#bloggoals

In my eyes, reflections are always the hardest blog posts to write, because I actually have to think back to square one (I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning). When I signed up to communication and media studies, I had very little idea that blogging was about to take over my life. Now that I am in my second year of my degree, I still have no idea what I’m doing when I’m blogging, but I weirdly enjoy it. I have embraced the fact that I am UOW’s biggest procrastinator and leave all of my blogging to the last minute, but hey, I guess I love the thrill trying to submit an assignment 0.01 seconds before its due?

From blogging in this subject in particular, I have found the easiest way for me to blog and actually enjoy it, is speak in a tone I would usually talk to people in. Sometimes it can come off as 16-year-old-teenagerish, though this is the way I feel I engage people best. I definitely have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to blogging. My strength would be my ability to put together a blog post that is both interesting and informative and my weakness is time management and now that I’m writing this, my weakness is recognising more strengths and weaknesses, maybe I’m just really great.

I think BCM subjects are very social media driven and being aware of what is going on in the media around you. A lot of my peers have been using Twitter for a while now, in or out of uni. When I got told to use Twitter to expose my blogs or follow other people or re-tweet things (I think thats what its called?), I was so confused and a little nervous at the fact I had to make a Twitter account. When signing up, I actually realised I had already had one from in year 9 and I posted what the weather was like every day. I have utilised Twitter as much as I could by linking WordPress and Twitter so my blogs automatically posted (thank god). Other than that, I still haven’t got the hang of Twitter as much as everyone else, apart from the occasional drunk tweet.

The use of hash tagging on WordPress an Twitter helped a lot regarding the exposure of my blog posts. I click onto my statistics section on WordPress when I am bored and people have seen my blogs in countries I haven’t even heard of. Cool, right? I also tag all random words in my blog regarding what I am writing about in hope that someone will read my awesome work.

The topics that were blogged about each week were actually interesting once I researched more about it. These topics opened my eyes to the media and its theories which I didn’t know much about before BCM240. My favourite posts to write were the ones in the first couple of weeks when I got to talk to my mum about her Television when she was growing up. This was exciting to write about as I got to hear what it was like for my mum when she was younger, especially because she is from New Zealand and comparing my blog to others showed a huge difference between how televisions were used in families. Also, the blog post regarding rules and regulations of mobile phones really allowed me to connect and reflect on my mobile phone etiquette and those around me. I actually went out to dinner with my mum after writing that post and I could see my phone on the table and all I could think about was my blog post and not using phones at dinner. In each post, I learn a little bit more of my writing capabilities and sometimes surprise myself with what I can do and display on my blog.

I had never used a blog before starting uni, so when it came to designing it I had no idea how to use WordPress or how to set out my blog posts. This process was fun and I loved experimenting with different layouts until finding the perfect one to display my posts. I frequently change my background images to funky things that also reflect my personality, and we have to include a selfie in there somewhere. I only discovered the categories section half way through BCM240 which now makes my life and my teachers who are marking this lives so much easier. I was able to create a menu on the left hand side of my blog of all the BCM subjects I have blogged for, easily sorting them into categories.

When it comes to writing in a public space, I always feel so daunted by the fact that anyone can read my work. I always ask myself if it is good enough? or does it make sense? or will people agree with what I am saying? But towards the end of my blogging, I have realised that it doesn’t matter what other people think of my blogs, or if they agree or disagree, because thats the point isn’t it? To engage and create discussion? I think having this frame of thought has helped me through blogging in this subject as I feel more confident with what I post, as I usually just spontaneously smash out a blog post and post it straight away without thinking twice. I like to think this technique gives my posts a more down-to-earth personal approach.

Until next time, BCM.

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Must…look…at…text message

My mobile phone is something that I always have by my side. Constantly texting, instagramming, snap chatting, face booking, you name it. But there can be some circumstances where I probably shouldn’t be on my phone as much as I am.

If I am in my bedroom or somewhere by myself I feel totally fine being on my phone all the time, because I am not usually controlled by rules and regulations in these particular spaces. Depending on the situation and people I am surrounded by, determines how I act and use my mobile phone.

In my family, we usually sit on the lounge eating our dinner most nights, but when we go out for dinner or sit at the table, the no mobile phone rule is enforced. I don’t think this rule has been properly established, but I feel like it has come about from my mum or dad commenting on my phone habits during dinner and have made this rule up myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle trying not to look at my phone. Although this is sort of a rule in my family, my sister still is glued to her phone during dinner which kind of annoys me because I see dinner time is family time. But to my sister, it is prime time to upload a selfie and get all the Instagram likes.

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“Studies showed that if a mobile is visible during a conversation it causes people to feel less positive towards the person with whom they are chatting”, according to research conducted by the Daily Mail Australia. Daily Mail reported a study where a team of psychologists asked 37 pairs of strangers to talk for 10 minutes about an exciting event that has happened in their lives in the past month. In this study, the participants sat on chairs in a private room and a mobile phone was put on a desk next to them. Concluding this study, the researchers found that those who had talked with a mobile phone present were significantly less positive that the other participants whom didn’t have a mobile phone nearby.

Canstar Blue put out a survey and found that 2/5 Australians use their phone when in the company of friends and family – even at the dinner table. Research also found that Gen Y survey respondents were 3 times as likely as Baby Boomers to commit mobile etiquette crimes, and women were worse than men. 2/3 of those surveys admitted to feeling guilty when using their phone instead of paying more attention to the people they are with.

Referring to these two studies, I think using a mobile phone at dinner or while talking to someone will get slightly more acceptable as technology is evolving and is such an important part in society now. Although mobile phone regulations and rules may not be set in stone, in my opinion not using your mobile phone in intimate places is just being polite.

Cinema or Netflix and chill?

When I found out we had to go to the movies for this weeks blog topic, I was really excited. I texted all of my friends asking them to come to the movies with me. Most of their responses were “sorry I’m too poor”. I realised my friends and I all have unhealthy online shopping habits and would rather pay $20 in shipping expenses rather than on a movie ticket. Considering i’m a broke uni student and have a subscription to Netflix, staying in and watching movies online seemed like a much better idea, and my bank account thanked me for it.

Along with the lack of money I have at this point in time, another reason as to why I never end up going out to the movies is because 1. I can’t stand people behind me in the movies talking or crunching on popcorn and 2. My bed is way more comfier than the seats in the cinema.

Torsten Hagerstrand, a Swedish geographer established 3 constraints in relation to time geography:

  1. Capability constraints: Can I get there?
  2. Coupling constraints: Can I get there on time?
  3. Authority constraints: Am I allowed to go there?

These 3 elements weren’t specifically designed for going to the movies, but can be related to almost any event. In regards to the capability constraint, my best friend who I would have gone to the movies with doesn’t have her drivers license, therefore I would usually drive to pick her up since she only lives a couple of suburbs away from me, and then go to the movies from there. In other words, getting there would be easy if we could actually be bothered. The coupling constraint reflects if one can get there on time. I don’t like being late to things, but when it comes to movies, I cannot stand sitting in the cinema for 30 minutes prior to the actually movie watching advertisements and 50 movie trailers that come out in like 2 years. So if I was to go to the movies, I would probably go a bit later than the time stated on the ticket so I can avoid watching unnecessary ads. Lastly, authority constraints refers to certain institutions which determine whether you can perform the activity or not. I would have been able to relate to the authority constraint more when I was 14 years old trying to get into see a MA15+ movie, but considering I am now a 20 year old mature young adult (minus mature), there are limited authoritarian constraints that affect my ability to go and see a movie.

With the rapid emergence of online streaming websites and programs to download movies illegally, I personally think that cinema attendance will decrease slightly in the next few years. Considering there are so many alternative ways to create the ‘movie experience’ in your own home, unfortunately going to the cinema isn’t as popular as it was in the previous years. The Australian Government conducted a study which displays the decrease of movie attendance in Australia’s major cities in the last 19 years. In 1996, the average number of visits to the cinema a year was approximately 11.1 and in 2014, the average was as low as 6.7, nearly 50% less.

From looking at me and my friends movie habits, 99% of them have a subscription to Netflix and 0% of them actually go and pay $20 to go to the cinema to see 1 movie, where we can quite happily lay in our own bed watching 100 movies for $8.99 a month. Looks like I won’t be rushing to the cinema any time soon.

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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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