Whats worse than slow internet? Nothing.

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If you were like me and thought the NBN was a sports channel on Foxtel… NBN actually stands for the Nations Business Network. NBN aims to enable access to fast, reliable and affordable phone and internet services. Now, to any households that struggles with slow internet connection, this NBN shin dig sounds awesome! Except, it may not even be available where you live. I know my household is unable to get NBN #sadface.

I live at home with my mum (who I interviewed a couple of weeks ago), my dad and my little sister. For a small family of four, you’d think a small internet data plan would suit us well, right? Nope, we have had to upgrade to unlimited data and install two WiFi modems in the house to cater for our daily dose of internet.

My household consists of 3 computers, 4 laptops, 2 iPads, 4 mobile phones and 1 subscription to Netflix (the most important part). Considering we have so many devices that use the internet at our house, now it seems acceptable that we (by we I mean mum and dad) pay a billion dollars a month for unlimited data. Even so, I still find the internet exceptionally slow… especially when I am trying to watch a TV series on Netflix, do Uni work, talk to my friends on Facebook and upload selfies on Instagram all at the same time…

So I decided to google a couple of things as to why Internet is so slow in my house, and you know what? It isn’t just my house… Its most of the households in Australia. Since Australia is one of the most highly developed countries in the world, you’d expect decent Internet services… BUT AUSTRALIA IS RANKED NUMBER 44?!??!?!? Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. But nevertheless, the Australian government is trying the NBN thing out… would help if if it was actually available in the majority of houses in Australia.

Speed-of-NBN

For my mother, the Internet plays a major role in her job, as she works from home a few days a week. Battles between the horrible internet connection and the WiFi constantly timing out is not very convenient for mum when she is trying to do online banking. My dad isn’t an avid internet user, but he set up a WiFi modem in the lounge room so he could connect it with the internet TV channel (which we don’t even watch), and this ended up cutting off the WiFi connection to the other end of the house, which is why he had to install an extension WiFi thingy in the middle of the house. My sister and I use the Internet lots. For talking to friends, Netflix and chill and also for doing uni and school work… mostly social media though. But the lack of fast internet connection doesn’t stop there! This extension WiFi sometimes decides it doesn’t want to reach my room… causing my laptop and phone to drop out of connection (this is why i go over my phone bill $200 every month).

Even though the internet can be very frustrating at times, it is certainly a very important aspect here in the Davies household. But until NBN arrives in my area, I guess we will have to put up with the internet connection we already have.

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STOP! Collaborate and Listen…

Once again we get given a topic that I have never heard of before. Ethnographic research… sorry what? After opening 20 different tabs and clicking every website that had the word ‘ethnographic’ in it, I can define ethnographic research as “the observation of groups of people or a culture in the field or, in other words, in a natural setting” (Hurst, n.d.) Ethnography is collaborative (Lassiter, 2005). It is also a form of qualitative research and data.

Lassiter (2005) described collaborative ethnography as “an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it—from project conceptualization, to fieldwork, and, especially, through the writing process”. So why do researchers use collaborative ethnography? Do you ever wonder how advertising agencies and broadcasting companies decide which shows they want to air in a certain time slot? Yep, though collaborative ethnographic research!

Sometimes this method can be inaccurate and not as reliable due to the emergence of various technological devices such as phones, computers and iPads. For example, the 2014 season finale of the television show ‘The Block‘ had 2.764 million viewers which was the biggest audience of the year for any non-sporting program. But how accurate is this? How many people actually watched the show? I know I started watching it and then ended up on my phone an in the other room, with the show just playing in the background.

This is why the qualitative research aspect is important rather than just using a quantitative research methodology. Qualitative research “aims to produce factual descriptions based on face-to-face knowledge of individuals and social groups in their natural settings”, whereas quantitative research “is more logical and data-led approach, which provides a measure of what people think from a statistical and numerical point of view”.

So back to my previous example of the TV show ‘The Block’. This example is the result of quantitative research. It is critical to analyse the reasons behind individuals media movements rather than just the numbers side of things. A research method like this would assist marketing and advertising companies. This would enable them to dig deeper into what consumers watch, buy, use and do.


References: 

Hurst, M. (n.d.). What Is Ethnography? – Studying Cultural Phenomena – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Study.com. Available at: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-ethnography-studying-cultural-phenomena.html [Accessed 16 Aug. 2015].

LeCompte, M. and Goetz, J. (1982). Problems of Reliability and Validity in Ethnographic Research. Review of Educational Research, 52(1), pp.31-60.

#TBT – Throw Back TV

In a modest family home in New Zealand’s capital city, lived my mum Leigh, her 3 brothers, and her mum and dad. The TV played a major role in the Atkinson family’s life. It was where they would gather as a family and watch some of their favourite shows every night.

Unlike today where there are flat screen and 3D TVs positioned on wall brackets in every room of the house, there was one small 26 inch television located in the lounge room. My mother said there was a lounge chair right in front of the TV and two more arm chairs beside it. Mum and her brothers usually sat on the floor while watching TV, the lounge was only for parents.

TV

The television was in black and white, and at this point in time, New Zealand only had one television channel. There were no TV remotes, only a switch on the set, which wasn’t much use since there was only one channel. Mum recalls having arguments with her brothers who got to turn the volume dial up and down, and if it got too loud, her dad would yell “TURN IT DOWN 10 DECIBELS!!”…. what even is a decibel these days? My mum says that televisions were very expensive. They were around 130 pounds, which is equivalent to $5000 today. This is probably why they only had one in the house.

One of the most exciting moments mum could remember was when she was 9 years old and it was the day colour television came out. She couldn’t wait to get home from school that day to see the new colour TV that had arrived. By this time, there were two channels that they could watch, but some shows still aired in black and white which mum said was frustrating. “There weren’t many advertisements on TV back then, if someone bought a television, they had to pay a ‘public broadcasting fee‘ to own one”.

Mum enjoyed TV shows such as Wonder Woman, Bewitched, I dream of Jeannie, Six Million Dollar Man and her favourite were the music shows such as Ready to Roll, Happenin’ and the Donnie and Marie Osmond show. Mum and her brothers were allowed to stay up on a Saturday watching these shows, until midnight, when the ‘Goodnight Kiwi‘ broadcasted. The Goodnight Kiwi was a television skit where a Kiwi got ready for bed, and when he switched off the light, the TV went black, symbolising the end of the day. This is when the Atkinson family would then go to bed.

I Dream of Jeannie

I Dream of Jeannie

Considering there were only one or two channels when mum was a kid, her and her brothers didn’t have much interest in watching TV all day. “TV in New Zealand didn’t start until after lunch, so there was no morning TV”. Mum and her brothers still had fun playing games out side, and then at night time they would come inside and watch TV together as a family.

One of my mums greatest memories of the TV bringing the family together was on Saturday nights. During the day, my mums dad would take her and her brothers down to the local ‘dairy’ (corner shop) to get a bag of 10 cent ‘pick n mix’ lollies, which they weren’t allowed to eat until the family were all together in the lounge room. Her mum and dad would get a box of ‘jaffas’ and would give the kids one each and they would get 2 each. Saturday night television was a big thing in Atkinson household. My mum has noticed it was much more of a big deal back then because there were no phones or computers which would disturb family time compared to today where if I sat with my family watching TV I would probably pay more attention to my Facebook newsfeed than the actual movie.

Goodnight Kiwi

Goodnight Kiwi

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

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My name is Emma and i am a social media addict.

I am 20 years old and have wasted at least 7 years of my life online, probably making media and communications the right course for me.

When it comes to social media, I wouldn’t say I use it as efficiently as I could. I don’t read the news headlines that always pop up on my Facebook newsfeed, the only posts I have on my Twitter account are my WordPress blog posts that automatically update, and my Snapchat and Instagram consists of either photos of my chihuahua Taco, or drunk selfies on a Friday night.

Nevertheless, I will always think social media is great. It entertains me whilst I am at family gatherings, I can pretend I am Facebook messaging someone at a cafe so I don’t look like I have no friends, I can see what my Grandma is doing in New Zealand and I can spy on my sister drinking vodka cruisers at a ‘gatho’.

My iPhone is constantly connected to either WiFi or the Internet, making my life so much easier to do all the things I do on media. Since I have grown up with constant access to either a computer, mobile phone or iPad, I have come attached to the world of social media. Recently I celebrated my birthday at Splendour In The Grass, and I almost went insane because of the lousy mobile reception. How was I supposed to snapchat my best friend and I skulling a goon sack on my 20th birthday?? These sort of experiences make me realise how important social media is to me and how dependent I am of it. Quite ridiculous actually.

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Asking Questions To Come Up With Questions

One assignment nearly finished and going straight onto the next one. Great. Assignment two requires us to select a research topic, and in groups conduct a short survey. After 20 minutes of conversation about nothing regarding the assignment, we finally decided to jot down idea as to what aspect of social media we would like to focus on. Multiple discussions with our tutor and a lot of um’ing and ah’ring finally resulted in a decision for our focus question: What is the role of Social Media behind the experience of music amongst university students?

 We quickly started firing out questions we could incorporate into our surveys and we got really excited of how well we were doing, until we realised that no one had wrote the questions down. So the process started all over again.

The purpose for these questions is so we can examine the ways that social media affects other university students and the way that changes their whole experience of music. Some questions we thought of were open ended and the others closed, so we culled down to the most important ones and the questions that would give us the most information. Open ended questions result in a more in depth answer; an example of an open-ended question is “what do you know about social media?” Closed questions are simply questions that you can only answer with a yes or no response. For example, “Do you have Facebook?”

We interviewed each other with questions we thought were relevant to our research topic, which allowed us to see what worked and what didn’t. It also helped us realise that some of the questions we thought were fantastic, weren’t so great. Interviews are mostly trial and error, but it’s so important that the right questions are asked to get the desired answer. A couple of questions we came up with were:

  • What social media platforms do you use?
  • How much do you these platforms influence your decisions?
  • How often do you use social media?

We were able to identify how to re-arrange the question and transfer it into a more survey like question, including multiple choices. I think our group benefited on interviewing each other as it allowed us to have a clearer direction on what we actually wanted to research, as social media is so broad.

So based on the short interview that our group conducted, there is a lot of trial and error in the process. Hopefully we get it right!

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Counter-maps to Counter Harassment

One person or another uses maps every single day; from using Google Maps to find your way from A to B or just observing where a particular country or suburb is. Maps have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, and recently the use of maps are expanding resulting in a discovery of new opportunities and ways to map things. This is recognised as counter-mapping.

Counter-mapping is a mapping process that challenges the dominant perspective of a place, space, or people. Counter-mapping is often created through collaborative community processes, characterised by a bottom-up approach, and is also another method of protest. It emerged as a response and resistance to traditional forms of mapping that are seen as being hierarchical, authoritarian, produced only by professionals, technocrats, or those with access to technology, funding or other resources.

tumblr_ne6dr5kabb1t0jtguo1_500In 2005, seven New York City residents (four women and three men) founded an organisation called ‘Hollaback’ after a well-publicised occurrence of street harassment prompted them to discuss their own encounters. Hollaback is a movement to end street harassment powers by a network of local activists around the world. Their mission is to work together to gain a better understanding of street harassment, spark public conversations and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces. This movement reinvented the use of maps by allowing every day citizens to expose their harassers via photos and posts by documenting them on a map of where the incident occurred.

This counter-mapping style has been extremely successful in creating awareness and aiming to reduce the level of street harassment. On the maps, different coloured tags are used to symbolise areas that is known to have a high rate of street harassment. This has been so advantageous, that android and IPhone apps have been developed, which allows individuals to access live updates of information in regards to street harassment and has a live view of the maps where the harassment has taken place geographically.

Since 2011, Hollaback has trained over 300 leaders in 79 cities, 26 countries and 14 different languages to be leaders in their communities, and in the global movement to combat street harassment. This movement has highlighted the new geographical ways of counter-mapping and how it can create awareness at a global level.

tumblr_mzckxjJPFP1s22ldko1_1280Another counter-mapping example is Harassmap, which is similar to Hollaback, but based in Egypt. Harassmap has been created with the objective to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment. The Harassmap works in a similar way to Hollaback, where an individual who has been sexually harassed can document it on a map, it is then revealed as a number in a red dot regarding to how many people have been harassed in that location, and then if the red dot is clicked, a full report of harassments is revealed.

HarassMap

Counter-mapping is extremely important in today’s society. As demonstrated in the two case studies of Hollaback and Harassmap, it can be seen clearly how counter-mapping has expanded the idea of mapping and has provided it with new direction and opportunities.


References: 

Harassmap.org, (2015). خريطة التحرش | معأ ﻹنهاء القبول المجتمعي لجريمة التحرش واﻹعتداء الجنسي في مصر. [online] Available at: http://harassmap.org/ar/ [Accessed 15 Apr. 2015].

Historyofthought.as.uky.edu, (2015). Counter-Mapping – History of Thought. [online] Available at: http://historyofthought.as.uky.edu/index.php/Counter-Mapping [Accessed 15 Apr. 2015].

Ihollaback.org, (2015). Hollaback! You have the power to end street harassment. [online] Available at: http://www.ihollaback.org [Accessed 15 Apr. 2015].

YouTube, (2015). Game Changer: Emily May, Harassment Avenger. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuPEuLMS6EM [Accessed 15 Apr. 2015].

Did you know Facebook has the ability to control your emotions?

Facebook is the first thing I check in the morning when I wake up, and probably the last thing I see before bed – and I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of this. But its crazy how much Facebook and other social media platforms can control you without realising. I have analysed a text that goes into depth about emotional contagion and studies the experiment Facebook conducted in 2012 to see if what we see on out Newsfeed’s has any effect on our mood.

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“Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks”

Purpose/context: This text reports on the massive experiment the popular social media platform, Facebook, conducted and that emotional states can be transferred to other via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.

Author + topic and position: This article is written by three professional writers, including, Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock. Adam Kramer is part of the Data Science Team at Facebook. His work focuses on emotion expression, psycholinguistics and statistical methods. Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock are both from the Department of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University in New York. In the text, these three experienced authors focus on the way that social media; particularly Facebook can have an emotional contagion effect on us. I deem this article reliable and accurate as these authors are very well known within this area of work and throughout the text have cited a number of academic sources where they have gathered their research findings.

Audience: I think the intended audience for this article would be Facebook users, researchers and social media users in general. The article is providing us with information in regards to how social media can manipulate us and also in some ways can alert us on what social media sites have the power to do.

Proof/evidence: The research paper uses the quantitative research method, by gathering data and statistics to provide us with the experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues. Facebook randomly selected 155,000 participants who were active on Facebook and recorded them for a period of 1 week (these participants had no idea they were the lab rats). The information Facebook gathered showed that if people were exposed to positive status updates on their newsfeed, they would be more inclined to post positive things on Facebook, whereas, it’s the opposite for negative words that appear in the newsfeed. I think the findings are a valid source of information as there is evidence of further research and graphs to back up their statistics.

Organisation: This research text is in paragraphs, which is easy to follow, although there aren’t any sub headings so it was difficult to sift through the information to find exactly what I needed. I think it is portrayed in this way as it is a research analysis and it is written in a very formal manner.

Conclusion: I think this is a very interesting article and the evidence the authors collected backed up their hypothesis that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion.

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References:

Facebook.com, (2015). Meet a Facebook Data Scientist: Q&A with Adam Kramer. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-science/meet-a-facebook-data-scientist-qa-with-adam-kramer/10150660264128859 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2015].

Kramer, A., Guillory, J. and Hancock, J. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), pp.8788-8790.