How Do My Friends Watch TV These Days?

Over the coming weeks I aim to facilitate a digital storycircle that illustrates the television and media consumption habits of my friendship group. The theoretical framework for this project is inspired by an article by Nick Couldry et.al. that I recently read, titled ‘Constructing a digital storycircle: Digital infrastructure and mutual recognition’. Couldry’s work investigates whether “the narrative exchange within the storycircles of story makers created in face-to-face workshops can be replicated by drawing on digital infrastructure in specific ways.” Couldry identifies a “storycircle” as a setting where participants sit facing each other, focusing and listening to what each other has to say in order to co-produce stories. He and a team of researchers then set about creating a multi-stream story circle where rather than sitting face-to-face, participants contribute to a collective, narrative research project using digital media platforms. The project resulted in the creation of a multi-faceted storycircle where information is collected, curated and distributed via digital media platforms including Twitter and Historypin.

Couldry’s research evaluates the successes and limitations of digital storycircle by identifying and exploring three main characteristics: multiplications, spatializations, and habits of mutual recognition. Multiplication refers to the relationship between storytelling and development of digital platforms that allow stories to be shared and multiplied. These platforms are enabled by modern technological advancements that allow separate media sources to converge in the digital sphere. Spatialization refers to the of building of a narrative around sets of individual narratives. Individual actors contribute fragments of information to a larger, complete, narrative experience that can be shared on various sites, and exchanged between various audiences and institutions. The geographic location of individual contributors may be decentralised due to the affordances of digital media technologies. Finally, habits of mutual recognition refer to the storyteller’s ability to construct a narrative exchange that supports knowledge production and mutual recognition of contributions among participants toward matters of common concern. By engaging with Couldry’s three dimensions mentioned above, I will endeavor to produce, and later analyse, an effective digital storycircle project.

I aim to tell the story of my friendship group and the spaces in which we consume television and other forms of screen-based media for entertainment purposes. My reason for doing so is partly inspired by Couldry’s suggestion that it is ideal to choose a story that includes elements of space and time, both of which are evident in this concept. The vast majority of my friendship group was raised in Canberra, however, as time goes on, various circumstances have caused us to move apart geographically. Members now span ACT, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and some living overseas. The diverse geographic locations of group members’ will allow me to create a timeline that pulls stories about habits separated in time and space into a common space. The widespread consumption of television in Australia, coupled with my recent interest in people’s television experiences led me to settle on television as the theme for this narrative. The 2015 Australian Multi Screen Report suggests that television remains the dominant viewing medium, with over 88% of Australians still choosing to consume television over any other form of screen-based media. I would like to know if this trend extends to my friendship group, and whether we have embraced other screen-based media technologies. My second area of interest for this project is television spaces. As I have discussed previously on this blog, I am keen to investigate the role of television in creating spaces in the home.

Collaborators for this project will consist of a large cross-section of my friendship group. Each group member will be requested to capture a photo of the television space within their home and then upload the photo to a Facebook group chat. The image should include the space in which their television/ media device is located and the television should include an example of something they enjoy watching. The image will be accompanied by a small caption that provides the location of their media space geographically, and a couple of sentences about their television viewing habits, should they wish to disclose such information. Couldry suggests that Illustrating the storyteller voice is important to the story, as is capturing the essence of the narrator and each unique character and their connections to lived experiences. I anticipate that encouraging my collaborators to illustrate their story by showing photographs will enable the narrative to capture the essence of each contributors lived television experiences.

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My Television Space: This is the reference image for my project. Collaborators photographs may vary, but will follow a similar format.

Having already employed Facebook Group Chat to collect collaborators individual stories I will then be tasked with choosing appropriate spatial arrangements in order to showcase the data as a complete narrative. Couldry states “The medium in which you choose to show your digital storytelling is not crucial, the storytelling elements can be images, film, blogs, tweets, web pages and web links”.  The story will include contributors images and text, as already stated, which will then be aggregated on a digital mapping platform that brings the whole story together. The geographic position of collaborators media spaces and additional data will be interlinked in order to facilitate the practice of working together to show each other how we live. The narrative will then be displayed on this blog where the information and data collected can be easily accessed by the participants and the general public. I hope this project will eventuate into an interesting and thought-provoking storycircle that details the television consumption habits of a unique group of young Australians. Any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Television Audiences and Ethnography

Over the past week, I have read many blog posts that explore people’s personal experiences with television in the home. My motivation for doing so is partially related to the ethnographic research component of my latest university assignment and partially inspired by my curiosities surrounding the history of television. During my research, I was fortunate to discover some interesting posts that detail people’s fondest memories of times spent watching television.

The first post I discovered offers a fascinating insight into early television consumption habits in Australia. The subject, a 91-year-old woman, offers a detailed personal recollection of her experiences as the new medium of television entered her life as a young woman. The woman has been alive to witness all of Australia’s historic television moments, including the launch of public television in 1956, the 1969 moon landing, and the introduction of colour television across across Australia in 1975, yet those iconic TV moments are not recalled, instead the woman shares her memories of watching television with her family . The post offers various quotes and anecdotes that demonstrate the woman’s association with television as an enabler of memorable family interactions and highlight the role that television plays in shaping family interaction patterns.

The second post I read also included an interview where the subject describes her memories of watching television with her family. “She recalled fondly sitting with her siblings some days after school when they weren’t sent outside to play and watching television till their dad got home and then choosing what to watch became his decision from then onwards,” the subject said. As was the case in the first blog post, the subject here describes her most memorable television experiences as being those that are coupled with family interactions. The theme of family being present in both of these blog posts suggests that people possess strong memories of television when the medium is coupled with family interactions.

The use of ethnography to conduct media audience research about people’s television memories in this instance has enabled me to uncover the reoccurring theme of television and family interactions. Employing ethnographic research methods enabled the subjects to open up and expand on their memories to include details about watching television with their families. This opened the topic to areas that may not have been initially considered by the researcher, thus providing a more detailed picture of television consumption habits than if the researchers had used the quantitative research method of recording ranks and counts to analyze feelings and behaviors. The one identified weakness of using ethnography in these instances was that the time-consuming nature of qualitative research restricted the number of people the researcher could study to just one. This weakness was easily overcome because I was able to find numerous examples of ethnographic media research to compare against the first blog post I read. As I study television more I will endeavor to better understand the correlation between television memories and family interactions.

I Am Curious About the Internet

The internet has entered the second decade of century 21s as the dominant platform through which we access, engage with and publish information. It has shaped our lives in unimaginable ways by operating as the framework for a global nervous system through which we are all connected.

 

I am curious to explore this distributed and open systems technology that has shaped life in the new millennium. As a university student I am particularly interested in researching the internet as a media platform and I plan to devote my studies in 2016 to understanding the vast affordances of this powerful medium. Life on earth is transforming  and I am curious to research the networked and decentralised society the internet has helped to afford us; A world that is finally learning to shake our dependency on a centralised, manufacturing based paradigm.

Week 5 Module: Review- Creatures of the Night

‘Creatures of the night’ by Jack Osborne is a beautifully composed piece of audio. This one-minute clip describes the feeling of working the night shift at McDonalds. Osborne uses a combination of the ambient sounds of meat cooking on a grill to indicate where the subject is working. This is coupled with the sounds of a harmonica which creates a sense of loneliness for the listener. The way Osborne choses to limit the ambient noises to just the sound the grill helps give the viewer an understanding that there is nothing else happening at 3am other than the task at hand. There is no sound of co workers, customers or a busy restaurant. There is only the sound of the grill which creates an empty feeling within the listener.

The harmonica is also instrumental in provoking the feeling of loneliness. It is a single harmonica which makes the listener feel as if he or she has just walked into a deserted town during the ‘wild, wild west days’ in America.

The interview is clear, concise and the way that Osborne leaves the listener wondering where the interviewee is working until the very end of the story adds an element of suspense to the work.

Students Have Differing Perspectives on the Future of Journalism

First year students at the University of Wollongong have mixed feelings about the future of professional journalism due to the rise of content curation and aggregation, coupled with the increasing popularity of citizen journalism.

Student Robert Brady, 19, believes that in order to pursue a career as a professional journalist he will need to adapt to the changing environment, but Mr Brady is also confident that “journalists will learn how to use aggregation to their advantage.”

Aspiring journalist Elly Manoe is also optimistic about the future of professional journalism, stating, “I think there is always going to be a need for professionals to tell a story and do research. I don’t think the role of the journalist will ever be eradicated.”

Ms Manoe believes that the emergence of the Internet as a media platform is the most fundamental issue affecting modern journalism but she remains confident that as “technology is advancing it is helping us get everything online which is making it easier to produce journalism”

Not all students are as confident about the role of the professional journalist in the future. Communications and media student Bella Hunter believes that the Internet has significantly transformed the journalism profession.

“The Internet has changed journalism completely, allowing for the journalists themselves to access information without actually going ‘on site’. This has serious consequences, both positive and negative. The Internet, with a flow of constant information, allows for a lot of ineptitudes, not all the information being presented is correct. However, on the upside, the internet allows for this information to reach people faster.”

Speaking outside The University of Wollongong Creative Arts building, Ms Hunter also explained her fears about job prospects for aspiring journalists.

“I’m very turned off by the fact that journalism is such a niche industry now. If I were to be interested in getting a job, there’s no way that it would remain secure due to the constant change of media. I’d prefer a job where I can adapt and change with the media, rather than to suit the media.”

First year student Jade Hall, 19, also stated that she is concerned that the recent emergence of citizen journalism may negatively effect the many journalists who are looking for jobs and who are qualified in their fields. According to Ms hall, “Anyone can be a citizen journalist which doesn’t seem fair.”

In response to questioning about whether attending Wollongong University has changed her views on the ability of journalists to gain employment in the future, Ms Hall remained positive: “Coming to university has reassured me that there are jobs in the journalist field and has helped me make the right decisions in order for me to be equipped with going in the job field later on.”

3D print-ED: Episode 1: Open vs Closed printers

3D print-ED  is a web series that explores 3D printing technology through a series of YouTube videos. This pilot episode examines some examples of open and closed printers.

References,

http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Felix_3D_printer

Kim, J & Robb, D 2014 ‘3D Printing: A revolution in the making’, University of Auckland Business Review, Vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 16-25

Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer Review 2015, video, Makers muse, 27 February, viewed 19 April2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8tN-c-_654&ab_channel=Maker%27sMuse&gt;.

http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/idea-series/mojo

University life 2

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The Uni bar is both the most social and the loneliest place in a university. It’s where you go to meet old friends and make new ones. It’s a place where you can forget about long days and the even longer nights, a place where you can sit and ponder all aspects of a broke, tired and often stressful university experience. The Uni bar is a place you can go to forget about all your problems, or create a whole set of new ones.