Posts Tagged ‘stuart marsh’

Interviewing the interviewer

May 25, 2010

From Weerakkody’s chapter 10: Research Interviewing and indeed the first reading as covered by alyson and Lauren i found myself wondering how many pages were left! At the same time i was admonishing the increasingly required effort on my assignment whilst thinking to myself: is it that hard to be nice when interviewing someone? I guess depending on who you are interviewing thats either an easy question or a tough one…

Weerakkody’s chapter deals with the different kinds of interviews, including structured, semi-structured and unstructured. All of these pretty much depend on how much preperation you did for the interview, and how far outside the guidelines you are willing to stray. For instance, taking a mass survey/interviews would require structured interviews so as to collate/compare the data returned from people’s responses. Semi structured has room for this as well, however becomes less credible as many variables can arise.

Essentially it was about establishing a rapport with your subject, and how far cultural differences can interfere with this. It explained how it might be easy to “break the ice” first, which seems like common sense to me, and also not to ask close-ended questions (also, quite common sense). heres an interview with evander holyfield after his upset win over mike tyson:

I feel sorry for the interviewer here he seems to be pushing hard for a question that couldn’t possibly be answered by religion, haha although if someone is determined, the are going to say it.

Essentially the articles prepared us for our assignments however after asking (and for the majority of us, getting) for a detailed diary of some their most intimate media habits… i think an interview will sit just fine.

A sign of the meaning

May 18, 2010

Shirato & Yell’s reading, signs and meaning, was one that i thoroughly enjoyed due to the simple yet paradoxical nature of their points. The reading explores what and how we take meaning from the signs (images, ads, actual signs, situations) around us.

I personally believe, as the authors have pointed out, that it really is all about context. A stop sign tghat we see on the street carries the meaning that we associate with it on the street. For instance, if we were to see that exact sign say… on the toilet, it carry a similiar meaning but be entirely different, due to the context. one of the definitions that the reading points out is:

“contexts are never identical for, or completely shared by, particpants.”

So every situation we see around us carries seemingly similar meaning, yet differs in an almost infinite number of possibilities. The authors of the article discuss Saussure, which this video covers quite well:

I think to simply this morning and recognise, like the example used in the piece (the ‘violence’ example) that words can take entirely different meanings. Tony Abbot’s gaffe about his remarks in ‘heated or robust discussion’ have stirred the media and in reality voters to question the validity of all of his responses. the words he used, would they be used in a different context, would take on the meaning of someone merely admitting a mistake. however, as the authors concluded:

  1. words do not function as labels that can be unproblematically attached to things or acts or experiences;

What we ordinarily define as a ‘sign’ is simply a static form of communication. all communicating, whether be by language, body language, viral, signs, etc etc etc etc, carries a unique set of meanings that we associate to each part of the equation. The responder communicates by sending data (hand signals, words, facial expressions) and the respondee interprets this data against the set of meanings normally associated with it. It all sounds very digital and unhuman but seems the easiest way of metaphorically describing the communication between two humans (ironic hey). to end i’ll leave you guys with a little abstract video about semiotics.

*tip: read into the meaning whatever you want

“Just found 20c under the sofa! = D” – Communicating for Communication’s sake

May 4, 2010

This weeks readings i found to be a little divisive from each other, however i will focus on Manuel Castells’ paper, “Informationalism, networks, and the network society: a theoretical blueprint”. Whilst i for one can wholeheartedly admit this reading could at times do quite well to lose the reader, although in turn did raise points that i personally wonder with the advent of such ‘conveniant’ new technologies.

Castells’ theroising on how networks operate and the value nodes have on the goals of the network, makes me wonder about the benefits of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. What is the goal in this respect? To connect? If so, i would say that they achieve this quite resoundingly. My use of facebook has indeed made me closer to some people – but is it for the better? Am i now so close that ‘close’ is too close for comfort? should i keep asking rhetorical questions when i dont have the answers? (on a small side note here i noticed as i was reading in my head my voice getting higher with each question.)

Castells is quoted:

“The ability of networks to introduce new actors and new contents in the process of social organization…increased over time”

Here in this paraphrased quite i would like to particularly acknowledge “new actors and contents”, as it displays in essence what i am doing right now! every blog has the potential to introduce new actors, whilst many, many others drift off into the virtual stage left. Blogs allow us to siphon power away from the traditional media sources, yet is all of it good?

Castells’ also goes on to say that “the new culture is not made of content but of process. It is a culture of communication for the sake of communication.” And here comes the crux of my argument: social media as mundane as Twitter is simply fulfilling a role we shouldnt have to fill. It is in my opinion communicating for the sake of communicating, and of course is not entirely bad, however fulfils that category as well. Heres a video on how twitter really does make our lives beautiful. /sarcasm

Castell’s reading not so much condemned the new social media networks as anaylsed their role, which is undoubtedly increasingly influential. Twitter is by all means a fantastic medium, i mean c’mon, 20 cents!

The Economics of information

April 27, 2010

After reading this weeks two readings on ‘convergance’, i find myself sitting between two ideals or trains of thought. Firstly, i wholheartedly agree that medias (am i allowed to pluralise?) are converging, whether or not for better or for for worse. However secondly the main feeling i took away from the readings, and especially the second, H. Jenkins “Buying into American Idol: How we are being sold on Reality Television”, is really how much of our information, our entertainment, is dictated by the economic interests of the networks/papers/websites.

This has surely always been the case, and i realise it was naive to assume the television content was run for the good of the people and in the best interests, however the fathoming of how far marketers go to attract our consumer interest i believe is astounding. Jenkin’s cites American Idol as his case study, and instead of the network (FOX in this instance) pitching its program to the audience, by having the audience as the program it affectively targeted the advertisers.

Essentially television stations work off the basis of advertisement dollars, and in order to gain greater advertisement dollars, they must run programs that are successful and popular. However Jenkin’s american idol study revealed to me personally that the marketers are looking for so much more than simply how many people watch, but rather:

  • who is watching
  • why are they watching
  • will they buy products if they feel “loyal” to the show?

I for one feel that most of the time i watch tv the ads are simply a time to carry out small tasks or simply tune out. And whilst i’d say this is the viewpoint of the majority (lol we all like to think we are normal), the marketers in U.S reality shows are digging deeper and deeper into viewer habits, converging not only ads and tv shows across medias but across consumers.

Take this video for instance, which is targeted at other businesses in helping them define the audience. I for one find it just a little creepy all the information they want to know so we can buy their product:

Both articles dealt with the convergance of media, and also the battle between old and new medias, and also introduced us to the new wonderful terms such as ‘internetisation’. They survey how media is increasingly leaning towards conveniance on the behalf of the user, yet in the same instance also developing more targeted advertisement and marketing campaigns. So as Virginia Nightingale pointed out, they are both “positive and negative implications” – which are of course present with all new technology; i guess we just have to work out for ourselves how we can best control it to our benefit, and not the advertisers.

Although at the end of the day, i guess we are all waiting for our 15 minutes of fame (including me haha) even if it is nowadays the zappers ‘3 seconds’ of fame …

Mobile technology: gaoler or prisoner?

April 20, 2010

After perusing this weeks readings i have surmised that we as generation Y are either the forefathers, (excuse old-fashioned sexism, foreparents) of technology or the harbingers of doom. I found it intriguing that many of us asked “when will technology go too far” and indeed Clara Volker’s article “Mobile Media and Space” rigidly looks into the future of what may be for mobile technology. I for one, prefer to take a somewhat futile opinion that technology has already gone too far, in that it is rather pointless for me to know what Kim Kardashian and Ashton Kutcher will have for their social media breakfasts (although the shameless today show plug did little to quell my enthusiasm. Nonetheless, the developing age we live in the one already gaining social etiquettes, as described by Mizuko Ito, is fascinating as the old adage goes, if you can’t beat em’, join em’.

I found Volkers article to be quite conceptual as opposed to Ito’s more pragmatic study much like our own media diaries (why didn’t i ask any Japanese!!?!?!?!). Volker here analyses the connection we are increasingly shortening between what we perceive as being ‘home’ versus being generally ‘out’. However i think (feel free to argue) that Volker is not so much trying to say that the gap is being bridged but rather we are creating our own separate entities, or ‘spaces’. This ‘space’ therefore becomes an alternate reality if it is taken on by enough people, even so in a purely theoretical one (and who’s to say that our own perceived reality isn’t just as theoretical? It’s like one of those ‘if a tree falls in the woods and no-one is there to hear it…’ scenarios).

To quote a quote, Volkers refers to William Gibson’s determined or defining of what we now appreciate as ‘cyberspace’:

“Gibson refers to cyberspace as a reality into which humans can immerse themselves, a hybrid cybernetic space, ‘a consensual hallucination’ of ‘unthinkable complexity’, a graphic representation that exceeds the represented ‘nonspace of the mind’, as opposed to ‘Meatspace’.”

What we know take for granted as ‘cyberspace’ was once a scholarly and theoretical study into the digital reality matching the physical one. And whilst i quite humourously agree that humanity’s “tweeting” is as Gibson describes, a “nonspace of the mind”, Volkers’ reference to him raises the question as to how closely can a digital space or reality, emulate a physical one? To this Volkers answers:

“Hence, space is actualised and modified through mobility.”

Mizuko Ito’s article was one that i found altogether as interesting as it was confronting; not in the sense that it shocked me but rather that my seemingly normal patterns were being analysed in a way that treated them as anomalies – quite a strange feeling indeed. I found his views from his research were ones that by this time have bridged the east-west divide and translated into our very own culture, with myself being namely responsible for at least a few. However the point i found perhaps most interesting is the title of this blog: is this mobile technology enslaving us to ourselves, or being enslaved for our benefit? I for one believe we are becoming addicted to need, to efficiency, to easiness and perhaps most of all, convenience. And far from preaching i would point the finger at myself in too needing the nicotine patches for my fix of convenience when convenience isn’t warranted.

To summarise, Volker’s article taught us the creation and development of new ‘spaces’ by mobile technology, rather than merging old ones; whilst Ito’s piece analysed the social functions we are creating through this rapidly dynamic technology. I for one, argue that technology has gone too far, in that we are now so bombarded with convenience our communications have lost importance, familiarity and most of all emotion.

But that’s just me and look forward to your opinions!

Moore’s Space: mine or his?

March 30, 2010

After reading Moores “Doubling of place” article, and subsequently all of our own opinions on the reading, i would tend to agree that i too beleive it to be a different approach to what is essentially “domestication”. However, I feel that Moore, whilst he did explore the emrging of technologies in the home (telephone, internet + television and radio), he also covered quite competently the increasingly blurred lines between what we define as ‘public’ and private’. His example of the woman talking (in what i found amusingly described as ‘far-from-dulcet tones, i mean who uses dulcet tones!) on her mobile phone to her boyfriend is one instance in which the degeree between public and private is being blurred. The ‘social position’ Moore describes is one in which we ‘wish’ things to be private when in fact we are publicising them.

This youtube video explores how Facebook, and in particular their ‘privacy’ settings, are in fact a contradiciton to exploiting one’s self on the internet. (And in my case quite happily + shamelessly haha)

The vox-pops in this story almost to a unanimous degree all agree that what is on the internet is public – then by definition doesn’t that contradict Facebook’s privacy settings? I mean after all we are publishing ourselves on the internet, and by choosing these settings we can select only our friends to view them. But wouldn’t our friends already know these details? Although i find it an interesting paradox, the privacy settings are of course needed however they are a neat contradiciton.

I felt that my own facebook example mirrors that of Moore’s “Blue Sky” citation, where he explores how people living in a ‘second’ or ‘virtual world’ are not seperating public and private, but rather “online relations do not occur in a cultural vaccum”. This vaccum, i would argue, is getting increasingly and frighteningly lax, as sometimes what i would consider private is public, and vice versa. Has anyone had the experience of telling a friend a story when they interrupt you and say ‘yeh i read that on your facebook’? Besdies the fact you now consider them a little creepy and a web stalker you still have to admit that you were the one who uploaded it…

This ‘social position’ Moore explores is a concept that i find intriguing, a little frightening, but in the end its a development like all others. The internet, with all its idosyncracies, dangers and laughs (and facebook turban groups too, anyone noticed?) can be either used beneficially or abused. I’d like to think that we are travelling in the right direction, but then again who can tell where the internet as a ‘double place’ turns out to be such a big place!

Domestication – brick walls vs firewalls and the inherent power of remote controls

March 16, 2010

Hello all,

Finally my post has gone up! It seems my computer illiteracy reached a new peak a few days back when I forgot what email pertained to what, and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, it seems after Mike Michael’s reading that perhaps the couch is a preferred domain, albeit with ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ connotations. I’ll give an opinion on both readings and compare my thoughts with Alyson’s, and most welcome debate!

In Roger Silverstone’s reading “Domesticating Domestication. Reflections on the Life of a Concept” I fully agree with Alyson’s core argument that technology has been integrated into our lives and that we now pursue these technologies as objects of value and desire. However I pose to question (both to myself and the reading), haven’t we always incorporated technology into our lives? Whether it be the nuances of new social media or the simplicity of the wheel; I feel that humans have continuously welcomed innovations that in Silverstone’s words: “attempt to address an empirical reality”.

Alyson’s synthesising and defining of appropriation,  objectification and so forth have helped tremendously! It seemed just as I was grasping ‘domestication’ that a new term would require a different train of thought. However to continue on Silverstone’s core argument, he questions, as i have, the difference between new technology and old: “Wild animals then, wild technologies now: what’s the difference?”  I feel that in the reading the main difference outlined is that today’s technologies require the same ‘domesticating’ as old, however this time they serve to bridge the gap between what we define as ‘public’ and ‘private’. Silverstone argues that todays household is one no longer defined by the solidity of  ‘real’  brick walls, with the invention of the internet and instant messaging. He argues that socially, we are gravitating towards a ‘virtual’ household, whereby occupants rely their daily lives directly into the public. However in saying that he also concedes that whilst home is “no longer static”, he acknowledges that “to be homeless is to be beyond reach, and to be without identity”.

The first reading was one I found to be thouroughly researched and cautiously worded, and although I enjoyed it, it took a solid deal of time to fully understand the concepts. In the second reading I too recognised the scholarly nature of the chapter, yet through reading felt a burning question: why? Mike Michael’s piece “Disciplined and disciplining co(a)gents: The Remote Control and the Couch Potato” was a thorough analysis into what seemed liked why we lose the remote control and we sit on the couch for too long! Michael’s introduces us to the concept by at first stating his own ‘couch potato-ness’ and then detailing how it becomes a dis-embodiment from our otherwise ‘productive’ lives. He argues that there are several portrayals of couch potatoes, both positive and negative, and continues to explore the power discourses that rest in who controls, well, the control. I enjoyed the article immensely, and recognised a few points that seemed to me productive social commentary; however by the end of the reading i felt as if i was caught watching BBC’s annual ‘fake story’ on April Fool’s day. Nevertheless, he raised important points about how the television has adapted to become fully domesticised; and the fact he has researched the topic so thoroughly points out in itself that we too have become domesticised to television.

Overall both articles thoroughly explored how new technologies are bringing a social shift that starts in the home; however I repeatedly felt that the second reading, whilst scholarly, had little substance in analysisng how this domestication is affecting humanity outside the realm of the couch. However, like I said, it’s just my opinion and I most welcome disagreement! Hopefully I haven’t been too boring and look forward to hearing the rest of the cool teams opinions!



ps awesome cartoons Alyson