Public writing; a reflection

Public writing; a concept I once thought I knew nothing of until Uni. The public sphere is one I dove into before knowing I had. When I began a Bachelor of Communications and Media, I was introduced to blogging and was nervous at the idea of writing in a public space. What I didn’t realise at the time was that writing in the public sphere was nothing new to me, and that I had been training for 5 years for the marathon that is Blogging.

Through study of BCM241 this semester (Spring 2017), my ideas and practices surrounding blogging and public writing have been challenged. As a result of this, I feel my knowledge and public writing technique have improved. BCM241 taught us to blog weekly on topics that delve deep into the history of media audience, place and space. Collaboration of research ideas and techniques has resulted in an improved online presence for our cohort. Skills acquired through BCM241 have provided me with the insight and ability to curate a constant, successful online presence.

Over the past two years, I would like to say that my writing style has not too changed significantly. When I was introduced to blogging, I knew I wanted my style to be personal, casual and friendly. I decided this out of genuine interest following bloggers who share this trait (Erika Boldrin, for example). In terms of writing style however, I would like to say I have become more sophisticated. Through study of several media subjects, my confidence in researching and ability to analyse theories has expanded. As a result of this, I have been able to tweak and improve my writing style in order to create a more engaging and effective online presence.

The major change I have undergone in public writing is my blog’s aesthetic appeal. Initially out of excitement, I played around with bold colours and fancy fonts, however I found that I was receiving negative feedback for this design and that it was a distraction from my blog’s writing content. As a result, I converted to using a more minimalistic, monotone design named ‘Hemingway Rewritten’.

Approximately six months into blogging, I was in a slump and discovered that I would be far more passionate about my blog if it represented some of my interests. This is when I implemented a header image of succulents and changed my colour pallet to earthy tones. This created a calming and honest appeal and boosted my enthusiasm for blogging.

Since the creation of my blog in 2016, I have received a total of 979 views. I credit majority of these views to my Communications and media peers. My peers were able to access my blog through sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Below are some images depicting statistics The Pin Board’s viewership.

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Views per year: 2016:808, 2017:171

As demonstrated, there has been a significant decline in views per year between 2016 and 2017. This rapid drop in viewership is due to lack of sharing my blog posts to Twitter as often in 2017. 2017 has brought with it certain personal hardships that have hindered my passion and enthusiasm for Uni and for blogging. Although I have persisted blogging, additional efforts such as sharing to Twitter have unfortunately fallen in priority in 2017. I do however, find this disappointing and am going to make a conscious effort to share my posts more from now on, as I can not let hardships effect my overall repertoire.

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Number of users that have viewed my blog per platform

Statistics showing the number of viewers per platform support the theory that views have dropped as a result of less Twitter sharing.

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Statistics showing views per country

Much to my surprise, ‘The Pin Board’ has received 24 international views. This statistic is both exciting and intriguing to me as a writer because I do not know anyone overseas nor do I have any international followers on any platform.

Although ‘The Pin Board’ has 979 views, I have only attracted 318 viewers. Although this means my reach is not as wide, it means my viewers are loyal, returning more than once.

BCM241 has taught me that in the fast pace society that is 2017, when audiences want everything right away (Barissi, 2015), weekly blogging has encouraged me to think on my toes and research with a deadline. The subject BCM241 has provided my with the practise and skills required to curate and maintain a successful online presence. Although this semester has not so much been about viewership for me, I have been able to focus on taking pride in what I write. Through weekly practise blogging and deeper exploration into media, audience and place, my presence as a public writer has greatly improved.

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

 

References:

  • https://www.myfreechoice.net
  • Barassi, V. (2015). Social Media, ‘Immediacy and the Time for Democracy: Critical Reflections on Social Media as ‘Temporalizing Practices’’. Critical Perspectiveson Social Media and Protest, Pages 75 – 89.
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Media regulation…”I’m 15 I SWEAR!”

Media regulation is the process of governing what is projected through media bodies. To an extent, the government controls everything we see, hear and project through the media. In my personal experience, two instances of media regulation stand out:

  • Turning 13 and being allowed a Facebook account
  • Turning 15 and being allowed in to MA15+ movies at the cinema

Media regulation is everywhere we look. In every media channel, regulation controls what we see and interact with. Through my adolescence I recall events that greatly demonstrated regulation.

Turning 13 was a big deal okay… Not only was it the year of becoming a teenager, but for a goody-two-shoes like myself, it also meant that I was finally old enough to join Facebook. Facebook is a huge platform, but an attempt to control who has access to that platform is made by regulating the age of which a user can join Facebook.

Another instance of media regulation that stands out is the Australian rating system of movies. I vividly remember trying to purchase a move ticket for an MA15+ movie when I was 14 and getting sent away because I was under age. To an eager 14 year old girl, being denied a ticket to a Twilight movie was mortifying.

From an outsiders perspective, I completely understand and respect the codes that regulated my viewing as an adolescent. I believe that place and space as determining factors play a large role in media regulation. Comparatively, Australia’s rating system surrounding media is on parr, enforcing a system practically identical to that in force in America. In cinemas especially, I respect that rating systems are very important as the general public can enter the space and regulation must be enforced to ensure minors do not view inappropriate content.

In Facebook’s instance, the role of space completely controls regulation. As Facebook is such a huge body, the content projected through is often difficult to regulate. Although Facebook has restrictions as to what can and can not be posted to the platform, content often slips through the cracks. This is why an age restriction is so important for an entity such as Facebook. Regulation of a space such as Facebook is crucial in ensuring it remains a friendly and safe platform.

With the online media space constantly evolving and expanding, it is becoming a more extreme and dangerous place everyday, hence why regulation is so important.

For information on media regulation, see below:Broadcasting, voice, and accountability : a public interest approach to policy, law, and regulation

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

“I can multitask, I swear!”

Multitasking- a blessing and a curse. The ability to focus on more than one thing at a time… but is it really possible?

This week, I set up an informal test in my household. The test involved assessing my family’s ability to retain information from the television whilst multitasking. My sister was watching television whilst doing school work on her laptop, my father was watching whilst browsing news online and my mother was simply watching.

This test was intriguing as my family usually all scroll through media on separate devices whilst watching television of a night time. I was therefore interested to observe the effect of multitasking on recollection of details within the television program. In order to account for ethical considerations, I informed my family about the test. However, I informed them after the program we were watching was over, so that I could accurately assess how multitasking affected their attention span. If I had informed my family about the test before the program began, the results would be inaccurate because they would be making sure to concentrate.

The results:

When the TV program ‘Survivor’ ended, I asked my sister, mother and father the same three questions:

  1. Who won the reward challenge?
  2. Who won individual immunity?
  3. Who instigated A.K. going home?

To these three questions, my mother who was focussing only on the program answered all correctly. My father and sister however, recalled only two answers.

Interestingly, the questions that my father and sister were unable to answer were the easier two. This suggests that they were more involved in their additional device in the beginning of the television program but that their focus shifted towards ‘Survivor’ as it neared ending. It does however, prove that although my father and sister were multitasking, their attention span was not efficient.

This result is supported by the journal article ‘How technology is hijacking your mind’ by Tristan Harris. The article discusses mind control and the way that technology and software creators set up devices to influence how you think and behave. With specific reference to the study I conducted on my own family, ‘Hijack No.2’ is especially relevant. Harris discusses a ‘hijack’ called ‘Put a slot machine in one billion pockets’. This refers to app programmers creating systems that entice the user to constantly check and scroll through their devices out of habit. This plays on the idea of using a slot machine and the “just one more round” mentality.

I can admit that I constantly operate more than one device at once and have noticed a vast difference between what I retain with and without multitasking. In a society where technology and access to news is so fast-paced, I think it is expected that we will feel the urge to multitask, regardless whether that be a positive or negative behaviour.

References:

Harris. T, 2016, ‘How technology is hijacking your mind – from a magician and Google Design Ethicist’

Baron. N, 2008, ‘Always on: Language in an online mobile world’, Oxford University Press

 

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

Media use in public space: can you resist?

*Brace yourself; I may be about to ruffle your feathers*

Media use in public space- let’s be honest, it’s widely frowned upon. In public space, we are surrounded by people yet feel the urge to turn to our devices for communication.

Our task for this week was to take a photo of someone using their mobile phone in a public space. I however, find this task deeply ironic; here’s why.
In order to take a photo of someone using their phone in public *SPOILER ALERT* you yourself must use your phone in public.

As a serial offender of media use in public space and fear of hypocrisy; I hereby refuse to fulfil this task. Instead, here’s a candid picture of myself using my phone in public space.IMG_6044

Refusal to fulfil the task of photographing someone in public stemmed from one main concern, how to complete the task ethically. Upon careful consideration, I could not find a solution that deemed completely ethical. I did not feel comfortable taking someone’s photo without consulting them and gaining their permission. Additionally, I felt uncomfortable asking to take a picture of someone using their phone in public, as it would provide a disingenuous result.

So why do we frown upon digital communication in public space? The purpose of modern technology is to be connected everywhere, all the time- so what’s the harm? Acceptance of media use is widely determined by media space, whether that be public or private.

In private space we should be communicating with the ones we love and in public space we should be communicating with those around us. I acknowledge this, however I have formed a poor habit, one which would be hard to break. I hereby embark on an experiment to break the habit of media use in public space and strengthen relationships with the around me as a result.

Brighten someones day; next time you’re in a public space waiting for a bus or in a shopping que, just say hello (using your voice rather than your fingertips).

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

Cinema going, what’s changed? What hasn’t?

“I remember going to the cinema on a date and feeling so official. The cinema was such a grown up, exciting place to go. It was formal and it was exciting, but it was very different back then.” – Nan

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Old cinema. Source: Pinterest.  https://au.pinterest.com/pin/320951910925356112/

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New cinema. Source: Hoyts http://www.longcontracting.com.au/hoyts-chadstone/

This week we researched media place and the influence of place on media viewership, specifically focussing on cinema. To delve into the history of cinema going, I interviewed my Nan on her experience with cinema.

“Cinema has changed a lot since I was a girl. When I came to Australia from Holland, cinema was such a big event. Cinema when I was a child wasn’t really considered as a ‘child friendly’ event. As I grew up and had my own children, drive-in cinema was especially popular. I have vivid memories of pulling the car in with my husband and the three girls in the back. Drive in’s are some of my fondest memories from when the girl’s were young. The cinema was aways bustling and it was such an exciting experience.”         -Nan

My grandmother recounted the cinema always being full and being such a novelty. Together, we found that her experience with cinema going contrasted mine 50 years later.

Growing up, cinema for me was always exciting, however not in a formal or ‘event’ kind of way. The cinema was a fun outing with the family or with friends once I became an adolescent, however it was never seen as a big deal, especially now given ready access to movies through streaming services such as Netflix.

Although our experiences were 50 years apart, one factor remained the same- regulation in cinema. Both my grandmother and I recall strict rules and regulation in cinema. Rules spanning use of technology, talking and reckless behaviour. Also, we both recall strict regulation of who could view what, specifically age ratings. Both my grandmother and I recall the excitement of finally being able to see whichever movie we please because we were over the age barrier (18). One vast difference between my grandmothers experience and my own was attendance. My grandmother recalls cinema being a bustling, busy environment however I have experienced cinema to be progressively lessoning in attendance.

This theory is supported by Torsten Hägerstrand’s ‘Time Geography.’ “Hägerstrand used the space-time path to demonstrate how human spatial activity is often governed by limitations, and not by independent decisions by spatially or temporally autonomous individuals. He identified three categories of limitations, or “constraints”: capability, coupling, and authority.” (Hägerstrand, 2001)

Hägerstrand’s constraints are as follows:

  • “Capability constraints: refer to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors. Thus, for example, a person cannot be in two places at one time.
  • Coupling constraints: refer to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. This coincidence of space-time paths is described (in an electrician’s jargon) as “bundled” paths in a station’s tube. In other words, your space-time path must temporarily link up with those of certain other people to accomplish a particular task. This could mean anything from visiting the supermarket to going to work for the day.
  • Authority constraints: an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups. For example, a person’s space-time path is normally not permitted to enter a sensitive military base or private club.”(Hägerstrand, 2001, Page 2-3)

Cinema attendance is applicable to Hagerstrand’s three constraints, especially coupling and authority. I believe that these constraints are applicable due to regulation surrounding technology use and age restrictions. I believe that in reference to coupling, some people would avoid cinema over home viewing through rebellion as they want to be able to interact with technology whilst viewing. In reference to authority, I believe regulation of age barriers surrounding certain movie viewing in cinemas restricts some people from making a habit of cinema going and hence avoiding it in the long run, negative effecting attendance rates.

 

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

 

 

Collaborative ethnography- the perks and the pitfalls

Recently, I explored the personal experiences of my family with television. Through this study I uncovered that television played a large role in family bonding and that this bond was strengthened with the introduction of colour TV.

Intrigued by my personal experience, I delved into the blog’s of my peers to learn of their personal discoveries. Here, I partook in collaborative ethnography.

As stated by Luke Eric Lassiter, “To collaborate means, literally, to work together, especially in an intellectual effort. While collaboration is central to the practice of ethnography, realizing a more deliberate and explicit collaborative ethnography implies resituating collaborative practice at every stage of the ethnographic process, from fieldwork to writing and back again. Many ethnographers have done this before, and their collaborative work—regardless of their theoretical trajectories—provide us a point of departure for beginning an in-depth exploration of the history and theory behind a collaborative ethnography.”

Through collaborative ethnographic study, I found that my peers experiences with television provided great insight into the history of television. As a whole, society’s experience with television has experienced a progressive trend in the past 50 years. Some peers referenced grandparents who knew television before colour. Those people could recount the greatest progression of television in the family and provided the most interesting recounts of events.

Elderly interview participants stated the transition from black and white to colour television to be iconic. The introduction of colour television brought with it a culture surrounding television, emphasising togetherness. Almost unanimously, it was identified that people watched colour television together and that rather than a pastime, television became a hobby and a point of conversation among families and friends.

This reported trend is supported by a study conducted by the Australian Beuro of Statistics, which found that:

  • Total income for Subscription broadcasters and channel providers ($5,352.1m), including subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), exceeded that of Commercial free-to-air broadcasters($3961.4m) in 2015-16.
  • Total production costs for film, television and videos were $3,436.1m in 2015-16, an increase of 15.5% compared to 2011-12. This increase was driven by Broadcasters and channel providers who saw growth of 44.9% as they completed greater numbers of productions and broadcast hours.

My experience with collaborative ethnographic study into television history has been positive. Although my personal beliefs were at time challenged, upon greater investigation, my ideas and knowledge were enhanced. Through collaboration of experience surrounding television, my knowledge and understanding of television and television culture has been enhanced and hence, my social and cultural literacy as well.

For more information on collaborative ethnography and television history see below:

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.

Oh the irony. ‘Fitspo’ in a screen-filled society. -Project pitch-

‘Fitspo’ is a culture that has risen with the expansion of digital and social media. ‘Fitspo’ is a term short for ‘Fitspiration’. The concept of ‘Fitspiration’ is online profiles promoting healthy living in the attempt to inspire their audience. ‘Fitspo’ personas post content online including workouts, clean eating and daily life in an attempt to gain a following and inspire others. The concept of ‘Fitspo’ has boomed over the last five years, especially through the platform of Instagram. In a society where people are spending more and more time in front of screens, fitness moguls are becoming increasingly present in young people’s online feed.

‘Fitspo’ personas promote healthy, happy, ‘perfect’ life…. but does this create a notion of disbelief among audiences? Has promoting inspiration become so curated that ‘Fitspo’ is loosing its integrity?

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Instagram profile of famous fitness moguls.

 

Ashy Bines, Sophie Guidolin, Tammy Hembrew and Khloe Kardashian, just to name a few. Influencers of behaviour, attitude and actions, promoting a healthy lifestyle and workout programs. We have access to fitness moguls through the internet and social media platforms such as Instagram, but we can only interact with this content when we’re in front of a screen….

Ironic? Yes.
Bad? Not necessarily.

Through my investigation I intend to uncover the extent to which ‘Fitspo’ personas influence the actions and behaviours of their audience. I intend to investigate whether fitness models on social media prompt audiences to put down their devices in order to go exercise or whether they just make their audiences spite health trends due to unrealistic body expectations.

This project will assess the effect of media, audience and place. I personally have experienced the influence of ‘Fitspo’ personas and will conduct an ethnographic study by completing fitness classes and assessing the effect of a different media, audience and place on overall inspiration and attitude.

One factor I will consider in my investigation is ethics, through which I will adhere to the MEAA Code. The MEAA code is a set of practices to be used by researches that ensure research is conducted ethically. In my investigation, it is especially important that I remain unbiased when interpreting findings and that I am conscious of differing opinions between genders. To find more information on the MEAA code of ethics, see here.

To see examples of fitness inspirations and information on ‘Fitspo’, see the links below:

Until next time, that’s this week Pinned.
Emma.