Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Koenig’

Writing towards my own health

May 25, 2010

To be honest I found these readings to be somewhat boring yet at the same time they managed to sufficiently stress me out about this final paper (I guess it is time to put my research and interview down on paper so that maybe someday it will have a lasting impact on the world.) Haha. Well I guess we may not be the famously published writers that will improve public health and welfare through our writings as Liamputtong suggests, but I do appreciate the idea that writing helps us grow. Although it may not impact public health, digesting all the information we have covered this semester into one concise report will definitely help my health. Hopefully the ideas will stop being a jumbled mess all mixed up in my head and rather organize themselves into something that makes sense when put down on paper.

It is also my hope that we will all be able to learn a little about ourselves, and the world around us via this assignment. Liamputtong suggests that writing on what we researched expands our life experiences, in the end teaching us more than we would have learned simply in a classroom. This I wholeheartedly agree with. Although teachers can assign as many readings as they like and lecture for two hours on a topic, I for one, find that I learn the most when I have to apply what has been taught to my own works. Taking the general concepts of the course such as domestication, combining it with research, and producing a work that looks at the big picture impact on society is no easy task. Although finding the big picture of these topics is rather daunting to me currently, I look forward to discovering what they may be.

Throughout the course we have many topics, which I have found to be extremely relevant to my life and generation. I guess in the end, I will come to understand what the impacts of our current media usage on the future of our society, and how this will shape the world. Although I do not know the answers yet, hopefully (before next week!) they will present themselves with the upmost clarity. After all, Liamputtong suggests that writing about my research should cure me of my discouragement and boredom, right? I guess writing this blog I have already been cured of my boredom over the readings, hopefully if I continue on this path I will not face too much discouragement trying to discover the bigger pictures of media, culture and everyday life.


Why is Milk Called Milk?

May 18, 2010

To be honest I found this reading to be one of the most interesting to date. It reminds me of all those times when you are having a conversation, and a word gets repeated one too many times, and then everyone stops to think about how unusual the word really is. For example, the other week my roommates and I were talking about milk. A normal, everyday, product somehow became the center of our discussion when we discussed the proper pronunciation which then led to the “what a weird word, I wonder where it came from” comment.

In both the Schirato and Yell article, Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction and the Clark article, The Linguistics of Blame, I found the notion of violence in relation to language to be extremely interesting. Schirato and Yell’s argument that words can adapt new meanings based on context is something I had never really given much thought to before, but it is so true.  Changing the tone or context of a word allows the speaker to convey many different messages. The Simpson example is so prevalent to our media and use of words today- what is violence? Our definitions differ greatly depending on each person. It is also rather intimidating that these words can be portrayed to be much worse (or more mild) depending on the speaker. For example, the “violence” of the British against the aboriginal people was down played to simply helping out the “savages.” Although to many people this would appear to be a highly inaccurate description of the events that occurred, to those who had no prior knowledge of the events this may be accepted as fact.

The Yell article also brings up some interesting points about how we can use words to convey messages in many different ways. The example given of naming an attacker in either a sub-human way (beast, monster, ripper, etc) or allowing the attacker basic human acknowledgement (name, address) was rather interesting. The media has a great tendency to use words to make stories gripping, terrifying, and intriguing. Since we wrote our first fairy tale we have been programmed to use descriptive words to make stories more interesting, and that  is obviously what the media does, yet have they taken it too far in some instances.

Finally, it seems that in these instances the words are doing more damage than good. I know if I read the story of a “monster prowling the streets” I would be terrified to take out my trash. Similarly, if I read about how the British came to Australia to help the savages I may be viewed as naïve and ignorant in the ways to the world. Yet how can I help but believe some of these stories- they are rather compelling right? In all it is rather intimidating to think about the grip words and language has over us, and it all comes from some dairy farmer naming milk milk.

I leave you with this video, at first you think the mother and daughter are having a typical fight over cell phones- listen closely to the words though and you will be surprised!

Lost Part of Me and I Feel So Alone

May 11, 2010

First of all, so sorry for the late post. Upon returning from a weekend away I came home to find that when I turned on my MacBook Pro that the screen just remained black. Obviously this led to much panic, a hasty rush to the apple store, etc. Upon arrival there the happy news that my data was not lost, was quickly overshadowed by the fact that they need it for about two weeks. As anyone else that has been in this situation can attest, it feels as if I am missing a very important part of me (I am still going through shock/ withdrawals, not knowing what to do with myself without my computer). Going back many weeks- I suppose this is one more example of how my media and technology controls me.

Anyways onto this weeks readings, as I type on this foreign computer I cannot help but think about the Haddon article, “Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape” and the ways in which media and technology affect our communication. Haddon points out that when the internet emerged there were concerns that those who dedicated their time to things online were being anti-social. However, these people had simply found a different way to be social that no longer involved face-to-face contact. Now as I sit here without my own computer, I am the one feeling anti-social. Common sense would tell you that me not having a computer would force me increase my face-to-face communication with those around me but that is not so much the case. As communicating via the internet has become so common place, it feels  less comfortable to call a friend or even walk down the street to visit. We now use our media as forms of personal communication that was once only achieved via actually speaking out loud. Without my computer I feel as though I have lost a part of me, and I feel so alone without it.

In the article Haddon discusses how technology has changed the way in which we may communicate, updating our techniques, but the messages are generally the same. I wish to add something to this- much of the time our communication is rather personal, we do not like to share what we say with one individual with others, and therefore we create ways of keeping this communication secretive. For example, as I use my roommates computer I have not logged into ichat which I would normally do on my own. Although there would not be a way for her to read the conversations once I log out it still seems rather personal and therefore something that should be reserved for my own laptop. Similarly, we hardly share phones with one another except in emergency or dire situations (whereas in the past family lines were the norm). Therefore it appears as though with the emergence of more personalized individual technologies comes more secrecy and privacy.

This shift in communication, as Haddon points out, is not making us any more anti-social, simply we are communicating in new ways that are not necessarily traditional face-to-face methods. The textual examples of internet gamers or hanging out online in chat rooms are perfect examples of this. Although I may go hours without talking to someone out loud, it is very unlikely I will not have been socializing via texts, email, chats etc.  Haddon points out that social constraints and factors affect how we chose to communicate, with whom and where, largely impacting the secrecy or privacy of this communication, yet having little effect on the amount of communication overall.

One final comment/ critic on the Haddon reading, although I agree there are many good points made about the repertoires of communication practices as Stuie pointed out, I was a little frustrated at times with the fact that the reading felt slightly out of date and out of touch with our society. The quote regarding emails being an unreliable method of reaching someone on short notice was especially odd to me. In this day in age just about anyone who would be setting up last-minute meetings (especially business people and students) have nearly constant internet access. Although I cannot speak for everyone, it seems as though most people are constantly connected via cell phones, laptops, wifi networks, and the various other ways to access email. Perhaps it is time for Haddon to take a look at her communication channels and analyze how they may need to be upgraded with the changing times.

Changing the Flow

May 3, 2010

Teresa Rizzo’s “Programming Your Own Channel” ties in nicely with what we have been talking about all semester in terms of the ever-changing roles of media with the emergence of new technology. I found it particularly interesting the notion that the television, once designed to bring families together to watch programmes in the “family room” is now outdated as televisions have adapted the new role of creating separate spaces for family members.

I know in my house the television in the basement is the “kids” tv. This means that my brother has mostly taken it over, especially since I am hardly home. It is assumed he is down there playing Playstation or watching ESPN. The living room is still the “family” tv and the one I will use when I want to watch something. I can generally control the remote for prime time shows such as Grey’s Anatomy. Around dinnertime and on Sunday nights the remote here belongs to my dad. 1. For the nightly news and 2. For Sunday night football. The television in my parents room is the one my mom uses primarily, mostly because she does not have an opportunity to have control over the other remotes. Although I never thought about it before it is amazing how routine these roles are.  In my household, the remote is a way of controlling what we watch- whoever has the remote gets to choose. To add to that, as stated in the article, the remote is “a way of asserting control over the viewing experience.

Our methods of watching television have changed greatly since the 1950s. Now we can get it any time anywhere and we do not need to wait until a certain time of day to watch our favourite show. Our lives are no longer dictated by what is on television when. Rather we dictate what is on our “playlist” when.

In regards to the playlist notion I particularly liked the section on “flow” and now wonder how we are changing this notion of flow as we create our own playlists. It is easy for me to relate this to making a playlist for my iPod. All the songs I have bought are part of some well thought out album and here I come along and pick and chose songs, mix up the order and throw them together in a completely different fashion than was originally intended. Obviously I enjoy this more as it is personalized to me but what are the effects on the music producers? The television producers? The flow they have created is designed to keep me watching, yet if I am just taking bits and pieces of their flow to create my own playlist will I watch less? Probably not. But it does lead to an interesting predicament for television producers. Their current models may not be working as well so they will need to adapt to consumers creating their own flows.

Overall I thought this article tied in well with the previous readings, especially those concerned with how television has created new roles in the family and new spaces and times for those of us who view television programmes in our own way. I am especially curious what everyone’s thoughts are regarding the “flow” argument and how flow may be changing in the next coming years. As more people continue to disregard the flow created by broadcasters in favour of creating their own personal flows how will broadcasters react? Let me know what you all think!

Media Haves and Have-Nots

April 26, 2010

In Nightengale’s article, New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence, of the two arguments presented in the article, between media digitization and convergence versus internetisation and mediatisation I would have to say I identify with Fortunati’s approach of internetisation and mediatisation. The first argument, presented by Evans and Wurster suggests that firms must make compromises in order to adapt to the ever-changing world of media. Fortunati on the other hand suggests that as media evolves it is becoming more unified, allowing greater diversification, Fortunati continues to suggest that media has opened up many new opportunities for firms to access their audiences and reach consumers. Media growth is viewed not as a burden on firms (although many companies are slow to change so maybe it is slightly a burden) but rather as an opportunity for growth and improvements.

Additionally, I found Nightengale’s point regarding media haves and have-nots to be really interesting and tie in well with other things we have discussed throughout the semester. As media continues to evolve with technology, the gap is growing greatly between those who are media savvy and those who are not, whether or not it is by choice. In a prior media class that I took we talked about Web 2.0, which ties in with what Nightengale is talking about. In Web 2.0 users have a much greater say in what content in online, they are able to customize their media and influence producers. Rather than consumers watching what programs are on TV because that is the only option they have, consumers now dictate what they watch, when and where. And not only can they watch a television program at a different time of the day, they can now also make their own content and put it on websites such as YouTube or BlogSpot to share with the world. Consumers are no longer reliant on media producers to get their media fix- they can get it anywhere they want.

We are now encouraged to be our own media producers- that is after all what we are doing currently as we post these blogs online. However, Nightengale argues that this is leading to greater discrepancies in the media world, widening the gap between those who participate and those who do not, or cannot, creating a media literate and illiterate society. As media continues to evolve, creating greater opportunities for companies to reach their audiences in creative new ways, it is also creating disparities between the media haves and have-nots. In countries where technology is fairly advanced, this gap may exist more by choice as some people chose not to have televisions, mobile phones, etc. However in other countries this gap is growing by a lack of technology, resources, and funding. This will greatly impact information sharing- or the lack thereof- and largely effect the ability of these people to stay caught up with their international counterparts. I leave you with this: as media develops and consumers become more involved in the content production, will those who are unable to interact be subject to media poverty? What will this mean as our world continues to globalize and what will be the effect on relations between those who are media- devolved and those where are subject to media illiteracy?

Technology Out-Smarting Us all

April 19, 2010

Since I can remember phone technology has been rapidly changing and evolving. I still remember being very young, sitting in my car seat as my dad answered his car phone to talk to his employees, my mom, or whoever. At the time I assumed this was normal- just like a phone at a house, but really car phones were the first huge step towards being able to communicate while moving from place to place- and the phenomenon has continued ever since. It is remarkable how far mobile technology has come over the years. From car phones to beepers and pagers to mobile phones to a new bread of mobile phone that really deserves a different name, we have come a long way with our mobile technology over the years.

There is no way to compare the original mobile phone in which you could barely make calls to what I think of as the second generation- where you could text and even take pictures on color screens! And now, what seems to be the third generation is this hybrid product in which depending on what you want to do with it your mobile can have cameras, video cameras, touch screens, music players, internet, gps tracking, really whatever you can imagine is on there. I found this video to be very amusing- sorry if it offends at all but it is a good reminder of how far we have come over the past 15 years and really humorous towards the new technologies and how they seem to take over.

Clara Volker brings up some really interesting points in the article Mobile Media and Space in which she argues that virtual space (computers, the internet etc) is colliding with reality. Through her examples of Semapedia and Socialight, it is obvious that there is no way to separate these to spaces from one another. Virtual space impedes on every aspect of our lives and it is only going to continue to do so in the future. Technology is only getting smarter- almost to the extent that it is a little scary. At times I definitely feel out-smarted by the technology I use. The fact that you can GPS track the location of your friends (or parents and track their kids!) or hold your phone up to the radio to get the title and artist of a song is great in theory- but it leads one to wonder when will technology take it too far.

Technology is changing the way we view spaces and bringing multiple spaces together. We cannot simply separate virtual space and reality anymore. Rather our increased mobility in terms of technology has allowed us to merge our spaces- breaking boundaries such as public and private, and redefining typical definitions of what it means to be mobile.

Time Travel

March 29, 2010

I found Shaun Moore’s article, “The Doubling of Place” extremely thought provoking this week. It tied in very nicely with last week’s discussion of time and I really enjoyed this concept of space and the how media can cause things to “double.” To begin with his notion that live broadcasts in a sense double that time and place was rather confusing. I was not sure I bought into the concept that broadcasts caused this doubling effect to occur as conceptually the event is really only happening in one place (i.e. the sports field) and our watching is really only occurring in one place as well (i.e. our living room). However, the more I got into the reading the more I began to understand and accept this notion of doubling. The idea that we use broadcasting to connect with events that we are not directly apart of is rather odd. Not only do we watch these events but we feel as though we are apart of them, that we are personally connected even though the extent of our involvement is sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips.

How is it that we have become so connected to these events that I will find my dad yelling at the TV when the quarterback messes up a play during American football, causing “us” (aka our team) to lose the ball. Or the example in the reading, of an entire city mourning the death of Princess Diana. In most cases we have never meet these people, we do not play the game, and we certainly are not members of the royal family. It seems rather strange that media has such a grip on our actions that we can take these things so personally. I guess, it is because we have come to a place in time where we believe we are part of the action. We think our voices can be heard through the television cheering on the home team. The fact that we believe we are so involved makes these events real to us, even if we are still just sitting in our living rooms.

The blurred line between media space and real life is something I hardly think about, yet after reading the Moore reading I not only was oddly aware, I was slightly discomforted. For example initially I decided I was going to write this blog as I sat in front of the TV. I knew that I would not really pay attention to the TV and it would just be background noise. After about an hour I surveyed what I had done: 1. Three sentences of the blog. 2. Looked at all the new photo albums my friends posted today on Facebook. 3. iChated with 2 friends from home. 4. BBMed (like text messaging for Blackberrys) a couple friends for approximately 45 minutes straight. 5. Snacked on Nutella. Clearly I was side tracked from real life (what should have been writing this blog) by all the media available to me (and Nutella!). Now I find myself cranking it out on the bus from the city to Randwick. 20 minutes. Three paragraphs. Countless rambling that will need to be edited upon arrival at UNSW but in all, much more productive than last nights attempt when I was surrounded by media (what will happen when buses have WIFI and my Blackberry does not die on me is an entirely new problem).

Now that I recognize that I spend most of my days in 2 places, whether it be on my phone talking to friends from home while I ride the bus, using my computer to Facebook stalk while I am in the library “studying” or whatever else may be going on, how do we remedy this. I realize it’s a problem- I get easily sidetracked and caught up in other people’s lives (as that is essentially what all of this is) and yet I feel as though I am still fully focused on my life, my real time life. Is it so bad that we can be in multiple places at once? When I was little I thought time travel was possible- maybe this is just our first step towards that possibility.

Will we start to effect media’s daily routine or will it continue to effect ours?

March 22, 2010

Although I found the concept of frequencies and wavelengths in journalism very intriguing in Jenkins and Thorburn’s “Democracy and New Media” I really was drawn to the Scannell article and the idea that broadcasting and a daily routine have so much impact on one another. Although you do not really think about this impact that often, after reading the article I cannot imagine there not being an impact of one on the other.

The concept of broadcasting revolving around dailiness or for that matter dailiness revolving around broadcasting as discussed in Scannell’s “Radio, Television and Modern Life” really hit home with me. I completely agree with many points he made regarding the joint impact of broadcasting on daily activities, however I feel there are some modernity’s that need to be added to update his argument.

Broadcasting is very routine. I know (at home in the US at least) that I can watch Grey’s Anatomy every Thursday night at 9pm on ABC. In order to watch the episode the second it airs I usually fit it in my schedule- having finished homework by 8pm so that I can then shower before the episode starts. When it finishes at 10pm I run to my room, finish getting ready, and go out for the night around 1030-11pm. This is built into my routine, my weekly schedule and rarely is it interrupted (unless I have a Friday test or something like that).  Where Scannell’s argument now needs a little updating is what happens when I miss the episode? I can now watch it online, the next day, at no charge.

This phenomenon, of watching TV on the Internet has to have some huge effects on how broadcasters now view their method of dailiness. Early in the article, Scannell mentioned that listeners or viewers have an idea or what type of broadcasting belongs at what time of the day. There is the morning news, soap operas, children’s programming, the nightly news, and then prime time during which Grey’s Anatomy will be aired. However, when I view Grey’s Anatomy the next day, say around 3pm when I finish classes do I still have the same experience as someone who viewed it the night before? Does the time of day change my perceptions on different aspects of the show?

As technology changes our view on time must change too. Scannell asks, “Would time feel different for us without radio, television, or newspapers? Would it run to a different rhythm?” I now wonder, does time run to a different rhythm with all these sources of media available at our fingertips? Maybe it runs more on ”my-time” rather than the world’s time?

Tying into Jenkin’s and Thorburn, the changes in technology have had a very clear impact on the type of media we consume, and the frequency at which this media is produced. As we begin to demand everything to be available online at our fingertips the once daily news program now has transformed into a constant news update online. This past fall when many of my friends were just “hanging out” in a room someone went online to CNN to find a “breaking news” story of a little boy who flew away in a home-made balloon. Although this sounds absurd and it turns out the boy was hiding in the house at the time the balloon flew away, we all found ourselves glued to the computer screen, watching the live action of the balloon’s flight, decent, and then getting taken apart in search for the boy.

Had we waited a few hours to watch the nightly news we would have seen a 2-minute clip on the balloon followed by the fact that the boy was fine. However, we were so caught up in the moment, of the live action, that we watched the balloon flight for a good 30 minutes. This clearly impacted our routine, and the other, more productive, things we should have been doing. So I will end this blog posing these questions: has the news become too instantaneous that we will find ourselves in the future spending more time watching/ listening/ reading it at that moment when the story may turn out to be completely meaningless? Can we get too caught up in the moment of up-to-the minute coverage?


Domestication, not so simple

March 16, 2010

Okay first of all hopefully this works okay, this whole blog thing is kind of new to me so hopefully I am doing this right!

At first when reading Roger Silverstone’s article, “Domesticating domestication. Reflections on the life of a concept” I was rather caught off guard by how he started off the article. He began by making rather bold statements that “all concepts are metaphors” and that “concepts that survive, most often, are simple ones.” Although some may agree with Silverstone and think that domestication is a rather simple concept, I tend to disagree. What could be more complicated than how we have evolved and domesticated as the human population over the years? Domestication is the core to our society, it dictates how we function in our family units, what the social norms are, what roles we take on both in the family and outside of it, and most of all provides organization and structure to our society.

Silverstone later goes on to talk about how technology is changing domestication by enabling greater communication and breaking down the barriers between public and private lives, once again this appears to be rather complex. As Alyson noted, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, and it is hard to imagine going through any daily routine without it. Technology’s role in society is not one that can easily be eliminated and therefore I argue that it cannot be categorized as simple.

Michael in his article, “Reconnecting Culture, Technology, and Nature” supports the notion that technology has become so intertwined that certain uses of technology have become second nature to us. We have become rather lazy as we rely on technology to help us through our everyday lives. Both authors argue that technology for years has been breaking down the walls between public and private lives, changing what domestication is. Our interactions with one another have changed greatly with the invention of the telephone and now with the internet and social networking sites. All these forms of communication have greatly impacted domestication, and in my opinion have made the concept of domestication even more complicated than it already was. There are many aspects to domestication, and although on the surface it may appear to be a simple concept, I am not so sure I agree.

Well that’s all I have to say on domestication, feel free to disagree with my argument.