Mobile Phones:

The smartphone has taken the old standard mobile to new heights where it has become a daily distraction, and the culprit of a communication break down with face to face interaction. Dr James Roberts, of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, in Texas, said that the instant messaging addiction was driven by materialism and impulsiveness. He then goes on to state:

“Mobile phones are a part of our consumer culture,” Dr Roberts said. “They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They’re also eroding our personal relationships.” He said getting hooked on a mobile is similar to other addictions, such as compulsive buying and credit card misuse.

This insight indicates how significant smart phones are to our lives, and in particular the cost of its addiction. The mobile phone has become one of if not the sole tool for the younger generation to organise their social lives, which communicates the power and potential problems that may arise with this abundant technology. Not only has the mobile directly affected relationships through trust issues, yet by social status.

The iPhone being one of the more expensive phones on the market has created a division in how we view each other, for those not able to afford the most ‘luxurious’ phone are perceived as beneath their peers. This has created massive social implications within groups, as it changes the behaviour of the owner of such an item through the knowledge of having something that is symbolic of power and wealth. Of the students in the study mentioned previously by Dr James Roberts, Some said they felt so cut off without their iPhone or Blackberry that it evokes similar feelings to the “phantom limb” syndrome suffered by amputees. This is astonishing as Generation Y are quickly becoming an almost Cyborg generation where we feel lost in a world full of technology, where the foreign form of interaction is through social media and smart phones.

Social Media: A Contact

Social media has drastically changed the way in which we interact with family, friends, and even strangers. More than 60% of all internet users also communicate via social networks and over 85 % of all teenagers have accounts on social networks. This statistic clearly states how much of an impact this technology has in our lives, where for the better part it is able to bring many people together, however this isn’t always the case. Given the rise of social media, many of our physical interactions have decreased due to the ability to virtually ‘hang out’ with anyone your heart desires at the given time. Generation Y is leading the charge of social media, as throughout our younger years, we were constantly faced with emerging technologies. One of these technologies came to rise in 1999, it was called Microsoft Messenger, or the more common ‘MSN‘.

Microsoft messenger allowed us teenagers to stay in touch with friends in the afternoons after school, where we would fill most of our time staring at a white text box for hours. This gave rise to a new idea, which was the introduction of emoticons. Eventually Microsoft messenger died out and a new technology followed, which started the new craze for a social media platform that incorporates photos, messaging, videos and likes. In the present day, people often choose to talk to each other via mobile phone, or  via Facebook because they are afraid of getting to know each other, out of the digital world. By doing this, they are missing out on the others facial expressions and gestures that are usually made in physical contact conversations. Because of this lack of contact, emotions are reduced to Likes or Dislikes, smiley faces or other emoticons. This creates problems for the relationships of those outside of social media:

Psychology experts have also noticed that more and more marriages are breaking up. One of the reasons may be because Facebook makes it possible to communicate with old friends from high-school or former boy or girl friends that you have not had contact with in ages. Couples are not communicating with each other as they should in real life.  They sometimes even break up over Facebook and other social networks.

This directly shows the strain that social media, in particular the social media platform Facebook has on modern day relationships. This doesn’t always include romantic relationships, as plutonic relationships suffer the same fate of jealousy and envy. To gain further insight into this issue, my friend Blair Arnold was asked what he thought about the recent findings.

Its definitely changed the way we interact with friends and family, but I feel that its become a great tool in allowing friends to organise to hang out or to talk to many people at the one time. However I definitely agree that it puts strain on the relationships that Generation Y has, in contrast to the relationships of the baby boomers.

This input supported the findings, as it was recognisable that although social media is a great tool, it puts immense strain on real life interactions and our relationships that we have.

Reflecting With Reason.

Since commencing a Bachelor of Communications and Media, I have been introduced to the concept of blogging and if done right can become an extremely resourceful tool in communicating ideals and knowledge to a wide audience. Through blogging I have learned the value of audience engagement, and how critical gaining the engagement is in order to convey your thoughts and ideas across whilst maintaining an audience. Audience engagement became the focal point to each post I had written, for what good is a blog if It isn’t capturing an audiences attention or time. Gavin McMahon explains some factors in which you are able to gain an audiences attention through using TED Talks as an example:

Great hooks, like McGonigal’s provocative opening statement, get audiences on the edge of their seats and give them a sense of what’s coming. They allow you to win a crowd’s attention right away and give you a legitimate chance to have a lasting impact.

To gain insight and inspiration I searched the Blog Awards 2015 and stumbled across an award winning blog mynameisyeh. Through eye capturing photography and captivating writing, this particular blogger was able to successfully engage with her audience and still have a strong re-occurring theme of food, people and places. I took all of what I had learned onboard and decided to give my own blog a make over, giving it a more simplistic edgier vibe. With the help of a friend I was able to significantly alter the layout and design of my blog to attract a larger and wider audience of viewers. I started by looking through old photos I had taken for a MEDA assignment, and I stumbled across a photo I had taken of green moss growing in my backyard. By combining the colour white with the contrasting vibrant green of the moss, I was able to create a certain aesthetic which would hopefully draw in more viewers. The significance of the plain white background allowed for my writing to fill the page and become the focal point of the space. The change in blog theme I feel has made my blog more valuable in its ability to connect with the audience, and to further imbed my own personality and voice through my writing.

The inclusion of referencing and hyperlinks throughout my posts ensured that the audience had an interactive experience, in an attempt to engage the audience and retain their interest. By engaging with other students blogs I was able to gain insight on many other events and issues and also differing opinions to my own. This allowed me to develop my ideas without a sense of bias, which was a major asset in the creation of my blogs.

My favourite post was from week 2 where we had to reflect on a conversation with someone older than you about their memories of television spaces in their childhood. I enjoyed listening to stories of my father and how his experiences with the television revolutionised the way he thought of particular events through the media. An example of this was the lunar moon landing in 1969, where the media transmitted through all forms of technology.

BCM240 successfully transitioned my blogging style to accommodate more people through the posting of relevant content,where previous BCM classes had only touched the surface of the blogosphere. By continuing the blog that I had started with in BCM110, you can see change and the evolution of not only how I tried to engage with peers and the audience, but also with the tone and personality that is injected into each post. I made sure that these posts were as least bias as possible so that the messages that I was trying to get across didn’t become muddled in the clutter. Clarity is something that I believe helped my blogs immensely, for by making your posts easy to understand and read you  create an experience for the reader to indulge in your message. Something that I feel I could improve upon for future assessments is my online presence on twitter, where I feel with more frequent tweeting I could increase my audience size which would benefit the amount of users accessing my site.

Through categorising each post, the whole blog has a more clean and professional look, where posts are clearly indicated and are easily tracked. This allowed for a more succinct experience for the audience, as they are taken on a chronological journey through the blogs. Research has enabled each post to gain credibility for it develops a transparent relationship with the reader making your work seem more intelligible and have a higher chance of the reader returning to view works in the future. Through incorporating further texts and sources on top of  known knowledge I was able to separate opinion from fact. Through research I was able to gain a lot more context in the concepts and situations, which benefitted the overall space as it became increasingly informative to the audience.

Blogging this semester has been a challenge at times yet a rewarding experience all the same, for I have gained knowledge and skills in attracting audiences and retaining their attention. I feel that I’ve improved my ability to channel my voice through my writing, which I feel had been my problem in previous BCM blogs. Above all I hope my blogs have been entertaining, and interesting to read.

A Rise Of Technology

Source: http://www.tributemedia.com

The sole reason for human survival throughout history has been our ability to invent and develop technology. First came the bone tools, fire and spears, but fast forward a hundred thousand years you’ll find that many of these archaic inventions and the possible history of everything ever created resides within a new technology, the internet.

The internet has created possibilities that  lights up the eyes and minds of younger generations or gives older generations the shakes. The internet has intertwined itself with every aspect of our lives from the social aspects, to the way we are educated. It has ultimately become an extension of our very bodies yet alone our minds. According to James Brown:

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.

Stepping back into the average suburban homes we can find evidence of its existence all throughout. The main hub resides in the modem, which forms the bulk of how we access the internet using different mediums such as our laptops and phones. This medium then transcends to cellular data where wherever we go, we are able to access the internet as long as there is a signal. This shows how powerful a tool it has become in not only shaping our actions and behaviours but our very thoughts in prioritising it throughout daily life. My dad agrees with this notion that we have become a slave to the Internet:

Since we got the new internet I guess life has become a lot different since the days of sitting around watching the news on the television together every night. Its not all that bad either, I mean I can find out whats going on all over the world with the click of a few buttons

We have almost forgotten that there is no comparison between reading a book in which we can smell the familiarity of pages or having a physical conversation with another human being than reading something or talking to someone through a screen. Despite many of us thinking out families are boring, they actually do hold interesting stories, but only if we have the time to disconnect and listen.

The Rise Of A Technologic Titan

Technology has increasingly altered the lives and routines of many generations. The television rapidly rose to power de-throning the reigning king the radio, where it had become a typical household commodity. This moving motion picture has captured the attention of every generation through its addictive nature of easy, exercise free entertainment. Through this device it provided a new means of communication, which gave way to an insight into the extensive diversity of cultures around the world in an almost 3D-like experience through seeing as well as hearing what was going on. My father was born in 1962, where the television was dominating the media space. When I asked of his first memories of the television, he smiled and began recounting stories of shows that he used to watch like The Flintstones, The Looney Tunes and Gilligan’s Island. One of his most vivid memories of the television was the lunar landing in 1969:                                                  4181555414_e8ed0b9028_o( http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4040/4181555414_e8ed0b9028_o.jpg )

“I was about seven when I saw the moon landing, I was at home with mum and dad and all of us just sat down in awe. It was impressive stuff, even as a little boy I remember it as if it was yesterday”.

With the television came the change in family dynamic, as families were brought together in the living room through the shows and news aired each night. This sense of family unity ironically is built on the foundation of watching and listening soley to the machine in the centre of the room, and not communicating with the family. Viewings of the television slowly began to become less about the privilege and more about traditions.

 “I remember spending almost every afternoon watching TV” He said, “I never picked the channel but it didn’t matter what I watched as long as I was watching something. I think the value of the television has changed from back then. These days everyone lives such busy lives that they don’t even have the time”.

I found this quite interesting, for the purpose of the machine was to combat the dull hours of the day, yet this has seemingly changed to the extent of it not being necessary, but an added perk. This dynamic has become even more apparent through today, for consumers are faced with the option to watch television shows through phones, computers and tablets as well as through their televisions. Whilst the original message of the television was in order to bring families together, the same cannot be said today, for it has driven the family unit to disperse among the home to watch their fix of entertainment.

One thing my father was strong in expressing was that TV did not consume his life as a child, he would get home from school and venture off with his friends to come home later that afternoon and watch one show and then it was off to bed. Now my father is found watching TV with mum upstairs, each with a laptop and tablet in hand. Another memory he recalled of the TV, which shook the world, was what was thought to be a plane crash on the 11th of September in 2001. He was with mum downstairs sitting on the lounge in the early hours of the morning when the news broke. He recalled it seemed “Too chaotic and insane” to be happening in what should be a peaceful time. Mum was crying through shock as Sandra Sully narrated the extent of the terror attack.the-new-york-times-28new-york2c-ny29-data

(http://www.abc.net.au/cm/lb/2870648/data/the-new-york-times-28new-york2c-ny29-data.jpg )

My father says there’s such an abundance of content that we have access through the television, which wasn’t the case when he grew up. The main use of the television in our household is the viewing of movies, which my father especially is extremely fond of. I remember every afternoon after school we would sit down and watch a classic, whether that would consist of a Tarantino or a Clint Eastwood. This was such a dramatic change, for when he was in his twenties he’d take my mum to the cinemas in order to watch the latest blockbuster, yet through the use of the TV it could be seen r in the comfort of your own home. Our lives are so immersed in the TV it would be strange to think what family life would be like without it. He stated that the introduction of television into his life as a child not only drastically changed the ways in which he consumed and received news, but also the ways in which society as a collective live and go about their everyday lives. The introduction of television truly did open up a window of opportunities.

The Power Of Ethnography

Source: http://www.greenbookblog.org

The  use of emerging technologies such as the internet, television, tablets and smartphones have left behind questions that need to be considered by those who use it. For many years, researchers in particular have taken on the task of finding out the common question of ‘why’ and ‘how’ we are affected by these technologies. Ethnography at its centre explores the thoughts, feelings and ideologies associated with particular audiences.

Quantitative and qualitative data form the backbone of a researchers tools in exploring the various trends of data. Leading research companies like ‘nielsen‘ are paid by a wide variety of organisations and corporations to provide information on trends and habits to help increase profit growth. There are clearly strengths associated with quantitative audience research. For example, nielsens’ latest multi-screen report indicates that “Viewing habits are evolving…with people under 35 in particular increasingly using internet-connected devices to watch video.” This sort of information that is gained by quantitative audience research is absolutely vital to companies and of course the general population as we are able to study trends and patterns in audiences viewing patterns for example. This being said, of course there are negative attributes associated with this quantitative audience research.

Collaborative ethnography can be successfully used when analysing contemporary media through the collections and analysis’ of stories from people of different background and generations.

The Cinema Experience

Source: theregularmoviegoer.com

Inception the movie had just come out at the local cinema. I had seen adverts all across different media spaces advertising this particular movie for the past month, so I got three of my friends and headed to the cinema. The strange byproduct of a cinema allows for us to over indulge in things that we aren’t at times even interested in, just like going window shopping. For some reason we constantly find ourselves being dragged to the cinema to watch terrible movies by our friends and family. What’s even more disturbing is that even before the film has begun we sometimes already know the outcome. These days movie tickets cost as much as buying the hard copy when it comes out on DVD, which is insane.

Reaching the entrance of the cinema, my friend Blair joked as to why he even came, knowing that he wasn’t taken by the trailers that he had seen advertising the movie. This gave me the notion that sometimes we just go along with our friends because we would like to be pleasantly surprised by a film that our friends recommend. This brings about the ideal of why we even need movie theatres anymore with the introduction of media platforms such as Netflix and Stan, which have a vast library of easy accessible material of a petty cost of $9.00 a month. Cinemas are on the decline due to these media platforms and piracy. The argument of the cinema providing new releases to viewers is valid, as there is a period where we must wait for new releases to be available at our local DVD shops. However these days it is fair to say that it is quite easy to legally purchase and view this content. So it seems that we are able to access the content we want, when we want.

With technological advancements Its becoming harder and harder for cinemas to compete with the luxury of watching a film on your tv in the space of your home, yet there is still one undying factor which keeps crowds coming to the movies, cinema space. The cinema space is infectiously addictive as we all have become accustom to the red velvety chairs, the large screen in the front of the room and the lighting. The big screen gives us that opportunity to escape and watch new films. But most importantly, we are there to appreciate the tradition of the cinema media space.

Blair Arnold: ‘A study of bias in media coverage of terrorism’

Blair Arnold is a full time University student at UOW studying Journalism. Due to his affiliations with Journalism, he was the perfect candidate for filling out a series of questions based on my group’s topic ‘A Study of bias in media coverage of terrorism’. This is then followed by an analysis of the questions and answers.

Do you think the media is bias? How come?

Yeah definitely, anything that is written is subjective to the writer, because every angle you cover has it’s own form of bias. This can be seen in any kind of event or conversation, for example; ‘I’m an avid bike rider’, here the subjects’ own personal opinion is clearly stated through their own bias.

What do you think the main implications are with the media today in terms of bias?

The problem with the media today is that with the emergence of social media, the Internet has given way to a platform for citizen bloggers to state their opinions. Citizen bloggers contribute to the media, however they should not be the primary source of reference. The problem is there are no restrictions on the Internet for blogging, for amateur bloggers don’t follow a code of conduct. This is what separates bloggers from professional journalists, for they must conform to the code of conduct when working for an institution.

What is your definition of terrorism? And what event do you instantly think of when you think of terrorism?

The media makes you associate terrorism with violence, guns and terrorist attacks. Terrorism goes against societies idea of what is considered ethically right. I believe the sole purpose of terrorism is to undermine society and our governments. The media pushes 911 to be the foremost event of terrorism in our history.

What do you think the consequences are in bias media coverage?

People are misinformed on current news topics and issues, which incites divisions in our society. An example of this is the struggle with the western world and Islam, especially Muslim women and their dress code of the Burqa and how many perceive that goes against the morals and principles of western culture.

Do different media outlets affect your views towards terrorism?

I prefer some news sites over others for some are more credible and reliable in comparison to other media outlets, which are politically driven. These credible sites tend to be more fact filled with less opinion-based information. This opinion based information leads to skewed viewpoints and tends to incite false allegations of the accused.

Do you think a persons age or demographic affects these views?

There is a whole bunch of factors, which influence these views. Ultimately these views can be swayed by the media, showcasing the power the media holds over a population.

Overall, I was happy with how the interview flowed, as I was able to attain some valuable information for further analysis. Interviewing a student currently studying Journalism puts an interesting twist to the finds, for they are entering the world of the mass media. This research will create a structure for ongoing work in exploring bias in the media, especially in relation to terrorism.

Ethics: Why they are so important

When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between right and wrong, such as the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), a code of professional conduct like the Hippocratic Oath (“First of all, do no harm”), a religious creed like the Ten Commandments (“Thou Shalt not kill…”), or a wise aphorisms like the sayings of Confucius. This is the most common way of defining “ethics”: norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

ethics

(Source: http://www.un.org/en/ethics/)

Surveys are made up of four key characteristics. These are used to collect and analyse social, economic, psychological, technical and other types of data. Involves interviewing people (respondents) and asking them for information. Covers a representative sample of the population being studied. Finally there is an underlying assumption that the information obtained from the sample is valid for the general population

Another way of defining ‘ethics’ focuses on the disciplines that study standards of conduct, such as philosophy, theology, law, psychology, or sociology. For example, a “medical ethicist” is someone who studies ethical standards in medicine. One may also define ethics as a method, procedure, or perspective for deciding how to act and for analyzing complex problems and issues. For instance, in considering a complex issue like global warming, one may take an economic, ecological, political, or ethical perspective on the problem. While an economist might examine the cost and benefits of various policies related to global warming, an environmental ethicist could examine the ethical values and principles at stake.

References:

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘BCM210 Lecture 4: ‘Quantitative analysis’, Lecture notes, BCM210, University of Wollongong, viewed 26th March 2015.

Ethics: Just because we can, does it mean we should?

Ethics are widely agreed moral principals about what is right and wrong, what is proper and improper. They are the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. It is subjective, and different people tend to have different ideas and standards about what is acceptable and unacceptable. It is however, important to remember that there is truly no universal definition of ethics as they will always vary from country to country, culture to culture. Some years ago, sociologist Raymond Baumhart asked business people, “What does ethics mean to you?” Among their replies were the following:

“Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.”

“Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs.”

“Being ethical is doing what the law requires.”

“Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts.”

With the resurgence of social networks, ethics have played a massive part in determining right and wrong. This can be seen in the recent Facebook scandal, which was a study intending to obtain personal information of its users without their consent. This study was known as ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’.

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in Zenica, in this photo illustration(Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/facebook-investors-see-now-pachter-133716344.html)

David Hunter states in his article that over 689,003 Facebook users news feeds were manipulated without their knowledge. Thanks to Forbes, the clauses regarding research were only added to this policy four months after the experiment took place. Rather than mere consent, Facebook clearly violated their rights in obtaining data that was not originally obliged for research. The editor-in-chief’s argument is that because this experiment was conducted by Facebook for internal purposes, the university’s Institutional review board determined that the project;

“Didn’t fall under Cornell’s Human Research Protection Program”

References:

– Santa Clara University, 2010: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/whatisethics.html – viewed 18th march 2015

– Hunter, D 2014, Facebook puts ethics of research by private companies in spotlight’, The Conversation, 4th July, Viewed 19th March 2015, http://theconversation.com/facebook-puts-ethics-of-research-by-private-companies-in-spotlight-28798