Reflecting on the Semester and Blog changes

BCM 240.

Another subject where regular blogging was required and where yet again I would return to my WordPress account. In previous subjects where I was required to blog I had kept it fairly simple by obeying the subject criteria and posting relevant content each week. Blogging what a piece of cake right? Oh how this all changed..

At the beginning of the session our first task for BCM 240 changed the way I blogged. I was no longer being marked on purely the content, I was now being marked on my blog as a whole. My writing was published in a public domain which was accessible to anyone that googled my name, read my tweets or found me on WordPress through my hashtags. My blog therefore needed a revamp.

For the purpose of this reflection I have decided to focus this post around five main points. My first point which I wanted to reflect on is the reminder that all your work published on WordPress is online. This is reiterated by Couts (2011) who states that anything posted online will be online forever and everyone can see you work. This quickly put into perspective that future employers will be reading my blog. Not only did this mean that my grammar needed to be checked but I also needed to be careful about what I posted online. In my work I made sure to use numerous academic sources to back up any claims which I may have made. This use of fact checking I believe is vital when blogging as it adds quality and a more professional aspect to your blog. I wanted my blog to be as engaging as possible whilst also maintain a professional standard. This meant finding a balance between academic writing and content that keeps the audience reading.

My second point reflects on my writing style online.

“Some of us are natural writers. They are able to write an attractive, fun, and readable text in a matter of minutes. Others lack that skill” (van de Rakt 2014).

Unfortunately I lack that skill however van de Rakt (2014) has two very useful tips which helped my blogging. The first is to read a lot! Before I would publish my blog I would always look on the #BCM240 twitter page and the WordPress feed to gauge how others felt about the topic. I was also following numerous students’ blogs who were enrolled in BCM240 and would read through their content as well. However the most useful tool was a Facebook group chat between Jesse, Matthew, Tom and I who were all in the same tutorial. We would share each other’s posts and discuss the topic. Each member of the group had different ideas and thoughts which all helped to contribute ideas for our blogs. Van de Rakt’s (2014) second tip is to choose between formal or informal writing. She concludes that you must “use a style that fits both you and your blog” (van de Rakt 2014). I decided to use a more informal style of writing for my blogs however I still kept strict formal referencing throughout the task.

The third point I will address is writing in public and building an audience for your blog. The idea of writing online is that it enables others to read and critique your work. My blog has received 532 hits over 43 blog posts which I think for a small blog which is relatively unknown is a good effort. To obtain hits I have employed a number of different tactics. Each post that is published has been categorised into subjects and then hash tagged so that it will appear on the WordPress feed. Another simple strategy is to engage with other BCM students through the comments section. If you comment some feedback on a person’s blog they are most likely to visit your blog page to see what you have written. Finally I used Twitter. Twitter was probably the easiest way to advertise my blogs. As Bunskoek (unknown) states “Tweeting about your blog can be an incredible way to reach out and connect with your consumer. With over 500 million users, you can find lots of news readers through tweeting”. When tweeting about my blog I used the #BCM240 which drove fellow BCM students to my blog.

tweeted blogs

Tweeting my blogs after I had published them leads into my fourth point. Editing my blog. As I mentioned above, this session we were being marked on our blog as a whole and not just for the content posted so it was time for a makeover. I set about changing my blog to be more appealing and easier for the reader to navigate through my work there were a lot of changes which had to be incorporated including;

  • Changing my About page
  • Categorising my work
  • Tagging my blog posts
  • Uploading my own cover photo
  • Changing the blog design (numerous times)
  • Embedding my Twitter feed

Jeff Goins (unknown pg. 1) ultimately covers how your blog should look in this summary “there is a lot you can do to make your bad blog design better. First, remove as many distractions as possible from what makes your blog worth reading: the content. Then, focus on making the text readable and enjoyable”.

The editing of my blog allowed for readers to be drawn into the blog easier. I also started to incorporate hyperlinks into my work which allowed the reader to delve further into any points which I had embedded in my work.

This last point is external research outside of the set readings. Due to the informal nature of my blogs I generally used the set readings and lecture information provided. When reflecting upon this I wish that I could have embedded more hyperlinks into my work which would allow the reader to research more about point I have provided.

I like the idea of having to reflect on your blogging over the semester as it allows you to critique your work and see the changes you have made over ten weeks. I believe my writing style has changed since the start of the semester and I think through the five points mentioned above my blog is starting to develop into a nice portfolio of my work.

Reference List:

Bunskoek K. (unknown), ’12 Formulas: How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Blog’, wishpond.com, viewed on 2nd October 2015, http://blog.wishpond.com/post/54926252742/12-formulas-how-to-use-twitter-to-drive-traffic-to

Couts, A 2011, What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet, Digital Trends, 3rd April, viewed on 1stOctober 2015, http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-happens-on-the-internet-stays-on-the-internet/

Goins J. (unknown), ‘Bad Blog Design: 7 Tips to Beat the Status Quo’, goinswriter.com, viewed on 1st October 2015, http://goinswriter.com/bad-blog-design/

Van de Rakt, M, “Writing A Blog: Obtaining An Attractive Writing Style”, Yoast, viewed 30th September 2015, <https://yoast.com/attractive-writing-style-blog/>

Warner, J 2015, “Writing A Good Blog”, Dummies, viewed 29th September 2015, <http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/writing-a-good-blog.html>

Rules and Regulations – Facebook, YouTube and Screen time

With the advancement of technology and the dominance of social media and screen time there are more and more rules and regulations being placed on audiences. These rules are placed by different authority figures whether it be large scale companies such as Facebook or YouTube or a parent or guardian limiting screen time.

When I was still in school and living at home my media consumption was monitored by my parents. They enforced the rules which included;

  • No television before school
  • No television before homework
  • No video games Mon-Thursday during the school week
  • 2 hours max on video games before we had to go outside and do some exercise (not that we didn’t exercise enough)

At the time this monitoring was seen by my brother and I as stupid however upon doing some research I learned that my parents were not alone in monitoring screen time. Common Sense Media is a website that has numerous forums which talk about kids and how much screen time they should engage in.

However as I got older the rules slid away slowly and when I moved out of home I no longer had any restrictions on my screen time. I now spend the majority of my day looking at a screen whether it be my iPhone or Laptop. I am now a massive YouTube watcher and again restrictions have been placed upon me. YouTube has an age restriction screen which is displayed on videos which contain sexual references, violence or inappropriate language.

youtube age restriciton

(YouTube content warning. Source: http://tinyurl.com/no5zle3)

I have also been uploading some videos to YouTube for another subject at university and have become aware of YouTube copyright process. YouTube will delete your video if you use music which is copyrighted to other artists therefore you must comply with them or risk your YouTube account becoming disabled.

Along with YouTube, Facebook also regularly removes posts from people pages and profiles if they deem it inappropriate. Facebook users that upload posts, photos or videos that offend videos can often be greeted with this image.

facebook-page-removed

(Source: http://tinyurl.com/of9cexv)

SO! Are all these rules and regulations necessary in society? Should media especially social media which rely on their users for content be regulated so thoroughly?

Reference List:

Brustein, J 2014, “We Now Spend More Time Staring at Phones than TV”, Bloomberg Business, 19th November, viewed 15th September 2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-11-19/we-now-spend-more-time-staring-at-phones-than-tvs

Harris, A 2014, “TV and Mobile Device Usage: Two Sides of the Coin”, Discovery Blog, 24thNovember, viewed 15th September 2015,https://corporate.discovery.com/blog/2014/11/24/tv-and-mobile-device-usage-two-sides-of-the-coin/

Transformers, The Fighter, Southpaw, Mark Walhberg and Attention Spans

This week our task was to look at the emergence of attention as a problem for media audience research. I decided to focus on the idea that are people more distracted than they use to be and can people multitask whilst engaging in two media platforms.

At the start of the mid-session break my friends BJ, Stuart, Aaron and I decided to watch a few movies at home. We had a movie marathon during the day which saw us watch Southpaw, Transformers and The Fighter (we love Mark Wahlberg).

This was a perfect test for me to see how often the boys checked their phones during the three movies and how regularly they checked them. The first movie we put on was Southpaw which is a newer release movie. The movie runs for approximately 2h 4m which is fairly long however BJ and Aaron were the only two that checked their phones. Stuart and I had our phones with us however did not check them. I believe this is because neither one of us had seen the movie therefore we were more engaged.

The next movie on the list was Transformers 4. A movie which we had all seen and that runs for a slightly longer time 2h 45m. This is where the all of the viewers multitasked throughout the movie. Whether it was the longer running time or the fact that we had seen the movie before all of us were engaging with our phones by either texting, using facebook, checking Instagram or snapchatting.

Finally the last move on the agenda was another Mark Wahlberg movie called The Fighter. This was the shortest movie in the marathon only running for 1h 56m and I was the only participant that has seen it. The engagement with external media (phones) was again limited due to the participants being more engaged because they had not seen the movie. However BJ did take two calls during this movie. I believe that this was the first time a participant had received a call was purely because of timing. This last movie was watch at 7pm whereas the other movies were watched during the day at 11am and 1:30pm.

In concluding my observations I wouldn’t say that attention spans are dropping and media shouldn’t be worried. There are plenty of television shows such as Q and A (#qanda) and Have You Been Paying Attention? (#hybpa) which now incorporate live tweets into their broadcast. Movies and Television have a great opportunity to engage with their fans even more if they can incorporate other media into their medium.

Reference List:

Teixeria S. T. 2014, ‘The Rising Cost of Consumer Attention: Why Should You Care, and What You Can Do about It’, Harvard Business School, viewed on 17th September 2015, http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/14-055_2ef21e7e-7529-4864-b0f0-c64e4169e17f.pdf

Public Filming Legal but Ethical?

After this week’s lecture about public photography and the laws around photographing people in public I was a little shocked at how open they are. There is no law against someone taking a photo of you in a public place and using it for their own purposes. Since the release of the smart phone photography is now readily accessible to everyone at any skill level so where do we draw the line?

I will be relating this blog towards another subject DIGC202, where I am currently filming different social groups that live on campus and what activities they engage in. Upon reflecting on my footage and project I noticed that I never asked any of the participants if they did not want to be filmed. I also did not ask if I could use their footage to upload to YouTube and Twitter. My filming contains content that participants may not want to be associated with for example trespassing on abandoned oil rigs and factories and footage of participants intoxicated. It also shows participants faces and even names. So is it still okay for me to upload this footage despite not asking for permission?

Looking directly at the Australian Laws for photography it is clear that I can use this footage without permission as there are no publicity or personality right in Australia nor is there a right to privacy that protects a person’s image. Looking at the laws it is clear that photography in public becomes an ethical issue.

After learning about these laws I went back to my footage and asked all participants if they were okay for me to use their names, faces and behaviours in my video. They all agreed. However if whilst filming, a member of the public who could appear in the background approached me and asked me to delete the footage I would do so despite it being legal I feel it would be unethical. To ban filming in public places would be an irrational decision however there should be an ethical law which enables the public to request a photograph or film be deleted should they feel embarrassed or not willing to appear in photography.

Reference List:

2015, Street photographer’s rights, Arts Law Centre of Australia’s standards, accessed 5th September 2015, http://www.artslaw.com.au/info-sheets/info-sheet/street-photographers-rights/

To movie or not to movie?

This week for BCM240 we were given a task which was to plan and undertake a movie visit and document what we saw using Torsten Hagerstrand’s three constraints; capability, coupling and authority.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen as I couldn’t make it to the movies.

My main constraint was that I don’t have a car and was not willing to catch public transport. However here is a list of other excuses:

  1. I have a test on Wednesday which I haven’t started studying for
  2. I had to work all day Sunday
  3. I had to write this blog
  4. I have a Digital Media project which I need to work on
  5. I didn’t want to go by myself
  6. I didn’t want to spend $30 for Popcorn (that’s kind of a lie I love popcorn)
  7. If I spent $30 for Popcorn my mouth would be all salty therefore I would need a drink
  8. Drink = $$$$
  9. Drink also = numerous trips to the bathroom
  10. Numerous trips to the bathroom = missing the movie
  11. I could not be bother to leave my room
  12. I could just vioodz.com it and watch it for free in my room

John Corbett defines the three categories of limitations. Capability refers to “the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors”. Coupling is “the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. Lastly authority is “an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups.” (Corbett, 2011, pg. 1).

Upon analysing these terms it is clear that I was physically capable to take a trip to the movies. I have enough money to catch the bus there and purchase a ticket however my busy schedule and lack of effort ultimately impacted my decision to not go. In regards to coupling is it socially frowned upon to talk during a movie however it is also classified as being ‘weird’ to attend a movie by yourself. Go figure? Lastly authority plays a part in attending a movie. If I bought a ticket I would have the right to attend a movie however if I skipped my shift at work on Sunday to go watch a movie that might land me in hot water from my bosses too.

Despite myself not attending a movie today when looking at the statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) more than 12 million people went to the movies during the years 2013 and 2014. Much to my surprise the information shows that ‘the cinema remains Australians favourite cultural venue, with 66 per cent of people aged 15 years and over reporting at least one visit during 2013-14’.

The underlying question is what is the future for cinema? I believe with the dominance of Netflix and other streaming sites online cinema will surely have to suffer. The pure convenience of being able to watch a movie from home for a small fee or even for free is just too good to pass up. I know personally online sites have deterred me from going to the movies.

Reference List:

ABS, 2015, Australians love going to the cinema, Australian Bureau of Statistics, accessed 30th August 2015,http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/4114.0Media%20Release12013-14

Corbett, J 2011, Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography, Centre for Spatially Integrated Social Science, accessed 30th August 2015,http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/29

Internet Dependent Households and the NBN

This week’s topic focuses around internet access and the National Broadband Network (NBN) which is being rolled out around Australia at the moment. For my blog this week I revisited Jane who two weeks ago had a discussion with me about her television space whist she was growing up. This week however we discussed her and her family’s internet usage. Jane lives with her husband Gerald, her daughter, Hannah, lives in Sydney and both her sons, Andrew and Tim, are living on campus accommodation at University. For the purpose of this discussion we included Jane, Gerald, Andrew and Tim because both the boys visit home regularly in University breaks.

Jane’s household has an internet modem situated in the study which enables a Wi-Fi signal to reach around the whole house. The modem also has a fixed Ethernet cable which runs directly to the main desktop computer located in the study. When asked about the data plan Gerald responded as he takes care of it. He has recently switched to a 500 gigabyte a month plan with Telstra as their Internet Service Provider (ISP).

In the household there are a range of different devices which all connect to the internet. IPads, iPhones, iPods, Laptops, PlayStation’s, Television’s and a digital Set Top Box. However whilst Jane and Gerald are home alone they only use the iPad, Set Top Box and Desktop.

“The iPad is probably our most preferred device however we only use it to check things like our emails, the newspapers, snow report, stock market, weather, Facebook, ABC iView and travel details”.

Whilst the iPad is the most used device connected to the ISP via a Wi-Fi connection if Jane or Gerald wish to do their online banking, reply to emails or do some work they always choose the desktop computer over the iPad. This type of internet activity common according to ABS (2014) with most people using their bandwidth to pay bills or bank online (72%); social network (66%); listen to music or watching videos or movies online (58%)

Their sole reason for using the desktop over the iPad is they believe that a desktop is easier to navigate and more secure. Out of their 500 GB of data for the month they on average only use 30% however when Andrew and Tim are home from University the usage doubled to 60% due to the increase in devices.

When asking Jane, Gerald and Tim about their internet speed I got mixed responses; Jane was happy with the internet speed it allowed her to complete any tasks online she required. Gerald and Tim however were not happy with the speed saying it was “ordinary”. The conversation quickly transitioned into the NBN network and whether or not they wanted it. ‘You tell us’ was the reply. Before university I worked for a company called Wagga Directional Drilling and for the better part of 7 months I spent my time installing NBN fibre optic cable.

nbn cable

(source: http://tinyurl.com/o5orkyc)

NBN is fibre optics cabling which is therefore faster than any ADSL or copper phone line cabling however the inlet into the majority of houses in Australia are still operating on existing copper phone lines meaning that the full potential of NBN is rarely fully experienced. Unless the house has a fibre optic inlet which connects directly all you get is slightly less shi**ty internet.

Despite this the current address of the family home is not able to receive NBN due to its “geographical location” however if you have a look at the map below if we lived two blocks either side we would be eligible to receive it.

nbn close

(source: http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html)

Or even two towns over…

nbn far

(source: http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html)

Despite not being connected to the NBN network Jane’s household is still dependent on their internet connection for personal and professional use. Will the NBN change the way the house operates? We shall have to wait and see.

Reference List:

ABS, 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics, accessed 23rd August 2015, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2B4C241B1D0D7691CA257C89000E3F61?opendocument

Gregg, M , n.d, Function creep: Communication Technologies and Anticipatory Labour in theInformation Workplace, accessed 23rd August 2015,https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/439943/mod_resource/content/1/Gregg%2C%20M.%20-%20Function%20creep.pdf

Additional Reading:

http://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Guides/NBN-Guide-What-You-Need-to-Know

Television – Its a generational thing

The introduction of the television into Australian houses was an exciting time for all those involved. The black and white programs were vastly different from radio, books and the newspaper and parents and kids were both eager to try out this new technology. Growing up today where television is an essential household item which dominates the lounge room it was interesting to reflect on Jane’s experience with television. Jane grew up in the country town of Wagga Wagga and her experience with television is vastly different to mine. During late primary school her family bought a television set for their home. On top of paying for a television each household had to then purchase a licence from the government in order to keep the television.

old wagga

(Historic Wagga Wagga. Photo cred: http://tinyurl.com/qjzfayo)

Watching television was also different, if you turned the television on before 4pm you were greeted with test pattern. Television programs didn’t start until after 4pm and then it was limited to two channels, the local channel RVN 2 which was Wagga Wagga’s commercial channel and the ABC. Watching television for Jane was a luxury that was only experienced on weekends in her household, Jane reveals however that she didn’t watch much television on the weekends anyway because she was busy playing sports or attending girl guides.

test pattern

(An example of test pattern. Photo cred: http://tinyurl.com/pg79det)

As the conversation progressed we started to talk about the television space. In 2015 the living room of the common Australian household is dominated by the television. It is generally one of the largest items in the room and dictates the furniture and surroundings. Jane’s television was kept in the living room however it was not placed in the centre of the room. The television was placed in the corner of the room and the furniture was situated to allow people to talk comfortably while also facing each other. I asked Jane how her current living room looks and if she still keeps the television in the corner. She laughed. Of course it’s in the middle of the room.

The conversation then moved to our current television habits. Whilst living at home I use to consume a lot of television at night especially in my gap year after work and on weekends however two years ago when I moved onto campus accommodation my viewing time decreased rapidly. The only television I watch now it’s the NRL live on fox sports. Jane’s television habits have changed as well, she watches a lot more television now compared to as a teenager. She doesn’t let television dictate her life though, she will only watch television if she is interested in a show and her television is never left on just for the sake of it.

Before interviewing Jane whilst writing down some question I asked myself what is my fondest moment of television? I couldn’t think of an answer. My television viewing was never strictly dominated by the television set. Television acted as more of a background noise whilst my attention flicked between my phone, laptop and occasionally back to the television. I was sure this was common with my generation and my friends at college gave the exact same answer. When asking Jane what her fondest memory of watching television was she could quickly respond with a story. ‘When I was a child in primary school we would head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Sunday lunch. After lunch Grandma would let my brother, sister and I into the living room to watch some television. My favourite show was ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’ which was a highly inappropriate show where the actors would paint their faces black and dance around however we all loved it and it was always a highlight of the week’.

(The Black and White Minstrel Show. Cred: atlantic1952)

Whilst this generation has changed televisions priority to feature a more back ground role to say that television will eventually be phased out in favour of online streaming and internet video services like YouTube is illogical.

Reference List:

Livingstone, S 2009, Half a century of television in the lives of our children. The ANNALS of the American academy of political and social science, 625 . pp. 151-163. ISSN 0002-7162