn’t watch her ‘YouTubes’ on the TV anymore because the Internet has been broken… Times have changed my friend!

I think it’s so crazy how little things like this were the most out there things and family time was spent around the TV on something like a Saturday afternoon for Wrestle TV because it was a form of entertainment that the whole family enjoyed… And probably because iView, PLUS7 & 9Now weren’t even thought of let alone an actual concept!

But seriously, the media space and how we consume media has changed! Things have gotten bigger and people have moved further away from the ‘traditional’. We’ve gone from a time where seeing colour was a crazy new thing to now where as I’m writing this on my laptop, I have a movie playing in the background while I have my phone lighting up next to me notifying me of what’s happening on Facebook… My mum is in the lounge room watching something, dad is downstairs on the computer watching YouTube videos and my sister is at work. Wow.

WHAT THE HECK IS A MEDIA SPACE?!

Have you ever done something your whole life then realised there’s a name for it? Like heliophilia is an attraction to the sun… A love of sunlight if you will… I am totally heliophilic. A media space is the environment in which media is… I have been living in a freakin’ media space my whole life! And I’ve never known the correct term for what it means to grow up in a world where everyone around my age just seems to know how to use the Internet or simply knows what a TV is and what those sound boxes are called (Speakers nonna, they’re called speakers).

And so comes to my last session at UOW… It’s been a blur and I’ve learnt a bunch of new things, like blogging is key to a degree and the ducks on campus can occasionally be nice (When they’re sleeping). But what I’ve come to realise is, is that there’s a whole world out there in which I get to use my new found knowledge! This excites me very much because it’s a world where there are new things happening every single day and each day brings on new challenges in the media space and new ways to interact.

Being a part of the environment that is the media space has had such a positive impact on my life and i’m sure the lives of millions of others around the world. I don’t think people realise how easy it is to interact nowadays. I’m not just talking the literal interactions such as communication and the ease at which people from all overt he world can collaborate and create… But in the sense that doctors, scientists, engineers and even marketers, hairdressers and business owners have all benefited from the advances in technology and forward thinking that comes with living in a media space. The world has been transformed people! I know you can’t deny it because the evidence is right in front of your eyes… Media spaces are a super effective means of collaboration, distribution and overall effectiveness within technology.